Monday, February 7th, 2011

Shiseido RD 734 Rouge Perfect Lipstick
Shiseido Roseate RD 734 Rouge Perfect Lipstick

Shiesido Perfect Rouge Lipstick: Roseate

Shiseido Roseate (RD734) Perfect Rouge Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a rosy brown with a creamy finish and opaque color coverage. It has a naturally glossy finish that doesn’t yield a lot of shine but creates dimension on the lips. This is a shade that just works–it’s not a nude but an everyday shade that adds color to the complexion but never competes with your features.

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.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: It’s not necessarily a shade that would stop you in your tracks but one that you would find works with so many looks and appropriate for many occasions.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Monday, February 7th, 2011

Tom Ford Amber Absolute Eau de Parfum
Tom Ford Amber Absolute Eau de Parfum

Tom Ford Amber Absolute Eau de Parfum ($190.00 for 1.7 oz.) is described as a ” honey-colored scent infused with the purest form of amber, joined by a tenacious refrain of African incense, labdanum, rich woods and a touch of vanilla bean.”

Initially, it is a burst of smoky incense and amber with an underlying sweetness punctuated by vanilla. A little spicy, but more like a dark, smoky room with incense burning in the background, and it’s very strong and nearly overwhelming in the beginning. Amber is noticeable at every point in the evolution of this scent as the day wears on, but it is most apparent after an hour or so, when the fragrance gets drier.

The vanilla isn’t cloying nor the star at any point while wearing this scent, but it is always there, balancing some of the headier notes of labdanum. The heart of the fragrance is amber, with a resinous incense rounding it out for the first hours, then getting it woodier and a little sweeter. The woods really don’t come into play until several hours have passed, but then they are there, subtle but distinct, along with a touch of sweetness from the vainlla bean.

Like Oud Wood, this is a potent, long-wearing scent–I can still detect it into the next day. Though a pricey affair, I find a spray on my wrist, then gently dabbed onto the other wrist and beneath my ears, is more than enough.

final thoughts: Scents are certainly personal, and at this price tag, trying-before-buying is something you should seek out if possible. It’s a heady, amber scent with lots of smoky incense and a hint of vanilla sweetness.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Monday, February 7th, 2011

Giorgio Armani #517 Rouge d'Armani Lipstick
Giorgio Armani #517 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick

Giorgio Rouge d’Armani Lipstick: 517

Giorgio Armani #517 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a brightened, dark fuchsia with semi-opaque color coverage and fuchsia and pink micro-shimmer. I love that it’s fuchsia but still very much a pink, too; it’s not so fuchsia that it leans purple or violet. Most of the shades I’ve tried from the Rouge d’Armani lipstick line have been opaque but this is short of being full color coverage.

my thoughts on the formula: The formula itself is moisturizing, long-wearing (six to eight hours), and comfortable to wear. It’s not clingy nor heavy, and there’s enough slip to give it that creamy look where the color nearly melts against your lips. Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks are also scent- and taste-free (and no waxy scent, either!). It comes in a sleek, glossy black case with a magnetic enclosure to ensure your lipstick is closed at all times.

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

final thoughts: This is a shade that should work on a variety of skin tones, because deeper pinks can add a lot to a look, and because it doesn’t lean too cool, work well on warmer skin tones, too.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Sunday, February 6th, 2011

NYX Sparkling Beige Round Lipstick
NYX Sparkling Beige Round Lipstick

All That Glitters is Not Always Gold

NYX Sparkling Beige Diamond Sparkle Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a rose-tinged amber brown with lots of copper shimmer and micro-glitter. It is kind of opaque, but it doesn’t apply evenly, so it ends up looking patchy in some places but totally opaque in others. This one was a bummer, because it wasn’t as creamy as NYX lipsticks typically are, and the overall result was less impressive.

my thoughts on the formula: NYX Diamond Sparkle lipsticks are super, super shimmering/glittery (I think the formula’s name should give that away!).  Sometimes they’re opaque, but sometimes, in this instance, they aren’t quite.  Texture can be a little gritty.  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: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: It just depends what your expectations are; I think it can be a fun layering shade for the price tag, but it’s not the same quality as other NYX lipsticks.

where to buy: NYX

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Sunday, February 6th, 2011

theBalm Just This Once Jamie Eyeshadow
theBalm Just This Once Jamie Eyeshadow

theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow: Just This Once Jamie

theBalm Just This Once Jamie Eyeshadow ($16.00 for 0.12 oz.) is an unusual shade–it is a pinked plum-brown with a little grayish taupe tinge.  Do you see how many different shades I fit into the description?  Pink, plum, brown, gray, taupe!  It is certainly a color that will look subtly different on varying complexions–for instance, those with pinker undertones will see the pink become more pronounced, while warmer complexions will see more of the brown peeking through.

The packaging is simple cardboard, which makes these easy to stack and store, plus a little more eco-friendly than plastic, though it may not stand up to wear and tear as prettily as plastic.  I think the cardboard is plenty durable, but you may get a couple dents and scratches over the months/years.

my thoughts on the formula: theBalm’s eyeshadows are soft, silky smooth, and packed with pigment, but I did find that Just This Once Jamie seemed to sheer out a touch when blended.  It was not quite as pigmented as other theBalm shades I’ve tried, and it is a shade that is better wet than dry, because the dampness gives it something to cling to.  It applies evenly and blends out beautifully–but when dry, it nearly disappears when blended.  Worth noting, too, is individual eyeshadows come with 0.12 oz., which is just over double the average eyeshadow–and at a rather affordable price tag.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Definitely worth the price, and you’ll find it will take you quite awhile to hit pan on one of theBalm’s eyeshadows–but even better is that you don’t really end up paying for that privilege.   I wish the texture was more adhesive, such that the color wouldn’t sheer out so easily when applied–I felt like I had to be really careful blending it before it seemed faded.  When used wet, it does work better–but I found using it dry to be of little use and it had to be used wet.

where to buy: Sephora

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Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Cle de Peau #113 Extra Silky Lipstick
Cle de Peau #113 Extra Silky Lipstick

The Sultry Season:  Cle de Peau #113 Extra Silky Lipstick

Cle de Peau #113 Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a reddened brown berry with gold and ruby micro-shimmer in a semi-opaque color base.  It is a really nice shade during fall, because it is vampy enough to be deep and dark but not overpowering.  This should look amazing on cool-toned beauties!

my thoughts on the formula: Extra Silky Lipsticks are one of my favorite lipstick formulas, for their lightweight feel, moisturizing properties, and the way colors look on. I average around four hours of wear, sometimes getting five, and with lighter shades, between three and four. I haven’t met a shade that wouldn’t work on a variety of skin tones. I recommend applying less than you think, because it’s easy to over-apply the product here due to the creamy nature of the formula. At this price (and the amount you get), you don’t want to waste a single bit! These are also scent- and taste-free as far as I can tell.

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

final thoughts: If only these had more product in a tube, these would be some killer lipsticks. As is, the formula is amazing, but it’s so easy to use a tube up.

where to buy: Neiman Marcus

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