Monday, July 19th, 2010

NARS Strawberry Fields Lip Gloss
NARS Strawberry Fields Lip Gloss

Who knew NARS could do opaque lipgloss?

NARS Strawberry Fields Lip Gloss ($24.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a richly pigmented, near-opaque shade of deep strawberry pink (but I almost want to call it raspberry–the product name makes me want to stay on track, though). It’s the most pigmented lip gloss I’ve ever tried by NARS–and I’m really quite (pleasantly) surprised by it.

Of course, not every lip gloss needs to be opaque, and there is certainly a time and place for even the sheerest glosses. I’ve just come to accept that NARS glosses are generally sheer and that’s that. Strawberry Fields is a dominating shade in comparison to the NARS range. It’s bold and bright without being too much; it will give your lips definition and zero in the focus to them, but it’s not a traffic-stopping shade.

I got about three hours of wear this shade, and then a slight stain that wore on for another hour or two. It was scent- and taste-free (not even a hint of waxiness/plastic!). I do like NARS glosses for their moisturizing properties, too. Though $24 may seem steep for a lip gloss, NARS delivers much more than the average lip gloss does–0.28 oz.–which makes them as expensive (by the ounce) as MAC lipglasses.

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

RECOMMENDATION: NARS is really stepping it up with their fall collection from the select pieces I’ve tried so far. If you dig opaque lip glosses and have been looking for something in a deep pink shade, Strawberry Fields may be something to check out.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Monday, July 19th, 2010

NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo

Prettiest NARS Eyeshadow Duo? Perhaps!

NARS Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a stunning mix of golden taupe brown and smoky peacock blue. I’m not always a huge fan of NARS eyeshadows, to be honest–I’ve had a lot of misses, particularly with their singles in the past few seasonal collections–but Rajasthan blew me away. It is such a gorgeous duo that’s wearable and so perfect for fall. I love that it’s not a smoky plum but a charcoal black smoked out base with layers of metallic and navy blue all woven together. It may look a little on the cooler side, but warmer beauties will have no problem turning this into something lovely on the eyes.

The pigmentation is spot-on–it looks just like it does in the pan–while the texture is exactly what you’d expect from NARS: smooth and buttery. NARS’ eyeshadow duos are always a better value than their eyeshadow singles–you get twice as much for only $9 more.

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

RECOMMENDATION: This is a must-have in my book. The pigmentation and texture are exactly where they should be, and the colors are incredibly wearable for both cooler and warmer as well as lighter and deeper skin tones.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Sunday, July 18th, 2010

China Glaze Awakening Collection
China Glaze Nail Lacquer: Zombie Zest, Mummy May I, Ick-a-bod-y

China Glaze Awakening Collection for Fall 2010

To get in you in the Halloween spirit, China Glaze’s Awakening Collection contains three spook-tacular shades–Zombie Zest (mossy green shade with gold flecks of migro glitter), Mummy May I (vampy, wine colored purple with flecks of hot pink glitter), and Ick-a-bod-y (dark green base chock full of orange glitter). Come September, expect to see the full display at Sally’s Beauty Supply Stores, while a four-piece set (which includes the three shades plus a Fast forward Top Coat) at all other beauty and nail supply outlets, stores, and e-tailers.

  • Zombie Zest is a yellow-tinged green brown base with darkened chartreuse and emerald green micro glitter. I found I needed three coats to get an opaque look. This shade felt smooth to the touch, similar to most other polishes, while the other two shades dried with a more obvious glitter feel.
  • Mummy May I is a deep black-purple base with fuchsia pink glitter. It took about two coats to go opaque, and the formula itself was on the thicker side but did not feel unmanageable. You will definitely need a thicker top coat so you don’t feel the glitter on the surface.
  • Ick-a-bod-y is a blackened brown color base with lots of bright orange and copper glitter. It is much, much more glittery than Mummy May I, which has sparse glitter. I needed two coats here, and again, it will dry gritty without a thick top coat on top.

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

RECOMMENDATION: As long as you don’t mind using a thicker top coat, Mummy May I and Ick-a-bod-y are both fun shades for Halloween. Zombie Zest is my favorite, just because it isn’t necessarily a pretty shade at first glance but looks quite lovely on.

AVAILABILITY: September 2010

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Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Guerlain Galante Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Galante Rouge G Lipstick

Ahh, Rouge G — I Still Love You

Guerlain Galante (09) Rouge G Lipstick ($46.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a slightly brown-tinged, plum-kissed pink. Sephora describes it as a “rosy plum,” and I see the plum, but I also feel like you can’t not say there’s some brown in there, too. It’s a shade that’s difficult to describe. Not that that really matters, because it’s such a beautiful shade.

Every time I apply one of the Rouge Gs, I am reminded of how amazing the formula is. It’s soft, smooth, and moisturizing while delivering rich color in a whole slew of universally flattering shades. Galante has this subtle light rose pink micro-shimmer that dazzles and shimmers in the light in such a lovely way. I love the way they feel and wear–I get anywhere from three to six hours, depending on the shade. With a shade like this, I usually hit the four or five hour mark.

Guerlain’s Rouge Gs are scented with fragrance, so if you’re sensitive to scents, you may want to stop by and give it a whiff before committing $46 to it. I don’t notice it when I wear it, only when I smell the tube itself, but I’m not bothered by it either way. I still have a secret wish that they made the Rouge G formula available without the fancy case (which is truly fancy with its substantial weighty feel and flip mirror), just so the price wouldn’t be as high.

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

RECOMMENDATION: This is one of my favorite shades of Rouge G — it’s so flattering without being neither bold nor subtle!

AVAILABILITY: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora

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Sunday, July 18th, 2010

AVEDA Aqua Pearl Eyeshadow
Aveda Aqua Pearl Eyeshadow

Pretty in the Pan; Not So Much on Skin

After being really happy with Aveda’s Golden Jasper Eye Color Trio, I knew I had to try some of the other eyeshadow trios. I decided to go with Aqua Pearl ($22.00 for 0.08 oz.), which looked like a pretty trio of yellow, muted green, and a green-teal. Unfortunately, the eyeshadows themselves are a far cry from what they look like in the pan. I didn’t experience the same soft, melts-on-skin feeling as I did with Golden Jasper. Aqua Pearl was incredibly sheer and all three shades looked muted when swatched. I did like that they weren’t powdery, and they did apply smoothly for the most part–just very, very different than they look in the pan.

I do still like that the eyeshadow trio is packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and paper, and the eyeshadow itself doesn’t contain talc, mineral oil, or parabens.

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  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I would definitely pass on this shade unless you want something very sheer that doesn’t ever get to be intense.

AVAILABILITY: Aveda

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Saturday, July 17th, 2010

NARS Exhibit A Blush
NARS Exhibit A Blush

Baby, I Think My Cheeks are on Fire!

NARS Exhibit A Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a fiery orange that’s as pigmented as it looks in the pan.  It is an intimidating shade to be sure, because it does go on something FIERCE! even when you are careful.  Exhibit A has a matte finish, so it won’t accentuate fine lines or pores, and it can easily be buffed and blended onto skin so it looks natural and not quite so obviously orange.

When I wore this the other day, I used MAC’s 184 Brush, because it gave me the ability to really apply it subtly and softly against the angle of my cheek.  The width of the brush allowed me to deposit the initial burst of color onto the majority of my cheek, and then I could feather it out with soft strokes.

It doesn’t pull too red, and it certainly doesn’t pull yellow, which makes it wearable regardless of your undertones.  I particularly love this blush on our darker skinned beauties (plus, it shows intensely even on darker skin tones).  Don’t let this blush scare you — it can be worn and worn without fear.  Just be sure to have your buffing brush and some loose setting powder on hand to blend and diffuse it!

P.S. — U.S. NARS customers can get a trio of miniature-sized lipglosses in Stolen Kisses, Risky Business, and Moonfleet with code TEMPTALIA on orders of $25 or more, expires 8/15. :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: Whether you want a subtle touch of orange or a heart stopping shade of fiery orange on your cheeks, Exhibit A is capable of both.

AVAILABILITY: NARS, Nordstrom, Sephora

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