Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Benefit Fancy Pansy Eyeshadow
Benefit Fancy Pansy Eyeshadow

Benefit Fancy Pansy Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as an “orchid silk.” It’s a cool-toned, pink-lavender with a pale, iridescent lilac shimmer-sheen. At first glance, it seems like it might be like shades such as MAC Stars ‘n Rockets, but it’s much, much lighter with less of a duochrome; it’s more like the iridescence of those types of shades without the strong fuchsia base. Inglot #346 is a matte version of this shade. Milani Royalty is the closest dupe I found.

It has a silky smooth texture, and the powder is finely-milled. It’s not powdery but so soft that it makes blending a breeze. The powder feels dense and buttery, so it delivers good color payoff without having to pack it on. Compared to other shades in the range, this one is just a tiny bit under-pigmented but that’s being nit picky.  Velvet Eyeshadows wear well, too, without fading during the day and no fall out occurs.  Another nice thing about the range is that they’re twice the size of most eyeshadows.  Fancy Pansy pairs well with darker purples, whether blue or red-based, along with navy blues.

The Glossover

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Fancy Pansy

A+
Benefit's Velvet Eyeshadows seem underrated or under-appreciated, because I think it's a really solid range, but I don't feel like I see people raving about these! They're double the size of typical eyeshadows with good color payoff and an amazing texture.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Illamasqua Force Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Force Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Force Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Force ($14.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “deep electric blue.” It’s a really rich, cornflower blue with a creamy finish, and it even has a faint purpleness to it. It almost looks purple in certain lighting–more royal blue than electric blue to me! Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like is similar but bluer. Essie Declare Your Denim is a bit darker and bluer.

It’s opaque in two coats, and like many Illamasqua shades, the formula is excellent; the polish flows across the nail easily, doesn’t streak or bubble, and never feels too thick. Illamasqua is one of the longest wearing polishes on me; I can wear their formula for ten days or longer and only have minimal tip wear, which is just barely on the edges. When I travel, I often reach for an Illamasqua shade, because I know it will hold up to the vigors of traveling.

The Glossover

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Force

A+
This is such a vibrant shade of blue that even though it leans cool-toned, it will work well on both cool and warm complexions. It has a lot of depth, even though it's a cream, and the excellent wear makes it even better!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Aquas Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.25 oz.) is an upcoming new and permanent quad that features an “iridescent blue, matte navy, velvety turquoise, and glacier metallic blue.” This is one of the better eyeshadow quads I’ve tested from Guerlain since they reformulated and relaunched their eyeshadow range, so it was a welcome surprise. The pigmentation is good across the board, and it applies easily. I did find that without a primer, there was some fading after eight hours, but over a primer, it was fine.

The left most shade is a semi-matte, dark teal-blue with a grayish overcast and sparse teal shimmer. The base color is more matte, but there is definitely some sparkle to the shade. It has good color payoff, though the texture feels a little dry. Illamasqua Android seemed similar, though it is much more metallic and frosted. It has a similar base color to MAC Blue Spruce but doesn’t have the copper sparkle.

In the center, the top shade is a aqua teal with an iridescent gold shimmer-sheen. It does flash more golden depending on the angle. The color payoff of this shade was really nice, and the texture was silky soft and applied smoothly. Milani Caribbean Sea is similar but has less golden shimmer. Make Up For Ever #83 is much more intense. theBalm Open to Offers Olwen is darker. Inglot #415 is more vibrant.

Below that shade is a medium-dark bold blue with a soft, metallic shimmer-sheen. The pigmentation is excellent, and the texture feels soft to the touch and smooths out easily. I find Guerlain’s more frosted shades to have the best color payoff and feel compared to some of their mattes, satins, etc. MAC Pure Creation is a touch lighter. MAC Deep Truth is a bit darker. MAC Freshwater is comparable. Inglot #426 is also similar.

The right most shade is a bright, metallic silver. Of all the shades in the palette, it had the weakest color payoff–there was some underlying sheerness but it felt smooth to the touch. IT is similar to MAC Misty and Bobbi Brown Iced Blue.

The palette initially bears resemblance to Les Ombres de Nuit, but this is a brighter, warmer palette. None of the shades actually overlap in terms of color, but here, we have a vibrant aqua teal instead of a muted grayish teal; vibrant medium-dark blue instead of a navy blue; the other two shades are not similar.

The Glossover

palette

Les Aquas

A-
The color combination works together, though if you're not a fan of blues, you may find this palette too bold! You don't see too many bright colored palettes by high-end/designer brands, so I definitely appreciate Guerlain going out of the box with this color scheme.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Estee Lauder Cyber Lilac Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadow
Estee Lauder Cyber Lilac Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadow

Estee Lauder Cyber Lilac Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadow

Estee Lauder Cyber Lilac Pure Color Gelee Powder Eyeshadow ($24.00 for 0.03 oz.) is a medium-dark red-toned purple with a silvered shimmer-sheen. It delivers good color payoff both wet and dry, and when it is applied wet, the metallic finish comes through more. Urban Decay Rockstar is less shimmered, so it looks darker. Bare Escentuals Encore is also similar.

I liked this one better than Cyber Green, because the texture was softer and smoother, even when applied dry. Still, the texture is like a cross of “baked” eyeshadows (like MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows) and a regular powder, but infinitely better than baked products, because it retains the vibrancy in color when it is applied damp–it doesn’t dry down to something faded. Alone, it wears about six hours without any issues when it is applied dry, and when it is applied wet, I was able to get to eight hours without issues.

The Glossover

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Cyber Lilac

A-
These are definitely worth checking out, just because the formula feels a little different than other eyeshadows I've come across. I like that they can be used wet or dry, but you can still get good color payoff if you use it dry and you don't lose vibrancy when you use it wet.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, December 5th, 2011

By Courtney, Indie & Mineral Makeup Expert

Courtney is the amazing talent behind Phyrra.net, which showcases a veritable treasure trove of looks and reviews, often focusing on indie brands and mineral makeup. She’s my go-to for all things in those areas! I reached out to Courtney to help me and readers like me understand more about indie brands–how can we make sure we’re buying from good companies and getting quality products (and not just repackaged ones)?  You can also check out Courtney’s own tried and true list of brands she buys from.

When she isn’t blogging, you can find her with her much loved standard poodle (Phaedra) and pug (Maximus), gaming, or writing (about non-makeup, that is)!  She’s not afraid to experiment with color, whether it’s her hair, lips, or on the eyes.


Mineral Makeup: What to Look For When Buying

I first got into mineral makeup in April of 2008. I didn’t know much about it at the time, so I started to try and find as much information as possible. Surprisingly, I didn’t find too many reviews (though some of the best ones I could find came from The Shades of U). This led me to decide to start a blog and write about my experiences with indie cosmetics. Through my trials and tribulations, I’ve learned a lot! I’ve interviewed company owners and experimented on my own. From my experiences over the past three years, I’ve compiled a list of tips to share on how to discern good products.

When you stumble across an indie company that you’re just dying to order from, before you hit that buy button, there are a few things you should do…

Look at the Type of Products Sold

While some great indie and mineral makeup companies only offer eye shadows, so do a lot of companies that merely repackage product. If you’re unsure of what repackaged products are, it’s where a company will buy products wholesale, mark it up 400% and put it into tiny containers to resell it to unsuspecting consumers as a handmade product.
I’ve got no problems with companies that sell unblended shades that are clearly denoted as such, but I often feel it’s duplicitous when a company sells unblended shades at a crazy markup and claims those are handmade when they don’t even add a base to the product. A lot of the great indie (independent) makeup companies out there sell not only eye shadow, but also blush, mixing mediums (Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, anyone?), foundation, and lip products. Lip products and foundations are usually a very positive sign of a legitimate company, because many people find creating both of those product lines to be labor intensive, so someone looking to make a quick buck isn’t likely to make either.

Do Your Research First!

First, Google the company name with the word review after it and see what people have to say. Sometimes, I’ve found a neutral or negative review on a product or customer service to be a deciding factor for if I will purchase. Positive reviews, as well as product swatches, are very helpful in deciding if the product is something I want to purchase, too. It  is also helpful to see how an indie company handled a problem, like if someone had an item missing from an order, or to see how promptly a company responds to inquiries.

Next, Google the company name with the word repackaged after it. If nothing comes up, that’s usually a good sign. If repackaged links come up, see what people say. Some companies, as mentioned before, do sell some unblended colors. This means that they’re a stock shade, usually with a base added to it to make it a finished product. The most common colors to see that are repackaged are the Pops mica. Many companies have sold these shades.

If you’ve found a company that you’re interested in and they have some colors repackaged but others that are not, chances are they carry the repackaged colors due to customer request. Additionally, if the repackaged shades are a finished product, meaning they have a base added, they should be a good product to purchase and wear. Just be wary if a repackaged color doesn’t have any base ingredients listed!

Check out more tips to help you buy from reputable, quality indie brands and learn what ingredients to look for/avoid!  Continue reading →

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Tarina Tarantino Feather Dollskin Cheek Blush
Tarina Tarantino Feather Dollskin Cheek Blush

Tarina Tarantino Feather Dollskin Cheek Blush ($25.00 for 0.20 oz.) is described as “shimmering peach.” It’s a pink apricot with soft golden shimmer that becomes more of a sheen when it’s sheered out. It’s similar to a lot of coral blushes that exist; it’s a bit pinker, less orange compared to cult favorite NARS Orgasm and resembles Benefit CORALista more.  It reminded me a bit of MAC Hipness, too.

The powder is very soft and finely-milled, so when you touch your brush to it, you can pick up quite a bit of color in a single go. This means it is a little powdery, though, so you may want to use a light hand when picking up color. Luckily, though the blush is fairly true-to-pan with good color payoff, it blends out easily because of the overall softness of the powder. It has more of a shimmer-sheen finish, so it doesn’t look frosty or disco ball-like on the cheeks. I had a good experience while wearing it, because it lasted eight hours without migrating or looking faded.

The Glossover

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Feather

A-

I love how well this wears, and I like that it's shimmery without being frosty--more like a glowy, luminous sheen. This is a coral that should work across skin tones, because it isn't orange, even though it is still warm-toned.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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