Sunday, September 12th, 2010

LORAC Private Affair Palette
LORAC Private Affair Palette

An Ill-Fated Private Affair with LORAC

LORAC Private Affair Palette ($38.00 for 0.30 oz.) is an enigma, let me tell you! I’ve experienced shades that swatch poorly but work beautifully in practice (NARS Daphne, I’m lookin’ at you!). I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve encountered a product that swatches so smoothly, so richly and leaves something to be desired when used. Private Affair is just that; far prettier swatched on my arm than when I went to use it in a look.

Now, it’s not like it turns into a muddy mess, disappears on sight (well, at least… not entirely), or looks bad, but it doesn’t look nearly as lovely on as it does swatched–and that’s why it’s a disappointment. This is how it happened:

  • 9:10am: Temptalia is heard excitedly shouting, “OMG OMG OMG BABE! THIS IS SOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!”
  • 9:15am: She starts to work with the products for a look to post on the blog.
  • 9:18am: Mellan rushes into the bathroom wondering why he hears, “GRRR!”
  • 9:25am: Eye makeup looks like it’s been 18 hours of wear with a nap in-between.
  • 9:30am: Sadface. :(

The palette includes six shades: gilded champagne with a metallic-frost finish, beige champagne with a whitish sheen, medium-dark brown with soft gold sheen, grayed taupe with an antique gold metallic sheen, rich berry burgundy with a satin finish, and blackened purple with burgundy glitter flecks. The texture of these just feels so buttery, incredibly soft, and intensely pigmented; you hardly need any product to achieve true, rich color.

The problem, however, lies in the texture, which is really just too soft. If you thought Stila’s eyeshadows were too soft, these LORAC shadows are softer. This means they kick up quite a bit of powder when used–I advise merely pressing your brush into the shade rather than moving it around, because it will get enough product without loosening the rest. The soft quality of the eyeshadow also means that a lot of it ends up on your face, rather than on your eyes. It rained burgundy and eggplant on my undereye area (which doesn’t need any help looking tired!). Additionally, the softer the eyeshadow, the easier it is to blend, but it can also mean that it is even easier to muddy the color or sheer it out with even a light touch.

At the end of the day, they’re just okay eyeshadows. They feel and look stunning when swatched, but they’re just not nearly as standout when used. There’s a little more fall out than I’d expect, and the color pay off looks fierce initially but fades quickly. I had trouble getting the burgundy shade to stay vibrant; it faded to this rather muted, blah eggplant within minutes. The blackened purple shade lacks the glitter when you apply it–it’s like the glitter doesn’t hold together with the shade and gets lost between the pan and your eye (probably eaten by your brush!).

There is also an eyeshadow primer included in the palette, which is housed in a pull-out drawer that sits beneath the eyeshadows themselves. Along with the primer is dual-ended brush that just feels too scratchy and the ferrules feel rather loose, so I ditched it.

Morbid or not, the packaging reminds me of a coffin. Maybe something a vampire would sleep in, with the dark blood red (faux) snake-skin covering. I also think that they could have ditched the primer and brush, since neither are stellar (the primer is so-so, it doesn’t seem to enhance the vibrancy of the eyeshadows). This could have allowed for a much slimmer palette, which would make it more travel friendly. But you know what really drove me batty about the packaging? It doesn’t stay open. That lid did not want to stay open at all, and I bent that sucker back so far and could see it pulling away from the rest of it, and it still kept closing on me.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: I wanted to love this palette with all my heart, but it left me rather disappointed. I think for $38, I’d rather get a couple of eyeshadows that were excellent than six eyeshadows that require more work and effort than I want to put in!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Royalty Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Royalty

Milani Royalty Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) is a medium fuchsia purple with a lilac sheen.  It’s like a purple version of MAC Stars ‘n Rockets (without the duochrome).  It’s semi-sheer when used dry, and it’s still a little sheer when used wet.  I like the color, and I think the subtle periwinkle flecks seem to come through a bit, which makes it more nuanced than some of the other shades from Milani’s Runway line.

Check out my original review for my thoughts on the packaging.

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

  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: Color eyeshadow fiends should probably pass, just because it’s nowhere near as pigmented as many top brands for color–but if you just want to play around and experiment with color, this is an affordable way to do so.

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Friday, September 10th, 2010

Chanel Rouge Fatal Le Vernis
Chanel Rouge Fatal Le Vernis (Natural Light)

The Femme Fatale of Red

Chanel Rouge Fatal Le Vernis ($25.00 for 0.4 fl. oz.) is one of those OMGSEXY reds, and of course, limited edition. I’m actually very rarely tempted by red creams; they’re never bad and certainly aren’t disliked by me, but I never crave a creamy red. (I do, however, have a total love for shimmered/glittered reds, though.) Rouge Fatal (which I actually want to call Rouge Fatale!) is a deepened scarlet red with such richness.  It’s darkened slightly by brown, which makes this a nice red on both cooler and warmer skin tones.

It’s still a bit glossy without a top coat, though I topped all of these with Zoya’s top coat (and used Zoya’s base coat underneath). This is incredibly pigmented, and I really debated just using one coat, but I went with two just in case. Now knowing that one coat is almost enough, I might try doing just one thicker coat and calling it a day; but if you’re short on time, two thinner coats would work, too, and I always find thinner coats dry faster.

Application is smooth and even; not a single issue when I applied this shade at all. It actually felt like the perfect consistency–not too thick, not too thin–as Chanel polishes sometimes feel rather thick (and though not problematic overall, may be harder to control, especially for those with smaller nail beds).

I’m contemplating doing a full manicure of this shade, just so I can hear my Dad crack, “Why are your nails bleeding?” Gotta love him — ironically, he reads Temptalia almost every day! My Mom heard my voice (coming from my dad’s office) at midnight the other week, and she raced out of bed figuring I was in a crisis, only to find him watching one of my YouTube videos, LOL.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like high-end polishes and don’t mind the price, this is an excellent shade of red for fall.

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Friday, September 10th, 2010

Milani Runway Eyeshadow
Milani Leaf Green Runway Eyeshadow

Milani Runway Eyeshadow: Leaf Green

Milani Leaf Green Runway Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.07 oz.) looks like a medium grassy (or leafy, I suppose) green, but in actuality, it swatches as a chartreuse green with stronger yellow undertones.  It’s semi-sheer when applied dry, but it really looks beautiful when applied wet (and it still retains much of the same intensity and coloring when it dries down–I’d say 90%).   It has such a smooth, more metallic than shimmer look when applied wet–could be a nice substitute for MAC True Chartreuse pigment.  I do wish it would apply better when used dry, though, since it’s supposed to be used either way.

Check out my original review for my thoughts on the packaging.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: Color eyeshadow fiends should probably pass, just because it’s nowhere near as pigmented as many top brands for color–but if you just want to play around and experiment with color, this is an affordable way to do so.

AVAILABILITY: Cherry Culture

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Essie Fall 2010 Collection
Nail Lacquers: Sew Psyched, Limited Addiction, In Stitches, Merino Cool, Velvet Voyeur, Little Brown Dress

Essie Gets It Just Right for Fall

Essie’s Fall Collection includes six new shades, which you can purchase individually for $8 a pop. You can also purchase all six together for $48 (which is still $8 each). Nordstrom also has a mini four-pack (includes Merino Cool, Limited Addiction, Little Brown Dress, and Sew Psyched) for $17. The shades are described as: Sew Psyched (cashmere-soft sage pewter), Limited Addiction (racy garnet red), In Stitches (cheeky blush pink), Merino Cool (sensuous autumn mulberry), Velvet Voyeur (intense chocolate amethyst), Little Brown Dress (beguiling black coffee).

  • Sew Psyched is a muted sage green with silvered-gray micro-shimmer. Two coats. It reminded me of Rescue Beauty Lounge’s Diddy Mow, but it’s darker and less yellow–like cousins but not twins.
  • Limited Addiction is a deep red cream that’s very opaque in one coat, though I found two coats to be perfect. It almost looked like a jelly lacquer, even though it’s a cream. Though the color may be similar to other shades of red, the application was flawless.
  • In Stitches is a muted rose-berry cream. I love how it’s pink, but it’s not really pink–and it’s not plum either. I think this would be really lovely on cooler skin tones in particular.
  • Merino Cool is a purple-tinged gray, or perhaps a very dull, darkened lilac? But not really. I think you have to go with gray as the primary descriptor, even though it is quite altered by the purple pull. I swatched it with two coats, but I think three would be better.
  • Velvet Voyeur is an ultra vampy red-based purple burgundy cream. It has a very glossy, inky look. Make sure you get enough polish on the brush when you go to do a second coat–I didn’t get enough on one of my nails (you’ll notice in the swatch), and it layered rather streakily.
  • Little Brown Dress is a deep, blackened chocolate brown cream. It’s dark, but it’s distinctly brown, even in natural light. I love that it doesn’t look black but definitively black-brown. Just two coats here, as it was incredibly pigmented.

The formula was really nice on these; not too thin, not too thick, and the majority were pigmented enough to use just two coats of polish.   Merino Cool was the only one where I think three coats was necessary (though the swatch photos are with two, for reference).  My personal favorites were Merino Cool and Sew Psyched, though I kind of dig Little Brown Dress.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: There’s no reason not to consider one of these shades, as they all performed quite well. I found Merino Cool and Sew Psyched to be the two that really grabbed me, but Little Brown Dress is a shade I wouldn’t normally consider wearing, so I liked getting the chance to try it!

AVAILABILITY: Essie

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Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Video Review:  Chanel Les Khakis de Chanel Collection

Here’s a “thorough” video featuring the three new nail lacquers from Chanel’s Les Khakis de Chanel Collection, which is released in honor of Fashion’s Night Out.  It hits chanel.com, Chanel boutiques, and select department store counters on September 10th.  Each polish retails for $25 and contains 0.4 fl. oz.  You can read my full review and see photo swatches here.

Please excuse my horrible French pronunciation.  It was always my biggest issue that I was never able to overcome when I took French during high school–my dumb mouth never could cooperate with my brain that was speaking beautifully (at least, in my mind, LOL).  And to think I took French over Spanish because I couldn’t roll my Rs!