Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC’s Dazzlesphere Collection will debut in-stores on November 10th, and the first I’m reviewing is MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) contains four shades: Pearl (pearl), Rose Light (rose), Spicy Smoke (dark strawberry), and Roasted Chestnut (deep chocolate with gold pearl). It took a bit of digging, but I found the official description from when these were originally released, and they’re described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • Pearl is a warm, frosted white. It looks very peach in the pot, but it’s white when applied. I actually thought I had swatched things out of order but lo and behold, it really is that drastic of a difference. The high frost element of these seems to translate into lighter-than-pot shades overall. Pearl was less pigmented than it should be, especially when used dry; you really need to pack on the product to get better color payoff dry. When used damp, it’s better and the metallic finish is brought to the forefront, though there is still an underlying sheerness. It’s warmer and smoother than MAC Forgery.
  • Rose Light is a softened rose pink with a metallic, frosted finish. It seems a little lighter and much smoother than Rose pigment. It’s a bit pinker than the base color of Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy. Inglot #399 is darker, as is Giorgio Armani #7. It applies decently dry, but it performs best when applied wet.
  • Spicy Smoke is an orange-red with a soft, frosted finish. It’s less metallic than the previous two shades. The red gets pulled out more when it is applied damp, while it is more orange when applied dry. It’s a touch redder than Milani I Heart You. MAC Coppering is similar – a bit more metallic in finish.
  • Roasted Chestnut is a dark chocolate brown with bronzy sparkle and shimmer. This one needs to be pressed and “crushed,” because it is one of the chunkier pigments of the four. It holds together nicely once it’s been applied, though. It has opaque color when applied dry, though it is softer and less intense than when it is applied damp. The dry color is a bit like MAC Buckwheat, while Laura Mercier Cedar compares favorably to the color it is when applied damp.

I wore this set as a look (used all of the shades except Rose Light) without a base on one eye and with a base (MAC Mixing Medium) on the other (double-duty testing!). I applied Pearl and Spicy Smoke with a dampened brush, while I applied Roasted Chestnut dry into the crease. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t have any fall out while I wore the look; there was some minor fall out from Roasted Chestnut being used dry during initial application, but I did not find lots of sparkle and shimmer underneath my eye hours later. On the eye without a base, it looked only slightly faded eight hours later as it did when I first applied the shades (with a base, it was fine). The real trick is really pressing the pigment against the lid so it combines and binds together. I recommend using a firmer brush like the 242.

The consistency varies, though they tend to be a little chunky, with some (like Roasted Chestnut) being very chunky in the pot, while some are finer (like Spicy Smoke). Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.  I’m not particularly keen on the packaging; it’s a cute concept–the stackable jars–but they’re messy.

P.S. — It’s interesting how grams/ounces work; each stack of two is labeled as 6g/0.21 oz., while the bottom of the outer packaging said 12g/0.40 oz.. According to a Google conversion from 12g to ounces, it was 0.423 oz. I’m not sure why the math is a little off here.

The Glossover

product

MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
For those used to working with loose colors and not minding some of the inherent mess in this type of product, they're nice overall. You get plenty of product in each pot, and they wear well without a base and have decent to great pigmentation (depending if you use it dry/wet).

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice, Taint, Kink, Faux Pas

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless: Nail Varnishes

Illamasqua’s fall/winter collection, Theatre of the Nameless, included four new shades of their Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.), and they’re described as: Vice (deep cerise), Taint (stone brown), Kink (bottle green), and Faux Pas (blue violet). They have a “rubber finish.”

  • Vice is a reddened berry with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It reminded me of Rescue Beauty Lounge Bruised, which has a shiny finish.
  • Taint is a yellow-tinted brown with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. Barielle Cowl of the Wild is similar but cooler-toned. China Glaze Street Chic is a bit lighter and grayer, plus it has a shiny finish.
  • Kink is a deep forest green with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It’s much bluer and cooler-toned than Rescue Beauty Lounge ORbis Non Sufficit, which also has a shiny finish. It’s greener and less blackened (and has that semi-matte finish) compared to MAC Jade Dragon.
  • Faux Pas is a blue-based violet with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It is similar to Orly Purple Pleather but appears a bit more vibrant.

If you remember Orly’s Plastix Collection, then the finish to these may seem familiar. It’s a bit like vinyl; it’s not matte because there is a muted shine to the natural finish, but it’s not your traditional cream. This type of finish is tempermental; ensure that each coat is dry before applying the next one, and it’s best to wait as long as possible for the final coat to dry before doing anything else. These will pick up and show texture so, so much if you rush! They dry quicker than your standard polish but not as quickly as a matte finished shade.

The wear on this is less than the average Illamasqua Varnish, because in order to maintain the rubbery finish, you can’t use a top coat on top. I managed seven days with noticeable tip wear but no chips–I would have probably removed it after four or five days because of the tip wear, but I wanted to put it to the full week test.

The Glossover

product

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice, Taint, Kink, Faux Pas Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
Because of the reduced wear time (and Illamasqua's Nail Varnishes wear like iron on me with a base/top coat), these seem more like a novelty--like matte polishes, which work well for a certain look but are less durable than traditional nail lacquers.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Illamasqua Belladonna Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless: Belladonna Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Belladonna Intense Lipgloss ($20.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as a “vibrant magenta.” It’s a vibrant, medium-dark fuchsia pink with a creamy finish and glossy shine. It has full color coverage and goes on evenly with little fuss. MAC Full Speed Ahead is similar in color, slightly brighter and bluer-based.

Illamasqua’s Intense Lipgloss formula is one of my favorites, especially when you’re hunting for an opaque gloss. It delivers shine but full color coverage without feathering or bleeding. I typically get really good wear, too; when I sported Belladonna on its own, it wore for a full six hours and lasted until eight hours where I felt I needed to reapply. The glossiness fades quicker (mostly gone by the third hour), but the color lingers for much longer. It’s non-sticky, too, and I couldn’t detect any scent or taste.

The Glossover

P
product

Belladonna

A
Loving the addition of a deeper pink that's still vibrant but not totally in-your-face to Illamasqua's Intense Lipgloss line-up! Full color coverage, six hour wear, and not drying for even a moment makes this formula a favorite.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Fall 2011: Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition duo from fall’s Modern Mercury collection (but it’s still available!). Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Eyeshadow formula is purported to be long-wearing, crease-resistant, and fade-proof (without a primer). In my experience, they manage to get to eight hours with minor fading but no creasing.

The lightest shade is a white-silver with a soft shimmer-sheen; it’s not too metallic, which is nice to see as many silvers tend to be full-on metallics. Bobbi Brown Iced Blue is cooler-toned. MAC Forgery is brighter. I wish the color payoff was better–it’s a bit sheer and doesn’t apply as smoothly as I’d like. The darker shade is a silvery gray with a shimmer-sheen finish. Inglot #339 is a bit darker but similar in tone. It has a slightly powdery texture, so it does not apply smoothly. It has decent pigmentation but could use more intensity to yield true-to-pan color.

The Glossover

palette

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
The colors coordinate well with each other for a softer smoky eye, but the quality is so-so. It's not too impressive for such a basic combo; you're better off investing in really excellent basic shades like these.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Cool Party Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.33 oz.) consists of six eyeshadows: White (pure white), Iced Blue (pale icy blue), Rockstar (medium metallic grey), Sterling (medium silver blue), Gunmetal (dark charcoal blue), and Onyx (black sparkle). The palette has approximately $73 worth of eyeshadows inside, if you were able to purchase them individually (and with the exact same quantity; full-sized Bobbi Brown eyeshadows are typically larger when sold individually).

  • White is a cool-toned snow white that’s so cool-toned it almost reads bluish white. It has a matte finish and good color payoff; despite its starkness, it’s not chalky. It’s similar to Bare Escentuals Cheers and Inglot #373.
  • Iced Blue is a pale silvery white with a mere hint of blue. It’s more silver than it is blue. It has a metallic finish, which comes off as part metallic, part frost. It has good color payoff. It’s similar to Inglot #447.
  • Rockstar is a soft, mushroomy brown with a touch of gray. It has a metallic finish that looks a bit frosted. The color payoff of this shade was dismal, though; sheer and soft–not much like it looks in the pan. NARS Grand Palais is deeper.
  • Sterling is a medium-dark gray with a subtle silver sheen and blue tone. It has a Shimmer Wash finish. It has decent color payoff but slightly dry in texture. Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit is a bit lighter.
  • Gunmetal is a silver shimmered brown-black. It had nice color payoff and applied very smoothly. It has a Shimmer Wash finish. Estee Lauder Black Chrome is similar but not quite as dark. theBalm Inspirational is a little lighter, grayer.
  • Onyx is a mostly matte black base color with silver and multi-colored sparkle on top. It’s a brown-based black. Like many silver sparkled blacks, it is dry with uneven and sheer color payoff.

Two of the six shades were less than impressive in this palette: Rockstar was a bit dry and sheer, while Onyx was extremely dry, sheer, and uneven–plus the sparkle was prone to fall out. The other four shades were good, though, and they all work together with strong, cool undertones and a smoky bent. It will work well on cooler complexions, especailly those looking for a solid smoky eye palette.

The Glossover

palette

Cool Party

B+
Two of the six shades were less than impressive in this palette: Rockstar was a bit dry and sheer, while Onyx was extremely dry, sheer, and uneven--plus the sparkle was prone to fall out. The other four shades were good, though, and they all work together with strong, cool undertones and a smoky bent. It will work well on cooler complexions, especailly those looking for a solid smoky eye palette.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette
Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette

Bobbi Brown Black Ruby Sparkle Eye Palette ($45.00 for 0.28 oz.) consists of four Sparkle Shadow shades: Pink Rose (pink multi-colored pearl), Crushed Silver (light diamond pearl), Black Ruby (black plum with pearl), and Onyx (plum charcoal with pearl). Onyx is the only shade that isn’t new (and exclusive) to the palette, and the palette itself is limited edition. Sparkle eyeshadows is Bobbi Brown’s take on glitter; it uses shimmer and fine glitter in a creamy, translucent base that is supposed to apply smoothly and never crease or travel. From what I understand, these are not opaque in color but should provide some color punch.

  • Pink Rose is a semi-sheer light pink with subtle yellow undertones and darker rose and white shimmer and sparkle. It’s similar to Cle de Peau #207 but glittery. Giorgio Armani #8 is less pink.
  • Crushed Silver is a sheer pale white with iridescent pink and white shimmer and glitter. Chanel Fantasme is whiter.
  • Black Ruby sheer is a brown-burgundy color base with iridescent pink and plum shimmer and sparkle. I couldn’t think of a shade quite like this one with all the shimmer/glitter it has going on. The base color here is a little dry, though, so it has an uneven look.
  • Onyx is a gray-mauve brown with silver sparkle. The color actually reminded me of Illamasqua’s Bacterium Nail Varnish, because of the way it shimmers. Urban Decay Bust is somewhat similar but less purple in the shimmer.

These eyeshadows feel almost wet and creamy, but they’re not like a cream. They have a wet-looking finish, because of how high the shine is. While they have a lot less fall out compared to your traditional glitter eyeshadow in powder form, there are still a few stray glittery bits found along the under eye area after eight hours. I don’t find glitter on my nose from it, though! Generally, the color payoff is semi-sheer but can be built up a bit if used wet or patted on.

Bobbi Brown’s formula could be more consistent, because I initially loved these when they first debuted, but I wasn’t impressed by last year’s holiday palette that included these. This year’s holiday palette is much better and more in line with the ones I do like.  The palette contains around $51.69 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadows (normally $24 for 0.13 oz.).

The Glossover

palette

Black Ruby

B+
These are some of my favorite glitter eyeshadows, because they do stick and stay much, much better than glitter eyeshadows in powder form. Though sheerness seems to be part of the design, some of it seems to result in unevenness, not just softer color.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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