Monday, August 5th, 2013

Sugarpill Hellatronic ElektroCute Neon Pigment
Sugarpill ElektroCute Neon Pigments

Sugarpill ElektroCute Neon Pigments ($16.00 for 0.19 oz.) come in an assortment of five bold, bright shades. Overall, these are going to be a product some will absolutely love and others will find frustrating and difficult to use (and ultimately not worth the patience). These are designed to be used with some sort of base or mixing medium and shouldn’t be applied straight to bare skin. Over the past week, I’ve tried a rich assortment of bases and mixing mediums, and I’ll lay out my findings below, but suffice to say, expect a fair amount of fall out, some trial and error, and maybe a test of your patience. On the plus side, when I wore these out, I was stopped by no less than five people asking me what I was wearing (in the space of an hour).

First and foremost, these are not considered eye safe in the U.S. due to neon pigments (as “the FDA has not yet tested/approved the use of neon pigments in the immediate eye area,” per Sugarpill’s website), but they are considered eye safe in Europe and Canada. I’ve used them on lips and on eyes, but I reiterate that they are not considered eye safe in the U.S. and by using them that way, I am doing so at my own risk (and if you decide to do the same, it is at your own risk). All shades, except Hellatronic, are listed as lip safe.

I had the most luck using NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil as a base (the one I used for testing was Electric Blue, and I would have chosen Milk, but I actually don’t have it), as it absorbed and took the color mostly evenly and kept the majority of the sparkles that were pressed on… on for the remainder of the day. I was not able to get nearly as much sparkle to stick to the lid as appears in the jar, though, and the sparkles do not apply evenly and tend to stick randomly. In my test, I applied Sparkage on half of the lid with Hellatronic on the outer half, and all of Sparkage’s sparkles wound up in the center of the lid. Be very careful blending the product and only blend around the edges if applied on the skin. Here are my results with other bases:

  • MAC Mixing Medium: slightly uneven color application, only partial adhesion of sparkles
  • Lit Cosmetics Glitter Base: somewhat even color application but was slightly darkened/patchy in places, better adhesion of sparkles
  • Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy: good adhesion of sparkles, somewhat even application but very imperative to watch the amount of Pixie Epoxy applied and allow to half-dry before applying (it felt far more finicky to use than when I’ve used it with Fyrinnae’s loose eyeshadows)
  • Regular Eyeshadow Primers: some color applied and fairly evenly, but sparkles go everywhere but the lid (I tried Too Faced Shadow Insurance, NARS Smudge Proof, Urban Decay Original Primer Potion)

These can be applied to the brows by using a mixing medium like Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel or Lit’s Glitter Base and a thin, liner or brow brush. For lips, apply a thin coat of clear gloss and then pat on the pigment across the lips, then blend with fingers, brush, or just press and move your lips together. I like applying a little more gloss after that to get more even color. They can be applied to the body and used to accent body painting. I would recommend a creamy, opaque, slightly tacky base to apply the color on the skin and some of the sparkle, and to intensify the sparkle, use a glitter adhesive and a soft, rounded brush to lightly pat on additional product just where you need it. Small, dome-shaped brushes work the best for me for patting on color precisely and to minimize fall out. I also liked to pat and push my brush against the inside of the lid to keep the product “sticking” to the brush, rather than loosely pressed against it. The opaque base helped the most with yielding even color coverage, as invisible/clear bases seemed to highlight that they don’t always go on perfectly even. I spoke with both xSparkage (Leesha) and Queen of Blending (Lauren), and they both recommend a similar application to maximize color intensity and minimize fall out.

I’m sure some of you are thinking to yourself, “Wow, these sound like a lot of work, why would I bother?” To that, I can easily say that these are the easiest neons I’ve worked with. They are certainly a drastic improvement from MAC’s neon pigments, and these can take dampness better than most matte loose pigments. They’re more pigmented than Sleek’s neon eyeshadows and are slightly easier to blend. Sugarpill’s improved on some of the issues with neon pigments, but there is still plenty of room for improvement (in sparkle dispersion/evenness). Of the shades, Hellatronic was the most interesting and complex, as the base color actually seemed to shift (not just the sparkle), and the sparkle seemed finer and more embedded with the underlying color, whereas the others seemed more like a matte neon pigment with sparkle on top.

I looked across the different types of application (brows, body/skin, lips) to assess a rating, and ultimately, it’s hard to have such a varied application and resulting grade. I suspect most will use these around the eye area as eyeliner, eyeshadow, or brow color, so I did weight how they applied on skin (be it my forearm or somewhere else) slightly more than say lips (which was an area that these were easier to use in). I could not fully contain the fall out (even using adhesive bases designed for glitter). They don’t apply perfectly evenly. They do not want to be blended (together or on their own or with anything else).  When they work, they can look gorgeous and totally traffic-stopping, but to get them there is certainly a journey.

Hellatronic is described as a “fluorescent indigo with red/purple/blue color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a cool-toned, violet-tinged blue with bluish-violet sparkle. Sephora My Boyfriend’s Jeans is bluer, darker, less sparkly. Sugarpill Velocity is bluer, matte. Urban Decay Chaos is slightly darker, less sparkly. MAC Dynamic Duo 2 #2 is darker, matte. MAC Cobalt is matte. Illamasqua Sadist is bluer, matte. See comparison swatches.

Hi-Viz is described as a “blazing neon yellow with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a brightened, warm-toned yellow with goldish-green sparkle. Fyrinnae Banna Mochi is more frosted, less sparkly. MAC Bright Yellow is more matte. MAC Colour Added is more shimmery, less sparkly. Illamasqua Hype is matte. Inglot #370 is matte. See comparison swatches.

Love Buzz is described as a “brilliant neon hot pink with yellow/orange/red color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a brightened, neon fuchsia-pink with pinky-red sparkle. Fyrinnae Superstar is more frosted, les ssparkly, lighter. Sugarpill Dollipop is matte, darker. MAC Magenta Madness is similar but has no sparkle. Make Up For Ever #75 is darker, matte. See comparison swatches.

Sparkage is described as “radioactive lime green with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a light-medium, cool-toned green with yellow-ish edges–it looks cool-toned overall, but there’s still a yellowness that comes through. It has green-ish-gold sparkle on top. Sephora Picnic in the Park is darker, less sparkly. Sugarpill Midori is much darker and cooler-toned. Illamasqua Fledgling is slightly darker, matte. See comparison swatches.

Supercharged is described as “flaming neon orange with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a light-medium tangerine orange with golden sparkle. Fyrinnae Pyromantic Erotica is darker, more shimmery, less sparkly. Wet ‘n’ Wild Newport Nights #5 is les ssparkly. Maybelline Fierce & Tangy is darker, brighter, cream product (might work well as a base for this shade). MAC Chessa is less sparkly, more shimmery. Illamasqua Vulgar is a bit darker, matte. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

P
product

ElektroCute Neon Pigment

C-

I could not fully contain the fall out (even using adhesive bases designed for glitter). They don't apply perfectly evenly. They do not want to be blended (together or on their own or with anything else). When they work, they can look gorgeous and totally traffic-stopping, but to get them there is certainly a journey.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

2.5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!
P
product

Hellatronic

C+

Product

6.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
P
product

Hi-Viz

C-

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

2.5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Click to Reveal More Glossovers!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Guerlain Liu Shimmer Powder Face & Body
Guerlain Liu Shimmer Powder Face & Body

Fun to Use, Fun to Wear, But So, So Sparkly!

Guerlain Liu Shimmer Powder Face & Body ($88.00 for 0.61 oz.) is a loose iridescent powder that is dispersed by squeezing a black bulb. It’s really the elegant packaging that attracts the most attention, I’d say. It’s very fun to squeeze and spray the powder. I’d describe the particle size as sparkle; larger than shimmer, smaller than micro-glitter–looks very fine on, but it’s too much for just a subtle glow or highlight to the face. For a fun holiday look, one could surely use it on the face, but it’s not an everyday-kind of sparkle. I like it best in hair, decolletage, and legs. It’s a lot like Chanel Reverie but with a sheerer base and more sparkle. MAC Silver Dusk is more silvered, but it is also similar.

Trying to photograph this product was like trying to track down a mythical creature and proving it exists. I tried and tried but could not capture it actually used. But I swear to you that it twinkles and dances and sparkles in person. I have it sprayed on my right forearm as I’m writing this review, and it’s all quite lovely. The scent of Liu is very, very subtle. I’ve never smelled the original fragrance, and on me, the powder smells like warm vanilla, light florals, and something a little woody. If you wanted this as a scent, I’d look to the actual fragrance, because this is just barely scented.

It’s not a product I would go-to and wear if I knew I was going to be photographed lots and lots, particularly with flash photography, because sometimes the particles get all lit up and look like little bits of dirt.  For the average holiday party and occasion, it would be a luxurious accessory.  I’d opt for one of Guerlain’s Meteorites or luminizing powders over this for a more practical product at this price point, but Liu will add a fine veil of sparkling gold anywhere you spray it.  Sparkle lovers who long for luxe packaging may see this as a match made in heaven. It’s one of those products you either love completely and wait for every holiday season, or one of those, “So what?” products you know you’ll never use.

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Make Up For Ever #302 Holodiam Powder
Make Up For Ever #302 Holodiam Powder

Not Everything is How It Appears

Make Up For Ever #302 Holodiam Powder ($25.00 for 0.035 oz.) is described as “plum with pink, purple, and turquoise highlights.” Alone, it has a strong reddish copper base with flecks of pink and teal sparkle. When I layered it over a black eyeliner, it appeared as a blue-teal. Ultimately, how it looks and what color comes out depends on the base, so it will take on different characteristics over different colored bases as well as with different viewing angles.

Because of its duo- (or triple) chrome finish, it’s a very versatile product.  It’s described as an “extremely fine loose powder with a pearlescent finish.”  Make Up For Ever recommends it for use on eyes and cheeks and used dry for a softer effect and wet for something more intense.  They do advise using some sort of setting/fixing spray or sealer.  It is a very fine micro-glitter; it feels larger than shimmer or powder (more texture than the Star Powders but finer than traditional glitter).

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

MAC Accentuate Pro Sculpting Cream
MAC Accentuate Pro Sculpting Cream

If It Matches, Sculpt Away!

MAC Pro Sculpting Creams ($20.00 for 0.17 oz.) are described as a “cream-to-powder formula for sculpting and shaping key features … [s]ilky-smooth, easy-to-blend and neutrally-shaded.” It’s supposed to have sheer-to-medium buildable coverage.

  • Accentuate is a pale white beige with mostly neutral undertones–it almost pulls a smidgen pink on me.
  • Coffee Walnut is a gray-ish medium-dark brown with subdued, orange-tan undertones. It has a slight green-cast.
  • Copper Beach is a medium-tan with strong orange undertones. If anything, this shade seemed more appropriate as a bronzer.
  • Naturally Defined is a light-medium beige with mostly neutral undertones–perhaps a smidgen warm.
  • Pure Sculpture is a softened tan brown. It’s not as orange as Copper Beach–more subdued.
  • Richly Honed is a dark brown with warm, reddish undertones.

I think the shades in MAC’s Sculpting powder range (which is permanent at PRO stores) are better-colored for contouring, because they’re much more shadowy, and these tended to be rather warm-toned. When you contour, you’re emphasizing or adding shadows, and when you highlight, you’re shaping and sculpting by adding light/sheen. If one of these shades is the right color, it can be a really great product. I’m just not sold that this is the right set of shades–I would have loved to have seen them take the existing Sculpting range and make them into cream form.  Accentuate, Coffee Walnut, and Naturally Defined are the closest to neutral, while Copper beach, Pure Sculpture, and Richly Honed are very much warm-toned.

The texture is lightly creamy, not too thick or too thin.  I’d almost describe it as a stiff cream, but in the best way.  All six shades had buildable coverage, so you could get sheer-to-light color easily, but you could layer just once or twice for more intensity.  While I did try using the new 163 brush that came with the launch, I preferred the 193 or finger tips (using a clean spatula to remove product, then warming it up between finger tips and blending it out on the skin).  It dries down and has a natural finish.  I tested all six of the shades (though used together, not individually), and I had no problem getting a full eight hours of wear with no noticeable fading.

The Glossover

product

MAC Pro Sculpting Creams Reviews, Photos, Swatches

A-
I like the formula, but I don't think the shade range is ideal for contouring. If you're looking for good contouring shades, try MAC's PRO Sculpting powders - they are a fantastic product that I rarely hear about!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

De-Pressed About These Pigments

MAC Pressed Pigments ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) were recently launched as an “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence and versatility of finish.” It can be “[applied] dry for a high shine, or on damp skin for a dramatic wet look” with “sheer-to-moderate buildable coverage and natural dimension finish.”

These had me at a loss of words. I spent the past week trying to figure out how these could be used for something that wasn’t purely editorial or only needed to last about five minutes. I was hopeful about MAC’s recent Face & Body launch, as I love highlighting/contouring–I was hoping for something a little more shimmery than the Shaping powders (PRO) that launched a few years ago. Well, these aren’t shimmery; they’re like a disco ball exploded and fractured all over your face, eyes, body, or wherever you happen to put them.

I tried using two shades as a highlighter on the cheek (one on each cheek), and it looked like dirt/sand/grit. It travels to parts unknown within an hour of wearing it on the cheek–I found glitter on my lip, on my ear, and on my shoulder, and I had only applied it to my cheek bones. It’s not a product that applies well with face brushes; it really needs to be applied with fingers or a sponge and really pressed/crushed. The texture really reminded me of MAC’s Crushed Metal pigments, because without grinding them down, they are so loose and chunky.

I tried using them on the body (collarbone/decolletage), and it looked the same – like flecks of brown dirt rather than a luminous sheen or even glittery dazzle. I tried using them on the brow bone, inner tear duct/lid, and on the eyelid in general. The glitter is really, really chunky, and the fall out is tremendous, not just during, but after application. I was getting a ton of glitter in my eye for the six hours I managed to wear these. After six hours, at least half of the glitter on the eye had transferred to my cheeks, nose, or got lost in my eye ball. I even used MAC’s Mixing Medium to see if it would help these adhere better but no luck. Frankly, these were painful to use on the eye – both of my eyes were red and irritated for the rest of the day/night.

I tried using these both wet and dry with numerous brushes (215, 228, 231, 242, 116, 130, 188, and 193) but nothing yielded a result that did anything flattering. On the lid, it’s sparkly and pretty–but the fall out is over-the-top ridiculous. It’s some of the worst fall out I’ve seen. It makes Urban Decay’s Midnight Cowboy Rides Again seem like a dream to work with. It’s funny, too, because they actually swatched beautifully. They looked stunning on my arm!

As you can see, this review is all about “I tried,” but I failed. I couldn’t highlight my brow bone, eyelid, cheekbones, or collarbones with this product.  I have used lots and lots of highlighters in the past ten years, but this is a product that left me grappling for any use that might possibly work.  The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I’ve seen in a glittery product that wasn’t loose to begin with. I’m honestly surprised these are eye safe (there wasn’t any warning to the contrary on the box), because they were so irritating from the fall out.

The Glossover

product

MAC Pressed Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

F
The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I've seen in a glittery product that wasn't loose to begin with.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

2/10

Application

2.5/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Lit Cosmetics Clearly Liquid Glitter Base
Lit Cosmetics Clearly Liquid Glitter Base

Lit Cosmetics Clearly Liquid Glitter Base & Glitters Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Lit Cosmetics Clearly Liquid Glitter Base ($22.95 CAN for 30 ml) is like a magic trick–for every single glitter product you ever wanted to love but loathed using for fear of endless fall out, far too much clean up, and generally requiring more effort than you really wanted to put in. I love the way glitter looks, but it’s always been such a pain to use. Clearly Liquid is so easy to use, a little goes a long way, and it really does keep the glitter adhered wherever you applied it all day long.  The bottle you get is rather large (I seriously question whether one would run out of it!), so I poured a little into a sample jar so I could dip my brush into a smaller amount.  I dip my brush into the liquid, then into the glitter, and apply it to the skin.

I’ve been wearing glitter mostly on the lash line, but I also tested it on the lid. The adhesive base doesn’t feel tacky or thick–looks and feels like water–but it instantly picks up the glitter you want to apply and places it wherever you put the brush. (I used a MAC eyeliner brush, though Lit has brushes available, too.) I didn’t have any fall out during application or at any point during the day; and I’ve worn glitter in their base for as long as twelve hours.  What’s really fantastic is that it works with any loose glitter or chunky eyeshadow, so if you, like me, have a bunch of glitter products sitting around that you love to stare at but never wear, this product could change all that. It’s clear and always stays that way.

To remove, all you need is water and a washcloth.  After a few removals, I found that I preferred to use a cotton pad and some makeup remover to do one pass to remove the majority of the glitter (and the rest of my eye makeup, which is why I went with makeup remover).  It ensured that I didn’t have any loose glitter go amok while washing the rest of my face.

Lit’s glitters are all cosmetic-grade, which means you don’t have to worry about the glitter scratching your eyes (and this is why you want to stay away from using craft-grade glitters on the eyes!). The stack I received contained Beach Baby (golden champagne), Elton John (medium blue), Roxy Rolla (pink burgundy), Solar Blast (coral and neon orange), and Yoda (green-teal).

Lit has various kits you can purchase, which are cheaper than buying products individually. Your best bet is to purchase a multi-stack kit, which includes a full-sized Clearly Liquid Glitter Base and 3, 4, or 5 colors of your choice. Each glitter is $12.95 CAN. Their glitters come in four sizes (1 through 4) and four textures (shimmers, solids, metallics, and electrics). They have a massive range of glitters available. For U.S. customers, keep in mind that the website lists prices in Canadian dollars! As of when I checked, the exchange rate was almost one for one.

See more photos! Continue reading →