Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

simplehuman sensor mirror
simplehuman sensor mirror

A couple of weeks ago, after seeing several readers recommend it, I decided to pull the trigger and buy the simplehuman sensor mirror ($200.00). It supposed to be a light-up mirror that uses a built-in sensor so it lights up when you get near it, and it uses LEDs to provide light that mimics natural sunlight. The LEDs are supposed to outlast you even with daily use, so theoretically, you shouldn’t have to replace the light or the mirror while you have it. (The claim specifically: “Our mirror’s LEDs have been rated to perform like new after 40,000 hours — that’s an hour a day, everyday, for more than 100 years.”)

simplehuman is likely known for their design, and I definitely liked that this is more of a cordless product, as it keeps my countertop cleaner, requires one less electrical socket, and is easily moved from one room to another. (I find that I keep it nearby for photos when I’m applying lip products, but then I’ve also been using it where I do my makeup.) One charge is supposed to last five weeks, so you don’t have to worry about regularly plugging it in. I haven’t had to charge mine over the two weeks I’ve used it. It’s heavy enough that it isn’t easily knocked over, but it’s easily carried to another room or put away. The mirror tilts nicely, so you can choose the angle that makes sense for how you’re positioned. I have it angled so it looks more like a dinner plate when I’m applying lip swatches, as I stand while doing so, but when I’m doing my makeup, I sit, so I have it positioned more vertically. You can also adjust the height. simplehuman has an adjustable diagram here so you can see how it adjusts.

The lighting is good; it does a good job of mimicking natural sunlight–much like sitting in front of a window without direct light (so it doesn’t turn yellowish), and it illuminates evenly as it is a ring of light.  It’s not hard on my eyes, as it is not so bright that it’s going to light up a room, but it does give you targeted, consistent lighting right where you need it. It would be nice if there was a dimmer, as some may be more/less sensitive to light.  The size and magnification worked well for me, as I could see my features more closely and do a better job at applying products more precisely as things were magnified, but I could still see more of my face to get an overview of the look. I still think having a regular mirror nearby is handy, though.

My only gripe was that there wasn’t a way to force the sensor to take longer to shut off. We actually have sensor lighting in our bathrooms, and we’ve adjusted all the timers, because when we first moved in, we’d end up showering in the dark as they’d turn off too soon! According to simplehuman, they use “intelligent multi-sense” that’s supposed to “adapt to your behavior … It becomes more sensitive during use, so it won’t turn off unexpectedly.” About half the time I use it, the light turns off when I look down to do eyeliner, because my face drops beyond the sensor on the top. If you actually get up to get an item, or if you lean over to pull something out of a drawer, it’ll probably shut off. It takes a second to pop back on when your face returns. I’d love to adjust it from maybe 5 seconds delay, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, etc.

It does lack some of the features you may be more comfortable with (or prefer) in other makeup mirrors, like the ability to switch between magnification levels (or swivel to a regular mirror/no magnification mirror), types of lighting, dimming, side panels for more extreme viewing angles, and so on. Ultimately, this is a simpler makeup mirror, but the brighter, more calibrated, and even lighting is one of its greatest selling points. I just think it depends on your needs and what features you actually use.  I don’t know that it is “worth” the price tag, as it is significantly more than most makeup mirrors on the market.  It has a really nice streamlined, cordless design and great lighting, but if you already have a set-up with good, natural lighting streaming in, I’m not sure you’ll get the value out of this product. For my purposes (for lip swatches and eye makeup), I’m finding I really like it a lot–more than I thought I would–so yes, if it holds up for several years, I think I could tell you it was worth it (for me).

I was actually debating on whether to opt for the smaller (and cheaper) version, but I ended up buying the full-sized for myself. Not even twelve hours after I bought it, Sephora pitched me about the mirror and asked if I wanted to receive either the standard or mini for consideration, which ended up working out nicely because one of the things I really was curious about was how the full-sized and travel version compared to each other! Now, I get to do that for you :) There is also a wall-mounted option that is the same as the full-sized version in this post. I think the wall-mounted one would be best suited for someone with a set-up that requires standing.

simplehuman mini sensor mirror ($130.00) has one major advantage over the larger version: it’s travel-friendly. It comes with a zippered, slightly firm case that holds the mirror, which folds down. Potentially, the second major advantage is that this mirror has 10x magnification (compared to 5x magnification of the full-sized mirror).

The easiest difference to spot is that it is a much smaller mirror–4.75″ across compared to the 8″ full-sized mirror–but the magnification is also quite different. On the mini, it has 10x magnification, whereas the standard is 5x. The sensor light is on the bottom of the mini but on the top for the standard. If desired, you could actually flip the mirror to the other side, which shortens the height of the mirror (depending on the surface you set it on, how tall/short you are, your seat, etc.). The mini is about 3″ shorter, a skinnier stem, but the base has a similar footprint, it’s just lighterweight and less robust (but the diameter is about the same). A single charge on the mini is supposed to last up to 8 weeks, while the full-sized is 5 weeks, though they use the same USB charger. I have a note on my calendar to check in sometime in October on charging.

The mini is lighter-weight, though I wouldn’t describe it as that light, and it’s a fine weight if you’re packing a larger suitcase but may add a bit more weight than ideal to a carry-on. It doesn’t take up too much space, though, and the case has some protection but has some give (perhaps best described as firm, but not solid, case).

I found I preferred using the full-sized mirror, as I could see more of my face, and felt like I didn’t have to be as close-up to the mirror, which gave me more room to work (especially important if you use a long-handled brushes) and some ability to “step back” to see the results. When I used it, I felt really close to the mirror at all times, so I think the diameter is smaller than what my needs require, much like the magnification was more than I needed except for tweezing that one stubborn misplaced brow hair. For me, it didn’t feel as practical or as useful when I would sit down and do my makeup in front of this. However, if you really need more than 5x magnification, the mini may be the right choice. No matter which one you have, a regular mirror nearby is handy so that you don’t forget to look at the big picture (whatever everyone else will see!) as well.

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Kat Von D Lullabye Studded Kiss Lipstick
Kat Von D Lullabye Studded Kiss Lipstick

Kat Von D Lullabye Studded Kiss Lipstick ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “sparkling iridescent magenta violet.” It’s a vibrant, fuchsia pink with cool-toned, magenta-fuchsia shimmer/sheen that gives it a slightly metallic sheen over a matte finish. Melt Cosmetics Shady Lady (P, $19.00) has no shimmer. Too Faced Melted Fuchsia (P, $21.00) has no shimmer, brighter. MAC Pink Poodle (DC, $16.00) is glossier. MAC Midnight Mambo (LE, $22.00) is less matte. Revlon Lollipop (P, $7.49) is sheerer, glossier, more muted. Milani Violet Volt (P, $5.49) is purpler, more shimmery. MAC Show Orchid (P, $16.00) is less matte. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Yaoi (P, $18.00) is pinker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The consistency was very lightly creamy-just enough that it didn’t tug or drag and the color went on evenly–and yielded rich, opaque color coverage. The texture was lightweight, thin, a little clingy (but not in an uncomfortable way), and I didn’t feel the shimmer/sparkle in the shade while I wore it. The color wears and wears like iron; I managed to get eight hours of wear with a fairly noticeable stain that lingered for a few more hours (but it’s supposed to last for 10 hours). It was a little drying towards the last two hours I wore it, but it was moderately comfortable to wear overall.

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

MAC Plumluxe Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow Palette
MAC Plumluxe Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow Palette

MAC Plumluxe Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow Palette ($40.00 for 0.14 oz.) contains “five complementary shades that glide on and blend beautifully for infinite day-to-night looks.” MAC describes it as a “hybrid formula” that can be applied dry for sheer color, wet for opaque color. This might be better titled as “Purpleluxe,” since it’s more like variations on purple than plum. It’s characterized by a lot of glitter, sparkle, and metallic finishes, which makes it harder to wear on its own as the powdery, sometimes crumbly, quality of the glittery shades shows up on the lids and creates a lot of fall out both during application as well as throughout the time I wore them. I think the way the Veluxe Pearlfusion formula sparkles can be really pretty, but they can be such a high maintenance product to apply/wear.

Plumluxe #1 is described as a “frosty white.” It’s a glittering, bright white with a metallic finish and subtle warm undertones. It had semi-sheer color payoff applied dry and more opaque pigmentation when applied damp. The texture wasn’t glittery exactly, but it wasn’t smooth–almost crumbly where flecks of sparkle/shimmer acted more like chunks. I had a lot of fall out with this shade when I wore it. Too Faced La Croisette (P, $16.00) is less glittery. Tarina Tarantino Glinda’s Kiss (LE) is less glittery. Dior Golden Snow #3 (LE) is warmer. MAC 2x Dare #1 (LE) is cooler-toned. theBalm Sassy (P, $16.00) is more muted. Inglot #453 (P, $6.00) is less glittery. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Plumluxe #2 is described as a “white pink with pearl.” It’s a subtly, cool-toned, light-medium pink with a sparkly, metallic finish. It had sheer color that was very powdery when applied dry, which was more opaque when applied with a dampened brush. It had moderate fall out when worn, though the color itself didn’t start to fade until after eight hours of wear. Milani Bella Pink (13) (P, $3.99) is less glittery. MAC Violet Blend #1 (LE) is less glittery. Laura Mercier Diamond Pink (LE, $23.00) is lighter. MAC Pink Sensibilities #2 (LE, $21.00) is similar. MAC A Medley of Mauves #1 (P, $21.00) is less glittery. Tom Ford Beauty Seductive Rose #2 (P) is similar. Too Faced Marshmallow (LE, $16.00) is darker. MAC Pinkluxe #1 (P) is darker. Urban Decay SWF (P, $18.00) is less glittery. MAC Invincible Light (LE, $21.00) is warmer. MAC Maribu (LE, $32.50) is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Plumluxe #3 is described as a “lavender.” It’s a cool-toned, light-medium purple with silver and white sparkle/shimmer. It had a more glittery, metallic finish. Applied dry, it was sheer and a bit crumbly, and applied with a dampened brush produced smoother, more pigmented results. I had some fall out with this shade when I wore it, though the color didn’t start fading until after seven and a half hours of wear. NARS Jardin Perdu (Right) (LE, $24.00) is darker. NARS Kauai #2 (P, $24.00) is darker. Too Faced Jingle All the Way Eyeshadow #6 (LE, $16.00) is darker. Makeup Geek Bewitched (P, $6.99) is warmer. Sleek MakeUP Romance in Rome (LE, $9.99) is darker. Urban Decay Voodoo (LE, $18.00) is darker. MAC Black Grape (P, $21.00) is similar. theBalm Lavish Latoya (LE, $16.00) is less sparkly, darker. Urban Decay ACDC (P, $18.00) is darker, less sparkly. Milani Purr-fect Purple (P, $6.99) is similar. MAC Grand Galaxy (LE, $19.50) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Plumluxe #4 is described as a “dark purple with light pearl.” It’s a medium-dark, warm-toned purple with a pearly shimmer. It was sheer and powdery when applied dry, and it was more opaque when applied with a dampened brush, which helped most of the powderiness. It wore well for eight hours before fading. Dior Lilas Mitzah (176) (P, $29.00) is lighter. Urban Decay Freakshow (P, $18.00) is brighter. Urban Decay Vice (LE, $18.00) is lighter. MAC Highly Charged (LE, $21.00) is a cream product. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Plumluxe #5 is a dark gray with a pearly sheen and subtle,c ool undertones. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer but not powdery, and then applied damp, it was slightly more pigmented. The color lasted for almost eight hours before fading. There is a surprisingly amount of shades very similar to this — see comparison swatches / view dupes.

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Monday, August 11th, 2014

NARS Audacious Lipsticks
NARS Audacious Lipsticks

Here’s part two of the lip swatches sneak peek! :) (If you missed part one, check it out here.) I’ll have reviews up as soon as I can of the new NARS Audacious Lipstick formula. Hope you enjoy this sneak peek!

You can also see them in the Swatch Gallery :)

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Monday, August 11th, 2014

NARS Audacious Lipsticks
NARS Audacious Lipsticks

I hope to kick off reviews soon, but knowing it will take time to work through them, here are lip swatches for twenty of the shades (working on the next set to post as well) of NARS Audacious Lipstick. It’s a new, upcoming formula that launches on September 1st they’re now online at narscosmetics.com.. They will retail for $32 each, are permanent, and contain 0.14 oz. a pop.

You can also see them in the Swatch Gallery :)

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Monday, August 11th, 2014

 

Laura Mercier Desire Lip Glace
Laura Mercier Desire Lip Glace

Laura Mercier Desire Lip Glace ($25.00 for 0.16 fl. oz.) is described as a “burgundy with shimmer.” It’s a reddish burgundy with warm undertones and violet and fuchsia shimmer. NARS Rouge Tribal (P, $26.00) is darker. MAC Black Tea (LE, $19.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Feelin’ So Good (LE, $15.00) is less shimmery, darker. Bobbi Brown Midnight Violet (P, $24.00) is cooler-toned, darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Lip Glace formula is supposed to be a “high-shine, perfectly pigmented lip gloss” that “hydrates and protects lips” with a “non-sticky formula.” The color is described as “rich, long-lasting” as well. It had semi-opaque color coverage, so the natural lip color came through but it was visible. The shimmer is on the lighter side, so it is more in the background with this particular shade. Applied, the color didn’t settle too much into lip lines, but the sheerer nature of such a dark shade made it so it didn’t look that even on, either. The gloss felt lightweight, non-sticky, and was lightly hydrating, while it lasted for three and a half hours on me. It had a burnt sugar/caramel scent but no discernible taste.

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