Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss
Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss: Charm, Candy

Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss: Charm & Candy

Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss ($29.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a slightly tacky, mostly glossy, lipgloss. These have a shine that’s glossier than your average lipgloss, so lips look very lush and juicy. I’ve tried a few different shades of Dolce & Gabbana’s lipglosses, and they seem to be on the sheerer side, with nothing being completely opaque. I like that they’re moisturizing, and they fade really well when they wear away. I only get about two to three hours of wear, which is a little below average for me. These glosses are rose-scented but don’t seem to have any taste.

  • Charm is a sheer medium pink with fuchsia and ruby sparkle.
  • Candy is a semi-sheer milky medium pink with no shimmer just a glossy shine.

With just 0.13 oz. in a tube (compared to 0.20 oz. for other high-end brands like Chanel, Guerlain, and YSL), these are pricey.  Overall, they’re nice glosses, but it’s not quite the holy grail.  For the price tag, I’d probably opt for Chanel or Guerlain glosses instead–or perhaps Dior’s Ultra Gloss.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: These are definitely a splurge item.  If you’re able to check out the line in person and you find a shade that really works for you, I think it’s worth getting.  But if you’re just shopping around for a new gloss, there are a few others I’d consider before these.

AVAILABILITY: Dolce & Gabbana Lipgloss

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Friday, August 13th, 2010

Illamasqua Growl Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Illamasqua Growl Lipstick

Illamasqua Growl Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deep reddened brown-wine with opaque color coverage and a low sheen.  This is a shade that will last six to eight hours without much work, because it has a drier formula, it really clings to lips.  I don’t find Illamasqua’s shades drying, but they do take a little more pressure to apply.  They’re creamy and yet not slippery.   This shade sits right between MAC Media and MAC Underworld.

Is this the right vamp 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.

The Glossover

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Thursday, August 12th, 2010

MAC underworld Lipglass

The Sultry Season: MAC Underworld Lipstick

MAC Underworld Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.17 oz.) deepened red-based brown with a glossy, satin finish.  It is similar in look and feel to Media, but it is darker and browner–not quite as wine/burgundy.  It works well as a stain (just blot after applying and add a touch of gloss), if you don’t want to wear it at full power.  Since it’s such a dark shade, I like it paired with a very simple nude eye and eggplant eyeliner.

Is this the right brown 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 →

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

ORLY Cosmic Collection
Nail Lacquers: Out of This World, It’s Not Rocket Science, Haley’s Comet

Intergalactic, Planetary, Planetary, Intergalactic

This September, ORLY’s Cosmic FX Collection will launch.  According to ORLY, these polishes have a textured finish that have multi-dimensional flashes of shine as a result of “MINERAL FX” technology.  This technology uses a mix of natural rock minerals, crystals, and glass that give these shades an optical effect.  All six shades will retail for $10 each and are limited edition.

From ORLY…

The MINERALFX technology includes specialty mica, that allows for a clearer, vibrantly bright lustrous shimmer. Crystals allow for a multi-dimensional color transformation. Glass particles carefully controlled in shape and size create a luminous phenomenon. This combination infused with the Silica and specific colors selected create this exclusive technology that gives nails a unique optical effect that’s magnified as the lighting source intensifies or viewing angle changes.

Nail Lacquers

  • Out of This World is a deep purple base with shimmer flecks of violet purple and green gold.  Three coats.
  • It’s Not Rocket Science is an olive green base with darkened chartreuse and teal shimmer. It looks rather chartreuse-y at some angles, while in others, it almost looks emerald green as the teal comes into play.  Two coats.
  • Haley’s Comet is an aqua-blue color base with flecks of green, teal, and blue shimmer. It looks bluer at some angles, more mermaid-esque at other angles. I found that this one had the least powerful duochrome.  This felt like the least pigmented, so it definitely needed a full three coats.  This also bears a strong resemblance to Zoya’s Charla.
  • Space Cadet is one of the coolest shades of the six. It has a very strong duochrome finish/effect. It looks like a mauvey plum but then it glints a chartreuse-y green with strong gold undertones. I can’t think of anything I have that’s quite like this.  Two coats.
  • Galaxy Girl is a beautiful deep wine-purple base with red undertones. It has flecks of teal and darkened fuchsia-purple shimmer. It’s dark and a little vampy, but I absolutely love the subtle but noticeable duochrome effect.  Two coats.
  • Lunar Eclipse is a glowing indigo blue that flashes violet, electric blue, and inky blue. It’s incredible–it’s my personal favorite. This was the most pigmented shade of the six, and it only needed two coats.

ORLY completely hit a homerun here for me.  Not only was this the collection I was most anticipating personally, but it fulfilled all my expectations.  It did not disappoint at any point.  The formula was nicely pigmented and not too thick, easy to work with, and the shimmer and glass flecks distributed evenly. I didn’t have any issues with drying time when I used Zoya’s Color Lock System, including their quick drying drops–I was typing away just minutes after applying the Hurry Up drops.  I also love the rubber caps of ORLY’s polish, because it makes handling them foolproof.

There’s only one downside and that’s the price–these are more expensive than your usual ORLYs (which retail at $7.50).  Don’t get me wrong, considering I’ll happily fork over $23 for a Chanel shade, I think these are completely worth it.  They’re interesting and complex shades that apply well, which is what makes a polish worth it for me.

But in the end, there’s really only one word to sum up this collection: BADASS.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love pops of color on your nails, ORLY’s Cosmic collection is NOT to be missed!

AVAILABILITY: September 2010 at orlybeauty.com, ULTA, and Sally Beauty

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Video Review:  Urban Decay Book of Shadows 3

I’m way more articulate in my written review, but this might be helpful as an overview or if you are a more auditory learner. :)  I do recommend watching the video in HD.  So much prettier that way!

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III
Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

Exclusive: First Look @ Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Vol. III

For the holidays, Urban Decay will be launching the third installation in their Book of Shadows palette series. The palette will retail for $54, and while I don’t have an exact date yet, based on past releases, mid to late September is a good bet. If you’re in the NYC area on August 28th, you can snag one of 1,000 pieces available for sale at the Times Square Sephora (details here).  It’s expected to launch online at urbandecay.com after Labor Day and at other retailers on October 1st.

The palette includes 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.48 oz.), 2 miniature-sized eyeliners (0.03 oz. each, total of 0.06 oz.), and 1 minature-sized Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.). To break down the value for you, this represents $163.20 worth of eyeshadow ($340/oz.), $25.50 worth of eyeliner ($425/oz.), $6.88 of Primer Potion ($52.94/fl. oz.). In sum, it’s the equivalent of $195.58 worth of Urban Decay products. You will, of course, have to spend much more as individual products are all slightly bigger (e.g. each full-size eyeshadow retails for $17).

Anyway, the point is that no matter how you slice it, Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows palettes have a lot of value. The quality of the shadows is exactly what their full-size and permanent shades represent; there is no skimping here.

Eyeshadows

  • Perversion is a matte charcoal black. It’ll darken anything you want to, and it’s a good black, but it’s not an ultra deep black. Not at all chalky! This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in BoS I and II.
  • Uzi is a whitish-silver with flecks of silver glitter. I’ve found this shade has some fall out, but it’s not too bad. This is a permanent shade, and it has been featured in the Sustainable palette.
  • Loaded is a deep forest green with a metallic shimmer sheen. It is hands down my favorite shade in the palette — it’s like a greener version of NARS’ Rajasthan! This is new and exclusive to this palette.
  • Kush is a medium grassy green with a subtle cool undertone. This is a nice shade with excellent color payoff, and it is new and exclusive to this palette–but it does have some cousins. It’s a darker version of Graffiti (permanent) and Absinthe (BoS I), and it’s a greener, darker version of Homegrown (BoS II).
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again is a pink-tinged champagne with champagne flecks of glitter. It may be one of my least favorite eyeshadows of all time, because it has so much fall out, even though it feels very smooth. I recommend using it with a stickier base and make sure you have Q-tips and makeup remover to control the fall out. This shade is permanent, and it has been in BoS II and BoS Alice in Wonderland, as well as the Sustainable palette.
  • Last Call is a medium plum with strong red undertones and shimmer finish. This is a permanent shade that’s also a popular palette shade–it’s been featured in BoS I, BoS AiW, and Ammo.
  • Rockstar is a deep shade of eggplant purple with burgundy-red undertones and a shimmer-sheen. This is a new and exclusive shade to the palette–but the color is like Rockstar 24/7 Eye Pencil (duh!).
  • Money is a silvered blue with a metallic blue-green sheen. Very pretty and will be a great shade to layer over colored bases to bring out different undertones. This shade is new and exclusive to the palette.
  • Haight is a brightened medium blue with a frost finish that pulls just an itsy bit teal. This is shade is permanent, but it’s a Sephora exclusive. It hasn’t been in any other palettes.
  • Maui Wowie is an antique gold with a nearly metallic gold sheen. It also has flecks of dark gold glitter, so it can have some fall out issues. This is a permanent shade, and it’s also been in BoS AiW and Ammo.
  • Smog is a medium-dark bronze with a shimmer-frost finish. This is a shade that’s been in a ton of palettes! It’s permanent, but it has also been released in BoS I, Ammo, Naked, and Vegan.
  • Bordello is a mauve-tinged pink with soft flecks of dark pink shimmer-glitter. It’s smooth, pigmented, and has an almost metallic sheen. The glitter is similar to Uzi’s, but it feels a little finer. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Radium is a true medium blue with a cooler undertone and a softer frost finish. Great pigmentation! It is new and exclusive to this palette, and I imagine its color gets inspiration from Radium Cream Eyeshadow.
  • Snatch is a peachy-pink with a frosty finish. It’s very smooth and has nice pigmentation. This was originally in the Show Pony palette.
  • Suspect is a medium bronze that pulls a smidgen taupe and has a rather cooler undertone. I thought it was similar to some of the browns in previous BoS palettes (like Sidecar, Nylon, Gridlock, etc.), but those all have obvious red undertones in comparison. This is a new and exclusive shade.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a brightened medium purple with red undertones. It’s a nice shade of purple that’s pigmented and has a soft frost sheen. It’s a permanent, but it is a Sephora exclusive. This is the first time it’s been in a palette.

Eyeliners

  • Zero is a deep black. Very pigmented, definitely a handy shade to have. Even if I do have five of them at this point. But really, black eyeliner in a palette makes sense.
  • Ransom is an iridescent violet purple with more of a violet flash/sheen and some red undertones. This is available in full-size, but it’s one of my favorite liners. (Try patting Fishnet over it for some real va-voom!)

New vs. Old vs. Repromoted

There are seven new and exclusive shades to the palette (Bordello, Kush, Loaded, Money, Radium, Rockstar, and Suspect). There are two Sephora exclusive shades (Haight and Psychedelic Sister) that were released a few months ago but have never been sold in any of the previous palettes. There are seven permanent shades (Snatch, Last Call, Maui Wowie, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Smog, Perversion, and Uzi), with Perversion, Snatch, and Uzi being in just one or two previous palettes and the others being in three or more. The worst case scenario? You’ll get seven brand new eyeshadows.

Overall, it’s another solid eyeshadow palette. I didn’t have any pigmentation issues with these eyeshadows, and I like the addition of seven new and two of the Sephora exclusives (which I really liked, but know some readers were hesitant to pay $17 a pop). There are two shades that do run on the glittery side (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again and Maui Wowi) and two on the slightly glittery side (Uzi and Snatch).

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like Urban Decay eyeshadows, the Book of Shadows is always a good buy. If you’re not into shimmery/frosty shades and prefer more matte or satin finishes, then this might not be your thing.

AVAILABILITY: Holiday 2010

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