Monday, September 6th, 2010

Rock & Republic Call Me Blush
Rock & Republic Call Me Blush

Where are my coral blush fiends?

Rock & Republic Call Me Blush ($40.00 for 0.32 oz.) is a gorgeous shade of shimmering pinky-coral with peach shimmer-sheen.  It’s really a ringer for Lancome’s Mandarin Sky (which I also loved), but more-sheen-than-shimmer (and not quite as pink) NARS Orgasm.  I’m obsessed. OBSESSED. with coral blushes, whether they’re pink-coral, peach-coral, or orange-coral, I’m all over them. 

Call Me is beautiful on both cooler and warmer skin tones–it doesn’t have strong orange undertones, so it can work just as nicely on those with pink undertones as those with yellow or olive undertones.   It is, obviously, most complimentary on warmer complexions, though.  The shimmer is incredibly fine and appears as a soft glowy sheen on cheeks.

It’s a very pigmented, smooth textured powder blush; surprisingly impressive for a brand that’s been pulled from all the counters I know of.  Even more impressive given that this brand regularly shows up on discount sites at 50% off.  It’s well worth the $40 price tag, since it is a high-end/luxury line, but the compact itself is quite large–and not just the physical compact, but the product inside weighs in at an impressive 0.32 oz. (most blushes are between 0.15 and 0.21 oz.).  Obviously, an incredible deal at $20 (which is how I got mine).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: For my coral blush lovers, this one is not to be missed.

AVAILABILITY: Rock & Republic

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Napoleon Perdis Air Prismatic Eyeshadow Quad
Napoleon Perdis Air Prismatic Eyeshadow Quad

Napoleon Perdis Prismatic Eyeshadow Quads

Several months ago, I swatched four of Napoleon Perdis Prismatic Eyeshadow Quads ($35.00 for 0.47 oz.). I always meant to post a look using one of them, but I never got around to it. Usually, when I test out products, I put a whole smattering of various products on my face and do partial looks but nothing one would really want to be seen wearing… (One eye has one set of eyeshadows while the other might be testing mascara and liner… and don’t even get me started on mismatching cheeks, LOL!) So even though I may not have an actual full look to show you, I did put these through the rigors I normally put eyeshadows through.

I actually thought these were a lot more affordable than they were; I had classified them as drugstore–but to the contrary! The packaging feels a little cheap to me–it’s clear acrylic with visible, gold hinges. Each palette also includes two sponge-tipped applicators that look as cheap as they feel. For $35, the packaging really leaves a lot to be desired. The eyeshadows are textured with a “wave” shape (see the photos–it’s visible!).

  • AIR features a rather spring-y palette of muted sunshine gold, baby pink with silver sheen, frosted lilac with silver shimmer, and silvered brown. I found this one a little on the sheerer side, which is partially owed to the colors themselves as they’re on the lighter end of the spectrum. All four had very frosty finishes to me, though.
  • EARTH includes a dark navy blue with a satin-shimmer finish, subtly yellow-tinged green with muted gold shimmer, sheer seafoam green with soft gold sheen, and lightened peachy orange with peach sheen and shimmer. The blue shade swatched beautifully, but the other three shades were a little on the sheerer side, with the seafoam green shade being notably lacking in pigmentation.
  • FIRE has a darkened orange-copper with a shimmered sheen, medium-dark beige with champagne shimmer, medium-dark violet purple with a blacker base, and a high-sheen pinkish white. I found this quad to be the most pigmented; all four shades went on really smoothly and vibrantly.
  • WATER contains a sheer, shimmery white, cool-toned gray-cast brown with silver shimmer, glowing periwinkle blue with teal sheen, and light, frosted pink with subtle blue undertones. The periwinkle shade is so pretty, and I don’t have anything quite like it, but the white and pink shades were rather sheer.

Even though at first glance, these palettes seemed really pretty, I wasn’t fond of their textures nor color payoff.  They’re incredibly soft, but they veer on powdery, which makes them difficult to work with.  You really have to pack on the color, and inevitably, you’ll need to clean up the noticeable fall out that lands on your under eye area.   A few shades were nicely pigmented but many fell short–a little sheer, which may also be a result of the powdery formula.

For $35, I wouldn’t put it towards these palettes.  You just can’t make the justification of affordability for the reduction in quality here, because this is under the Napoleon Perdis label (rather than NP Set, which is sold at Target), which is “high-end.”  There is a decent amount of eyeshadow in each palette, so it’s a shame that the formula doesn’t have that wow factor.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t recommend these unless you find them on sale.  Each palette has one or two interesting shades in it, but the quality is just so-so with rather soft, rather powdery textures and less pigmentation than I’d expect for a high-end brand.

AVAILABILITY: ULTA

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, September 5th, 2010


Make Up For Ever #10 Fascinating Lipgloss

Sheer and Pearly by Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever #10 Lip Gloss ($18.00 for 0.20 oz.) is designed to be a moisturizing, vitamin E and shea butter enriched gloss with “pearly extracts” for “truly sexy shimmer.” #10 is a sheer, shimmery nude beige. It’s virtually colorless on my lips, but it does have noticeable shimmer, which does have more of a pearly look than a glittery feel.

The consistency of this gloss is incredibly thin, which is great for those on the hunt for non-sticky glosses (as this one is), but it takes several applications to get enough gloss to cover my lips. It’s not as moisturizing as lip balm, but it doesn’t dry out lips and keeps them decently hydrated during the hour or two the gloss wears. The wear-time is on the shorter end for me, as I typically get two to three hours out of a gloss, and I’m lucky if I get two. There’s a fruity kind of scent, but I didn’t detect any taste, and the scent is on the subtler side.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like thin, non-sticky glosses, you may like Make Up For Ever’s Fascinating Lip Gloss–as long as you don’t mind frequent applications.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

MAC Dark Side Lipstick
MAC Dark Side Lipstick

The Sultry Season: MAC Dark Side Lipstick

MAC Dark Side Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) is a deep cool-toned burgundy-tinged red with an amplified creme finish.  It’s completely opaque with a very creamy texture.  I love the way it applies–even, smooth–and it wears so well.  I usually get three to four hours with a lot of MAC lipsticks, but with such an intense, opaque shade, I can easily get four to five, and a subtle stain will remain for another hour as it fades away.

Is this the right red for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate Lipgloss
Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate Lipgloss

I’ll Show You Sheer!

Last but not least, we have Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate Sheer Lipgloss ($20.00 for .14 fl. oz.) from Bobbi’s Black Velvet Collection. It seems like it’s different from Bobbi Brown’s typical lipgloss, as it’s specifically designed to be sheer. It’s also limited edition. I saw some reviews from 2009 left by customers, so the formula seems reserved for seasonal color collections (but don’t quote me on that).

In all honesty, this is about as sheer as it gets without being absolutely, positively colorless. On my lips, it gives my lips a glossy look and darkens them just a tad. There’s no shimmer, so it’s really just adding that wet shine to your lips–which is fine–but I don’t know if I’d run out and buy a limited edition shade just for that purpose! It looks so sexy in the tube, but the color gets lost on my lips.

It’s a slightly tacky formula with some thickness, but it’s not gluey. I detected a slightly sweetened scent to it, but it was subtle and I couldn’t really place it specifically–other than it was sweet. Even though there’s not much color, the gloss wears well, as other Bobbi Brown glosses have for me in the past; I get around three hours of wear all by itself. So this just might be a review where I bring your attention to her other lip glosses, which don’t tend to be overly opaque, but do impart more color than this particular shade.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The formula is comfortable on lips without drying them out and seems to last longer than your average gloss. If colorless is your thing, you might consider this shade.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

For fall, Butter London gives us four new shades of their 3-Free Lacquers ($14.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.): All Hail McQueen,
Bumster, Marrow (mixed for Vena Cava), and Victoriana (reminiscent of the Victorian era). The first two were inspired by the late Alexander McQueen.

  • All Hail McQueen is a medium beige brown with pale nude shimmer. I needed two coats for a really opaque, even finish.
  • Bumster is a creamy mustard yellow. One coat was almost enough, but two coats made it perfect.
  • Marrow is a muted grape purple that’s been grayed out–it’s not the vibrant shade you’d think of with the term “grape purple” but it’s so fitting. It has very subtle icy silver-white shimmer. Just two coats, though one was rather pigmented.
  • Victoriana is a toned down aqua-teal with soft silver and aqua shimmer. Two coats for even, opaque color.

Butter London’s formula was on the thicker side, but it was very easy to apply and never felt goopy. It spread out easily to give nearly full-color coverage in a single stroke, though I found two coats were the perfect number for all four shades. I’d say that All Hail McQueen was the sheerer shade, but I still managed to do just two on it and get nice results. Bumster is a rather unique shade, and it’s one of those “ugly” shades that some will find pretty, and others, well… think it’s ugly.

I like the bottles, which have a removable black cap that reveals the actual cap with the brush attached to it (so it’s not as awkward in the hand as a rectangular handle!). They’re very space-saving for me, as they line up so well together!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: These are a nice way to wear more muted, darker shades without being incredibly vampy.  Bumster seems the most unique to me, even if it may not work well on all skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: Beauty.com

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →