Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick
Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick

The Summer Season: Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick

Elizabeth Arden Perfect Tulip Lipstick ($21.50 for 0.12 oz.) is a softened raspberry pink with soft shimmer and sheen.  It applies smoothly, evenly, and delivers full-color coverage without having to layer a ton on.  This is a great shade of pink, because it’s not super bright nor too cool, so it will work on a variety of skin tones.

Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Plump Perfect lipsticks are very moisturizing–these lipsticks actually seem to impart moisture rather than simply lock it in. I’ve also found that they wear pretty well, giving me about four hours of wear, and the majority will get through a cup of coffee.

Is this the right pink for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Tom Ford Bruised Plum Lip Color
Tom Ford Bruised Plum Lip Color

Tom Ford for Lipstick — Test #4

Tom Ford Bruised Plum Lip Color ($45.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a deep, reddened plum with subtle pink, fuchsia, and ruby micro-shimmer.  It goes on opaque, and it’s the most glistening/shimmering shade I’ve tried so far.  It does settle a bit into lip lines, but from a normal viewing distance, it’s really not noticeable.  This is a shade that stains very well and wears for four to five hours with a lingering stain for an additional two or so.  It’s vampy without being too blackened but not too much of a red shade either.  I can definitely see this being a perfect shade for fall.

Tom Ford’s Private Blend Lip Color collection are all vanilla scented and come in a white and gold square tube. It’s a very clean and elegant look, and the tube itself is weighty, so it feels more luxurious when you hold it in your hand. I like that the usage of the white paneling means no fingerprints, since that is a common problem when brands use more metallic/metal kind of packaging. The top and bottom are both “gold,” with the top having “Tom Ford” imprinted on it. It does click shut and stay closed well.

The formula itself is creamy and lightweight–it doesn’t feel slippery or nearly as creamy as YSL Rouge Voluptes, nor does it glide on as smoothly and effortlessly as Guerlain Rouge Gs. Tom Ford’s color range is full with twelve different shades ranging from nudes to deep plums. The textures of Tom Ford’s lipsticks are semi-matte–they’re not shimmery at all–and so they have a smidgen of sheen/glisten but overall, a much flatter finish.

Come August, I might have more possible dupes to share, since that will kick off the Sultry Season (all about vampy lip colors!), but for now, MAC’s Hang Up is the closest I’ve found–it’s a little lighter, not as shimmery.  These are all the Tom Ford shades I have to share with you for now, but I hope it’s given you a nice introduction to the range.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in the mood for a decadent luxury and prefer your lip color on the more matte side, Tom Ford’s range of twelve might interest you.

AVAILABILITY: Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Stila Road to Radiance Palette
Stila Road to Radiance Palette

$10 Palette: Is It a Steal?

Stila Road to Radiance Palette ($10.00) sounds like a good deal, but in all honesty, I (personally!) would rather put $10 towards one stellar full-size product than a medicore palette. Stila misses in this palette by delivering four inferior eyeshadows–not only in pigmentation but the entire formula is nothing like Stila’s individual (nor their Barbie palette) shadows.

They are sheer and don’t build up particularly well. Stila shadows are incredibly soft–so soft, they can kick up some powder–and almost creamy, despite being pressed powder. These are nothing like that. Because Stila is a much higher quality brand than this palette portrays, I think it’s a poor palette overall–even if the price tag is enticing.

The only product I liked in the palette was Hibiscus Convertible Color. It was creamy, blended out nicely, and wore well. In terms of value, the four eyeshadows come to 0.15 oz. while the Convertible Color is 0.09 oz. (full-size is 0.15 oz.). Since I only liked Hibiscus, I’d much rather buy a full-size Convertible Color in its own packaging, particularly since it’ll stay clean of any loose powder unlike in the palette. The only problem? Hibiscus is limited edition and not available in full-size.

  • Hibiscus is a creamy neutral pink blush. It’s very pretty — this is the only item out of the palette that I really like and think lives up to the quality I expect from Stila as a brand. It’s wearable and suitable for both cool and warm skin tones.
  • Southern Belle is a sheer medium pink with silvery-white sheen. This was such a pain to get to swatch appropriately.
  • Snow Bunny is shimmery silver shade with just a tinge of icy pink. This was one of the more pigmented shades, but I still felt it needed some layering.
  • City Chick is a browned burgundy with subtle shimmer. Another shade that applied sheerly and required layering.
  • Valley Girl is a sheer grayish-mauve with silver sparkle. Super, super sheer–I couldn’t really get it to build up.

The packaging is cute, and the palette certainly holds plenty of value from a quantity/price issue, particularly when compared to competing brands (which is how I judge value). It’s a shame the products don’t perform anywhere near Stila’s typical products.

If a brand is going to put out a product, it should represent their brand well. It should not be an inferior product, just so they can price it ridiculously low. Stila has already announced the release of four additional palettes in the series (one each month through November), so I greatly hope the others are better than this one.

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’d suggest trying it out in person, if possible, to see if it’s really worth even $10.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, July 24th, 2010

China Glaze Fight Like a Woman Collection
Nail Lacquers: Encouragement, Empowerment, Endurance

China Glaze Fight Like a Woman Collection

Though we’re still a few months out, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this year, China Glaze has created three shades inspired by the women who are fighting their battles. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is an agency of the World Health Organization. The collection will start to roll out at beauty supply stores and select salons in September.

  • Encouragement is a pale, milky pink with silvery-white shimmer. Even with three coats, it wasn’t quite opaque, but it’s pretty close to it. Very pretty-in-pink.
  • Enpowerment is a creamy slightly cooled blue-based pink. I used three coats to get an opaque look. It looked less cool-toned under brighter/direct sunlight, though!
  • Endurance is a darkened fuchsia jelly base with fuchsia shimmer. I also used three coats here.

I like when pretty products also give back! It makes buying them just a little good for the soul, too. I’m a believer in purchasing products you want, not solely so you can give to a cause–because if you want to give a cause, a donation from you to them is always the best way, since 100% will go towards the cause you’re looking to support. However, when there’s an item you’d normally buy AND it gives back in some capacity, it’s a nice bonus.

China Glaze’s three shades are perfect to represent BCA month, and they’re lovely, feminine shades. My favorite shade was Endurance, just because it’s bold and beautiful and fun. I didn’t have any application issues with any of the three shades, though they all needed a full three coats.

But I really fell in love with the names used for these polishes–uplifting and inspiring.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you love yourself some pink polish, this collection was designed with you in mind! Nothing necessarily ultra original color-wise, but all live up to the quality I’ve come to expect from China Glaze.

AVAILABILITY: September 2010

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Tom Ford True Coral Lipstick
Tom Ford True Coral Lipstick

Tom Ford for Lipstick — Test #3

Tom Ford True Coral Lip Color ($45.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a devilishly bright true coral.  It is as it is named!  It’s a vibrant coral that leans a little orange, but overall, it’s exactly what I envision coral being in its purest form.  Like the other shades I’ve reviewed so far, the color itself is rich and true-to-tube.  Just one layer and you get a very opaque look.  It also wears well throughout the day, giving me around four to five hours of wear and a bit of a lingering stain for another hour or so.

Tom Ford’s Private Blend Lip Color collection are all vanilla scented and come in a white and gold square tube. It’s a very clean and elegant look, and the tube itself is weighty, so it feels more luxurious when you hold it in your hand. I like that the usage of the white paneling means no fingerprints, since that is a common problem when brands use more metallic/metal kind of packaging. The top and bottom are both “gold,” with the top having “Tom Ford” imprinted on it. It does click shut and stay closed well.

The formula itself is creamy and lightweight–it doesn’t feel slippery or nearly as creamy as YSL Rouge Voluptes, nor does it glide on as smoothly and effortlessly as Guerlain Rouge Gs. Tom Ford’s color range is full with twelve different shades ranging from nudes to deep plums. The textures of Tom Ford’s lipsticks are semi-matte–they’re not shimmery at all–and so they have a smidgen of sheen/glisten but overall, a much flatter finish.

The two closest, possible dupes I found were Illamasqua Mistress Intense Lipgloss (different finish) and MAC Vegas Volt Lipstick (lighter, less bright, more orange).

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in the mood for a decadent luxury and prefer your lip color on the more matte side, Tom Ford’s range of twelve might interest you.

AVAILABILITY: Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow
NARS Daphne Eyeshadow

Don’t Judge an Eyeshadow by a Swatch?!

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a rich shade of night violet purple. It’s dark and deep and bright. But I have to warn you: don’t judge by a mere swatching on your arm. I’ve often found that matte eyeshadows don’t swatch well on the arm but perform phenomenally when used on the eyes. A truly outstanding matte shade will do both well, but I’ve simply learned that you cannot judge a poor swatched matte without trying it, too.

When swatched with a sponge-tip applicator, I get a patchy mess of violet — it’s more of a red-based purple than blue-based, but it seems to flicker between the two depending on the lighting situation. (Sidenote, photographing this eyeshadow was a pain in the behind–it constantly wanted to photograph BLUE!) My arm wasn’t exactly the most moisturized environment to be sure, but wow! Daphne made it look like a desert. Even when I tried to use my finger to smooth out the color, it didn’t work out well (as reflected in the swatch).

Now, I say all this to show you that I did not get good results when I simply swatched for color. In fact, I had a sneaking suspicious this was going to be an issue. Nevertheless, I trudged on, and I tested it out by wearing it in a look. AND WE HAD LIFT OFF! Daphne looked as vibrant as pictured in the pan, but it applied smoothly, evenly, and it didn’t need much product at all–so it went on quite pigmented.

It’s similar to Make Up For Ever’s #92 Eyeshadow, but #92 is brighter and a little lighter–it’s not quite the darkened violet that Daphne is. #92 is also more pigmented and thicker/smoother, though they perform similarly on the eye–with Daphne having less fall out. You can see a couple of looks I did using #92, and you’ll notice it’s definitely not quite as dark.

Initially, they seem very comparable, but in use, they’re really not. Daphne is a several shades darker and not the bold, vibrant shade of violet that #92 is. They’re both nice shades to own that don’t dupe each other. I do, of course, wish Daphne was a little smoother, so it would swatch well even on skin.

P.S. — The first mini lipgloss set ran out, but NARS set y’all up with another set featuring Turkish Delight, Greek Holiday, and Gothika — use code TEMPTALIA at checkout, expires 8/15. :)

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Daphne Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches (Fall 2010)

C+
Give it a try in a look before dismissing it purely based on swatching--that is the biggest tip I can give you. If I had only swatched in-store, I would never have thought about picking it up, but after using it in a look, I'm much more inclined to recommend it.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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