Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Estee Lauder Peach Nuance Blush
Estee Lauder Peach Nuance vs. MAC Ripe Peach Blush Ombre

Estee Lauder Peach Nuance vs. MAC Ripe Peach Blush Ombre — Dupes?

Estee Lauder Peach Nuance Blush ($26.00 for 0.25 oz.) may have escaped your notice, but it is now highly touted as a perfect dupe for MAC’s Ripe Peach. I was quite confused at the hype over Ripe Peach after it came out, to be honest. It’s pretty, but I am completely surprised at how collectible it has become. When murmurings began comparing Estee Lauder’s Peach Nuance, I knew I had to find out for myself.

Peach Nuance is incredibly close, but I found it was a little lighter and a smidgen pinker–it also doesn’t have the shimmer-sheen of Ripe Peach. It’s close, truly, but it’s not a perfect dupe to me. When worn on the cheeks, the difference is much, much subtler, but when swatched, the difference is more noticeable. Peach Nuance is a lightened coral-pink with a very silky, nearly matte finish. If you want to get closer to Ripe Peach, stay more on the coral side of the blush and avoid the lighter side, which does most of the lightening.

This is all to say that Peach Nuance is a lovely color, worth getting if you missed out on Ripe Peach and would love a gradated coral blusher. (Estee Lauder also carries several other Nuance shades, which seem to all have the gradated look.) It’s smooth and easily blended, though the color is soft and sheer and needs to be built up for a more intense look. It’s a great coral for both cool and warm skin tones, though, so it’s a very universal shade.  It could be a little more pigmented, but it’s on par with the pigmentation of Ripe Peach.

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

Recommendation: Completely worth picking up if you’ve been trying to find your own Ripe Peach or refuse to pay $70 for one on eBay. Worth picking up if you’re a coral fiend, period!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

NARS Pro-Prime:  Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base ($24.00 for 0.26 oz.) is much-needed primer addition to NARS’ core range. In addition to the eyeshadow base, NARS also launched their Pro-Prime Face Prep ($30.00) (which, at this time, I am not planning to review).

I picked up a sample tube of the primer with a recent Sephora order, and the sample tube allowed me about four or five uses. From the images I’ve seen online, the packaging is similar–just a longer tube for the full-size version. They both have a doe-foot applicator (like the kind you see in lipgloss). It has an incredibly thin, slightly creamy consistency. When applied, it looks white on the applicator, but it is virtually colorless. This colorlessness is actually my only–albeit marginal and nitpicky–complaint.

It’s so colorless, even from the get-go, that it is difficult to determine where you’ve applied the primer. This makes covering the entire lid a little more difficult than when one would use a colored, even subtly so, primer. I’ve noticed that if I’ve missed an area, that area will look duller and flake, since there is no primer there. The problem is just it’s really difficult to tell if you’ve missed an area!

Aside from that, if you’ve covered your entire lid, it works really well. It lives up to all the claims NARS makes about it: lightweight, extends the wear, smooths the surface, and maximizes color. I didn’t experience any budging, smudging, creasing, or migration when I used this as a primer underneath my eyeshadows. It is a clear, matte primer that merely smooths over the lid and acts to hold and bond all the eyeshadow together. Colors definitely didn’t look muted at all, and they held their intensity throughout the day.

NARS Smudgeproof is most comparable to Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The consistency is very similar–they are all very thin and a little creamy.  However, NARS definitely feels more velvety once it dries–which is very quickly.  They are all nearly colorless, though NARS is definitely truly colorless–UDPP has a slight nude tone to it and TFSI even less nude. I’ve always found that UDPP seemed to have a slight shimmer to it, and NARS is completely matte (which is a good thing, if you want to keep your matte eyeshadows matte!). Of course, the major difference between the two is the price — UDPP goes for $18 for 0.34 oz. while NARS is $24 for 0.26 oz and TFSI is $17 for 0.35 oz.

Between the three, I’d actually go NARS. I really didn’t think I’d like it more than the other two, but I would. One of the issues I have with TFSI is the product can separate a bit in the tube. I do really like that you can squeeze out what you need and easily apply with a brush. Both NARS and UDPP have doe-foot applicators, but NARS is a simple tube, so it’s not nearly as wasteful as UDPP is. I’ve never finished a bottle of primer in my life, so even if $24 is a higher upfront cost, I really don’t see it not being worth the investment, since a tube should last you many, many uses.

Fun Fact: Ironically, since I revisited my TFSI review, which was made back in 2008–OMG!–TFSI, at the time, was $1 more than UDPP, which was $16.  The whole point?  UDPP has raised its price $2 in two years and is now more expensive than TFSI.

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

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a lightweight, colorless eyeshadow primer that stays on all day without budging, smudging, or fading, you may want to give NARS Smudgeproof a try.

Availability: Sephora

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Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Milani Magenta Madness Lipstick

The Summer Season: Milani Magenta Madness Lipstick

Milani Magenta Madness Lipstick ($5.00) is a darkened magenta-purple with a violet sheen. It’s like a much more purple, almost downplayed version of MAC Show Orchid. It’s as if MAC Violetta and MAC Show Orchid had a baby, actually. Magenta Madness has good color pay off and applies evenly and smoothly. If you’re not sensitive to scents (synthetic ones, in particular), Milani is a great brand for highly pigmented lipsticks at a budget-friendly price.

Is this the right purple lipstick 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 →

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash

MAC Nude: Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara

MAC Barelash Pro Longlash Mascara ($13.00) is a nude-beige shade in the Pro Longlash formula. I definitely got length without spikiness, but the formula is on the drier side, so it has a tendency to clump if you don’t work quickly. On my lashes, it seemed to give me beige tips, but the root and most of the lash length was only a muted gray or else still a black-brown.

I have Pro Longlash in the black shade, so I’m definitely going to make sure to do an official review of that soon, but the formula can be difficult to work with such a short drying time.  It lengthens well, and it doesn’t clump unless you work slowly.  I also experienced no smudging, budging, or flaking while wearing this over eight hours.   The brush is also small enough that it’s very easy to get to all the lashes from root to tip, including lower lashes.

Official description: Goes the distance. Makes lashes luxuriously long and silky: no spikes! Luxury and longitude in a pro-proven formula. Accelerates lashes into length, smooth and fast. Smooth silky finish. Wears long (all day!) Go the distance: bat-a-lash!

I tried to layer mascara on top of it, and it seemed to amp up colored mascara a bit, but it doesn’t work so well, since it dries quite quickly. I’ve had better results with a mascara primer, because they stay wetter longer and don’t require as many coats to mute your natural lash shade.

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Barelash gives decent length and stays on without smudging or flaking off during the day, but the shade itself is a bit odd to work with (particularly since it’s hard to work with colored mascara on top of the dry formula), so I don’t think most customers would have a good use for it.

Availability: MAC PRO

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection

Nubar Sparkles Collection ($49.95) includes eight shades of glitter nail lacquers, most of which have a clear base but a few have a tinted base. I had some really good luck with some of these shades, but I definitely need a little more practice in applying glitter polishes like these.

They are incredibly dense as compared to other glitter finishes I’ve tried, but I did have some unevenness with a few shades and not completely opaque results with others. I think this is more to do with my application technique than the shades themselves–definitely need to be patient and let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. I think also thicker, rather than thinner, coats work better, too. I’m used to laying down a thinner initial coat followed by a thicker secondary coat, but I found it was better with two thicker coats.

The most foolproof shades were definitely Fire Sparkle, Night Sparkle, and Violet Sparkle (these three were my favorites, too –but because of their intense glow!).   The shades I had the most trouble with were Sky Sparkle and Hyacinth Sparkle.

  • Star Sparkle is a clear base with silver and holographic glitter. I did three coats, and you can still see some of my nail beneath it, but it’s considerably opaque given it has a clear base.
  • Fire Sparkle is a sheer red base with red and darkened red glitter. In sunlight and flash, you’ll also catch glimmers of the molten amber flecks of shimmer, too — it really comes alive when the light hits it. Just two coats were needed here.
  • Petunia Sparkle is a magenta purple with red undertones and fuchsia-purple and lighter pink glitter. It’s a clear base–would you believe it–and three coats gave me complete, opaque coverage.
  • Meadow Sparkle is a pale spring green glitter suspended in a lightly tinted green base. To be honest, I didn’t see much tint in the base–I thought it was clear myself. I couldn’t quite get a completely opaque look, but I think I moved a little too fast on this one.
  • Night Sparkle is a deep true blue with flecks of blue and gold glitter. Just two coats for a completely opaque look.
  • Sky Sparkle is a medium blue with a slight aqua lean glitter suspended in a clear base. Personally, I had some trouble getting this one to apply evenly and opaquely.
  • Hyacinth Sparkle is a sheer lavender base with darker and lighter lavender glitter. It took me three coats to get a nearly opaque look, but it was a bit uneven.
  • Violet Sparkle is a deep violet purple with flecks of lighter, brighter violet and purple strewn through a clear base.

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’re a fan of glittery polishes and have been on the hunt for ones that are better alone than layered as a top coat, you may enjoy Nubar’s Sparkle Collection.

Availability: Nubar

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Monday, May 31st, 2010

Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss
Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss

The Summer Season: Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss

Illamasqua Temper Intense Lipgloss ($19.00) is a fiery orange red with a creamy, glossy finish.  It’s a wickedly bright–but neon–orange-red.  I can see this working really well with deeper skin tones and warmer complexions in particular.  I love the pigmentation of this lipgloss, because it makes no bones about what you’re wearing.  Intense Lipgloss isn’t for the fainthearted!  It’s long-wearing with the gloss wearing off after about an hour and a half, but the color itself clinging on for three to four hours and leaving behind a decent stain that wears on for another hour or two.  It’s scent- and taste-free, too, for those with more sensitive senses.

Is this the right orange lipgloss 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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