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Zoya Piaf Nail Lacquer

Zoya Piaf Nail Lacquer
Zoya Piaf Nail Lacquer

A Shimmery Yellow That’s Not Quite Gold

Zoya Piaf Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “fresh forsythia yellow metallic.” It’s a subdued, sunshine yellow with pale gold shimmer and sparkle. China Glaze Champagne Bubbles was the closest color I could think of, but it’s darker, yellower–more gold than yellow–and has micro-glitter. What makes Piaf different is that it’s more yellow than gold, and then it’s a lighter yellow with shimmer, so it’s not like some of the creamy yellows I’ve seen.

Piaf is opaque after two coats of polish, just as described (full coverage), and there are no metallic threads or visible brush strokes in the finished color.  It also has a naturally glossy shine when it dries down.  The consistency was a bit thicker than the average polish and still thicker even compared to the average Zoya consistency, so you’ll want to take care for each coat that you apply so that there isn’t any excess polish that shifts to the side while it dries.   With Zoya, I usually find it wears with minor tip wear but no chipping over seven days.

Zoya Nail Lacquer Piaf
Piaf
Piaf
A-

Permanent

9
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
90%
Total

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bareMinerals The Indecent Proposal Blush

bareMinerals The Indecent Proposal Blush
bareMinerals The Indecent Proposal Blush

I’m Plum Out of Indecent Proposals

bareMinerals The Indecent Proposal Blush ($22.00 for 0.21 oz.) is described simply as a “dusty plum.” It is a darkened plum with subtle red undertones and a very fine dusting of gold micro-shimmer (just barely noticeable when blended out). MAC Stratus is a more intense version–also has a stronger sheen. MAC Notable is more subdued.

Last year, bareMinerals released a pressed version of blushes–as part of the Ready range–after the success of their eyeshadows. I like their blushes, but I’m not as in love with the blush formula as I am with the eyeshadow one. I find the texture of the Ready blushes to be a little stiffer, less dense (lacks that buttery consistency of the eyeshadows). The texture is a smidgen powdery, though finely-milled and soft to the touch. When I wore this, I ended up pushing it to sixteen hours of wear (we took a trip down to Monterey!), and it lasted well for a full ten and looked noticeably faded after sixteen. It’s advertised as “up to eight hours,” so it certainly lives up to that claim and then some.

bareMinerals The Indecent Proposal Blush

A-
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
4
Application
91%
Total

Guerlain Mythic Meteorites Voyage Powder

Guerlain Mythic Meteorites Voyage Powder
Guerlain Mythic Meteorites Voyage Powder

Instant Photoshop for Your Skin

Guerlain Mythic Meteorites Voyage Powder ($55.00/$170.00 for 0.26 oz.) consists of a “blend of matte and pearly shades … mixture of six correcting or light-enhancing colors to deliver the purest radiance.” When blended and applied together, they create a pale pink powder with subtle shimmer/sparkle. Chantecaille Les Petales de Rose is more shimmery with a warmer golden sheen. MAC Lightscapade is more shimmery. MAC Light Sunshine has a bit more of a sheen and powderiness to it.

So, after discovering the majesty of Wulong over the holiday season, I knew I had to see whether the always-available Mythic was similar/comparable (because Wulong is limited edition, and while you can refill the compact, it would have to be with Mythic). One of the reasons I wanted to find out about their similarities is because you can purchase the pan without the compact–the pan will run you $55, whereas the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle with cost you $170.

Initially, I thought, “This is going to be different,” but as is the nature of the product, no, not really (and that’s not a bad thing). What I noticed more with Mythic is that it’ll be a better mattifying product, because it has more of a matte, powdered base color with a very subtle sheen and a dusting of delicate micro-shimmer. Wulong reads slightly more as a barely-there sheen with less of a mattifying texture. In the pan, Mythic appears cooler-toned, but on, I don’t notice any coolness at all, because it is designed to be a transparent finishing powder over all else. For those who couldn’t bear the price of Wulong, if you have an existing compact or an empty palette to store it in, Mythic is something worth checking out instead. I measured, and the diameter of the pan appears to be 55mm.

Guerlain’s Meteorites Voyage Powders are really a pressed version of their famous Meteorite with less emphasis on shimmer, more on radiance, brightening, and creating an illusion of better skin.  That’s really what these powders do for me:  give me the effect of Photoshop in real life. They’re a subtle something-rather that no one can point to and say, “Oh, nice highlighter!’ but instead say, “Hey, are you doing something different with your skin today?”  As a finishing powder, it’s the very last step in the routine, right after setting powder, but honestly, I regularly use this (and Wulong) as both my setting and finishing powder–I have normal-to-dry skin, so I imagine that’s part of why I can get away with it–but I have noticed it still extends the wear of my base makeup by about an hour.

This is the kind of product that either makes it into your everyday routine or you’ll never understand how anyone on earth could shell out money for something they can’t (or barely) see. It’s okay to feel either way; what’s most important is that you enjoy your makeup. I’ve used either this or Wulong since getting Wulong (and prior to that, I was using Guerlain’s Illuminating & Mattifying Pressed Powder, which is also a worthwhile alternative), but I have been using this specifically for the past two weeks.  For me, it is absolutely part of my everyday routine.  If you asked me to choose, I would say Wulong–but that is because it is limited edition, because I like the look of the compact, and I’m just a little warm.

Guerlain Meteorites Voyage Powder Mythic
Mythic
Mythic
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

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Giorgio Armani Blush (500) Lip Maestro

Giorgio Armani Blush (500) Lip Maestro
Giorgio Armani Blush (500) Lip Maestro

A Perfect Pink for Everyday Wear

Giorgio Armani Blush (500) Lip Maestro ($32.00 for 0.22 fl. oz.) is a medium rosy pink with subtle warm undertones and a hint of mauve. In the tube, it looks more mauve than when swatched and applied–it definitely has a rosier hue on. MAC Shanghai Spice is warmer, less pink. MAC Flamingo is sheerer, pinker. NARS Montego Bay is a bit warmer. Cle de Peau #124 is shimmery and sheerer. Lancome Voile de Rose is similar.

Lip Maestro is a fantastic formula that’s long-wearing (Blush wore for six and a half hours), incredibly comfortable to wear (thanks to the slip and velvety feel from the silicone), and richly pigmented.  It’s completely opaque when applied, and you don’t need much product for full opacity.  It has a slightly slanted doe-foot applicator, and the lipstick is unscented. The consistency is lightweight but not particularly thin (but not at all thick), so it glides over lips without skipping.

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Blush (500)
Blush (500)
Blush (500)
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

China Glaze Glitz-Bitz ‘n’ Pieces Collection

China Glaze Bling It On Nail Lacquer
China Glaze Bling It On Nail Lacquer

Scattered Bitz ‘n Pieces in Six Flavors

China Glaze Glitz-Bitz ‘n Pieces ($8.00 MSRP for 0.50 fl. oz.) includes six shades that each have 3D glitter with black “bitz ‘n pieces.” All six shades include black horizontal bar glitter, small black glitter, and larger black hexagon-shaped glitter; and then each shade has additional colored hexagons and glitter.

  • Bling It On contains bluish-purple glitter in small and medium sizes, along with medium hexagon-shaped particles, plus the black counterparts and black bar glitter. (One coat over L’Oreal’s Members Only, two coats alone on thumb.)
  • Glitz ‘n Pieces contains silver glitter in small and medium sizes, along with medium hexagon-shaped particles, plus the black counterparts and black bar glitter. (One coat over China Glaze Creative Fantasy, two coats alone on thumb.)
  • Graffiti Glitter contains green glitter in small and medium sizes, along with medium hexagon-shaped particles, plus the black counterparts and black bar glitter. (One coat over Zoya Piaf, two coats alone on thumb.)
  • Mosaic Madness contains blue glitter in small and medium sizes, along with medium hexagon-shaped particles, plus the black counterparts and black bar glitter. (One coat over Zoya Blu, two coats alone on thumb.)
  • Razzle Me, Dazzle Me contains champagne glitter in small and medium sizes, along with medium hexagon-shaped particles, plus the black counterparts and black bar glitter. (One coat over China Glaze Bend Over Backwards, two coats alone on thumb.)
  • Scattered & Tattered contains muted red glitter in small and medium sizes, along with medium hexagon-shaped particles, plus the black counterparts and black bar glitter. (One coat over Butter London Trout Pout, two coats alone on thumb.)

I don’t know of any exact dupes for these shades, because changing even one component of a glitter polish can change up the effect of seeing it layered quite a bit. Lynnderella Connect the Dots, which was a mix of black and white glitter in small, medium, hexagon, square, and bar shapes, was my first thought. It is, also, similar to China Glaze’s own Whirled Away from their Cirque du Soleil collection–where Whirled Away was black and white, all of the glitter pieces were much, much larger. The Bitz ‘n Pieces collection is much more interesting, as it adds smaller, finer particles to add interest to the background. Where Connect the Dots was more flat in color, this set of six are more metallic and reflective and seemed more densely-packed per coat.

All six were really consistent; the clear base thin in consistency, but the actual polish (in its sum) was almost thick because it was so densely-packed with glitter.  One coat yields a generous heaping of glitter, and all of the varying sizes and shapes come out in one go, too. There’s no need to push, pull, or dab the polish on, as it all will spread into place as if you were applying any normal polish. Because of the bar glitter, you may find you need to check the edges of the nail so the glitter is flush with the edge.  I wore Glitz ‘n Pieces for wear, and it wore for a full seven days without peeling, flaking, or chipping.

China Glaze Glitz-Bitz ‘n’ Pieces Collection

A
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
94%
Total

MAC Strength Collection Lipsticks

MAC Absolute Power Lipstick
MAC Absolute Power Lipstick

MAC Strength: Lipsticks

Update: MAC has restocked Pink Pigeon and Party Parrot lipsticks and blushes from Strength! All are available as of 1/8 at 6:26 PM PST.

MAC Strength Lipsticks ($15.00 for 0.10 oz. each) includes five shades: Absolute Power (rich red), Firm Form (gilded black with gold pearl), Party Parrot (bright red pink), Pink Pigeon (bright cleanest pink), and Strong Woman (bright violet). Party Parrot and Pink Pigeon are repromotes.

Absolute Power is a pinky-red with a matte finish and blue undertones. It’s fully opaque on lips, and it has a creamy consistency, so it was easier to apply and get even coverage–no pulling or dragging. Guerlain Calligraphy is slightly lighter. NYX Chic Red is very similar. MAC Ruby Woo is more matte but very similar in color. NARS Dragon Girl is bluer.

Firm Form is a blackish-brown with a dusting of gold micro-shimmer. It looks a little purple-ish applied, as the lipstick mixes over my natural lip color. It is pretty opaque, and though it does not apply perfectly evenly, it does apply considerably better than a lot of other lipsticks in this shade family. MAC Grey Friday is grayer, lighter. Chanel Hysteria is cooler-toned, blacker. MAC Smoked Purple is much purpler and lighter.

Party Parrot is a bright pink-coral with a mostly matte finish. It goes on with full color coverage and has a creamy consistency that doesn’t pull or tug at the lips during application. This shade wears around six hours. Guerlain Gracy is a bit pinker, less bright. MAC Fusion Pink has pink iridescence, less bright. Make Up For Ever #37 is less pink, more coral. MAC Impassioned is pinker.

Pink Pigeon is a bright, blue-based medium pink with a mostly matte finish, though there’s a natural sheen initially. It has opaque color coverage, and it applied evenly and easily. It lasted for six hours when I tested it last week (used my original version). MAC Candy Yum Yum is brighter, a little cooler-toned. OCC Yaoi is metallic. OCC Nylon is much brighter, cooler-toned. MAC Dear Diary is cooler-toned, more magenta. MAC Quick Sizzle is darker. NARS Schiap is darker, less bright. Milani Rose Hip is a touch lighter and less cool-toned.

Strong Woman is a dark purple with subtle pink-red undertones. It has opaque coverage with a matte finish, but it is a creamier matte, so it doesn’t drag on the lips. I suspect MAC Up the Amp is the closest dupe for this shade–I believe it is less red-toned, a little grayer in a way. MAC Seasoned Plum is lighter, less red-toned. MAC Violetta is brighter and iridescent. MAC Heroine is pinker, more magenta.

With the exception of Firm Form, these lipsticks are great shades by MAC with a solid matte formula that doesn’t pull or tug at the lips, delivers even, full color coverage, and are comfortable to wear.  As these are richer, bolder hues, they have a tendency to stain and wear longer than the average lipstick.  Firm Form doesn’t apply as evenly as the other four shades, but it is worth noting that it is good for the kind of color it is, and kudos for being as opaque as it is, too.  MAC lipsticks are vanilla-scented and come in a black tube with a pop-off cap.

To be perfectly honest, I’m really bummed about quickly these sold out. I purchased them as soon as they came online and overnighted them, but they sold out within hours (some within an hour). It’s a mixture of disappointment for not being able to review them for you before they launched and general frustration over it–kind of leaves me feeling like, “Should I even review this collection?” When it comes to these shades, I wish you luck if you make an attempt to track them down. MAC changed distribution at the last minute, so only freestanding stores (which also means the only online option is maccosmetics.com) received it, and with today (the 26th) being a major shopping day, I’m feeling more cynical than usual regarding stock.

My recommendations for alternatives would be:  MAC Ruby Woo, MAC Impassioned, MAC Candy Yum Yum, and MAC Up the Amp.  (Unfortunately, I don’t have a good alternative to recommend for Firm Form.)

MAC Strength Collection Lipsticks

A
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
96%
Total

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