Thursday, April 7th, 2011

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer
TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer

TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18 ($25.00 for 2.25 oz.) is designed to give “long lasting moisturizer” with a polished look while skin feels “silky.” Immediately, I wished there were more shades available–there are only three: Light, Light/Medium, and Medium. I tested out the Light/Medium shade, which I found to be a pretty good match, though perhaps a hair light, for my complexion (I’m NC25/30 in MAC, Punjab in NARS).

Tinted moisturizers are great for days when you want a little coverage but not a lot of makeup. Hallmarks of a great tinted moisturizer are sheer coverage, creamy consistency, and hydrating. BalmShelter provides enough coverage to even out my skin tone (especially around the cheeks, where I am a bit blotchy) and helping to give my face a uniform color (I’m darker around my hair line than anywhere else). It has a natural finish, so it’s not matte but not too dewy. I did find it more dewy than not, and if you have oilier skin, you may find it even more necessary to finish with a setting powder. I do, normally, set even tinted moisturizer with powder, though.

What I really liked about BalmShelter was its very creamy consistency; it was thick without being goopy and spread really well and evenly. It definitely felt like a lotion, which made it even easier to blend and cover my face during application. It comes in a squeeez tube, and there is no problem getting just what you need out. I wasn’t as keen on its ability to hydrate, though; it was decent but I felt like I needed to layer moisturizer underneath. I couldn’t just use BalmShelter in lieu of a moisturizer. For oilier skin types, it may be enough, but for my normal-to-dry skin type, it wasn’t quite enough. It wears for six to eight hours before I notice it has sheered out in some places (like my t-zone).

The Glossover

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TheBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Though it notes this as a product that gives long lasting moisture, I felt it performed just below average. I like it, though, overall, because of how blendable and smooth it is to apply. It feels lightweight and provides enough coverage to even out subtle imperfections in skin tone but looks perfectly natural.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

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Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Estee Lauder Shimmering Bronze Nail Lacquer
Estee Lauder Shimmering Bronze Nail Lacquer

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: Shimmering Bronze

Estee Lauder Shimmering Bronze Nail Lacquer ($19.00 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is a shimmering, red-enriched bronze with subtle metallic threads running through an otherwise copper and bronze shimmered finish. I used two coats for complete opacity, and it applied easily. The polish flowed without being too thick or thin, and each coat was nicely pigmented. I have no problem achieving a full week’s worth of wear out of Estee Lauder’s formula (with a proper base/top coat, of course). For swatches, I used Zoya’s Anchor and Armor for my base and top coats.

A major downside to the product is the quantity: a mere 0.30 fl. oz., while most lacquers weigh in at 0.50 fl. oz. It seems customary for some of the higher-end brands to average just below that at 0.40 fl. oz., but it still makes this bottle seem small (even though you’d never think it, based on packaging’s appearance).

The Glossover

LE
product

Shimmering Bronze

A-
It's a decadent, summery bronze. I like that the finish isn't a full-on metallic but part-shimmer, part-metallic (Estee Lauder calls it "pearl"). I think it gives it luster while maintaining a sleek look.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Giorgio Armani Khaki Pulse (6) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani Khaki Pulse (6) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Intensity Maximized with Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense

Giorgio Armani Khaki Pulse (6) Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as neither powder nor cream but a hybrid that creates a “smooth, lasting color film” that can be applied wet or dry.  Giorgio Armani explains, “Each shade is intensified with a second pigment for a multi-dimensional effect. In just one swoop, create a wet, shimmering smokey eye … Base color covers eyelid, and second pigment adds drama to the contour.”

There are some high-stakes claims, too — Giorgio Armani says to expect, “Twenty four hour color wear, crease proof, flake proof, waterproof and sweat-proof, Eyes To Kill Intense Eyeshadows slide on, stay on, but wipe off in an instant.”  It hits every single one of these claims and does it with effortless grace.  I’ve been beauty blogging for five years this October, and I’ve been a beauty addict connoisseur for even longer (has it really been seven years?), but I was incredibly impressed by the Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow line.

I hold my highest rating closely guarded, because it should be something given to truly remarkable products.  Let’s just say I went out and bought all of the ones I didn’t have, because I thought they were that fantastic.  The quality of Khaki Pulse is out-of-this-world-crazy-in-love good–rich, dense, silky smooth, and blendable to boot.  It even looks cool in its pot o’ glass–like crushed up space rocks.  In particular, Khaki Pulse looks as good wet as it does dry (you tell me if you can tell which is which!).  The color itself is a rich bronze with a soft gold and bronze metallic sheen and multi-colored micro-shimmer, and it is only slightly warm.

I wore it alone as an eyeshadow (with nothing underneath or on top), just blended past the crease, and it looked the same nine hours later.  No creasing, fading, or smudging.  And even better?  No fall out.  The texture of these feels almost like a cream eyeshadow, but it has the thinness of a powder eyeshadow while retaining some of the blendability of the hybrid cream-powder eyeshadow.  It also works well with other eyeshadow (see this look).

Though pricey, each shade comes with 0.14 oz. worth of product, which is a hefty amount (normal eyeshadow averages around 0.05 oz., no matter the price).  The only aspect I didn’t love was the little black stopper inside the jar (once you unscrew the black lid), because my longer fingers felt awkward grabbing it (so I just unscrew it upside down so it falls into the cap).

The Glossover

P
product

#6

A+
It's an eyeshadow you can wear alone, as a base, or on a base, because it's budge-proof, crease-proof, and wears all day long. The pigmentation is rich, and the texture is luxuriously soft and smooth.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Estee Lauder Pink-Teal Shadowstick Duo
Estee Lauder Pink-Teal Shadowstick Duo

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: Pink-Teal Shadowstick Duo

Estee Lauder Pink-Teal Shadowstick Duo ($20.00 for 0.09 oz.) is a limited edition, double-ended, jumbo-sized pencil from the Bronze Goddess collection.  Estee Lauder describes it as “intense, stay-true color [that’s] long-wearing with a high-shimmer metallic finish.”  It can be applied on the lash line as eyeliner or on the lid as an eyeshadow.  It’s actually about twice the size of an eyeliner, so there is plenty of product to go around here.

The teal side is a green-teal, while the pink side is more of a peach-pink with a frosted, golden sheen.  The pink side reminded me of NARS Orgasm–just pinker.  It’s actually a really lovely lid color for something quick and easy when you just want to swipe one color on the lid and go.  I also tested these as an eyeshadow base (check out the look), and they were flawless–no creasing or fading, and they helped to keep my eyeshadows looking their best from beginning to end.  I wore both shades as my eyeshadow base for twelve hours.

I wasn’t surprised, though, because the texture of these is creamy but not as emollient as a true cream eyeshadow.  For more even application, I prefer to apply this haphazardly on the lid and then take a stubby but fluffy brush (I like MAC’s 213) to diffuse the color.  I recommend working on one lid at a time, because this product dries down quickly and even initially, it isn’t the most blendable product.  You may find that using fingers can help move the product (because of the heat), but I still needed a brush to get the product closer to the lash line and around the inner corner.   These glide onto the lid and don’t tug or drag, but once it’s on the lid, it does set quickly.

The Glossover

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Estee Lauder Pink-Teal Shadowstick Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
I love how budge-proof, crease-proof, and long-wearing the formula is--it makes it more versatile and workable. It works equally well as an eyeshadow as it does a liner, and sometimes, multi-tasking products don't get everything right, but this one does a good job at both.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3.5/5

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Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Guerlain Mitsouko (140) Rouge Automatique
Guerlain Mitsouko (140) Rouge Automatique

Guerlain Mitsouko (140) Rouge Automatique

Guerlain Mitsouko (140) Rouge Automatique ($35.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a muted peach shimmered orange with hints of pink. It’s semi-sheer, which means that your natural lip color will play a larger role in the way the lipstick actually looks. On my lips, it looks like a soft, rosy coral with a frost finish. The orange hue seems to get lost when I wear it. I also felt that between sheer color and the frosted shimmer, the texture wasn’t as smooth; I could feel the shimmer particles when I pressed my lips together.

Guerlain’s description of the Rouge Automatique line describes the color as non-opaque, light, and luminous, so while this may be on the sheerer side, it still seems in line with the range–it definitely gave a visible color difference when worn, but this shade seems to embody what Guerlain described as “luminous, clear and pure color.”  (Nothing in Guerlain’s description of the new formula would make me think these are rich, pigmented lipsticks.)  I did feel I had to apply more than your average lipstick to get the color pay off as swatched, which is why it lost a couple of points.

my thoughts on the formula: Rouge Automatique lipsticks tend to have a very creamy, smooth consistency without being thick (in fact, I’d describe them as thin). They glide on with ease, and the majority of shades seem to deposit semi-opaque to opaque color. Mitsouko, however, is one of the sheerest shades I’ve tried (out of five!) and wear time is three to four hours. Wear for darker shades ranges from six to eight hours, while light to medium shades from four to six hours. It’s an excellent alternative to the luxury Rouge G lipstick–the formulas are comparable (and certainly so with a $11 price difference!), while the packaging gives up the luxury heft of Rouge G, it makes up for in the practicality. It’s a creamy, moisturizing, long-wearing formula with the subtle nuances and finishes I expect from Guerlain.

The Glossover

P
product

Mitsouko

C+
I've been like the the Rouge Automatique line quite a bit, and though I think this color is lovely (and very much a shade I personally gravitate towards), it isn't as smooth as some of the other shades I've tried. I think it's due to the frostier finish combined with the sheerer color that emphasizes that aspect.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Estee Lauder Sea Star Bronzing Blush
Estee Lauder Sea Star Bronzing Blush

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: Sea Star

Estee Lauder Sea Star Bronzing Blush ($34.00 for 0.42 oz.) is a duet of bronzer and blush The bronzer is a medium-dark tanned peach with subtle gold sheen, while the blush is a semi-sheer coral-red with soft gold sparkle. Estee Lauder suggests using them together or alone, but the way the star is splayed out, you’re likely to get at least a little bit of the bronzer shade with the blush. Together, they swirl to create a orange-peach with a subtle play of pink and a gold-tinged sheen and some gold sparkle.

I found the gold sparkle too obvious; it created a less-than-desirable texture because it didn’t feel as smooth and almost gave it a powdery feel. The color itself was on the sheerer side and tended to sheer out even more when blending. It’s definitely a subtle product, because I could not build up much color in the swatch.

My compact felt wobbly–like you could shake it and hear parts moving about, but the pan didn’t fall out when I held it upside down. It just felt flimsy and not nearly as secure as I’d like. It’s possible that it is an individual product defect and that the majority won’t find this an issue. The design on the powder itself is lovely, and the golden sheen on part of the starfish is overspray but there is some shimmer/sparkle in the powder afterward.

The Glossover

esteeLauderSeaStar

Estee Lauder Sea Star Bronzing Blush Review, Photos, Swatches

C
I don't think it excels at either blushing or bronzing and falls somewhere in the middle. Based on the amount of orange in the swirled color, I'd recommend this for warmer skin tones, because it may turn ruddy and too orange on cooler skin tones.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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