Thursday, February 24th, 2011

MAC Biker Blue Nail Lacquer
MAC Biker Blue Nail Lacquer

MAC Jeanius: Biker Blue

MAC Biker Blue Nail Lacquer ($14.00 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is described as a “black base with purple and blue pearl,” and it has a frost finish. I did find I needed a full three coats in order to get a really solid, opaque look, but it was very pretty and rich once I finished there. Luckily, the formula is thin without being watery, so three coats doesn’t feel thick at all.

Overall, it looks likd a midnight blue polish, but it does have that inky bluish black color base with flecks of brighter blue and navy blue shimmer-glitter. Nubar’s Night Sparkle is similar but has a brighter blue base, as is Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Under the Stars, which is less blue and the finish looks different (less shimmer).

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: The $14 price tag does bring down the product’s overall score in a noteworthy way; at that price range, MAC is inching its way up to compete, far too closely (given the differences in prices on many other products still) with polishes from Estee Lauder, NARS, and Dior.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics, March 3rd, 2011

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Thursday, February 24th, 2011

MAC Jeanius Eyeshadows
MAC Diva in Distress Eyeshadow

MAC Jeanius: Eyeshadows

MAC Jeanius Eyeshadows ($19.50 for 0.10 oz.) are larger, over-sized eyeshadows (think Tartan Tale or Peacocky-sized, or else the size of Cream Colour Bases) embossed with shading and overspray detailing to mimic the look of jeans. This is an overspray/sheen, which will disappear after the first use or so (all swatches are of the product underneath, after the overspray was wiped away). The four shades include: Diva In Distress (mid-tone gray with silver pearl), Motorhead (mid-tone blue with copper pearl), Stovepipe Black (black with copper pearl), and White Jeanius (white with silver pearl).

  • Diva in Distress is a sheer icy blue-tinged white with a frosted finish. This one was both sheer and a little gritty–not gritty as in huge chunks of glitter, but it didn’t stick. Lots and lots of fall out and the color itself did not bind well.
  • Motorhead is a brightened navy blue with a satin sheen. This shade was more pigmented but not richly pigmented. It’s comparable to Deep Truth, which is part of the permanent range.
  • Stovepipe Black is a taupe-tinged charcoal gray with a metallic-frost finish. This was the nicest of the four; pigmented and smooth, and the color itself a bit unlike the permanent range.  I can’t think of a permanent dupe for this shade; Satin Taupe would be the closest but not as black.
  • White Jeanius is a bright, frosted white. It has good color pay off. It’s comparable to Gesso but with a frosted finish.

my thoughts on the formula: The formula is hit or miss, it seems.  It’s very consistent across the four within this collection, and they do feel similar to the Tartan Tale eyeshadows from 2010.  They have a slightly powdery feel, but for the most part, apply smoothly and don’t have a powdery consistency once applied.  Diva in Distress suffers from both poor color pay off and fall out, while the other three didn’t have fall out issues.

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  • Product: 24/30*
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: *There is a reason why I prefer and often do review products individually, even if they are from the same formula, because there can be enough variance in the quality that the grades would differ individually than they would as some kind of group grade. Diva in Distress’ quality is 15/20, which gives it an overall D rating. Stovepipe Black, on the other hand, is the best of the four, and the quality is 27/30, which moves it to a B+ rating.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics, March 3rd, 2011

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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Blossom Pure Color Lipstick
Estee Lauder Wild Blossom Pure Color Lipstick

Estee Lauder Wild Violet Collection: Wild Blossom

Estee Lauder Wild Blossom Pure Color Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a light-medium pink-beige with soft, pale gold micro-shimmer hidden within a creamy finish. It’s opaque on my lips, and the lightness of the color does make it seem creamier than other shades from this launch.

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: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This is a nice shade that can be worn everyday and paired with any eye or cheek–whether it’s bold and smoky or soft and neutral.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild I Dream of Greenie Eyeshadow Trio
Wet ‘n’ Wild I Dream of Greenie Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio

Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio: I Dream of Greenie

Wet ‘n’ Wild I Dream of Greenie Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio ($2.99 for 0.12 oz.) is a new green-hued trio for spring. It contains a pale, silvery green-tinged white with a frosted finish, medium grass green with a softly shimmered finish, and a bright yellowed chartreuse with an overlay of pale gold shimmer-glitter.

my thoughts on the formula: Color Icon Eyeshadows are definitely some of the best eyeshadows you’ll find in the drugstore, and this trio is on par with high-end eyeshadows. There’s a reason why they won an Editor’s Choice Award (or three!). The new I Dream of Greenie trio is one of the best of the six new spring trios, too. The texture is soft and smooth without being powdery or chalky, and the colors are true-to-pan and apply nicely.

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

final thoughts: It’s not often enough that you find richly pigmented brights in the aisles of the drugstore, but Wet ‘n’ Wild has definitely raised the bar with their Color Icon formula, and I Dream of Greenie exemplifies the quality of the new formula.

where to buy: CVS, Target, Walgreens

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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Lancome Midnight Rush Eyeshadow Palette
Lancome Midnight Rush Eyeshadow Palette

Lancome Midnight Rush Eyeshadow Palette

Lancome Midnight Rush Eye & Shadow Palette ($48.00 for 0.141 oz.) is a blue-themed eyeshadow palette with five shades in total. It consists of an all-over base, lid, crease, highlighter, and liner color.

The all-over base shade is a creamy, muted white with a semi-matte finish; it’s very pigmented and so soft to use–not chalky at all. The lid shade is a navy blue with a low-frost finish; it is easy to overblend this shade into something very sheer. The crease shade is a grayish, black navy blue but really doesn’t yield much color when used; such a shame that it performs so poorly. The highlighter shade is a silvered pewter with a frost finish; nicely pigmented and smooth, with the metallicness of its finish accentuated when used wet. The liner shade is a dark black with a hint of blue and navy blue and silver shimmer; it worked well both wet and dry, though dry is a little more intense.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of Lancome’s eyeshadows are very smooth–soft, silky–and all of these shades were excellent in terms of pigmentation. I only had minor fall out concerns with the highlighter shade, so I would recommend using it with a damp brush.

I’m disappointed in the quantity provided in the palette, though. Lancome’s Color Design Quads come in at 0.16 oz. and their Color Design Eyeshadow singles at 0.0458 oz., which works out to be $263/oz. and $371/oz. respectively. This palette is $340/oz., which makes it more expensive ($48 vs. $42) with less product (0.141 oz. vs. 0.16 oz) than the Color Design Quads.

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

final thoughts: The crease shade gave me trouble, much as it did in the Teal Fury palette. I’m not sure what it is about the formula of that finish that results in poorer color pay off. Midnight Rush is reminiscent of Guerlain’s 2 Place Vendome Palette, with three of the five being quite similar.

where to buy: Sephora

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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Hourglass Primal Extreme Sheen Lipgloss
Hourglass Primal Extreme Sheen Lipgloss

Hourglass Primal Extreme Sheen Lipgloss

Hourglass Primal Extreme Sheen Lipgloss ($28.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a plum-tinged red with soft gold shimmer. It’s semi-sheer to semi-opaque on lips; close-up, it looks sheerer, but from further away, it seems to give the illusion of more coverage. It has the same rich texture of the other Extreme Sheen lipglosses, but this is the sheerest I’ve come across so far.

my thoughts on the formula: It is such a rich, luxurious gloss that applies nicely and doesn’t settle much into lips, given its darker and sheerer color. The formula is thick without being goopy, non-sticky, and very moisturizing. I get three to four hours of wear. There is a light, sweet scent–reminiscent of perhaps creme brulee–that doesn’t feel overwhelming nor smell synthetic.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: The sheerer, darker color of this gloss makes it slightly more difficult to ensure an even layer. It’s interesting to see how many different finishes are found within the Extreme Sheen line-up, though. Wish they’d put more in each tube, though–0.12 oz. is below average.

where to buy: Hourglass

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