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.

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

  • 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.

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 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.

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 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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Monday, November 15th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Eyeshadow Quad

When Things Get Too Glamorous

Bobbi Brown Sparkle Glamour Quad ($40.00 for 0.40 oz.) looks prettier in promos than it does in real life, and it’s prettier in the pan than it is on the eyes. This palette requires some practice in addition to patience, because the glitter will get everywhere–you may even find some in your hair… or in your nose!

These work best with a tackier base, like a sticky cream eyeshadow that takes longer to dry down. You could also use this with something like MAC’s Water-Based Mixing Medium, which has a little tackiness to it. No matter what method you use, some tackiness in the method will allow the glitter to stay on better and minimize fall out. I’d also recommend applying your eye makeup first and then using a makeup remover wipe or tape (lightly!) to remove any excess glitter that’s fallen from your lids. Press, rather than sweep, the product against the lid to further reduce fall out.

All of these shades are sheer; if you want any sort of color pay off, your best bet is to use them wet (water, Fix+, mixing medium, etc.). The “purple” shade looks more like a semi-sheer taupe; the lightest beige is a white-beige with large chunks of glitter; the darker beige is a champagne; and the “black” shade is a soft charcoal that almost looks brown if it is used dry. There is a gold trim that surrounds each “pan” of eyeshadow, and it is hard to use alone, but it just looks like a sheer white gold sparkle.

I wasn’t sure how deep each color went through, since there is the surrounding gold trim, but after digging through the black pan of color, it seems to go quite deep. The palette contains: Pink Glitter Sparkle Eye Shadow, Smoky Sparkle Eye Shadow, Moonlight Sparkle Eye Shadow and Sandy Sparkle Eye Shadow–but honestly, I have no idea which shades are what. I imagine “Smoky” is the black shade. I’m not sure about the rest, and the palette doesn’t indicate any shade names on the back.

When I have to write a full paragraph on how to minimize fall out and make the product worth using, there is definitely something wrong! I was really impressed with fall’s Sparkle Eyeshadows, but I found these too sheer and dry–the ones from fall almost felt wet upon use and held together better when applied.

Sparkle Eyeshadows retail for $24/0.13 oz., while this palette of four Sparkle Eyeshadows retails for $40/0.40 oz. This translates to $184.62/oz. and $100.00/oz. respectively–which does mean you’re getting quite the steal in terms of quantity! Keep in mind that the rating system takes value into account, and the value aspect is particularly strong here, which bolsters the overall grade significantly.

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

  • Product: 18/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t have patience or keen on glittery bits, I’d skip this palette.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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