Monday, July 5th, 2010

Illamasqua Powdered Liquid Metal

Bronzed from Head to Toe

Illamasqua Thalia Powdered Metal (£22.00 for 0.52 oz.) is a golden bronze shimmered with gold with a soft, almost metallic sheen. It’s a loose powder that can be used alone or mixed with other products–it’s very much like any other multi-purpose loose color (e.g. Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments, MAC Pigments, etc.).

Thalia is a beautiful bronzer on medium to medium-dark skin, and it also works well as a light illuminator mixed with moisturizer or liquid foundation for those with medium to medium-dark skin. You can also throw it in your hair (try mixing it with shine spray), swirl it in a clear nail polish or creme-finish nail polish to frankenstein something new. It can also look pretty patted lightly on the center of lips over plums and reds finished by a quick slick of gloss.

A little goes a long way, and this is an incredibly finely milled powder, so it’s easy to use more than you need!   The packaging has a nice sifter on it, so it’s easier to control how much product comes out.  I like that you get plenty of the product without paying an arm and a leg, too. This is also a great body product for the summer, because you can dust it lightly on shoulders and legs (try it right after moisturizing, so it sticks better) for a subtle bronzy sheen.

Illamasqua also carries Bebhionn (soft pink shimmer) and Erzule (deep bronze shimmer).

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’d like a bit of faux glow tan without a lot of work, Powdered Metal definitely gets you there in a hurry!

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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Monday, July 5th, 2010

MAC Haute & Naughty Mascara
MAC Haute & Naughty Mascara

The Tale of Two Mascaras

MAC Haute & Naughty Lash Mascara ($18.00) is the latest in mascara innovation from MAC, and though the formula itself isn’t the key innovation here, it’s actually a nice formula.

I’m personally a big fan of MAC mascaras — Plushlash is my favorite MAC mascara (and second favorite mascara–Chanel Exceptionnel being the first), with Zoomlash and Opulash coming in second and third, respectively. Haute & Naughty Lash is as two-in-one as they lead you to believe, but I don’t love the fuller, more dramatic part nearly as much as the softer, more defined half.

The daytime end (the smaller opening) really cleans off the brush so that there really isn’t much mascara on it, but it keeps all that actual mascara in the tube–so you’re not wasting it, like you would if you blotted off excess with a tissue or the like. The smaller opening has a fairly large mascara wand with a tapered end, and the effect it gives is longer, fuller lashes with definition and great separation. It doesn’t clump at all, and it gives a nice full-lash look with nice length and blackness. All it doesn’t do it thicken lashes. It also seems to lift lashes a bit, too, and it held a curl well for me.

The evening end (the larger opening) allows for more mascara on the brush, even though the brush itself is essentially the same. It thickens quite a bit, but it also has more of a tendency to clump if you get too much on the brush (much like most mascaras). It lengthens, but I think because it tends to clump, it looks like there is less volume and length.

The way this mascara works is when you open using the smaller end (the first opening – the pink ring), the entire brush pulls through the opening of the larger mascara. There are actually two handles, not so much wands (the brush itself is the same) — when you open with the small tube, the skinnnier handle pulls through the larger, hollow handle of the dramatic opening. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I took a photo for you.

I don’t recommend playing around too much with it to see how the technology works (once should be sufficient!), because it does show how much mascara is removed from the brush itself as you pull it through the smaller opening–but you get it all over the larger wand when it’s outside of the tube, so you end up having to wipe it off with a paper towel rather than keeping it in the tube for later use–aka wasteful!

I dig the separation technology they’re using here, because it’s not so much in the formula as it is in the packaging itself, which is nice, since they did up the price by $6 just for it. You’ll need to comb through your lashes, and you may even need to blot the brush, if you’re going to use the more dramatic end of it, because it has a tendency to clump a bit on lashes.

Both mascaras held up well during all-day wear–no smudging, budging, or flaking. My lashes also felt soft, never crunchy, which was really nice. I also felt like I could put on a quick layer of additional mascara in the evening without much fuss, just in case you want to refresh your mascara without removing all of your eye makeup.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like longer and defined lashes, Haute & Naughty Lash does this amazingly well. It also gives you the option for thicker lashes, too, which is kind of convenient to have in one mascara.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, July 5th, 2010

Dior Cherry Blossom Nail Lacquer
Dior Cherry Blossom Nail Lacquer

Pretty in Pink for Fall with Dior

Dior Cherry Blossom Nail Lacquer ($21.00) is a yellow-pink with white-gold micro-shimmer. It applies very smoothly and evenly, and you only need about two coats for good color opacity. It’s very flattering on both warm and cooler skin tones, because it’s just a smidgen warm. It doesn’t actually feel like a fall nail color to me at all–definitely something I’d expect in the spring or summer.

This shade is a Sephora exclusive, and Dior’s fall collection is just starting to trickle into department stores now.  I imagine it should be on Sephora in the next couple of weeks.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: It’s pretty and feminine, though it feels like a shade I’ve seen before, in at least some variation.

AVAILABILITY: July 2010

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Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Chanel Paradoxal Nail Lacquer
Chanel Paradoxal Nail Lacquer

Chanel Paradoxal Stuns

Chanel Paradoxal Nail Lacquer ($23.00) is a stunning shade of grayed plum with red and violet microshimmer.  It applied beautifully–one of the best Chanel lacquers in terms of formula I’ve tried–and only needed two coats for complete opaqueness.   The nuances of this shade are best captured in direct sunlight, but it’s smoky and sultry in indirect/natural lighting, too.   Very, very beautiful and sophisticated.

I’ve always had good luck with Chanel lacquers–no chipping issues for me.  I always use mine with Zoya’s Color Lock System and that seems to keep everything on the up and up for about a week or so.  I know that this is not an affordable nail lacquer, but it’s not supposed to be.  Avid Chanel lacquer collectors won’t be disappointed by the latest shade release, though!

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: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Nail fanatics will likely gravitate towards this shade, because it is such a unique mix of gray, mauve, and plum. It’s not the prettiest nail color of all time, but as Chanel often does–it is different and still pretty.

AVAILABILITY: July 2010

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Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Illamasqua Fume Intense Lipgloss

The Summer Season: Illamasqua Fume Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss Fume ($20.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a juicy, glossy cherry red.  It makes your lips look like perfectly ripened, candy-apple red or luscious, summer-ripened cherries.  Either way, the color and finish is pretty sexy.  It’s bright, but it really is more wearable than you’d think, because it has that gloss texture.  It’s very rich and opaque, and it wears about three to four hours and leaves a residual, persisting stain for a few more.

The Glossover

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Is this the right red for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

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Friday, July 2nd, 2010

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection
MAC Nail Lacquers: Morning.After., So Rich So Pretty, Military

MAC Alice + Olivia Collection: Nail Lacquers

Alice + Olivia included three new and limited edition nail lacquers.  I wanted to fall in love with these, but I just wasn’t blown away. Morning.After. was my favorite of the three, because of the way it seems to take on a different tone depending on the lighting, but it’s not as opaque as I’d like. Military reminds me of every other black + silver matte polish out there–I guess I’m just over that shade!

Nail Lacquer ($12.00 U.S. / $14.50 CDN)

  • So Rich So Pretty is a fuchsia-purple with red undertones and red and purple microshimmer. I found it needed three coats to be opaque, and the formula was on the thinner side (though it didn’t feel runny).
  • Military is a light black with silver sparkles and a matte finish. It’s like a blacker version of Studded. It dries really fast, as many mattes do, and it was incredibly pigmented–you could almost get away with just one coat.
  • Morning.After. is a pain in the butt to photograph, because it looks bluer in natural light and tealer in more direct light. It’s more of a dusty blue-teal with heavier blue tones than green/teal tones. There is a little bit of visible nail even with three coats, though.

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