Thursday, October 15th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
Midnight Madness Mineralize Eyeshadow

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Mineralize Eyeshadows

Every MAC holiday color collection sees an introduction of new, limited edition mineralize eyeshadows. This year is no different. With six mineralize eyeshadows, each with a crescent of some glittery concoction, MAC really wants to make sure you get your mineralize fix for the year.

I will say that these are some of the smoothest, most pigmented mineralize eyeshadows (this doesn’t include the “crescent” shade, though) I’ve played with to-date. These don’t have to be used wet in order to get decent color pay off, so that’s a huge plus in my book. The crescent pieces are, in my opinion, terrible, because they’re just gritty glitter. Like last year’s trios, I find the crescent portion a let-down.

  • Midnight Madness is a cool-toned dirty black-taupe with lighter silver sparkle and a crescent of glittery gold.
  • Under Your Spell is a cool-toned, silvery-purple. This one was fairly light in color, but it has a really nifty sheen. The crescent is a glittery copper.
  • It’s a Miracle is a rich, jewel-toned purple with golden shimmer combined with a crescent of glittery gold (looks the same as the shade in Midnight Madness to me).
  • Blue Sorcery is an intense shade of medium green-based teal with softer green shimmer. It reminded me of an old holiday shade, Tease ‘n Teal, actually. It’s stunning. It’s matched with a crescent of glittery silver.
  • Devil-May-Care is a medium purple with a silver sheen and cool tones. It’s nicely pigmented, but I think you could dupe this with one of MAC’s existing purple eyeshadows. The crescent portion is glittery silver.
  • Mayhem is a rich copper-bronze with a high sheen/frost finish. It’s like Amber Lights and Woodwinked had a baby. The crescent portion is glittery silver.

I wish MAC would have done away with the crescent portions or had made it the same texture/feel as the larger shade. I just can’t imagine dealing with the inevitable fall out the glittery crescents will have. My top picks would be Midnight Madness, It’s a Miracle, and Blue Sorcery.

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

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Thursday, October 15th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
Nail Lacquer: Lucky Number

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Nail Lacquer & Softsparkle Eye Pencil

MAC launches two metallic finish lacquers: Lucky Number and $$$ Yes (which is a repromote from Heatherette), as well as two repromoted shades of their Softsparkle Eye Pencils — Nightsky and Iris Accents.

  • Lucky Number is a metallic-finish purplish-berry with a high-shine/sheen. Since it is a metallic finish polish, it does show brush strokes. I don’t know if it’s even feasible to manage to get no brush strokes to show, but I know I don’t have the patience to attempt such a feat. It’s a pretty color, though, and it’s not something I already own.
  • $$$ Yes is like wearing tin foil on your nails. It’s a bright silver with a metallic finish. Like Lucky Number, brush strokes will show up. I’ve just kind of learned to deal with brush strokes in metallic shades myself.
  • Nightsky is a medium black with silver microsparkle.  This one is opaque and goes on easily.
  • Iris Accents is a cool-toned, silvery-purple with silver microsparkle.  I find this one more of a semi-opaque shade and doesn’t go on as nicely as Nightsky–it will go on opaque, it just requires layering.

I liked Lucky Number a lot, and if you haven’t played around with the Softsparkles, you may find you like the glitz of them. I like them, but I never find myself reaching for them, despite owning all of them, so they’re not must-haves for me.

  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

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Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Urban Decay 24/7 Super Stash ($36.00) is just one of three different sets of 24/7 Eye Pencils available for the holiday season.  If I had to pick one, I’d opt for the Super Stash, if only because you can grab the four new shades all at once.   In the Super Stash, you’ll receive nine half-sized 24/7 Eye Pencils (the full-size is 0.04 oz. and these are 0.02 oz. each).  The Hi-Fi and Stereophonic sets include 24/7 Eye Pencils as well, and each is 0.03 oz., so they’re just a little smaller, but not by much, than the full-sized versions.  Most of us will never get through a full-sized blue eye liner, so these sets are a great way to grab lovely colored liners without buying more than you’ll use.

Rather than just review the Super Stash, I’m actually going to review all of the 24/7 Eye Pencils I own.  Apparently, I’ve finally collected them all except Baked, Crash (in the Stereophonic set), and Mildew (in the Hi-Fi set), which I suppose now I’m compelled to get just to round everything out.  (Does anyone else feel that way… the need to complete when you’re nearly there anyway?)

  • 24/7 Super Stash includes: Corrupt, Binge, Eldorado, Oil Slick, Zero, Graffiti, Ransom, Rockstar, and Stash and retails for $36.00.
  • Hi-Fi includes: Mildew, Zero, Flipside, 1999 24/7 Eye Pencils, as well as Distortion Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner.
  • Stereophonic includes: Crash, Zero, Underground, Gunmetal, as well as Midnight Cowboy Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner.

Why 24/7 Liners? They’re pigmented, soft pencil liners that are easy to use, look great, and last awhile.  I use these on my lower lash line all the time, because they add a lil’ pop of color, but they don’t migrate all over the place throughout the day.  They’re fairly budge-proof (at least, on me), and they are so easy to apply, because they’re soft.

24/7 Super Stash Eye Pencils

  • Corrupt is a rich dark brown with warm undertones.
  • Graffiti is a medium pop of bright green with just a tinge of teal in the base (it’s a bluer green vs. yellower green).
  • Binge is a rich navy blue with a slight cobalt kind of look to it with a soft sheen.
  • Eldorado is a brighter pop of yellow-based gold–it’s more of a true gold compared to Honey.
  • Zero is a black liner–it’s not the richest or most intense black I’ve seen, but it’s pretty dark and definitely not a light black.  It doesn’t have any shimmer or sheen.
  • Oil Slick is a silver-speckled light black.  The black base is just a smidgen lighter than Zero, but it has silver glitter/sparkle that lighten it up further.Graffiti
  • Ransom is a iridescent purple with a slight reddish purple undertone.Stash is a greenish-gold–like an antique gold with a green tone.
  • Rockstar is a dark burgundy-purple with a red undertone and slight reddish sheen.

24/7 Eye Pencils

  • Yeyo is a silvery-white — it’s not 100% white on me, there is a little bit of silver sheen to it, but it’s close.  It’s just not a stark white (which may or may not be what you’re looking for).
  • Gunmetal is a gunmetal silver-gray.  It’s a gray-black bas with a silver sheen.
  • Dime is a bright silver-gray with a high metallic sheen.
  • Bourbon is a medium dark chocolate brown with a slight sheen.
  • Underground is a cooler, medium taupe brown with a metallic sheen.
  • 1999 is a red-berry purple with a slight metallic sheen.
  • Lust is a cool-toned dark violet purple with low sheen.
  • Covet is a rich, jewel-tone teal with a slight shimmery finish.
  • Flipside is a medium pop of bright teal with silvery-teal shimmer.
  • Deviant is bright pop of medium dark blue with silver sparkle.
  • Electric is an intense, bright blue-based turquoise.  It’s lighter and brighter than Flipside.
  • Honey is a deep gold with just a bit of brownish tinge to it.  It does really remind me of honey.
  • Lucky is a coppery orange-brown with a metallic sheen.

The majority of the shades available are also available in full-size, which go for $17 a pop and you get 0.04 oz. of product in each.  The only thing I didn’t like about the Super Stash liners is that they do feel a little “stumpy” in your hand, because they are so short.

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

Availability: Urban Decay

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Monday, October 12th, 2009


Dynamic Duo

Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow Duos ($7.99) are a great, budget-friendly way to satisfy your eyeshadow fix. Today, I thought we’d take a look at two duos:

Dynamic Duo is a mix of pale, seafoam green and a dirty brown with silver-gray frost.  Dynamic Duo works really well with the cooler weather these days, as it’s just dark enough to work with autumn tones, but it’s not so vampy that it’s too dark, either. Dynamic Duo is a very wearable duo, and I didn’t find either shade to be chalky or hard to use. Both shades were pigmented and had a frost finish.

Double Whammy is a vibrant, medium blue with a soft sheen and a bright pop of springy green with yellow undertones.  Double Whammy is one of my favorite Sonia Kashuk duos, because it is extremely pigmented, but it is also vibrant. Sometimes it can be difficult to find this kind of brightness in the drugstore, but Sonia Kashuk gives us a good answer for bright blues and greens. The blue reminds me of MAC’s Freshwater, while the green is kind of a mix of MAC’s Swimming and Juxt.

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Availability: Target

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Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Tarte Femme Naturale Eye Palette ($44.00) is an eyeshadow palette that contains ten different shades of Tarte eyeshadow from their fall collection. (Tarte also released the Femme Fatale Eyeshadow Palette with this one.)

  • A pale champagne with slight sheen. This one is a paler version of the color next to it and has more of a frost finish.
  • A champagne with the lightest champagne shimmer. It’s a soft shade, and it makes for a perfect highlighter within this palette.
  • A subdued, semi-matte rose-mauve. I like this shade for two reasons: it’s a subtle way to incorporate a pinker color into your palette without worrying so much it may make you look like you’re crying; but also because I don’t see this particular shade very often. I also dig the finish.
  • A sparkling mix of peachy-gold and soft rose. This reminded me of MAC’s Say Yeah eyeshadow, but a little dark, which is just fine in my book. Say Yeah was always one of my go-to shades. This one has the most frosty/glittery appearance, but I didn’t find it had a lot of fall out issues as glittery shades often do.
  • A deep forest green with a little bit of a grayish tinge. This one had amazing pigmentation and texture–very soft, smooth, and gives you plenty of intensity without having to pack it on.
  • A semi-matte reddish brown. There’s not a whole to say about the shade itself, but it doesn’t read too warm to me (maybe even cool, actually). It has really good pigmentation, and it is surprisingly not chalky for a shadow with such a matte finish.
  • A light, peachy-brown with a frosty finish. This one is similar to the other neutrals in the palette, as it has that frosty look. It’s pigmented and feels soft to the touch.
  • A chalky, cool-toned lilac-pink. Personally, this shade is one I’d find difficult to pull off on my skin tone, but I think those with cooler skin tones will appreciate it. It’s chalky, but I’d say half of it comes from how cool the shade is along with the matte finish.
  • A plummy rose with gold glitter. This color is so stunning! It’s this gorgeous shade that I envision being perfect for fall or holiday. I love the way the gold flecks sparkle in the plummy base. This one wasn’t as pigmented as the others, but it still was pretty good.
  • A rich bronze with gold flecks and a frost finish. This one has a very nice feel to it–very soft–and goes on like butter and has intense pay off.
  • A dark, smoky blue-black with a gray cast. This one was the least pigmented out of the ten shadows, and it kind of dragged a bit when I swatched.

This is a solid palette that gives you a ton of product for under $50. Tarte shadows themselves are high in quality and still affordable.  They’re soft, smooth, and they’re usually easy to blend. The only thing I really wasn’t jazzed over was the product’s packaging.  It just feels tacky to me, and I hate that fingerprints get stuck all over the casing.  The “rose” attached also presents some storage woes.

Each eyeshadow is 0.06 oz., and the palette itself is refillable. Tarte refillable eyeshadows retail for $10 a pop. The palette itself yields you a cost of $73.33/oz. whereas one refillabe Tarte eyeshadow will run you $166.67/oz. Buying these together means you get twice as much for half the cost! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation:  If you’d like some neutrals–but not just neutrals–Tarte’s Femme Naturale palette offers a good combination to get you started.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Chanel Holiday 2009 Collection
Chanel Bird of Paradise Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Bird of Paradise Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00) is a new, limited edition, colorful palette that’s part of Chanel’s Holiday Collection. It includes four pops of color, which is a surprising twist on what we typically expect from holiday launches. Genius, perhaps? We’ll see…

The shades included in the palette are:

A paled down blue-teal with green-teal shimmer. I love the mix of a blue-teal colored base with green-teal shimmer. The color is muted without being boring; it still packs a punch of color, but it’s not over the top. It’s kind of what I’d expect from a teal by Chanel. It’s pigmented, silky soft, and blends easily.

A warm pop of goldenrod yellow-gold. This is an interesting color, because I think on cooler tones, the yellow is going to come out to play more, whilst on warmer tones, you’re going to get more of a warmer, golden shade. Also, I noticed that it seemed to warm up and cool done depending on the lighting situation (less light = more yellow; brighter light = more golden). This one wasn’t quite as pigmented or smooth as the other three shades, but it was still soft and the shimmer wasn’t too gritty. I really love the shade itself, though, because it’s not a true gold, yet it’s not orange or yellow.

A muted coppery-orange with golden shimmer and sheen. Orange can be a tough color to pull off, particularly for those who naturally have cooler complexions (because many oranges run very warm), so I know some just skip this color altogether. This is a great shade of orange that runs neutral-warm, which means it has some warmth, but it’s not overly so. It’s also not a straight copper. I love how the golden sheen catches light.

A soft olive green with golden olive shimmer. A lovely shade that actually reminds me more of fall than it does winter, but nevertheless, still nice. Pigmentation is true and the shade itself feels smooth to the touch and goes on like butter.

I’m really digging Chanel’s take on holiday this year. The colors are fun and playful, but they’re not hard to wear or even pair together (I was a little weary at first – so much color, could they work together? but alas, they can!). The only shade it’s really missing is a highlight shade, so you will have to tap into your stash to get that, but at least you get four rockin’ colors in it. Each has a metallic shimmer sheen, and I think that’s exactly what the holiday season is about–lots of glitz and glam!

This eyeshadow quad is eons better than Chanel’s Les Folie Noirs Eyeshadow Quad — so I am quite pleased. I was a bit hesitant that this one might not do it for me, but it worked out, thankfully!

As far as value goes, I do believe Chanel quads are around 0.24 oz. (I have some that say 0.24 oz., others that don’t say, and the recent Noirs Obscurs quad was 0.21 oz.), so they’re not a bad deal by the ounce (less than MAC eyeshadows). With colors like these, you may find yourself slower to get through each shade as well, so I think you’ll get plenty of usage out of the palette.

Bottom line: This is a nice palette with quality eyeshadows that give you color to play around with, but it’s not intimidating. It’s inviting, and I think it’s a good mix of colors that can also work together, not just by themselves. It’s also not overly warm or cool on the whole, so it’s more universal. I really like it, overall, but I’m not head-over-heels for it like I am over their Rouge Allure Laques.

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

Recommendation: For a downplayed approach to color, Chanel’s Bird of Paradise eyeshadow quad is stop that might be worth your while.

Availability: Chanel in October/November 2009

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