Saturday, July 17th, 2010

NARS Exhibit A Blush
NARS Exhibit A Blush

Baby, I Think My Cheeks are on Fire!

NARS Exhibit A Blush ($26.00 for 0.16 oz.) is a fiery orange that’s as pigmented as it looks in the pan.  It is an intimidating shade to be sure, because it does go on something FIERCE! even when you are careful.  Exhibit A has a matte finish, so it won’t accentuate fine lines or pores, and it can easily be buffed and blended onto skin so it looks natural and not quite so obviously orange.

When I wore this the other day, I used MAC’s 184 Brush, because it gave me the ability to really apply it subtly and softly against the angle of my cheek.  The width of the brush allowed me to deposit the initial burst of color onto the majority of my cheek, and then I could feather it out with soft strokes.

It doesn’t pull too red, and it certainly doesn’t pull yellow, which makes it wearable regardless of your undertones.  I particularly love this blush on our darker skinned beauties (plus, it shows intensely even on darker skin tones).  Don’t let this blush scare you — it can be worn and worn without fear.  Just be sure to have your buffing brush and some loose setting powder on hand to blend and diffuse it!

P.S. — U.S. NARS customers can get a trio of miniature-sized lipglosses in Stolen Kisses, Risky Business, and Moonfleet with code TEMPTALIA on orders of $25 or more, expires 8/15. :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: Whether you want a subtle touch of orange or a heart stopping shade of fiery orange on your cheeks, Exhibit A is capable of both.

AVAILABILITY: NARS, Nordstrom, Sephora

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Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Burberry Khaki Eyeshadow
Burberry Khaki Eyeshadow

Burberry Khaki (08) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is an olive green with subtly warm-toned, brown undertones. It had a soft, smooth texture that applied well. The color payoff was good, though Burberry’s formula is confusing, as it’s called “Sheer Eyeshadow,” but then it’s supposed to have really true, long-lasting color. MAC Flourishing is greener. Lancome Designer is darker, greener. Dior Khaki Design #3 is more shimmery. bareMinerals Eureka is more shimmery. bareMinerals Speaker Box is darker, more shimmery. See comparison swatches.

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Friday, July 16th, 2010

Orly Plastix Collection
Nail Lacquers: Retro Red, Old School Orange, Viridian Vinyl, Purple Pleather

It’s Not Matte, But It’s Not Glossy

Orly’s Plastix Collection is a short and sweet debut of a new finish type — satin matte. It reminded me a bit of Chanel Black Velvet, which after much thinking, definitly has a pleather-like finish.

  • Retro Red is a bright pop of orange-based red. I found three coats were needed to ensure there was no visible nail line showing.
  • Old School Orange is a vibrant shade of creamy orange with sunshine yellow undertones. I also used three coats on this shade.
  • Viridian Vinyl is a blue-based teal that only needed two coats to go totally opaque.
  • Purple Pleather is a deep, blue-based purple that reminded me of Orly’s own Charged Up (but obviously a total different finish). Just two coats for this one.

I like these. I don’t love them, because they’re not entirely my style (I’m also not huge on matte polishes, either–again, all personal style preferences), but I do really love how they played with the finish and gave us something different. It’s not matte–there’s definitely this played down, barely there glossy sheen… but it’s not glossy. It’s not shiny. It’s very pleathery.

The formula felt a little on the thicker side to me, but I didn’t encounter any major issues. Each coat felt like it dried down pretty quickly–similar to mattes–though for 100% dry, it seemed a little faster than average but not super speedy. Despite each coat seemingly being pigmented, two shades still needed three coats. Like matte finishes, you may want to use a ridge filler to minimize any imperfections on your nail.

I wore these with Zoya’s base coat underneath, and I didn’t get any chips after five days, just minor tip wear. I skipped the top coat so I could maintain that satin-matte finish. The base coat didn’t seem to affect the appearance or finish of the polish at all, so at least I could lock it down with a base coat even if I couldn’t protect with a top coat!

I haven’t spotted these for sale yet online, but they should be popping up sometime soon!

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: Viridian Vinyl and Purple Pleather were my favorites, because the colors are bold, wearable, fall-appropriate, AND the formula was best with these two.

AVAILABILITY: Orly

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Friday, July 16th, 2010

Bobbi Brown Guava Lipstick
Bobbi Brown Guava Lipstick

The Summer Season: Bobbi Brown Guava Lipstick

Bobbi Brown Guava Lip Color ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) is an opaque shade of peachy coral with no shimmer, just a soft sheen, and a creamy feel and look.  It applies beautifully and makes lips look fuller and softer.  This is a great way to wear coral without being too coral, and it’s a fitting shade for summer without being bright or bold, too.  It’s not sheer so it’s still noticeable, though.  Gotta love the scent- and taste-free nature of it, too!

Is this the right coral 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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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush

Kick Off Your Summer with a Cabana Boy of Your Own

theBalm Cabana Boy Blush ($21.00 for 0.3 oz.) is one whopper of a blush! It’s a muted raspberry pink with a subtle golden sheen that looks more luminous than shimmery. It’s plenty pigmented, but it can be sheered out for a subtler cheek, too (thankfully!)–definitely recommend using a light hand with this shade. The texture is soft, smooth, and silky. It applies beautifully and without a fuss.

It’s housed in a cardboard compact with vintage imagery. theBalm also gives you plenty o’ product–a veritable blush brick at 0.3 oz.–and you won’t have to shell out $40 to take advantage of the value, either. It’s reasonably priced as a high-end brand at $21 a pop.

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Urban Decay Eye Brushes
Lip, Shading, Liner, Blending, Crease, Multi-Tasker, Smudger, Shadow

Vegan, Eco, and Planet Friendly Brushes

For fall, Urban Decay released a whole slew of brand spankin’ new brushes (and as such, are now discounting their older brushes by 50%). There are seven eye brushes, one lip brush, and three face brushes. This post features the eye and lip brushes, and I’ll do a separate review for the face brushes (which I’m still testing). I’ve only had these for a little over a week, so I can’t speak on heavy duty usage and just how well they’ll serve you over a multi-year period.

All eleven new brushes are cruelty-free and vegan, as the bristles are made out of recycled PET plastic bottles. The handles are made out of recycled aluminum. Even the boxes these come in are from recycled egg crate material. However, each box is housed in a plastic sleeve–which I don’t know if it’s recycled or not, but even if it were so… it is unnecessary. The box is sturdy and large enough to contain that single brush and travel across country.

  • Shadow ($26.00) is a flat, domed shape brush designed for application of eyeshadow onto the lid. It’s dense and stiff enough to pat on color but flexible enough to use it to blend out color, too. I’d say it’s about 10mm across and 13mm in height.
  • Smudger ($26.00) is a stumpy dome-shaped brush used for smudging eyeshadow or liner on the lower lash line. It’s pretty soft (which is not always a feature of smudgers, because they are so short), and it’s stiff and densely-packed. It’s around 10mm across and 5mm in height.
  • Multi-Tasker ($24.00) is a tiny slightly dome-shaped brush (we’re talking around 6mm wide and 7mm tall). Because of its small size, I think those with smaller lids may have more use for this than others. Personally, I just know this is not a brush I’ll be using regularly–maybe as a lip brush. It’s quite small, so it’s not my favorite brush for concealer or primer.
  • Crease ($26.00) is a densely-packed rounded, dome-shaped brush. It’s rather thick–as crease brushes often are–but it holds its shape quite well. It’s not floppy or particularly fluffy, so it’s really good for depositing color into the crease as well as blending out crease colors. It’s about 18mm in height and 10mm at its widest point.
  • Blending ($26.00) is a very large, flat and dome-shaped brush. It’s very similar to the Shadow brush, except three times as large. It’s about 18mm in height and 15mm in width. I could see this being used for an all-over wash, but it’s like half the size of my eyelid, so it’s just too large for me to use for much else. It’s a bit too thick/dense to be a go-to for creamy products like eyeshadow bases (I think too much would get caught in the bristles).
  • Liner ($24.00) is a small angled brush. It’s my least favorite brush out of the bunch, because it’s considerably thick, particularly for an eyeliner brush. I’m used to using very thin angled brushes for eyeliner, and then just thin angled brushes for brows–this is thicker than my usual brow brush (MAC’s 266). It has a great angled edge, but it’s rather thick, so I found it difficult to achieve thin, precise liner. It’s about 7mm in height at its tallest point and 7mm wide and 2mm thick.
  • Shading ($26.00) is a medium-sized, circular brush with a slanted cut. It’s stiff without being sharp. It looks an awful like the Crease brush, except someone cut it half-way and at an angle. I don’t have any brushes like this one, and to be honest, I was pretty confused by it initially. I’ve used it primarily to apply my brow highlight. It can also be used to apply color to the crease or blend it out. It’s about 12mm in height at its tallest point and 8mm in diameter.
  • Lip ($20.00) is a skinny, long dome-shaped flat brush for applying your favorite lip color. I have no issues with the brush itself, but it’s a pain in the butt to use because of the packaging. It comes in a retractable container, so you push the brush up to get it out of its container, but as soon as you start applying your lip color, it starts moving back into its home. You have to make sure you keep a finger on the slider and apply pressure to keep it in position. It’s annoying but you can maneuver it so it’s functional.  I tried to put the cap on the end to keep it in place, but my cap didn’t stay on well.  It’s about 11mm tall and 5mm wide.

The brushes I liked most were the Crease and Shading brushes. I liked the Crease brush for its stiffness, though with my lid size, I could use something a little skinnier and more tapered, but it’s a nice brush even for me without those modifications. I also liked the Shading brush just because it’s an interesting brush that I don’t have yet so it’s giving me something new to work with.

I also really liked how each brush has its usage labeled on the end–it makes it easy to keep track of them, especially for those who are newer to brushes.  I’m always a sucker for gunmetal packaging, too, so I dig the look of the brushes as well.

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

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re trying to stay away from natural fiber brushes, Urban Decay has made a solid alternative that’s eco-friendly and animal-friendly.

AVAILABILITY: Urban Decay

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