Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Taking a Long, Windy Drive with Ocean Eyeshadow Duo

I really loved the coloring of Dolce & Gabbana’s Ocean Eyeshadow Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.)  LOVED! ON SIGHT!  It’s a mix of lilac-periwinkle and dusty, navy blue.  And so I was greatly disappointed when my first attempt to use it proved as difficult as the Divine Eyeshadow Quad.   Instead, Ocean did this weird thing where it clumped up in spots and went really sheer in others.  I also packed on the color FIVE times before throwing up my makeup brushes in frustration.

AHH, AHH. I FOUND THE KEY. BURIED. LIKE TREASURE!

Oh, yes, I finally found the key to success with these more finicky eyeshadows, but I’m pretty frustrated at how I did find it–which was completely by accident.  I had the compact open by my bathroom sink, and I accidentally splashed water on it.  Since I was about ready to throw in the towel, and there was already a wet spot, I figured let’s try it–let’s dare to use it wet.  TA-DA! VOILA! LIGHTBULB FLASHFLASH!

I don’t typically use powder products wet unless I know it’s designed with that in mind, because some powder products will have a “wet spot” left behind, which just hardens and looks gross.  Mind you, I had previously called the Dolce & Gabbana counter at Saks NY and the artist on the phone said that these could not be used wet.

So I started to hunt around on the ol’ interweb to see if I could find more insight on using these eyeshadows wet, since it worked a treat.  Buried on the Dolce & Gabbana website–but only under the eyeshadow duos–within the “application” tab is a quote from Pat McGrath:  “Achieve multiple looks from a single colour: applied dry, the shadows appear softer and more transparent, but with a wet brush, they become opaque and intense.” This information doesn’t appear on Saks’ website nor under the eyeshadow quad area of Dolce & Gabbana’s website at all.

I’m sad to report that using the eyeshadows wet for the Divine eyeshadow quad I reviewed a few weeks ago didn’t do much for improving the color, but it did make the color apply more evenly and look smoother–so I did go back and amend the review briefly and raised the grade up two notches.

But I think what really killed me was that even though I called to ask, the artist (at least the one working that day) explicitly told me to NOT use these wet or else I would ruin the eyeshadow.  If I had paid for this, I don’t think I would have ever risked it.

The one problem I did encounter by using the duo wet was that it made it more difficult to blend out–you have to work really quickly, because once it dries, it sets and stays as vibrant as it went on initially, but it’s a pain to diffuse after that.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind using your eyeshadows wet, then I think this could be a really good duo–they’re two shades I feel like I don’t see that often.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

Check out the look done dry… and wet!  Plus more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

NYX Very Berry Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Very Berry Lipstick

NYX Very Berry Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a darkened red-brown with a glossy finish.  It’s opaque, and it has a very creamy texture, so it applies beautifully.  It does fade away within three to four hours, but it’s a lovely color while it lasts.  There’s a slightly synthetic sweet scent in the tube, but I don’t notice it lingering once I’ve applied it.

Is this the right brown for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Nubar Holiday 2010
Nail Lacquer: Sateen, Charmeuse, Moire, Chiffon

Nubar Holiday 2010: Finest Silks (Part 2)

For the holidays, Nubar took inspiration from the Silk Road with their collection of eight shades. Each shade is designed to provide complete coverage in two coats and be universally wearable. Nubar is free of formaldehyde, phthalate and toluene. Shades include: Organza (intense pearl white), Taffeta (pale peachy brown), Marabout (deep muted brown), Pekin (rich dark red), Sateen (deep vivid red), Charmeuse (neutral blush), Moire (light reddish brown), and Chiffon (muted brown). All shades are creams except Organza, which is a frost.

  • Sateen is a deep dark red cream–it’s a couple of shades darker than Pekin. This has a little brown to it in comparison. It almost looks like a jelly but it’s more cream than jelly. It’s not quite as dark as Chanel Rouge Fatal but it comes close. Two coats.
  • Charmeuse is a medium pink cream muted by brown. It’s similar to Chanel Rose Confidentielle but with more noticeable brown. Two coats.
  • Moire is a light-medium beige brown cream. Two coats.
  • Chiffon is a mushroom-taupe cream. Two coats.

I thought that Barielle’s Style in Argyle Collection would offer at least a couple of dupes but nothing was very similar. In general, I don’t have a vast stash of browns, so I didn’t find dupes for the majority of the shades here. All of the shades lean have mostly neutral tones to them, so they will work well on both cooler and warmer skin tones.

I think Charmeuse will be a favorite, just because it’s a wearable, modern pink–not bright, not utterly girly, and not pastel.

Application was stellar on all of the creams: two coats for creamy, smooth, even color. The formula isn’t too thick or thin, and the rubber cap makes it easy to hold when applying.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: Sateen is a gorgeous dark red, if you have need for one, while Charmeuse is a lovely wearable pink for all skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: Nubar

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Nubar Holiday 2010
Nail Lacquer: Organza, Taffeta, Marabout, Pekin

Nubar Holiday 2010: Finest Silks (Part 1)

For the holidays, Nubar took inspiration from the Silk Road with their collection of eight shades. Each shade is designed to provide complete coverage in two coats and be universally wearable. Nubar is free of formaldehyde, phthalate and toluene. Shades include: Organza (intense pearl white), Taffeta (pale peachy brown), Marabout (deep muted brown), Pekin (rich dark red), Sateen (deep vivid red), Charmeuse (neutral blush), Moire (light reddish brown), and Chiffon (muted brown). All shades are creams except Organza, which is a frost. Each shade retails for $7.49.

  • Organza is a white gold with ultra fine white shimmer. This looks more metallic than frosty to me, and brush strokes are quite noticeable. I did three coats, and I couldn’t get it to be opaque. It was the only shade that had opacity issues, but there was something appealing about this shade. It reminded me of weddings, actually. I like it even though I hate seeing brush strokes, which is so twilight zone. (I would give this one a product rating of 25/30, while the others are 29/30.)
  • Taffeta is a medium brown with orange-peach cream. Slightly warm but mostly neutral. Two coats.
  • Marabout is a cool-toned plummy brown-gray cream. Two coats.
  • Pekin is a dark red cream that pulls just a tiny bit blue. It’s similar to Essie’s Limited Addiction, which is a little darker and seems more neutral. Two coats.

I thought that Barielle’s Style in Argyle Collection would offer at least a couple of dupes but nothing was very similar. In general, I don’t have a vast stash of browns, so I didn’t find dupes for the majority of the shades here. All of the shades lean have mostly neutral tones to them, so they will work well on both cooler and warmer skin tones.

Application was stellar on all of the creams: two coats for creamy, smooth, even color. The formula isn’t too thick or thin, and the rubber cap makes it easy to hold when applying. Organza was the odd man out with a sheerer application and visible brush strokes.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: I have no idea why I’m drawn to Organza in spite of its brush strokes, but I am. Pekin is a nice dark red cream, though I like Sateen (coming up!) a bit better.

AVAILABILITY: Nubar

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, October 15th, 2010

China Glaze Holiday 2010
Nail Lacquer: Midnight Kiss, Party Hearty

China Glaze Holiday 2010: Part 3

Finally! These are the last four shades of the new and limited sixteen holiday shades by China Glaze. I grouped these together, because three of the four are very glitter-based. I wanted to swatch the glitters last, since the glitter does have a tendency to get into the nooks and crannies of my nails, which can throw off other swatches. Party Hearty is a fun shade but definitely use it to layer rather than alone.

Each China Glaze retails for $3 and up, depending on where you purchase yours from. I know the brand is carried at various etailers as well as Sally’s (not sure if it’s in store yet, though).

  • Midnight Kiss is a soft gold with gold shimmer-glitter and an almost metallic/foil finish. It’s the gold version of Cheers to You. It seems similar to Butter London’s Full Monty. Two coats.
  • Party Hearty is a mix of large, red hexagonal glitter; smaller green hexagonal glitter; and smaller silver and gold circular/square glitter. All the glitter particles are flat and suspended in a clear base. This is a shade that’s best layered over other polishes rather than on its own. For swatching purposes, I did both, and when it’s shown alone, that’s three full coats. I liked it best over Midnight Kiss, Cheers to You, and Frosty.
  • Mrs. Claus is a pinky-red jelly with dark pink and fuchsia glitter suspended in the base. I feel like I’ve seen this shade before, but I can’t put my finger on it. I did three coats, but it still seemed rather pink on me. (This shade fell flat for me; it’s just so pink on but red in the bottle–I’d give this a lower product score of 27/30, FYI!)
  • Mistletoe Kisses is an emerald green base with minty-green/silver glitter. After swatching Mrs. Clause, I thought this was going to be just like it, but Mistletoe Kisses is quite opaque! It initially reminded me of China Glaze Watermelon Rind, but it’s far too teal in comparison. Two coats.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Party Hearty is fun and the very definition of Christmas! It looks excellent over Midnight Kiss.

AVAILABILITY: 8ty8beauty.com

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, October 15th, 2010

China Glaze Holiday 2010
Nail Lacquer: Jolly Holly, Peace on Earth, Jingle Bells

China Glaze Holiday 2010: Part 2

The next six shades consist of all shimmers with the exception of Show, which is a cream. I had the same experience formula-wise as I did with the first six; easy, even application. Most shades were two coats, though I did three for Snow and Frosty.   The consistency of these shades was on the thinner side, but it wasn’t watery or sheer. Each China Glaze retails for $3 to 4, depending on where you purchase yours from. I know the brand is carried at various etailers as well as Sally’s (not sure if it’s in store yet, though).

  • Jolly Holly is a darkened emerald green with lighter green shimmer. It’s a little warmer with finer shimmer than China Glaze’s Emerald Sparkle. Jolly Holly feels less emerald in comparison. Two coats.
  • Peace on Earth is a medium olive green with an almost chartreuse tone. It’s similar to NARS’ Mash, which has a little more olive in its base. Two coats.
  • Jingle Bells is a light champagne gold with golden microshimmer. This looks really lovely on, and the application is absolutely flawless. It reminded me of a less yellow/gold version of Chanel Gold Lame (which has a metallic finish, so they’re a bit different). Two coats.
  • Snow is a stark white cream. It was surprisingly easy to apply, though I needed three coats to even out a little streakiness I had towards the bottom of the nail (which was more owed to impatience during application). It’s like White Out for your nails but you know, looks better, applies better, and lasts longer. It does seem to have a blue-base to it. It’s a brighter version of MAC Vestral White (which is harder to apply). Three coats but it was opaque in two.
  • Frosty is a semi-sheer white base with silvery-white shimmer. There’s something about this that reminds me of wedding dresses. It almost has a purplish iridescent sheen. I don’t own many white-based polishes, so I don’t have any dupes for this one. Three coats.
  • Cheers to You is a silver foil. It just says shimmer, but it looks like a foil/mtallic, because of the high sheen and finish. Duri’s Celebrity Scandal and SpaRitual’s Looking Glass are both similar. Two coats.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Snow may not be a shade that’s easy to wear on its own, but it could be used to layer underneath other polishes or glitters. If NARS’ Mash seems too expensive for you, Peace on Earth is a nice affordable option.

AVAILABILITY: 8ty8beauty.com

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →