Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color Lipstick
Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color Lipstick: Guava (1), Old Hollywood (2), Sweet Nectar (6), Soft Coral (7), Bikini Pink (8)

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color: Part 1

Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Color SPF 12 ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) are new lipstick formula for spring (and being added to the permanent range). The line consists of twelve shades, and this review features five of those. According to Bobbi Brown, these are “lightweight, yet intense” and have “a clear base to deliver pure, crisp color with just one swipe.” The formula is also “creamy and moisturizing.” These shades are officially described as: Guava (bright pink coral), Old Hollywood (bright cherry red), Sweet Nectar (coral pink), Soft Coral (pale peach), and Bikini Pink (soft white pink).

I’ve road tested three shades from the line-up specifically for wear: Bikini Pink, Soft Coral, Old Hollywood. The idea is to test for wear and to do so with shades with different intensities. Bikini Pink is the lightest, while Soft Coral lies in the middle, and Old Hollywood, being a red, was likely to last the longest. The lighter colors inevitably fade/last less than deeper shades, as deeper shades often stain, which is why I try to test from both ends of a spectrum when it comes to a new lipstick formula.

  • Guava is a deep pink-coral-red with a hint of orange. It’s bright without being neon. It is slightly less orange than Illamasqua’s Mistress. It is darker than Laura Mercier’s Tangerine. It is more intense and deeper than MAC Crosswires.
  • Old Hollywood is a bright, rich cherry red with a blue-base. It is similar to Guerlain Greta, MAC Russian Red (but it’s not as bright), and Rimmel Alarm (it is darker).
  • Sweet Nectar is a medium-dark pink coral. It is richer and a little brighter than MAC See Sheer, slightly more orange-based than Milani Bora Bora.
  • Soft Coral is a softened orange; more orange than coral. It is more orange than MAC Ravishing, but it is less coral than MAC Vegas Volt.
  • Bikini Pink is a soft, light-medium pink with subtle yellow undertones. It is a few shades lighter than Cle de Peau #106, not as pink as MAC Angel nor as light as MAC Hue, but it is similar to MAC Overtime.

my thoughts on the formula: These are really comfortable to wear,with their semi-matte finishes, creamy but lightweight texture, and rich color coverage.  Every shade was opaque and needed very little product to achieve full color coverage.  They are also scent- and taste-free, which should appeal to some.  Wear was anywhere from four to six hours, with deeper shades like Old Hollywood lasting a full six and beginning to fade after that.  Lighter shades hung on for about four hours.

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

final thoughts: I actually really liked these; I love how pigmented they are, but they’re creamy without actually being creamy.  They have the feel, glide, and finish of creamier formulas, but there is very little slip and very little product is on the lips, giving a rather featherweight feel.  These colors do not have a full matte finish, but they still wear well–no clinging or seeping into lip lines.

where to buy: Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Lancome Amethyst Glam Shadow & Liner Palette
Lancome Amethyst Glam Shadow & Liner Palette

Lancome Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette: Amethyst Glam

Lancome Amethyst Glam Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette ($48.00 for 0.141 oz.) is a purple-themed palette of five eyeshadows. It is one of ten new palettes from Lancome, just in time for spring. This one seems quite apt for the season, with the springy hues of lilac.

The all-over base shade is a pale white with a subtle pink-lilac iridescence; it seems more like a shimmer overlay. The lid shade is a brightened lilac purple with pinky undertones–such a pretty shade. The crease shade is a gray-cast purple with a blue-gray undretone and copper-gold shimmer. The highlighter shade is a soft pink-lilac with a shimmered finish. The liner shade is a deep blue-violet with soft blue micro-shimmer, which applies much better wet than dry.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of these eyeshadows is very soft and silky, but all but the lid shade were sheerer than I’d like. The all-over base shade was the sheerest, while the highlighter shade seemed a touch sheer but worked out pigmentation-wise when worn on the lid–except it suffered from some fall out.

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: 24/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: The palette is cooler in tone, but I think the brightness of the lid color along with the pink tones of the highlighter shade, make it appropriate for warmer skin tones, too.  I’d recommend this for light to medium skin tones, but darker skin tones may find some shades a little too sheer.

where to buy: Sephora

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Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

NARS Tzigane Lipstick
NARS Tzigane Lipstick

NARS Spring 2011: Tzigane

NARS Tzigane Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “sheer, pink brandy” that gives “a whisper of subtle color to the lips.” The name was inspired by Maurice Ravel, a French composer, and it translates to “gypsy.” I can get down with the “pink brandy” descriptor, actually. I would describe it as a lightened, rosy brown with a subtle peachiness. It has a subtle shine but nothing glossy or over-the-top. While described as sheer, I found it surprisingly pigmented–I would say semi-opaque rather than semi-sheer.

my thoughts on the formula: NARS Lipstick typically wears four to six hours, with a shade like this lasting just under four. It has a creamier texture that’s moisturizing, and this particular shade is more opaque (some shades can be quite sheer). I didn’t notice any waxy scent, as NARS lipsticks are typically unscented but the scent of the waxy base sometimes come through.

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

final thoughts: I recommend this for both cool and warm undretones; I think it works well with both. Despite being described as sheer, I found it rather opaque, so while the color is more muted, it may be too dark for a really bold or dramatic eye. It should work nicely everyday to semi-dramatic looks, and it will pair best with neutrals, bronzes, and berries.

where to buy: NARS

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Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Lancome Teal Fury Color Design Palette
Lancome Teal Fury Color Design Palette

Lancome Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette: Teal Fury

Lancome Teal Fury Color Design Palette ($48.00 for 0.141 oz.) is a mix of blues and teals. This is the second palette I tested out of Lancome’s ten new palettes, where each includes five shades which are then labeled.

The all-over base shade is a pink-tinged white with a bright, frosted finish, and it is nicely pigmented. The lid color is a medium teal with a silvered-white sheen and shimmer; it has good color pay off but could stand for a touch more intensity in the base color. The crease color is a dusty, grayish teal with a near matte finish, but unfortunately, the color pay off leaves something to be desired. The highlighter shade is a brightened medium blue with a frost-metallic finish, and it has beautiful pigmentation. The liner shade is a charcoal blue-black with soft, silver shimmer, though it looks less blue when applied.

my thoughts on the formula: Both the all-over base and highlighter shades have smooth, silky textures with excellent pigmentation. The crease shade is a naturally muted color but that doesn’t mean I should need to pile it on to get a decent swatch of it! As before, I was able to use the shimmery shades both wet and dry, along with the liner shade.

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: I love the blue in this palette, and I think the dusty blue-teal is gorgeous in theory but could use a lot more intensity in real life.  I felt like I had to really layer and pile it on just to get it to show up for a swatch.  I think this palette has a nice mix of colors, though the pink-tinged all-over base seems a little out of place.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

YSL Golden Red (37) Golden Gloss
YSL Golden Red (37) Golden Gloss

YSL Golden Red (37) Golden Gloss

YSL Golden Red (37) Golden Gloss ($30.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a near-opaque holiday red with gold shimmer and a high gloss finish. It has a orange base but doesn’t pull to fiery on me at all. I love that despite the opaqueness of the color, it doesn’t bleed at all.

my thoughts on the formula: Fun fact: Golden Gloss really does contain gold–0.2% of 24 carat gold to be exact. It’s a shimmering non-sticky, moisturizing gloss that has a sweet mango scent. Typically, these wear four hours on me. Some are sheer, some are more opaque; usually, the darker shades are the ones that are more likely to be opaque.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: If you’re a fan of more pigmented glosses and have been looking for an orange-based red, Golden Red should work quite nicely.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Monday, February 14th, 2011

Lancome Taupe Craze Color Design Palette
Lancome Taupe Craze Color Design Palette

Lancome Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette: Taupe Craze

Lancome Taupe Craze Color Design Palette ($48.00 for 0.141 oz.) is one of ten new palettes from Lancome. It includes five shades, and each shade is labeled for a particular purpose. The way they are labeled is actually very much in the order that one would apply them. Of course, I think it is safe to say that one could easily use any combination of the five shades!

Taupe Craze is a cool-toned neutral palette; not all shades have strong, cool undertones, but overall, the palette leans cool. I liked how the palette was a mix of finishes–satin, shimmery, and almost matte. Initially, the two shimmery shades were concerning, because they looked almost glittery, but it seems like it’s more of the top layer than anything else–both shades are more shimmer than glitter.

The all-over color is a pale peach-beige with a satin-matte finish and excellent color pay off and a smooth texture. The lid shade is a neutral-cool medium brown with a soft taupe shimmer. The crease shade is a medium-dark taupe brown with a soft satin sheen. The highlighter shade is a smoky taupe with a bright metallic sheen and shimmer in its finish; when used wet, the metallic sheen is emphasized. I have no idea why Lancome would recommend this shade as a highlighter. Finally, the liner shade is a deep cool-toned taupe brown with silver flecks of shimmer; it is best used wet, if you want really smooth, richly colored line. The liner seemed the least pigmented–it’s a touch lighter swatched than what it is in the pan, but when used wet, it is a touch darker.

Both the shimmery shades (lid and highlighter) along with the liner shade worked whether wet/dry (with the liner shade being better wet). I did try the all-over base and crease shade wet, just to see if I could, and they worked better dry. There did seem to be a slight hardening and darkening over the crease shade from using it wet, though. I couldn’t find out whether these were to be used wet/dry on Lancome’s website, but from my experience, it did not negatively impact any of the shades, with the exception of the crease shade.

my thoughts on the formula: With the exception of the liner shade, the other four shades had very soft, smooth textures with nice color pay off. I really loved the all-over base shade–it had such a silky soft texture with beautiful pigmentation. It worked well as a lid shade and highlighter shade (which is good, because the “highlighter” shade is quite dark for a highlighter).

I’m disappointing 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.

I also know this palette invites a comparison to Urban Decay Naked Palette, but this one is cooler-toned, while Naked is warmer. If I had to pick the most similar shades, I would say Virgin (but Lancome’s all-over-base is much more pigmented and smooth, less shimmer), Toasted (Lancome’s lid shade is cooler), Buck (Lancome’s crease shade is cooler-toned, more taupe), while the highlighter and liner shades have no real similarities to shades from the Naked palette.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This is a nice neutral palette for cooler skin tones, and there is a nice range of textures to create looks with depth. I wish they boosted up the quantity just a bit, perhaps to 0.18 to 0.20 oz.  It’s a shame how the below average value of this palette brings down the overall grade.

where to buy: Sephora

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