Friday, October 14th, 2011


Tom Ford Violet Blonde Eau de Parfum

Tom Ford Violet Blonde Eau de Parfum ($100.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a new pillar of Tom Ford’s signature collection for women. It joins Black Orchid and White Patchouli. The notes include: violet leaf, Italian Mandarin, baie rose, Tuscan orris absolute, Tuscian orris butter, jasmine sambac, benzoin, cedarwood, Haitian vetiver absolute, musk, and soft suede.

It opened with strong burst of floral notes with a sweetened, fruit-laced edge over a backdrop of peppery greens. There was an inkling of the greenness from the violet leaf when it opened, but it quickly transitioned to fragrant, floral jasmine, which was the prevailing note on my skin for some time. The jasmine blended with the rooty qualities of the orris (iris root), so it was cool and just softer than crisp; like the first few days of fall, where the air coolly caresses and you realize the seasons have just changed.

I appreciated the damp, mustiness the orris notes imparted–they enhanced the depth and added another layer of nuance.  It made it distinctly autumnal for me and suitable as the weather slinks into sunny but cool afternoons.  Autumn is my favorite season, especially the precious few weeks, because it’s blissfully temperate with leaves just beginning to change and no fireplaces have been switched on.  It’s fresh and green and lovely.

Violet Blonde encapsulates some of those qualities–the freshness and green crispness of autumn–but it is more floral than anything else.  It never turned achingly sweet, which is a direction that tends to remind me of youthfulness, and instead, it evolved to an earthy jasmine with soft, creamy woods that took away some of the edginess of the opening of the scent but made it more wearable.  Violet Blonde reads elegant, polished, and subtly feminine–ultimately, a sophisticated, layered scent that’s not as heavy or as daunting as Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection, but in some ways, more refined.

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

MAC Matchmaster Foundation
MAC Matchmaster Foundation

MAC Matchmaster Foundation

MAC Matchmaster Foundation ($32.50 for 1.18 fl. oz.) is a buildable, medium-coverage liquid foundation with a “moisturizing demi-matte finish.” It’s supposed to have “line-reducing soft-focus powders” and “translucent pigments to enable a fully personalized finish influenced by the subtleties of your own skin’s undertone.”

It carries a SPF 15 rating, and the active ingredients are octinoxate (3.4%) and titanium dioxide (1.0%). With the low amount of titanium dioxide, you should be able to get away with it in photographs, though for really big, special occasions (e.g. weddings, graduations, etc.) you might opt for a more photography-appropriate formula. I didn’t notice sufficient change when I took numerous photos wearing it.

I tested shade 3.0 initially, which is supposed to suit NC30s, but it was a third to half a shade too dark and yellower than I needed. I think 2.0 is a better match, especially as we get into winter, but in some lighting, it seems a touch too light. Usually, if a foundation runs light, I’ll opt for the slightly too-light variation and use a setting powder in a shade that’s a closer match–because then it tends to come together as a solid match all around. From what I’ve heard from other readers, 1.0 may match those who are lighter than the traditional NC/NW15 shades.

I was testing this when my skin felt drier than normal (it’s typically normal-to-dry but closer to normal), and I felt like it emphasized the visible pores on my cheeks and had clingy feeling. If you have drier patches (I sometimes get them around my temples), it is not forgiving at all. The result was not entirely unexpected, given the demi-matte finish–the rule of thumb has always been dewier finishes for drier skin, matter finishes for oilier skin. I wanted to wait until my skin normalized to try it again, which is why the review took longer than normal, and I liked it better when my skin was at its usual normal-to-dry character.

The coverage is light to medium, but medium coverage takes a little more product to achieve, so it is less comfortable and heavier to wear if you need medium coverage. It has a good consistency where it doesn’t feel thick, but it’s not watery or loose. I used about a pump to pump and a half for total application. I tried various applicators, from sponges to brushes (109, 130, 187, 193), and I preferred the 109 or 193 (really like how it gets into the nooks and crannies so well!).

I get around eight hours of wear with this foundation, which is solid. I wore it longer, and by the tenth hour, it was a little faded and had moved around a touch, but it was still mostly intact (a little powder would have brought it back up to par). There is a faint chemical scent that I noticed when I first applied the product to my skin, but I did not detect it as I wore it throughout the day. I’d recommend this foundation more for those with normal, combination, or oily skin types. If you have dry skin but not patches or flakes, then you might like this one still–but I’d say it’s not a good match if you do suffer from drier patches/flaking.

While it’s not appropriate for me when my skin is on the drier side, I didn’t have those issues when I tested it for a second run with normal skin.  I liked it, but I didn’t love it; it wasn’t my holy grail formula.  It’s worth checking out, and overall, a welcomed addition to MAC’s foundation line-up.

The Glossover

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MAC Matchmaster Foundation Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It should be a good foundation for normal, combination, and oily skin types. I caution it for those with very dry to dry skin types, because it is less forgiving around larger pores, unevenness in skin texture, and dry patches. It's light to medium coverage, wears comfortably, and doesn't feel heavy when worn.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

NYX Apricot HD Blush
NYX Apricot HD Blush

NYX Apricot HD Blush

NYX Apricot HD Blush ($16.50 for 0.25 oz. ) is medium-dark coral-red with a soft, satiny shimmer-sheen. The color initially reminded me of Chanel Rouge, which is certainly redder and more intense–with a light hand, they’re comparable. It also reminded me of the original MAC Posey and MAC Mighty Aphrodite. Benefit Bella Bamba is pinker.

What I’ve loved most about NYX’s line of HD blushes is their soft, super finely-milled powders; they’re silky, blendable, and fairly buildable. It’s a formula that makes it difficult to overdo it on; you have to be deliberate about greater intensity if that’s the color you desire, but it’s not difficult to achieve a more pigmented cheek. The downside to these blushes is the wear time, which is around six hours, at which point I start noticing it fade.

For an in-depth commentary on the packaging, please see my original review.

The Glossover

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product

Apricot

B-
Surprisingly, despite its shortcomings, there is something about this product I like. It's a product I would reach for, but I recognize that it's below-average wear is a major issue. The packaging is less functional than it seems, and it's likely you're paying part of the higher price tag for that.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Illamasqua Violate Sheer Lipgloss
Illamasqua Violate Sheer Lipgloss

Illamasqua Violate Sheer Lipgloss

Illamasqua Violate Sheer Lipgloss (£13.00 for 0.20 oz.) is described as a “dark green shimmer.” The brand’s Sheer Lipgloss is rather self-explanatory–it’s a sheerer gloss that adds shine. This is definitely not as opaque as the Intense Lipglosses, but I’d say it’s more pigmented than it is sheer. I initially thought it was an Intense Lipgloss that suffered from unevenness in application, because it runs semi-opaque.

It’s a dark, forest green shimmer with a really cool, blue-based tone to it, so it almost looks like a teal-green than a true green. The shimmer is layered with a black-brown color base. I don’t have anything like this, and I expect the general reaction will be similar to Kontrol Lipstick. You’ll either love it or hate it. It’s not a color you’d describe as universally wearable and palatable, but again, it’s nice to have options.

The overall darkness in the hue means that any unevenness becomes more apparent, even from afar, but I did keep in mind this is supposed to be a sheer gloss (and deducted a point because it’s more than “sheer wash”). I just don’t think that works so well with really deep, dark shades if you want to avoid obvious lip lines, unevenness, and the like. It didn’t bleed or feather, which was nice, and it wore for five hours before needing to be reapplied. The formula had no scent and didn’t feel tacky.  To get a more even appearance, try layering a black lipstick underneath.

The Glossover

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product

Violate

B+
If this is the kind of color you've been looking for, I think you'll like it, despite some of its shortcomings. For the right look, it could be worth the extra effort for perfect application.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo
Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo

Estee Lauder Black Chrome Pure Color Eyeshadow Duo ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a limited edition offering from the Modern Mercury collection.  The combination is classic, though for many of us, superfluous; it’s a set of dark, smoky hues that would work well to smoke out any look.  I liked how there are two textures presented.

On the left, there is a dark black with a semi-matte finish–just a hint of sheen–that has soft but dry texture. The color payoff is good, without being too chalky, and it doesn’t skip and drag. It’s similar to several other blacks like MAC Carbon and Inglot #391.  It does, however, perform better during application than swatched directly on an arm; the fluffiness of brush bristles seems to enhance some of the drier eyeshadow formulas.

Next to the black eyeshadow, there is a dark gray with multi-colored shimmer–I detected teal, silver, and green mostly. The pigmentation could use some improvement; it’s decent to good, but it’s a little sheer. The texture is soft, so it does apply smoothly overall. It reminded me of Bobbi Brown Black Sparkle. Urban Decay Gunmetal appears similar, too!

The Pure Color Eyeshadow formula is actually designed to be long-wearing without creasing or fading.  When I wore this color combination alone on the eye (without primer!), it performed well overall, but I did see very slight fading at eight hours but no creasing.  It certainly didn’t disappear, though, and I’d say to the average onlooker, they wouldn’t say, “Wow, use a primer!”  I have normal-to-dry eyelids, so for those with oilier lids, you may still want to use a primer underneath these.

The Glossover

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Estee Lauder Black Chrome Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Quality-wise, this duo is good--if the colors really grab you, or you love how they're housed together, it might be worth picking up. Both shades could be a little more pigmented to provide truer-to-pan color.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Illamasqua Havoc Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner
Illamasqua Havoc Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner

Illamasqua Fall/Winter 2011: Havoc Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner

Illamasqua Havoc Precision Ink Liquid Eyeliner ($27.50 for 0.06 oz.) is described as an “aubergine” by Illamasqua and “burgundy brown” by Sephora. I reviewed the formula here, and I wore and tested Havoc and had the same results. It’s long-wearing and waterproof once it dries down (takes twenty seconds or so).

I found Havoc to deliver excellent color payoff, too–really rich, bold color in a single stroke. It’s an intense burgundy wine with a semi-matte finish–no shimmer at all–that is so in tune with the autumnal hues.  The brown in the color makes it easier to wear, because if the red tones were more dominating, it could give the illusion of I-just-cried-my-eyes-out when worn–which is not usually the look one wants.  The closest comparable shade is Make Up For Ever #11, which is redder, lighter, and shimmery.

The Glossover

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product

Havoc

A
I'm a big fan of these new liquid eyeliner formulas--they all work well--but the shade availability can vary, and Illamasqua has managed to put out a shade that I haven't seen in some of the other line-ups.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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