Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

NYX Brown Sugar Lipstick
NYX Brown Sugar Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Brown Sugar Lipstick

NYX Brown Sugar Round Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a rich bronzy, reddened brown with copper shimmer.  It has opaque color coverage with a frosted finish, so it is less creamy than some other NYX Round Lipsticks I’ve tried, but on the plus side, lasts for four hours as compared to my usual two to three.

my thoughts on the formula: NYX Round Lipsticks are really creamy and generally opaque in color. The texture and shade range are great. However, the scent of them can run from waxy to synthetic sweetness (neither are particularly pleasant)–and sometimes they smell like nothing at all.  I typically get two to three hours of wear.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: If you tend to stay away from brown lipsticks for fear of wearing a more dated shade, this copper-shimmered brown is a modern take on a classic look.

where to buy: NYX

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Smashbox Heather Soft Focus Powder Eye Liner
Smashbox Heather Soft Focus Powder Eye Liner

Smashbox Spring 2011: Heather

Smashbox Heather Soft Focus Powder Eye Liner ($22.00 for 0.025 oz.) is a soft brownish-gray. It’s new and limited edition for spring, but it is a powder eyeliner to create a “soft, smoldering look.” It delivers on the softer color, and it will draw in a nice line, but it leaves product everywhere.

The photo above was not intended to be artsy, but upon opening it for the first time, it dropped that much product onto my desk. Now, imagine that on your face–because that’s exactly what I ended up with when I tried applying this for the first time (my carpet is less than pleased). At a mere 0.025 oz. of product, I’m not exactly sure one wants to deal with any wasted product–even by wiping excess on a tissue.

Aside from the packaging woes, application worked out well, and I liked the softer lined look it yielded. I think those who find gel eyeliner too crisp and stark would enjoy a powder liner like this. Unfortunately, it only wore four hours before it started to flake.

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  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

final thoughts: Between the messy packaging and below average wear, it just didn’t work out.

where to buy: Sephora

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Guerlain Rose Desir Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Rose Desir Rouge G Lipstick

Guerlain Spring 2011: Rose Desir

Guerlain Rose Desir (71) Rouge G Lipstick ($47.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a soft rosy pink with pale pink and white shimmer. It has a slightly glossy finish and semi-opaque color. It has a little milkiness to the base color. This particular shade is new and limited edition for spring and comes in special edition black lacquered packaging. (You can see the black lacquered packaging here.)  It actually feels a bit more like the Rouge G Brilliant formula than the typical Rouge G–not quite as opaque, still very emollient and creamy but not as long-wearing.

my thoughts on the formula: Long-time readers will know that Guerlain’s Rouge G formula is one of my absolute favorite lipsticks, so I always look forward to new and seasonal shade releases. Rouge G colors have certain nuances to them just seem to make them more flattering when worn. The formula is moisturizing, long-wearing (four to six hours), and comfortable to wear–never heavy but generally opaque in color. I’m still crossing my fingers for refills, because as elegant as the case is, so much of the price must be attributed to it, and it would be nice to be able to reuse it.

The one thing I noticed about these is though the weight feels the same (we actually whipped out the scale, it was a 0.06 oz. lighter), the magnet enclosure seemed slightly weaker. If you throw ‘em around, the black lacquered case’s lid will fall off easier than the metal one (which also slips off if you put it through the tests we did, haha). I carried one in my purse all day, though, and it was fine.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: It’s a beautiful springtime pink, and though I don’t have a laundry list of dupes for this exact shade, there are enough springy pinks that you could pass on this shade if you only want to save your $47 for the most unique of the Rouge G line-up.  This shade will work for warm and cooler skin tones.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Philosophy Crispy Marshmallow Bars 3-in-1 Shower Gel
Philosophy Crispy Marshmallow 3-in-1 Shower Gel

Anyone for a rice krispie treat?

Philosophy Crispy Marshmallow Bars 3-in-1 Shower Gel ($16.00 for 16 oz.) is a sugary-sweet confection of rich, decadent creamy and vanilla and butter.  It is a definite food scent, and if you aren’t into sweet scents, pass on this particular version of the 3-in-1 Shower Gel.

my thoughts on the formula: Philosophy Shower Gels are one of my personal favorites for body washes, because they come in an assortment of scents, with new ones each season. They lather up well and leave skin feeling clean without any tightness or dryness. I wouldn’t call these a moisturizing body wash nor do their scents linger. If you prefer your body wash to leave behind a long-lasting scent, these won’t be for you, but if you like to enjoy the scent while you shower but don’t want it to linger beyond, then these are perfect. (I belong to the latter category!) I don’t find them to lather quite as well in the hair, and they work in a pinch to clean hair, but I prefer many other shampoos over this one. It does, however, work well as a bubble bath, too–a little goes a long way.

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

final thoughts: If you love the scent of rice krispie treats, you’ll adore this!

where to buy: Philosophy

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Giorgio Armani #404 Rouge d'Armani Lipstick
Giorgio Armani #404 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick

Quick! Snatch Up This Limited Edition Holiday Red!

Giorgio Armani #404 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a bright pink-tinged ruby red with a subtle metallic sheen in its finish. It has lots of ruby micro-shimmer–it’s subtle but it’s there. The color applies nearly opaque, and it wears beautifully (at least six hours). This is a gorgeous holiday red!

my thoughts on the formula: The formula itself is moisturizing, long-wearing (six to eight hours), and comfortable to wear. It’s not clingy nor heavy, and there’s enough slip to give it that creamy look where the color nearly melts against your lips. Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks are also scent- and taste-free (and no waxy scent, either!). It comes in a sleek, glossy black case with a magnetic enclosure to ensure your lipstick is closed at all times.

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

final thoughts: Infinitely flattering on both cooler and warmer skin tones, pigmented and rich enough to work on pale and dark complexions, #404 is one of those darling holiday reds that many covet.

where to buy: Giorgio Armani

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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara
L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara

Do you need a million lashes for a million dollar lash look?

L’Oreal Blackest Black (635) Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara ($8.99 for 0.30 fl. oz.) is designed as a volumizing mascara that will make your sparse lil’ lashes go from two to a million with a couple of coats of mascara. Obviously, like all mascaras, the claims are exaggerated, but what we can take out of all the marketing brouhaha is that it should give the illusion of a fuller fringe of lashes.

The good thing about mascara is a picture is worth at least 1,000 words, if not a few more. The wand on Voluminous Million Lashes works brilliantly to define and separate lashes–even after a couple of coats–and no clumping. My lashes look longer and thicker certainly, though increased volume? I’m not entirely sold. It’s there in some capacity, but perhaps not as volumizing as I’d expect from a full-on volumizing mascara.

I wore this for twelve hours, and I have no smudging or flaking issues to report. It also held my curl during the twelve hours I trialed this mascara (on five separate occasions). They added new technology to the tube itself so that when the wand pulls through the opening, it minimizes the amount of excess mascara on the brush/wand, for a cleaner application.  Blackest Black is a nice, inky black, too.

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

final thoughts: Love the brush and the packaging — could be more volumizing, though it is a nice mascara overall (but I rate based on how well a product performs relative to its claims).

where to buy: drugstore.com

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