Thursday, January 6th, 2011


China Glaze Anchors Away Collection

China Glaze Anchors Away: Part 1

China Glaze’s nautical-inspired collection consists of twelve new shades, and this post features these six:  Ahoy! (delightfully intense pink that flashes with reflective glitter), Below Deck (flirty mix of taupe and violet), First Mate (sophisticated and rich navy creme), Hey Sailor (vibrant creme red), Knotty (micro-particle beige shimmer), and Life Preserver (highly pigmented and luxurious poppy creme).

Edited @ 7:12 AM PST:  Hey Sailor images should show now!

  • Ahoy! is raspberry pink with flecks of subtle gold and ruby sparkle. In the promo photos, this shade looked a lot like Strawberry Fields, but Ahoy! is much, much darker; redder, too, and the gold is less noticeable. I used three coats.
  • Below Deck is a grayed mauve with a cream finish. I used two coats. It is a shade darker and more neutral than MAC Cool Reserve.
  • First Mate is a rich, luxurious navy blue cream. I did two coats, but you could almost get away with one–it’s that pigmented. I would compare First Mate to Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Dead Calm, which is perhaps only a smidgen darker.
  • Hey Sailor is a poppy red cream with lovely pigmentation. Like First Mate, one coat is nearly pigmented enough, though I did two. Zoya’s Maura is similar, slightly less red, though.
  • Knotty is a pale, yellowed, champagne beige with light champagne shimmer. With three coats, there is still some nail line showing, but I get the feeling this wasn’t designed to be 100% opaque. Not quite sure of a dupe for this one, though I wouldn’t go as far as saying this is unique, either.
  • Life Preserver is a brightened, rusted orange cream. I used two coats for an opaque result. I couldn’t think of just the right dupe for this shade–the rusted/burnt feeling makes it seem different compared to other orange creams I own.

Though the formula on these seemed to be a bit thicker than average for China Glaze, application was still even and smooth. I ended up with at least two coats on all of these, though some I did three with. China Glaze is one of my personal favorite brands, because of their color and finish range–I really feel like they bring out a little something for everyone in each of their seasonal collections. China Glaze polishes last a good week on me with just minor tip wear by day seven.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: From this set, I really loved Ahoy! and First Mate–they’re bold, beautiful on, and apply flawlessly.

WHERE TO BUY: January/February 2011

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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Milani Berry Rich Lipstick
Milani Berry Rich Lipstick

Milani Berry Rich Lipstick

Milani Berry Rich Lipstick ($4.99 for 0.13 oz.) is a vibrant pinked cherry red with a creamy finish and near opaque color. It applies beautifully and wears well. Milani’s Color Perfect Lipstick is a creamy, moisturizing formula with opaque color coverage. It does have a rather a synthetic/waxy scent, though, which may be too much for those with sensitive sniffers. I typically get three to four hours of wear on average with this formula.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a great variation on red for those with cooler undertones!

WHERE TO BUY: Milani

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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Storm Nail Lacquer
Estee Lauder Wild Storm Nail Lacquer

Estee Lauder Spring 2011: Wild Storm

Estee Lauder Wild Storm Nail Lacquer ($19.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is a steely gray with a hint of bluish-teal micro-shimmer with a faint metallic-frost finish. The blue-tinge is very subtle–it’s more noticeable in the bottle than it is on the hands. The blue comes out strongest in natural light (or low light), but it is there. I only need two coats for an opaque result, and it applied smoothly and fairly evenly, despite minor brushstrokes showing up under flash lighting.

I was initially reminded of Chanel Steel, but it’s nothing like it–it is far too black to be similar. Then, I thought perhaps it was in the same vein as Chanel Black Pearl, but Black Pearl is much more teal–not so much silver or blue. It is like a darker version of NARS Full Metal Jacket. It is also like Zoya Kelly–with shimmer.

The formula itself wasn’t too thick or thin and applied smoothly without any issues. Drying time seemed average, and there was a soft glossy shine, but I’d still recommend a top coat. The amount in the bottle is a little below average, I’d say, while the price tag is a bit hefty.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: While I’ve been really impressed with the uniqueness in some of Estee Lauder’s polishes lately, Wild Storm doesn’t quite hit those notes for me.

WHERE TO BUY: Estee Lauder

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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Chanel Promesse Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Promesse Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Promesse Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Promesse Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a [relatively] new and limited edition pastel palette, which is exclusive to Chanel.com. For those of us in the U.S., the palette is in the “international style,” where the eyeshadows have more of a baked appearance and texture; they are noticeably different from the texture and design of most U.S. eyeshadow quads. I’m generally not a fan of Chanel’s quads in this formula, because the shades are often very sheer and nowhere near as soft–typically, the only way to use them is wet–this is based on my experience with three or four of this kind of quad.

Promesse delivers decent pigmentation across all four shades, both wet and dry, which I was really happy to see. These also didn’t seem to skip or drag at all when used dry. The palette includes a pale white with a blue tinge in a frosted metallic finish; pink-tinged champagne beige; warm bronze with a frosted finish; and pale, pastel green with a pearly finish. The beige shade was the sheerest when used dry, but the others were fine. When used wet, all four performed well. The texture also seemed softer and silkier than usual.

I’m always taken aback when I see how little is supposed to be in here, just 0.04 oz. (less than most single eyeshadows, and U.S. Chanel quads are typically 0.21 oz.), and I can say that it certainly doesn’t look like there isn’t enough product in it. From a weight perspective, it seems ridiculously low, but when I look at the product itself and the way they seem to fill the pan, it’s hard to align those two images.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I like this quad best on paler skin tones, because two of the four shades are very, very pale and almost white, which may look too stark and almost ashy on medium to dark skin tones.

WHERE TO BUY: Chanel

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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011


Zoya Intimate Collection: Caitlin, Dannii, Dove

Zoya Intimate Collection Review, Photos, Swatches

Zoya’s Intimate Collection features six new shades for spring, and it will launch online on January 15th. Each bottle retails for $7 and contains 0.50 fl. oz. The shades include: Caitlin (misty, moody gray violet cream), Dannii (sparkling, enchanted orchid metallic), Dove (delicate, pale gray cream), Gemma (mysterious green/purple duotone metallic, Jules (soft, glimmering gold kiss metallic), and Marley (lavender pink with a whisper of metallic).

  • Caitlin is a muted, gray, violet-tinged periwinkle with a cream finish. I used two coats. I’m thinking China Glaze Secret Periwinkle might be similar but brighter/more obvious periwinkle.
  • Dannii is a pinked violet with red undertones and gold and ruby shimmer and sparkle. I used two coats. I can’t think of dupes for this one at the moment.
  • Dove is a softened, pale gray with an ever-so-slight tinge of green-teal (at least, on me). I used two coats. It seems like a lighter version of Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Concrete Jungle.
  • Gemma is a murky spring green with soft yellow undertones and flecks of teal and fuchsia shimmer. It took three coats for me to get this to be opaque (I did just two coats on my pointer figure, for reference). I couldn’t think of a dupe for this one.
  • Jules is a pale champagne beige gold with darker gold flecks. This dries down pretty quickly and definitely needs a top coat to retain a high shine finish. I used two coats. It reminded me of MAC Soiree, but Soiree is significantly more copper, though the finishes are similar. Also similar in finish to Dior Timeless Gold but not so much in regards to color (boo!).
  • Marley is a pale lavender cream with subtle pink undertones and a dusting of pearly white micro-shimmer. Two coats. Ironically, for as light as this shade was, it was the most pigmented of all six. I thought perhaps China Glaze Light As Air would be similar, but it’s far too cool-toned (more blue-based thank pink-based) and lighter. I think Essie’s Neo Whimsical is the closest I have, but it’s pinker and has no shimmer.

The formula on these was easy to work with–not too thin or too thick–and applied evenly without any fuss.  Gemma was the only shade I found needed three coats to look its best, while the rest were fine in two coats.  I really loved the ease of application on both Dannii and Jules–this is my kind of finish but they’re just so effortless to apply.   I wore Dannii all last week, and after seven days, I only had minor tip wear.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: My favorites were Dannii, Jules, and Marley.  I actually really loved the subtly of the pearly shimmer in Marley; it looks very much like a cream in natural light, but with just a bit of sunlight, it has this faint glimmer of sparkle.

WHERE TO BUY: Zoya, available on January 15th.

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Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Estee Lauder Extravagant Red Lipstick
Estee Lauder Extravagant Red Lipstick

Estee Lauder Holiday 2010: Extravagant Red

Estee Lauder Extravagant Red Long Lasting Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a limited edition shade from Estee Lauder’s holiday collection (which also features Extravagant Berry). The best part about this lipstick is actually the gold glitter overspray on the outside of the lipstick–it’s just a shame it wears off. The lipstick itself does have a faint gold shimmer to it, but it is quite subtle. It is a rich, opaque orange-based red with subtle gold micro-shimmer, soft shine, and intensely pigmented. It wears for six hours with ease, and it doesn’t leave lips feeling dry. Like other Estee Lauder lip colors, it did have their sweet fig scent.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: I like everything these is about this lipstick — it’s smooth, pigmented, and wears comfortably.  The shade itself is not particularly unique, though, so for those who find themselves buying red lipsticks often, you may have something similar enough to this to skip.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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