Monday, May 30th, 2011


Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover

For Your Eyes Only: Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover

Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover ($24.00 for 2.5 fl. oz.) is a creamy, opaque white gel-based remover that works best applied onto a cotton round or toner sheet, then held against the skin for a few seconds and finally, wiped away. Initially, I thought this product was for the whole face, because it says makeup remover, not eye makeup remover. Even the online descriptions of this product don’t suspend that belief–they say it’s a makeup remover designed for removal of even the “longest-lasting products” that’s “good for your skin.”  (I tend to associate skin care benefits more to the whole face than just the eyes!)

Though I recognize I’m a bit skeptical of much of the miracles promised by various skincare products, I’m even more skeptical of cleansers and removers that make promises, too. Products like cleansers and removers are not on skin very long, so it’s hard to believe they would be able to provide any long-term benefits. Urban Decay’s remover includes several ingredients, and one is noted to “revitalize collagen production” while others (various oils) will moisturize and replenish. When it comes to directions, I’m glad I waited for this product to go online, because the back of the tube left me clueless–did I use water, did I use it everywhere, how much, when, what!

Again, the best way to use this, based on my testing, has been on a cotton round or toner sheet, pressed against the eye for 10-15 seconds, and then wipe away the makeup. It does a good job of removing the bulk of my makeup, but I do feel like it leaves my eyes a little cloudy. There is no greasy residue or feel afterwards, but the cloudiness necessitates rinsing with water, so then there is definitely no product leftover to sink into my skin and revitalize or moisturize anything. I needed about a pea-sized dollop for each eye. It will remove face makeup, too, but you’ll end up going through this little tube rather quickly if you do so!

If it’s for eyes, it’ll last you a lot longer, and therefore the $24 price tag stretches out over a much longer time period. It does remove long-wearing products without much fuss, feels nice against the skin, and doesn’t leave behind any greasy residue–but it did make my eyes a bit cloudy and may require a second cotton round to remove a few streaks of makeup left behind (which just feels wasteful, so I rinsed off). Good, not great.

The bottom of the tube says “demaquillant yeux,” but as a U.S. brand – should I really have to know French to decipher what the product is supposed to do?  Oddly enough, I did Google translate it last night, and I didn’t include the accented E – so it translated to just “makeup remover,” but when you include the accented E, it translates to “eye makeup remover.”

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Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer
Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer

Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer

Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer ($40.00 for 1.7 oz.) is designed to provide a “hint of coverage” for “natural-looking skin” in a gel-based formula. The oil-free variation is for those with oilier skin (they have a regular version along with an Extra version for drier skin).

My skin isn’t oily, but I liked the finish and coverage of the foundation, though the shade I tested ended up being far too dark to wear out in public! I tried the Medium Tint (I’m MAC NC25), but I would definitely be suited for Light-to-Medium, just because this is significantly darker than my natural complexion. I have heard from a few artists at the counter that these seem to run a little dark, so you might want to grab a couple of samples to ensure you get the right shade.

It has a very lightweight feel but provides sheer to light coverage; it had enough coverage to even out the unevenness in my cheeks while still having the feel and overall finish of a tinted moisturizer (soft, natural). It actually has more of a semi-natural finish–a little more matte than the average “natural” finish I would say. For a tinted moisturizer, this wears nicely; a solid eight hours of wear without oiliness or fade in coverage. The texture is thick enough that it doesn’t run but thin enough that it spreads easily over the skin (I used fingers to apply, as I would a moisturizer).

Alone, it’s not moisturizing enough for drier skin (my skin felt a little parched by four hours if I wore it alone), but it is meant for oilier skin types, so it seems like the moisturization is on target for oily skin types. If you use your regular moisturizer prior, then you shouldn’t have any issues. On the other hand, if you do have dry skin but want a two-in-one product, then I’d recommend the Extra Tinted Balm instead.

I tried to think of something I didn’t like about this product, and there was nothing that came to mind. Of course, I immediately noticed the shade wasn’t a match for my skin tone, but the formula and product I have no complaints with! Since I do have drier skin, I won’t be skipping my morning moisturizer before this, but maybe I’ll try the regular version and see if that’s enough for me.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer Review, Photos

A
It's a nice way to get a little coverage without wearing foundation, which can feel heavier as the warmer months get closer. It offers a part-matte, part-natural finish that's very your-skin-but-better.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer (clockwise, from the top: Warm Beige, Natural, Natural Tan

Hiding Shadows with Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit ($32.00 for 0.11 oz.) is a launch of a familiar product–but it’s been tweaked and improved. They made the formula more concentrated–a little goes a long way–so you can something more opaque. It’s also less creamy, so it won’t settle fine lines. The shade range (both the concealers and correctors) was also been improved so they would match each person better. The compact was designed to be small and made that way for portability. This review is just for the Creamy Concealer–Bobbi Brown also has a Corrector (which I will review later), but if you want to go for the full arsenal, it is best to apply the color correcting product first, followed by the concealer, and finally set it with powder.

I received three shades to test: Warm Beige, Natural, and Natural Tan. In the past, I’ve used the Light-to-Medium Tint of Bobbi Brown’s Tinted Moisturizing Balm, and both Beige and Warm Beige are recommended–but I’m definitely on edge of Light-to-Medium (Medium was only a touch too dark). Honestly, swatching the three together showed just how subtly each would change. Warm Beige definitely has those warm, yellow tones but it has a beigeness to it that isn’t as apparent in Natural, which almost seems lighter than Warm Beige (but yellower). Similarly, Natural Tan is a shade darker than Natural, but it starts to look almost orange on my skin (because it’s not a shade match).

I settled on Warm Beige as my match, and I think it worked out well. It added some warmth to my under eye area, which has some shadowing from tired eyes. There are fourteen shades (ranging from Porcelain to Chestnut) to choose from in the Creamy Concealer range. All of the concealer kits, except Porcelain (which includes a White Powder) are paired with a Pale Yellow Powder. Bobbi Brown also put a step-by-step guide and video on their website. There is also an excellent shade guide for how to match the Corrector and Creamy Concealer shades, which I thought was well-done and helpful.

I really liked the Creamy Concealer, which had a smooth, creamy consistency that applied opaquely and blended out easily. It was creamy without being like butter; there was some stiffness to it that enabled it to stay in place and instantly settle into fine lines. It is rather opaque but blends out slightly, though it seems like a heavier concealer overall. I did experience some creasing after five hours when I did not set it with powder at all; if I set it with powder (Bobbi Brown’s or something else), it lasted all day (twelve hours).

I wasn’t won over by the Pale Yellow powder, though. It does help set the concealer, but I felt that it did seem to be too dry (or perhaps, not fine enough) of a powder to work well for my under eye area. It also kicked up a lot of powdery dust every time I went to use, and I didn’t like how some of the excess powder migrated into the concealer well.

The kit is $32, while the concealer on its own is $22, but the concealer in the kit is 0.05 oz. while individually it is 0.06 oz. The included Pale Yellow powder is 0.06 oz., which is also available on its own at $34 for 0.38 oz.   The value of the kit is $18.33 worth of concealer and $5.37 worth of powder–a total value of only $23.70.

If you tote your concealer around regularly, perhaps the convenience aspect will be worth the $9 you pay to have them together, but it’s a rather hefty convenience charge.   I will also concede that you cannot buy the powder for less than $34 on its own (since it doesn’t come in such a small size individually).  I will note that online it states that there is 0.21 oz. worth of product, but the back of my compact says 0.05 and 0.06 oz. (and the size of the pan is the same as the individual ones).

The Glossover

coming-soon

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
I think the concealer works well, and it did a nice job of covering my under eye circles while subtly brightening the area. I wouldn't call it a brightening product, but it did add warmth and lightness to my otherwise shadowy under eye area. Because I didn't love the powder, I do hope Bobbi Brown will consider offering Concealer and Corrector kits in the future--I think those would be more useful together. Please note, the rating is ONLY for the Creamy Concealer. The Pale Yellow powder would score 7.5, 8, 7, 9, 4, and 4 - for a score of C+.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Thursday, April 7th, 2011

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer
TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18 ($25.00 for 2.25 oz.) is designed to give “long lasting moisturizer” with a polished look while skin feels “silky.” Immediately, I wished there were more shades available–there are only three: Light, Light/Medium, and Medium. I tested out the Light/Medium shade, which I found to be a pretty good match, though perhaps a hair light, for my complexion (I’m NC25/30 in MAC, Punjab in NARS).

Tinted moisturizers are great for days when you want a little coverage but not a lot of makeup. Hallmarks of a great tinted moisturizer are sheer coverage, creamy consistency, and hydrating. BalmShelter provides enough coverage to even out my skin tone (especially around the cheeks, where I am a bit blotchy) and helping to give my face a uniform color (I’m darker around my hair line than anywhere else). It has a natural finish, so it’s not matte but not too dewy. I did find it more dewy than not, and if you have oilier skin, you may find it even more necessary to finish with a setting powder. I do, normally, set even tinted moisturizer with powder, though.

What I really liked about BalmShelter was its very creamy consistency; it was thick without being goopy and spread really well and evenly. It definitely felt like a lotion, which made it even easier to blend and cover my face during application. It comes in a squeeez tube, and there is no problem getting just what you need out. I wasn’t as keen on its ability to hydrate, though; it was decent but I felt like I needed to layer moisturizer underneath. I couldn’t just use BalmShelter in lieu of a moisturizer. For oilier skin types, it may be enough, but for my normal-to-dry skin type, it wasn’t quite enough. It wears for six to eight hours before I notice it has sheered out in some places (like my t-zone).

The Glossover

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TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Though it notes this as a product that gives long lasting moisture, I felt it performed just below average. I like it, though, overall, because of how blendable and smooth it is to apply. It feels lightweight and provides enough coverage to even out subtle imperfections in skin tone but looks perfectly natural.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters
MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters ($23.00 for 0.12 fl. oz.) are a new and permanent product that will release in-stores on April 7th. There are three shades: Bright Forecast (mid-tone peachy coral), Light Boost (soft yellow cream), and Radiant Rose (light shell pink). They come in a twist-up, pen-type applicator. These highlighters are designed to provide a “sheer wash of color to highlight, brighten, and perfect.”

  • Bright Forecast is a soft peach with subtle orange tones. The peachy tones of this shade are good for brightening and lightening dark under eye circles without creating a green cast (that yellow-based correctors can cause). I found this one did the best to minimize my dark under eye circles while still looking natural.
  • Light Boost is a pale beiged yellow. Yellow is good for lightening darkness. This would work well as a subtle cheek or brow highlighter on those with yellow undertones.
  • Radiant Rose is a soft, pale pastel pink. Pink helps to brighten the skin tone. It can also be used to brighten the under eye area, like Benefit’s Eye Bright. This shade felt more opaque than the other two, and when I used it underneath my eye (without concealer on top), it was a little pale on me. I loved it more as an eyeshadow base and brow highlighter.

The Prep + Prime Highlighters come in a click-type brush pen that takes several initial twists to release the product, but after that, you should only need a couple clicks to dispense the product. Over time, I’ve become less of a fan of brush-type products, just because I hate the way the brush feels and looks as you use it and the product seems to just sit in there. I’d much rather use a separate brush that you can wash without fear of getting water back into the product. I did find that while it can be easily applied onto the skin with the applicator, blending and application went better using a fluffy brush like the 217 for small areas (or fingers).

I applied each shade over my cheeks and under eye area, because I really wanted the effect to stand out. I felt like when I just did the under eye, it was difficult to really see what was going on. I wouldn’t normally use these as I did for the swatch photos, but I figured what good are photos if you can’t spot the difference? These have a subtle effect, and if you layer concealer over them, the effect is even harder to pick up–not necessarily in a bad way (like, ooh, so subtle it’s not worth it), but it’s a subtle, natural effect that works well and looks lovely. More like, “Oh, you look pretty today, did you cut your hair?” kind of way.

These wore really well for me, and I even used Radian Rose as an eyeshadow base.  It looked really beautiful as a brow highlighter and lid brightener by itself, but it also held up as an eyeshadow base, too.  I didn’t notice any fading and certainly no creasing or settling into fine lines over eight hours of wear.

There are numerous brands with highlighter pens, including:

  • Dior (Sun Beam may be comparable to Bright Forecast; Roseglow to Radiant Rose)
  • Fresh (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Fusion Beauty (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Givenchy (Moon Light seems most comparable to Radiant Rose)
  • Guerlain (nothing seems comparable in color–these are skintone shades)
  • Sephora (#01 seems like Radiant Rose, #02 seems like Light Boost; #06 seems like Bright Forecast)
  • YSL (Light Peach seems comparable to Bright Forecast, Luminous Ivory to Light Boost, and Luminous Radiance to Radiant Rose)

These can help correct and brighten but they won’t necessarily conceal on their own. Bright Forecast can help a good deal with under eye circles, but it’s not opaque, so for some, it may be enough on its own. They’re definitely comparable to cult-favorite YSL Touche Eclat. Sephora also seems to offer a very comparable color range in their variation on the highlighter pen, and at $12 a pop, it might be worth trying (overall Sephora ratings show it to be good, though I have not tried it myself, so I cannot weigh in).

MAC is roughly half the price of the higher-end highlighter pens, and they seem to provide double the product (I saw many listed at 0.05 oz., a couple closer to 0.10 oz.), so the product seems to be priced in line with quantity and MAC’s price range.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Prep + Prime Highlighters Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
These are easy to use, difficult to mess up or go overboard with, and work well to brighten, lighten, and add radiance for brows, eyes, or cheeks (depending on your skin tone!).

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, March 26th, 2011


Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer

Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer

For summer, it looks like Urban Decay listened to consumer feedback and repackaged their Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer! They initially launched it last year (and I reviewed it in full here), and I hated the packaging. It came with a pump dispenser, which inevitably dispensed far too much product, and the packaging itself seemed a bit cheap–the label appeared faded. This is such an upgrade!

From last year’s review:

  • Halo is the lightest and I think is neutral enough to work on both cool and warm toned skin, but it may not be light enough for our ultra pale friends. I think if you fit into MAC’s NC/NW15-20 range, this would be the best fit for you.
  • Bodyguard is the next lightest, described by Urban Decay as “medium light,” and it’s the shade I use. I’m NC25 in MAC, and I find Body Guard to be a decent match, if a little light. Ideally, I’d probably mix a bit of Bodyguard and Bulletproof together, but since the pump is such an issue, it’s not really possible.
  • Bulletproof is a medium shade, but it’s actually a big step from Bodyguard. It didn’t work for me as NC25, so I’d imagine it’s more around those at the NC/NW30-40 level.
  • Forcefield is described as medium dark, and it’s not too much darker than Bulletproof. It’s noticeably darker, but it doesn’t seem as big of a leap as from Bodyguard to Bulletproof. I would say this would suit shades around the NC/NW40-45 level.

For a full review for the formula and see how it wears, head on over here. I’m still waiting for official details from Urban Decay regarding availability, launch dates, and pricing, but I imagine it should be around $32 (which is what it is now).  From what I could tell, the formula felt the same, but again, I’m waiting to hear more :)

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