Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection Shadows

Bobbi Brown Beach Collection: Long-Wear Cream Shadows

For summer, Bobbi Brown’s collection includes Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadows ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in four new shades: Moonstone (pale shimmering green), Opal (opalescent pink), Pink Oyster (shimmering pink), and Surf (pale shimmering blue), as well as Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) in Shore (pale nude).

  • Opal is an opalescent pinky-purple. It’s very sheer and light–it’s nice as an all-over wash on the lid. It could possibly be used as an eyeshadow base, too, since it’s more on the neutral side. Since the base almost feels and goes on clear, it looks glittery on the lid.
  • Surf is a cool-toned baby blue with a silver-white sparkle-sheen. It has a soft colored base, so it looks smoother on the lid compared to Opal and more metallic and less glittery. It’s not a deep blue, but it’s a lot more representative of the color it looks like in the pot, so it’s the color I would expect!
  • Shore is a creamy, matte beige. This is not an exciting color, but it’s incredibly versatile. It can be used to brighten up lids a bit, but it can be used as an eyeshadow base, too. It’s neutral and easy-to-use, particularly because of the matte finish.

I’m actually not a huge fan of Bobbi Brown’s Metallic Long-Wear Eyeshadows — they’re just incredibly sheer and more glittery than metallic. I reviewed a few shades earlier, when they first launched. I still wish they had more of a metallic finish, because they do feel more on the glittery side. The Metallics have an almost wet feel to them–it’s a thinner creamy consistency with a wet feel and applies very smoothly and evenly without any trouble (better than the other three I tried!). They also last all day without creasing or budging or fading.

I prefer the texture, feel, and color pay off of the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows for sure. I think having a couple of the Metallics can be fun, but they’re not as versatile as the more opaque ones. Like the Metallics, the original Long-Wear Eyeshadows last all day without budging, smudging, or fading.  I just don’t think the Metallics are nearly as versatile or as multi-tasking as the original ones, which are more pigmented and very, very smooth.

Because these are two different products, I’m not going to give out an overall rating for all three.  Instead, I’m going to break it down between the two — for Metallics, they work really well in terms of staying power and not creasing, but the color payoff is sheer and not buildable as purported, so they’re more of a B product for me.  They’re better than the first ones I tried, because I do think these have a smoother finish and are truer-to-color in the pot.  Shore, on the other hand, has excellent pay off and quality, so it’s much more of an A- product and shade.

RECOMMENDATION: Shore is an excellent neutral base that works well and looks great. It’s something that doesn’t inspire excitement, but it’s a very useable product. The Metallics don’t grab me and neither shade gets me any closer to loving them at the moment.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Illamasqua Furore Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Furore

Illamasqua Furore Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a gorgeous shade of gilded, muted copper-bronze. It’s really a beautiful color that can be used as a loose highlighter dusted on cheeks or decolletage or used wet as an easy all-over lid color or as an eyeshadow base for neutral and bronzy looks.

I thought I had reviewed a Pure Pigment before, but apparently I never got around to it, other than this brief rant in a look I used it in originally. The first Pure Pigment I tried was Static, which was a gorgeous color, but the texture wasn’t very smooth (even when used wet) and the packaging drove me batty.

Furore has a much, much nicer texture. It’s almost like night and day! It’s smooth, soft, and really melts together when used wet. The packaging is still the same — very bulky and it’s easy for the pigment to poof out, but I definitely noticed less “poof” than I had previously. I didn’t end up with more on my counter than my eye with Furore.

The worst part about Pure Pigments is the size. It’s a mere 0.04 oz. That’s tiny. That’s almost ridiculous when compared with MAC Pigments (even with the size reduction, they’re still 0.15 oz–almost 4 times the size). Make Up For Ever’s pigments also vary between 0.07 and 0.09 oz. No, you don’t need a lot, so it’s hard to imagine really going through even the 0.04 oz. particularly quickly, but I really can’t believe how little you get.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind the small quantity you get, then Furore is a fantastic neutral shade. It’s not too bronzy or frosty–it’s kind of like a cross between a metallic and frost, but it’s not too much. I can see it working as a very versatile shade.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Fascination Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Fascination Lipstick

The Summer Season: Dolce & Gabbana Fascination Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Fascination (#165) Shine Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a creamy, semi-opaque shade of pinky-lilac. It’s not exactly purple, but it’s not a perfect, petal pink, either. It lies closer to pink than purple, but there’s a definite lilac edge. The color is very wearable, both on warm and cool skin tones, which isn’t always easy to find when a lipstick is naturally cooler toned. I get three to four hours of wear with Dolce & Gabbana’s lipsticks, which are rose-scented and taste-free (to me!).

Is this the right pink 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.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Too Faced Glamour Gloss

Too Faced Glamour Gloss in Champagne Room & Tickle Me

Too Faced Glamour Gloss ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a plumping lip gloss available in twelve shades–from beige to marshmallow pink to iced raspberry. It’s a non-sticky lip gloss that’s moisturizing with a cooling sensation (it’s what “plumps”) (like when you use a mint mouthwash). It’s definitely not a sting or burning sensation, but it’s noticeable for at least a half hour. In general, I’m actually quite sensitive to a lot of lip plumpers–a few have really brutalized my lips, even after only an hour of wear. I didn’t have any issues with my lips drying out or peeling post-wear with Glamour Gloss (thankfully!).

  • Champagne Room is a sheer, light tangerine base with champagne shimmer. It’s surprisingly not at all what I’d have imagined with a name like “Champagne Room,” though.
  • Tickle Me is a sheer, pinky-coral base with golden shimmer.

The gloss is scented with a strong vanilla-frosting kind of scent–it’s a very sweet, sugary vanilla. It’s a little cloying for me, but I don’t notice the scent when it’s on my lips–just when I sniff the tube (wow, that sounds like I need help!). It’s moisturizing, and it wears for about three to four hours on me. One thing I noticed is that neither shade is particularly glossy. They’re definitely more on the subdued side for a gloss.

Ingredients: Polyisobutene, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Octyldodecanol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cera Carnauba/Cire de carnauba, Polyethylene, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Aroma/Flavor, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Faex/Yeast Extract/ Extrait de levure, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Lipids, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Menthoxypropanediol, Menthol, Silica, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Red 6 (CI 15850), Red 30 Lake (CI 73360).

I like the gloss–neither shade spoke to me, but the formula itself was nice–but I am really not digging the quantity they give you. Based on price per ounce, Glamour Gloss ($158/oz.) is more expensive than Chanel ($142/oz.), Guerlain ($145/oz.), and YSL ($145/oz.) lip gloss. It’s also significantly less of a value as compared to similar high-end brands like MAC ($82/oz.), Tarte ($105/oz.), and Benefit ($105/oz.). For the $19 price tag, they don’t give you as much as I’d expect.  If you’re someone who goes through a tube of lip gloss, it’s not the best gloss for your money, but if you rarely finish one, then you probably won’t notice the smaller quantity in these.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION:  If you’re looking for a gloss that lightly plumps lips without the bee-sting sensation, you may find the cooling sensation of Too Faced’s Glamour Gloss easier to tolerate.  I’ve only tested two shades, but of those two, both of them are on the sheerer side.  If you like your gloss less glossy, these are also a good option.  Their biggest downside is the value.

WHERE TO BUY: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Day Cream SPF 15

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Day Cream SPF 15

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Day Cream SPF 15 ($150.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a rich, luxurious anti-aging cream designed to be used during the day time, and the texture and name suggest its better for normal to dry skin rather than oily skin. Chanel’s description of this moisturizer is all about the elemi PFA, which “stimulates the production of tensin, improving the quality of skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, and helping to improve their bonds within the skin to create a firm supportive network.” The description goes on to say that the cream is “luxuriously textured and delicately scented, delivers a very soft, matte finish, with ultimate comfort, for a visible lifting effect.”

Chanel has a whole website dedicated to the Ultra Correction Lift line, which includes more information about the ingredients, science behind the line, and all that good stuff. The line also includes Day Fluid SPF 15 (lighter weight moisturizer) ($150.00 for 1.7 oz.), Total Eye Lift ($100.00 for 15 grams), Lips & Contour ($85.00 for 15 grams), Night Cream ($165.00 for 50 grams), and Concentrate ($165.00 for 1 oz.).

My Skin: I’m 23 years-old with some fine lines around my eyes, slight but noticeable lip lines when I smile, and a nasty canyon ever-deepening on my forehead. My skin type is normal-to-dry in the fall/winter and mostly normal in the spring/summer. I am acne-prone and suffer from minor breakouts but generally nothing major.

My general feeling for this day cream is, “I LOVE IT!” but I don’t know if I’d shell out $150 quite yet for it–I think I want to explore more of Chanel’s skincare line-up before committing, you know? It’s only the second Chanel skincare product I’ve tried (the other being their Exfoliating Mousse), so I think I’m going to look into trying some of their other products before making any hasty decisions.  Besides, can you really imagine me committing?

It feels absolutely heavenly on skin. It’s rich, but it doesn’t have the negative characteristics often associated with heavier, richer creams. It has that rich, luxe texture that’s instantly hydrating and soothing, but it absorbs in under a minute. I’ve never encountered such a rich-in-texture cream that soaks in that quickly!  As far as sun protection goes, it contains Avobenzone (3%), which covers the UVA spectrum, and Octinoxate (7.5%)., which covers the UVB spectrum.  (See our Sunscreen 101 post for more.)

Not only is it incredibly hydrating without being greasy or heavy, it holds up throughout the day–it actually has really helped keep my skin from getting oily towards the end of the day (mostly in the t-zone).  I’ve noticed that some of my fine lines seem to be less prevalent, too.  I only notice them when I’ve gotten less than four hours of sleep, and then I just look ragged, period (ha!).  This is actually the first time I’ve ever noticed a moisturizer doing anything visibly apparent on the subtle signs of aging I have. It does have a near-matte finish–it’s feels lightweight and has a soft, matte finish that’s soft, smooth, and not at all shiny or greasy.

I’ve been using it since late March, and I just finished the jar yesterday. (I also found out that the boyfriend has been stealing some periodically!) It’s important to me to look at the value of a product, not just the price tag–all in all, 1.7 oz. of the day cream lasted for about 2.5 months worth of daily application (just in the morning, since it has SPF). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: if you find the skin care products that work for you and they’re pricey, I really think the investment is worth it (as long as it doesn’t leave you on the street, of course–everything in moderation with a dose of common sense!).

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:  Based on my experience, it’s definitely worth looking into and grabbing a sample, if you’re able to, at your local Chanel counter.  I think it is best suited for dry and normal skin.

Availability: Chanel, Nordstrom

See more photos! Continue reading →

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

American Apparel Nail Lacquer
Summer Peach, Butter, L’Esprit, Malibu Green

American Apparel’s Summer Lacquers

Well, four of the five, at least! The lighter shades suffer from some of the same issues that the original shades did–a little streaky at first and need three coats to get a smooth, even look. The other new shade is California Trooper. Each shade retails for $6.

  • Summer Peach is a soft, almost washed out peach. It doesn’t have any pink tones to it–definitely subtle orange tones, but it’s a very, very pale peach. While I found one coat was insanely pigmented, I still ended up with three to smooth everything out, since it was a little on the streaky side.
  • Butter is exactly the color of butter. It is a soft, buttered yellow cream. Two coats here – it was easier to work with than Summer Peach.
  • L’Esprit is pastel lavender cream. Like the other shades in AA’s line-up, it’s quite pigmented in just one coat, but I found two coats were needed to give it a smoother, more even finish.
  • Malibu Green is a deep green-teal cream. This is such a beautiful shade, but it stains like no other. My nails were stained, and I had only worn this for less than a half hour. Just the residue on the cotton round I used for removal stained my other fingers a bit, too. I looked like I killed the Swamp Thing.

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

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

Recommendation: These didn’t quite apply as smoothly or easily as American Apparel’s original debut, and I really wish Malibu Green didn’t stain so much–it’s truly an incredible color! I’m not completely sold on any of these shades.

AvailabilityAmerican Apparel

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →