Thursday, September 17th, 2009

MAC Trend F/W Collection:  Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Trend F/W ’09 Collection Review: Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Trend F/W Collection launches in-store today across North America locations, and the collection includes four lipsticks, three lipglasses, an eyeshadow quad, and a fragrance. The Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad consists of four eyeshadows, all cool-toned with a mixture of finishes.

Tone: Grey Eyeshadow Quad ($36.00 U.S. / $43.00 CDN)

  • A Warmer White is a cool-toned satiny white that casts a bit green. The pigmentation is decent and doesn’t come off looking too stark or chalky.
  • Tone: Grey is a soft, medium grey with a satin finish that has a cool blue-gray sheen. The pigmentation level is decent, though not intense; the shade itself is a bit muted.
  • The Right Smoke is a bright medium-dark blue with a soft blue sheen and has a frost finish. This is like a bluer Deep Truth (or if you mixed Freshwater and Deep Truth together). I’m so tired of seeing this blue, I can’t even tell you how much! This shade is the most pigmented of the four.
  • Waft is a dirty taupe grey–kind of pewter, but not quite–with a taupe sheen and a frost finish. Like the other shadows in this quad, it has decent color pay off, but it’s not intensely pigmented.

The eyeshadow quad actually reminds me of the Gentle Fume eyeshadow quad from Smoke Signals. It isn’t the same, but at first glance, it definitely was reminiscent of it (it doesn’t help that Waft was also in the Gentle Fume quad!). The quad is a nice pairing of shadows for smoky looks with a cool-toned theme. I don’t think this quad is particularly unique or a must-have, because you could easily create the same kind of quad with existing MAC shades that would just as easily suit you.

For those looking for dupes, A Warmer White is similar to Gesso (but without the barely-there-green tint); Tone: Grey is similar to Scene; The Right Smoke is similar to Deep Truth; and Waft is similar to Print (but without the frost or taupe — add a touch of Satin Taupe to fix that).

To get an idea on what kind of look you could create with this quad, check out this silver, gray, and blue look I did using the Gentle Fume eyeshadow quad.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 9/10

Recommendation: If you don’t have similar shades and are looking for a cool-toned, slightly blue-leaning smoky palette, you’d like this!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

L’Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara

L’Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara ($10.95) is a lengthening mascara that uses tube technology to create longer, more dramatic lashes. I tried it in Blackest Black, which is an intense black, though not the darkest black I’ve tried.

Double Extend definitely adds lengths to lashes, but it clumped up pretty easily on my stringy little lashes, so it definitely requires a lash comb afterward to get lashes to look a little more natural. This mascara really is designed to add length, so it doesn’t do much in terms of adding volume or thickening lashes. For me, not the best mascara, because my lashes need more than just length (they really do need a lot of help–volume, thickness, and length!).

It stays true the claim of being smudge-proof and budge-proof–until you get into water–which is great for contacts wearers. It rinses off fairly easily with water over makeup remover, so a good shower is an optimal time to remove this mascara, but over the sink works just as well. Even though the $10.95 price tag is steep for a drugstore mascara, if you keep an eye out for sales/promotions, the price is much more in line with my expectations.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you have naturally thick and voluminous lashes, Double Extend is great for adding a little more length. Otherwise, you may want to check out L’Oreal’s Voluminous instead.

Availability: Drugstore.com

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Barbie Loves Stila Smudge Pots

Barbie Loves Stila Cobalt Clutch & Purple Pumps Smudge Pot

Barbie Loves Stila Cobalt Clutch & Purple Pumps Smudge Pot ($20.00 each) are two of the three new smudge pot shades released with Stila’s Barbie Loves Stila Collection for the fall season. (Little Black Dress is the third shade–and it is on its way to me; as soon as I have it, you know I’ll be reviewing it!)

Purple Pumps is a shimmery shade of violet with a lighter violet-purple shimmer laced throughout the creamy gel liner. It is one of the sheerer smudge pots I’ve tested, but it can be layered for a more opaque look. I found layering was best achieved with a stiff, flat bristled brush (I used MAC’s 249).

Cobalt Clutch is a ridiculously vibrant shade of sea-water blue with a slight sky blue sheen (but more of a sheen than a shimmer). It goes on opaque without any need for layering, unlike Purple Pumps, and the shade is definitely intense. It will definitely look stunning as an eyeliner, but it could be used as a base for some really in-your-face eye color. (I am fairly certain it is the vibrant blue used in the Stila Smitten With Kitten Collection promotional image.)

I’ve always been a fan of Stila’s smudge pots. They’re smudgeproof, budgeproof, and wear all day without fading or creasing. They come in a variety of shades–one surely to entice you–and they’ll last you forever. I haven’t had any of mine dry out on me yet, either, which is a huge plus, because some gel liners have a tendency to dry out within a year.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: These are not to be missed if you’re a gel liner fan (or a Smudge Pot fan in general!), because these are some bright-eyed shades you don’t see often.

Availability: Stila Cosmetics

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Barbie Loves Stila All Doll'd Up Eyeshadow Palette

Barbie Loves Stila All Doll’d Up Eyeshadow Palette

Barbie Loves Stila All Doll’d Up Palette ($28.00 for 0.36 oz.) is a refillable compact featuring four eyeshadow trios. Each eyeshadow has three stripes of color. It is part of Barbie Loves Stila for Fall.

MAKE A MAD DASH TO GET THIS PALETTE. LIKE… YESTERDAY!

I’m a seasoned beauty addict–I’ve seen and tested and loved a plethora of products. It takes a lot to *truly* knock my socks off these days. There are a lot of great products–even amazing products–but there are fewer absolutely, positively excellent products. Stila’s All Doll’d Up Palette is one of those rare gems beauty addicts live to uncover. Not only is it a stunning combination of shades and colors chocked full of quality shadows, but it holds tremendous value. You get ten fold what you pay for.

Shade rundown…

  • Trio #1: Soft champagne with shimmer; coppery brown with a softer sheen/shimmer; a cool-toned pink with an iciness to it
  • Trio #2: A bold lightly shimmered teal; deep grayish-brown with shimmer; iridescent violet with fuchsia undertones
  • Trio #3: Periwinkle blue with soft shimmer sheen; a dark black-brown with silver sparkle; dirty champagne taupe with gray
  • Trio #4: Pop of peach with gold shimmer; brown with a greenish cast; springy green with pale green-gold shimmer

Every shade is silky smooth with excellent color pay off. There is not a single fussy shade; no shade that does not earn its keep and position in this packed palette. The colors are diverse and the different looks one could create are immense. I love that each trio is almost a look in itself, but you can also mix and match the shades as you please. It is just so rare to find a palette that is consistent from shade to shade and there’s no shade that feels like it was just thrown in.

I absolutely recommend this palette to everyone, even the color-shy. It’s available at an incredible price, so even if you only want to experiment with color, this is a chance to get twelve high-quality shades without paying an arm and a leg. Truthfully, I would have purchased this quad for $40, easily. I wouldn’t have batted an eye! For those who aren’t sure just how great of a deal this really is, compare…

  • Stila All Doll’d Up Eyeshadow Palette: $77.78/oz.
  • MAC Eyeshadow Quad: $144.00/oz.
  • Benefit Velvet Eyeshadow (Single): $163.64/oz.
  • Almay Eyeshadow Trio: $57.31/oz.

  • Product: 10/10
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 10/10
  • Packaging: 9/10

Recommendation: Buy one for yourself and a friend! I’m seriously considering giving one of these to my friends/family for the holidays! Amazing pigmentation, great price, and cute packaging to boot!

Availability: Stila Cosmetics

Update:  I e-mailed Stila about international distribution, and they informed me that it is U.S. only.  I did relay your interest as international customers to them as well!

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Givenchy Poetique Blues Eyeshadow Palette

Givenchy Poetique Blues Prismissime Eyes

Givenchy Poetique Blues Prismissime Eyes ($53.00 for 0.12 oz.) is one of two eyeshadow palettes released with Givenchy’s Les Poetiques Collection for fall. It features nine different marbled/splattered eyeshadows.

Here’s a quick rundown of the colors, row by row, left to right:

  • Top row: a pale, icy pink; a bluish-gray with a purple cast; an icy silvery white
  • Middle row: a pale bright silver-white; a light champagne-beige; an icy, light purple
  • Bottom row: a warm-toned pale peach-champagne; a dirty champagne taupe; a dark purple

This is one of the more pigmented Givenchy palettes I’ve played with, so I’m happy to see they increased the pigmentation level in the latest limited edition palettes. There’s also a good assortment of shades, though two of them are close to another two within the palette, so that’s a bit of a downer. If you’re not a fan of shimmers and frost finishes, you’re not going to like this palette (or most other Givenchy palettes for that matter).

Givenchy always excels at making packaging functional and sleek, and this fall is no exception. The eyeshadows themselves look funky (in a good way!) and the outside casing is pretty. They do include three different sized sponge-tipped brushes underneath the eyeshadows, though I’d never use them unless in a pinch (use real brushes if you can!).

Even though Givenchy is a high-end, closer-to-luxury brand of cosmetics, its eyeshadow palettes are extraordinarily priced. Normally, palettes are less expensive (by the ounce) than single eyeshadows, but with Givenchy, you’d be getting more for your money by buying single eyeshadows! (For reference, the palette is $441.67/oz. vs. single eyeshadow at $383.33/oz.)

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: One of the nicest Givenchy palettes this year with better color pay off and a good assortment of shades perfect for fall (and winter, too!)… it’s just on the pricey side and doesn’t come cheap.

AvailabilitySephora

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Waterproof Mascara

L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Waterproof Mascara

L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Waterproof Mascara ($7.95) hit shelves this summer and it had a lot to live up to, because L’Oreal Voluminous is an often recommended go-to mascara for beauty fans. Unfortunately, Collagen just doesn’t bring it home like Voluminous does.

L’Oreal’s latest mascara does add volume, thicken lashes, and it’s fairly black in pigment–but it just doesn’t do it with excellence. It’s okay; not bad, not fabulous. I liked the length it gave, but I found it clumped quickly, because it also dried very fast (by mascara standards). Thickness was so-so as was volume. Lashes definitely looked longer and fuller, but Voluminous does this job better and more effectively.

Not that I appreciate a particularly wet mascara, but this one dries a little faster than you can work, which results in clumping and unevenness in thickening. I found clumping wasn’t too bad if you got the excess off the brush first (my inner corner lashes were done where the brush had far too much product on it, and thus, Clump City). The brush itself has very stubby bristles, which is why it can easily lead to clumps if you don’t work quickly or wipe off the excess off your brush first. This mascara wand just isn’t designed to separate lashes, so you definitely need a lash comb/clean mascara wand to do that post-application.

Even though it was pretty average in a lot of areas, one area that it faired better in was holding up to its waterproof claim and not drying my lashes out. Often waterproof formulations lead to dry, crispy lashes, but my lashes still felt fairly soft and not at all stiff/hard. Like most waterproof mascaras, make sure you have a good oil-based makeup remover on hand to make for an easy removal process.

I’m a big believer in the truth’s in the photos–so see for yourself and let me know what you think!

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If your natural lashes are always fabulous, you can easily use this mascara with just one quick coat and have great looking lashes. For those of us who need a few more coats (and a little more help!), this one can be tricky to work with.

Availability: Drugstore.com

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