Monday, May 31st, 2010

NYX Blonde Pearl Eyeshadow

NYX Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow in Blonde Pearl

NYX Blonde Pearl Ultimate Pearl Eyeshadow ($7.00) is a brightened yellow gold with a soft frost finish. It’s nicely pigmented, and it has a very smooth, silky finish. Blonde Pearl is part of a new eyeeshadow formula packed with more shimmer for “a soft, shimmery, iridescent look.” The last NYX eyeshadows I tried were among their Trios, and the Pearl formula definitely has a smoother, more finely milled feel to it. It doesn’t have any powdery-ness. I did find that when used with a brush, it will diffuse a little, but it stays true-to-color for the most part.

It’s a good eyeshadow, and for the price–as compared to high end alternatives–it’s a bargain. Compared to other NYX eyeshadows, I’m not sure they’re significantly better than their singles ($5.50). The $7 price tag for a single eyeshadow seems a little steep for a brand known for their affordability. Blonde Pearl reminds me a lot of MAC’s Goldmine eyeshadow, though, so it’s a nice, slightly more affordable alternative.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For a more affordable alternative to high-end eyeshadow, NYX’s Pearl formula is still worth checking out, but it may not be significantly better than other NYX shadows.

Availability: NYX

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

Dior Ultra Gloss

Dior Ultra Gloss in Little Red Dress, Twin Set Pink, & Satin Peach

Today, I’ve got three more shades of Dior Ultra Gloss ($26.50 for 0.21 oz.) to show you! I reviewed these in full detail here, but to recap:

PROS: Non-sticky, moisturizing, glossy, dazzling shimmer (not gritty glitter)
CONS: Lasts less than two hours, so you’ll need to reapply

For the most part, Ultra Glosses definitely run on the sheerer side, but Little Red Dress is much more pigmented than the other six shades I’ve tried.  Satin Peach is a better version of NARS’ Orgasm lipgloss in my opinion, as it’s more moisturizing with a glossier finish.

  • Little Red Dress (856) is a brightened, cherry red with golden shimmer. It’s nearly opaque on my lips, and it’s impressively opaque for a lipgloss.
  • Twin Set Pink (157) is a semi-sheer champagne-nude with champagne and gold micro-shimmer.
  • Satin Peach (236) is a sheer milky beige with a slight pinkyness to it and golden-peach micro-shimmer.

Check out other shade reviews…

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

Recommendation: If love sheer, non-sticky lipgloss, Dior Ultra Gloss is exactly that. And if you don’t mind reapplying every two hours or so, I think you’d really like these.

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo

Take a Dive Into Summer with Hourglass’ Lagoon

Hourglass Lagoon Eyeshadow Duo ($38.00) includes shades in a muted, gray-green and a deepened ocean-blue with a teal sheen.  I was eager to try out another eyeshadow duo after discovering the amazing-ness of Prism.  Both of these shades were soft, smooth–a very buttery, silky texture–and the colors were vibrant and true-to-color.  These also blend extremely well without fading or diffusing nor leaving a trail of fall out in their wake.

This particular duo doesn’t have the most unique shades, sure, but that fact doesn’t take away from the quality of these shades.  I feel like both of these shades are on the verge of being duochrome but haven’t committed fully to it; the seafoam green shade almost has a flash of blue-green, while the ocean blue shade has a metallic flash of teal.

I like the metallic, gunmetal packaging and the cool swivel top that reveals a mirror and an actual brush inside (not that you’d jump to use it if you had full-size brushes on hand).  It’s very sleek and modern, though again, I think it contributes to some of the pricing of this product.

The only downside to Hourglass’ eyeshadows is their price tag, which is pretty hefty.  They are some of the more expensive eyeshadows on the market–up there with brands like Chanel and Dior–so they’re not in everyone’s budget.  If you’re a fan of the silky textures of higher-end eyeshadows but dream of brighter, highly pigmented colors, Hourglass is a good bet from my experience.

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

Recommendation: If you love blendable, highly pigmented eyeshadows with almost creamy, buttery texture and a silken feel, Hourglass has yet to disappoint me with their eyeshadow duos.

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, May 30th, 2010

True Blue Spa There's the Rub

Oh, the Scent! NOW, There’s the Rub…

True Blue Spa There’s the Rub ($24.00 for 24 oz.) is a salt glow with natural sea salt–basically, it’s a sea salt-based body scrub to help slough off dead skin and all that fun stuff in the shower.

Where’s the Rub? IN THE SCENT. I’m sorry, but I found this product really, really difficult to test just because I found the scent so appalling. I’m not that prone to disusing a product purely based on scent–I can get through some interesting scents (chemical, synthetic, weird, whatever), but this smelled like I was scrubbing with household cleaner. It smelled exactly like the bathroom would after my Dad finished giving it a good scrub from floor to ceiling (when I used to live at home).

Anyway, I wanted to get that out of the way, because scent is inherently a personal experience, so you may not find it as cleanser-like as I did. I used it three times, and I really did like the product itself. Despite being a salt-based scrub, it didn’t feel overly coarse or harsh against skin. Each time I used it, I was in the shower, so I applied it to wet skin, and it was creamy and easy to scrub into skin. Sometimes a scrub will dissolve, disperse, or otherwise not allow you to really work it into the skin.

It gets the job done and leaves behind soft, smooth skin. It just smells terrible (to me) while in use. I didn’t notice any lingering scent post-shower, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned with a scent like this. I’ve used other True Blue Spa products, and I haven’t had any issues with the scents in those, so I was a bit surprised here. (One of my favorite products is their Just a Minute hand scrub, which has a nice orange-citrus scent.)

Because scent is personal, I don’t want my nose to dictate that this is a no-go purely on scent alone, particularly when the product performs well otherwise.

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

Recommendation: Smell before you buy, if you can. It may or may not be the right scent for you!

Availability: Bath & Body Works

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Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Illamasqua Writhe Bronzer

Going Bronze with Illamasqua

Illamasqua Writhe Bronzing Powder (£20.00 for 0.32 oz.) is part of Illamasqua’s Body Electrics Collection, but it’s only available overseas as just Writhe.  In the U.S., Sephora carries Illamasqua Glint & Writhe Bronzing Duo ($27.00), which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, to be honest.  The idea of ever using a single product so much that I’d need an entire compact of it seems unlikely, so sometimes a duo let’s you play with two shades for the price of one.  (By the by, Glint is a peachy highlighter kind of shade.)

Writhe has a very pretty, burnished copper-bronze look to it.  It has a slight metallic gold shimmer-sheen, but it can be applied very subtly for a softer look.  It’s nice as a bronzer or as a blush.  I didn’t find it too orange or red, though I think this definitely suits warmer skin tones best.  You can also layer it for a more intense, obvious bronzed cheek, too.  It is particularly shimmery, though, so those looking to use this all over the face may find it a bit much for day time.

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

Recommendation: If you love that burnished, sun-bronzed cheek, Writhe will achieve all that and more.  Very pretty when paired with golds on the eyes!

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream

Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream: Two More!

I’ve already fully reviewed Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream ($22.00) here (#5, 7, 18, 21) and here (#6, 9, 11, 13, 20). I’ve got two more shades to show you!

  • #1 Anthracite is a darkened steel green with a light silver shimmer.
  • #22 Emerald Green is a brightened green with a slightly metallic-frost sheen and yellow undertones.

I can see #1 Anthracite working really well for an intense, ultra-dark smoky eye. I definitely think that #22 Emerald Green is definitely the more versatile and usable shade of these two in particular, though. It’s great layered underneath golds, greens, blues, and teals.

Anyone else indulge in the new Aqua Creams?

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

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

Recommendation: If you love color and rich, creamy textures, you may find the new Aqua Creams right up your alley.

Availability: Sephora

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