Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Alluvium

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is just like Ore: beyond gorgeous when you see it in person, but it just doesn’t photograph quite the same way. It’s a metallic medium-blue with a violet-blue tinge and flecks of multicolored shimmer.

I actually did a look with Ore on the lid and Alluvium in the crease, and it was such a lovely combo, but the photos make it look like garbage. I’ll have to see what I can do about the lighting situation and find a way to capture the brilliance of both of these shades in a photo. Hopefully it stays sunny for the rest of the week!

If these were a better value, I’d try making a nail polish with Alluvium–seems like it be a gorgeous shade for nails. (You can read my quantity/price ratio and packaging griping here.)

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment

You’ll Need to See This to Believe It

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is one of those products that shocks and awes the minute you swatch it.  Ore is a medium-dark metallic bronze with soft red undertones, multicolored shimmer, and a dazzling sheen.  It’s like a metallic bronze base with Christmas (green, pink, gold shimmer flecks) strewn through it.  The frustrating part about this particular shade is it really needs to be seen to be believed.  It’s so luxe and full of depth, but it looks better in person than it does in photos.

I loved it patted atop a shimmery primer and blended up with nothing else, but it also works well to layer with or use alongside your favorite coordinating eyeshadows.  I had several people stop me when I went out with this look on to ask what I had on my lids (which is not the norm).  Over a stickier base, Pure Pigments can easily be used dry, but I do prefer using them wet, as they hold together and apply smoothly and vibrantly.

There are, however, two things about Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments that I don’t particularly like:  quantity and packaging.  As far as similar products, Illamasqua weighs in with a rather tiny amount (Make Up For Ever wavers between 0.07 and 0.09 oz., while MAC tops in at 0.15 oz.).   You don’t need much, so you won’t be finishing a Pure Pigment any time soon, but it’s still worth noting.

The other thing is the packaging, which I find cumbersome and a pain to open.  If you’re not careful, it’s easy to loose hold of it and see your precious 0.04 oz. pigment soar across the air.  (There is actually a bunch of Ore embedded in my carpet, because it happened yet again to me while photographing.)  My best advice for opening these is to wedge your nail between the lid and base and run it around the perimeter a bit, then pull it open.  This seemed to alleviate a lot of the fumbling.  When it comes to a loose product, I think a screw-top lid might be a lot safer for us clumsy folk.

So why not an A product? Because the quantity is well below average of other comparable, high-end brands and the packaging could be less prone to slipping out of your hands and losing half the product to your carpet, sink, or bathroom floor.  This is one of my favorite shades for fall, and I will be purchasing a back-up because it is that stunning.

P.S. — Sephora has it listed as a new shade, but it shows as “out of stock,” though I believe it just isn’t in stock yet.  If you can’t wait, you can get it directly from Illamasqua.

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish

Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness: Viridian

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish (£13.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a darkened teal base with lighter teal micro-shimmer; the teal leans towards the blue side, making it a cooler-toned teal. Funny enough, when the flash fired, it pulled out more of the green in the teal, but overall, it still pulls bluer-teal.

The formula and application was just like Scarab: smooth, even, intensely pigmented–one coat would likely be enough, though I did two in the swatches.

Viridian is also new for fall, but it looks to be permanent from what I can tell.

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

RECOMMENDATION: A very lovely shade and particularly flattering on cooler, paler skin tones as it leans blue.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Sunday, September 26th, 2010

YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick
YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick

The Sultry Season: YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick

YSL Forbidden Burgundy (12) Rouge Volupte Lipstick ($34.00 for 0.12 oz.) is an opaque, reddened plum with a glossy shine.  All Rouge Voluptes have this lightly sweetened mango-y scent (I note it as just generally, but my nose might not be sophisticated enough…), but I don’t notice any taste.  It’s moisturizing and wears four to six hours on me.

When I first tried Rouge Voluptes, they were one of the first high-end lipsticks I had ever tried, and I thought they were the bee’s knees. Over time, I’ve discovered lipsticks that I prefer (formula-wise), but Forbidden Burgundy is still one of my favorite shades of Rouge Voluptes. The Rouge Volupte formula is incredibly creamy, and while some of the lighter shades are almost thick in their creaminess, their darker, almost glossy, shades like Forbidden Burgundy are not.

I do recommend a lip liner on deeper shades like this one if you’re prone to your lip color bleeding, because the creaminess of Rouge Voluptes make it more likely to bleed.

Is this the right berry 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.

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Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish

Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness: Scarab

Illamasqua Scarab Nail Varnish (£13.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a fiery ruby red with copper and scarlet shimmer strewn through the color. It almost looks metallic but not quite. It’s a very cool shade with depth; I envision flames licking through the ruby red, because it just has on-fire look to it.   This shade was extremely rich in pigment–one coat was nearly enough, but I still wound up with two, just because it feels more complete (to me) that way.

Nonetheless, smooth, even application with no fuss.  The formula itself was of a medium-thick consistency–the norm for Illamasqua’s varnishes.  It has a slight shine in its natural finish, but I recommend a shiny top coat to really finish it.  I noticed very subtle brush strokes in close-ups, but everything looked pretty smooth at a normal viewing distance.  Illamasqua described this as a metallic, but it feels more like a shimmer with only a touch of metallic-ness.

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Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Rimmel Dizzy Lipstick
Rimmel Dizzy Lipstick

Bright-but-Wearable Pink Lips by Rimmel

Rimmel Dizzy Lasting Finish Lipstick ($5.19 for 0.14 oz.) is a beautiful shade of brightened medium pink with a soft blue undertone. It has a subtle frosted sheen, but it doesn’t feel or lean too frosty to me. The color coverage is excellent; it delivers opaque color and nearly covers my lip freckle. Lasting Lipstick has a creamy feel when applied, and while I wouldn’t describe it as moisturizing, it doesn’t dry out my lips either. It has a synthetic, fruity scent that’s a bit sweet but tolerable and doesn’t linger once applied.

From the get-go, this lipstick has all the makings of a great lipstick. My issue with this lipstick has to do with the claims it’s making about how long it wears. Rimmel says that it “locks colour to lips for up to 8 hours of wear.” Try one, maybe two. I typically get four hours of wear out of the average lipstick, but with Rimmel, I find the color has faded substantially by hour two. We don’t even get close to eight.

It’s really disappointing, because I can’t give this product high marks when it falls so short of the claims it makes. I evaluate products based on what they’re supposed to do, not what I want to do or what’s “good enough.” I recognize that this is a remarkably pigmented, smooth, creamy lipstick formula with an affordable price tag, but it’s not enough: it does not do what it’s supposed to do.

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  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re on a budget and looking for more pigmented lipstick, Rimmel’s Lasting Finish seems to have some good options, as long as you don’t mind reapplying every couple hours.  I think this is one of the better budget-friendly lipsticks I’ve tried, but it doesn’t last long on lips at all.

AVAILABILITY: ULTA

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