Thursday, May 27th, 2010

MAC To the Beach Collection: Overall Review & Round-up

To the Beach debuts in-store on May 27th, 2010 in the U.S./Canada, as far as I know. There are preview parties at select locations on May 18th. Otherwise, it should be available online around May 25th.

EDIT/UPDATE: Just moving this post up for all those who went to an unveiling party tonight! :)  I hope you got everything you wanted.  Shout outs to Tatiana & Olivia for saying hello to me @ Hillsdale!  Can you believe that the unveiling had already pre-sold the majority of the Marine Lifes?  There were literally three available.  I was customer #2 and only ended up with one.

ANOTHER EDIT/UPDATE: Just moving this post up since it’s officially out now, though goodness knows it’s been one crazy launch.

This is quite the launch, with 31 products releasing all at once. You can think of the collection in two parts — the traditional color collection and a secondary bronzing collection. The packaging doesn’t do anything for me either way; I don’t find it particularly cheap or tacky, but it doesn’t blow me away either. I like the mixture of products in this launch–there are some bright pops of color, subtler, more wearable colors, and everything in-between. I think it’s well-rounded collection that’s perfect for summer (with the color selections), but it’s pretty wearable.

I do recommend purchasing Marine Life if you think you want it. It’s just not going to be a product you’ll have the luxury of time with. Again, I fully believe it will sell out shortly after it becomes available online. I’ve heard some stores have received less than ten! I also anticipate Sweet & Punchy, Thrills, Life’s a Breeze, and both brushes to sell quickly. I would not be all that surprised if In the Buff, as oddly received as it has been, goes fast as well.

P.S. — I will try to get brush reviews up shortly. I’ve had them since whenever they originally launched, but I never reach for them, so I’m going to play around with them this weekend!

Temptalia’s Recommendations

Must-haves: Marine Life High Light Powder, Sweet & Punchy (if you have nothing like it), Thrills Lipstick, Fun Bathing Lipstick, Life’s a Breeze Lip Pencil

Nice-to-haves: Float on By Eye Kohl, Life’s a Breeze Lip Pencil, Hipness Blush, Get-Away Bronze Blush

Skip: Beachbound, Sand & Sun

Skip if…

  • Skip SWEET & PUNCHY if you have RATED R, SOUR LEMON, or EYEPOPPING (all previous limited edition shades).
  • Skip BEACHBOUND if you have MELON (pigment–use it sheerly with balm), ARCHETYPE (from Pret-a-Papier), or TANARAMA (permanent).
  • Skip the EYE KOHLS if you eyeliners are prone to smudging and migrating on you (e.g. the majority of eyeliners you’ve tried do so).
  • Skip FUN BATHING if you have “O” (permanent) — unless you adore and wear it all the time–though Fun Bathing has the copper-metallic-bronze thing going on that’s less apparent in “O.”

Don’t forget to…

Check your stash for SHIMMERMOSS (permanent), HUMID (permanent), THRILLS (from Rushmetal), ROSEMARY & THYME (permanent), HIPNESS (from Fafi), PINK REBEL (from Style Warriors), SUN RUSH (from Style Warriors), GOLDEN (permanent), and REFINED GOLDEN (permanent).

Recommendations by Skin Tone

  • Best Picks for Lighter Skin Tones: Firecracker Eyeshadow, Lazy Day Lipstick, Easy Lounger Lipglass, Splashing Lipglass, Float on By Eye Kohl, Life’s a Breeze Lip Pencil, Hipness Blush, Golden Bronzer
  • Best Picks for Medium Skin Tones: Sweet & Punchy Eyeshadow, Shimmermoss Eyeshadow, Thrills Lipstick, Fun Bathing Lipstick, Float on By Eye Kohl, Marine Life High Light Powder, Refined Golden Bronzer
  • Best Picks for Darker Skin Tones: Sweet & Punchy Eyeshadow, Shimmermoss Eyeshadow, Humid Eyeshadow, Thrills Lipstick, Fun Bathing Lipstick, Splashing Lipglass, Marine Life High Light Powder, Get-Away Bronze Blush

Product Photos, Swatches, & Reviews

What are you loving? What are you looking forward to?

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

MAC Nude Collection

MAC Nude Collection: New Pigments

MAC’s Nude Collection is a PRO-only release (much like the Chromagraphic Pencils) and there really isn’t much to it. I will review Barelash Pro Longlash separately (probably next week), and I already covered the nude Chromagraphic Pencils here. This leaves us with two new PRO pigments — Naked Dark (medium beige with pearlized pigments) and Naked Deep Dark (dark beige with pearlized pigments).

  • Naked is a light, flesh-toned beige-pink. it’s almost like a nude champagne pink with a slight golden shimmer-sheen.
  • Naked Dark is a medium tan with a beige-nude tone with subtle gold sheen.
  • Naked Deep Dark is a darkened brown with an almost taupe edge when used wet. It also has a slight golden sheen.

There’s not much to say about these, to be honest!  They’re three variations of flesh-toned (or nude, ha ha) colors in pigment form.  Naked has always been around, but it’s always been a great highlighter and natural highlighter for those with lighter skin tones.  These could also be mixed into moisturizer for a little shimmer and sheen on decolletage, too.  All three shades were well pigmented when used wet, and they have very soft, finely milled texture–no chunky pigments here, no glitter, no frostiness.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for neutral pigments, the new PRO pigments are perfect for that. For those with medium or darker skin tones who have wanted a pigment highlighter, these might work, too.

Availability: MAC PRO

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Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Nubar Night Sky

It’s a Matte, but Shimmered… Night Sky!

Nubar Night Sky Collection ($24.95) is a short ‘n sweet collection featuring three shimmer mattes and their Diamont Seal & Shine Quick Dry Top Coat.

  • Midnight is a deep charcoal-black with silver-gray shimmer. Two coats were enough for me to get complete, opaque color.
  • Twilight is a bright silver-gray with silver and darker silver shimmer. Again, just two coats here.
  • Sunset is a gold shimmered amber-copper base. Like the other two, I found two coats were the right mix for opaque color. I really liked this one with the Diamont top coat.

The formula was fantastic — they dry quicker than the regular polish, but I had enough time to lay down a coat and move onto the next without it drying before then. They were also really opaque with each only needing two coats to cover my entire nail completely. The consistency was on the thinner side, so it was easy to apply and get the amount you needed. The colors themselves are a bit basic, but I’ll be crossing my fingers they’ll release some other shades down the road.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love the idea of a matte finish with shimmer, Nubar’s Night Sky Collection is right up your alley.

Availability: Nubar

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Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Urban Decay Sephora Exclusive Eyeshadows

Urban Decay Hits All the Right Notes with These Sexy Six!

There are six Urban Decay Eyeshadows ($17.00) newly released and Sephora exclusives. All six shades are richly pigmented, smooth to the touch, and easy to blend. They really represent why Urban Decay eyeshadows are so raved about. Not a single one is sheer, and none of these have gritty or glittery textures, so they’re just beautiful, seamless shades for the color lover.

  • Woodstock is a vibrant medium hot pink with subtle fuchsia shimmer. It has a low pearly sheen. It’s not frosty at all!
  • Free Love is a warmed-up peach melon with a golden peach sheen and slight frost finish. It’s like a darkened version of X.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a medium-dark purple with red undertones and an iridescent violet sheen-shimmer. It’s not as blue-based as Flash.
  • Aquarius is a pale aqua-teal with a silver-metallic sheen. This was the frostiest of the new six.
  • Haight is a slight teal-blue with a frost finish and silver sheen. It’s different than Dashiki, but it’s not super teal like Shattered.
  • Dashiki is a brightened medium sky blue with a soft pearled sheen.

My favorites were definitely Woodstock, Free Love, and Dashiki. I don’t have anything quite like Dashiki in my stash, so it’ll be a nice shade for the summer season.  If you’ve been thinking about these, they really are fantastic.  These are some of Urban Decay’s more impressive shades, just in terms of texture and pigmentation.

Have you checked out Urban Decay’s new shades?

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

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

Recommendation: Excellent quality, richly pigmented, buttery texture–the best of Urban Decay’s eyeshadow textures.

Availability: Sephora

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Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Summer Cleaning with Renee Rouleau — The Freshness!

Renee Rouleau Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel ($35.50) is a minty-fresh cleanser that leaves skin feeling refreshed. I’ve been using this as my AM/PM cleanser (not makeup remover, though) for the past three weeks, and I really just like the way it leaves my skin feeling, which is cooled and refreshed. It’s particularly been lovely for me as my seasonal allergies have been acting up!

Key Ingredients: Licorice Root Extract – anti-inflammatory properties, Peppermint Oil – vaso-dilator that increases circulation to bring fresh nutrients to the skin, Rosemary Leaf Oil – antioxidant skin energizer, Spearmint Leaf Oil – invigorating, circulation-boosting.

The texture is also thick without being heavy. It’s thick and gel-textured, so you don’t need much — really, you don’t — just one little squeeze and a pea-sized portion later and you have enough. Despite using it for three weeks, I’d say I’ve only used up about half an inch’s worth thus far, which means I anticipate a solid six months or more of usage out of this. It’s not a makeup remover, so while it removed my tinted moisturizer, it’s not going to get off long-wearing eyeliner.

I love Renee Rouleau, the woman behind the brand, even though I have never met her in person. (But seriously, sometimes I just want to go visit Texas so I can book an appointment at her spa so I can meet her.) She is inspiring as a female entrepreneur, but she gives real, meaningful skincare tips on her blog–actually written by her, gasp!–and it feels genuine.

Just for Temptalia readers, get Free Shipping with code TEMPTALIA from May 25th through the 31st.

The Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel is recommended for those with oily/combination skin and not for those with severe redness or rosacea. It contains no artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or sulfates for those concerned about ingredients. I have normal-to-dry skin typically, but in the summer I do get a little more normal-to-oily. I like this after a day spent outdoors or after a workout–very invigorating but not burning, stinging, or irritating–refreshing.

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

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

Recommendation: For those with oily/combination skin looking for a no-fuss, easy-to-use cleanser that cleans skin well while leaving you feeling fresh, I think you may like this one.

Availability: Renee Rouleau

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Monday, May 24th, 2010

MAC 130 Brush

MAC 130 Brush: New Cream Blush Hero

The MAC 130 Brush ($38.00, supposed to be permanent now) is described as, “A short, round, flat-topped brush ideal for the smooth, easy application of foundations, creams, emulsions, and select powder products [and] features a blend of natural bristles and synthetic fibres.”

How does it work for…

FOUNDATION: I think those who normally use the 187 will find the 130 a welcome addition to the duo fibre line-up. Though the brush head is much, much smaller (think like a stumpy 188), the compact, dense brush head allows for greater control and blending as well as it’s small enough to get into the nooks and crannies (like around the nose). The shorter fibres also provide for significantly less streaking and clumping of the bristles (huge reason why I’m not a big fan of the 187 for foundation). If you liked the application of the 109 but found yours shed unbearably, I think you’ll also like the 130. I still prefer my 109 a little bit over the 130.

CREAM BLUSH: I’ve been finding that the 130 is better than the 188 for cream blushes lately. I like the firmer, stiffer brush head, rather than the more springy fibres of the 188. It gives me more control, precision, and helps to blend out the color in small, buffed circles. You can see me demonstrate how to applying cream blush using the 130 in this video (along with the 131).

POWDER BLUSH: Really not a big fan of this brush in powder products — I just don’t find that it delivers the soft, natural, and effortless color and finish that traditional blush brushes do, like the 116.  It’s better for buffing out blush than so much for applying it.

The 130 is definitely a must-have brush for those who wear cream blush or bronzer on a regular basis. The stiffness (it still has give, though!) makes it so easy to apply and the circular brush head makes it easy to buff into the skin. The bristles themselves are as soft as you would expect from MAC.

The only thing I noticed is the brush has a tendency to have some splayed bristles if you aren’t extra careful to reshape it perfectly after washing. (I re-washed the 130 brush last night, and it’s much tighter, with only 3-4 bristles pulling away.) It doesn’t affect the utility or the application of the brush, but it’s something I noticed when photographing.

What do you use the 130 for?  Is it a must-have for you?

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

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

Recommendation: If you’re in the market for a brush to apply liquid foundation or cream blush, the 130 excels at both tasks. It’s better than the 187, arguably as good as or better than the 109 (depends on who you talk to, ha!), and beats out the 188 for cream blush.

Availability: Nordstrom

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