Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Philosophy Silent Night 3-in-1 Shower Gel
Philosophy Silent Night 3-in-1 Shower Gel

Philosophy Silent Night 3-in-1 Shower Gel

Philosophy Silent Night 3-in-1 Shower Gel ($16.00 for 0.16 oz.) is an earthy lavender-scented multi-purpose product (body wash, shampoo, or bubble bath).  It really smells like… well, lavender.  If you’re used to sweeter, more vanilla-based lavender scents, you might find this too earthy.  I love lavender, and it’s one of my favorite scents to use before I go to sleep, so it’s great for a night time bath or shower.

Philosophy Shower Gels are one of my personal favorites for body washes, because they come in an assortment of scents, with new ones each season. They lather up well and leave skin feeling clean without any tightness or dryness. I wouldn’t call these a moisturizing body wash nor do their scents linger. If you prefer your body wash to leave behind a long-lasting scent, these won’t be for you, but if you like to enjoy the scent while you shower but don’t want it to linger beyond, then these are perfect. (I belong to the latter category!) I don’t find them to lather quite as well in the hair, and they work in a pinch to clean hair, but I prefer many other shampoos over this one. It does, however, work well as a bubble bath, too–a little goes a long way.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you like more earthy, herb-inspired scents, I think you’ll like Silent Night (given you enjoy lavender as a base, of course).

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild 520E Lipstpick
Wet ‘n’ Wild Hot Paris Pink Lipstick

Wet ‘n’ Wild Hot Paris Pink Lipstick

Wet ‘n’ Wild Hot Paris Pink (520E) Silky Finish Lipstick ($0.99 for 0.13 oz.) is a bright, summery pink with a tiny bit of red-coral pull. It has a creamy, slightly shiny, finish with nearly opaque color. The color pay off is fantastic, and it applies fairly easily and doesn’t drag or pull. This wore for three hours on me before it was significantly faded (my average is four hours), but it managed to pull through a couple sips of water at least.

There is a faint sweetened berry scent that’s a touch synthetic but rather subtle so I wouldn’t say it’s bothersome. I have noticed that some shades have a stronger scent while others seem scent-free, which leads me to believe the scent doesn’t last long (possibly a good thing for some). The cap popped off too easily for my liking; I ended up with lipstick smeared in a makeup bag, which wasn’t so fun to clean-up.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: At just under a buck, it’s hard to go wrong with these. Those who are often bothered by the synthetic sweet scents of other drugstore brands may want to avoid these, because as faint as the scent is, it is still there. The color itself was beautiful, the lipstick easy to apply, and it lasted decently, if a bit below average.

WHERE TO BUY: Local drugstores

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Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Hourglass Gypsy Eyeshadow Duo
Hourglass Gypsy Eyeshadow Duo

Hourglass Gypsy Eyeshadow Duo

Hourglass Gypsy Visionaire Eyeshadow Duo ($38.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a beautiful neutral duo featuring a shimmering, warmed-up champagne beige and a rich, coppered chocolate brown. Hourglass’ Eyeshadow Duos are such an underrated and underappreciated product–the quality is absolutely phenomenal and the shades are infinitely flattering.
Selfishly, I wish they had about a dozen more duos, because their eyeshadows are easily some of the best I’ve come across–and better yet, the quality is fantastic across the range. There are no duds in their duo line-up. Soft, smooth as silk, and buttery texture paired with intense color pigmentation that glides on, blends effortlessly, and can be used wet or dry.

The $38 may seem steep, but don’t let it fool you: there are two full-sized (actually, more than that) eyeshadows inside. Each eyeshadow is 0.10 oz., which is double the average full-sized eyeshadow, for a total of 0.20 oz. The packaging is also this pewter bronze with a swivel top that reveals a mirror inside along with a pint-sized brush (with real bristles) that’s usable and not scratchy.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: Hourglass as a brand is underrated, but their eyeshadows are easily my favorite product from the brand.  There is something to be said for a brand that puts out consistently high quality products with to-die-for textures.  This duo will naturally flatter warmer skin tones but they are not too warm–they will work well on cooler and neutral-toned skin, too.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

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Monday, January 10th, 2011

Hourglass Siren Extreme Sheen Lipgloss
Hourglass Siren Extreme Sheen Lipgloss

Hourglass Siren Extreme Sheen Lipgloss

Hourglass Siren Extreme Sheen Lipgloss ($28.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a wicked shade of fiery red with a part-chrome, part-metallic finish. It has a definite orange-base, but this the strength of the red really is pulled to the forefront. Think Kat Von D Adora… but more. It is such a rich, luxurious gloss that applies beautifully and evenly while delivering opaque color with very little product. The wear is fantastic (four to six hours), and it’s moisturizing while you wear it. There is a light, sweet scent–reminiscent of perhaps creme brulee–that doesn’t feel overwhelming nor smell synthetic.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: Yes, yes, and yes. I have to try more to see if the whole range performs as well as Siren, but I look forward to whatever shade I try next. I just wish they’d inject a wee bit more into each tube — at 0.12 oz., they fall below average, and though it certainly is a vibrant, pigmented gloss and doesn’t need a lot of product to deliver that color, it’s still a little low.

WHERE TO BUY: Hourglass

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Monday, January 10th, 2011

Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder
Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder

Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder

Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder ($35.00 for 1.2 oz.) looks so beautiful on the inside, it’s hard to believe that the insides did not make such a splash. Inside, there are gold “nuggets,” which are incredibly soft and delicate. Every time I opened this, there was a cloud of sparkly dust that hovered and spilled over the edges and on my desk.

I had presumed these would be more like Guerlain’s Meteorites, which are shimmering spheres that impart a soft, subtle shimmer-sheen glow–these produce a bronzy, glittery bonanza. It does impart an orange-toned bronze brown with chunky bronze and gold glitter. Even when buffed, the chunky glitter is hard to disguise. This looked absolutely disastrous on face, and I did not find it worked well for decolletage either. The only place that seemed to work so-so was on legs, but it still had to be really blended and buffed so it looked natural and used considerably more product per use than I’d like.

Given that it is supposed to be face and decolletage, going as far as using it on legs was more to see if it worked anywhere than something I’d use this as a go-to for. I can do shimmer, sheen, and even glitter; I’m not at all scared of glitter, and while I don’t need to wear it every day, I have no problem wearing even heavier glitter on face or cheeks or lips. But this powder goes beyond what I see even glitter fanatics wanting in a face/decolletage glitter.  I would also not recommend using the provided pouf unless you want to be a bronze sculpture — one pat packs far too much product!

The concept is nice but there needs to be serious improvement on execution in order to make it work.  I would have loved to see this impart a much subtler, softer micro-glitter or shimmer.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a product that was beautiful in concept and dressed to impress in the beautiful filigreed canister, but the product itself just doesn’t work well in real life. It’s a mess to open but doesn’t work anywhere but legs–everywhere else is just too much. From Clarins, I would have expected something subtler and sophisticated.

WHERE TO BUY: Bloomingdale’s

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Monday, January 10th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette
Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette

Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette

Bobbi Brown Powerful Palette ($60.00 for 0.36 oz.) is an all-in-one palette with four eyeshadows, one blush, two lipglosses, and one lipstick. It includes:  Navajo (creamy pinkish white), Rose Gold (golden pink), Burnished Rose (warm rose), Chocolate Caviar (deep chocolate brown), Plum (deep pinky plum), Pink Pudding (bright medium pink), Pink Bouquet (baby pink with silver flecks), and Powerful (bright deep pink).

  • Navajo is a pale beige white with a matte finish. This is part of the permanent range.
  • Rose Gold is a rose-tinged bronze gold with a frosted finish.
  • Burnished Rose is a warmed-up, soft light-medium brown beige with a matte finish.
  • Chocolate Caviar is a deep, dark cool-toned chocolate brown with a matte finish.
  • Plum is a very pinked plum with lots of color pay off; it can be built up with ease or blended out for a softer look. It has a near matte finish.  This is a powder blush.
  • Pink Pudding is a sheer, medium pink with soft pink shimmer.  This is a Shimmer Lip Gloss.
  • Pink Bouquet is a semi-sheer rosy pink with petal pink shimmer.  This is a Glitter Lip Gloss.
  • Powerful is an opaque, rich, deep burgundy wine with a creamy, slightly shiny finish.  This is a lipstick.

The palette contains 0.09 oz. of Eyeshadow ($22.50 value), 0.04 oz. Shimmer Wash Eyeshadow ($7.50 value), 0.14 oz. of blush ($23.69 value), 0.028 oz. of Shimmer Lip Gloss ($4.00 value), 0.028 of Glitter Lip Gloss ($4.00 value), and 0.035 oz. of Lip Color ($6.42 value). It total value of the products inside the palette sums to $68.11, while the palette itself costs $60. It’s not a value-packed palette, but you’re getting your money’s worth.

All four eyeshadows were pigmented, and Chocolate Caviar was the only one that didn’t have a really beautifully creamy, silky texture (just slightly drier), and the Plum blush was also nicely pigmented.  The two lip glosses are both on the sheer side as Bobbi Brown glosses often are, while the lipstick was gorgeous and rich in color.

I love the sleek packaging, and I think the typography on the outside cover of the palette is beautiful.  Bobbi Brown’s campaign of Pretty. Powerful. is really a fantastic slogan, so I’m all for it being emblazoned across the palette itself.  Though I’m not personally that fond of palettes that mix powders with gloss or creams, I do like that Bobbi Brown’s palettes always seem to have deeper wells and a very tightly clasping palette to minimize powder migration.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: For those who like palettes that make their mornings easier, Bobbi Brown’s Powerful palette may just be one of those.  With eyeshadows, blush, and lip color all in one go all housed in a slim palette, it is easy to travel with.  However, I am not sure just how keen I am with the way the eyeshadows coordinate with the blush and lip colors–they are almost too orange compared to the plum and pink of the other shades.

WHERE TO BUY: Bobbi Brown

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