Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Sneak Peek: MAC Cosmetics Nail Trend F/W ’09 by Jin Soon Choi

Debuting next Thursday with six different shades (see full color story here), we had a chance to try out two shades: Rich, Dark, Delicious and Dance All Night.

Nail Lacquer ($12.00 U.S. / $15.50 CDN)

  • Rich, Dark, Delicious is a deep dark chocolate black-brown that runs a little neutral-cool and has nearly imperceptible flecks of shimmer. I can only see the shimmer if I look really hard in sunlight, otherwise it appears mostly as a creme. Two coats made it opaque with no application issues.
  • Dance All Night is a rich, blood red that goes on nearly opaque with two coats. I do recommend using three thinner coats with this particular shade, because I found medium to thick coats to be a bit overwhelming. This one is all creme–no shimmer whatsoever–and is quite fitting it is so.

I don’t think I own any shades similar to Rich, Dark, Delicious, so it is actually an interesting color in my stash. It’s not quite black, but it’s not brown either, and I surprisingly like it agains tmy skin tone. Dance All Night feels less innovative, but it’s still a nice shade and wearable during the fall. The formula feels slightly thicker, creamier, and it was easier to apply. I’ve personally not have any problems applying MAC polishes nor with how they wear. I always use Zoya’s Color Lock system for my base, top, and drying coats, for reference.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10
  • Overall: 8/10

Recommendation: Nail polish fanatics hoping for an improved MAC formula might find in the latest lacquers created by nail guru Jin Soon Choi!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics (August 27th)

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Friday, August 7th, 2009

Matte Alert: Zoya Matte Velvet Collection

Zoya Matte Velvet Collection ($6.00 each) consists of three matte-shimmer polishes. What’s nifty about these is that they look matte, but there is still a healthy dose of shimmer in it, so while it has that flat look, the shimmer adds depth and makes them more interesting. Keep in mind that matte-based polishes have a lot shorter wear time, particularly because a lot of top coats add shine/glossiness (which defeats the purpose of matte). Without a base or top coat, you’ll get chips pretty quickly. (Of the three nails I did, Loredana is half gone, while the other two show minor tip wear, and it’s been about 12 hours.) But, but… there is a benefit to these… they dry incredibly fast. Like insanely quickly. No quick-drying top coat required, these babies dry down completely within a few minutes (so work quickly).

  • Dovima is a grayish-black with silver shimmer. I didn’t find it to be a true black, but more of a subdued charcoal. This one was my favorite of the three.
  • Loredana is a silver with silver shimmer shade. It’s not a light bright silver base, but it’s noticeably bright without being too much so.
  • Posh is a rich, jewel-toned ruby red. It has a beautiful jewel-tone ruby red base with soft, silver shimmer. I really love this shade of red, and being able to wear it matte is fun.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’ve always been curious about matte-finish nail polishes, these are for you. If you don’t mind re-doing your nails after a few days, I’d strongly urge you to sneak a peek at these lovelies. They’re fun, hip, and definitely a trend for fall.

Availability: Zoya.com

Have you picked up these new shades yet?

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Tuesday, August 4th, 2009


Night Butterfly Quint

Dior’s Jazz Club Collection featured a great many items for the season, lots of smoky shades of shadows, pouty lip colors, and flawless skin could be seen.

Eyes

Night Butterfly 5-Colour Eyeshadow Quint ($56.00) is a stunning combination of lilacs, jewel-tone purples, and glittery black. It contains a medium jewel-toned purple with pink shimmer, a softer pink-lilac, a shimmery berry-wine, a soft, gray with brown tones, and the centerpiece is a matte black with silver glitter. All five colors were well-pigmented, and all but the center black shade was incredibly smooth. I found the black shade to be a tiny bit chalky, and the glitter, while pretty to look at, resulted in a fair amount of fall out. The black shade reminded me a lot of MAC’s Black Tied eyeshadow.

Smoky Jazz Eyeshadow Palette ($65.00) has four shades of eyeshadow, one shade of eyebrow powder, and one shade of eyeliner. In this palette, the eyeliner is a dark black, which wasn’t super creamy, so it made it a bit difficult to use. The brow powder shade was a cool-toned medium-dark brown. The four eyeshadow shades included a lightly grayed-black, cool-toned bronzy-taupe, medium silver, and a brighter silvery-frost. Pigmentation was so-so in these, but I felt like Dior’s singles, duos, and quint eyeshadows were much better in quality and pigmentation in comparison.

Purple Jazz Eyeshadow Palette ($65.00) has four shades of eyeshadow, one shade of eyebrow powder, and one shade of eyeliner. The eyeliner in this palette is a cranberry-burgundy shade, and again, not ultra creamym, making it less appealing. The brow powder was the same, cool-toned medium-dark brown as in the Smoky Jazz palette. The four eyeshadow shades included: a red-toned purple-plum, a cool-toned amethyst purple, a cool-toned shimmery taupe-brown, and an icy pink with silver shimmer. Again, pigmentation wasn’t the best in these, and I certainly couldn’t recommend these at the price point they’re at, because the quality just isn’t up to snuff.

Argentic 1-Colour Extreme Eyeshadow ($27.50) is a silvery, lightly-taupe shade of eyeshadow. It’s extremely shimmery and pigmented. (For the price, it should be!) Trendy Taupe 1-Colour Extreme Eyeshadow ($27.50) is a semi-matte deep brown that runs more neutral than warm or cool. Cocktail Look 2-Colour Eyeshadow ($35.00) is a duo featuring a semi-matte, satiny silver-gray and a shimmery confection pink.

Lips

  • Taffeta Plum Ultra-Gloss Reflect ($25.50) is a semi-sheer plummy-raspberry with pink shimmer with a frosty finish.
  • Draped Burgundy Ultra-Gloss Reflect ($25.50) is a semi-sheer deeper, reddish-burgundy with light golden shimmer.
  • Mauve Royale Addict Lip Color ($26.00) is a shimmery pink with slight mauve tones. It has a bit of golden shimmer weaved throughout the shade. It felt semi-sheer to me.
  • Decadent Plum Addict Lip Color ($26.00) is a rich, semi-opaque reddish-wine with plummy tones. It reminded me a bit of a red plum outside, just a little more vibrant. This one has more of a glossy sheen than any shimmer.
  • Negligee Pink Addict Lip Color ($26.00) is an opaque, pinky-red with a glossy sheen and no real shimmer.
  • Rose Nectar Creme de Gloss ($26.00) is a semi-sheer peachy-rose with golden shimmer with a frosty finish.
  • Sweet Praline Creme de Gloss ($26.00) is a semi-sheer deeper, more brown version of Rose Nectar, with more of a soft coppery shimmer.

Nails

  • Black Plum Vernis ($20.00) is a dark, burgundy-wine shade that goes on glossy and opaque.

The collection also included some permanent items being repromoted, such as Rose Diamond Skin Shimmer, Strawberry Sorbet and Rosebud Blushes.

Available: Nordstrom.com

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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009


Indian Summer Duo Eyeshadow

NARS’ Fall 2009 Collection is a small launch of three eyeshadow duos, one eyeshadow single, one lipstick, and one nail polish. I was not alone in my excitement for this launch, but I’m afraid for me, the launch was incredibly disappointing. I was particularly excited for Indian Summer Eyeshadow Duo, but the promotional image and the actual product are are so drastically different, I wonder if there wasn’t some sort of mix-up. I even double and triple-checked the labels, because I really couldn’t believe the two were one and the same. The best part of the launch was Mekong single eyeshadow, followed by Tokaido Express nail polish. Nothing else was a winner for me, unfortunately.

You can purchase the Fall collection at NARSCosmetics.com!

Duo Eyeshadows ($32.00 each)

  • Indian Summer is a duo of whitish-pink champagne with sparkling white-gold shimmer and yellowed brown with soft gold sheen. The champagne shdae has a bit of a frosty look, while the other color has more of a satin-y finish. The yellowed brown reminded me of MAC’s Soft Ochre eyeshadow, which was just one of those colors that did not work with my skin tone.
  • Silk Road is a duo of peachy-pink with soft shimmer and a pinked-up brown with a frosty look. Of the three duos, this was theo ne I liked the most. The shadows were smooth, soft, and had decent pigmentation. They are both incredibly wearable, too. The pinked-up brown does have a bit of a glittery texture, but it didn’t give me too much trouble.
  • Brumes is a duo of matte charcoal-gray and a satin-y dark blue-gray with green sheen. Both colors went on easily and had lots of color pay-off. The dark-nearly-navy-gray-blue has a bit of a green shimmer/sheen to it, which was nice.

Single Eyeshadow ($22.00)

  • Mekong is a warmed-up deep, rich brown with golden shimmer and sheen. It almost looks like a burgundy-brown when swatched and in the light.

Lipstick ($24.00)

  • Fast Ride looks like a dark, intimidating vampy red-wine, but it’s nothing like that on lips. It’s a sheer, glossy reddish-berry with minimal shimmer. On lips, it’s still sheer, and it does have a tendency to settle into lip lines, so I do recommend a base of some sort.

Nail Polish ($16.00)

  • Tokaido Express is a dark, subdued plummy brown with golde and violet shimmer laced throughout the base color. It looks a lot more purple in the bottle than it does on actual nails, but when the light hits it, you’ll see more of a reddish-burgundy and the violet sparkles are more apparent.

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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009


Indigo Paris Le Vernis

Lancome’s Declaring Indigo Collection continues to impress with two more items that deserve their own post.

Indigo Paris Le Vernis ($18.00) is just one of those shades of lacquer that instantly captures your attention, and there’s really no denying how stunning the color is. It’s a rich, deep-dark blue with lighter blue and silver shimmer laced throughout the base color. In low-light conditions, it appears like a semi-glossy dark, navy blue. When the light hits it, all of the shimmer sparkles and glimmers. Beyond being gorgeous, it is also incredibly well-suited for the fall season. When I swatched Indigo Paris, I was too excited to bother with a base, and I forgot to take it off–four days and no chipping and only minor tip wear. Without a base! Lancome’s formula is thick, opaque, and easy to use. Two medium-thick coats of polish will give you shimmering, deep water-blue tips in no time flat.

Another standout product amongst the line-up was La Rose Liberte ($40.00), which is an exclusive, limited-edition highlighting bronzer with an embossed rose design. The rose itself begins as white, but it quickly fades upon first swatch. Luckily, it really is ornamental, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the highlighter itself–who likes colors that don’t go all the way through when they’re actually vital to the compact’s color? Not me! Since that’s not the case here, La Rose Liberte is a soft, shimmery shade of gold with bronzy bits. I personally thought it was gorgeous, though since I’m warm-toned, the color suits me extremely well. I don’t think it is so warm as to be impossible to use for cooler skin-tones, but I’d advise checking it out in person if you are particularly cool.

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Monday, June 29th, 2009

Illamasqua: Nail Varnishes

Everybody’s been talking about new UK brand Illamasqua, and for good reason–it’s not just hype. For now, let’s talk about their Nail Varnish (£12.50 for 15ml) — I tried out Phallic, which is a rich, deep dark midnight-blue with silver-blue glitter; and Loella, which is a subtle bubblegum pink with fuchsia-pink shimmer. Both shades went on smoothly and opaque with two medium thick coats. I found the formula to be incredibly easy to work with, and I loved how glittery Phallic was without making the texture feel gritty. There’s gotta be at least ten more colors I want to try now!

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