Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Estee Lauder Wild Violet Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Wild Violet Eyeshadow Palette

A Look at Estee Lauder’s New Spring Palette

Estee Lauder Wild Violet Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.27 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette just in time for spring. In the past year or two, Estee Lauder has really stepped up their game. I think they’ve been listening to evolving customer demands and have given their texture and themes some facelifts. I could still do with some tweaking of the packaging, but I very much appreciate their foray into color, into real color, and not just washes.

The palette contains five different shades: a soft, pale beige with a frosted champagne shimmer; medium-dark chocolate brown with subtle warm undertones in a shimmer-sheen finish; cool-toned gray-taupe brown with a satin finish; rich, smoldering; deep dark purple with white and blue flecks of shimmer over a matte base; and a brightened metallic copper. I think the shades individually are stunning, but the palette is an excellent composition of warm and cool, rich and luxe. With soft, silky smooth textures and beautiful color pay offs, all five eyeshadows are easy to use.

Do you remember NARS Daphne? There was a shade that swatched terribly but worked beautifully on the eye itself–the matte texture needed the delicate touch of a brush to work–but Estee Lauder gives us this rich, decadent purple that’s so deep and luxurious, like a violet velveteen. Estee Lauder’s violet is deeper and darker, while Daphne has a stronger bluer base and lighter overall look so it appears brighter.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think going with a more neutral palette overall with that pop of violet in the center works well here. There is also a nice mix of cool and warm that it’s workable on both skin tones. One of the best palettes I’ve ever seen by Estee Lauder and an overall stunning palette–period.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Eden Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Eden Eyeshadow Quad

Maybe Some Secrets are Best Left Alone

From Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Garden Collection emerges a new eyeshadow quad, Eden ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.), and it seems to be somewhat of a mystery, because it swatches well enough, but I really couldn’t make it work on the eyes. The palette includes: an icy white with pink and blue shimmer-sheen; petal pink with yellow undertones; seafoam aqua with a matte finish; and a dove gray with a satin-matte finish.

The most difficult shade to work with in the palette was the aqua, which was worse wet than dry–when used wet, the product would ball up and apply patchy. The easiest shade to work with was the gray, but it didn’t work well wet either. The white shade is a little powdery and sheer, and your lid better be primed to perfection with nary a dry spot, because it emphasizes every imperfection . The pink shade was sheer when used dry but came together better wet.

I actually like the pastel hues of spring, and I think the mix of these four shades is striking but workable, so I was hopeful they would come together well in a look. They didn’t–these shades applied so sheerly when used dry but were even worse when used wet, because it made the whole look patchy. The colors applied so unevenly, and I really had to pack on the color to get anything resembling the shades in the pan. I was so desperate for color that I had to resort to using the included sponge-tip applicators and only then did I get anything significant.

Pale colors are lighter, and sheer can be OK, but when getting an even, sheer wash is troublesome, I’m concerned. When products can’t be layered for an opaque look, I’m more concerned. When the product swatches decently and even opaque in places, but then we end up with ultra sheer colors on the lid–I’m disappointed.

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  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think this palette would work best on paler skin tones, because of the powderiness and slight chalkiness of the pastel shades. I think on darker skin tones it may come across ashy and chalky, rather than soft and spring-y. The quality seemed rather mediocre across the board, but it was the lack of quality was discovered upon application and use rather than purely on swatches.

WHERE TO BUY: Late January/early February @ Saks

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Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Rimmel Metallic Seduction Lipstick
Rimmel Metallic Seduction Lipstick

A Metallic Red by Rimmel

Rimmel Metallic Seduction Lasting Finish Lipstick ($5.19 for 0.14 oz.) is a darkened metallic red with ruby and berry shimmer. It’s nearly opaque and has a semi-frost finish–it’s not super frosty, but it definitely has that frost/metallic cross that gives it a fair amount of shine and reflection.

I like this lipstick, and I really have no issues with the formula itself except that it is supposed to be a long-wearing lipstick. Rimmel says it “locks colour to lips for up to 8 hours of wear.” Though in the past, lighter shades from this Rimmel line have only given me two, this darker shade gave me four, which is my average lipstick wear time–better than before but still short of their long-wearing claim. Please note that because this product is supposed to be long-wearing and it is not, in my experience, I have to take points from quality.

I evaluate products based on what they’re supposed to do, not what I want it to do or what’s “good enough.” I recognize that this is a remarkably pigmented lipstick formula with an affordable price tag, but it’s not enough: it does not do what it’s supposed to do.

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  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I like the shade, and for some, I think they don’t mind trading off wear time with the price tag, but I think it’s important to judge products on what they’re supposed to do. We shouldn’t expect less from less expensive products–but we can accept less if that is our perogative.

WHERE TO BUY: ULTA

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Guerlain D'une Ondee Eyeshadow
Guerlain D’une Ondee Eyeshadow

Guerlain D’une Ondee Eyeshadow

Guerlain D’une Ondee (186) Eyeshadow ($36.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a mega-sized medium-dark, silvery gray with a frosted finish. When applied wet, it has more of a frosted sheen, but the color is very much the same whether used wet or dry.  Guerlain’s eyeshadow texture is phenomenal in their singles–smooth, silky, very buttery.  The color is true-to-pan and delivers rich results with little product needed.

I bought this the other day when I saw Nordstrom put up three new Guerlain eyeshadows, and the online photo makes it look rather… pewter-esque, and you know me and my pewters. Unfortunately, in real life, it’s just a silver-gray. It’s a nice shade, but it is rather easy to replicate. It does have slight multi-colored micro-shimmer, but I did not see much of an effect when used. Guerlain’s eyeshadows are massive–over double the average single eyeshadow–and so by the ounce, Guerlain is as expensive ($300/oz.) (or as affordable) as MAC eyeshadows ($290/oz.).

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: Even though it’s a shade you may already own, it is still lovely.  I don’t take away points because a product may be duped by another brand or shade, as that element does not take away from the product’s quality.  I have always really liked their single shadows for their silky smooth texture.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Milani Sexy Rose Lipstick
Milani Sexy Rose Lipstick

Milani Sexy Rose Lipstick

Milani Sexy Rose Lipstick ($4.99 for 0.14 oz.) is a frosted, lightened raspberry with soft fuchsia shimmer. The finish is a heavy frost, so those with dry or chapped lips will likely find it emphasizes imperfections and may even be a touch drying. I was actually reminded me of an old favorite limited edition MAC shade–Wild ‘Bout You–but this is a lighter variation, not quite as red, a bit berrier.

Milani’s Color Perfect Lipstick is a nice formula that delivers opaque color and are usually creamy, though this frostier shade was a bit drier. They do have a rather a synthetic/waxy scent, though, which may be too much for those with sensitive sniffers. I typically get three to four hours of wear on average with this formula.

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

FINAL THOUGHTS: It’s not as creamy as many other Milani lipsticks are, and the frosty finish doesn’t help it feel moisturizing.  I like it, and it works on my lips, but if you have drier lips, you may want to opt for a less frosted version.

WHERE TO BUY: Milani

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Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette
Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette

Giorgio Armani Transluminence Eye Palette ($58.00 for 0.07 oz.) is new and limited edition from the brand’s Transluminence Collection. It includes four shades of eyeshadow, all of which can be used wet or dry.

It includes a blue-based violet purple with a satiny sheen; jewe-toned teal with a semi-frost finish; grayed white-beige with a soft satin sheen; and a soft black with satin sheen. The finishes of these eyeshadows were more satiny–a soft sheen, not too frosted, and less obvious shimmer. The violet shade was the only one that appeared a touch sheer, while the other three were silky smooth with nice color intensity. I thought the teal was particularly stunning–it’s exactly teal.

I found these eyeshadows to work similarly whether used wet or dry–I didn’t notice a major difference in pigmentation or saturation when used wet. I used the palette on its own over NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base, and it was blendable and none of the colors lost their vibrancy when layered and blended in a look. I’m bummed by the lack of product you get in the compact, though–it doesn’t seem tiny by any means, but once you look at the weight, it’s a different story.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m a sucker for jewel-tones, so I love the way this palette looks together. All four shades coordinate well and can be used together in an assortment of ways, which is nice. It is a cooler-toned palette, but jewel-tones always look lovely on warmer skin tones, despite their often cooler appearance.  The lack of product in it, however, does bring down the overall grade in a noteworthy way.

WHERE TO BUY: Nordstrom

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