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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Sunday, January 9th, 2011


Lancome French Touch Color Design Eyeshadow Quad

Lancome French Touch Color Design Eyeshadow Quad

Lancome French Touch Color Design Eyeshadow Quad ($42.00 for 0.168 oz.) is a gorgeous, limited edition quad released for fall.  Aha! I thought I wasn’t going to be able to review this, but it is still available for purchase through HSN, and thus, I can.  It contains four shades:  a pale pink with satin sheen; warmed-up bronze; peachy pink with a gold metallic sheen; and berry burgundy.

The eyeshadows are rich in pigmentation and have a beautiful texture–soft, silky, and very easy to blend.  Everything about this palette is lovely except the amount you get — a pitiful 0.11 oz.!  We’re talking a palette here, which are usually a better value than singles, but whoa.  Most brands give you double the amount in this palette in their quads, so I was pretty disappointed by that.

(By the way, if someone could confirm the weight, that would be great–I am going by HSN’s page, as mine has a sample label with no box packaging, so there was no weight on my palette.  Does anyone else find it frustrating that brands do not always include the product’s size/weight?)

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: If they gave you more for your money, I’d be more inclined to recommend it.  If quantity isn’t a concern (like you don’t often finish eyeshadows), then it’s more of a non-issue.  The quality is very nice, though.

WHERE TO BUY: HSN

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Sunday, January 9th, 2011


NARS Wicked Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Wicked Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Wicked Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) features a pale, shimmering green with an almost gold shimmer and a brighter pop of chartreuse with soft gold shimmer.  The texture is soft, smooth, and the color pay off excellent.  I love that you can actually use this duo on its own or mix and match with other eyeshadows you own.  It’s also a nice permanent option for spring/summer colors.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a fun color combo that will work exceptionally on warmer skin tones.  Cooler skin tones can make this work, too, because of the paler green, and it would be nice paired with a cooler blue or teal.

WHERE TO BUY: NARS

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Saturday, January 8th, 2011

NARS Little Darling Lipstick
NARS Little Darling Lipstick

NARS Little Darling Lipstick

NARS Little Darling Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition light beige nude that applies semi-sheer with a glossier finish. It seems to have more neutral undertones, and on me, it looks like my natural lip color pulls a touch of pink out of it. It has a creamier, slicker feel than other NARS lipsticks have, and it is very comfortable to wear.

NARS Lipstick typically wears four to six hours, with a shade like this lasting just under four. It has a creamier texture that’s moisturizing, and this particular shade is more opaque (some shades can be quite sheer). I didn’t notice any waxy scent, as NARS lipsticks are typically unscented but the scent of the waxy base sometimes come through.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: For lighter skin tones, both cool and warm, I see this being a workable nude. It’s sheer enough that it doesn’t come across too pale, but it has enough color to alter the natural color of your lips.

WHERE TO BUY: NARS

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Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Estee Lauder Extravagant Golds Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Extravagant Gold Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Extravagant Gold Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Extravagant Gold Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.27 oz.) is a limited edition palette that came out with Estee Lauder’s holiday collection (but it is still available, should it be your heart’s desire!). It includes five warm-toned variations on the gold theme: a pale, champagne gold; softened coppered, amber brown with a frosted finish; orange-gold with a satin sheen; smoldering dark red-toned brown with a matte finish; and a rich copper with a metallic-frost finish.

The eyeshadows are smooth, silky to the touch, and incredibly blendable. They have nice pigmentation, but I really like the blendability of these. They just seem to melt against the skin, and the softness isn’t powdery–just soft.  I do feel like I’ve seen these shades before, though, so it may not be the best investment if you already own similar shades, but if you’ve been on the look out for something warm, gold, and compact, this hits high notes for all three.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a palette that would suit warm skin tones impeccably; it may be too orange-y on those with cooler skin tones, though. If you don’t have similar shades already in your stash, I’d recommend taking a peek at this.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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