Sunday, July 18th, 2010

AVEDA Aqua Pearl Eyeshadow
Aveda Aqua Pearl Eyeshadow

Pretty in the Pan; Not So Much on Skin

After being really happy with Aveda’s Golden Jasper Eye Color Trio, I knew I had to try some of the other eyeshadow trios. I decided to go with Aqua Pearl ($22.00 for 0.08 oz.), which looked like a pretty trio of yellow, muted green, and a green-teal. Unfortunately, the eyeshadows themselves are a far cry from what they look like in the pan. I didn’t experience the same soft, melts-on-skin feeling as I did with Golden Jasper. Aqua Pearl was incredibly sheer and all three shades looked muted when swatched. I did like that they weren’t powdery, and they did apply smoothly for the most part–just very, very different than they look in the pan.

I do still like that the eyeshadow trio is packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and paper, and the eyeshadow itself doesn’t contain talc, mineral oil, or parabens.

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  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I would definitely pass on this shade unless you want something very sheer that doesn’t ever get to be intense.

AVAILABILITY: Aveda

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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. :)

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: 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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