Monday, May 31st, 2010

NYX Blonde Pearl Eyeshadow

NYX Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow in Blonde Pearl

NYX Blonde Pearl Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow ($7.00) is a brightened yellow gold with a soft frost finish. It’s nicely pigmented, and it has a very smooth, silky finish. Blonde Pearl is part of a new eyeeshadow formula packed with more shimmer for “a soft, shimmery, iridescent look.” The last NYX eyeshadows I tried were among their Trios, and the Pearl formula definitely has a smoother, more finely milled feel to it. It doesn’t have any powdery-ness. I did find that when used with a brush, it will diffuse a little, but it stays true-to-color for the most part.

It’s a good eyeshadow, and for the price–as compared to high end alternatives–it’s a bargain. Compared to other NYX eyeshadows, I’m not sure they’re significantly better than their singles ($5.50). The $7 price tag for a single eyeshadow seems a little steep for a brand known for their affordability. Blonde Pearl reminds me a lot of MAC’s Goldmine eyeshadow, though, so it’s a nice, slightly more affordable alternative.

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

Recommendation: For a more affordable alternative to high-end eyeshadow, NYX’s Pearl formula is still worth checking out, but it may not be significantly better than other NYX shadows.

Availability: NYX

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Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo

Take a Dive Into Summer with Hourglass’ Lagoon

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo ($38.00) includes shades in a muted, gray-green and a deepened ocean-blue with a teal sheen.  I was eager to try out another eyeshadow duo after discovering the amazing-ness of Prism.  Both of these shades were soft, smooth–a very buttery, silky texture–and the colors were vibrant and true-to-color.  These also blend extremely well without fading or diffusing nor leaving a trail of fall out in their wake.

This particular duo doesn’t have the most unique shades, sure, but that fact doesn’t take away from the quality of these shades.  I feel like both of these shades are on the verge of being duochrome but haven’t committed fully to it; the seafoam green shade almost has a flash of blue-green, while the ocean blue shade has a metallic flash of teal.

I like the metallic, gunmetal packaging and the cool swivel top that reveals a mirror and an actual brush inside (not that you’d jump to use it if you had full-size brushes on hand).  It’s very sleek and modern, though again, I think it contributes to some of the pricing of this product.

The only downside to Hourglass’ eyeshadows is their price tag, which is pretty hefty.  They are some of the more expensive eyeshadows on the market–up there with brands like Chanel and Dior–so they’re not in everyone’s budget.  If you’re a fan of the silky textures of higher-end eyeshadows but dream of brighter, highly pigmented colors, Hourglass is a good bet from my experience.

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

Recommendation: If you love blendable, highly pigmented eyeshadows with almost creamy, buttery texture and a silken feel, Hourglass has yet to disappoint me with their eyeshadow duos.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream: Two More!

I’ve already fully reviewed Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream ($22.00) here (#5, 7, 18, 21) and here (#6, 9, 11, 13, 20). I’ve got two more shades to show you!

  • #1 Anthracite is a darkened steel green with a light silver shimmer.
  • #22 Emerald Green is a brightened green with a slightly metallic-frost sheen and yellow undertones.

I can see #1 Anthracite working really well for an intense, ultra-dark smoky eye. I definitely think that #22 Emerald Green is definitely the more versatile and usable shade of these two in particular, though. It’s great layered underneath golds, greens, blues, and teals.

Anyone else indulge in the new Aqua Creams?

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love color and rich, creamy textures, you may find the new Aqua Creams right up your alley.

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams

Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams: Part II

Ahh! The five Aqua Creams ($22.00) I ordered from Sephora arrived over the weekend, and I’m pleased to say I’ve been enjoying them! I liked the first four that I tried, because the pigmentation is incredible, and the finishes are beautiful.

Lips & Cheeks: #5 Peach, #6 Fresh Pink, #7 Fuchsia, #8 Red, #9 Coral, #10 Orange
Eyes & Cheeks: #1 Anthracite, #2 Steel, #3 Silver, #4 Snow, #11 Gold, #12 Golden Copper, #13 Warm Beige, #14 Satin Brown, #15 Taupe, #16 Pink Beige, #17 Plum, #18 Purple, #20 Intense Blue, #21 Turquoise, #22 Emerald Green

  • #9 Coral is a medium coral-orange with subtle shimmer (very faint).
  • #6 Fresh Pink is a beautiful blue-based pink with golden shimmer. SO pretty. It’s amazing on cheeks and lips! Just make sure to prep lips, because it seemed a little drier than some of the other Aqua Creams, but it holds on for hours.
  • #13 Warm Beige is a lightened champagne taupe with a metallic sheen. This is kind of a neutral base color, but it’s a bit high on the frost/metallic finish and darker than I’d like — not quite as universal as I was hoping.
  • #11 Gold is a metallic gilded gold. Very, very pretty. Not entirely sure how usable it is, but it is stunning.
  • #20 Intense Blue is a medium ocean blue with silver shimmer. It’s like MAC Freshwater eyeshadow, in a cream form.

The reason I like these so much is they’re creamy but not too creamy–they won’t slip around on your eye lids, and they really lock down. These just don’t budge at all, even without setting with eyeshadow. I also like that you can use them on eyes/cheeks or lips/cheeks (depending on the shade), because they’re more multi-tasking. I like them the most on eyes, then cheeks, and finally lips. I wouldn’t wear these alone on lips (they dry down a bit, so they’ll last for over four hours on me, possibly stain, but my lips need more moisture, so I top with a gloss). Like they are on the eyes – they are excellent bases.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love color and rich, creamy textures, you may find the new Aqua Creams right up your alley. These are particularly lovely blushes for those with oily skin, because these dry down quite well.

Availability: Sephora

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Thursday, May 27th, 2010

MAC Nude Collection

MAC Nude Collection: New Pigments

MAC’s Nude Collection is a PRO-only release (much like the Chromagraphic Pencils) and there really isn’t much to it. I will review Barelash Pro Longlash separately (probably next week), and I already covered the nude Chromagraphic Pencils here. This leaves us with two new PRO pigments — Naked Dark (medium beige with pearlized pigments) and Naked Deep Dark (dark beige with pearlized pigments).

  • Naked is a light, flesh-toned beige-pink. it’s almost like a nude champagne pink with a slight golden shimmer-sheen.
  • Naked Dark is a medium tan with a beige-nude tone with subtle gold sheen.
  • Naked Deep Dark is a darkened brown with an almost taupe edge when used wet. It also has a slight golden sheen.

There’s not much to say about these, to be honest!  They’re three variations of flesh-toned (or nude, ha ha) colors in pigment form.  Naked has always been around, but it’s always been a great highlighter and natural highlighter for those with lighter skin tones.  These could also be mixed into moisturizer for a little shimmer and sheen on decolletage, too.  All three shades were well pigmented when used wet, and they have very soft, finely milled texture–no chunky pigments here, no glitter, no frostiness.

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

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for neutral pigments, the new PRO pigments are perfect for that. For those with medium or darker skin tones who have wanted a pigment highlighter, these might work, too.

Availability: MAC PRO

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Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Urban Decay Sephora Exclusive Eyeshadows

Urban Decay Hits All the Right Notes with These Sexy Six!

There are six Urban Decay Eyeshadows ($17.00) newly released and Sephora exclusives. All six shades are richly pigmented, smooth to the touch, and easy to blend. They really represent why Urban Decay eyeshadows are so raved about. Not a single one is sheer, and none of these have gritty or glittery textures, so they’re just beautiful, seamless shades for the color lover.

  • Woodstock is a vibrant medium hot pink with subtle fuchsia shimmer. It has a low pearly sheen. It’s not frosty at all!
  • Free Love is a warmed-up peach melon with a golden peach sheen and slight frost finish. It’s like a darkened version of X.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a medium-dark purple with red undertones and an iridescent violet sheen-shimmer. It’s not as blue-based as Flash.
  • Aquarius is a pale aqua-teal with a silver-metallic sheen. This was the frostiest of the new six.
  • Haight is a slight teal-blue with a frost finish and silver sheen. It’s different than Dashiki, but it’s not super teal like Shattered.
  • Dashiki is a brightened medium sky blue with a soft pearled sheen.

My favorites were definitely Woodstock, Free Love, and Dashiki. I don’t have anything quite like Dashiki in my stash, so it’ll be a nice shade for the summer season.  If you’ve been thinking about these, they really are fantastic.  These are some of Urban Decay’s more impressive shades, just in terms of texture and pigmentation.

Have you checked out Urban Decay’s new shades?

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Excellent quality, richly pigmented, buttery texture–the best of Urban Decay’s eyeshadow textures.

Availability: Sephora

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