Friday, December 4th, 2009

Holiday Makeup Palettes:  Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad — Cool

Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad ($40.00) is available in two varieties: cool and warm. The one I’m reviewing is the cool palette, which contains four shades of lightly shimmered, soft sheen baked eyeshadows.

The four shades in the palette are: a soft, plummy pink with gold shimmer; copper-bronze with peachy gold shimmer; pinky bronze with soft sheen; and a neutral-cool chocolate brown with soft gold shimmer. The shades work extremely well together, which is something I love to see in a palette–just on principle–so this is something you can easily take with you during your holiday travels. (Or not, if you’re staying home like me!)

The texture is soft and smooth, and the shades themselves are fairly pigmented. They’re not ultra intense, but they have good pigmentation and aren’t too sheer or overwhelming to use. Since they’re baked, they can be used wet for more intensity, and you don’t have to worry about the wetness ruining the product like the typical powder product.

These are very similar to MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, even down to the fact that they’re baked on a terracotta plate. Considering both brands are owned by Estee Lauder, I’m not too surprised. Props to Prescriptives for putting them in a palette, though, and also? not giving us an overly glittery mess of useless color! These are much less frosty than MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows tend to be as well, so that may also appeal to you.

I’m not a big baked/mineralize eyeshadow fan myself, so this palette didn’t get me dancing, but it was a nice piece to see for the holiday season, and I think those who do love themselves some mineralized goodness will want to check this out.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows, you may find Prescriptives’ Baked Eyeshadow Palettes are right up your alley!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Monday, November 30th, 2009

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Soiree for Holiday 2009: Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner

Lancome Plum Tease Ink Artliner Gel Eyeliner ($23.50 for 0.14 oz.) is a new shade of Lancome’s Ink Artliner for the holiday season. It’s an eggplant-y plum with a soft, mostly matte appearance. It’s richly pigmented and goes on opaque in one swipe. It’s creamy and easy to work with, but it does dry down after about thirty seconds or so. It doesn’t budge, fade, or smudge throughout the day, and it really holds its own amongst the gel eyeliner heavyweights.

I like this with neutrals, but it especially pops with a healthy dose of sparkling gold eyeshadow, too! I don’t think I own any other gel eyeliners in this particular color, so that’s a huge deal for me — love it when that happens!

Even though winter has just started here in California, I’m actually wondering (and very eager!) whether we’ll see any bold hues for next summer…

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  Easy to wear, easy to use, and really excellent results make this one a slam dunk for me!

Availability: Lancome, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro Collection:  Gold Attraction Eye Quartet

Clarins Gold Attraction Eye Quartet & Liner Palette ($66.00) is a limited edition holiday palette from Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro collection, which was “inspired by the light and sumptuous radiance of the architecture of Venice.” It’s a very minimalist collection with four pieces: an eyeshadow palette, a face palette, a lipstick, and a mascara.

The Eye Quartet includes a soft, shimmery milky pink, high-sheen peachy-gold, subdued taupe brown with subtle gold shimmer, and a richer, chocolate brown with just a smidgen of gold specks in it. It also has a black-brown cream liner included with the palette. All four shades are pigmented, and the eyeshadows themselves are smooth to the touch. They blend easily, and this combination of shades is actually very easy to use, because they work so well together. It’s not quite a neutral quad–almost like a neutral quad with a kick, I suppose. It’s perfect for the holidays, but it’s a palette you could easily continue to use throughout the year.

The packaging is stunning; it’s a heavy metal-ish compact that looks like gold. I may even go as far as to say I like the packaging more than the contents! It’s just particularly lovely and well-done, and I am happy that the insides didn’t disappoint.

I only found one drawback for this eyeshadow palette, and it’s the price. The price is really tough to swallow, even for Clarins. Even though you are getting 0.17 oz. of eyeshadow in the palette, it still works out to be $388.24/ounce–which prices it above MAC and NARS, but around the level of Givenchy and Chanel. They sell eyeshadow quartets as part of their regular line-up at $40 each, so I do think you are paying quite a bit on top of this for the packaging itself.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re a sucker for packaging, Clarins’ Gold Attraction palette just might sucker you in!

Availability: Clarins, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Long-wearing Liner:  NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Bayou Blue and Nuits Blances

NARS Eyeliner Stylo ($27.00 for 0.02 oz.) was recently released just in time for the fall/holiday seasons as a brand new product by NARS. It is touted to be a long-wearing, quick-drying liquid liner delivered via a felt-tip applicator. With the felt-tip applicator, you are supposed to be able to get precise lines–thin or thick–with “maximum control.” The Eyeliner Stylo is available in three shades: Blue Bayou (blue), Nuits Blanches (black), and Nabucco (brown).

I test drove two: Blue Bayou, which is not quite an electric blue, but much brighter and deeper than a sky blue–but there’s no teal or green in it for me; and Nuits Blanches, which is a very deep dark black.  Oddly enough, I’ve found a lot of black felt-tip liners do show up a bit brown when swatched on the skin, but on the eyes, looks black as it’s supposed to; this also happened here (for reference).  I wonder if, perhaps, it’s how close/magnified the photo is vs. viewing it in person at a real-life size.  Anyway, just something worth noting.

The formula is definitely long-wearing and it dries quickly but not too quickly, so you do have some time to work.  The formula itself is fairly water-resistant as well; I’m not sure I’d say entirely waterproof, but it doesn’t budge or smudge or flake throughout the day and takes a bit of elbow grease to remove.  To be honest, one of my biggest frustrations with this product had to do with Blue Bayou staining my eyelid for three days.  I don’t love products that stain overall, because I do find it annoying the next day, but having this slightly faded, residual blue liner on the outer edges of my eyes for three days was ridiculous.  I know in the past, readers have recommended Make Up For Ever’s makeup remover for staining products, but between my cleansers, olive oil, and Lancome’s Bi-Facil, the staining wasn’t budging.  I found the black didn’t stain nearly as much and seemed to fade away by the next day.

I will say that this the felt-tip applicator is very long and skinny, and those with smaller eyes may find this a little unwieldy.  On my eyes, I felt like I had enough control to create thin, precise lines.  I did find creating thicker lines to create a little more skill, just because the applicator is quite thin and more suited towards thin lines rather than thicker lines.  I think with enough practice you’d find that you could get thin or thick lines without much fuss or frustration, though!   The applicator distributes a good amount of product without it being too much or too little–there’s no drag nor is there excess that you have to worry about.

Bottom Line: I like and would recommend Nuit Blanches, because it works and functions quite well.  I do take an issue with something that stains so intensely as Blue Bayou did, which makes me hesitant to recommend it.  I didn’t take any points off for staining, but it’s something I think is worth noting as a potential problem for some (as it is for me).  I used Blue Bayou last week in a look, which you can view here, to see how it looks in action.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you don’t mind a product that may stain your eyelids temporarily, these are easy to use, quality felt-tipped pens to give you that liquid liner look.

Availability: NARS, NARS Eyeliner Stylo

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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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