Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer
Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011: Platinum

Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a pale, metallic pewter-gold that’s almost neutral with silver shimmer strewn through the metallic base.  I only needed two coats to get opaque color coverage, but as is common in metallic finished polishes, Platinum does show some.  It was easier to even out the brush strokes, though, so it has more of a brushed metal finish.  It is warmer than MAC Very Important Platinum, but it has just as many brush strokes.  Dolce & Gabbana’s formula isn’t as thick nor as troublesome, though, which is a definite plus.  Similarly, Dior Timeless Gold is even warmer and has a less metallic finish (it is more like a part glitter, part metallic finish).

my thoughts on the formula: I found the applicator a bit bothersome, as the brush itself is larger and thicker than average; it allows quite a bit of the lacquer to absorb into the brush, so it’s easy to overdo it if you’re not especially careful. If you have very narrow nail beds, you may also find the brush too wide to use with ease. The lacquer wore just fine with Zoya’s Color Lock System with tip wear but no chips after a week.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: As long as you don’t mind brush strokes, I think it’s a gorgeous shade.  If you have really small nail beds, you may find the brush more difficult to work with.  The formula went on smoothly, evenly, and only required two coats for opaque color coverage.

where to buy: Saks, February 2011

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Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Fire Pure Color Lipstick
Estee Lauder Wild Fire Pure Color Lipstick

Estee Lauder Spring 2011: Wild Fire

Estee Lauder Wild Fire Pure Color Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a deep orange with a hint of coral; it’s not your typical orange–it has more depth and interest to it.  It’s not a neon orange, but this shade is certainly vibrant.  It’s opaque in color coverage with a slight glossy finish.  It really has impeccable coverage, though; very rich and requires no layering–one swipe and voila!

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: This will be flattering on medium-to-dark complexions with warm undertones, because it does lean warm and the vibrancy makes it most suitable to deeper skin tones.  I do think that lighter skin tones can pull it off, but the importance of balance in the look will increase.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

MAC Capricious Lipstick
MAC Capricious Lipstick

The Sultry Season: MAC Capricious Lipstick

MAC Capricious Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) is a rosy plum with subtle gold shimmer. MAC describes it as a “fanciful rose plum,” and it has a lustre finish. Lustre finishes are “demi-sheer with wet-look lustre finish … Very slick … Makes lips look soft, smooth, ultra-moist.”

If you can’t tell by the photo, Capricious has been a long-time favorite, and I’ve always found it an infinitely flattering shade. It’s got that pop of natural color that enhances lips but never overwhelms a look. It has a cool-tone edge to it but the play of gold shimmer works well to make it very wearable for both cool and warm undertones.

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. I typically get four hours of wear, but some of the lighter lustre and glaze finishes tend to disappear by hour three. Amplified cremes and amplified finishes, however, tend to go beyond four. I find the formula comfortable to wear and not drying (but not moisturizing–a couple of the matte and lustre shades can be drying).

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: Capricious is such a great way to wear plum without being too dark or bold.  It is as pretty in springtime as it is in fall.  It was one of my first MAC lipsticks and still a favorite.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

theBalm Shady Lady Vol. 3 Eyeshadow Palette
theBalm Shady Lady Vol. 3 Eyeshadow Palette

theBalm Spring 2011: Shady Lady Vol. 3

TheBalm Shady Lady Vol. 3 ($39.50 for 0.51 oz.) is an eyeshadow palette that includes nine shades:  Lusty Lee (silver shimmer), Envious Erin (shimmery pearl), Racy Kacy (copper shimmer), Safe Bet Annette (pale-pink shimmer), Runaround Rebecca (sage), Come-Hither Heather (soft taupe), Open To Offers Olwen (teal), All The Way Annie (shimmering amethyst), and Guilty Gwen (sparkly black shimmer).

  • Lusty Lee is a bright silver-gray with a frosted finish.
  • Envious Erin is a pale, creamy white with soft golden warmth.
  • Racy Kacy is a coppered brown with a frost-metallic sheen.
  • Safe Bet Annette is a pastel pink with a white frosted finish.
  • Runaround Rebecca is an olive green with a khaki brown base and frost-metallic sheen.
  • Come-Hither Heather is a mauve-y taupe witha frost finish.
  • Open to Offers Olwen is a rich, vibrant blue with a touch of teal and frost finish.
  • All the Way Annie is a red-based purple with soft silver flecks of micro-glitter
  • Guilty Gwen is a softened charcoal black with silver flecks of glitter. This was the only shade I had issues with–I had to scrape out the product to get it to show. It was so poor, I thought it was actually defective. (It is really packed on in the swatch to get it to show.)

my thoughts on the formula: With the exception of Guilty Gwen, these eyeshadows are soft, silky smooth, and packed with pigment. They apply evenly, blend out beautifully, and aren’t powdery at all (sometimes a side effect of really soft eyeshadows). The formula is the same as the individual eyeshadows–no skimping or cutting corners.

This palette has a good mix of colors, and I can see some combinations coming from the palette, though I see these more easily mixed with other products you already own. They are all rather shimmery/frosty finishes, which makes them easy to blend. The quality is really phenomenal, excluding Guilty Gwen, and well worth the price tag.

value: theBalm’s single eyeshadows retail for $16.00 and contain 0.12 oz. worth of product, while this palette retails for $39.50 and comes with 0.51 oz. worth of product. Single eyeshadows work out to be $133/oz. and the palette works out to be $77/oz. The palette is also an excellent deal, because each shade is approximately 0.057 oz. each (the average full-sized eyeshadow is 0.05 oz.), so you get more variety.

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

final thoughts: I had to take off two points because of Guilty Gwen, but I would have loved to give this palette full marks–it really is a beautiful palette with so many well-pigmented, easy-to-use shades.

where to buy: Sephora

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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Bon Bon Lipgloss
Dolce & Gabbana Bon Bon Lip Gloss

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011: Bon Bon

Dolce & Gabbana Bon Bon Lip Gloss ($29.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a pale, milky cotton candy pink with ultra-fine shimmer. It’s semi-opaque, and with its creamier finish, it does settle into lip lines, which I did find was noticeable even from afar. I would recommend wearing a light pink or nude lipstick underneath to minimize the lip gloss settling into the lines.

my thoughts on the formula: Dolce & Gabbana Lip Glosses are moisturizing, and they fade really well when they wear away. I only get about two to three hours of wear (this one just under four), which is a little below average for me. These glosses are heavily rose-scented but don’t seem to have any taste. With just 0.13 oz. in a tube (compared to 0.20 oz. for other high-end brands like Chanel, Guerlain, and YSL), these are pricey.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This pink should suit light to medium skin tones, both cool and warm, because it doesn’t have strong cool undertones.  It may wash out deeper skin tones, though.  I also want to reiterate that Dolce & Gabbana glosses have a very strong rose scent.

where to buy: Saks, February 2011

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Tuesday, February 1st, 2011


MAC Lightfully Bright Comparison Session

MAC Lightfully Bright Lipglass Dupes & Comparisons

As promised, here are comparison swatches for the four new and limited edition lipglasses from Lightfully Bright.  These are sheerer shades, so they are easier to replicate, especially when actually worn, as their effect is subtle.

  • ASTRO COOL is less pink in comparison to Lightning and Pas-de-deux, while it is a touch more lavender than She-Zam. They all look comparable on lips, with She-Zam being the closest.
  • ATMOSPHERIC is similar to Like Venus, just slightly darker. It is also comparable to Rags to Riches when worn, as it is a darker pink, but it does have gold shimmer in it,so it isn’t as cool-toned. Frozen Dream is more pigmented and cooler-toned, while Lavender Wind is purpler.
  • ETHEREAL is a slightly darker and more shimmery version of Chillin’, while it is a lighter version of Best of Breed. It looks more like Chillin’ when worn.
  • OUTER SPACE is similar in color to Snowscene, but it is less milky in its base. Almondine has a similar milkiness but is more of a white gold.

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