Thursday, July 29th, 2010

NYX Nude on Nude Palette
NYX Nude on Nude Palette

Cheap, Tawdry Nudes

For a mere $11, you can grab NYX’s Nude on Nude Palette, which contains nine neutral eyeshadows, plus two complementing lip colors. It contains these eyeshadows: pale nude beige (semi-matte finish), semi-sheer mushroom taupe with warm undertones (light shimmer), cool-toned dark brown (satin finish), peachy copper (frosty/metallic sheen), muted copper (frosty), semi-sheer dark gray brown (light shimmer), brightened copper (frosty), browned gold (frosty), and warmed medium-dark chocolate brown (light shimmer). It also contains a reddish rose with lots of shimmer and sheer, medium bubblegum pink for lip colors.

Overall, the eyeshadow quality is pretty good; some shades kick-up a noticeable amount of powder, so you may experience some fall out when using the shades. Nearly all of the shades were nicely pigmented and had a soft, smooth texture.  I also like the packaging (except the pull out drawer–feels cheap) — on the outside, it looks sleek and classy.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: On a budget and want some neutrals? NYX makes it easy to do so without feeling guilty.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

MAC Dare to Wear Eyeshadow
MAC Dare to Wear Eyeshadows

MAC Dare to Wear: Eyeshadows, Part 2

First, make sure you’ve read Part 1. In this post, you’ll notice four blue-based shades–this collection is definitely skewed towards blue. There are three permanent shades here: Sky Blue, Atlantic Blue, and Winkle; the first available only at PRO, the latter two at all freestanding stores.

  • Zingy is a medium blue that leans just a little green. It’s a less intense version of Electric Eel eyeshadow. It was also a little fussy to get to layer right in a swatch–though it’s pretty once it comes together.
  • Sky Blue is a soft, pale sky blue with silvery-white shimmer in a frost finish. It’s a little on the sheer side and can be a bit dusty. This is a permanent PRO shade.
  • Atlantic Blue is an intense shade of deep blue with a violet undertone in a matte finish. This is one of my favorite shades–period! This is a permanent PRO shade.
  • Winkle is a softened cornflower blue with a satin finish. It needs to be layered to get a nice level of intensity, but it has a very buttery texture. This is a permanent shade.
  • Shock-a-holic is a medium-dark purple with strong red undertones in a matte finish. It’s a little brighter, richer version of Vibrant Grape; brighter/purpler version of Nocturnelle or Fig 1.
  • Crazy Cool is a shimmery cool-toned lilac with a silver-white sheen in a veluxe pearl finish. It’s a darker version of Digit and a lighter version of Beautiful Iris. It’s a little on the sheer side and not as smooth as I’d expect for a veluxe pearl.

Temptalia’s Recommendations

  • Must-Haves:  Atlantic Blue, Winkle
  • Nice-to-Haves: Zingy, Sky Blue, Shock-a-holic
  • Skip: Crazy Cool

Recommendations by Skin Tone

  • Light: Zingy, Sky Blue, Winkle, Shock-a-holic, Crazy Cool
  • Medium: Zingy, Atlantic Blue, Winkle, Shock-a-holic
  • Dark: Zingy, Atlantic Blue, Winkle, Shock-a-holic, Crazy Cool

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

MAC Dare to Wear Eyeshadows
MAC Dare to Wear Eyeshadows

MAC Dare to Wear: Eyeshadows, Part 1

There are twelve brightly colored eyeshadows releasing with MAC’s Dare to Wear Collection, which is Lady Gaga “inspired.” This is a collection that will appeal to some and hold absolutely zero appeal to others. Not only are the shades on the brighter side, the majority of them have a matte finish.

The collection also has a lot of permanent shades, so check your stash before you run over to the store–and if you’re near a store, keep in mind you can purchase the permanent shades in palette form. The permanent shades are Free to Be, Lime, and Aqua, with Free to Be available at all freestanding stores and the latter two only at PRO stores.

  • Louder, Please is a pinked red with a matte finish. This shade was quite pigmented and required very little fussing to get a nice layer of smooth, rich color. This is the closest to red I’ve seen from MAC (but it is not a true red, to be clear).
  • Free to Be is a pinky coral with a matte finish. It has some pigmentation, but it can be a rather difficult shade to really punch up. This is a permanent shade.
  • Going Bananas is a soft, medium yellow with a frosty finish. It has a nice level of pigmentation, and it’s a particularly flattering yellow because it doesn’t run too bright or full-on yellow. This is a repromote.
  • Sassy Grass is a medium-dark grass green with a matte finish. I thought it might resemble Wondergrass (limited edition, released with C-Shock), but it’s much darker and a wee bit greener.
  • Lime is a muted, medium-dark chartreuse green with slight yellow undertones and a matte finish. This was probably one of the harder shades to work with out of the twelve; it’s a bit stiff and takes some layering. This is a permanent PRO shade.
  • Aqua is a bright pastel aqua-blue with a matte finish. This is one of the more powdery matte shades by MAC, and it can be layered to get a nice level of color intensity, but it may look chalky on some complexions. This is a permanent PRO shade.

Temptalia’s Recommendations

  • Must-Haves: Going Bananas, Sassy Grass
  • Nice-to-Haves: Louder, Please, Free to Be, Aqua
  • Skip: Lime

Recommendations by Skin Tone

  • Light: Free to Be, Going Bananas, Lime, Aqua
  • Medium: Louder, Please, Going Bananas, Sassy Grass, Lime
  • Dark: Louder, Please, Going Bananas, Sassy Grass, Lime, Aqua

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

MAC Dare to Wear Lipglass
Lipglass: Wind Me Up, Bold & Brash, So Bad, Gimme That!, Dare to Dare, Ban This!

MAC Dare to Wear: Lipglasses

New and limited edition, MAC Dare to Wear Lipglasses ($18.00 for 0.17 oz.) are like more pigmented, more refined dazzleglasses.  They’re much smoother than dazzleglasses, even as they wear down–the shimmer is incredibly fine to the point where I couldn’t feel it at all when I smooshed my lips together.  These are tacky, though; they are not quite as sticky as traditional Lipglass, but my lips do stick a good bit when I press them together.  Like other MAC lip products, these have their signature vanilla scent as well.

The formula feels creamy, slick, and thin when worn.  It’s not a heavy or thick gloss–not like Lipglass in terms of texture at all.  It takes several passes to get enough product to cover the lips though; I found that not enough product was coming through the tube as I pulled out the wand.   The majority of these weren’t fully opaque; they were certainly close to it, but not quite there.  I do like that they’re a mix of shimmer and rich color, because it makes it a nice two-in-one product.  You don’t have to worry about using a separate lip brush to apply a light, shimmered gloss on top of your wicked pigmented lipstick with these.

When worn by itself, it wears well–I had three hours and going strong, and then I had a creamy pasta dish for lunch.  I’d say 40% made it through lunch — not bad.  You could get away without touching up, but a touch up would still be needed, ideally.

  • Wind Me Up is a coppery browned peach. It’s semi-opaque with a base color of semi-sheer peachy brown color and a high dosage of copper and gold shimmer that lends help to making it look more opaque. This is most flattering on warmer skin tones, since it has stronger orange and copper tones.
  • Bold & Brash is a bright red with fuchsia and ruby micro-shimmer. This is the most opaque shade of the six. I had trouble discerning whether it was a blue- or orange-based red, just because it seemed to change depending on the lighting. I think this is a red that will look good on a variety of skin tones.
  • So Bad is a medium-dark coral melon semi-sheer color base with multi-colored micro-shimmer with predominantly light pink particles. Overall, it’s semi-sheer to semi-opaque. I’d say this is the most wearable of the six.
  • Gimme That! is a brightened fuchsia with a hint of raspberry. It has lots of fuchsia and purple micro-shimmer. It applies nearly opaque.
  • Dare to Dare is a light medium pink semi-sheer color base with white and pink micro-shimmer to make it appear more opaque. This is a very wearable shade, but it is also a little blah. Why is it called Dare to Dare? It pulls a little cool, so it would naturally suit those with cooler undertones, but I think it will work on warmer skin tones, too.
  • Ban This! is a deep wine berry with violet and fuchsia micro-shimmer. It’s semi-opaque, and it has more of a stained look than the thicker, more opaque looks of the other shades.

Recommendations by Skin Tone

  • Light:  So Bad, Gimme That!, Dare to Dare, Ban This!
  • Medium:  Wind Me Up, Bold & Brash, Gimme That!, Ban This!
  • Dark:  Bold & Brash, So Bad, Gimme That!, Ban This!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind a little tackiness to along with richer but still ultra shimmery color, you may want to check out the new formula.

AVAILABILITY: MAC

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Korres Liquid Lipstick
Korres Liquid Lipstick: 25, 28, 30, 54, 56

Fall Makeup Trend: Opaque Lipgloss

Korres Liquid Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a new, water-based liquid lipstick that should appeal to lipgloss and lipstick lovers alike. It’s a very thin formula, and it is incredibly easy to apply. The color is absolutely opaque in a single layer–this is not something you need to layer or use much of at all. The formula also contains “natural raspberry and pomegranate extracts” as the included antioxidants to “protect against free-radical damage and smooth lip lines.”

My lip lines were certainly less noticeable, but I couldn’t say if it was ingredient based for sure–I think the richness of the color and the glossiness of the formula both contributed to the fuller, smoother lip look I had when I wore these. Given that the swatches are taken within seconds of application, I think I’d attribute those immediate results to the pigmentation and finish.

  • #25 Natural is a medium coral that leans neither pink nor orange. It’s opaque, and it has a nice glossiness to it. It has an almost imperciptible touch of white shimmer underneath it.
  • #28 Berry is a brightened fuchsia-red with warm white micro-shimmer. This is incredibly opaque, and though it is bright, it is also a darker shade.
  • #30 Nude Beige is a browned nude with subtle white micro-shimmer and nearly opaque color. It feels almost cool, but it has significant brown, and perhaps even peach, undertones, so it should work well for both cool and warm skin tones.
  • #54 Fuchsia is a bright fuchsia pink with the same imperceptible shimmer that was in #25. It is a pinker version of #28 Berry–they look surprisingly similar, though this shade is obviously brighter and lighter.  It reminded me of a pinker version of Illamasqua Follow.
  • #56 Red is a bold and bright tomato red with subtle white micro-shimmer. This is the most opaque shade of the five, though they’re all rather opaque. This has a stronger orange undertone, so those who prefer more blue-based reds may not find this to their liking.

These have a vanilla mint kind of scent to them; not exactly the most appealing scent to my nose, but it doesn’t linger. The Liquid Lipsticks also have a slight cooling/tingling sensation–it’s not a burning or stinging feeling. It’s just that minty tingling you’d get with any mint-based product (gum, toothpaste, lip gloss…). I found the cooling sensation dissipated within five to ten minutes, and it really wasn’t strong to begin with (which I think is a good thing, personally!).

It’s a thin formula that’s very lightweight, and it wears for a solid four hours or so.  I didn’t notice too much staining, despite the richness of colors, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your tastes!

It definitely seems like opaque gloss may be a major trend for the fall season. MAC’s Dare to Wear Lipglasses are supposed to be intensely pigmented, while Guerlain and Chanel appear to be launching similarly opaque, richly colored glosses during fall/winter.

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 like rich, opaque lip color and love the feel of lip gloss over lipstick, this is a great product for you. The shade range is-overall–a little bold, but there are still two everyday shades available (#25 and #30).

AVAILABILITY: Korres, Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

LUSH Sweet Lips Lip Scrub
LUSH Sweet Lips Lip Scrub

For Convenience: Lip Scrubs

LUSH Sweet Lips Lip Scrub ($8.95 for 0.8 oz.) is a very basic lip scrub that uses castor sugar as its exfoliant. This is a product for those who want convenience, because it feels and works similarly to mixing a little sugar and olive oil–but it comes pre-mixed, conveniently stored, and tastes a bit better than the quickie DIY mix. I do find this to be too dry; the sugar tends to get everywhere and doesn’t adhere very well when I apply it to lips. I expect more of the jojoba oil would likely bind it together better. Since it doesn’t stay together well, I felt like more sugar went straight into the sink than on my lips.

It’s one of the more affordable lip scrubs (other than DIY, of course!) on the market, and you get enough to last you several months. Mine was made in May 2010 and expires in July 2011–good shelf life given the nature of LUSH products, too.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If shelling out $20+ for a lip scrub rubs you the wrong way, but you’re not really into doing it yourself, LUSH might be that happy medium you’re looking for.

AVAILABILITY: LUSH

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →