Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

NARS Ecume Nail Lacquer
NARS Ecume Nail Lacquer

NARS Summer 2011: Ecume Nail Lacquer

NARS Ecume Nail Lacquer ($17.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is described as an “opaque white.” The description is dead-on–this is a pure snow white polish that’s opaque in three coats. It’s streaky with just one, and to even it all out, I felt a full three were needed. It dries to a semi-glossy finish, though the swatches are with a top coat (Zoya Armor). I typically get a week of wear with NARS’ polish, and despite NARS’ formula being on the thicker side, this one seemed normal and not thick at all.

The Glossover

LE
product

Ecume

B
I can see this being a color you'll either love or hate, because it is startlingly white and bright at that. It's not surprising that it is streaky with just one coat, as whites often are, and it does have really opaque, even coverage after three coats.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, May 9th, 2011

NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Summer 2011:  Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo ($33.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “metallic white silver sheen and metallic gold.” It’s a duo of a bright snow white with a metallic sheen that’s not quite 100% opaque and a darkened, metallic bronzed gold, which applies smoothly and has nice color payoff. It’s kind of like a cooler-toned version of Key Largo. The white seems similar in color to the white from the Cleo duo, but the one in Exotic Dance has a more metallic finish.

The texture of the darker shade is lovely–very smooth, soft, and applies evenly.  The lighter white shade has a few sheerer patches when applied and needs to be patted on for more even application.  NARS’ eyeshadows are supposed to be long-wearing and crease-resistant.  When I wear them alone, I tend to get around seven to eight hours of wear before there is a faint amount of creasing, so it’s pretty good and isn’t a huge mess, but I’d recommend a primer for all-day wear (especially for those with oilier lids).   As far as NARS eyeshadows go, their duos are your best bang for your buck. Most individual eyeshadows from high-end brands are 0.05 oz. on average, while these almost equal out to three of those for $33.

The Glossover

palette

NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
This is a duo that will work well by itself; you can easily create various gradients of color with this pairing of really light and medium-dark. It's on the cooler side, but the bronzy gold shade is certainly not devoid of warmth entirely.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Monday, May 9th, 2011

NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Queen Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as “majestic and modern citrus gold glitter, can be swiped on lids and blended with a fingertip.” Although I haven’t had good experiences with NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, I still held out hope, but Queen also disappointed. Despite NARS saying it can be applied to the lid and blended with a fingertip, it only lasts for a half hour or so, and even then, I’m not exactly sure what look NARS was going for.

Queen contains chartreuse glittery bits suspended in a colorless base–there is no color whatsoever, just glitter. It’s not a very densely-packed glitter, either, because it applies sheer and doesn’t seem to be buildable at all. The glitter is large and chunky, and though it didn’t feel quite like sandpaper, it wasn’t soft or smooth when used against the lid. I could definitely feel the grit and unevenness of the glitter as I attempted to apply it on my lid (I applied it directly, using the pencil against the lid).

When I used my fingertips to “blend,” I ended up with half the glitter on my finger with the rest on the lid. Just like several other shades I’ve tried, it creases within an hour (faster, too, but I just took a photo after an hour). The glitter migrated into the crease and collected with its friends. There was even some that had traveled beneath my lower lash line.

I attempted to apply it over an eyeshadow look to add glitter, but it made the look crease, and even before it creased, the glitter didn’t seem to apply evenly or smoothly at all. I also applied it over a clear eyeshadow base, and I still experienced the same creasing and migration of the glitter as without a base. When applied to the lower lash line, it travels down to cheeks and with the sheerness of the product (you can’t get a really dense, rich line of glitter), it just doesn’t apply well.

The Glossover

LE
product

Queen

It doesn't work alone, over a base, over eyeshadow, and if you apply eyeshadow over it, you end up covering a lot of the color of the glitter. You'd be better off applying glitter eyeliner (many are colored glitter suspended in a clear base) and applying that onto the lid, because at least it'll adhere for more than an hour.
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Sunday, May 8th, 2011

MAC Surf Baby Collection: Overall & Recommendations

Surf Baby is a really fun collection with several high-quality products and shades, which makes it a really nice follow-up to Flighty, which left some disappointed.  The eyeshadows are fantastic–great smooth textures with excellent color pay off make them all worth having, but it’ll depend on your personal preferences and what you may already have at home.  I think the lipsticks and lipglasses are on par with what one would expect; not necessarily anything out-of-the-box but no significant texture issues.

I’m not much for bronzer, but I really loved the way the two shades of Studio Careblend Pressed Powders looked and felt on the skin–so natural.  The Skinsheen Bronzer Sticks are also a nice way to incorporate bronzer in your routine, and they, too, look natural against skin (though Gilty Bronze has shimmer and doesn’t!).  It’s hard to choose between the two.

Oddly enough, My Paradise and the Suntints are least impressive.  My Paradise is a little dusty; it’s just not a really finely milled, refined finish.  I think the drastic difference between the color with the overlay and the actual base color is going to make it easier to resist it.  Marine Life was better, because even though the gold was an overspray, there are two separate colors that go all the way through.  I don’t find Suntints to be a good lip balm at all, and of all products to splurge on for higher-end, lip balm is not usually one of them so it had better be good.

Photos, Reviews, Swatches

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Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners
Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners – 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner ($23.00 for 0.058 oz.) is a new liquid liner that launched recently at Sephora. It claims to be “weather, tear, and sweat-proof color” and “100% waterproof.” There are fifteen shades in total (there is no #2 shade), all of which have been photographed and swatched in this post.

  • #1 is a semi-sheer yellowed gold base with gold shimmer.
  • #3 is a darkened forest green with olive and green shimmer.
  • #4 is a medium-dark blue-teal with silver and teal shimmer.
  • #5 is a bright blue with soft silvery-white shimmer.
  • #6 is a blackened, cool-toned blue-purple with silver and blue shimmer.
  • #7 is a blackened violet purple with blue-violet and purple shimmer.
  • #8 is a medium-dark red-based purple with violet and fuchsia shimmer.
  • #9 is a bright, neon pink with a soft sheen.
  • #10 is a neutreal red with soft ruby red shimmer.
  • #11 is a burgundy wine with fuchsia and pink shimmer.
  • #12 is a lightened black with a touch of brown.
  • #13 is a deep, dark black.
  • #14 is a black-brown with multi-colored shimmer.
  • #15 is a silvered black with multi-colored shimmer.
  • #16 is a colorless base with white shimmer.

It’s clear that there’s a new liquid liner formula on the block, and a lot of brands have taken advantage of it: MAC Superslick ($17.50/0.06 oz.), Illamasqua Precision Ink ($27.50/0.06 oz., only available in Abyss and Glister), Laura Mercier Liquid Eyeliner ($26, only available in Gold Thread), Stila Sparkle Liquid Liner ($22.00/0.05 oz.), and Bobbi Brown Glitter Liquid Liner ($20.00/0.05 oz., only available in Silver and Gold during the holiday). I couldn’t tell the difference between the majority of these when it came to the formula (Laura Mercier’s I haven’t tried; Stila’s is chalked full of shimmer/glitter, so they feel a little different).

Make Up For Ever definitely changed up the formula and tweaked the packaging, which is something I didn’t see in the other brands. The brush is actually more tapered and shorter, though still made out of foam. The shorter length actually enables you to have a little more precision and makes it easy to never have too much product on the brush (this makes these edge out just oh-so-slightly ahead, but the longer applicator is still easy to work with). I also felt like the formula was thinner, almost watery, but it wasn’t watered down, because each liner was intensely pigmented. You also have to shake up these Aqua Liners (you’ll hear something rattling inside when you do) — and this isn’t something common to the other brands.

Aqua Liners are budgeproof, smudgeproof, and waterproof. These don’t budge until you’re ready to remove them, and they removed easily with an eye makeup remover like Lancome Bi-Facil or Make Up For Ever’s Sens’Eyes. MAC’s Makeup Removing Wipes also did a fine job of removing these from my arm. The product will flake off more than it will dissolve, but I didn’t experience any flaking while wearing–only when I went to remove it; the best way to describe it is to analogize it to tube mascara.

Though Aqua Liners have a different applicator and the formula is definitely tweaked (at least, in consistency/feel), but in wear, I’ve found that all of the variations on this new type of liquid eyeliner wear extremely well. Make Up For Ever has the largest range at 15. The two shades that overlap across nearly every brand is gold (for MUFE, it’s #1), though Make Up For Ever’s #1 seems a little darker, less metallic gold, more sun-gold, and plain ol’ black (for MUFE, it’s #15).

P.S. — I’m still waiting for a few Stila Sparkle Liquid Liners, and then I’ll post some comparisons for any shades that do compare.

The Glossover

mufAquaLiners

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners Swatches, Photos, Reviews

A+
The color range is amazing--it's exactly what I'd expect from Make Up For Ever and totally useful for liquid liner fanatics. There are fun, brightly colored shades, but also some interesting takes on black. And then it's delivered in a formula that holds on all day, through showers and workouts!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Saturday, May 7th, 2011


MAC Surf Baby: Dupes & Comparisons (Part 2)

Here are some possible dupes/comparisons for a few of the lip and cheek products from Surf Baby.

  • GIRL ON BOARD is a little beiger than Almondine (limited edition), while it’s a little whiter than A Quiet Roar (limited edition). Outer Space (limited edition) is too pink in comparison (it looked similar in the tube!).
  • KRAZY KAHUNA is closest to is much browner than Temper Tantra (limited edition).
  • STRANGE POTION is a little lighter than both Tarlette (limited edition) and Splendid (limited edition). Pink Lemonade (permanent) may make a good dupe, but I don’t own it.
  • BUST OUT! is closest to Up the Amp (permanent), which is a touch lighter and purpler. Playtime (limited edition) is far too light and purple, while Style Curve (limited edition) is lighter and pinker. Spitfire (limited edition) is pinker and a little brighter. Violetta (PRO) is nothing like it.
  • NATURALLY ECCENTRIC is pretty much lighter than the nudes I tried to compare it to. Innocence Beware (limited edition) is darker and pinker, while Hue (permanent) is a little darker and pinker (but lighter than Innocence Beware). Creme d’Nude (permanent) looks dark and beige-pink compared to it. Fleshpot (permanent) is darker and pinker, while Myth is darker and more beige.
  • MY PARADISE (base color) is not at all like either Bite of an Apple (limited edition) or Marine Life (limited edition). It also does not compare to either NARS Taj Mahal (permanent) or NARS Exhibit A (permanent), the latter being the closest dupe, but it’s very, very red.
  • MY PARADISE (mixed) is closest to NARS Luster, which is a little pinker (it doesn’t look as apparent in the swatch, but when I initially swatched the two, it looked pinker to me). NARS Taj Mahal is so much more pigmented and deeper that there really is no comparison.

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