Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go
Benefit Brows A-Go-Go

For the Brow Enthusiast

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go ($38.00) is an all-i-one brow kit, which includes both Light and Dark Brow Zings Powders (0.04 oz. each), Brow Zings Wax (0.03 oz.), Smokin’ Liner (0.01 oz.), Eye Bright (0.03 oz.), Brow Highlighter Powder (0.04 oz.), mini tweezers, and dual-ended brush.

Benefit and brows take me back almost ten years (which makes me a little nauseous to think about, because sometimes I think I’m still 18 and when I’m clearly not). One of my first beauty experiences was begging my makeup-enthused best friend to tweeze my brows, and she always carried Benefit’s Brow Zings and their mini tweezers. I can’t tell you how I longed for a pair of my own mini tweezers–they just seemed so cool at the time. (With my hands, I can appreciate full-size tweezers for regular maintenance but minis are nice in a pinch.)

The lighter shade is a medium-dark taupe brown, while the darker brow shade is a dark brown with subtle red undertones. The wax is a cross between the two–not too dark, not too light. I found the eyeliner to be fairly black but a bit stubby so it may be difficult to hold for some. I actually liked the shimmering icy pink of the highlight powder; not quite as cool-toned as Eye Bright, which is a creamy, pale white-pink.

The dark shade works well for me, having nearly black natural brows.  I like mixing the two, though, for a softer look as well.  I would be careful using the highlighting products on deeper skin tones, because I think it may turn a little ashy, but they work well on light and medium skin tones.

The Glossover

product

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If you're someone who likes to have immaculate brows and tends to focus more time on them, the kit is useful. If you don't find yourself doing much to them, it may be too superfluous to merit buying. For something more compact, there is the traditional Brow Zings, which is a smaller-sized palette featuring a coordinating brow powder and wax (available in light, medium, and dark) along with mini tweezers but retails for $30.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick
Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick

Illamasqua Toxic Nature:  Atomic Lipstick

Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick (£15.50 for 0.14 oz.) is new for spring/summer and part of the brand’s Toxic Nature collection, which should show up at Sephora in April. For now, though, it is available through Illamasqua directly.  Illamasqua describes Atomic as a “fuchsia violet.”  After swatching and applying, Atomic is a deep, reddened fuchsia with violet and fuchsia sheen.  It has that satin finish but such a strong pull of iridescent sheen that it almost looks like a frost.

my thoughts on the formula: Illamasqua’s Lipstick formula feels a little dry when applied, but let it warm up on your lips, because it really isn’t the drying kind. It does hug the lips, though, which makes it a much longer wearing lipstick (six hours or more).

The Glossover

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Atomic

A-
This is a shade that will wear for hours and hours.  With the semi-matte finish, it really hugs lips and stays put--I noted very few traces of lipstick on my coffee cup.  It may stain a bit, too, which will contribute to an overall appearance of longer wear.  Illamasqua's does a really nice job with the sheen level in this shade, because though it has a menagerie of near-dupes, the way it catches light makes it different enough in a spectacular way.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

3.5/5

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Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush
NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush ($16.50 for 0.25 oz.) is one of eight shades of blush from NYX’s HD Studio line. According to NYX, by grinding a blush powder each use, you’ll avoid “oil trappings on powders, contamination, and cracking.” The blush formula itself is supposed to reflect light from the skin while giving pores a smaller and smoother look. Menage a Trois is a soft tangerine-peach with spun gold shimmer-sheen. It’s really a gorgeous shade and one that will work exceptionally well on warmer skin tones.

Next to the blush, you might recognize an elephant–the price tag. NYX is known as a brand with affordable options but still a wide variety and higher quality products than many other more affordable brands (overall). It’s obvious the HD Studio range is at a higher price point, but I think it might be outpricing the comfort zone of some of their customers. Their Powder Blushes are $6, Cream Bushes are $6.50, and Mosaic Powders are $8. The HD Grinding Blush is double the price of their more expensive blush. I’m not worried that NYX is going to change directions and move to mid-tier, but it’s an interesting move.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of the HD Grinding Blushes is very smooth–definitely finely milled. The colors themselves are a lot less intimidating when applied than they look initially–I did not find that you could quite get the level of intensity as see in the shavings themselves, but you can get close. The softness of the blush powder makes it easy to apply, blend out, and difficult to overdo. On me, it wears around six hours before there is some fading (over liquid foundation, set with loose powder).

Though I haven’t personally tested Smashbox’s Halo powders, the grinding mechanism of NYX’s HD Grinding Blushes reminded me of them. I’m not sure if Smashbox has put out Halo blushes, but they do have the twist ‘n’ shave mechanism for their Perfecting Powders, Perfecting Bronzers, and Color Correcting Powder. It’s neither a pro nor con but more for your reference.

I’m not keen on the grinding packaging, actually.  It’s cool, but any excess powder left inside inevitably seems to get everywhere else.  I had twisted and ground each blush for photos and carried them to my bathroom and left little blush shavings in my wake.  When I opened the blushes, the loose shavings had collected on the outer rim, where the cap screws on, and easily escaped to the freedom of my carpet, sink, and swatching pants!  (And that is exactly why one wears swatching pants…)  The only mitigating factor is that usually you do not twist too much excess, so there is an end in sight, unlike perhaps an entire jar of loose blush.

The Glossover

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product

Menage a Trois

B+
I’m not particularly surprised that I’m most drawn to this shade–after all, if it’s gold, peach, or coral, I’m already there. The whole grinding concept is more of a novelty for me, and the packaging could use some tweaks so that any excess shavings stay within the jar, rather than settle around the rim (outside of the recessed opening). It could wear a touch longer; most blushes last all day (eight to ten hours) on me.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit
Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Neiman Marcus Exclusive: Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit ($95.00) is an exclusive set available at Neiman Marcus this spring. It contains a peony and python printed zippered makeup bag, Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, and two miniature-sized makeup brushes (face and lip).

  • Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer is a medium-dark pink with gold micro-glitter and sheen; it is slightly cool-toned, though it seems to shift between cool and neutral depending on how the light hits it. It applies rather sheerly but can be intensified for a more obvious blush.
  • Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss is an ultra sheer gloss that really has a clear base with pink and gold shimmer. This shade is available individually.
  • Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is a blackened burgundy brown. This shade is available individually.
  • Eye/Lip Brush is a miniature-sized brush with a glossy black cap that slips on and off. It’s not officially labeled, but it seems like a really narrow lip brush–not quite small enough to be a true eyeliner brush though it does seem to resemble the Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush a bit.
  • Face Brush is a fluffy, dome-shaped brush that resembles the Face Blender Brush. It seems wider and less tapered, though. It was soft against the skin.

The kit itself comes with a high price tag, but individually (though not all shades are available individually, the product type is), Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer would retail for $33, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss retails for $22, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is available for $21, and then assume $20 worth of brushes. The innards of the kit are worth approximately $96, but you also receive the printed makeup bag, too. There is a Peony & Python printed makeup bag available alone for $40, but I don’t know how the size compares to the one from the Neiman Marcus kit.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's a cute kit, and if you like every product in it, the price tag doesn't seem so difficult to pay.  If you were hoping for a value-packed deal, this isn't quite it.  The kit will complement cooler skin tones.  I wish the Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer was available individually!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild Petal Pusher Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette
Wet ‘n’ Wild Petal Pusher Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette

Wet ‘n’ Wild Petal Pusher Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette

Wet ‘n’ Wild Petal Pusher Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette ($4.99 for 0.30 oz.) contains eight eyeshadows spread over two columns. Each column seems to coordinate within itself more than the two columns do with each other. The tone of the palette is rather cool, with the first column being purple themed and the second column being more earth-toned.

The first column consisted of a pale, icy violet shimmered satin white; muted pink-lilac base with pale gold shimmer-sheen; darkened red-toned purple with a frost finish; and medium-dark violet-blue purple with silver sparkle. I found the pigmentation to be a little sheer in both of the lighter shades–a little dusty, too; not nearly as saturated as the two darker purples.

The second column includes a pale, high-frost pink-white; coppery rose mauve with red undertones in a soft frost finish; blackened burgundy brown with a satin finish; and a grayish black with subtle green sparkle and satin finish. The pale pink is extremely pigmented and smooth, while the copper rose shade is a bit sheerer and blends into a very sheer shade when applied. I found the burgundy shade to lean much browner when swatched than it looked in the pan. The darker grayish-black was more pigmented than previous variations I’ve seen in the Color Icon palette, which was nice, but it did fade a bit when worn (after six hours).

my thoughts on the formula: Color Icon Eyeshadows are definitely some of the best eyeshadows you’ll find in the drugstore, and this palette shows both the best and worsts of the formula overall. The frostier shades seem to work the best and have no problem wearing all day (over a base, of course), while the more matte shades tend to lack in pigmentation and fade after a few hours (they don’t disappear, but they do fade noticeably).

The Glossover

coming-soon

Wet 'n' Wild Petal Pusher Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

B
For cooler complexions, I think this palette will work well.  Like the Blue had Me at Hello palette, there were a few shades that didn't quite hit the mark, but overall several shades worked really well.  I though the coppered rose shade was particularly beautiful in color and wished it had been more pigmented.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Rescue Beauty Lounge Ani Nail Lacquer
Rescue Beauty Lounge Ani Nail Lacquer

Rescue Beauty Lounge Ani Nail Lacquer

Rescue Beauty Lounge Ani Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is a semi-sheer champagne beige with white shimmer and almost metallic-like threads running through the color.  It’s officially described as, “shimmery, semi-transparent golden beige, as if you could dip your nails in nacre.”

my thoughts on the formula: Typically, Rescue Beauty Lounge’s lacquers are opaque, but this one is semi-sheer though deliberately so–you can’t fault something for being exactly what it claims.  It still applied smoothly and easily, while wearing a full week.

The Glossover

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product

Ani

A
I don't have a lot of beige polishes in my stash, so I can't think of many dupes for it, though I recognize that it may not be the most unique shade of Rescue Beauty Lounge's range.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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