Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

MAC Hue Lipstick
MAC Hue Lipstick

The Spring Season: MAC Hue Lipstick

MAC Hue Lipstick ($14.00) is a soft, played down pinky-nude with a creamy finish and subtle sheen. It’s semi-opaque; it gives my lips a decent amount of coverage, but it will definitely look a little pinker on more pigmented lips. Hue is really one of those classic MAC shades; you either love it or hate it, but it’s just one of those shades you gotta swatch at least once in your lifetime. I never thought Hue would work on me, but surprisingly, it can. I love it with really dramatic, smoked out looks layered with a sheer gloss like Nymphette.

Is this the perfect pinky nude for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Benefit Spring 2010 Eyeshadows

Benefit Velvet Eyeshadows for Spring 2010

Benefit Spring 2010 Eyeshadows ($18.00 each) come in six, limited edition varieties:  Bo Peep, Buns, Nice Melons, Shamrocker, Mermaid, and Fancy Pansy.  They’re new and only available for a limited time, unfortunately, but they are perfect spring-friendly shades.

I am a big, big fan of Benefit’s Velvet Eyeshadows. I have been for awhile (you can see my original review, if you’re curious), so when I found out that there were six new shades for spring, I got a little excited. When I saw that they had pops of color, I couldn’t wait to try them.  You know me, I love me some color–even though I can totally appreciate a good neutral–and Benefit finally brought me some color.

  • Bo Peep is an icy pink with a silver sheen.  This is probably the one with the most frost-like appearance.
  • Buns is a caramel brown with a soft golden bronze sheen.
  • Nice Melons is a peachy-pink with gold sheen.  It would appear that nobody is going to escape spring without some sort of melon-esque shade in their makeup wardrobe.  Yes, it totally reminds me of MAC Melon pigment, but it’s in glorious pressed form.  (For the record, I do not like MAC pigments pressed… they’re not the same!)
  • Shamrocker is a fresh, minty green with silver sheen.  I don’t even know if I have any minty greens in my stash–it’s just not a color you see too often.  I like!
  • Mermaid is a dark green with a teal edge and gold sheen.  I would have loved to see a little more boldness and vibrancy from this shade, even though it is very much in line with the look and feel of Benefit as a line.
  • Fancy Pansy is a iridescent fuchsia-purple pearled shade with an icy sheen.  It’s like a much more purple version of MAC Stars ‘n Rockets (which runs a little fuchsia in comparison).

All six shades have the same softness, smoothness, and pigmentation as I’ve come to expect of Velvet Eyeshadows.  One of my favorite qualities about these is the consistency across the line — there are no duds.  There are no misses in texture, color pay off, or feel.  Everything is as it should be, even if one color may not be to your taste.  I can really appreciate the consistency, because it means you don’t have to worry, “Is this one going to be a flop?”

I would, of course, love to see Benefit add even more vibrant hues (a girl can dream, right?) or even a line of matte or semi-matte eyeshadows to complement the Velvet Eyeshadow line (which is all on the shimmery side of life).  But nevertheless, I hope they’ll continue to release new and/or limited edition shades throughout 2010!

Can’t wait to do a look with these!

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love soft, smooth, well-pigmented eyeshadow, Benefit’s Velvet Eyeshadow is all that and more.

Availability: Benefit

See photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Tarte Flower Child Eyeshadow Palette for Spring 2010

Tarte for Spring 2010:  Flower Child Palette

Tarte Flower Child Natural Eyeshadow Palette ($44.00) is a new spring-styled palette from Tarte. It seems like every season, Tarte has a new eyeshadow palette up their sleeves. The Flower Child palette is in the same vein; it includes ten eyeshadows housed in a purple-covered case (kind of like a patent material) with flowers sprouting out on top (sorry, no photo).

Inspired by the rich earthen hues from which their pure color pigments are harvested and this Spring’s runway and red carpet trends, Tina’s interpretation of tarte’s best-selling eyeshadow palette combines saturated pigments with subtle pops of color. Versatile and artistic, this palette seamlessly transitions between day and night thanks to a wide variety of tones ranging from delicate to robust. This harmonious balance of shades ingeniously captures the expressiveness of the eyes no matter the look.

Eyeshadows

  • Soft Daffodil is a lightly shimmered peach. It’s hard to see on my skin tone, but it’s a very pretty shade to use with a neutral or softer look.
  • Ecru Hibiscus is a pink champagne. It may not seem ultra pigmented to the eye, but it’s designed to be softer shade — this is something you could use as a highlighter or as a wash. I think it’s just pigmented enough to do what it should.
  • Pink Peony is a brightened up blue-based pink. It was a little powdery when I played with it and looked sheerer when swatched than I’d have liked it to be. Even though it’s supposed to have shimmer, it seemed very minute to me.
  • Gray Periwinkle is a silvered gray with a light shimmer sheen (but it’s truly quite faint). I didn’t see any periwinkle in this, though. This shade was decently pigmented relative to the rest of the shades in the palette.
  • Peach Tulip is a coppery bronze that goes on very smooth and looks rich. This one is very pigmented, but it looks absolutely nothing like a peach or tulip. This seems like a better fit for the name “Firewheel” (while Firewheel seems a better fit for Peach Tulip).
  • Firewheel is a peachy melon with a soft gold sheen. This is a played down, more pinked melon than MAC’s Melon pigment. I always gravitate towards these kinds of shades! This applied very smooth and pigmented.
  • Buttercup is a slightly warmed-up soft brown with a matte finish. It’s soft, but it’s a little on the sheerer side and can look a bit faded.
  • African Violet is a darkened purple with red undertones with a light shimmer sheen. It’s decently pigmented, though not intense.
  • Delphinium Blue is a powdery navy blue. This was the sheerest and most powdery shade of the ten eyeshadows–it just wasn’t very pigmented or smooth.
  • Vibrant Forest Grass is a darkened cool-toned green with a soft shimmer finish. I think the name is a little off — it’s not vibrant (just pigmented, but not intensely so), but it is like a forest green, I suppose.

Also included in the palette is a double-sided eyeliner that has a dark brown on one side and a lightly shimmered darkened teal on the other; a double-sided brush (yes, a brush–no sponge tip applicators here!), and a miniature-sized Natural Eye Primer. The Eye Primer doesn’t actually fit inside the palette, though, so it’s not as functional as it could be. (It comes in a plastic holder that hangs off of the side.)

All of the eyeshadows are full-sized and magnetized so you can remove them if you want, refill with other Tarte eyeshadows as needed, and so on. I really do like that, because it means you are getting a great deal for your money, but it means you can always slot in another shade if you happen to finish one of these!

Bottom Line: It’s a solid palette, but it’s definitely on the sheerer/softer side of the eyeshadow spectrum. The colors do fit well with the season, as it gives me a spring feeling. The palette itself holds excellent value as you get ten full-sized eyeshadows for $44 (as opposed to $10 a pop, not that you can purchase these shades individually, though). I think some of the shades could have used some more pigmentation, particularly the deeper shades, but it’s a decent palette overall.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For a real value-loaded palette, Tarte’s Flower Child offers several soft shades for the spring season.

Availability: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, January 25th, 2010

MAC Nymphette Lipglass

The Spring Season: MAC Nymphette Lipglass

MAC Nymphette Lipglass ($14.00) is a pretty semi-sheer concoction of golden shimmered champagne pink with just a touch of green-gold shimmer. It’s the most affordable dupe of Cle de Peau #2 Lip Gloss that I’ve found, but it is also a lot sheerer (more of a soft pink base, whereas Cle de Peau shows up more a champagne nude with lots of gold). But Nymphette is a beautiful shade in its own right, so I really wouldn’t think about it as “just a dupe for,” but a shade that’s worth buying independent of that. It works well layered on lipsticks but can also be worn alone for a pretty pout. MAC Lipglass is vanilla-scented and one of the tackier glosses on the market, but those are both things I like (hey, tackier lipglosses have a tendency to stay on better!), particularly since MAC Lipglass lasts about three to four hours on me when worn alone.

Is this the perfect glossy shade for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

 

Guerlain Corail Passion Lipstick
Guerlain Corail Passion Lipstick

The Spring Season: Guerlain Corail Passion Lipstick

Guerlain Corail Passion (#559) KissKiss Lipstick ($30.00) is a soft orange-based coral with a slight frost sheen. It applies easily, goes on semi-opaque, and has a glossy sheen in its finish. It’s not quite shimmery yet it definitely has a frost edge to it (but I don’t think it’s too frosty, like frosts sometimes are). It’s not my perfect coral (Guerlain’s Gems is the closest so far!), but I like the way it’s distinctly coral but not too bright–many truer corals also tend to be bolder, brighter.

I’m not often a fan of orange-based shades on me, whether they’re red or coral or what-have-you, but this is soft enough of an orange hue that it doesn’t bother me as it usually does! The texture is soft and smooth, very easy to work with, and I get about four to five hours of wear from KissKiss lipsticks. They are heavily scented, so if you prefer soft scents, scent-free, or more vanilla-esque scents, you may want to take a sniff before you buy a Guerlain lipstick.

Is this the perfect glossy shade for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Eyeshadow Palette

I purchased the palette online at Urban Decay on Friday, and it finally arrived here to me in California (they ship out from Florida, FYI!). For those interested in picking one up for themselves, both U.S. and Canadian Sephoras are taking phone orders. I know the U.S. number is 1-877-SEPHORA. Last I heard, Sephora would have it online around the 26th and retails for $52.

In the Book of Shadows, Alice in Wonderland style, you get sixteen eyeshadows, each weighing 0.03 oz. You also receive a miniaturized Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.) and two miniaturized 24/7 eye pencils (0.3 oz.) in Zero and Flipside.

It is important to note that the eyeshadows included in the palette are not new shades; they’re existing/previous shades re-named to fit in the Alice in Wonderland theme. That being said, if you own Urban Decay’s Ammo, Book of Shadows Vol. I/Vol. II, or the Sustainable Palettes, you may already own the majority of the shadows in the Alice in Wonderland kit.  Below is a shadow-by-shadow review with the real-name of the eyeshadow in parentheses (for your reference).

Eyeshadows

  • Underland (Flash) is a bright, cool-toned medium purple with an icy lilac shimmer. It’s soft, smooth, and richly pigmented.
  • Alice (Painkiller) is a bright aqua-blue with an icy sheen. Like Underland, it’s smooth, silky soft, and has lots of pigment to it.
  • Oraculum (Baked) is a warmed-up copper with a softer copper sheen. Smooth, soft, well-pigmented. I do find this one has a bit of a frostier finish than some of the other shades.
  • Queen (Last Call) is a reddened eggplant with a burgundy edge. It has a frost-like sheen, but it is smooth and pigmented.
  • Chessur (Chopper) is a cooler-toned, not nearly as bright, copper shade. It has the same soft texture as the majority of Urban Decay’s shadows, but it has silverish glitter particles that may contribute to some fall out in practice.
  • White Rabbit (Polyester Bride) is a gently yellowed white (though still, very white) with a white-gold sheen. Like Chessur, it also has some glitter to it, so it’s not quite my favorite texture.
  • Wonderland (Maui Wowie) is a tarnished gold, maybe an antique gold, but not quite so dark. It has a golden bronze sheen to it. It’s pigmented and smooth, but it also has a few glitter particles (though I think this is one of the more manageable glitter-based shades in the bunch).
  • Curiouser (Grifter) is a lightened fuchsia-purple with icy purple sheen. It also has silverish glitter particles in it, which may lead to fall out. This is one of the lesser pigmented shades, though it still has decent color pay off.
  • Muchness (X) is a peachy-melon with a gold sheen. It almost has a little mauve to it, in certain lighting. It reminded me of MAC’s Melon pigment quite a bit. This has a frosty finish, but it doesn’t have the glitter, so it’s smooth and easier to work with.
  • Mushroom (Mushroom) is a taupe brown with kind of a silvery sheen and shimmer. It’s not quite as rich as some of the other shades, but it can be layered for a more intense look. (Don’t get me wrong, it has nice pigmentation–just not as intense as the other shades in this palette.)
  • Midnight Tea Party (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again) is a flushed champagne with silver/gold glitter particles. This is quite possibly my least favorite Urban Decay eyeshadow. It is a pain in the behind to work with, because the glitter fall out is pretty insane. It’s a shame, because the color itself is pretty, but the glitter means “No, thank you!” for me.
  • Vorapal (S&M) is a neutral, slightly cooled down silver with a brighter silver sheen. Smooth and pigmented.
  • Absolem (Homegrown) is a grassy green with a golden shimmered sheen. Very pigmented and true-to-color.
  • Drink Me, Eat Me (Sin) is a pinked champagne with a bright, frosty sheen. It’s like a pinker version of Midnight Tea Party–and sans all the glittery fall out.
  • Mad Hatter (Twice Baked) is a lightly glittered dark brown with warm undertones. I don’t remember Twice Baked behing so lagging in pigment, but I really had to layer this one on to get a decent evenness. It gave me some drag and a faded look.
  • Jabberwocky (Oil Slick) is a dark black base with icy blue and silver glitter. While not as prone to fall out as Midnight Tea Party, it’s still one of the glittery shades that may lead to some fall out while applying it.

Bottom Line: From the beginning, I’ve been a little disappointed that Urban Decay didn’t create some new shades for this palette, in light of the partnership between them and Alice in Wonderland. The names are certainly excellent and totally work with the theme, but I would have appreciated (and just loved to have seen!) brand new shades.

I like the shades and palette overall, but I think I already own the majority in various other palettes, too, so I’ll probably end up passing this on to my sister after I do some looks with it (well, hopefully!). I’m not a huge fan of Urban Decay’s more glittery shades (of which there are six, with one being exceptionally hard to work with) and tend to prefer their smoother shades.  I think the palette could have done with a few matte or semi-matte shades, too, just to break up the frost and shimmer.

The packaging is very cohesive, and it looks good.  It fits with the theme, but I think they put it together quite nicely.  My lid won’t stay open, so it being used as a mirror is not happening as of yet.  Since the theme, while well-done, isn’t a driver for me though, I probably would have passed on this palette under normal circumstances.  It’s a better buy if you are looking to try a bunch of Urban Decay eyeshadows without investing in singles; it’s definitely a value palette if that’s the case!

Love it or hate it?

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: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re a big Alice in Wonderland fan, or really like cute packaging, you may want to place you order sooner rather than later. OR if you’ve always wanted to try out UD shadows (but don’t have any/just a few).

Availability: Sephora (TBA)

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →