Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


NARS Club Mix Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) was a new product, released for spring, as a twist on NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. It’s a glossy, moisturizing jumbo-sized pencil available in six “glazed” shades. The range includes: Baroque (raspberry sorbet), Club Mix (sheer grape), Frivolous (iridescent seashell pink), Happy Days (pink coral infused with gold shimmer), abd Hopi (honey beige), and New Lover (gold infused strawberry pink).

  • Baroque is a dark, pink-tinged red with silver and pink shimmer. It’s nearly opaque on lips.
  • Club Mix is a berry plum with soft pink and burgundy with a slight metallic finish. It’s semi-sheer to semi-opaque on lips with a glossy shine.
  • Frivolous is a sheer pink nude with soft gold shimmer that applies semi-sheer to semi-opaque. For me, it’s a rather my-lips-but-better shade.
  • Happy Days is a sheer coral-red with coppery gold shimmer that gives medium color coverage.
  • Hopi is a darkened, coppered tan with gold and copper shimmer. It is almost semi-opaque on lips, but you can still see my lip freckle.
  • New Lover is a dark, cool-toned pink with iridescent pink-peach shimmer. Like Hopi, it is almost semi-opaque in color coverage.

It’s hard to determine just what kind of color coverage to expect from these, because it seems to range from semi-sheer to semi-opaque overall, with Baroque being the most opaque and Frivolous being the sheerest. Given NARS’ gloss range and lipgloss in general, they are typically not opaque, so I think the pigmentation level in these is good and above average.

The finishes of each is a glossy enough to be a gloss but the thin texture of the pencil won’t give lips as full of a look as thicker lip gloss does. These are a great alternative to those who want the shine of the gloss but the texture of a lip balm.

These are smooth and glide on effortlessly, and the coverage is fairly even without having to work at it. They also deposit color well without requiring lots of layers to achieve the results seen in swatches. I get about three hours of wear with these, which is about average. I detected no scent or taste, and the texture of these is not at all tacky.

My concern with these lip pencils is how soft the pencil is–though it lends to easier application, these are so soft that they don’t do well if the temperature is 70 degrees or higher and end up rather melty. Jumbo-sized pencils like these can waste product when sharpened, and the softness of the pencil seems to exacerbate that problem.

Iwish NARS had gone with twist-up packaging, like Clinique, which would make these more convenient (no sharpening required) and eliminate the waste. The amount of waste does seem to vary from sharpener to sharpener, and I usually reach for Urban Decay’s Grindhouse, which gives me minimized waste, but there is still some.

The Glossover

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NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If the packaging didn't waste product every time you sharpened it (or conversely, if they gave you a lot more product!), I'd love these more (they'd be rated a B+ if packaging was fine!). The color range is really workable and wearable across skin tones, and I can see New Lover being a favorite.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, May 2nd, 2011

NARS Dogon Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Dogon Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Summer 2011: Dogon Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Dogon Eyeshadow Duo ($33.00 for 0.14 oz.) was named for Mali-based culture and features a metallic taupe with icy green sheen and charcoal black. It is a limited edition duo. I found the lighter shade to apply really smoothly and evenly, while the darker shade was smooth but slightly dusty and pigmentation was good–though it seemed to fade too easily when blended.

In the pan, the darker shade looks rather blue–almost like a really sooty, deep dark blue, but when swatched, it does have a tendency to look much blacker. It still reads a smidgen blue, though, and part of that is owed to the flecks of midnight blue shimmer running through the matte color base.

The lighter shade is a rosy taupe with a subtle green sheen. It’s like a softer, subtler version of MAC Club or Blue Brown pigment. I can see the duochrome nature of the lighter shade really catching peoples’ eyes, though, and of all the products for summer, this is likely to be one of the more coveted pieces.

As far as NARS eyeshadows go, their duos are your best bang for your buck. Most individual eyeshadows from high-end brands are 0.05 oz. on average, while these almost equal out to three of those for $33. NARS’ eyeshadows are supposed to be long-wearing and crease-resistant. When I wear them alone, I tend to get around seven to eight hours of wear before there is a faint amount of creasing, so it isn’t a huge mess, but I’d recommend a primer for all-day wear (especially for those with oilier lids).

The Glossover

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NARS Dogon Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
This duo has smoky eye written all over it! It is a cooler-toned set of shades, but I think both of them are workable across both skin tones because of their depth.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Milani Teal the Truth Baked Eyeshadow
Milani Teal the Truth Baked Eyeshadow

Milani Baked Metallic Eyeshadow: Teal the Truth

Milani Teal the Truth Baked Metallic Eyeshadow ($7.49 for 0.05 oz.) is a medium-dark teal with soft bluish-teal shimmer.  This is a teal that leans bluer, but it’s really well balanced on the edge of green and blue.  In some light, it almost looks like there is more of an aqua color to it, but in other light, it seems bluer.  For a color that is, essentially, just teal, it is more nuanced than it appears.  It applied better wet than dry, as it applied smoother and the color was denser and more opaque.

I do wish they’d ditch the sponge/brush applicator, though, because the bristles are splayed and scratchy, while the sponge is thin and surprisingly scratchy. I did like the switch to a black interior, over the champagne gold from the Runway Eyeshadows. The lid is also quite secure, and I had to pry it open with my nails.

The Glossover

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product

Teal the Truth

B+
It's a particularly gorgeous and well-made shade when used wet, but when used dry, there are some pigmentation issues (and resulting uneven color) that resulted in a lower score.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick
Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick (Right)

Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick

Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a semi-opaque, darkened beige with a little peachiness and marigold shimmer. The texture is really smooth, soft, and delicate; these remind me a lot of Guerlain’s Rouge G finishes–just the way the shimmer plays with the lip color and how it sinks into lips (in a good way, such that the color looks one with your lips).

Laura Mercier’s Shimmer Lipsticks have a rather strong floral scent to them, while several of her other lip products are heavily vanilla scented (not sure why these are different). I get three to four hours of wear (about average), and I find these neither drying nor particularly moisturizing, but they are comfortable to wear. Sandcastle applied evenly and easily without having to layer on a lot to get opaque color.

The Glossover

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Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick Review, Photos, Swatches

A
It applies and wears so beautifully while looking natural on lips, despite the darker hue, and the way the shimmer warms up the color is very fine and subtle.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Giorgio Armani Rock Sand (9) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani Rock Sand (9) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

More Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow with #9

Giorgio Armani Rock Sand (9) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a warm, golden champagne with a little beige and bronze finished with a metallic sheen.  I liked this one better dry than wet, just because it seemed to give a smoother finish when applied dry.  As one of the lighter shades of the line-up, it seems less intense, but in reality, I think it’s merely the color’s natural lightness that gives that illusion, because it covers my skin fully so it’s not sheer.

The eyeshadow can be worn alone, as a base, on top of bases, with other eyeshadows, and so on and so forth.  They’re really versatile products, and when I wore this as a wash (without a base), I had no creasing or fading after twelve hours.  It has a really interesting texture, too, because it almost feels like a cream, kind of wet, very smooth, but it’s a really tightly packed loose powder.  You can use it wet or dry, and you can use fingers or brushes, though I tend to use a brush (I like MAC’s 239 or 242).

Though pricey, each shade comes with 0.14 oz. worth of product, which is a hefty amount (normal eyeshadow averages around 0.05 oz., no matter the price).  The only aspect I didn’t love was the little black stopper inside the jar (once you unscrew the black lid), because my longer fingers felt awkward grabbing it (so I just unscrew it upside down so it falls into the cap).

The Glossover

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product

#9

A
I only took away half a point from texture since it didn't apply as smoothly wet as it did dry, but it's a really minor thing that I really don't think takes away from how well this wears.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Saturday, April 30th, 2011


Candles By Victoria – Scent Shots

Candles By Victoria – Scent Shots

Candles By Victoria Scent Shots ($1.95 for 2 oz.) are individually sized tarts that release their scent when melted. If you’re not familiar with tarts (I wasn’t!), you’ll also need to make sure to grab a tart warmer, too (I got mine via Amazon, since I did not realize I needed one when I placed my order). I decided on Scent Shots, because I couldn’t commit to a few scents and would have rather tried a wide variety to find my favorites for future purchases. I couldn’t even tell you which scents I ordered by memory, and I haven’t gotten through all of them, but I will describe the ones I have tried so far!

  • Bear Claws was a sweetened scent of nuts and caramel–definitely smells like the treat by the same name.
  • Christmas Kitchen is mostly a cinnamon spiced scent with a touch of orange.
  • Harvest is a decadent spiced scent that’s not as warm as Home Sweet Home.
  • Hazelnut Spice has the nuttiness of the hazelnut warmed by the spiciness of cinnamon.
  • Home Sweet Home was a warm, spicy blend that kind of reminded me of Christmas but not quite.
  • Poison Apple smelled like a mix of sweetened green apples and spice.
  • Sunflower had a floral scent with a lot of rose and jasmine that ended up smelling a little soapy to me.
  • Ylang & Amber is dominated by ylang ylang, which is a strong floral, with just a touch of amber.

Candles By Victoria carries an insane amount of scents (they boast “over 640″), and you can read through scent descriptions here.  I was entirely overwhelmed by the variety, but I am thankful they did have descriptions and broke out the scents into a few categories.

My friend Brooke always raved about the brand, so when they held a sale several months ago, I knew I had to bite the bullet! I’m really glad I did, because they do exactly what I want a candle to do–give me lots and lots of scent. The throw is fantastic, as my two-bedroom apartment smells of whatever I’ve melted. A lot of the candles I’ve used in the past (all of those used wicks and burned) failed to really permeate my living space (trust me, it’s not a lot — like 750 square feet).

I usually get 8-12 hours of melting time–I tend to just turn on the warmer and let it go for a few hours.  I’ve re-used the melted tarts (which will form a small disc) as well, and the scent is lessened but still noticeable (depends on how long you’ve already melted it for).  My best advice is to melt for a couple of hours and turn off, because the scent lingers for hours afterward so you can save the scent for the next day.

In fact, after writing this post, I placed an order for a few more scent shots that I haven’t tried and two candles (Hazelnut Spice and Christmas Kitchen).  They currently have 10% off if you use the code CBVICTORIA.  The only downside is while shipping is at a flat rate, it is $8.50, so make your order count or split with a friend/relative :)  Hey! Mother’s Day gift idea!

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