Saturday, September 4th, 2010

For fall, Butter London gives us four new shades of their 3-Free Lacquers ($14.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.): All Hail McQueen,
Bumster, Marrow (mixed for Vena Cava), and Victoriana (reminiscent of the Victorian era). The first two were inspired by the late Alexander McQueen.

  • All Hail McQueen is a medium beige brown with pale nude shimmer. I needed two coats for a really opaque, even finish.
  • Bumster is a creamy mustard yellow. One coat was almost enough, but two coats made it perfect.
  • Marrow is a muted grape purple that’s been grayed out–it’s not the vibrant shade you’d think of with the term “grape purple” but it’s so fitting. It has very subtle icy silver-white shimmer. Just two coats, though one was rather pigmented.
  • Victoriana is a toned down aqua-teal with soft silver and aqua shimmer. Two coats for even, opaque color.

Butter London’s formula was on the thicker side, but it was very easy to apply and never felt goopy. It spread out easily to give nearly full-color coverage in a single stroke, though I found two coats were the perfect number for all four shades. I’d say that All Hail McQueen was the sheerer shade, but I still managed to do just two on it and get nice results. Bumster is a rather unique shade, and it’s one of those “ugly” shades that some will find pretty, and others, well… think it’s ugly.

I like the bottles, which have a removable black cap that reveals the actual cap with the brush attached to it (so it’s not as awkward in the hand as a rectangular handle!). They’re very space-saving for me, as they line up so well together!

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

RECOMMENDATION: These are a nice way to wear more muted, darker shades without being incredibly vampy.  Bumster seems the most unique to me, even if it may not work well on all skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: Beauty.com

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010
Nail Lacquers: Concubine, Imperial Flower, Earthly Harmony, Ming Blue, Jade Dragon, Rain of Flowers

MAC Nail Trend F/W 2010 Review, Photos, Swatches

Wait, you thought it was JUST Fabulous Felines today? You must be new to MAC ;) Indeed, MAC had a short and sweet launch of six nail lacquers (which might account for why there were none in Fabulous Felines!), all of which are Asian-inspired. nail expert Jin Soon was inspired by the “Forbidden City,” and she created shades inspired by the sculptures, architecture, fabrics, and decorative papers of Imperial China. Each shade has “pearl essences for subtle dimension.”

All of these need a top coat (but how many of us go sans top coat anyway?!), because they dry to a rather flat finish–a little shiny but not at all glossy; I used MAC’s Overlacquer top coat on all of these. The formula was on the thinner side overall, but the majority of shades were very rich in pigmentation. Having only purchased these this morning, I haven’t exactly been able to wear these long term, but I did notice that Jade Dragon and Rain of Flowers are shades that may stain (for sure Jade Dragon).

You can check out official information and promotional imagery as well.

Nail Lacquer ($13.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Concubine is a darkened red with ruby and scarlet shimmer flecks. I used two coats in the swatching, but there’s still a bit of nail line showing, so a third coat would probably be best. It’s pretty, but if you already have a lot of shimmered reds, you could easily skip this shade.
  • Imperial Flower is a brightened medium orange with flecks of gold and orange shimmer. This is one of my favorites out of the launch, because it practically glows on nails. It is similar to China Glaze’s Orange Pacific, though Orange Pacific has more obvious shimmer. Just two coats — it was nearly opaque in one coat.
  • Earthly Harmony is this concrete greige taupe shade. It is a difficult shade to describe! It has faint flecks of yellowed gold shimmer. I needed two coats here, and this is the kind of shade that made me think of Chanel’s Particuliere–but it’s not a dupe–just in that same vein of ugly shades that are rather pretty. I found the formula of this one to be on the watery side, and it made it a little harder to apply.
  • Ming Blue is a brightened medium-dark ocean blue with softer blue shimmer. I used just two coats in swatches, and there’s my nail line faintly visible, but a third coat would definitely eliminate that. I didn’t see any immediate staining, but I could see this staining after a few days of wear.
  • Jade Dragon is a deep forest green with flecks of green-teal shimmer. It’s quite pigmented and applied the nicest out of the bunch (but I only found Earthly Harmony troublesome)–two coats was perfect. This one, however, stained my nails just during the time I swatched it.
  • Rain of Flowers is a deep, darkened black-purple base with flecks of violet shimmer. Two coats and I had opaque results, and I suspect this one might stain a little bit as well. I originally thought it might be similar to Illamasqua’s Baptiste or NARS Purple Rain, but it’s a lot more violet and less fuchsia.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I like ‘em, and some shades do seem different than the norm.  It’s a nice collection overall, and I haven’t had any issues with MAC polishes myself!

AVAILABILITY: MAC

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Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection Nail Lacquer

All About Nudes in Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicilian Lace Collection

Dolce & Gabbana Perfection (220) Intense Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a nearly neutral caramel nude with a cream finish.  It’s new for fall and part of the brand’s Sicilian Lace Collection, which certainly is all about barely there and nude shades.  This is a very subtle color, and it’s not a trend or shade for everyone.   I found two coats was plenty to get an opaque look, as the formula was very pigmented and on the thicker side.

I found the applicator a bit bothersome, as the brush itself is larger and thicker than average; it allows quite a bit of the lacquer to absorb into the brush, so it’s easy to overdo it if you’re not especially careful.  If you have very narrow nail beds, you may also find the brush too wide to use with ease.  The lacquer wore just fine with Zoya’s Color Lock System with tip wear but no chips after a week.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: At $20 a pop, this might not be the shade to splurge on if you’re not quite sure how you feel about the nude on nude trend.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish

Still Time for Neon Nails

Illamasqua Collide Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a wicked neon pink cream that’s opaque in just about two coats (which is what is pictured), but you could easily get away with three coats or do two thicker coats.  The formula is so smooth and the color applies evenly and richly; there is no streaking on the first coat, just a smooth, even layer of color.  Wear is fantastic with just minor tip wear after about a week!

This rounds up the last of Illamasqua’s varnish I have to review at the moment — what are your favorite varnishes from Illamasqua’s line up? So I can keep a running list of what I might want to try next! :)

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love bright, nearly neon kind of shades, Collide is a great neon pink!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish

Coral Tips for Summer Trips

Illamasqua Lament Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a fierce coral-orange that practically glows in the light.  Even in soft, indirect light, you can see the brightness of the shade.  Like Baptiste, Lament applies easily without streaking.  It has a very slight jelly quality, but overall, it’s your standard cream finish.  Above, I used two coats, but you could probably do a third for complete opacity (it looked opaque to me originally, but you can very faintly see the nail line in the photos).   Application really is quite dreamy here– so smooth, no fussing, no bubbling.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Lament

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Saturday, August 14th, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains - Maleficent

MAC Disney Venomous Villains Collection: Maleficent Review, Photos, Swatches

As we continue on, we move to Maleficent‘s (from Sleepy Beauty) “collection,” which includes two mineralize eyeshadow duos, two lipsticks, two lipglasses, one beauty powder, and three nail lacquers.

All of the character images are stamped on the products; they are not stickers. You can find official promotional imagery and color descriptions here. The collection launches on September 30th, 2010 at all MAC locations, October 2010 internationally, and approximately September 28th for online. You may also want to check your local store to see if they are holding an unveiling/preview party for the collection.

Lipglass ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Revenge is Sweet is a sheer, jelly-ish medium pink with fuchsia micro-shimmer. It has a very wet look to it but seems to settle into lip lines.
  • Wrong Spell is a semi-sheer, burnt burgundy with pinky-plum and copper shimmer. I thought Liqueur was similar, but it’s much, much lighter and bronze, not burgundy.

Lipstick ($15.50 U.S. / $18.50 CDN)

  • Violetta is a brightened fuchsia-violet with an amplified finish. This is a PRO color.
  • Dark Deed is a darkened blood red with blackish-brown with an amplified finish. It’s a ever-so-slightly redder version of Media (but they are very close), and Dark Deed has a wetter/glossier finish.

Mineralize Eyeshadow Duo ($21.00 U.S. / $25.00 CDN)

  • My Dark Magic is a duo that features a blackened purple with a frosty finish and a violet-tinged blue with a navy-black base. Young Punk (Style Black) has a stronger black base with more of a glittery finish than the shimmer finish of this product.
  • She Who Dares is a combination of a darkened navy-black base with medium-dark blue shimmer and a dirty green and gold shimmered over a blackened, forest green base. The blue side does resemble Blue Flame (Style Black) with the finish being smoother in this product.

Beauty Powder ($25.00 U.S. / $30.00 CDN)

  • Briar Rose is a cool-toned, blue-based medium pink. It’s kind of like a bubblegum pink to me–like perhaps Snob lipstick in blush form. It is also reminiscent of a less purple, less cool version of Pink Swoon–perhaps if Pink Swoon and Well-Dressed had a baby. It does apply rather sheerly, though it can be built up.

Nail Lacquer ($13.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Bad Fairy is a stunning shade of duochrome polish that’s both ruby red, molten lava copper, and gold, depending on how the light hits it.
  • Formidable! shimmers teal, blue, violet, and reddened purple, depending on the light. It is, however, a dead-on dupe for ORLY Galaxy Girl.  There is nothing that I can distinguish as different between the two brands–formula feels the same, it wears the same.  MAC may take just a minute longer to dry.
  • Mean & Green flashes burgundy, green, and gold and is totally full of shimmer. It is a dead-on dupe for ORLY Space Cadet.

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