Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette
Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette

Choose Your Glam with Bobbi Brown: Smoldering

Bobbi Brown Smoldering Eyeshadow Palette ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) includes three eyeshadows and one long-wear eye paint. It features: Ivory (creamy white), Heather Lilac (pink heather), Charcoal (dark grey), and Port (deep plum).

The Long-Wear Eye Paints are new and featured in the three palettes from Bobbi Brown’s Smoky, Sultry, Smoldering Collection. According to Bobbi Brown, they are “high-pigment metallic eyeshadow that can be worn wet or dry.” She recommends “[applying] them with a damp Cream Shadow Brush for a strong, luminous and long-lasting pop of shimmering color that won’t crease.”

  • Ivory is a creamy neutral white with a hint of beige–it’s not a stark white. This shade seems like it’s in the majority of Bobbi Brown’s palettes, though, so you probably have at least one! It is a permanent shade.
  • Heather Lilac is a pink mauve with a frosted metallic finish. It’s nicely pigmented and very smooth. This is exclusive to this palette.  It reminded me of NARS’ Night Rider, sans glitter; NARS Ondine is close, too, but leans brown.
  • Charcoal is a dark black with a matte finish. This is a permanent shade.
  • Port is a blackened burgundy with ruby and bright burgundy sparkle. It reminded me of a less black-based MAC Young Punk. From what I can tell, the Long-Wear Eye Paints are very similar to baked/mineralize eyeshadows–it has a small dome, the same sheer texture when applied dry, and it intensifies ten-fold when applied damp.  The shade is all reminiscent of a shadow from LORAC’s Private Affair palette.

Each of the eyeshadows is 0.04 oz. (full-sized are 0.08 oz. for $20.00; 0.10 oz. for $20.00 for metallic eyeshadow), while the Long-Wear Eye Paint is 0.03 oz. (not currently available on its lonesome; but for valuation purposes, we’ll assume 0.08 oz. for $20.00). In this palette, you receive $20.00 worth of regular Eyeshadow, $8 worth of Metallic Eyeshadow, and $7.50 worth of Long-Wear Eye Paint. This totals to $35.50 worth of product. You do also receive a double-ended brush in the palette, which is usable (and one of the better brushes included in palettes)– we’ll say it’s $7 worth–bringing us to $42.50. It’s not a value-packed palette, but I don’t think you’re losing out.

I see a lot of these shades working together, though I really wish Bobbi Brown would vary the lightest shade–Ivory is permanent and too often included in her limited edition palettes. The packaging is sleek and compact, and I love that they have an actual brush applicator included, rather than sponge-tipped ones!  It is a bit basic, with both a matte white and black eyeshadow, so it might not be the best holiday palette to pick up if you have a sizable stash.

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

RECOMMENDATION: This would be excellent on cooler skin tones in particular, though warmer ones should be able to use it, too. You may want to opt elsewhere for a highlighter if you are medium to dark in skin tone, as Ivory may look stark.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Urban Decay Scratch Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Scratch Eyeshadow

Wake-up Tired Eyes with a Scratch

Urban Decay Scratch Deluxe Eyeshadow ($18.00 for 0.09 oz.) is a shimmering pink champagne with a frosted metallic shine. It’s smooth, pigmented, and easy to blend. I would say it’s a touch too pigmented and metallic to work as a brow highlighter, but I love it as a lid shade. It’s a hue that brightens well without being overwhelming. I recommend just patting it on the lower lid and buffing upwards so it fades into the crease for a quick, one-minute kind of look. It pairs well with Urban Decay’s bronzes and peaches, too.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Excellent quality–ultra smooth texture with rich color pay off–make this something worth putting on the list, if you’re in need of a pink champagne kind of shade.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme Lip Creme
Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme Lip Creme

Holiday Reds: Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme

Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme Lip Creme ($36.00 for 0.22 oz.) is a brilliant shade of radiant ruby red with glimmering white, ruby, and pale gold shimmer. I love this Lip Creme not only for its scarlet hue but for the intense pigmentation in just one swipe. This gloss is absolutely pigmented–even pigmented lips would see much truer-to-color results than the norm.

This is the third time I’ve put the spotlight on Framboise Creme–it continues to be one of my favorite reds and go-to shades for the holidays. The rich formula, high gloss shine, and moisturizing feel always make it a pleasure to wear.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Yes and yes! If you love reds, Framboise Creme is definitely worth the indulgence.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

MAC Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Lipstick
MAC Pink Friday Lipstick

MAC & Nicki Minaj Pink Friday Lipstick

Oooh, you are SO lucky! FedEx JUST dropped of a little black box that could only mean MAC… and inside was MAC & Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday lipstick. I say you’re lucky because I have to head to class in about fifteen minutes–I had just enough time to snap photos, swatch, crop, and upload.

Pink Friday is described as a “bright creamy pink lipstick,” and it has a satin finish (which means it has a creamy, semi-matte finish–no shimmer). It is a a creamy, medium pink with a noticeable blue undertone. It is pretty opaque on lips, and it almost has a chalky look, because it’s paler than it looks. I thought it was going to be a deeper pink, even based on seeing in the tube (in person), but it goes on paler.  I also recommend prepping lips as satin lipsticks can often emphasize dryness or any flakiness on lips!

It is bluer-based (veers on purple) in comparison to All Styled Up. It is totally different from Chatterbox and Sweetie. Fun Fun looks washed out and muddy when swatched next to it. Lavender Whip is significantly glossier and purpler. Saint Germain and Snob are actually the closest to Pink Friday; both are just a hue lighter, but the colors are very, very similar. Funny enough, Viva Glam Gaga looks less blue-based against all of these stronger, bluer-based pinks (see swatch).

DUPES:  Saint Germain, Snob

I apologize in advance — I do not have Pink Nouveau to compare this to. I was actually planning to purchase it along with Pink Friday on Friday but this press sample arrived this afternoon. I have a skin swatch of Pink Nouveau here, and you can tell it is similar–not quite as bright, probably not quite as blue-based.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The texture is a little off — it doesn’t apply as smoothly or as cleanly as other satin finish lipsticks. If you have either Snob or Saint Germain, this is close enough that you could skip.  This is a shade that looks best on cooler skin tones because of the strong blue base.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Chanel Riva Le Vernis Nail Lacquer
Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer

Chanel Cote d’Azur Collection: Riva

Chanel Riva Nail Lacquer ($27.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is a pale sky blue with ultra fine, barely-there iridescent blue shimmer strewn through the creamier, almost jelly-esque base. The swatches included in this post show the effect of three coats (and thicker ones at that)–I would say that you would need a muted white shade underneath, perhaps, or else four coats.

In all honesty, this is just not a shade to be worn opaque (at least not on its own). You’re better off wearing two coats and going for a sheer look than layering it on and ending up with a very thick pile o’ polish. I didn’t experience any streaking when applying the three coats, but it did seem more prone to bubbling (I don’t think I’ve ever really had a polish look like it was going to bubble on me… it was odd!).

I’m actually a big fan of Chanel’s polishes typically, but I can’t say I’m on the Riva bandwagon yet. The color itself is just not there for me; it lacks the dimensionality of other cult status Chanel shades–the shimmer is too fine, too soft, and it’s difficult to detect unless under direct, bright light. I had no idea this was a much anticipated shade until after I purchased it, which I’m glad for, because my expectations may have been even higher had I known.

Even more painful is the $4 price increase on Riva as compared to their other nail lacquers–what? I’m fully willing to pay $23 for a shade that only Chanel can do (or at least, is the first to do), but $27 for a shade with some application/formula issues and doesn’t quite hit the zing color-wise makes it impossible to recommend in good conscience!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a Chanel collector, you may want to snag it rather than see it for $200 in two months–just because a lot of hype has been built up for this shade and it likely will sell out. Otherwise, I think you could safely skip.

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette
Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Holiday 2010: Barocco Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Barocco Eyeshadow Palette ($40.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette for the holidays. It contains three eyeshadows and is housed in an elegant gold-lidded case with a black “scroll’ on the left side. The packaging, though, is extremely prone to capturing fingerprints.

The palette contains a matte charcoal black; antique-gold bronze (almost flashes green); and gilded peach-champagne with a metallic sheen. The first two shade really need to be used wet to get smooth, even color that’s true-to-pan. The peachy shade can be used dry and still provides nice color pay off. These feel very much like a mineralize or baked shadow, but more like Chanel’s than MAC’s. The texture doesn’t feel as silky smooth as Chanel eyeshadows, but the results when applied are similar.

I love the packaging, even though it does hold fingerprints, but I think it’s very elegant and luxurious. I think the inclusion of the double-sided sponge-tip applicator brings it down a bit, though. I’m also concerned over the amount of eyeshadow here — 0.05 oz. I double-checked the box and the palette, and it lists “net weight” of 0.05 oz. There is no “3 x 0.05 oz.” written. What? Are you serious?

It’s a lovely palette with three shades that work well together for a gold-themed smoky eye–perfect for the holidays–and it looks beautiful from the packaging to the shadows themselves. I don’t love the eyeshadows, though; they could be a little more intense (even when they are used wet) and smoother. But I’m really not digging the itty bitty amount of product you are getting. Even for high-end, it falls below average.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 5/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If quantity isn’t important to you, the product itself is more of a B product. It’s nice–not the greatest palette ever–and worth a look-see if you favor bronzes and golds.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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