Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum ($190 to $465) has been relaunched, along with several ancillary products, for the spring/summer. The eau de parfum is now encased in a translucent aqua-blue glass bottle, which retained the same shape as the scents in the Private Blend collection. The launch added bath soap ($35), shower gel ($65), body scrub ($80), body moisturizer ($65), and body oil ($70).

A modern intercontinental version of an iconic fragrance theme balances luminous citrus oils and floral notes with amber undertones that awaken the senses and leave a splashy yet substantive impression. Notes: bergamot, lemon, mandarin, lavender, myrtle, rosemary, orange bitter, Egyptian jasmine, neroli, orange blossom water, pittosporum, woody amber accord, ambrette seeds, angelica root.

It starts out as crisp orange blossom mixed with spiciness that makes it way to something a little sweeter, more of a fruity and floral mix. The dry down is distinctly orange with amber rounding it out in a way that leaves it just right, not too sweet, not too woody. On my skin, the scent wears well for six to eight hours, with it becoming rather subtle by the eighth hour. It’s a very light scent at all times; not that you can’t detect it, but the scent itself is certainly not as heady as scents like Amber Absolute or Oud Wood (two previous scents I’ve reviewed).

Neroli Portofino is a very lovely scent for summer–it reminds me of salty sea breezes, sandy beaches, and iced tea. It took me a few wears to appreciate it for what it is, but after that, I definitely can see the appeal. At first, it just seemed too simple, but the wear is incredible in the eau de parfum.

Now, I also tried out the body oil and shower gel, and on me, neither lasted for as long as the eau de parfum–it really wasn’t even close. The shower gel faded away within an hour, while the body oil lingers for two to three. Both products worked well aside from the wear time, though, and all three work well layered. The shower gel lathers up without leaving skin feeling dry, while the body oil absorbs quickly and imparts a subtle sheen on the skin.

Both products are housed in the same aqua colored packaging but come in plastic. At first, I didn’t quite get why they’d go plastic, but then as I used the shower gel, I got it–you have to squeeze the bottle to get the product out! Unfortunately, squeezing a square bottle is not nearly as effective as a rounded bottle or tube. I would have preferred if both products had come with a pump mechanism. If the eau de parfum is not in your budget, the body oil gave me better wear over the shower gel, but there is also a body moisturizer available, which may have even better wear–I have not tried, though.

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Monday, May 16th, 2011

Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam
Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam

Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam

Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Deep Cleansing Foam ($20.00 for 4.2 oz.) has been my go-to night time cleanser for the past three months, and I’ve really enjoyed using it. I’ll definitely be keeping it in my to-go-back-to bin (as I rotate through to test out new products, I hold onto ones I really like). Earlier this year, Bare Escentuals rolled out a full range of skincare that has been in the works for years, and the cleanser is the first product I figured I’d try out (I am also anxious to review their Purely Nourishing Cream–which I loved–but I keep forgetting to photograph the jar!).

It’s a rich, foaming cleanser that is activated by applying a pearl-sized amount onto wet skin. One thing I love about this product is just how little you need–seriously, a pea-sized amount is more than you really need. It’s a really thick, rich and creamy cleanser that goes on easily and is easy to move across the skin. There is a subtle herbal-ish scent (it’s not strong at all nor does it linger) that seems due to the ingredients (not fragrance, as it is free from synthetic fragrances, as well as parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, and the like).

My skin always feels really clean without being tight or dry, and it feels so gentle the entire time.  Foaming cleansers can sometimes leave skin feeling stripped, but I never experienced that with this cleanser, which I used even when my skin was drier than normal.  The instructions actually say to avoid the eye area, but being impatient as I am, I didn’t read the instructions before using it the first few times, so I used it on my eyes, but I had no ill effects–no stinging, burning, cloudiness, etc. Not that I would endorse using the product that way, but if you accidentally get a little near your eye, it shouldn’t be the end of the world. It was able to break down all my face makeup, including medium coverage foundation.

I’m totally surprised at the affordability of the range, though, and in particular, this cleanser, because seriously, this tube of cleanser will last me a solid year, if not longer. My tube doesn’t even look like I’ve used it, and I’ve used it nearly every night for three months!  Oh, and for Clarisonic users, this cleanser works fabulously with it!

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Monday, May 16th, 2011

Illamasqua Gamma Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Gamma Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Gamma Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Gamma Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is described as a “neon orange.” They really mean neon, too, because this is a medium-dark, neon orange–it’s traffic cone orange, construction orange, whatever you want to call it–it’s bright and in-your-face orange. It’s opaque in nearly one coat, though I did two for swatches, and it dries to this pleather-like finish–a little shiny, kind of matte, but not quite.  The finish reminded me of Orly’s Plastix, though Gamma is more neon and deeper than Orly’s Old School Orange.  Illamasqua’s formula is richly pigmented, smooth, and easy to apply.  I typically get a full week of wear with Illamasqua Nail Varnishes with minimal tip wear and no chips.

The Glossover

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product

Gamma

A
If you love your neons, Gamma is an excellent orange to put on your list. The polish flows so well, coverage is phenomenal, and it wears beautifully.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Milani Purr-fect Purple Baked Eyeshadow
Milani Purr-fect Purple Baked Eyeshadow

Milani Baked Metallic Eyeshadow: Purr-fect Purple

Milani Purr-fect Purple Baked Metallic Eyeshadow ($7.49 for 0.05 oz.) is medium-dark red-toned purple with a silvered shimmer and sheen.  Of the several new shades Milani released, I was disappointed in this one–the pigmentation is just not nearly as intense as it looks in the pan.  The pan looks like a much more vibrant, violet purple with greater depth than is achieved when used (regardless of whether it is used wet or dry).

Milani could ditch that curved sponge/brush applicator, 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

Purr-fect Purple

B-
The color suffers from sheerness, even when applied dampened, which makes it one of the weaker shades from the recent launch of Milani's baked eyeshadows. The color is also more muted than it appears in the pan.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Illamasqua Bacterium Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Bacterium Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Bacterium Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Bacterium Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is described as an “opalescent beige” with a shimmer finish. It is a really intriguing shade, and I think those who tend to collect nail polishes may appreciate this shade in particular. It’s just weird–in a good way–it’s this cross of green, beige, and brown with threads of silver and iridescent opal. The base color reminds me most of khaki–brown with this murkiness–but the way the opal shimmers and reflects light adds interest to the shade.

Illamasqua’s formula is richly pigmented, smooth, and easy to apply. I did notice very slight brush strokes in the finish under really bright light–the kind common in more metallic finished polishes. Bacterium was opaque in two coats. I typically get a full week of wear with Illamasqua Nail Varnishes with minimal tip wear and no chips.

The Glossover

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product

Bacterium

A
It's almost office-friendly... but with a little kick. The quality of Illamasqua's Nail Varnishes is excellent--they apply so fluidly and evenly, and the colors themselves are nicely pigmented and wear well.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Friday, May 13th, 2011


From top left: This & That, Sage & Wisdom, Heaven & Earth, Mix & Switch, Pretty & Prim, Thunder & Rain

MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow Duos (2011) vs. In the Groove Mineralize Eyeshadow Trios

As speculated in my review, the new duos (which I’m still waiting to get official word on re: release date for in-stores, how long they’ll be available for, etc.) are definitely reincarnations of the trios from In the Groove. Five of the six duos correspond with a trio, while one duo requires taking a shade from two different trios to match–but for the most part, they are all quite similar. All swatches are applied wet (using water to dampen).

  • This & That is a duo that I had to take a shade from two different trios. The ivory side in This & That is warmer than the ivory in Cool, Calm, Collected. The beige side in This & That is indistinguishable from the beige (middle strip) in Making It Easy.
  • Mix & Switch compares closely to Making It Easy. The lighter peach side looks about the same in both. The coppery shade in Mix & Switch is more orange-based than in Making It Easy, which is a little browner and redder.
  • Sage & Wisdom is incredibly similar to Cool, Calm, Collected. I couldn’t tell the difference between the two in terms of color. The darker shade swatches slightly better in Sage & Wisdom than in Cool, Calm, Collected.
  • Heaven & Earth is a near perfect match to Blue My Mind. The blue in Heaven & Earth is slightly more pigmented and looks a little deeper, but they are very much the same, as are the two black shades.
  • Thunder & Rain matches Togetherness well–the purples are indistinguishable from each other, while the silver in Thunder & Rain applies smoother than the one in Togetherness, but the colors are about the same.
  • Pretty & Prim is quite similar to Fresh & Easy. The lighter pink seems a little yellower in Pretty & Prim compared to Fresh & Easy, but the darker berry shade seems the same. I had several readers ask how Pretty & Prim compared to Band of Roses, but the two are from different planets – not at all similar.

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