Monday, August 9th, 2010

Sephora Eyelash Curler
Sephora Eyelash Curler

Sephora Eyelash Curler ($16.00) is a metal eyelash curler that comes with two replacement curling pads.  It does a good job of curling lashes without pinching or pulling, but shu’s curler ($19) still pulls ahead for me–and at the price tag, I’m not sold on Sephora’s. The biggest advantage that this curler has is that it has two replacement pads, as opposed to the one that shu comes with.

The curling pad seems a little thick on Sephora’s curler, which actually makes it easier to get a soft curled lash and no crimping or dreaded L-shape lashes.  But it doesn’t get as defined and as big of a curl because of it as well.  The padding on the handles is also a bit thick, so those with larger fingers may find it a little awkward to grip, because their fingers don’t quite fit in them.

Again, it does a good job–it curls softly, easily, and it doesn’t pinch or pull.  You never have to worry about getting bent lashes, either, because the pad makes it a breeze to get that soft curled look.  It just doesn’t give me the same amount of curl as my beloved shu curler does.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’ve found that other eyelash curlers have pulled or pinched, the thicker padding on Sephora’s curler might work better for you.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow
Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow: Bronze & Moss

Eyeshadow that lasts and lasts and lasts…

Tarte Lock & Roll Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.14 oz./cream, 0.05 oz./loose) is a dual-ended eyeshadow product that has a cream eyeshadow on one side and loose eyeshadow on the other.

  • Bronze contains a loose, dirtied brown with a gray cast and green and gold shimmer, while the creamy side is a richer, more bronzy brown. When layered, it gives the loose shade a darker appearance with a smoother finish. Color-wise, it takes on much of the loose shade’s color rather than the cream ‘s color.
  • Moss contains a loose olive green with a green-gold sheen, while the creamy side is a cooler, darker green with subtler olive tones. When layered, the two create a slightly deepened yellowed olive green with a smoother finish.

If you have trouble with products staying on your lids without creasing or fading, you might want to try out Tarte’s Lock & Roll Eyeshadows–these don’t budge for nothing on my lids.  The cream is as budge- and smudge-proof worn alone as it is underneath the loose eyeshadow.  You can sheer out the cream shade for more of an all-over wash on the lids, or you can use it in its opaque form and layer on an eyeshadow.  I do find that loose shades seem to apply best over these.

The cream formula is really more of a liquid than a cream to me; it’s rather thin and almost runny but surprisingly pigmented and applies quite opaque.  Both the cream/liquid and the loose shades have a shimmery finish, with the cream side having a slightly metallic finish, too. Since both of the shades I tested out are on the darker side, lighter shades do tend to get eaten up, so it may take some packing to really lighten it up if that’s what you’re going for.  (There are, however, several lighter shades, too, for those who prefer softer looks.)

The packaging is functional, but the rollerball on my lid took a few tries to really get it down–the learning curve isn’t bad, though, but I recommend trying it once or twice before any big events!  The loose eyeshadow does go on very smoothly with the rollerball applicator, though (which I was surprised by!).

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have incredibly oily lids, the creamy shadow makes an excellent base that just doesn’t move!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Burberry Union Red Lipstick
Burberry Union Red Lipstick

Burberry Union Red (17) Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is an orange-based red lipstick with a subtle shine and nearly imperceptible shimmer.  It’s opaque in just one layer, and it wears comfortably on lips, as it feels lightweight and smooth.  With these deeper red shades from Burberry, I get about four hours of wear and then some staining for another hour or two.   It is scented with a rose-ish kind of scent that doesn’t bother me (nor does it linger on lips, just in the tube), but those with more sensitive noses may want to try before they buy.

The lipstick is embellished with the brand’s check pattern, and the packaging itself is a gunmetal square with a magnetic enclosure.  When you slip the case back on, it automatically twists into place and clicks together (very fun to play around with!).  You get a good amount (lipsticks average around 0.12 oz.), and the price is in line with other designer high-end brands.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like creamy, rich shades of red that lean a little orange, Union Red might be something right up your alley. I like orange-reds best on warmer skin tones, but this one doesn’t lean too orange, so it can definitely be worn by those with cooler skin tones as well.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Nail Lacquer
Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Nail Lacquer

Estee Lauder Blue Dahlia: Surreal Violet

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.3 fl. oz.) is a gray-toned pink-mauve with copper-bronze shimmer. It’s a little on the sheerer side with two coats, but it was nearly opaque, so I left the swatches with two–but you could probably do a third for a totally opaque result.  The formula itself wasn’t too thick or thin and applied smoothly without any issues.  Drying time seemed average, and there was a soft glossy shine, but I’d still recommend a top coat.

The amount in the bottle is a little below average, I’d say, while the price tag is a bit hefty.  Those with larger collections may want to add this more unique shade to their stashes, but if you’re just building up your collection, this may be too much on the expensive side.  You can grab Illamasqua ($14/0.5 fl. oz.), NARS ($16 for 0.5 fl. oz), and Lippmann ($18/0.5 fl. oz.), which are all stellar polish brands, and get more for your money.

I would also like to give this polish props for being utterly difficult to photograph in natural light — thanks a lot! What a diva on set!

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 6 /10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Those who are fans of greiges and purples may find themselves in love with this mix of both!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, August 9th, 2010

Benefit Lala Land Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Benefit La La Land Lipstick

Benefit La La Land Lipstick ($18.00 for oz.) is a pinky-brown nude with full-color coverage and a light, glossy sheen and no perceptible shimmer.  I love this with a lighter smoky eye or paired with greens. It’s dark enough to be worn on its own for a pop of color on lips, but it’s light enough to complement heavier eye looks, too.  Benefit’s lipsticks are very moisturizing and creamy, so they’re comfortable to wear, and they last about three to four hours on my lips.

Is this the right deep nude for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

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Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites

The Trifecta of Guerlain’s Meteorites: Teint Rose

Guerlain Teint Rose Meteorites Powder ($56.00 for 1.05 oz.) is the last of the three new, reformulated Meteorites powders we have to review.  Previously, we reviewed Teint Beige and Teint Dore.  These can be used as highlighters or all over the face–less for setting, more for an all over glow.  Guerlain makes a Meteorites brush, but you can use any blush or highlighting brush to swirl in the pot for application.

According to Guerlain…

Harmony 01 / Teint Rose corrects by using mauve to reflect light and brightening the complexion along with green to reduce redness; pink to give skin a more even look; and white for illumination, gold for “radiance.”

This particular Meteorite has a blend of champage, white, yellow, green, pink, and purple pearls that create a soft, subtle micro-shimmered glow.  It’s a very silky and finely-milled product–this is not powdery, heavy, or cakey.  It doesn’t feel heavy, and it never looks unnatural.

Admittedly, it is difficult to see the nuances between the three Meteorites.  Even in person, they don’t look terribly different on me when applied.  Teint Rose is less golden, more white/champagne shimmer, while Teint Dore is a little more golden-bronze, and Teint Beige is is still a bit bronze but less yellow.  After seeing all three in person, I think  any one of them would be appropriate across skin tones and undertones.  They effect they have is so subtle, I can’t imagine any looking bad because of skin tone.

Still loving the totally upgraded Meteorites packaging, too!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: It’s always nice to see a brand maintain or improve a product, particularly when they’re changing such a cult favorite! If you already have the previous versions of Meteorites, you may find this shade redundant, but if you don’t yet have Meteorites in your stash, you should take a gander next time you’re at a Guerlain counter.

Availability: Nordstrom, Sephora

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