Monday, May 31st, 2010

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection ($49.95) includes eight shades of glitter nail lacquers, most of which have a clear base but a few have a tinted base. I had some really good luck with some of these shades, but I definitely need a little more practice in applying glitter polishes like these.

They are incredibly dense as compared to other glitter finishes I’ve tried, but I did have some unevenness with a few shades and not completely opaque results with others. I think this is more to do with my application technique than the shades themselves–definitely need to be patient and let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. I think also thicker, rather than thinner, coats work better, too. I’m used to laying down a thinner initial coat followed by a thicker secondary coat, but I found it was better with two thicker coats.

The most foolproof shades were definitely Fire Sparkle, Night Sparkle, and Violet Sparkle (these three were my favorites, too –but because of their intense glow!).   The shades I had the most trouble with were Sky Sparkle and Hyacinth Sparkle.

  • Star Sparkle is a clear base with silver and holographic glitter. I did three coats, and you can still see some of my nail beneath it, but it’s considerably opaque given it has a clear base.
  • Fire Sparkle is a sheer red base with red and darkened red glitter. In sunlight and flash, you’ll also catch glimmers of the molten amber flecks of shimmer, too — it really comes alive when the light hits it. Just two coats were needed here.
  • Petunia Sparkle is a magenta purple with red undertones and fuchsia-purple and lighter pink glitter. It’s a clear base–would you believe it–and three coats gave me complete, opaque coverage.
  • Meadow Sparkle is a pale spring green glitter suspended in a lightly tinted green base. To be honest, I didn’t see much tint in the base–I thought it was clear myself. I couldn’t quite get a completely opaque look, but I think I moved a little too fast on this one.
  • Night Sparkle is a deep true blue with flecks of blue and gold glitter. Just two coats for a completely opaque look.
  • Sky Sparkle is a medium blue with a slight aqua lean glitter suspended in a clear base. Personally, I had some trouble getting this one to apply evenly and opaquely.
  • Hyacinth Sparkle is a sheer lavender base with darker and lighter lavender glitter. It took me three coats to get a nearly opaque look, but it was a bit uneven.
  • Violet Sparkle is a deep violet purple with flecks of lighter, brighter violet and purple strewn through a clear base.

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

Recommendation:  If you’re a fan of glittery polishes and have been on the hunt for ones that are better alone than layered as a top coat, you may enjoy Nubar’s Sparkle Collection.

Availability: Nubar

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss
Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss

The Summer Season: Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss ($19.00) is a fiery orange red with a creamy, glossy finish.  It’s a wickedly bright–but neon–orange-red.  I can see this working really well with deeper skin tones and warmer complexions in particular.  I love the pigmentation of this lipgloss, because it makes no bones about what you’re wearing.  Intense Lipgloss isn’t for the fainthearted!  It’s long-wearing with the gloss wearing off after about an hour and a half, but the color itself clinging on for three to four hours and leaving behind a decent stain that wears on for another hour or two.  It’s scent- and taste-free, too, for those with more sensitive senses.

Is this the right orange lipgloss for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

NYX Blonde Pearl Eyeshadow

NYX Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow in Blonde Pearl

NYX Blonde Pearl Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow ($7.00) is a brightened yellow gold with a soft frost finish. It’s nicely pigmented, and it has a very smooth, silky finish. Blonde Pearl is part of a new eyeeshadow formula packed with more shimmer for “a soft, shimmery, iridescent look.” The last NYX eyeshadows I tried were among their Trios, and the Pearl formula definitely has a smoother, more finely milled feel to it. It doesn’t have any powdery-ness. I did find that when used with a brush, it will diffuse a little, but it stays true-to-color for the most part.

It’s a good eyeshadow, and for the price–as compared to high end alternatives–it’s a bargain. Compared to other NYX eyeshadows, I’m not sure they’re significantly better than their singles ($5.50). The $7 price tag for a single eyeshadow seems a little steep for a brand known for their affordability. Blonde Pearl reminds me a lot of MAC’s Goldmine eyeshadow, though, so it’s a nice, slightly more affordable alternative.

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

Recommendation: For a more affordable alternative to high-end eyeshadow, NYX’s Pearl formula is still worth checking out, but it may not be significantly better than other NYX shadows.

Availability: NYX

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

Dior Ultra Gloss

Dior Ultra Gloss in Little Red Dress, Twin Set Pink, & Satin Peach

Today, I’ve got three more shades of Dior Ultra Gloss ($26.50 for 0.21 oz.) to show you! I reviewed these in full detail here, but to recap:

PROS: Non-sticky, moisturizing, glossy, dazzling shimmer (not gritty glitter)
CONS: Lasts less than two hours, so you’ll need to reapply

For the most part, Ultra Glosses definitely run on the sheerer side, but Little Red Dress is much more pigmented than the other six shades I’ve tried.  Satin Peach is a better version of NARS’ Orgasm lipgloss in my opinion, as it’s more moisturizing with a glossier finish.

  • Little Red Dress (856) is a brightened, cherry red with golden shimmer. It’s nearly opaque on my lips, and it’s impressively opaque for a lipgloss.
  • Twin Set Pink (157) is a semi-sheer champagne-nude with champagne and gold micro-shimmer.
  • Satin Peach (236) is a sheer milky beige with a slight pinkyness to it and golden-peach micro-shimmer.

Check out other shade reviews…

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

Recommendation: If love sheer, non-sticky lipgloss, Dior Ultra Gloss is exactly that. And if you don’t mind reapplying every two hours or so, I think you’d really like these.

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo

Take a Dive Into Summer with Hourglass’ Lagoon

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo ($38.00) includes shades in a muted, gray-green and a deepened ocean-blue with a teal sheen.  I was eager to try out another eyeshadow duo after discovering the amazing-ness of Prism.  Both of these shades were soft, smooth–a very buttery, silky texture–and the colors were vibrant and true-to-color.  These also blend extremely well without fading or diffusing nor leaving a trail of fall out in their wake.

This particular duo doesn’t have the most unique shades, sure, but that fact doesn’t take away from the quality of these shades.  I feel like both of these shades are on the verge of being duochrome but haven’t committed fully to it; the seafoam green shade almost has a flash of blue-green, while the ocean blue shade has a metallic flash of teal.

I like the metallic, gunmetal packaging and the cool swivel top that reveals a mirror and an actual brush inside (not that you’d jump to use it if you had full-size brushes on hand).  It’s very sleek and modern, though again, I think it contributes to some of the pricing of this product.

The only downside to Hourglass’ eyeshadows is their price tag, which is pretty hefty.  They are some of the more expensive eyeshadows on the market–up there with brands like Chanel and Dior–so they’re not in everyone’s budget.  If you’re a fan of the silky textures of higher-end eyeshadows but dream of brighter, highly pigmented colors, Hourglass is a good bet from my experience.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love blendable, highly pigmented eyeshadows with almost creamy, buttery texture and a silken feel, Hourglass has yet to disappoint me with their eyeshadow duos.

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, May 30th, 2010

True Blue Spa There's the Rub

Oh, the Scent! NOW, There’s the Rub…

True Blue Spa There’s the Rub ($24.00 for 24 oz.) is a salt glow with natural sea salt–basically, it’s a sea salt-based body scrub to help slough off dead skin and all that fun stuff in the shower.

Where’s the Rub? IN THE SCENT. I’m sorry, but I found this product really, really difficult to test just because I found the scent so appalling. I’m not that prone to disusing a product purely based on scent–I can get through some interesting scents (chemical, synthetic, weird, whatever), but this smelled like I was scrubbing with household cleaner. It smelled exactly like the bathroom would after my Dad finished giving it a good scrub from floor to ceiling (when I used to live at home).

Anyway, I wanted to get that out of the way, because scent is inherently a personal experience, so you may not find it as cleanser-like as I did. I used it three times, and I really did like the product itself. Despite being a salt-based scrub, it didn’t feel overly coarse or harsh against skin. Each time I used it, I was in the shower, so I applied it to wet skin, and it was creamy and easy to scrub into skin. Sometimes a scrub will dissolve, disperse, or otherwise not allow you to really work it into the skin.

It gets the job done and leaves behind soft, smooth skin. It just smells terrible (to me) while in use. I didn’t notice any lingering scent post-shower, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned with a scent like this. I’ve used other True Blue Spa products, and I haven’t had any issues with the scents in those, so I was a bit surprised here. (One of my favorite products is their Just a Minute hand scrub, which has a nice orange-citrus scent.)

Because scent is personal, I don’t want my nose to dictate that this is a no-go purely on scent alone, particularly when the product performs well otherwise.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Smell before you buy, if you can. It may or may not be the right scent for you!

Availability: Bath & Body Works

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