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NARS Brow Gels

NARS Brow Gel
NARS Brow Gel

NARS Brow Gel ($22.00 for 0.21 fl. oz.) is described as a “glossy, easy gliding gel to tame, tidy, and groom eyebrows.” It’s available in four shades Oural (clear), Athens (blonde), Piraeus (medium brown), and Kinshasa (dark brown). The brow gel is housed in a matte black tube (much like mascara), and it comes with a spoolie-wand for applying.

  • Athens is a light-medium brown with subtle yellow undertones.
  • Kinshasa is a medium-dark red-tinged brown. (This is the shade that best matched my brows, but it felt a little red and light.)
  • Piraeus is a light-medium brow with subtle yellow undertones. I really couldn’t tell much of a difference between this and Athens. I initially thought I had received two of the same shade, but the labels showed they were two different shades. Piraeus is slightly darker, not as quite as yellow-toned–but they are very close.

The only one I liked and would consider using was Oural, which is clear. The consistency is slightly thick, takes about a minute or two to dry and set, and then it helps keep brows in place for eight hours or so. The problem I had with the colored shades was that there is way too much product in a single pull of the wand. There is so much product that you could be doing about twenty people’s brows with what is on the brush, so there is a large margin for error as you try to wipe the wand against the rim of the tube to avoid over-applying. It’s a very unforgiving product if you over-apply, because it leads to crunchy brows, stray marks all over the place, and it’s difficult to blend once it sets, so it really necessitates complete removal.

You want a pigmented formula, but you don’t it to be delivered in a way that’s wasteful or makes it so difficult to use. I had the best luck taking a clean spoolie brush and lightly running it against NARS’ wand, and then applying using my separate spoolie brush to get cleaner, even results. I think the color range is disappointing; Kinshasa is not going to be dark enough for black-brown or black brows, and Athens and Piraeus are far too similar for a range with only three colors. I’ve been using Oural on and off, and I like that it doesn’t leave my brows crunchy, but the hairs still stay in place throughout the day. I haven’t tried enough brow gels to affirmatively say it’s the best one on the market (the only other one I’ve used with consistency is MAC’s, which I also like).

NARS   Brow Gel
Brow Gel

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LORAC Pro Palette

LORAC Pro Palette
LORAC Pro Palette

LORAC Pro Palette ($42.00 for 16 x 0.02 oz.; 1 x 0.19 oz.) consists of sixteen eyeshadows (half are shimmery, half are matte), plus a travel-sized Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, which comes in a squeeze-tube. The eyeshadows are supposed to be “ultra-pigmented” and can be applied wet or dry. What I like is that they’ve included the primer so you can get “stay-true color that lasts,” rather than tout the eyeshadows as forever-wearing on their own. Overall, the palette has good pigmentation, soft and smooth textures, and has a good mix of finishes (mattes and shimmers) in a neutral spectrum of colors–though there are a few bolder/richer shades included so it’s not merely a mix of beige and brown. When I wore the eyeshadows over LORAC’s primer, they lasted for ten hours without creasing or fading. When I wore them alone (and this is for reference and did not impact the rating, since it wasn’t a claim LORAC does make the claim that their eyeshadow formula, generally, is “long-lasting”), they lasted eight hours well and showed some light fading after nine hours of wear.

White is a crisp, slightly cool-toned white with a matte finish. The texture is soft, a bit powdery, and does look a little chalky against my skin tone (but blended out, with other shades–I used it mixed with Cream–or on paler skin tones, it should be fine). Sugarpill Tako is similar. bareMinerals Cumulus is cooler-toned. Make Up For Ever #00 is similar. Inglot #373 is also similar. Inglot #318 is a touch cooler. Bobbi Brown White is similar as well. See comparison swatches.

Cream is a pale beige with subtle, warm undertones and a matte finish. It was the least pigmented shadow of the sixteen; the texture was a little stiff and dry, so it was a bit hard to get good color payoff. theBalm Adagio is very similar. Urban Decay Kinky is cooler-toned, lighter. Urban Decay Anonymous is comparable. Urban Decay Walk of Shame is slightly cooler-toned. NARS Biarritz is warmer. MAC Sahara Dust is more shimmery. Bobbi Brown Ivory is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches.

Taupe is a warm-toned, medium-dark brown with a hint of gray and a matte finish. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft, smooth, and blendable. Urban Decay Beware is warmer. theBalm Allegro is lighter. NARS Flowers 3 #3 is more shimmery. MAC Caramel Sundae is more shimmery. MAC Aurora is more shimmery. Estee Lauder Bronze Dunes #4 is darker. Inglot #360 is slightly darker. Inglot #337 is a touch lighter and warmer. See comparison swatches.

Light Pink is a pale, light pink with cool undertones and a matte finish. It had good color payoff, but it was slightly powdery. theBalm Matt Chung is lighter. NARS Bouthan #1 is warmer. MAC Young Venus is more shimmery. Chanel Variation #1 is more shimmery. See comparison swatches.

Mauve is a muted, pink-plum with a matte finish. It had really nice color payoff, and the texture was very soft but a touch powdery. NARS Charade #1 is warmer, more shimmery. Illamasqua Forgiveness is darker. Inglot #344 is warmer. Bobbi Brown Dusty Lilac is similar. Le Metier de Beaute Icon is similar. See comparison swatches.

Sable is a medium-dark, warm-toned brown with a matte finish. It had very nice pigmentation and applied evenly and smoothly. NARS Surabaya #2 is more shimmery, warmer. NARS Flowers 3 #4 is more shimmery. MAC Take Root is more shimmery, cream product. Guerlain Turandot #4 is more shimmery. Estee Lauder Violet Underground #2 is more shimmery. Inglot #327 is warmer. See comparison swatches.

Espresso is a deep, dark taupe–a cool-toned, gray cast overwhelms the very dark brown base. It has a mostly matte finish. It had good color payoff, but the texture was slightly stiff. MAC Diamond Dove is warmer. bareMinerals Foreshadow is slightly lighter. See comparison swatches.

Black is medium-dark black with a matte finish. It had decent to good color payoff, and it is best applied by patting on, then blending, to maximize the intensity. theBalm Serious,  MAC Carbon, and Estee Lauder Violet Underground #4 are all similar.  See comparison swatches.

Nude is a warm, champagne beige with a frosted finish. It had nice color payoff and applied smoothly. MAC Smokeluxe #1 is warmer. theBalm Promiscuous Pearl is similar. Urban Decay Skimp is less shimmery. MAC Shroom is more beige. Illamasqua Slink is similar. Dior Fairy Golds #1 is similar. Chanel Raffinement is also similar. See comparison swatches.

Champagne is slightly rose-tinted and champagne-colored. Between this and Nude, there isn’t much of a noticeable difference–at least on my skin tone. It had fairly good color payoff, and the texture was soft and smooth. Urban Decay Skimp is less shimmery. MAC Call Me Bubbles is less shimmery. Illamasqua Slink is similar. Chanel Raffinement is similar. See comparison swatches.

Gold is a rich, medium-dark copper with a frosted, slightly metallic, finish. The color payoff was excellent, and the texture was soft and buttery. Marc Jacobs The Starlet #4 is more orange. Guerlain Cuivre Ora is darker. Urban Decay Penny Lane is lighter. NARS Isolde #1 is similar. MAC Campfire is more metallic, lighter. Guerlain Calligraphy #2 is less frosted, lighter. See comparison swatches.

Light Bronze is a warm-toned peach with yellow undertones and a frosted finish. It had nice pigmentation, and the texture was very soft but a smidgen powdery. Disney Splendid is lighter. MAC Summer Haze is darker. MAC All That Glitters is slightly darker. See comparison swatches.

Pewter is a medium-dark brown with mostly neutral undertones–the top layer seems almost cool-toned, but the undertone seems slightly golden. It had good color payoff, and the texture felt soft and buttery, though a tiny bit powdery. Marc Jacobs The Starlet #3 is very similar. Dior Fairy Golds #5 is less shimmery. MAC Havana is warmer. Urban Decay Snakebite is darker, yellower. MAC Friendly is warmer, redder. Le Metier de Beaute Autumn Rust is more golden. Urban Decay Bewitch is less shimmery. See comparison swatches.

Garnet is a medium-dark, muted copper with reddish-brown undertones and a metallic sheen. It had fantastic pigmentation and applied evenly and smoothly. theBalm Racy Kacy is similar. NARS California is also similar–slightly redder. MAC In the Sun is redder. MAC Rusty is a cream product. MAC Deep Fixation is less shimmery, warmer. MAC Ever Elegant is darker. Burberry Dark Spice #3 is browner. See comparison swatches.

Deep Purple is a blackened purple with subtle, warm brown undertones and a dusting of plum micro-shimmer. It had a very pearly sheen–not quite a frost but more than a satin. It had nice color payoff, and it applied smoothly. Disney Wonder by Wonder is lighter. Illamasqua Queen of the Night is lighter. MAC Spellcaster is more matte. Giorgio Armani #3 is more metallic. See comparison swatches.

Slate is a deepened, cool-toned charcoal gray with flecks of teal micro-shimmer. It had good color payoff and had a smooth, buttery texture. Disney Flotsam is lighter. Urban Decay Ace isn’t as cool-toned. Make Up For Ever #1 is a cream product. Bobbi Brown Gunmetal is less shimmery. See comparison swatches.

LORAC 16-Pan Eyeshadow Palette Pro Palette
Pro Palette
Pro Palette
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
94%
Total
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Giorgio Armani #700 Flash Lip Lacquer

Giorgio Armani #700 Flash Lip Lacquer
Giorgio Armani #700 Flash Lip Lacquer

Giorgio Armani #700 Flash Lip Lacquer ($29.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is a nearly colorless gloss with multi-colored micro-shimmer. It almost looked holographic, and it was a pain in the butt to attempt to capture any of its prettiness on camera. It’s very sparkly, glossy, and it shimmers with pink and blue and violet bits. There are plenty of shimmering, nearly clear glosses on the market, so for most, you’d really have to be a big fan of either clear gloss (generally) or of the Flash Lip Lacquer formula.

The consistency is not too thick or too thin, and it feels almost like a hybrid gel and gloss–there’s a cushion-like texture there. It’s very lightly tacky, and it feels almost like a second-skin yet is not clingy or drying. I mean second-skin in the best way, because it is comfortable to wear and sits well on the lips, plus it’s lightly hydrating. Even though this is quite colorless, which is as the shade was intended, I still saw a high gloss finish and plenty of shimmer after three and a half hours, which is impressive for something so sheer.

Giorgio Armani Flash Lip Lacquer #700
#700
#700
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
8
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total

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Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments (Barely Brazen, Breaking Bronze, Downtown Brown)

Maybelline Barely Brazen Color Tattoo Pure Pigments
Maybelline Barely Brazen Color Tattoo Pure Pigments

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments ($6.99 for 0.05 oz.) come in twelve different shades, and this post features three of them. These are the first three I grabbed to try, and they happened to coordinate rather well together, which was a nice bonus! I really liked all three, as they had a very soft, finely-milled texture with nice pigmentation. Maybelline touts 24-hour wear (which is one of my least favorite claims for any product to make), and I’m not overly comfortable wearing makeup for that long, but I did wear all three shades for sixteen hours. I had some creasing after nine hours, and it was noticeably faded and fairly creased by sixteen hours. When worn over a primer, I didn’t have any issues until fourteen hours (some fading but no creasing).

The one thing I did notice was that these don’t contain a ton of product; loose eyeshadows are all over the map in regards to sizing, with generous sizes above 0.15 oz. and some around this size.   The jar seemed large, so I was surprised to see how much it actually contained. I think that it has plenty of product to last you quite awhile, but for those who are concerned about price per ounce, it might be something to consider.

I plan to review a few more shades from the range, and the next three I have planned, I can tell you that these are not created equal at all.  Though they did not live up to the 24-hour claim, they did wear well for a over half a day, so I suspect that for most, the wear is long enough–or at least not a deal-breaker.  I did experience more issues with some of the other shades, which I will get into after I finish up testing them.

Barely Brazen is a warm, shimmering champagne beige with a frosted finish. It applied with mostly opaque color dry, and then was fully opaque when applied wet. MAC Mooncake is a cream product. MAC Summer Haze is more frosted, lighter. MAC All That Glitters is similar. See comparison swatches.

Breaking Bronze is a warm, coppery brown with a frosted, metallic finish. It was semi-sheer applied dry, and then it was fully pigmented applied with a damp brush. Disney Cosmic is less warm. theBalm Manic Maribel is less metallic. MAC Bare My Soul is less shimmery. Urban Decay Penny Lane is similar. NARS Isolde #1 is less metallic. bareMinerals Bragging Rights is similar. See comparison swatches.

Downtown Brown is a medium-dark brown with subtle warm undertones and a smooth, metallic sheen. It had opaque color both wet and dry. bareMinerals Schmooze is less metallic. Edward Bess Cosmic Bliss #2 is similar, less metallic. Bobbi Brown Bronze is darker. Urban Decay Suspect is cooler-toned. MAC Woodwinked is warmer. See comparison swatches.

Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments Barely Brazen
9
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
6.5
Longevity
5
Application
89%
Total
Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments Breaking Bronze
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
10
Texture
6.5
Longevity
5
Application
88%
Total
Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigments Downtown Brown
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
6.5
Longevity
5
Application
90%
Total

Chanel Esprit (88) & Instinct (86) Rouge Coco Shine

Chanel Esprit (88) Rouge Coco Shine
Chanel Esprit (88) Rouge Coco Shine

Chanel Esprit (88) Rouge Coco Shine ($34.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “burgundy.” It’s a medium-dark, raspberry pink with cool undertones and a soft sheen. This shade is supposed to be one of the more pigmented/opaque shades of the Rouge Coco Shine formula, which is reflected in its coverage, as it is nearly opaque applied.  Esprit lasted four and a half hours well, and it was lightly hydrating while worn.  The consistency was creamy with a fair amount of slip and applied evenly.  Chanel Fiction is warmer. Revlon Raspberry Pie is cooler-toned, more raspberry. Guerlain Lou-Ling is darker. Guerlain Guet-Apens is slightly darker. Chanel Taffeta Rose is somewhat brighter. See comparison swatches.

Instinct (86) Rouge Coco Shine ($34.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “soft blue pink.” It’s a soft, light-medium beige-pink with neutral-cool undertones. As part of the normal range of Rouge Coco Shines, it is supposed to be sheer, which it is. It really doesn’t look like it alters my natural lip color much, other than giving it a natural sheen and darkening it slightly.  It seems to disappear in an hour and a half (judging primarily by shine, since color is a difficult indicator!), and after wearing it a few times in a row, I found it just slightly moisturizing.  Revlon Pink Lemonade is more opaque. NARS Mitzi is more shimmery. MAC Peach Blossom is similar. Guerlain Rose Desir is pinker. See comparison swatches.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine Esprit (88)
Esprit (88)
Esprit (88)
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Hydrating Sheer Lipshine Instinct (86)
8
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
5
Longevity
5
Application
80%
Total

Fyrinnae Aztec Gold Pressed Eyeshadow & Gender Bent Eyeshadow

Fyrinnae Aztec Gold Pressed Eyeshadow
Fyrinnae Aztec Gold Pressed Eyeshadow

Fyrinnae Aztec Gold Pressed Eyeshadow ($8.25 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “deep metallic gold over a rich olive green base.” It’s a deep olive gold with a really rich, soft metallic finish. The texture of this was insane; it felt like a cream product, even though it is a pressed powder, but it truly felt so buttery and smooth that it felt exactly like a cream eyeshadow does. A little went a long way when applying this, too. I found it looked the same applied dry as it did dry over Pixie Epoxy (at most, slightly more of a sheen with Pixie Epoxy). It wore on bare lids without creasing or fading for nine hours (same results over Pixie Epoxy/Primer). Urban Decay Stargazer is lighter, more metallic. NARS Paramaribo #1 is darker, browner. Make Up For Ever #11 is yellower. Inglot #433 is browner. See comparison swatches.

Gender Bent (Loose) Eyeshadow ($6.25 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “vivid, somewhat shimmery teal graced with bold orange sparkle.” It’s a bluish-teal with orange shimmer and a soft, frosted finish. Applied damp, it was semi-opaque, and then patted dry over Pixie Epoxy, it was more opaque. It had a very, very finely-milled texture and feel–it looked almost matte in the jar–but it was actually easy to use damp or over Pixie Epoxy. Gender Bent wore well for almost eight hours with light fading apparent just after that without a primer, and then layered over Pixie Epoxy and primer, it lasted nine hours without any signs of wear. (Fyrinnae does not seem to make any long-wearing claims, and in their blurb about Pixie Epoxy, they emphasize it is not a primer and to use a primer first to maximize wear time.) Disney Caspian Sea is slightly bluer. Sephora Curacao Punch is more glittery. MAC Parrot is bluer. Urban Decay Deep End is darker. Milani Teal the Truth is more teal. MAC Double Feature #3 #1 is matte. See comparison swatches.

Fyrinnae Pressed Eyeshadow Aztec Gold
Aztec Gold
Aztec Gold
A+

Permanent

10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total
Fyrinnae Eyeshadow Gender Bent
Gender Bent
Gender Bent
A

Permanent

9
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
93%
Total

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