Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Beach Sand Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Beach Sand

Milani Beach Sand Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) is a sheer, barely-there patina gold with a metallic shimmer-sheen.  It really is rather sheer when applied dry, but it does intensify when used wet.  However, this is a shade that can easily be used for that quick, two-minute eye look that adds a little dazzle to the lids without having to spend much time on it.  Just a quick swipe and you’re out the door–it’s one of those kinds of shades.  By itself, it doesn’t stay on for more than a couple of hours, but over a base, it worked just fine.

Check out my original review for my thoughts on the packaging.

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  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re just looking for an affordable option for a one-and-done kind of eyeshadow, Beach Sand might work for you.

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Monday, September 6th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Bronze Doll Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Bronze Doll

Milani Bronze Doll Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) is one of twelve shades available in Milani’s Runway Eyeshadow range. I was originally going to review all six shades I tested out at once, but the quality of each is just all over the place that it doesn’t make sense. This is a definite downfall to the product range, because it’s incredibly inconsistent.  I’ll be reviewing a shade a day for the next six days.

We’ll kick off the Runway Eyeshadow reviews with Bronze Doll, which is one of the better shades I tried. It’s a coppery brown with noticeable orange undertones. It has decent pigmentation when used dry, but it is more intense and smoother when applied wet. The texture is similar to those of other brands’ baked eyeshadows; very smooth, a little powdery, and there is a tendency for the product to fade a bit if you use it wet (as it dries down). It’s also better to pack the product on and do very careful blending, because it is easy to sheer these out if you spend too much time blending.

The packaging is a bummer; it just feels cheap and flimsy, and the curved dual-ended brush is terrible. I don’t know how the curve of this tiny brush is supposed to make it easier to apply eyeshadow with it. That brush really kills the overall look for me, though–it’s just so bleh, even the sponge tip feels a bit on the scratchy side.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: For warmer skin tones, I think this works decently for a copper-bronze kind of shade without breaking the bank. I think it may look too orange on cooler skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Monday, September 6th, 2010

Rock & Republic Call Me Blush
Rock & Republic Call Me Blush

Where are my coral blush fiends?

Rock & Republic Call Me Blush ($40.00 for 0.32 oz.) is a gorgeous shade of shimmering pinky-coral with peach shimmer-sheen.  It’s really a ringer for Lancome’s Mandarin Sky (which I also loved), but more-sheen-than-shimmer (and not quite as pink) NARS Orgasm.  I’m obsessed. OBSESSED. with coral blushes, whether they’re pink-coral, peach-coral, or orange-coral, I’m all over them. 

Call Me is beautiful on both cooler and warmer skin tones–it doesn’t have strong orange undertones, so it can work just as nicely on those with pink undertones as those with yellow or olive undertones.   It is, obviously, most complimentary on warmer complexions, though.  The shimmer is incredibly fine and appears as a soft glowy sheen on cheeks.

It’s a very pigmented, smooth textured powder blush; surprisingly impressive for a brand that’s been pulled from all the counters I know of.  Even more impressive given that this brand regularly shows up on discount sites at 50% off.  It’s well worth the $40 price tag, since it is a high-end/luxury line, but the compact itself is quite large–and not just the physical compact, but the product inside weighs in at an impressive 0.32 oz. (most blushes are between 0.15 and 0.21 oz.).  Obviously, an incredible deal at $20 (which is how I got mine).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For my coral blush lovers, this one is not to be missed.

AVAILABILITY: Rock & Republic

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Sunday, September 5th, 2010

Napoleon Perdis Air Prismatic Eyeshadow Quad
Napoleon Perdis Air Prismatic Eyeshadow Quad

Napoleon Perdis Prismatic Eyeshadow Quads

Several months ago, I swatched four of Napoleon Perdis Prismatic Eyeshadow Quads ($35.00 for 0.47 oz.). I always meant to post a look using one of them, but I never got around to it. Usually, when I test out products, I put a whole smattering of various products on my face and do partial looks but nothing one would really want to be seen wearing… (One eye has one set of eyeshadows while the other might be testing mascara and liner… and don’t even get me started on mismatching cheeks, LOL!) So even though I may not have an actual full look to show you, I did put these through the rigors I normally put eyeshadows through.

I actually thought these were a lot more affordable than they were; I had classified them as drugstore–but to the contrary! The packaging feels a little cheap to me–it’s clear acrylic with visible, gold hinges. Each palette also includes two sponge-tipped applicators that look as cheap as they feel. For $35, the packaging really leaves a lot to be desired. The eyeshadows are textured with a “wave” shape (see the photos–it’s visible!).

  • AIR features a rather spring-y palette of muted sunshine gold, baby pink with silver sheen, frosted lilac with silver shimmer, and silvered brown. I found this one a little on the sheerer side, which is partially owed to the colors themselves as they’re on the lighter end of the spectrum. All four had very frosty finishes to me, though.
  • EARTH includes a dark navy blue with a satin-shimmer finish, subtly yellow-tinged green with muted gold shimmer, sheer seafoam green with soft gold sheen, and lightened peachy orange with peach sheen and shimmer. The blue shade swatched beautifully, but the other three shades were a little on the sheerer side, with the seafoam green shade being notably lacking in pigmentation.
  • FIRE has a darkened orange-copper with a shimmered sheen, medium-dark beige with champagne shimmer, medium-dark violet purple with a blacker base, and a high-sheen pinkish white. I found this quad to be the most pigmented; all four shades went on really smoothly and vibrantly.
  • WATER contains a sheer, shimmery white, cool-toned gray-cast brown with silver shimmer, glowing periwinkle blue with teal sheen, and light, frosted pink with subtle blue undertones. The periwinkle shade is so pretty, and I don’t have anything quite like it, but the white and pink shades were rather sheer.

Even though at first glance, these palettes seemed really pretty, I wasn’t fond of their textures nor color payoff.  They’re incredibly soft, but they veer on powdery, which makes them difficult to work with.  You really have to pack on the color, and inevitably, you’ll need to clean up the noticeable fall out that lands on your under eye area.   A few shades were nicely pigmented but many fell short–a little sheer, which may also be a result of the powdery formula.

For $35, I wouldn’t put it towards these palettes.  You just can’t make the justification of affordability for the reduction in quality here, because this is under the Napoleon Perdis label (rather than NP Set, which is sold at Target), which is “high-end.”  There is a decent amount of eyeshadow in each palette, so it’s a shame that the formula doesn’t have that wow factor.

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  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t recommend these unless you find them on sale.  Each palette has one or two interesting shades in it, but the quality is just so-so with rather soft, rather powdery textures and less pigmentation than I’d expect for a high-end brand.

AVAILABILITY: ULTA

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Sunday, September 5th, 2010


Make Up For Ever #10 Fascinating Lipgloss

Sheer and Pearly by Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever #10 Lip Gloss ($18.00 for 0.20 oz.) is designed to be a moisturizing, vitamin E and shea butter enriched gloss with “pearly extracts” for “truly sexy shimmer.” #10 is a sheer, shimmery nude beige. It’s virtually colorless on my lips, but it does have noticeable shimmer, which does have more of a pearly look than a glittery feel.

The consistency of this gloss is incredibly thin, which is great for those on the hunt for non-sticky glosses (as this one is), but it takes several applications to get enough gloss to cover my lips. It’s not as moisturizing as lip balm, but it doesn’t dry out lips and keeps them decently hydrated during the hour or two the gloss wears. The wear-time is on the shorter end for me, as I typically get two to three hours out of a gloss, and I’m lucky if I get two. There’s a fruity kind of scent, but I didn’t detect any taste, and the scent is on the subtler side.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like thin, non-sticky glosses, you may like Make Up For Ever’s Fascinating Lip Gloss–as long as you don’t mind frequent applications.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, September 5th, 2010

MAC Dark Side Lipstick
MAC Dark Side Lipstick

The Sultry Season: MAC Dark Side Lipstick

MAC Dark Side Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) is a deep cool-toned burgundy-tinged red with an amplified creme finish.  It’s completely opaque with a very creamy texture.  I love the way it applies–even, smooth–and it wears so well.  I usually get three to four hours with a lot of MAC lipsticks, but with such an intense, opaque shade, I can easily get four to five, and a subtle stain will remain for another hour as it fades away.

Is this the right red 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.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →