Thursday, July 15th, 2010

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush

Kick Off Your Summer with a Cabana Boy of Your Own

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush ($21.00 for 0.3 oz.) is one whopper of a blush! It’s a muted raspberry pink with a subtle golden sheen that looks more luminous than shimmery. It’s plenty pigmented, but it can be sheered out for a subtler cheek, too (thankfully!)–definitely recommend using a light hand with this shade. The texture is soft, smooth, and silky. It applies beautifully and without a fuss.

It’s housed in a cardboard compact with vintage imagery. theBalm also gives you plenty o’ product–a veritable blush brick at 0.3 oz.–and you won’t have to shell out $40 to take advantage of the value, either. It’s reasonably priced as a high-end brand at $21 a pop.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Urban Decay Eye Brushes
Lip, Shading, Liner, Blending, Crease, Multi-Tasker, Smudger, Shadow

Vegan, Eco, and Planet Friendly Brushes

For fall, Urban Decay released a whole slew of brand spankin’ new brushes (and as such, are now discounting their older brushes by 50%). There are seven eye brushes, one lip brush, and three face brushes. This post features the eye and lip brushes, and I’ll do a separate review for the face brushes (which I’m still testing). I’ve only had these for a little over a week, so I can’t speak on heavy duty usage and just how well they’ll serve you over a multi-year period.

All eleven new brushes are cruelty-free and vegan, as the bristles are made out of recycled PET plastic bottles. The handles are made out of recycled aluminum. Even the boxes these come in are from recycled egg crate material. However, each box is housed in a plastic sleeve–which I don’t know if it’s recycled or not, but even if it were so… it is unnecessary. The box is sturdy and large enough to contain that single brush and travel across country.

  • Shadow ($26.00) is a flat, domed shape brush designed for application of eyeshadow onto the lid. It’s dense and stiff enough to pat on color but flexible enough to use it to blend out color, too. I’d say it’s about 10mm across and 13mm in height.
  • Smudger ($26.00) is a stumpy dome-shaped brush used for smudging eyeshadow or liner on the lower lash line. It’s pretty soft (which is not always a feature of smudgers, because they are so short), and it’s stiff and densely-packed. It’s around 10mm across and 5mm in height.
  • Multi-Tasker ($24.00) is a tiny slightly dome-shaped brush (we’re talking around 6mm wide and 7mm tall). Because of its small size, I think those with smaller lids may have more use for this than others. Personally, I just know this is not a brush I’ll be using regularly–maybe as a lip brush. It’s quite small, so it’s not my favorite brush for concealer or primer.
  • Crease ($26.00) is a densely-packed rounded, dome-shaped brush. It’s rather thick–as crease brushes often are–but it holds its shape quite well. It’s not floppy or particularly fluffy, so it’s really good for depositing color into the crease as well as blending out crease colors. It’s about 18mm in height and 10mm at its widest point.
  • Blending ($26.00) is a very large, flat and dome-shaped brush. It’s very similar to the Shadow brush, except three times as large. It’s about 18mm in height and 15mm in width. I could see this being used for an all-over wash, but it’s like half the size of my eyelid, so it’s just too large for me to use for much else. It’s a bit too thick/dense to be a go-to for creamy products like eyeshadow bases (I think too much would get caught in the bristles).
  • Liner ($24.00) is a small angled brush. It’s my least favorite brush out of the bunch, because it’s considerably thick, particularly for an eyeliner brush. I’m used to using very thin angled brushes for eyeliner, and then just thin angled brushes for brows–this is thicker than my usual brow brush (MAC’s 266). It has a great angled edge, but it’s rather thick, so I found it difficult to achieve thin, precise liner. It’s about 7mm in height at its tallest point and 7mm wide and 2mm thick.
  • Shading ($26.00) is a medium-sized, circular brush with a slanted cut. It’s stiff without being sharp. It looks an awful like the Crease brush, except someone cut it half-way and at an angle. I don’t have any brushes like this one, and to be honest, I was pretty confused by it initially. I’ve used it primarily to apply my brow highlight. It can also be used to apply color to the crease or blend it out. It’s about 12mm in height at its tallest point and 8mm in diameter.
  • Lip ($20.00) is a skinny, long dome-shaped flat brush for applying your favorite lip color. I have no issues with the brush itself, but it’s a pain in the butt to use because of the packaging. It comes in a retractable container, so you push the brush up to get it out of its container, but as soon as you start applying your lip color, it starts moving back into its home. You have to make sure you keep a finger on the slider and apply pressure to keep it in position. It’s annoying but you can maneuver it so it’s functional.  I tried to put the cap on the end to keep it in place, but my cap didn’t stay on well.  It’s about 11mm tall and 5mm wide.

The brushes I liked most were the Crease and Shading brushes. I liked the Crease brush for its stiffness, though with my lid size, I could use something a little skinnier and more tapered, but it’s a nice brush even for me without those modifications. I also liked the Shading brush just because it’s an interesting brush that I don’t have yet so it’s giving me something new to work with.

I also really liked how each brush has its usage labeled on the end–it makes it easy to keep track of them, especially for those who are newer to brushes.  I’m always a sucker for gunmetal packaging, too, so I dig the look of the brushes as well.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re trying to stay away from natural fiber brushes, Urban Decay has made a solid alternative that’s eco-friendly and animal-friendly.

AVAILABILITY: Urban Decay

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Burberry Beauty Blush
Burberry Peony (04) Blush

Burberry Peony (04) Blush ($42.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a pale neutral pink that can be sheered out for just a hint of color or layered for a more intense, doll-like look.  This is definitely the softest of the three blushes I’ve seen (the other two being Russet and Cameo), and I think it best suits light to light-medium skin tones, with medium skin tones seeing a soft look overall.  I think deeper skin tones will find it doesn’t do much to their skin tone without a good amount of layering.

The texture is soft and buttery but a little dusty, though it still melts onto the skin and looks as natural as can be.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: For really light skin tones, this is a great blush.  Those who are medium or dark in skin tone may want to be cautious.

AVAILABILITY: Burberry, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

MAC Dazzle Lipstick
Dazzleglass: Boys Go Crazy, Fabulous Fun, Glamour OD, Hi-Falutin’, Spanking Rich, Utterly Posh, You Got the Look

MAC Digi-Pops: Dazzleglass

Oh, Dazzleglass — why must you be so pricey for such a teeny, tiny amount?  It’s really such a shame, given your packaging–all long and round and large in the right places! Dazzleglass is a slightly tacky, thicker lip gloss with a high dosage of glitter with sheer to semi-sheer color.  Nordstrom will see seven shades as part of Digi-Pops, but for whatever reason, they’re not available for pre-order online (but I know stores were doing pre-orders for them).

Glamour OD, Spanking Rich, and Utterly Posh are repromotes, but the other four shades are new.

Dazzleglass ($18.50 U.S. / $21.50 CDN)

  • Boys Go Crazy is a darkened plum-berry purple with iridescent purple and blue-violet glitter.  It’s a little vampy but the sheerness keeps it from being a total, in-your-face kind of shade.
  • Fabulous Fun is a semi-sheer, brightened fuchsia-pink with fuchsia-purple glitter.   It gave my lips noticeable color, but it’s still on the sheerer side.
  • Glamour OD is a brightened red with a touch of silver and pink glitter. This is a repromote.
  • Hi-Falutin’ is a sheer, softened peach-coral with gold glitter.  It looks more like a milky peach with subtle gold glitter on lips.
  • Spanking Rich is a semi-sheer, softened pink mauve with fuchsia glitter. This is a repromote.
  • Utterly Posh is a semi-sheer darkened orange with a little brown and orange-gold glitter. This is a repromote.
  • You Got the Look is a brightened tangerine orange with almost teal glitter.  It has a rather milky base, and it needs to be applied with some precision to keep it from gathering when you press your lips together.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’m always going to get frustrated with the itty bitty amount of product you get in each dazzleglass, despite the the lip gloss being rather pretty.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom (on the 15th/16th)

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

MAC Dazzle Lipstick
Dazzle Lipstick: Naughty You, Smash Hit, Snazzy, Sweet Bits, Troublemaker, Wham, Win-Win

MAC Dazzle Lipstick for the Glitter Lovers

Check out part one for details on the formula!

Dazzle Lipstick ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)

  • Naughty You is a semi-opaque brightened medium pink with fuchsia glitter.  It’s a brighter, less cool-toned version of Troublemaker.  The application went on pretty even, and the glitter seemed to stay in place for the most part.
  • Smash Hit is a sheer beige-gold with darkened gold glitter. It’s a warmer version of Liquid Lurex.  Since it’s rather sheer, the glittery bits are more noticeable and thus look gritty rather than smooth (but again, it doesn’t feel gritty).  I’d use this layered underneath a lipgloss.
  • Snazzy is a semi-opaque, red plum with fuchsia-purple glitter.  This is one of the most pigmented shades of the thirteen dazzle lipsticks.  It has a nice level of color coverage and is also the most wearable, because it’s glittery without being metallic.
  • Sweet Bits is a semi-sheer grayish lilac with multi-color glitter. It’s kind of like Vex eyeshadow in lipstick form.  I find this color a little hard to wear on its own, so it’s definitely more of a layering shade.  It also has a tendency to look gritty (but it doesn’t feel that way) and has a decent amount of slip-slide with the glitter, so it may look uneven.
  • Troublemaker is a semi-opaque, darkened red-pink with fuchsia glitter. It’s a darker, more opaque version of Naughty You.  I had a lot of slipping with this shade–I definitely had to be careful not to press my lips together or else the color and glitter seemed to smear around and look uneven.
  • Wham is a red-brown with gold and copper glitter.  This one also had a fair amount of slipping when I pressed my lips together–so be careful should you choose this shade.
  • Win-Win is a light baby pink with blue undertones and lilac glitter.  It’s very cool-toned and almost veers on a lilac pink or a milky pink.  It’s very sheer, so it’s better layered with another product than alone, if only because it looks more obvious that you’re wearing glitter with it by itself.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I like the concept, just because it is fun and different from other lipsticks I have. I did find that some of the glitter can slip-slide and end up looking rather uneven on lips if you’re not careful about application. It’s not a big deal, because you just have to make yourself conscious of it.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

MAC Dazzle Lipstick
Dazzle Lipstick: Baby’s On Fire, Glaringly Hip, Hellraiser, Hot Sass, Infused with Glam, Liquid Lurex

MAC Dazzle Lipstick for the Glitter Lovers

Twenty lip swatches later… and now it’s time to actually go through and review the new Dazzle Lipsticks!  MAC has put out thirteen shades of their newest lipstick formula, which contains micro-glitter to the max.  Think Dazzleglass but in lipstick form!  These will debut with Nordstrom’s Digi-Pops Collection (officially out on the 15th) and then later hit MAC stores and other department store counters on August 5th.  I originally previewed Digi-Pops here.

Dazzle Lipstick ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)

  • Baby’s On Fire is a softened ruby red with silver and scarlekt sparkle.  It’s a semi-opaque shade that gives a good dose of color without feeling or looking heavy.  It’s dazzling and shimmery without being unwearable–the glitter in this one also didn’t seem to slip-slide all over my lips.
  • Glaringly Hip is a semi-sheer muted peach with brown undertones and pink and white glitter.  It doesn’t look amazing by itself in my opinion–it seems a little clumpy and gritty (even though it doesn’t feel gritty!).  There was some glitter shifting, but it wasn’t too bad.
  • Hellraiser is a sheer, darkened mauve-plum with bluish-silver glitter.  This one looks and feels like a lustre finish, even though it clearly has all the micro-glitter one could ask for.
  • Hot Sass is a semi-opaque, brightened orange with reddish-copper glitter.  It delivers decent color pay off without too much glitter shift.  It’s one of the more pigmented shades, too, and it doesn’t yellow teeth too much, either.
  • Infused with Glam is a semi-opaque, warmed-up brown with red undertones and gold and copper-red micro-glitter.  You won’t want to smoosh your lips together too much, because the glitter can shift around and look uneven.
  • Liquid Lurex is a sheer yellow gray-gold with silver and copper micro-glitter.  This is an interesting shade, though I think it’d be better paired with a lipgloss on top.

The formula isn’t gritty, but there is a noticeable texture–it’s like you know there’s glitter, therefore you can feel it when you press your lips together, but it’s not what one would describe as gritty.  Even as the lipstick fades, the glitter never transforms into something gritty, but you will likely find glittery bits around your lips and on them by the end of the day.  (I think I have enough sparkle to light up Times Square at the moment…)

They are the very definition of sparkling–very glittery, shimmering, and dazzling–but the effect may be too much for some to wear alone.  A creamier gloss can help to minimize the effect a bit (but still getting some of it), or you can really amp it up by topping with Dazzleglass or Superglass (if you’re really feeling fun!).  The Dazzle lipsticks are going to be something some will love, others will loathe–just depends on your style and preferences.

They wear about two to three hours, though the more pigmented shades run closer to three and a little more than two–which is just below average for MAC lipsticks for me.   The glitter stays on for longer but the base color fades in the time frame I mentioned.  Like other MAC lipsticks, these are vanilla scented and come in the traditional black bullet.

MAC describes these as “long-wearing” (not the case for me) with “rich, creamy color.”  I get creamy–they feel moisturizing and almost like glaze/lustre lipsticks–but the majority don’t seem to have rich color.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: I like the concept, just because it is fun and different from other lipsticks I have. I did find that some of the glitter can slip-slide and end up looking rather uneven on lips if you’re not careful about application. It’s not a big deal, because you just have to make yourself conscious of it.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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