Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Black Eyeliner Comparison
Black is Black is Black?

Black Eyeliner Comparisons

Are there shades of black? Indeed there are! Not every black eyeliner is the same. There are soft blacks, medium blacks, and deep blacks (and of course, variations within those categories). To try and make some sense of it all, I’m going to assign numerical ratings based on how black each liner is, with 10 being deep, dark black, 1 meaning so light that it’s almost no longer black, and 5 meaning a medium black.

  • Shiseido Black Noir (BK 901) Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil has an amazing creaminess to it, and it is almost a true, deep black. (Review) 9
  • MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil some creaminess but has some hardness (but not in a bad way–it’s not rough on eyes at all), and it is a true dark black — leans on the warm side. (Review) 10
  • MAC Feline Kohl Power is a rich, deep dark black that’s easy to smudge. It is a limited edition product, so it’s not currently available but is often repromoted. (Review) 10
  • Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner is a rich, deep dark black–creamy without being runny. (Review) 10
  • Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner is a softened, medium black. It is a slightly warmer black on me. (Review) 4
  • MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil is a darkened medium black. 6
  • MAC Smolder Eye Kohl is a dark black with cool leanings. 8
  • MAC Graphblack Technakohl is a medium black. 5
  • Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner is a dark black with a cool pull. (Review) 8
  • Stila Stingray Smudge Stick is a dark black with neutral to cool undertones. (Review) 8
  • YSL #1 Eye Pencil is a rich black, almost ultra black, with a very matte finish.  (Review) 9
  • Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner is a rich, glossy black. The glossiness makes it look less inky, though. (Review) 8
  • Benefit BADgal Liner is a creamy, dark black with warm leanings. (Review) 8

I included review links when I had them to share, but I had some wear issues with YSL’s #1 Eyeliner, Bobbi Brown’s Black Kohl Eyeliner, and Benefit’s BADgal.

The darkest: MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil, MAC Feline Kohl Power, Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner

Dark: Shiseido Black Noir Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil, YSL #1 Eye Pencil

Medium-dark: MAC Smolder Eye Kohl, Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner, Stila Stingray Smudge Stick, Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner, Benefit BADgal Liner

Medium: MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil, MAC Graphblack Technakohl

The lightest: Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner

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Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara
Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara

Sneak Peek: Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara

New for December, Estee Lauder’s Sumptuous Extreme Mascara ($23.50) promises to deliver a volumizing mascara that never clumps and “[makes] eyes look outrageously big and amazingly bold.” The brush even has its own name–Extreme BrushComber–which has a new shape that is said to hold more mascara, be easy to use and get to all your lashes in spite of its size. The formula has “Tri-blend Multiplying Fibers,” which include “Hollow Tube Fibers” for curl and length, “Solid Rod Fibers” for volume and length, and “Micro-Locking Fiber” for thickeness and length. Finally, it contains Lash-Advancing Vitamin Complex, which has Vitamin B5, designed to condition lashes and keep lashes flexible. It will be available in four shades: Extreme Black, Extreme Brown, Extreme Indigo, and Extreme Violet.

The brush itself is quite large–a full 1 3/4″ in length when I measured–but the way it narrows and tapers does make it easier to maneuver around the inner corners of eyes. I do find it more difficult to use it on lower lashes, just because it is so large, but I think users of Dior’s DiorShow won’t find it much larger. After using this mascara for a couple of weeks and alternating with other mascaras, I did feel like the brush itself was more helpful in defining lashes–just separating them as I was applying the mascara–than the average mascara wand.

My fringe definitely looked longer and fuller–it had a slightly feathery quality to it–but the richness of the black made the overall effect more dramatic. I was able to do several passes through my lashes without getting any clumping, and this is a mascara that you can easily do a second or third coat of, too, if desired. It doesn’t dry immediately (15-20 seconds), but it’s not so wet that you’ll have mascara residue underneath your eye if you blink. My lashes felt incredibly lightweight and soft–flexible and bendable. I was able to push and rub (gently!) against my lashes and didn’t experience any flaking either.

I was most impressed by the richness of the Extreme Black shade–deep dark black, very inky and solid. It’s definitely one of the blackest mascaras I’ve tried in recent memory. It volumizes nicely, and it gives enough thickness to my lashes to make them more noticeable, but it still feels like I’m wearing one of the lighterweight, more natural mascaras (think Maybelline Full ‘n Soft) but I get the effect of dramatic mascara. I experienced no flaking, smudging, budging, or other ill effects after twelve-hour wear.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have shorter, sparser lashes, Estee Lauder does double-duty with lengthening and volumizing. Oh, and if you have black lashes but still want them blacker? This will make them even darker!

AVAILABILITY: Estee Lauder, December 2010

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Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set
Urban Decay 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set

Sneak Peek: Urban Decay 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set

In 2011, Urban Decay will turn 15 years, and to celebrate, they are releasing a set of 15 24/7 Eyeliners. The 15th Anniversary 24/7 Eyeliner Set ($92.00 for 0.04 oz. x 15) includes full-sized eyeliners in:

Stray Dog (shimmering brown taupe), Corrupt (dark metallic brown with silver glitter), Bourbon (medium brown with gold sparkle), Midnight Cowboy (beige with gold sparkle), Baked (bold bronze), Stash (dark olive with gold sparkle), Mildew (deep mossy green), Perversion (blackest carbon black), Electric (bright aquamarine blue), Binge (deep metallic navy blue), Ransom (bright iridescent purple), Asphyxia (pinky iridescent purple), Rockstar (darkest eggplant), Zero (zealous black), and Uzi (gunmetal grey with sparkle).

All of the eyeliners included in the set are full-sized (0.04 oz. each), and a full-sized eyeliner retails for $17, which means you are getting $255 worth of eyeliner for $92, plus Urban Decay’s Grind House (their sharpener, retails for $9), which is actually my favorite sharpener–use it for all brands myself.

It is a great set for someone who is new to Urban Decay or who hasn’t yet stocked up on their 24/7 Eyeliners, because there are a lot of permanent inclusions and overlap with previous holiday mini-sets. This holiday’s Jackpot 24/7 Eyeliner Set included seven that overlapped (Stash, Mildew, Electric, Binge, Ransom, Rockstar, and Zero), while last year’s Super Stash Eyeliner Set included six that overlapped (Stash, Rockstar, Ransom, Binge, Corrupt, Zero).

The good news? There are six shades not currently available permanently, but if they were–all six would set you back $102 (still more than the whole set).

  • Stray Dog is a mushroom brown–definitely taupe. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Corrupt is a dark chocolate brown with warm amber undertones. This is a new shade exclusive to the set (well, that’s what the press release says, but it was included in 2009’s Super Stash mini-set).
  • Bourbon is a medium-dark warmed-up brown. This is a permanent shade.
  • Midnight Cowboy is a shimmering champagne peach with a subtle metallic sheen. This was my second favorite from the set–this is totally a shade that is lacking in the 24/7 range. It is a great shade to brighten up eyes. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Baked is a frosted coppery bronze. This is a permanent shade.
  • Stash is an antique gold with a slight metallic sheen. This looks amazing with green eyes. This is a permanent shade.
  • Mildew is a forest green with subtle gold shimmer. This is a permanent shade.
  • Perversion is a rich, deep dark black with a near matte finish. It is gorgeous! MAC Feline Kohl Power lovers will fall in love with this shade. It would be a shame if Urban Decay didn’t make this permanent. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Electric is a bright, neon cyan blue with subtle shimmer-sheen. This is a permanent shade.
  • Binge is a navy blue with a hint of violet with soft blue micro-shimmer. This is a permanent shade.
  • Ransom is a fuchsia-tinged violet with soft sheen. This is a permanent shade.
  • Asphyxia is a fuchsia base with fuchsia-violet shimmer and sheen. It was surprisingly sheer–it did not have the color pay off of the average 24/7 Liner. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.
  • Rockstar is a rich eggplant with a slight metallic sheen. This is a permanent shade.
  • Zero is black. It’s not too dark, not too light, just black. This is a permanent shade.
  • Uzi is a gunmetal silver with teal-green and silver micro-shimmer. It’s not quite as dark as Gunmetal, but they do not seem world’s apart. This is a new shade exclusive to the set.

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliners are some of my favorite pencils to use. I love the color variety, but more importantly, they wear well and long on me. They don’t smudge or budge, fade or migrate. The formula is kind to eyes, as they are soft and glide effortlessly across the lash line–no drag here.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: It might be something to put on a holiday IOU list (since it won’t be out until January) or else save holiday gift cards and checks towards–if you are a fan of the 24/7 Liners. If you’re not sure about it, you may want to check out an individual shade before committing $92 to the cause. Long-time Urban Decay fans may find they have a lot of the shades featured in the kit (and maybe duplicates or even triplicates thereof).

AVAILABILITY: Urban Decay, Sephora, Ulta, Macy’s – January 2011

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Monday, November 29th, 2010

MAC False Lashes Mascara
MAC False Lashes Mascara

New MAC Mascara:  False Lashes

MAC False Lashes Mascara ($18.00 for 0.28 oz.) is the newest mascara to MAC’s line-up, which will be added to the permanent range in regular black packaging on December 26th. It was, however, released in limited edition Marcel Wanders packaging with the MAC & Marcel Wanders Collection launched on the 24th. The price is the same either way (that was a surprise!), and it is available in just one shade: False Black (black).

From MAC: “False Lashes Mascara adds dramatic volume, the rich, creamy, volumizing formula magnifies and multiplies the look of each lash, creating dramatically thick, long, curled, exaggerated lashes. The lush brush applies a deluxe dose of heavy pigment to the lashes and works in combination with the product to create incredible volume, length and density. The pigments in the formula are treated to allow for maximum colour payoff that remains true, deep, uniform and wears all day long. It’s flake- and smudge-resistant, ophthamologist-tested and safe for contact-wearers.”

Mascara is always an interesting product to review, because every description reads like a miracle product, so it can be difficult to determine what exactly what one should (reasonably) expect it to do. False Lashes is a volumizing mascara first, but it should also boast a dramatic result, from thicker, longer, more curled lashes. “Heavy pigment” leads me to expect a very rich black, dense and heavy in its darkness.

False Lashes excels in delivering longer lashes that are sky-high with a natural lift (all images are without aid of an eyelash curler). It’s a solid black mascara, though I didn’t think it was the deepest, darkest black I’ve experienced (Plushlash and Zoomlash seem darker to me). I did not notice a significant increase in volume; the results I achieved were really dominated by the length and curling power of the formula. There is certainly a volume increase from the standpoint of just thicker, longer, generally improved lashes overall, but my lashes do not appear much fuller.

The formula did not clump easily; you really had to wait for it to dry (20-30 seconds drying time) and be on the third or fourth full coat to find yourself is spidery territory. I was easily able to apply two full coats back-to-back without clumping issues. It dries pretty quickly but not too fast–you do have time to work it from base to tip and go back for more if necessary. When it dried, my lashes didn’t feel dried out or crunchy–they were still pretty soft and felt lightweight. After wearing this mascara for a few days in twelve-hour bursts, I did not have any fall out, smudging, or budging. It came off easily with makeup remover, but it lasted all day and never gave me raccoon eyes.

The brush was fairly large, so if you have smaller eyes, it may be a concern, and it may be unwieldy to use on lower lashes in particular.  It looks much like a normal mascara wand, and it has a slightly more tapered tip.

Overall, it’s a nice mascara, but I’m not sure it’ll make it into my regular rotation of mascaras. It does length amazingly, so it may work wonders on those with shorter lashes, and it does give nice lift on its own (and it holds up well throughout the day), too. If you have naturally long lashes, though, I think this may be too much lengthening power to work well for you.  It is a bit pricey for a MAC mascara, though–unlike Haute & Naughty (which was also $18), which had the crazy packaging, I’m not sure why this merits the $18 price tag.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It lengthens lashes quite dramatically with some lift, so for shorter, straighter lashes, it might be a worthwhile mascara.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics

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Monday, November 29th, 2010

Guerlain Grenade Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Grenade Rouge G Lipstick

Guerlain Rouge G Lipstick: Grenade

Guerlain Grenade (65) Rouge G Lipstick ($46.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a brightened raspberry pink with soft pink micro-shimmer and a glossy sheen. True to the Rouge G formula, the color itself is opaque without being heavy. With such a rosy hue, it works well with cooler skin tones, but since it doesn’t have strong blue undertones, it flatters warmer skin tones, too. It applies evenly and smoothly, with rich color delivered in a single pass.

The first dupe I could think of was Dior Raspberry Serum de Rouge, which is more muted and less pink, but I think it may be close enough for those wanting a more palatable price tag.  Chanel Rouge Orage Rouge Coco is also similar but pulls almost coral in comparison.

Rouge Gs are pricey, mostly due to the fancy packaging, which includes a heavy metal case, with a top that slides off and flips open to reveal a mirror. Though I’ve heard about refills “coming soon,” I’ve yet to see them come through (it would be nice!). The lipstick formula is one of my favorites–so soft and smooth, rich in color, moisturizing on its own, and lasts four to six hours (lighter shades closer to four, darker shades closer to six). They do have a fruit-floral scent (but no taste), which is a bit heavy-handed, so for those who are more sensitive to scents, you may want to see if it is one you like first.

The Glossover

LE
product

Grenade

A+

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #44 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick
Make Up For Ever #44 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick

More Scarlet Hues by Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever #44 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a rich shade of neutral-cool red–a shade that’s just a hint blue but so close to neutral. This is a shimmer-free red that still has a slight sheen, so it’s not matte either. There is plenty of color pay off in a single layer, and between the formula and the richness of the hue, it stays on my lips for six hours with ease.

The Rouge Artist Intense formula is typically opaque, and while it’s not a moisturizing lipstick, it’s not a drying one either, though it does not feel creamy against the lips (it may take a little more pressure to apply than your average lipstick). With lighter shades, I see four hours of wear, but with richer or darker shades like #44, I get as much as six.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: For cooler and warmer skin tone, this is a nice shade of red that’s bright without being traffic-stopping.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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