Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Giorgio Armani #404 Rouge d'Armani Lipstick
Giorgio Armani #404 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick

Quick! Snatch Up This Limited Edition Holiday Red!

Giorgio Armani #404 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a bright pink-tinged ruby red with a subtle metallic sheen in its finish. It has lots of ruby micro-shimmer–it’s subtle but it’s there. The color applies nearly opaque, and it wears beautifully (at least six hours). This is a gorgeous holiday red!

my thoughts on the formula: The formula itself is moisturizing, long-wearing (six to eight hours), and comfortable to wear. It’s not clingy nor heavy, and there’s enough slip to give it that creamy look where the color nearly melts against your lips. Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks are also scent- and taste-free (and no waxy scent, either!). It comes in a sleek, glossy black case with a magnetic enclosure to ensure your lipstick is closed at all times.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

final thoughts: Infinitely flattering on both cooler and warmer skin tones, pigmented and rich enough to work on pale and dark complexions, #404 is one of those darling holiday reds that many covet.

where to buy: Giorgio Armani

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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara
L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara

Do you need a million lashes for a million dollar lash look?

L’Oreal Blackest Black (635) Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara ($8.99 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is designed as a volumizing mascara that will make your sparse lil’ lashes go from two to a million with a couple of coats of mascara. Obviously, like all mascaras, the claims are exaggerated, but what we can take out of all the marketing brouhaha is that it should give the illusion of a fuller fringe of lashes.

The good thing about mascara is a picture is worth at least 1,000 words, if not a few more. The wand on Voluminous Million Lashes works brilliantly to define and separate lashes–even after a couple of coats–and no clumping. My lashes look longer and thicker certainly, though increased volume? I’m not entirely sold. It’s there in some capacity, but perhaps not as volumizing as I’d expect from a full-on volumizing mascara.

I wore this for twelve hours, and I have no smudging or flaking issues to report. It also held my curl during the twelve hours I trialed this mascara (on five separate occasions). They added new technology to the tube itself so that when the wand pulls through the opening, it minimizes the amount of excess mascara on the brush/wand, for a cleaner application.  Blackest Black is a nice, inky black, too.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

final thoughts: Love the brush and the packaging — could be more volumizing, though it is a nice mascara overall (but I rate based on how well a product performs relative to its claims).

where to buy: drugstore.com

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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Violet Lipstick
Estee Lauder Wild Violet Lipstick

Estee Lauder Spring 2011: Wild Violet Lipstick

Estee Lauder Wild Violet Pure Color Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a berried dark pink with fuchsia and violet micro-shimmer strewn through the near-opaque color. It has a soft shine in the finish along. It is a new and limited edition shade from Estee Lauder’s spring collection.

my thoughts on the formula: The coverage is excellent, and it feels lightweight despite its pigmentation. It’s also more moisturizing than your average lipstick, which makes it comfortable to wear. I get about five hours of wear with this shade in particular, because it is more pigmented. Estee Lauder’s lipsticks are scented with a lightly sweetened fig but are taste-free to me.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Estee Lauder’s Pure Color Lipsticks have a creamy, moisturizing formula with richer, near-opaque shades.  Wild Violet is a beautiful way to wear pink and fuchsia without going for a full-on neon shade.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Monday, January 24th, 2011

NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2011: Celebrate

NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “parrot green” by NARS. The Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are supposed to be “smooth, creamy, and long-wearing.” They are touted as the “ideal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity.” It’s a multi-tasking pencil that can be used to “Shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.”

Celebrate is a bright, chartreuse green with a strong yellow base. It applied semi-opaque but glided on easily. The problem with this shade was its complete inability to not crease. I tried it alone, and it creased within minutes. I layered eyeshadow on top (Giorgio Armani Transluminence palette–the teal–I just used whatever I had nearest to me), and it still creased in less than an hour. It’s not even a little creasing–it’s painful to see. Not to be daunted, I also tried it over NARS’ Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base with the same eyeshadow layered on top, and I still had the same results (a veritable creasing bonanza).

my thoughts on the formula: More often than not, the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are a bust for me–they crease alone but also when layered with powder–and Celebrate continues to show that NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils really can be hit or miss.

The Glossover

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product

Celebrate

I'm not even sure what you can really use this with or for, if it's going to crease with two additional helpers (a base and shadow to set). It migrates on the lower lash line, too, so it's not something one could line with, either. Five points for the glide and color pay off!
Results
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Dupes
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Monday, January 24th, 2011

NARS Hollywoodland Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Hollywoodland Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2011: Hollywoodland

NARS Hollywoodland Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “pale gold” by NARS. The Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are supposed to be “smooth, creamy, and long-wearing.” They are touted as the “ideal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity.” It’s a multi-tasking pencil that can be used to “Shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.”

Hollywoodland is a muted yellow-based gold–kind of a gilded champagne-gold to me. It delivers a nice layer of color without a lot of tugging. Smooth without being greasy, it glides on the lid. I tested it alone, and within ten minutes, it was crease-city (photo included, for your viewing horror), and following that disaster, I tested it with Hourglass’ Dune eyeshadow on top–much better results (six hours of crease-free wear). However, I later tried it with NARS Brazil eyeshadow on it, and it creased a bit at the four hour mark. It seems like it really needs quite a bit of powder to really set it. I also wore it as a liner and honestly, when I went to check it after an hour, I couldn’t find it.

my thoughts on the formula: More often than not, the Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are a bust for me–they crease alone but also when layered with powder–but with enough powder, Hollywoodland managed to get through six hours without creasing, unlike the last one I tried (Palladium).

The Glossover

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product

Hollywoodland

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For $24, this product needs a lot of help to make it usable. From a brand that can make my favorite eyeshadow primer, I'm It's a shame, because it was gorgeous as a base but also blended out on its own for a quick, everyday look.  Given that these are prone to creasing on my normal-to-dry lids, if you have to layer your eyeshadow primers normally, I don't think these are for you.

Product

3/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

2/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Monday, January 24th, 2011

Lancome Glowy Ballerine Butterflies Fever Blush
Lancome Glowy Ballerine Butterflies Fever Blush

Lancome Spring 2011: Glowy Ballerine

Lancome Glowy Ballerine Butterflies Fever Blush ($40.00 for 0.39 oz.) is an icy, pale pink blush that goes on barely-there. It has a silver glitter overlay, but the glitter disappears after the first use. On me (warm, medium skin tone), I get visibly pinker cheeks, but the effect is definitely subtle. The texture is soft, and it’s effortless to apply and blend out, partially owing to the softness in the color itself. It has an ultra soft sheen that looks more like a glow when applied, so there is no need to fear shimmery or glittery finishes here (and again, the glitter is only on the top layer).

Lancome says: “The new must have blush is an original twist of two incontrovertible items of the 70′s style: the bowtie and the butterfly designed by Alexis Mabille. In fashion, wearing a bowtie is the ultimate chic attitude, besides a way to express free-spirit and absolute lack of concern for what other people think. The butterfly is a multicultural symbol of free soul, feminity and beauty of nature.”

Lancome recommends using the pink shade as a blush, beige shade as a sculptor, and lavender shade to unify the complexion. This is all well and good, and I appreciate the directions overall, but you’re going to need a pretty small (and precise) brush to use any of the three shades alone–especially the lavender one.

The design is femine and pretty, though of course, it looks less elegant once you’ve used it a few times, but some of the features still linger (and as far as I know, and based on Lancome’s recommendation to use certain shades individually), there are three distinct shades that go all the way through. Also worth noting is that this is practically a brick of blush at 0.39 oz. (average blush is around 0.15 to 0.20 oz.). The included applicator worksin a pinch, but the bristles are rougher than I’d like, and they will kick up a lot of powder if you attempt to use it.

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

final thoughts: This will be gorgeous on light to medium skin tones both cool and warm, but I think much of the effect will be lost on darker skin tones.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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