Monday, January 31st, 2011

Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Lipstick
Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Lipstick

Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Perfect Rouge Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a warmed up caramel brown with a hint of coral. It’s semi-opaque and finishes with a noticeable glossiness.  I have always felt that Shiseido’s Perfect Rouge is rather under-appreciated, because it is such a flattering formula.

my thoughts on the formula: It’s moisturizing and applies evenly, while it wears for about four hours before beginning to fade. It is also scent- and taste-free. Perfect Rouge has a really beautiful color range and ranges from semi-opaque to opaque in color. The finish is a semi-gloss with very subtle micro-shimmer.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This is a beautiful shade for warmer skin tones; it is a color that works alone or paired with a brighter eye/cheek.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Monday, January 31st, 2011

Fresh Soy Face Cream
Fresh Soy Face Cream

Skincare: Fresh Soy Face Cream

Fresh Soy Face Cream ($38.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a lightweight face cream that moisturizes skin without leaving behind any greasy residue. To me, this feels and acts like a no-frills face cream, but it has a surprising amount of ingredients designed to hydrate and freshen the skin.

what it’s supposed to do: It is a paraben-free daily moisturizer for all skin types. It is enriched with moisture-retaining amino acids and protective antioxidants to hydrate and smooth the skin. Provides essential daily moisture while soothing, protecting, and firming the skin. It is scientifically demonstrated to have significant, long-term moisturizing and restorative effects on the skin. The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula can be worn alone or under makeup.

It took me about a month and a half to get through an entire tube, and I used it as my AM moisturizer. My skin type is normal-to-dry, and when I was using this, it was early fall, so my skin was closer to normal. I found this kept my skin perfectly hydrated throughout the day, and I loved how thick and rich it felt when I first applied but then how quickly it absorbed.

There are a few ingredients in the cream that work to give skin a better appearance but not in the vein of delivering you newborn baby skin–it includes rosewater and cucumber extract, both of wihch help to balance/restore skin while calming irritation/redness. There is also meadowfoam and jojoba seed oils that amp up hydration.  I felt like this came in handy after doing several cheek swatches–always made my skin feel better about itself.

ingredients: Water, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Stearic Acid, PPG-2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Maltooligosyl Glucoside, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyglyceryl-10 Distearate, Sucrose Polysoyate, C14-22 Alcohols, Sea Water (Maris Aqua), Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Jojoba Alcohol, Potassium Jojobate, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Acrylamide/Ammonium Acrylate Copolymer, Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Polyisobutene, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Polysorbate 20, Maltodextrin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol.

It has this fresh scent of cucumbers and rose with a little citrus. It smells natural to me–not synthetic, not flowery–and I liked it personally. It comes in a squeeze-tube, which I liked, because it made it convenient to dispense and hygenic to use.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: I liked this a lot–I would definitely consider purchasing it again in the future. There was enough richness to keep my skin hydrated during the day, but it absorbed into the skin in a minute or less, and so it made for an excellent base under makeup, too.

where to buy: Sephora

Monday, January 31st, 2011

NYX Espresso Lipstick
NYX Espresso Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Espresso Lipstick

NYX Espresso Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a muted red-toned berry with a creamy feel and semi-glossy finish.  The color applies evenly and opaquely with very little product, and it feels comfortable to wear.

my thoughts on the formula: NYX Round Lipsticks are really creamy and generally opaque in color. The texture and shade range are great. However, the scent of them can run from waxy to synthetic sweetness (neither are particularly pleasant)–and sometimes they smell like nothing at all. I typically get two to three hours of wear.

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

final thoughts: This shade works well on both cooler and warmer skin tones, but it is particularly lovely on cool, pale skin.

where to buy: NYX

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Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Smashbox Endless Kiss Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss
Smashbox Endless Kiss Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss

Smashbox Spring 2011: Endless Kiss

Smashbox In Bloom Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a pale coral-nude with subtle gold shimmer. On lips, it’s virtually colorless, while it does add a glossy shine. This is a new and limited edition shade from Smashbox’s spring collection. This gloss has an angled doe-foot applicator that’s thin and pointed, which makes it easier to maneuver on thinner lips.

my thoughts on the formula: It’s a thicker, nearly non-sticky but it has this faint tackiness, along with a subtle, spiced vanilla scent. I have not found the majority of the range to have much pigmentation, so the differences between each gloss is minimal. They last four hours on me, which is shy of the six they’re proposed to last. My concern with these glosses in the amount you get — a mere 0.10 oz. Most glosses are more like 0.20 oz.  They do have SPF 15 in them, which is a nice touch.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: From what I’ve read and seen, these are not meant to deliver a lot of color but are more about high shine with longer-lasting results.

where to buy: Sephora

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Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Make Up For Ever #4 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick
Make Up For Ever #4 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick

Digging for Antiques with Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever #4 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a dusty pink with a matte finish. It’s opaque in color, and it wears really long and well (over five hours). It’s actually described as a “matte antique pink,” and I can kind of see where they get that, but there’s just this peeking of coral through the pink that I can’t ignore.

my thoughts on the formula: The Rouge Artist Intense formula is typically opaque, and while it’s not a moisturizing lipstick, it’s not a drying one either, though it does not feel creamy against the lips (it may take a little more pressure to apply than your average lipstick). With lighter shades, I see four hours of wear, but with darker shades, I get around five to six hours of wear.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This is a flattering shade on a variety of skin tones, from light to dark, cool to warm. The color coverage is excellent, so it should work well on those with more pigmented lips, too. It is also one of the less clingy shades from the Rouge Artist Intense range.

where to buy: Sephora

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Saturday, January 29th, 2011


MAC Wonder Woman Collection

MAC Wonder Woman: Overall & Recommendations

OVERALL, I found the collection rather underwhelming, and I was particularly disappointed in the quality of the eyeshadow quads. I had a few readers ask me what I would purchase if I was normal consumer and not a beauty blogger… and I really don’t know if I’d purchase anything. At best, one or both of the blush duos. There are a few too many repromotes from the permanent range, which is more frustrating because all of the prices are increased with the collaboration than they are normally. I’m surprised they did not create any new shades of pigments for the launch.

Heroine lipstick is actually a very lovely shade, but I can see it being difficult to wear. Spitfire is a shade that we’ve been seeing in slightly different variations over the past six months. Wonder Woman lipglass had promise but the sheerness seemed off–this is Wonder Woman, where the packaging is bold and bright! Both blushes had nice pigmentation and were smooth, so I did like those. I’m just not thrilled to see the $24 price tag accompany them–at least you do get more for your money. Golden Lariat mineralize skinfinish pulls rather orange, so it is a more limited shade; it should work lovely on warm, medium to dark skin tones. Pink Power mineralize skinfinish is more universally wearable, but it is awkward to hold and feels gigantic.

I’m not sure which product disappointed me more: the eyeshadow quads or the oversized (but now awkward to use) Penultimate eyeliner. Ultimately, the pigmentation and texture are lacking in all three eyeshadow quads, with Defiance being the least pigmented. Some shades are almost chalky, but the texture is thin–almost had. I felt like I had to scrape out product in order to build up a swatch. Each palette had one, maybe two, shades that did have a soft, smooth texture and decent pigmentation, but one shade does not a palette make.

I tihnk the packaging is fine–you either love it or hate it. It’s certainly not packaging that will appeal to all. I have no emotional attachment to Wonder Woman (didn’t watch her, don’t know her back story, etc.), and it’s not my aesthetic, but I don’t carry around my makeup, so it wouldn’t matter to me that I don’t love it if the product inside high quality–but the packaging would compel me to buy just to have it.

Photos, Reviews, Swatches

Check out my recommendations, what to check your stash for, what to skip, and recommendations by skin tone! Continue reading →