Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Stila Backstage Palette

Shimmer on Backstage with Stila

Stila Backstage Eyeshadow Palette ($28.00 for 0.39 oz.) is an eyeshadow palette with six shimmering shades that range from pale peach to rich teal.  The palette was inspired by the trends seen at Fall Fashion Week, and all six shades are new and can be used either wet or dry.

I’m so pleased to be able to say that THIS is a palette worth purchasing.  The formula of the eyeshadows is exactly like Stila’s normal line.  After my experience with their last palette, I was a little wary of this one.  The texture is incredibly soft (which may take some getting used to if you’ve never used Stila eyeshadows before), pigmented, and almost creamy despite being a pressed, powder eyeshadow.

  • Chiffon is a shimmering medium peach with light yellow undertones.   This is the only shade that seemed a little more on the glittery side; chunkier shimmer rather than very fine.
  • Flamingo is a red-based fuchsia purple with a light iridescent fuchsia sheen.  It’s like a pinker version of MAC’s Stars ‘n Rockets.
  • Pacific is a medium-dark blue with a lighter blue shimmer-sheen.
  • Luster is a mauvey-plum with a slight gray cast and golden sheen–this is a shade I can get down with, because it’s very different.
  • Poetic is a light mauve with a silvery sheen.  It reminds me of MAC Shale.
  • Coal is a rich, darkened teal with a soft teal sheen.

The palette itself has a brocade texture/patterning on the outside but is made out of paper.  There is no mirror inside (which doesn’t bother me, but as many palettes have them, I thought it was worth noting), just a quote. Each eyeshadow is approximately 0.065 oz., which is a little more than your average single eyeshadow, but the palette is priced at just $28 (or ($4.67/each), so it’s a great deal and represents Stila as a brand–quality and all.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love jewel-toned eyeshadows with soft, buttery textures, Stila’s fall palette is a winner.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, August 25th, 2010


Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick: Excessive (67), Emotive (68)

Gotta Love the Richness of Fall

If you thought Chanel was skimping on the darker, vampier shades for fall… not so!  Part of the launch of the new Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss, there are a few new shades of Rouge Allure Lipsticks being launched alongside as well.  Rouge Allure Lipsticks ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) are some of my favorites, because they pack a lot of color in a standout formula:  moisturizing, lightweight, and long-wearing.  I typically get four to five hours of wear, sometimes five to six, with some of the bolder shades (like these).

  • Excessive is this vibrant cherry red with slight blue undertones with a glossy, opaque finish.
  • Emotive is a raspberry pink with a slight fuchsia sheen.  It’s not quite opaque, but it does deliver a fair amount of color coverage.  I found Emotive a little less glossy than Excessive, so it didn’t quite apply as smoothly.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love bolder, more opaque shades, you may want to consider these two shades.

AVAILABILITY:  Chanel

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

NARS Angelique Lip Treatment
NARS Angelique Lip Treatment

When Quantity Matters

NARS Angelique Lip Treament ($25.00 for 0.06 oz.) is an ultra sheer neutral rose that almost leans coral–it just brightens up my natural lip color a bit. It has a glossier finish than your average lipstick, but it feels very lightweight and is moisturizing if you have healthier lips. It’s not overly creamy, bit it glides on lips easily and doesn’t feel like you’re wearing enough, but this also means that it’s just as easy to over-apply the product. (And trust me, with the amount you get, you don’t want to do that.) It doesn’t keep my lips moisturized all day though, and I do find myself needing to reapply every three to four hours.  It also carries a rating of SPF 15 (titanium dioxide).

So, this is a situation where I’m really bothered by the product’s price/quantity ratio. I’m willing to give all products a fair shake, and I recognize that there are brands at different price points with some brands trying to be more accessible and others remaining at arm’s length and obviously in the luxury category. I expect pricing to be in line with the brand’s image, similar products, etc., and I expect quantity to be around the average for that brand and/or direct competitors.

I don’t understand why NARS’ Lip Treatments are $25 (which is $1 more than their lipsticks and glosses) and HALF the size.  This is not a product that packs a ton of pigment in a single swipe so you can put it up to using less, or it’s full of innovative, never-before-seen ingredients/technology.  This is a product I’d easily use 3-4 times a day:  two weeks of usage and it’s already over half gone.

And so many thought Fresh was a splurge at $22.50 (but for 0.15 oz.)… Dior (which tends to be pricier than NARS) has their Lip Glow ($28.00 for 0.12 oz.), Fusion Beauty has LipFusion Balm Lip Conditioning Stick ($22.00 for 0.17 oz.), and so on. If you want to go NARS, I’d suggest one of their lipsticks instead, which are quite moisturizing as far as lipsticks go (on average) with some colors on the sheer side, others more semi-opaque, but at least you’ll get twice as much product.

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

RECOMMENDATION: I would pass, because they’re just way too pricey for what you get. There are plenty of other more moisturizing tinted lip balms (that come in stick-form) with twice as much product for about the same price. If NARS was just a little below the average, it wouldn’t be so bad, but they’re half as much and the size is half as much as their own lipsticks (which are fairly moisturizing!).  If you have dry or peeling lips, this won’t be enough.

AVAILABILITY: NARS, Sephora

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub
Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub ($36.00 for 12 oz.) is touted as both a body scrub and skin polish, though the two terms mean different things to me. A body scrub is a coarser product designed to help slough off dead skin cells on the skin that covers your body (which essentially excludes your face, possibly your neck), while a skin polish is a grainier, finer product that buffs and just tends to be gentler overall. Do they mean the same thing to you? I’m more curious than anything. We all have our own expectations/ideas depending on products and how they’re marketed!

The body scrub has a fresh lemony scent that’s light and not synthetic, and it’s really not a scent that will last and last post-shower. It has rather fine, grainy particles that will get the job done, but if you’re looking for a coarser scrub like your typical salt/sugar scrub, I don’t think this will be vigorous enough for you. However, if you prefer something smoother, finer, and altogether gentler (particularly if you have sensitive skin), the consistency of this product is more up your alley. Bliss calls the exfoliating piece “circular scrubbing grains,” which is good, because their spherical nature will avoid tearing the skin.

Ingredients: Water, Myreth-3 Myristate, Octyl Stearate, Polyethylene, Butylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Distearate, Dimethicone, Propolis Extract, Dimethicone Copolyol, Beeswax, Gylcereth-7 Hydroxystearate/IPDI Copolymer, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Triethanolamine, Hops Extract, Horsetail Extract, Beeswax, Stearamidopropyl Phosphatidyl PG-Dimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea.

I like that my legs feel rejuvenated and more moisturized after using this product. Not all scrubs impart moisture, and I can always appreciate one that multi-tasks (though if you suffer from drier, scalier legs like me, you don’t get to skip the body butter). Depending on your budget and what you like to splurge on, Bliss’ body scrub isn’t for everyone–it can seem pricey. Personally, it takes me ten years (exaggeration!) to get through a jar of body scrub, so if it does the job I like, smells good, etc., I’m not overly concerned whether it’s $10 or $40, since I know I’m going to get plenty of use out of it. If, on the other hand, I was going through a jar a month, I’d be more wary.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you prefer gentler exfoliating products for your body, consider Bliss’ Lemon + Sage Body Scrub, which uses very fine, grain-like particles to get rid of dry skin.

AVAILABILITY: bliss, Sephora

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Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Burberry Ruby Lipstick
Burberry Ruby Lipstick

Burberry Ruby (18) Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a gorgeous shade of bright, lush red with a faint blue-base but not at all too cool for warmer skin tones to wear.  A few weeks ago, when I reviewed Burberry’s Russet Blush, I had so many of you ask me about the lip color–in case you missed it, Ruby was it!

It’s a nearly opaque shade that packs lots of color without feeling heavy or slick on lips.  It’s lightweight in its feel, satiny in its texture.  The application is even and smooth and doesn’t require a lot of layering (just one or two passes).  There’s a soft sheen but not really a shimmer to it.  It does have a floral scent, which is noticeable in the tube but not when I wore it.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For a beautiful, slightly blue-based red, Ruby would be a good pick.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Burberry Cameo Lipgloss
Burberry Cameo Lipgloss

Burberry Cameo (08) Lipgloss ($27.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is a beautiful shade of peachy-melon with soft golden shimmer and a nice level of glossy sheen.  It’s semi-opaque, so it delivers a healthy dosage of color to lips, but it doesn’t cover or mask your natural lip color.  Those with redder lips may find that this turns their lips a rather pretty shade of coral, because that natural redness will peek through but be lightened up by the gloss’ coloring.

Burberry’s gloss is non-sticky, not too thin or thick, and feels rather comfortable on lips.  It’s not drying, and it lasts three to four hours on me (on the longer end of gloss for me).  It does have Burberry’s floral scent, though I did not notice it lingering while I wore it, but if you tend to be sensitive to scents, particularly rose or floral ones, this might not be something to pick up scent-un-sniffed.

The packaging is right in line with the brand’s makeup range; the gunmetal, checked cap with a clear tube (so you can see the gloss color).  Burberry didn’t skimp on the product with 0.20 fl. oz., which is about average for designer brands or above average for high-end brands.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For a non-sticky gloss with medium color coverage, staying power, and a sophisticated shimmer, Burberry’s lipglosses nails all three.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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