Thursday, August 18th, 2011


theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette

Sneak Peek: theBalm Cast Your Shadow Face Palette Swatches

Took me until midnight last night to get the photos ready, so now I’m up bright and early to crank out the review :) As always, please hold all questions until I’ve had a chance to post the review! Thank you!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

Here is the review for the second half of the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 ($64.00) limited edition makeup palette. For an overall review of the product, along with packaging, please see part one. Because there are differences in quality for each shade, I have listed a pigmentation and texture score for each (both scores are out of 10), which I then averaged across all sixteen shades to give the scores found in The Glossover below.

Midnight Cowgirl is a warm, pale, peach-gold with a frosted finish. The color payoff is really lovely, as it is rich and buttery, though it does have flecks of gold micro-glitter. This shade is part of the permanent range. I find the majority disappears before you even apply it, but you may find that some fall out underneath the eye. It is a bit lighter than Bobbi Brown Desert Sand. It’s similar in color but lighter compared to Urban Decay Blunt. It’s also a lighter, less brown version of MAC Retrospeck. (9, 8.5)

Sin is a pink-tinged champagne with a frosted finish and rather metallic sheen. This shade is part of the permanent range. Urban Decay Scratch is much pinker. Giorgio Armani #8 is similar but more metallic in finish. Inglot #397 is similar in color, less pink-tinged. (9.5, 9)

Midnight Rodeo is a sparkly taupe brown. It does have glitter, but it’s subtle and doesn’t seem as large as Urban Decay’s other glitter-finished eyeshadows but may still have some fall out. The color payoff is good, and the texture is fairly smooth. I thought Urban Decay Toasted might be similar, but it’s not–much browner, less of a taupe. theBalm Insane Jane is grayer (more cool-toned), while Inglot #402 is nearly indistinguishable from Midnight Rodeo. This shade is a repromote from the 15th Anniversary Palette. (9, 8.5)

Crystal is a bluish-purple gray with a silvered sheen. It lacks pigmentation, and the texture is dry and stiff to work with–you’ll have to pack it on to achieve the color you see in the pan. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. Inglot #420 is similar but darker and lacks the bluish tones. Urban Decay Stripped has less purple and is much, much darker. (5, 7)

Bust is a softened, gray-tinged taupe brown with a soft, frosted finish. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It has a really smooth application with a buttery texture, while the shade itself has excellent color payoff. NARS Grand Palais is slightly browner, MAC Street Cool is darker and browner, MAC Satin Taupe is much, much darker, and Inglot #402 is warmer and less gray. It’s like a frosted version of Urban Decay Shakedown. (9.5, 9)

Missionary is a soft, beige-taupe with a frosted finish. It’s like a lighter version of Sin. It has good color payoff, but it’s not fully opaque. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It is pinker than MAC Butternutty. It’s a little lighter and has more of a sheen compared to Urban Decay Virgin. (9, 9)

Skimp is a beige-peach with a pearled sheen. The color payoff here was a bit sheer, and the texture surprisingly dry. This shade is a repromote. It is similar to Bare Escentuals Serendipitous. It is a little lighter than MAC Brule. (8, 8.5)

Zephyr is a warm white with a golden sheen. It has good color payoff, but it is a bit powdery. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It less yellow compared to Urban Decay Vanilla and MAC Nylon, but it is comparable to Bare Escentuals Breathtaking. (9, 8.5)

The Glossover

LE
palette

Book of Shadows Vol. 4

B
If one wants a neutral palette, Urban Decay's Naked palette does it better. If one wants pops of color, the 15th Anniversary Palette does it better. This palette lacks the quality level of previous Book of Shadows--it's not the colors but the color payoffs and textures that make this palette less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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

See photos & swatches!  Continue reading →

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 ($64.00) is a limited edition makeup palette slated for a September launch. It contains 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each), one Liquid Eyeliner (0.058 fl. oz.), Original Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.), and Supercurl Mascara (0.18 fl. oz.). The palette also contains a mini-speaker along with QR codes so that one can watch video tutorials designed for the palette. The value breakdown goes like this: $163.20 worth of eyeshadow, $18.00 worth of liquid eyeliner, $6.68 worth of Primer Potion, and $12.00 worth of mascara. Though you cannot purchase the items separately even if you wanted to, it amounts to the equivalent of $199.88.

Because of how photo-heavy this review is, and how long it is, the first eight eyeshadows are reviewed in this post, while the second set of eight will follow. The overall review for the palette along with packaging is included in this post.  Because there are differences in quality for each shade, I have listed a pigmentation and texture score for each (both scores are out of 10), which I then averaged across all sixteen shades to give the scores found in The Glossover below.

Blue Bus is a cool-toned, blue-based purple with a soft, frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The payoff is disappointing–it’s dry, stiff, and applies unevenly. It lacks the density of other Urban Decay eyeshadows along with the smoothness that comes from a softer powder product. The color is very similar to MAC Parfait Amour. Inglot #379 is similar in color but matte, so it has a darker appearance. (7/5)

Gunmetal is a darkened blue-based gray with a silver shimmer and sheen. This is a permanent shade. The color payoff is good, though it feels a touch less soft compared to the pot version of Gunmetal. Inglot #451 is similar but slightly darker–has more of a black base. (9/8.5)

Cobra is a dark, cool-toned brown with a mostly matte finish that’s layered with green-gold shimmer. This shade is a repromote from the Black Palette. It doesn’t reflect very green when I swatched it–more like a brown with gold shimmer. The color payoff is decent but it has a drier texture. If you wanted more of the color in the pan, Laura Mercier’s Pine Bronze is similar. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone has a shade that is similar in the pan but also swatches browner–they are surprisingly similar. Milani Melange is also similar but has a blacker color base. (9/8)

Baked is a bright copper with a high frost finish. The color payoff is excellent, and it has a dense, buttery texture that applies very smoothly. This is a permanent shade. It is similar to Giorgio Armani Gold Blitz, Inglot #405, and MAC Amber Lights. (10/10)

Bender is a dark, forest green with a subtle green-gold sheen. The finish is a softened frost. This is a new and exclusive shade. It is one of the best performing shades in the palette–very buttery and smooth, while the pigmentation is tops. It is more yellow-based compared to Make Up For Ever #310. It has less green and more olive compared to Inglot #418. It is very similar to MAC Humid. (10/10)

Gravity is a plum-tinged medium purple with a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. It has decent color payoff, but it applies unevenly and splotch in places (see the bottom half of the swatch). Make Up For Ever #142 is similar in color but has a matte finish. theBalm All the Way Annie is a touch plummier. It is more pigmented than Milani Purr-fect Purple. It is not as intense as Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, but it is darker (and plummier) than Urban Decay Ecstasy. (7.5, 7.5)

Lost is a dark bronze brown with subtle red undertones. It has a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The color payoff is beautiful here–like Bender, it is one of the better quality shades in the palette. The texture is soft, smooth, and buttery. It is darker and browner compared to MAC Sable. It has slightly cooler tones compared to Inglot #422. There is a darker quality and a more reflective finish compared to Milani Rich Java. (10/10)

Hijack is a bluish-teal with a silvered sheen–a part frost, part metallic finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The pigmentation in this shade was good, and it applies smoothly overall. The color is very similar to Bare Escentuals Vapor. It is darker and less teal compared to Urban Decay Aquarius. (9/9)

I’m usually really impressed by Urban Decay’s palettes, because the majority of the eyeshadows are high-quality with excellent color payoff, even if a few textures may be more prone to fall out because of the inclusion of glittery shades. I found Blue Bus, Crystal, and Skimp to be difficult to use, while Cobra and Gravity have a few concerns The standout shades were Baked, Bender, Lost, and Zephyr in terms of pigmentation and texture.    If one wants a neutral palette, Urban Decay’s Naked palette does it better.  If one wants pops of color, the 15th Anniversary Palette does it better.  Last year’s Book of Shadows Vol. 3 was much better (and still available at urbandecay.com).

The packaging is extremely bulky–it’s large and heavy. If you thought prior Book of Shadows editions were bulky, then you will loathe the size of this one, as it is 1 3/4″ wider (only marginally taller). I had issues sliding the drawer out, because the mini-speaker tends to get caught against the top. The drawer was not glued in, though, so it did pull out all the way for removal. The top flap opens up with pop-up butterflies, small-sized mirror, and a pocket for your phone along with instructions for using the QR codes. The upside of bulky cardboard packaging is that it will absorb impact better than a hard plastic case would if you were to drop it. I dropped mine a few times on the bathroom tile to no ill effects.

I didn’t play around with the technology too much myself, as I relegated that duty to our resident tech guy (I was busy cropping photographs). I did watch some and saw how it all came together. I think it’s an interesting concept, but in reality, it ends up more gimmicky than useful. The drawer is so large to accomodate a mini-speaker, which does enhance the sound of the videos, but your phone would likely do an adequate job with its own speakers. The QR codes are a bit close together, but it is a minor concern. We have iPhones here, so that is what we tested it out with, and if you have a case around yours, you’ll need to remove it or else the plug will not connect properly.

The Glossover

palette

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

B
This palette lacks the quality level of previous Book of Shadows--it's not the colors but the color payoffs and textures that make this palette less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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

See photos & swatches!  Continue reading →

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Sneak Peek: Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Swatches

Full review, photos, and swatches to come. Please hold ALL questions until I have had a chance to review.

See photos & swatches!  Continue reading →

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Nails Inc. Connaught Square Nail Lacquer

Nails Inc. Connaught Square Nail Lacquer ($9.50 for 0.33 oz.) is described as a “clear with blue glitter and chunky purple glitter” shade. It’s part of Nails Inc.’s Special Effects 3D Glitter line-up where each shade uses two different-sized glitter particles to create a “3D effect” as well as give full coverage. Connaught Square is predominantly blue–lots of medium-dark blue small-sized glitter with larger, larger fuchsia-purple glittery bits that are strewn throughout.

By the nature of the polish, it has a rough, uneven texture–which is essentially by design, hence the “3D effect”–the texture has more to it than a single-sized particle glitter polish, because that tends to have a more uniform unevenness, while this one has more of a bumpy feel. It doesn’t bother me, and again, it’s what Nails Inc. was going for with these polishes.

The coverage is good but not completely opaque in places, and it took three coats to get to the coverage level as pictured. It is important–as with most glitter polishes–to let each coat dry enough so that the next coat doesn’t pull at the glitter from the previous coat. This helps give you more opaque coverage and better distributed glitter. For a glitter suspended in a clear base, the coverage is still rather impressive.  Because it has a clear base, you could definitely use it to layer, too.

Removal is at par in regards to glitter polishes–it will take more elbow crease and patience than creams and shimmers. I use Zoya’s Remove+ on felt, and then I press it against the nail for 30 seconds or so. I then move on to the next nail, and I do this for the rest of the hand, before going back to the first fingernail and removing the glitter. This gives the remover some time to breakdown the polish.

Over a week, I did not experience any chipping, but tip wear seemed a bit more than norm, which makes sense, because it’s difficult to wrap a clear polish with lots of glitter over the edge of the nail.

The Glossover

P
product

Connaught Square

B
Though I do look forward to the day when glitter polishes are a cinch to apply and remove, until then, we just have to find shades pretty enough to be worth the extra effort. I think the mix of sizes and colors in Connaught Square make it a bold, standout shade that--for me--is worth it.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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 →

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Giorgio Armani #402 Gloss d’Armani

Giorgio Armani #402 Gloss d’Armani

Giorgio Armani #402 Gloss d’Armani ($28.00 for 0.22 fl. oz.) is an orange-red with lots of gold shimmer. When worn, it’s semi-opaque–there is a translucency that allows the natural lip color to peek through, but the gloss imparts a fair amount of color. For those with more pigmented lips, it will likely brighten and enhance but provide seemingly sheerer coverage. It’s not quite as red as Chantecaille Glaze. It is rather similar to Hourglass Primal. Chanel Imaginaire is similar but doesn’t have the gold shimmer.

Gloss d’Armani is supposed to last for eight hours (without fading), be moisturizing, and have a smooth, non-sticky texture. Color payoff is indeterminant, because on one hand, Giorgio Armani says “concentrated, high definition color” but then later describes some shades as “sheer chiffon.” For a more in-depth review of Gloss d’Armani, please read my original review here.

Even though I can’t say I’ve experienced the full eight-hour wear Giorgio Armani claims, I do get an impressive five to six hours of wear with every shade I’ve reviewed so far (I think we’re up to three–two more pigmented shades, one sheer shade). #502 wears a solid six hours, but if you desire a really glossy shine, you’ll need to refresh the shine after three hours or so.

The gloss starts off as almost gel-like and non-sticky, but over time, it gets tackier and tackier. It’s not thick and sticky, but I wouldn’t describe it as non-sticky. The initial non-sticky phase allows for the gloss to be evenly distributed across the lips without becoming splotchy, though. I didn’t detect any fragrance or scent.

The Glossover

P
product

#402

B+
It may not be as non-sticky and as long-wearing as it claims, but it is one of the longest-wearing glosses I've come across that isn't more of a liquid lipstick. This is truly a gloss from the way it looks to the way it feels.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

7/10

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 →