Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara ($22.00 for 0.21 oz.) is the newest mascara formula to debut from Bobbi Brown. It is touted as Bobbi Brown’s “boldest mascara ever.” This mascara is designed to give you “unbelievable volume… endless build… exceptionable separation … with zero dragging, clumping, or flaking.”

Overall, I really liked this mascara, though it’s not my all-time favorite mascara or my personal holy grail. I love dramatic lashes, and I pretty much want a mascara that makes me look like I’m wearing false eyelashes 24/7–so that’s my taste. This mascara is not supposed to do that (despite the name, which perhaps would suggest otherwise), because it’s more of a volumizing and separating mascara that’s supposed to cling to lashes and not clump or flake on you later.

Extreme Party seems like it delivers on everything it’s supposed to. My lashes had a lovely, feathery volume to them–they looked lush and lightweight and never felt heavy. I got a smidgen of length, but not too much, and this mascara didn’t clump even after I tried to make it clump with a fourth coat (just for kicks!). It also separated beautifully (which is sort of a duh, if it doesn’t clump).

This mascara reminded me of Maybelline’s Full ‘n Soft mascara, which is a formula I like for softer, but still noticeable, lashes. Extreme Party is a little richer and a touch more dramatic in its overall look, but if you like Full ‘n Soft, I think you’d like Extreme Party, too.

Bottom Line: The name is a bit misleading–I wouldn’t describe the effect on my lashes as an “extreme party,” but I do like what it does and feel like it meets the marketed claims (which is very important to me). It’s a very nice mascara for separating lashes and giving you a more voluminous look.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For feathery, natural-with-a-kick lashes, Extreme Party may appeal to you!

Availability: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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Monday, November 9th, 2009

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Holiday 2009: NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product recently released by NARS designed to provide smooth, long-wearing all-over eye color. It can be used to smudge along the lash line or as a base. NARS also released two other shades: Goddess (a shimmery light pink) and Skorpios (a shimmery copper).

Aigle Noir is a dark brownish-black with green-gold shimmer laced through it. It’s a very nice, solid shade to wear on the lower lash line, but when it’s applied to the lid, it just tends to appear sheerer (especially if you apply or blend with a brush or fingertip). So, every cream-based eye product gets a very simple test: apply it all over my lid and wait to see if it creases. NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencil did not make it past five minutes before there was a distinct line where the color creased on my eyelid. Consequently, I wouldn’t consider this a grab-and-go product, because it just doesn’t hold up on its lonesome.

NARS says the new Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are the “[i]deal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity,” which is always the follow-up test when an emollient product can’t keep from creasing. They also state that this is a “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula,” which I’ll have to disagree with–at least when worn by itself. However, when set with a powder eyeshadow, the results are definitely much better. I didn’t find it creased or smudged on me once I had a layer of powder shadow on top. I imagine you could, if you really wanted to keep the color itself showing, try translucent powder dusted on top to minimize creasing.

Since NARS suggests these as an “ideal” base and doesn’t necessarily call out that it should be used totally alone, I won’t knock off a ton of points for missing the mark on that.  Nope, NARS does, actually. Major impact on rating!  I know that even purported crease-proof products can vary from person to person, with it never creasing on some but creasing in minutes on others. For the record, my lids are about average; neither dry nor oily.

It also works nicely as an eyeliner, and it didn’t smudge, budge, or migrate on my lower lash line when I wore it for a day. I noticed it had no staying power on my waterline, though, so if you were hoping to use it for that, you may find yourself looking at other products. I will also say that because these are oversized pencils, they’re not the easiest to line with. I was able to get a thin line on my lower lash line, but it does take a little maneuvering to make sure you don’t end up with a thicker line. Aigle Noir was smooth, lightly creamy, and worked best as an eyeshadow base.

Bottom Line: These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you’ve set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you’re good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look. I wasn’t blown away by the formula, but if there’s a color that really calls to you, I think it’s worth checking out. For me, I’d would have loved to see this shade as a pressed eyeshadow.

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

F
These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you've set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you're good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Dupes
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Monday, November 9th, 2009

Holiday Glitz: Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad

Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad ($10.99) is the glitz-in-a-pan that’s so perfect and fitting for the holiday season I couldn’t resist saving this review until now. There are certain items that impress you at first swatch, and this was definitely one of those items for me.

It includes a glittery warmed-up frosty white, muted reddish-brown with golden bronze glitter, glitzy soft pale antique gold, and smoky charcoal gray-black with silver glitter. These applied and looked almost wet–I will say they looked much better in person than in photos. There’s just something about the shimmer that I couldn’t capture, despite taking dozens of photos! I will say that the only real drawback to these is they have a tendency to get all over your cheeks if you use a regular eyeshadow brush with them. I do recommend using a sponge-tip applicator or else use these applied wet to minimize the fall out.

The texture of the eyeshadows was surprisingly soft and almost creamy, despite the obvious glittery bits, and the pigmentation was decent overall. I found the gold shade was the least opaque, followed by the white shade, while the brown and gray shades were both opaque. The price is just right, and you can often catch Sonia Kashuk on sale at your local Target–though I’ve heard this isn’t as easy to find locally as it is online.

Bottom Line: This is just one of those really fun, totally glitzy and glittery pieces that you may not pull out and wear everyday, but it sure is glamorous to have all that bling sparkling on your eyes.  It’s really, really stunning when you swatch–not quite as lovely on the lids (but still nice!), but ultimately not the most practical item I’ll own.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For lots and lots of shimmering glitter on your eyes, Sonia Kashuk is an affordable way to get glitzy this holiday season.

Availability: Target

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Saturday, November 7th, 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow
NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow from Holiday 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a new shade of cream-to-powder eyeshadow from NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes this shade as “[a] shimmering, spicy pine named for the monsoon – natural and unpredictable … [i]t has richness and depth, yet allows for a surprising range of intensity.” They later describe the color as “silver sage.”

Mousson is is an antique gold with a green tarnish and silver sparkle. It’s creamy, dries to a mostly powder finish fairly quickly (but not so fast you don’t have time to work with it), and I’ve found it fairly crease-resistant. I would say it’s much better and doesn’t crease easily when set with a powder base or layered over an eyeshadow base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The shade itself is exactly something I’d wear and a color I’d feel compelled to own–you know me and (antique) golds!

NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows aren’t my absolute favorite cream formula to work with (Benefit’s are my current favorite), but I do like it. I just find it does have a slight tendency to crease if you apply too much or you don’t set it with an eyeshadow. For me, I rarely wear cream shadows alone anyway, so it’s not a big deal to use it in conjunction with powder eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: For a fun, sparkly shade of antique gold with a green cast, Mousson might be something you’d like. If you’re not normally a cream eyeshadow fan, while it’s still worth taking a peek at your local NARS’ counter, I’m not sure these will persuade you otherwise at the end of the day.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows, I do think you’ll like Mousson!

Availability: NARS

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Thursday, November 5th, 2009


Stila Smudge Pot Collection

Stila Smudge Pot Collection ($32.00 for 4 0.07 oz. smudge pots) is a limited edition set of four shades of smudge pots (two exclusive to the holiday set, two existing) half the size of the full-size individual versions (which contain 0.14 oz. and retail for $20.00 each).

  • Kitten is a soft, shimmering beige with a slight golden touch–but it’s not warm. Stila describes it as a “nude champagne,” and I’d agree on that. It works well as an all-around eyeshadow base, as well.
  • Violet is a bright pop of blue-violet with slight glitter/shimmer particles. I found this one was the least opaque of the four, and I noticed some drag when swatching. It was easier to use with an angled eyeliner brush on the eyes than it was to swatch on the skin, though!
  • Starry Night is a deep dark navy blue without much shimmer (though there’s a touch). It goes on very dark and pigmented.
  • Black is a dark black with no shimmer whatsoever.

With the four miniature smudge pots, this set is like getting two full-size smudge pots for the price of $32.00, which is about $8 in savings, so I’m liking it as far as value goes. The pots are also on the small size, so they’re easy to travel with or keep one in your purse without adding much weight.

I like Smudge Pots in general, because they’re easy to use, have great pigmentation, and they stay on well throughout the day with no creasing or smudging. I personally prefer to use my Smudge Pots for lining rather than as eyeshadow bases, but they’re up to meet either challenge head-on. I love me a multi-tasker!

Bottom Line: The only reason I’m not ultra excited over this set is because the shades themselves just don’t grab me as much as I thought they would. I think I’d have preferred a more distinctly purple shade, rather than a very blue-based violet and a navy blue together — it’s a bit too much blue, you know? Also, if you already own Kitten and/or Black, this set isn’t so high in value any more, either. It’s a blessing for those who haven’t yet tried them, and a curse for those who want to collect ‘em all!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve wanted to try Smudge Pots, here’s your chance to get four different shades for the price of two.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009


Smashbox Wish for the Perfect Pencils Set: Celebrate, Wish, Hope, Love, Dream

Holiday Glitz & Glamour with Smashbox’s Perfect Pencils

Smashbox Wish For The Perfect Pencils ($32.00 for 5 0.04 oz. eyeliners) includes five stunning, limited edition shades of pencil eyeliners.

  • Celebrate is a bright, metallic silver.
  • Wish is a deep forest green black.
  • Hope is a bright pop of violet purple.
  • Love is a rich bronze with a cool tone to it.
  • Dream is a deep black.

First, I demand to know why Smashbox doesn’t have a whole line of permanent eye pencils available.

I really, really would love to know why they keep such a fabulous product limited to seasonal offerings. (I believe the last set of liners they offered was with the Muse collection, but my memory often fails me, so perhaps they did it in summer/fall, too.) BUT WHY, SMASHBOX, WHY? I’m totally serious!

These eyeliners are incredibly smooth, easy to use, line beautifully (no dragging), and they stay all day. In fact, in a blind-lining-challenge, I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between these and Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners (which I love, love, love!). They even have a similar look to them. I’d say these are, perhaps, not quite as soft, but it’s really debatable and almost undetectable in difference. They’re even the same size (0.04 oz.)! But since they’re packaged together as a set, you’re actually getting a very nice deal at $32 for five full-sized liners. That brings each of these down to $6.40 a pop–cheaper than a lot of drugstore brands–and they’re some hardy liners.

I found they didn’t wear all day on the waterline (not much does), but I got about three or four hours of bold wear on the lower waterline and then the rest was just slightly faded–so it wasn’t super noticeable unless you were inspecting me and all in my face. On the lower lash line, they performed like true champs. They stayed true to their bold color, lasted all day, didn’t migrate, fade, or smudge. It’s truly a fantastic formula, and I want to be the first one to start the petition for Smashbox to make a permanent, full range of these pencils!

Plus, I love any time a brand gives part or all of their proceeds to charity: Smashbox is granting wishes this holiday season! With each purchase from the WISH collection, you are helping make miracles happen. Smashbox will donate $1 of every purchase up to $25,000 to Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that grants the wish of life by providing medical care, life-saving research, and on-going education to help millions of kids overcome diseases and injuries of every kind.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Seriously, less than $7 a pop, fantastic colors, long-wearing formula? I don’t know how you can resist, but I give you props if you do.

Availability: Sephora

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