Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

NARS Bougainville Lip Gloss
NARS Bougainville Lip Gloss

NARS Holiday 2010:  Bougainville

NARS Bougainville Lip Gloss ($24.00 for 0.28 oz.) is described as a “sensual pomegranate … with dramatic, diva-esque color.” The description also goes on to say “deep in pigment yet sheer on the lips,” which is an interesting statement. NARS’ Lip Gloss is non-sticky and scent- and taste-free, though they have been known to smell a bit like plastic or wax. I did not notice any scent whatsoever with my Bougainville, though.

It is similar to fall’s Strawberry Fields in the way it is pigmented, creamy, lacks shimmer, and is non-sticky. The colors, however, are noticeably different. While Strawberry Fields is a bright raspberry pink-red, Bougainville is a rich berry. It has the same color-rich look with a glossy shine but no shimmer, though. This is Strawberry Fields’ older, more sophisticated best friend.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Because of the richness in color, it would look lovely on cooler, paler complexions for a strong contrast, but it would also flatter deeper skin tones. I think this is more wearable than Strawberry Fields, because it’s dark without being ultra vampy.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

NYX Vixen Lip Gloss
NYX Vixen Lipgloss

The Sultry Season: NYX Vixen Lip Gloss

NYX Vixen (116) Lip Gloss ($5.50 for 0.53 fl. oz.) is a semi-opaque, brown burgundy shimmered with muted red sparkle. It’s not totally opaque, so it does have a tendency to settle into lip lines, but it looks pretty good from a normal viewing distance, so it’s not particularly bothersome. This gloss was scent-free, but in the past, I’ve NYX glosses that have smelled like plastic as well as synthetic berry. If you’re not sensitive to those scents, this is an affordable gloss to get you into the holiday spirit.

Is this the right berry 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.

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Guerlain Velours d'Or Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Velours d’Or Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Les Ors: Velours d’Or

Guerlain Velours d’Or (410) Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a smoky palette from Guerlain’s Holiday Collection.  I picked this up when Nordstrom was having some super point thing going on (I think it was triple points…), but I’m not sure I’m sold on it!

It contains four shades: a soft coppered gold with subtle gold sparkle; medium-dark violet plu m with blue-violet micro-shimmer; charcoal-mauve with a muted violet shimmer and slight sheen; and dark black with a matte finish. Upon first glance, the charcoal-mauve looked absolutely stunning–it almost gave off a duochrome sheen! It seemed like a mix of violet, plum, gray with green and violet shimmer/sheen. It’s less interesting when swatched, as it appears a bit flat in comparison.

The golden shade has Guerlain’s signature bee embossed, while the other three shades have a raised honeycomb pattern. The patterning will disappear after a few uses, though it doesn’t just disappear at first touch. I do, however, like that these patterns utilize each shade’s colors, rather than an overlay of another color, which ultimately affects the end color result but only as long as the overlay exists.

I found the golden shade to have a frostier finish and having some kick-up, whereas the remaining three colors were very smooth and were easy to apply.  Each shade had nice pigmentation–not sheer at all–and they built up easily, as Guerlain’s eyeshadows often do.

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

RECOMMENDATION: It’s nice, but I don’t think it’s a must-have.  If these kinds of colors call to you, it’s worth checking out, but I do think there are enough dupes available that if you’re not sold on all four shades, you may want to look elsewhere.

AVAILABILITY:Nordstrom, Sephora

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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Rescue Beauty Lounge Red Polishes
Rescue Beauty Lounge: Glamourpuss, Chinoise, Bangin’

Rescue Beauty Lounge: Glamourpuss, Chinoise, Bangin’

Rescue Beauty Lounge recently held their annual 50% off sale, and I must admit, I indulged. I’ve been waiting for this sale for months (ever since buying my first RBLs). I could have sworn I saw someone mention it may be the last 50% off sale… anyway, I couldn’t resist.

The next three I want to share with you are: Glamourpuss (classic true red), Chinoise (lacquered like a Chinese screen), and Bangin’ (hot red coral).  Like the first three, I don’t think these are particularly unique, never-before-seen kind of shades, but they are top-notch in quality.

  • Glamourpuss is a deep red cream with a hint of berry. What I like about this shade is it is definitely not a bright red cream, but it is still bright enough that it won’t be mistaken for black or brown either. This is a red that doesn’t lean blue or orange, which makes it suitable for a variety of skin tones.
    Two coats.
  • Chinoise is a bright red cream. It’s vibrant without being neon or flashy. On me, my skin seems to pull out very slight orange undertones.  I would say it’s similar to Essie’s Red Nouveau.  Two coats.
  • Bangin’ is rich, fiery red coral cream. It’s similar to China Glaze’s Revolution–but not quite as orange.  SpaRitual’s Love & Happiness would also make a decent dupe. Two coats.

All three shades featured in this post were richly pigmented, applied evenly and never streaked, and only needed two coats for full opacity. Each shade retails for $18, and due to the recent 50% off sale, many shades are sold out for the time being.

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

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think you need all three of these, but they are nice vampier shades that lean on the red/brown side. Between Glamourpuss and Bangin’, I’d definitely only opt for one or the other if you’re on a budget.

AVAILABILITY: Rescue Beauty Lounge

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint
Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint

Metallics Done Right!

Dior Five Golds Eyeshadow Quint ($58.00 for 0.21 oz.) is one of two new and limited edition holiday quints.  As indicated, it includes five shades of eyeshadow, and this is a palette with a rather metallic feel and look.  I purchased this as part of my Sephora Friends & Family haul!

It has a similar theme as MAC’s Rockers & Reelers Eyeshadow Palette, because both have a lot of metallic-like finishes, but the colors themselves are a bit different. Dior’s metallic quint is closer to neutral, while MAC’s is on the warmer side.

Five Golds includes a dark charcoal gray with a soft silver sparkle; subdued copper-gold with a metallic finish; semi-sheer icy white-gold with a bright shimmer-shine; chocolate bronze with a metallic finish; and a bright, light silver with a high metallic shine. Every shade had rich pigmentation except the lightest white-gold shade, which was on the sheer side, and it also had more of a glittery feel compared to the smoother texture of the other four shades. It looks a lot yellower in the pan than when used, though. The other four shades were true-to-pan in terms of color.

This is probably one of my favorite Dior quints in terms of quality; the shades are smooth, soft without being powdery, and really rich in color. Dior’s eyeshadow quints are always a better value than their singles or duos, though it is still more expensive than Chanel’s eyeshadow quads (but less than Guerlain’s!). Even though the shades are dupeable by other brands, the finish and texture really hit home.

FYI, Sephora lists this as “001″ while the back of it does list the name as Five Golds alongside the 001 number.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you love your metallics, this may be something to add to your holiday wish list.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Rescue Beauty Lounge Red Polishes
Rescue Beauty Lounge: Au Chocolat, Atame, Moulin Rouge

Rescue Beauty Lounge: Au Chocolat, Atame, Moulin Rouge

Rescue Beauty Lounge recently held their annual 50% off sale, and I must admit, I indulged. I’ve been waiting for this sale for months (ever since buying my first RBLs). I could have sworn I saw someone mention it may be the last 50% off sale… anyway, I couldn’t resist.

The first three I want to share with you are: Au Chocolat (molten Godiva), Atame (luscious deep dried cherry red), and Moulin Rouge (think black cherries wrapped in dark chocolate).

  • Au Chocolat is a deep, dark chocolate brown cream; it’s very decadent and rich. It kind of reminds me of Hershey syrup, but I suppose Godiva sounds a little nicer! In natural light, it’s more of a black-brown, while under brighter light like flash, more of the redness from the chocolate brown pulls through. Two coats.
  • Atame is a sultry dark cherry burgundy cream. It initially looks rather similar to Au Chocolat–the difference is more noticeable under stronger light, because Atame turns to the dark cherry red it’s described as. Two coats.
  • Moulin Rouge is deep reddened chocolate brown cream. It’s similar to Au Chocolat–there is a stronger red tone to Moulin Rouge’s base, but they look like cousins. Two coats.

All three shades featured in this post were richly pigmented, applied evenly and never streaked, and only needed two coats for full opacity. Each shade retails for $18, and due to the recent 50% off sale, many shades are sold out for the time being.

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: I don’t think you need all three of these, but they are nice vampier shades that lean on the red/brown side. Between Au Chocolat and Moulin Rouge, I’d definitely only opt for one or the other if you’re on a budget.

AVAILABILITY: Rescue Beauty Lounge

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