Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit
NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit

More Purple Than You’ll Know What to Do With

NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit ($11.00 for 0.32 oz.) is an eye and lip palette; it contains nine eyeshadows and two lip colors. If you’re a fan of cool-toned, purple eyeshadows, this is a palette with your name on it! The palette includes: a smoked, blackened purple with violet sheen; brightened navy blue with a subtle sheen; softened fuchsia lilac with a satin sheen; light fuchsia pink with satin sheen; gray-tinged brown with cool undertones; pinked brown with sheen; softened violet with sheen; red-toned, medium purple with violet shimmer-sheen; and dusty brown. The lip shades included a pinky nude cream and a metallic bronze.

The majority of the eyeshadow shades were nicely pigmented, but three were on the sheerer side — the pink brown, softened violet, and dusty brown. The dusty brown was pretty pitiful for me; extremely sheer, almost chalky, and wasn’t working for me whatsoever. The other eight shades were much more workable, though, so it’s easy to forgive a palette of nine shades for only one bad apple. I liked that only a couple of the shades had a frostier finish, while the rest had a low satin sheen. Shimmers/satins are easier to blend but sometimes you can get too much of a good thing!

I didn’t like the lip colors very much–they’re a little sticky and the shades themselves don’t seem to fit with the palette. A metallic bronze lip is lovely, but I’m not so sure about pairing it with such cool purples. I wouldn’t grab this for the lip colors, but I do like that they’re in a separate pull-out drawer, which means they won’t get any cross-contamination from the powder eyeshadows. The included double-ended applicators aren’t anything to write home about; the bristled one is sparse and a little scratchy, while the sponge-tip is thin and a little scratchy.

The palette itself is housed in a square black palette, so it manages to look sleek and compact, and it would work really well for traveling. It’s a good palette overall, and for $11, it’s obviously a real gem!

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The quality is good overall with just a couple of misses but enough hits to make it well worth the price.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Philosophy Rainbow Sherbet
Philosophy Rainbow Sherbet

Looking for Rainbows with Philosophy

Philosophy Everything’s Coming Up Rainbows Set ($28.00) includes a 4 oz. Rainbow Sherbet Shower Gel, 4 oz. Rainbow Sherbet Body Lotion, and 0.5 oz. Rainbow Sherbet Flavored Lip Shine. It pulls more like orange sherbet but it has that sweetness from pineapple, too. I loved the scent in the shower, because the getting a sniff of citrus was invigorating in the early morning.

The body lotion smelled exactly the same, but it’s a product that works best for someone who moisturizers daily or doesn’t suffer from dry skin–it’s a lotion, so it has a thin consistency. (My dragon scales need a body butter or cream!) It did absorb quickly, and the scent did not overwhelm me at all but still detectable after a few hours. Similarly, the Lip Shine shared the same scent, and it’s pretty much just a clear gloss with white shimmer. They’re fun and always give me an urge to lick my lips.

It’s a cute set, and I’m glad I bought it so I could try out a new scent. Even though it’s a fun set, it’s not a value set. Full-sized shower gels retail for $16 (for 16 oz.) and body lotions retail for $24 (for 16 oz.), while Lip Shines retail for $10. The set comes with $4 worth of shower gel, $6 worth of body lotion, and $10 worth of Lip Shine–$20 in sum but will set you back $28.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Depending on what product you like most, you may just want to grab that one (as all three are available separately in full-sizes).

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Blue Dahlia: Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.27 oz.) is a purple-hued palette from the Blue Dahlia Collection, which debuted for fall. It includes five shades: pink-lilac with soft sheen; dusty gray with mauve in a matte finish; shimmery white; darkened eggplant with a matte finish; and a sparkly cool-toned purple.

The palette’s interior design is similar to Guerlain’s Eyeshadow Palettes, but the outer packaging is entirely different, and Guerlain’s palette does include a sixth shade along the right hand side of the palette. None of the five Guerlain palettes released for fall resemble either of the two palettes released by Estee Lauder, though–there might be one shade overlap at best, but they are all pretty different from each other. As far as texture is concerned, Guerlain’s is a little smoother, but the pigmentation is similar across both brands with some shades slightly sheer and others more opaque.  Again, even though at first sight, the two brands seem similar, the color schemes for their palettes deviate quite a bit, so it may not curb your desire for an $84 palette.

Both of the matte eyeshadows are a touch dusty but very workable when used with a brush–just make sure to tap excess off to avoid fall out–while the pinky lilac shade is absolutely gorgeous, because the sheen is just right. The frosted white shade may be garish on darker skin tones, and the high-shine finish works better on the lid than on the brow to highlight. The sparkly purple shade is pretty but a little sheer and a good portion of the sparkle seems to disappear by the time you apply it to the lid.

My favorite part about the palette is how well the colors work together.  This is not a palette that has too many dark shades, not enough available textures, or colors that just don’t work together.  It’s well-designed to create both lighter purple-based looks as well as smokier looks.  The inclusion of both matte, satin, and frost finishes allows for the creation of looks with depth.

P.S. — Is it just me or are white sponge-tip applicators incredibly cheap looking?  I don’t like sponge-tip applicators in general, but white just seems to scream cheap to me.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a purple fiend, I think you’ll get a lot of use out of this palette.  There’s a good mix of both warmer and cooler shades, as well as lighter and darker shades, to make this a rather versatile palette.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, October 18th, 2010

Illamasqua Disciple Lipstick
Illamasqua Disciple Lipstick

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Disciple

Illamasqua Disciple Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deep navy blue with a near matte finish.  It’s pretty opaque, but it is a little dry, so it’s best applied with a lip brush.  Between the opacity and the more clinging nature of the formula, though, it’s incredibly long-wearing–yielding about six hours of wear for me.  Illamasqua’s lipsticks are also scent- and taste-free.

Most of probably wouldn’t wear this shade on the regular, but it’s always nice to have options, which is one of the fun parts about the Illamasqua brand. Disciple is surprisingly flattering even when worn on its own.  Normally, I’m not a huge fan of really dark lip colors on myself, but I kind of dug the way the blue worked with my skin tone here.   I also appreciate that it’s not a black-blue but a true navy blue on lips.

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Disciple

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Monday, October 18th, 2010

Chanel Charming Glossimer
Chanel Charming Glossimer

Chanel Holiday 2010: Charming

Chanel Charming Glossimer ($27.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) is a sheer barely-there pink gloss with pink shimmer. It is new and limited edition from Chanel’s holiday collection. The gloss itself is nearly colorless, but the shimmer is colored enough that it’s noticeable when worn. It’s a very minimal, easy-to-wear kind of shade that will be a must for some and a, “So what?” kind of gloss for others. Charming can be worn alone for a little dazzle or layered on top of lipsticks to add shine and shimmer.

Glossimers are nearly non-sticky but still have a little tackiness to them, though they are lightweight, non-drying, and last three to four hours on me.   They’re scent- and taste-free as well.  Some of them are more pigmented but the majority have been on the sheerer side based on my experience.

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

RECOMMENDATION: It’s not the most unique or original shade, but it’s the kind of shade that one could wear all the time, too.

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Monday, October 18th, 2010


Illamasqua Resolute Liquid Metal

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Resolute

Illamasqua Resolute Liquid Metal ($26.00 for 0.05 oz.) is a rusted, cranberry red with deep pink micro-shimmer. Liquid Metal is a cream product that is designed to highlight and create a “luminous glow.” It can be used anywhere–eyes, face, or body–so it could be used as a rather as a bit of a blusher, on the lips, or as an eyeshadow base. Those would be my top three uses, personally; some of the lighter shades in the Liquid Metal line would work well to highlight on the body, too, but I think this dark of a shade lends itself to the uses I listed.

I tried it on my eyes as a base with Illamasqua Ore on top, and it worked well. I didn’t have issues with creasing, but I think this product is emollient enough that those who are more prone to creasing may want to use an eyeshadow base underneath the cream, and then be sure to set with a powder eyeshadow, too. I just see potential creasing issues on those with oilier lids, because the product didn’t seem to dry very quickly and is rather creamy (which does make for easy blending!).

It was fun to wear on lips initially, but it has an odd texture–almost a little drying and powdery–so I don’t think it’s ideal for lip wear (especially if you have dry lips). I liked it best on the cheeks, because it was creamy enough to allow you to really blend it out and get the level of intensity you wanted but dried down and stayed for hours. No matter how you wear it, though, one swipe packs a lot of pigmentation.

I loved how metallic and shiny it looked, even when it seemed to dry in place, but it did take some work, and it may take a few practice runs to get it just right, too. I wouldn’t recommend using it as a cream eyeshadow for those with oily lids, because it will probably crease unless you really sheer it out. Given that they’re not exclusively for eyes but rather as a multitasking product, it definitely has multiple uses. I think it does best as a blusher, but so-so as an eyeshadow [base] and lip product.

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Resolute

There aren't a ton of creamy red bases out there, so you may still want to consider Resolute, if red is what you're after. I think this product is interesting, and the lighter shades may be more versatile, as you can really highlight with them on all parts of the body.
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