Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) is the last pigment kit from MAC Dazzlesphere. It contains four shades: White as Snow (snowy white), Silver Sleet (medium gray), Wintersky (purple blue), and Dark Moon (charcoal). Crushed Metallic Pigments are described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • White as Snow is a silver-tinged white with a very chunky, metallic finish. I had similar issues with this shade as I did with Light Violet. Despite pressing the color against the skin, I could not get it to fully smooth out and bind, so there was some loose product prone to fall out, plus sheerness in both the dry and damp applications. It reminded me of Chanel Fantasme.
  • Silver Sleet is a darkened gray with a brighter, metallic silver sheen. It has great color payoff whether applied dry or wet. Inglot #448 is less metallic and a bit lighter.
  • Wintersky is a purple-tinted blue with silver sparkle and shimmer. It’s fairly sheer and muted when applied dry and picks up intensity when applied damp. MAC Royale is a bit bluer.
  • Dark Moon is a charcoal black with lots of silver sparkle. This isn’t a shade I’d advocate using dry, because the sparkle is chunky enough that it doesn’t completely meld with the base color without some dampness. When it’s applied damp, the sparkle adheres and mixes better with the underlying color. The color payoff when it’s applied dry is slightly sheerer. It reminded me of Chanel Mirifique but less black. Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle has more multi-colored shimmer.

In my experience, these pigments wear well as long as you ensure you’ve really “crushed” them against the skin/lid. I’ve worn them with and without a base and the difference is minimal. There is some noticeable but relatively minor fading after eight hours when applied without a base (or mixing medium). For more on how they wear, please see this post where I went in-depth on that particular characteristic.

White as Snow was problematic with a chunkiness in the overall sparkle that made it difficult to apply smoothly and gave it reason to get everywhere. Wintersky is a more unique color but could use a little more oomph in pigmentation. Dark Moon may have some fall out when applied dry (without a sticky base), so have a care or else use it wet. Silver Sleet was the best performing shade of the four, because it was intensely pigmented both dry and wet and applied smooth as butter with little effort. Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.

The Glossover

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MAC Smoky Blue Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
White as Snow was problematic with a chunkiness in the overall sparkle that made it difficult to apply smoothly and gave it reason to get everywhere. Wintersky could use a little more oomph in pigmentation, while Dark Moon may have some fall out when applied dry. Silver Sleet was the best performing shade of the four, because it was intensely pigmented both dry and wet and applied smooth as butter with little effort.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

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Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC’s Dazzlesphere Collection launches on November 10th, and the next set I’m reviewing is MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.), which contains four shades: Light Violet (pale violet), Grape (purple), Seasonally Cool (sparkling taupe), and Misty (pale silver). Crushed Metallic Pigments are described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • Seasonally Cool is a subtly cool-toned bronze. The gray tint is minor, so it comes off as more of a brown than it does a taupe. This one has a fair amount of sparkle, so I did encounter some fall out when it was applied dry, but this was lessened when it was applied damp. Similarly, it’s sheerer when applied dry and much more intense when applied damp. It’s similar to Urban Decay Lost and Make Up For Ever #15.
  • Misty is a bright, lightened silver with a strong, metallic finish. It’s slightly sheer when applied dry and more opaque when applied wet. Giorgio Armani #12 is similar but cooler-toned.
  • Light Violet is a pink=lavender with a metallic shimmer-sheen. It’s very, very chunky; I did not find I could really “crush” these into becoming smooth, even on my arm. It reminded me of a much pinker Kitschmas. The color is also similar to theBalm Curtain Call. It’s warmer and pinker than Stacked 1.
  • Grape is a rich, red-toned purple with a softer but still metallic sheen. It had good color payoff both dry and wet, with the metallic finish coming out more when it was applied wet. It’s more vibrant and red-toned than Stacked 1. MAC Plush is similar but a touch darker and less metallic in finish. MAC Half-Wild is redder. Inglot #446 is less purple.

In my experience, these pigments wear well as long as you ensure you’ve really “crushed” them against the skin/lid. I’ve worn them with and without a base and the difference is minimal. There is some noticeable but relatively minor fading after eight hours when applied without a base (or mixing medium). For more on how they wear, please see this post where I went in-depth on that particular characteristic.

I loved the smoothness and vibrancy of Grape, while Light Violet was one of the worst shades out of the three sets entirely. It was very gritty and chunky–it was much harder to work with and extremely prone to fall out. I also had some fall out issues with Seasonally Cool from the sparkle when used dry, but it was lessened if it was applied damp. Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.

The Glossover

product

MAC Smoky Plum Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
This particular stack/kit had some drawbacks that Smoky Berry didn't have, which is a very finicky shade in Light Violet and slightly problematic Seasonally Cool.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

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Friday, November 4th, 2011

MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit
MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC Dazzlesphere Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit

MAC’s Dazzlesphere Collection will debut in-stores on November 10th, and the first I’m reviewing is MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) contains four shades: Pearl (pearl), Rose Light (rose), Spicy Smoke (dark strawberry), and Roasted Chestnut (deep chocolate with gold pearl). It took a bit of digging, but I found the official description from when these were originally released, and they’re described as having “intense colour payoff” with “medium coverage” and “highly reflective metallic sparkle.” They are “creamy, crease-resistant, [and] long-wearing.”

  • Pearl is a warm, frosted white. It looks very peach in the pot, but it’s white when applied. I actually thought I had swatched things out of order but lo and behold, it really is that drastic of a difference. The high frost element of these seems to translate into lighter-than-pot shades overall. Pearl was less pigmented than it should be, especially when used dry; you really need to pack on the product to get better color payoff dry. When used damp, it’s better and the metallic finish is brought to the forefront, though there is still an underlying sheerness. It’s warmer and smoother than MAC Forgery.
  • Rose Light is a softened rose pink with a metallic, frosted finish. It seems a little lighter and much smoother than Rose pigment. It’s a bit pinker than the base color of Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy. Inglot #399 is darker, as is Giorgio Armani #7. It applies decently dry, but it performs best when applied wet.
  • Spicy Smoke is an orange-red with a soft, frosted finish. It’s less metallic than the previous two shades. The red gets pulled out more when it is applied damp, while it is more orange when applied dry. It’s a touch redder than Milani I Heart You. MAC Coppering is similar – a bit more metallic in finish.
  • Roasted Chestnut is a dark chocolate brown with bronzy sparkle and shimmer. This one needs to be pressed and “crushed,” because it is one of the chunkier pigments of the four. It holds together nicely once it’s been applied, though. It has opaque color when applied dry, though it is softer and less intense than when it is applied damp. The dry color is a bit like MAC Buckwheat, while Laura Mercier Cedar compares favorably to the color it is when applied damp.

I wore this set as a look (used all of the shades except Rose Light) without a base on one eye and with a base (MAC Mixing Medium) on the other (double-duty testing!). I applied Pearl and Spicy Smoke with a dampened brush, while I applied Roasted Chestnut dry into the crease. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t have any fall out while I wore the look; there was some minor fall out from Roasted Chestnut being used dry during initial application, but I did not find lots of sparkle and shimmer underneath my eye hours later. On the eye without a base, it looked only slightly faded eight hours later as it did when I first applied the shades (with a base, it was fine). The real trick is really pressing the pigment against the lid so it combines and binds together. I recommend using a firmer brush like the 242.

The consistency varies, though they tend to be a little chunky, with some (like Roasted Chestnut) being very chunky in the pot, while some are finer (like Spicy Smoke). Generally, the finishes are extremely frosted, metallic-like, and add a lot of oomph to a look–but they may be better when mixed and matched with other finishes (like mattes) for more textural contrast as all of these at once can almost look heavy on the eye.  I’m not particularly keen on the packaging; it’s a cute concept–the stackable jars–but they’re messy.

P.S. — It’s interesting how grams/ounces work; each stack of two is labeled as 6g/0.21 oz., while the bottom of the outer packaging said 12g/0.40 oz.. According to a Google conversion from 12g to ounces, it was 0.423 oz. I’m not sure why the math is a little off here.

The Glossover

product

MAC Smoky Berry Crushed Metallic Pigment Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
For those used to working with loose colors and not minding some of the inherent mess in this type of product, they're nice overall. You get plenty of product in each pot, and they wear well without a base and have decent to great pigmentation (depending if you use it dry/wet).

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice, Taint, Kink, Faux Pas

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless: Nail Varnishes

Illamasqua’s fall/winter collection, Theatre of the Nameless, included four new shades of their Nail Varnish ($14.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.), and they’re described as: Vice (deep cerise), Taint (stone brown), Kink (bottle green), and Faux Pas (blue violet). They have a “rubber finish.”

  • Vice is a reddened berry with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It reminded me of Rescue Beauty Lounge Bruised, which has a shiny finish.
  • Taint is a yellow-tinted brown with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. Barielle Cowl of the Wild is similar but cooler-toned. China Glaze Street Chic is a bit lighter and grayer, plus it has a shiny finish.
  • Kink is a deep forest green with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It’s much bluer and cooler-toned than Rescue Beauty Lounge ORbis Non Sufficit, which also has a shiny finish. It’s greener and less blackened (and has that semi-matte finish) compared to MAC Jade Dragon.
  • Faux Pas is a blue-based violet with a rubber finish. I used two coats for opaque color. It is similar to Orly Purple Pleather but appears a bit more vibrant.

If you remember Orly’s Plastix Collection, then the finish to these may seem familiar. It’s a bit like vinyl; it’s not matte because there is a muted shine to the natural finish, but it’s not your traditional cream. This type of finish is tempermental; ensure that each coat is dry before applying the next one, and it’s best to wait as long as possible for the final coat to dry before doing anything else. These will pick up and show texture so, so much if you rush! They dry quicker than your standard polish but not as quickly as a matte finished shade.

The wear on this is less than the average Illamasqua Varnish, because in order to maintain the rubbery finish, you can’t use a top coat on top. I managed seven days with noticeable tip wear but no chips–I would have probably removed it after four or five days because of the tip wear, but I wanted to put it to the full week test.

The Glossover

product

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Vice, Taint, Kink, Faux Pas Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
Because of the reduced wear time (and Illamasqua's Nail Varnishes wear like iron on me with a base/top coat), these seem more like a novelty--like matte polishes, which work well for a certain look but are less durable than traditional nail lacquers.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Illamasqua Belladonna Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless: Belladonna Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Belladonna Intense Lipgloss ($20.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is described as a “vibrant magenta.” It’s a vibrant, medium-dark fuchsia pink with a creamy finish and glossy shine. It has full color coverage and goes on evenly with little fuss. MAC Full Speed Ahead is similar in color, slightly brighter and bluer-based.

Illamasqua’s Intense Lipgloss formula is one of my favorites, especially when you’re hunting for an opaque gloss. It delivers shine but full color coverage without feathering or bleeding. I typically get really good wear, too; when I sported Belladonna on its own, it wore for a full six hours and lasted until eight hours where I felt I needed to reapply. The glossiness fades quicker (mostly gone by the third hour), but the color lingers for much longer. It’s non-sticky, too, and I couldn’t detect any scent or taste.

The Glossover

P
product

Belladonna

A
Loving the addition of a deeper pink that's still vibrant but not totally in-your-face to Illamasqua's Intense Lipgloss line-up! Full color coverage, six hour wear, and not drying for even a moment makes this formula a favorite.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Fall 2011: Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition duo from fall’s Modern Mercury collection (but it’s still available!). Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Eyeshadow formula is purported to be long-wearing, crease-resistant, and fade-proof (without a primer). In my experience, they manage to get to eight hours with minor fading but no creasing.

The lightest shade is a white-silver with a soft shimmer-sheen; it’s not too metallic, which is nice to see as many silvers tend to be full-on metallics. Bobbi Brown Iced Blue is cooler-toned. MAC Forgery is brighter. I wish the color payoff was better–it’s a bit sheer and doesn’t apply as smoothly as I’d like. The darker shade is a silvery gray with a shimmer-sheen finish. Inglot #339 is a bit darker but similar in tone. It has a slightly powdery texture, so it does not apply smoothly. It has decent pigmentation but could use more intensity to yield true-to-pan color.

The Glossover

palette

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
The colors coordinate well with each other for a softer smoky eye, but the quality is so-so. It's not too impressive for such a basic combo; you're better off investing in really excellent basic shades like these.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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