Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Palette
Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Palette

Bobbi Brown Has the Denim Jeans Blues

Bobbi Brown Denim & Rose Face Palette ($60.00) is new for fall, but it works just as well for the summer, too. It’s available at Nordstrom’s now (at least online), and I suspect we’ll see it roll out to other retailers in the next couple of weeks.  It contains four eyeshadows, one blush, two lipsticks, and two lip glosses all housed in a single palette.

  • Navajo eyeshadow is a light white-beige with a matte finish. This is part of the permanent collection, but the rest of the shades in the palette are new (and limited, of course).
  • Gray Denim eyeshadow is a softened, browned gray with a near matte finish (seems like it has just a little satin in it).
  • Pink Granite eyeshadow is a shimmering pinky champagne with soft flecks of peach glitter-shimmer.
  • Dark Rinse eyeshadow is a blackened navy blue base with brighter blue shimmer and silver flecks.
  • Pink Rose blush is a neutral, matte pink blusher. It’s medium in darkness, and it’s quite wearable for all skin tones, cool or warm. On darker skin tones, it will be a very light flush.
  • Cool Rose lipstick is a semi-sheer light neutral pink with white shimmer.
  • Indie Rose lipstick is an opaque, darkened red with a plummy feel. It has a creamy finish and slightly glossy look.
  • Iced Lilac glitter lip gloss is a sheer confection of white and soft lilac shimmer.
  • Hot Rose lip gloss is a semi-sheer, blue-based milky medium pink. It’s definitely a cooler pink, but it should be wearable by both warm and cool skin tones, since it’s on the sheerer side.

I love the packaging — zipped-up, denim-clad palette. It’s fun without being cheesy, functional and still original, and I really think it fits the collection’s theme. I don’t love when palettes combine both cream and powder products, just because powder products have a tendency to get dust outside their borders and into those creams. I did notice that the palette itself is taller than each pan of product, so the pans sit below an edge, which should combat some powder migration.

Dark Rinse is easily my favorite eyeshadow–it’s just so delectably pigmented, it’s hard to resist. It’s a rather smoldering shade of blue, too, and it would make for an excellent smoky eye shade. It could also work well on the lower lash line for a pop of color.

Overall, I think all of the colors in the palette work with each other, which is really important to me when reviewing a palette. Most palettes are designed to be more of a one-stop-shop, so if shades don’t jive well, it’s an issue. The one downside to this product was the lack of included brushes, even if they do tend to be mediocre, because this does have lip products in it, a miniaturized lip brush is helpful for on-the-go touchups. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I noticed when going to swatch the products (I typically use included lip brushes to dig out the product to swatch).

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: 5/5

Recommendation:  I think it’s a solid palette with quality products, and better yet, the products work well together.  However, if you’re not a fan of lip products in palette form, this has four (which is nearly half of the products), so you’re better off skipping.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

NARS Sephora Exclusive Lip Gloss
NARS Lip Glosses: Albatross, Luxor, Super Orgasm, Luster, Angelika, Oasis

NARS Sephora Exclusive Lip Glosses

…coming to a Sephora near you!  These officially launch on July 29th, and they are exclusive to Sephora and limited edition.  Each shade is designed and created after several of NARS’ best-selling blush shades that go by the same name. I showed you swatches and photos a week or so ago, but now I’m pleased to be able to give you lip swatches, too! :)

NARS Lip Glosses have a thinner texture, and they feel lightweight and don’t dry out lips.  They’re not ultra hydrating, but they impart some moisture into lips while you wear ‘em.  I find them a little tacky but not sticky, but it definitely depends on how much you apply.  They’re scent- and taste-free, and you get a good amount for your $24 (0.28 oz.).  Colors are on the sheerer side, like most lip glosses, but they all gave lips a different look than au natural, which is fantastic.

  • Albatross is a semi-sheer champagne beige base with brighter champagne gold shimmer with a glossy sheen.
  • Luxor is a sheer milky pink base with brighter pink shimmer and a glossy sheen. It’s very similar to Albatross, just pink-toned. Luxor has a bit of an iridescent flash to it, which makes it a step up from your ordinary lip gloss.  (This shade is a Nordstrom exclusive!)
  • Super Orgasm is a light pink with golden sparkle. It has a slight milky, jelly kind ofl ook, but it gives some color, though it’s hot opaque.
  • Luster is a brownish beige with orange-gold shimmer. It’s semi-sheer, and it’s one of the shades that didn’t seem to apply as evenly as I’d have liked. From a normal viewing distance, you couldn’t really tell, though.
  • Angelika is a bright pop of blue-based pink with a slight lilac edge. Despite the strong cool undertones, it’s definitely wearable on warmer skin tones.
  • Oasis is a mauvey pink with golden shimmer and a glossy look. This one was definitely my favorite, because it gave me some color but looked really lovely all on its own. More jelly, less milky, but still plenty glossy.

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

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

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of NARS’ Lip Glosses (or even Blushes) and see a shade that suits you, they’re definitely worth a look-see once they launch.

Availability: July 29th at Sephora

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Sunday, June 20th, 2010

Clarins Instant Light

Light on the Gloss with Clarins Instant Sun Light Gloss

Clarins Instant Sun Light Gloss SPF 6 ($18.00 for 0.04 oz.) are new for summer and come in three shades — Vanilla, Coral, and Cinnamon. Each is housed in a silver bullet of a pen that clicks up the gloss on a brush applicator.

  • Vanilla (01) is ultra sheer with a golden champagne shimmer and glossy sheen. It’s probably better suited over a lipstick or for those who love to show off their natural lip color.
  • Coral (02) is a medium coral–it’s very much a true coral, because it doesn’t lean orange or pink but somewhere perfectly in-between. It has a cinnamon gold shimmer strewn through the color. It’s much, much more pigmented in comparison to Vanilla–more like semi-opaque (but surprisingly opaque for a gloss as thin as this).
  • Cinnamon (03) is a lightened cinnamon brown with a little red in it and golden shimmer. It’s semi-sheer but nowhere near as pigmented as Coral is, but it’s not as invisible as Vanilla. I found this one applied rather splotchily in comparison to the other two. I had issues with getting the color to distribute evenly.

The gloss isn’t sticky, and it’s very lightweight; it has a thin consistency but comes with a dazzling sparkle. They have a sweetened scent, which I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s there in both the scent and the taste–it is subtle, though. I get only an hour of wear with these, which is below average for me (I typically get two to three), and they’re not as hydrating as I’d expect. My lips aren’t a dried out mess, but they do seem to need a little extra TLC post-wear.  The SPF 6 is nice, though, particularly since you can’t smell or taste it.

The packaging is sleek, but given how little is housed inside, they start to seem a little bulky. It’s actually in the quantity that I get frustrated–most glosses fall somewhere between 0.10 oz. and 0.20 oz. in product, and the price varies from $14 to 30. Clarins Instant Sun Light Gloss comes in at $450/oz. as compared to Chanel at $142/oz., Dior at $126/oz., and Guerlain at $165/oz. It’s really a shame that they didn’t give you a little more product, because at $18, they seem rather affordable for a high-end brand. Clarins Gloss Appeal, which is comparable, is available for $21 for 0.18 oz., and I really couldn’t say what makes the click gloss so much better that it’d be worth it.

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

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

Recommendation: I would pass on these, and if you were interested in checking our Clarins Lip Gloss, opt for the Gloss Appeal, which has pretty shimmer in a better formula and more for your money.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Monday, June 14th, 2010

Smashbox Naked Beauty Lip Gloss Collection

Truly Barely There Lip Gloss with Smashbox

Smashbox Naked Beauty Lip Gloss Collection ($25.00 for 8 x 0.04 oz.) includes eight shades of sheer, barely-there lip gloss. The lip gloss itself is smooth, not too thin (but not thick), and non-sticky. They last about one to one and half hours on lips for me.

This set is part of Smashbox’s summer collection, and I did lip swatches but forgot to write down the order I did them in. Normally, I can figure out which shade is which, but these were all so sheer, most of them were indiscernible from the next. I planned to re-do the lip swatches, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet, and I’d like to at least review it in part before it’s no longer available for sale! (I guess you could say that since these ran so sheer, I was less than enthused at re-doing them.)

  • Buff is a sheer pinky-nude with white shimmer.
  • Sunkissed is a sheer reddish brown with gold shimmer.
  • Exposed is an ultra sheer, milky pink.
  • Bare is an ultra sheer pale, pastel milky pink with iridescent pink shimmer. This looked like clear gloss with very subtle shimmer on my lips.
  • Nude is a sheer, darkened peach-nude with gold shimmer. I found this one brightened up my natural lip color just a smidgen, but it was pretty colorless.
  • Naked is a pale gold with white gold shimmer. Like the other shades, it’s very sheer and looks like a colorless gloss with shimmer on lips.
  • Pure is a sheer watermelon pink. It looks a lot more pigmented in the swatch than it does on lips. What’s nice about this one is the pink does play-up the natural pink tones of your lip color and gives them a juicier look.
  • Natural is a sheer red-coral. Like Pure, it has that juicy look when worn, but the color is very, very hard to distinguish.

I think the set is a good value, and if you’re not necessarily a gloss person or you enjoy ultra sheer glosses, it’s worth a look-see. If you like gloss that’s pigmented, or you hate when items are limited edition, it’s not for you. Each lip gloss is pretty small (I’d guesstimate at 4-6 uses per container), but I didn’t see any of these show up in Smashbox’s permanent lip gloss ranges. Once you’re out, you’re out! They’re very travel-friendly, though, since their compact size makes them easy to toss anywhere without taking up much room at all. (Knowing me, I would easily lose these and find them in the couch!)

They definitely represent the theme of “Naked Beauty” quite well–they range from the ultra sheer to the sheer. Some have jelly-like appearances where there is no real shimmer, while other shades look frostier on lips. They all have a great glossy shine, though. I want to reiterate that Smashbox fully intended for these to be very sheer–they’re described as “barely there shades”–and they did exactly that. It’s not my cup of tea, but the product delivers exactly what it sets out to do.  I do wish that they’d varied up the shimmer more in the gloss — at least so the effect would be different, even if they didn’t add much color.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re a barely-there gloss girl, you may enjoy these ultra sheer to sheer non-sticky glosses by Smashbox. If you’re looking for some color or enjoy more opaque glosses, don’t even think twice about passing on this set.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Lipstick & Lipgloss Pic Spam, Vol. 1

I don’t know why, but for awhile, it seems like I have a bajillion lipsticks and glosses I want to share with you, but I feel a little odd reviewing more than one or two per day. I always think, “Nobody wants to see FIVE lipsticks in ONE day!” Some of these are getting a little “stale” and are on the verge of getting put in the “never going to review” folder, and thus, PIC SPAM!

  • Chanel Coral Reef (#88) Glossimer is a light peachy-pink base with lots of brightened gold-peach shimmer. Totally gorgeous, but I think this was limited edition. Probably from last summer’s collection. I believe I picked it out of my glossimers with the intention to include it in the Summer Season, but it’s hard to find, so it’s not appropriate for that series any more.
  • Bloom Sugar Lipstick is a sheer pale rose pink with subtle shimmer and a frosty finish.
  • Make Up For Ever #3 Glossy Full Couleur is a jelly tangerine-orange. On my lips, it doesn’t really do much. It gives them more of a coral look color-wise, but it does make them look rather juicy from the glossy finish and thick texture.
  • Tarina Tarantino Nouveau Lip Gloss is a blue-based medium-dark pink with a very glossy, jelly look. It has a very milky look, though it’s certainly not a milky pink by any means.
  • Too Faced Mood Swing Lip Gloss was just such a gimmicky product, I was loathe to review. They’re not a bad product, but the idea behind it was a little too much for me, personally. I also switched to including full face photos, so while I’ve meant to re-do some swatches, I just haven’t gotten around to it. And now they’re becoming stale!

See photos & swatches… Continue reading →

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Lancome Hot Number Lipgloss

The Summer Season: Lancome Hot Number Lipgloss

Lancome Hot Number Color Fever Gloss ($26.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a just-bitten kind of pink with silver shimmer. It is a weird color, because it doesn’t look like much swatched, but it really brightened my natural lip color and brought out natural redness I didn’t even know I had. It has a very glossy look while still being fairly sheer.  Color Fever Glosses are non-sticky while still being hydrating and lightweight on lips.  I like Lancome’s signature applicator–it’s like a sponge-tip wand, but yet not, and it really curves around lips well.

Is this the right pink for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →