Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Velvet Kohl Eyeliners
Bobbi Brown Black Velvet Kohl Eyeliners: Black Plum, Black Chocolate, Black

When the River Runs Black Velvet

Bobbi Brown Kohl Eye Liners ($22.00 for 0.04 oz.) are a new and limited edition eyeliner from the fall Black Velvet Collection.  It comes in three shades: Black Plum, Black Chocolate, Black.  Bobbi Brown describes them as a “silky-smooth formula [that] delivers dense, even and blendable pigment.”

  • Black Plum is a rich, earthy plum with subtle red undertones.  I love that it’s really quite plum and doesn’t lean burgundy.
  • Black Chocolate is a deep dark chocolate brown.
  • Black is a blue-based rich black.

At first application, I loved the smoothness of the formula, softness of the pencil, and rich color achieved without a lot of a layering.  Unfortunately, that rich color doesn’t last past lunch for me.  If lunch was 20 minutes away.  I tried wearing these in several ways – on the waterline, on the lower lash line, both.  I thought perhaps they weren’t cut out for the waterline and by putting it there was causing the rest of it to migrate, too, so I tried just the lower lash line, staying away from the waterline entirely.

The results were the same–barely there color within an hour or two, but it was already noticeably migrating and disappearing within fifteen minutes.  What seems to happen is the liner fades away except right at the base of the lashes, so it’s a very thin line of color that lasts.

I was so particularly frustrated, because the liner looked so amazing as part of the look I did for the day, but by the time I finished my foundation and slicked my lip color on… I could already tell there was something wrong.  It’s like when you do laundry and there’s always a sock that’s gone missing–you don’t know where it went but yet it’s gone.  I know I put a nice line of kohl on my lower lash line, but by the time I take photos to show you all, it’s half gone!

I’m so frustrated by the lack of staying power, because these have such a lovely texture/finish.  They’re so rich and opaque and don’t require a lot of building to get there.  They have a harder edge than many other pencil eyeliners, but it doesn’t feel harsh on the lash line; it almost melts against the skin as you apply the color.  And I so, so dig the color of Black Plum.

Like any product that has a tendency to crease on its own, setting with a powder (like an eyeshadow) will help greatly, but it can also alter the color.  You could also try a sealing product like Benefit’s She-Laq.  Not that you should have to do that with the right eye liner, but nevertheless, sometimes we can’t let a color go and insist on discovering ways to Make. It. Work.

These are a brand new product, and I haven’t seen any other reviews for these yet, so I am incredibly curious to see what others experience.  Maybe I’m just the unfortunate minority here that yearns to love these but can’t!

They’re not as bad as NARS’ Eye Pencils were on me, which didn’t just fade away, but took on a new life by smudging and migrating everywhere (and somehow, even getting on my lid from my lower lash line!).   I’m torn on rating these, because on one hand, they feel and look amazing, but then they don’t last well on me at all.  At least these just disappear and don’t give me raccoon eyes!

Have you tried these yet?

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

  • Product: 19/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Is it bad that I really just hope it’s me that can’t get these to stay put?  I want these to work for someone!  I can’t personally recommend the new kohl eyeliners based on my experience.  If you purchase from a store with a health return policy and don’t mind being a guinea pig, I did really enjoy the texture and consistency of the kohl.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Velvet Lipstick
Bobbi Brown Lip Color: Black Maple, Black Raspberry

Color May Not Appear as in the Tube

Bobbi Brown Lip Color ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) now includes two new shades for fall from the Black Velvet Collection: Black Maple (black red plum) and Black Raspberry (black burgundy).

  • Black Maple is a rich burgundy brown. On my lips, it looks nearly opaque with a slight sheen.
  • Black Raspberry is a semi-sheer browned red. It’s a different way to wear the red lip–it’s not an in-your-face kind of red, and it’s not incredibly dark either. It has a rather glaze-like finish, where there’s some sheerness up close, but it looks more cohesive and opaque from afar.

There’s a funny thing about these lipsticks/swatches; they don’t look like they line up. Black Maple looks burgundy in the tube, while Black Raspberry looks nearly black–and yet it’s actually much, much lighter. I actually had to swatch them both again as I started to write out the review to make sure I didn’t have it written wrong in my notes!  They both seem to be a little on the cooler side.

Bobbi Brown’s Lipsticks are scent- and taste-free, which is something that can difficult to find high-end lipsticks. With these deeper, darker shades, I find myself getting between four and five hours of wear.   They apply without difficulty, though I do find myself needing to check the application to ensure smooth, even color.  I don’t find them drying, but I think if you have really dry lips, you may not find they’re very moisturizing either.

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: I like these shades, though I’m not in love with them.  They could apply a smidgen more evenly!  Black Maple is surprisingly more wearable than the name would lead you to believe.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Video: Peek @ Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection

Here’s a “first impressions” video of some of the pieces from Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection! I’ve swatched and shown all the shades in the video, and over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing everything in full. Already did the Creamy Lip Colors today! :)

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Bobbi Brown Black Velvet Creamy Lip Color
Creamy Lip Color: Black Mahogany, Black Cherry

Black Velvet with that Slow Southern Style…

Bobbi Brown’s Black Velvet Collection is a surprising mix of colors from the brand–it’s very classic in a dark, sultry kind of way. It’s not what I’d expect from Bobbi Brown, yet it’s exactly in line with the brand’s image. There are two new shades of the Creamy Lip Color ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.): Black Cherry (deep red wine) and Black Mahogany (black brown).

  • Black Cherry is a darkened red-plum with a glossy finish. It has a very juicy look and feel to it; it’s not quite opaque, but it definitely packs a punch. This is my favorite lip color out of the four new lip colors I tried from the Black Velvet collection.
  • Black Mahogany is a blackened brown with a glossy finish. It’s semi-opaque, and it has a tendency to look like part-gloss, part-lip stain, because it looks like a bold, opaque color, but it’s not quite there.

The Creamy Lip Color formula is moisturizing without sliding off in an hour–I usually get three to four hours of wear, but these darker shades seem to pull closer to four to five hours, and I did find Black Cherry left a residual stain behind.  This formula makes lips look a little fuller from the glossiness and “wet” finish.

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: If you have lips on the drier side, this is a nice formula that allows you to wear lipstick without emphasizing dryness.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Video: Quick Look at Guerlain Fall

I’m trying to get into the habit of doing more “first impressions” kind of videos–literally me seeing the products for the first time, opening them up, swatching, etc.  They won’t always be focused on reviewing or talking about the specifics of products, particularly if I’ve never tried the product (e.g. it’s not just a new shade but a new product type).  This is a short video featuring Guerlain’s 10 Rue de Franc Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette, Gwen Rouge G Lipstick, and Violine Kiss Kiss Gloss Serum.  The latter I hope to review soon, but I need to put it through the wear test still! :)

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette

Can this palette really be worth $84?

Guerlain Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette ($84.00 for 0.25 oz.) contains six different eyeshadows with a dual-ended natural-bristled brush housed in an incredibly luxe compact.

Guerlain is normally on the more generous side with their products, but this palette–by weight–is more per ounce ($336) than their single eyeshadows ($292) or eyeshadow quads ($295). Like Rouge G Lipsticks, you’re definitely paying (more so than usual) for the packaging. It has a beautiful filigree design on the front of the compact along with Guerlain’s signature bee, and then inside is a flip-top mirror that opens to reveal the actual eyeshadows inside. There’s certainly a nice heft to it, and it feels very solid; it’s not cheap or flimsy in the least bit.

Each palette utilizes a mix of three different finishes: iridescent, matte, and satin. In this particular palette, we have a light-medium beige with a matte finish (which nearly matches my skin tone–NC20 for the underarm–for reference) that would make for a nice highlighter on light to medium skin tones; medium-dark grayed brown with a satin finish; brightly shimmered copper with gold sheen in an iridescent finish; dark chocolate brown with a satin-matte finish; medium brown with subtle peach undertones in a satin finish; and a blackened brown with copper flecks in a satin finish.  The darkest shade can also be used wet as a liner.  None of the shadows are named, FYI!

I’m underwhelmed by the overall color palette but more so by the consistency, texture, and intensity of the eyeshadows. They’re just not as soft, smooth, or rich as Guerlain’s other eyeshadows (singles and quads). The formula is entirely different–they don’t have the creaminess that their other eyeshadows have. The pigmentation is just so-so; they’re not particularly sheer or chalky, but you may find yourself going back for seconds in a look. I will say that they perform better in practice than they do simply as swatches on the skin. Each shadow had a very soft, finely milled texture, but I missed the richness of Guerlain’s usual eyeshadow formula. These are not bad eyeshadows–but they’re not out of this world, either; they’re nice but not phenomenal.

Aside from some concerns about the formula itself, the colors seem very basic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that (and I’m not taking any points away based on the colors themselves!), but I always have admired Guerlain for their ability to bring out nuances in their shades–particularly noteworthy in the Rouge G lipstick line. I’m reminded of Urban Decay’s Naked Palette (Naked, Buck, Half Baked, Darkhorse, Sidecar in particular). They do work beautifully as a palette, though; I was easily able to use several shades in a look with very little effort, and they applied better than they swatched.

I am big fan of Guerlain, and having said so, have been rather hesitant about doling out the $84 it costs for each of the five eyeshadow palettes they launched with their fall collection. Ironically, the fact that this palette didn’t blow me away was what spurned me to finally purchase one! I ordered Rue 2 Vendome and will review that soon. I’m curious if that one will impress me more!

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: I don’t think this is the particular palette that’s worth $84. Unless you’re flush, I’d maybe check out some of the other color variations to find shades with that je ne sais quoi.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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