Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Chanel Nouvelle Vague Le Vernis

Chanel Les Pop-Up de Chanel:  Nouvelle Vague

At $23 a pop, Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Lacquer is a decadent indulgence for your hands. Some love ‘em, some hate ‘em. I’m in the camp of love the product, hate the price (but who loves to pay more? seriously!). I’ve personally haven’t had any issues with formula or wear on the Chanel shades I own. In Les Pop-Up de Chanel (Chanel’s summer collection), Chanel is releasing three new shades of Le Vernis: Mistral (soft pink), Nouvelle Vague (turquoise), and Riviera (intense pink).

I literally just received Nouvelle Vague this afternoon, and I was thinking about holding off to post until tomorrow, but I just can’t resist. Nouvelle Vague is a beautiful shade of aqua-blue. It’s turquoise, but it’s not a brightened turquoise. It’s pastel without being light and sheer. There is the finest dusting of icy, aqua-blue shimmer laced throughout the aqua-blue. It’s a very stunning shade of turquoise. It’s one of my favorite polishes by Chanel, ever.

For those who find Chanel out of their price range (or fear their bank account murdering them in their sleep if they purchased this…), don’t despair, because China Glaze For Audrey is so, so close. Chanel’s Nouvelle Vague is just the slightest bit lighter and it has shimmer, whereas China Glaze’s is a pure cream.  Check out the swatches to see just how similar they are.  Personally?  I would have bought Nouvelle Vague anyway.  In a heartbeat.  I wouldn’t even think twice (barely once!).

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  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I think for those who love their polish, there may be the need to own both, but for those who are simply lusting after the shade, For Audrey might be a little lighter on the wallet.

Availability: May 2010

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Body Creme

A Bedtime Indulgence with Vanilla & Anise

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Body Creme ($75.00 for 5.9 fl. oz.) is a decadent scent indulgence for the body.  It’s expensive, but it’s a definite luxury.  Vanilla & Anise is new for spring, and it is delicious!  It’s times like these that I wish I had a more sophisticated sniffer, because I’ve been bumbling over how to describe this scent for the past week!

Top Notes: Sicilian Bergamot, Tunisian Neroli, Wild Fennel Flower, Star Anise
Heart Notes: Oleander, Tuberose, Frangipani, Purple Vanilla Orchid
Base notes: Clove, Tonka, White Amber, Creamy Musks, Vanilla Bourbon Absolute, Vetiver Haiti

Initially, it has a spicy, lightly vanilla scent mixed with a sharper citrus taste, which is pleasant and enjoyable, but the dry down is fantastic.  It’s like a heady, seductive mix of tempered vanilla and amber with an almost woody feel.  The vanilla notes you find in this scent is not the vanilla cupcake scent you’ll find at a bakery.  It has a definite sweetness to it, but it’s not cloying or sugary-sweet.

Though the scent is the most important part of the product, I was particularly impressed by how well and long it wears.  I’ve been using this before I go to bed on my arms and legs, and the scent lingers beautifully.  I find a lot of scented body lotions and creams don’t last long and often have a stale smell, if they do last a few hours.  Vanilla & Anise stays with me until I wake up and take a shower, though it has gently worn over through the night–but I can still smell it on me without trying.

The Body Creme also does a bang-up job keeping my dragon-lady legs at bay, which I was surprised at as well.  I just imagined that, despite enjoying Jo Malone products in the past, it wouldn’t be a truly rich and luxurious body cream, but it was and is.  The texture of the Body Creme is certainly rich, but it’s creamy without being too thick or stiff.  You don’t need much (which is good, ’cause you don’t get much!), and despite being a richer cream, it absorbs within minutes and doesn’t leave behind any greasiness or stickiness.

Last night, I walked into the office, and my boyfriend instantly took notice and was like, “Mmm!”  It’s always a wonderful thing when you and your significant other can agree on your beauty favorites!

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’re a Jo Malone fan and haven’t yet tried a body creme, you might want to try a sample if you’re able to–you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.  A supreme indulgence but a very much worth it indulgence!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Urban Decay Summer of Love Eyeshadow Palette

Travel with Urban Decay This Summer

Urban Decay Summer of Love Shadow Palette ($29.00) is a new-for-summer eyeshadow palette that features four eyeshadows (0.04 oz. each), a miniature Sin Primer Potion (0.09 fl. oz.), and miniature Bourbon 24/7 Eye Pencil (0.03 oz.). The eyeshadows included in the palette are Flash (bright iridescent purple), Maui Wowie (medium gold with silver glitter), Chopper (coppery fawn with silver microglitter), and Smog (deep coppery bronze).

Everything in the palette is available individually, should you only fall in love with one of the shades! As such, everything included is also permanent. However, for those who do not already have the majority of these eyeshadows either individually or in various past-released palettes, you get a good amount of product in the palette itself.

Normal eyeshadows are 0.05 oz. (and retail for $17) while the palette versions are 0.03 oz. — still plenty to use. The eyeliner is typically 0.04 oz. (and retails for $17) but 0.03 oz. in the palette. Plus, you do get the mini-sized Sin Primer Potion (my least favorite of the primers, though–so metallic!). All in all, the palette is a good deal with lots of value–if you don’t already own the shades in it.

  • Flash is a cool-toned violet purple with a slight iridescence. It’s very smooth, pigmented, and vibrant.
  • Maui Wowie is an antique gold with silver glitter. It has great color pay off, and I swear this version felt so much smoother than the one included in the Alice in Wonderland palette, which felt much grittier. You may encounter some fall out with this shade from the glitter.
  • Chopper is a muted copper with a gilded-bronze sheen/shimmer. It has nice pigmentation and applies smoothly.
  • Smog is a deepened chocolate brown with a warm bronze sheen. It, too, is a vibrant shade that has rich pigmentation.

Urban Decay seems to really love releasing summer palettes with a series of browns and then a pop of color. (Remember Get Baked from last year?) I do like this color variation a lot better than last year’s, because I feel like there is a good amount of differentiation between each shade.

The packaging fits with their theme–definitely groovy and all that–but I’m not digging the vintage photographs on the back. I would have personally loved to have seen the floral pattern continue around the mirror, like it did in Get Baked. It’s cool that the graphic designer’s parents are now immortalized in a makeup palette, but for me, it’s just, “Who are these random people?” Like the majority of Urban Decay products, it is made out of sturdy cardboard. I like these flip-open palettes, because they’re slim, streamlined, and easy to travel with and store.

It’s a nice option for a summer palette, but as always, I wish Urban Decay would release new shades of eyeshadows rather than using their permanent shadows. It makes it hard to purchase as a fan, just because you probably own all of them with the palettes you already have! Maybe Urban Decay should make palette forms available of all their eyehadows so we can just mix and match throughout the year! :)

P.S. – I think I have enough mini-sized Bourbon liners to get me through year 3000.

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

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

Recommendation: If you don’t own a lot of Urban Decay eyeshadows, this palette makes a fun option for some summery shades. It’s a great value if you don’t have any of the shades, and the quality of the products within the palette are tops.  It’s easily skipped if you own half or more of the shades/products in it.

Availability: Urban Decay

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Toki Doki for Sephora
Toki Doki

tokidoki for Sephora: Royal Pride Inferno Bronzer

tokidoki Royal Pride Inferno Bronzer ($22.00 for 0.37 oz.) is a warmed, golden-tan with champagne-gold shimmer bronzing powder. The powder itself has a heart and crossbones raised design in the middle, and there’s no overspray on it, it’s just the same as the rest of the product–which is nice, just because I hate being duped by those oversprays!

Though I was disappointed with the color pay off of Adios Star, I had no such pigmentation issues with Royal Pride. This swatched beautifully–pigmented, smooth, and gorgeous to look at. As far as bronzing goes, I think this will work nicely on lighter medium skin tones to deeper medium skin tones, but it may turn orange on some of the paler beauties. I’d recommend paler and very cool skin tones to swatch in-store if they’re able to.

tokidoki also has Diavolina, which is described as a “medium/tan with gold shimmer.” I felt like Royal Pride was a pretty deep bronzer, but it’s described as a “light/medium with gold shimmer.” I think Diavolina may be best for medium deep to deep complexions, but I haven’t seen it to be sure.

The packaging is made out of plastic, but it feels heavy and thick enough that I don’t feel like I’m using dollar-store makeup (which is always my fear whenever I see a non-beauty brand enter the beauty biz!). It’s solid, semi-clear, and should be sturdy enough to tote around.

You also get a whopping 0.37 oz. of product, which is rather hefty for a bronzing product. MAC Bronzing Powders are also $22, but you get 0.30 oz. I think tokidoki did a good job pricing themselves above mass, but they didn’t price themselves out of range, either. I wouldn’t go crazy buying hundreds of dollars over this without testing it first, but I can see myself picking a few items just to try and see (and if all else fails, take advantage of Sephora’s excellent return policy).

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 looking for a golden-toned bronzer, I think you may like Royal Pride.  It’s quite pigmented, so use a light hand or a fluffier brush when you go to use it to keep from overdoing it!

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Toki Doki for Sephora

tokidoki for Sephora: Adios Star Cromatico Eyeshadow

tokidoki Adios Star Cromatico Eyeshadow ($15.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a matte black base with silver glitter strewn through it. It looked pretty in the pan, but unfortunately looks rather chalky when swatched, and it took some effort to get a decent level of pigmentation. Being a black eyeshadow, though, you could easily use this in the crease and not notice any chalkiness–but you might think of it as more of a dark gray-black than pure black.

This is the only tokidoki eyeshadow I have tried, so please don’t take this review of this single shade as representative of the whole line! I’m definitely going to check it out in person or grab another one or two shades online to see if this is just a poor man within an otherwise good range. Hopefully, Temptalia readers have also given these a try, so they can speak up on some other shade’s behalf! :)  I know the lovely Muse reviewed Carnivora, Diamante, and SavanaSavana looks way better in terms of pigmentation.

The packaging is very tokidoki inspired–if you dig it, you dig it; if it’s not your thing, that’s okay, too. I’d say that I’m neutral on the whole thing myself, but I think it’s done well. It’s not luxe, ultra high-end packaging, but it doesn’t feel like something you’d find in the dollar bin either. I like that each of the eyeshadows has a different colored lid–it’s just a nice touch. The price is also just right at $15, because these are actually cheaper than MAC eyeshadows by the ounce–MAC eyeshadows are $14.50 each, but you only get 0.05 oz. while the tokidoki eyeshadows are $15 each, but you get 0.07 oz.

So right now, though I’m disappointed in this shade, I am going to keep an eye out for more shades at my local Sephora and see how those hold up for me. I definitely want to check out Bastardino, Bruttino, Ciao Caio, Killer Candy, Savana, Skeletrina, and Soya. Shocker, I’m sure, that those are all some of the brighter shades available.

Shades: Adios Star (glitter black), Bastardino (dark green glitter), Bruttino (blue pearl), Bulletto (brown pearl), Carnivora (beige pearl), Choco (brown pearl), Ciao Ciao (pink pearl), Diamante (glitter pink), Donutella (nude multi-glitter), Killer Candy (purple pearl), Nancy Rocks (lavender pearl), Romeo (plum pearl), Samba (gray pearl), Savana (gold glitter), Skeletrina (indigo pearl), Soya (green pearl).

Have you tried these? Which shades?

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

  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: I would skip this particular shade of the Cromatico Eyeshadow line-up — I haven’t tried any of the others, so I can’t speak for those! Funny enough, the cute and just-right packaging and price save this product from a non-passing grade!

AvailabilitySephora

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

MAC Water-Based Mixing Medium

Mixing Medium — Don’t Use Pigments Without It!

MAC Water-Based Mixing Medium ($18.00 for 50ml) is an absolute must-have if you work with MAC Pigments or Glitters. It actually took me many years before I purchased the real deal Mixing Medium–previously, I had always done the DIY version. (For reference, the DIY version is one part glycerin and three parts water, mix, and enjoy!) To be honest, I think either version works just as well, but I know the official Mixing Medium is designed to have a much longer shelf life than the DIY version (since it lacks any preservatives).

This Mixing Medium is water-based, and as such, the texture feels just like water. I like that, because it doesn’t feel thick, goopy, or sticky. The way I use my Mixing Medium is primarily with pigments and occasionally with glitters. I usually put one drop (it dispenses by droplets) on a flat brush like the 239 or 249, pick up some pigment, and then apply on the lid (or wherever). Together, it creates an excellent eyeshadow base, but it also intensifies pigments and keeps them together–there’s no fallout here! Though I haven’t used it for such things, you can also use this with other MAC liquid or powder products. I will also say that one bottle will last me a lifetime (though I will obviously replace it before then!).

There is also an alcohol-based Mixing Medium (used from the neck down), an eyeliner Mixing Medium (comes in a tube), lash Mixing Medium (allows you to create customized shades of Pro Long Lash Mascara), and gel-based Mixing Medium (not to be used around the eye area).

It is a PRO product, which means it was originally designed to be used by makeup artists and not necessarily consumers, but everyone is able to purchase PRO products, regardless of your resume. If you live near a PRO store locally, you just have to show up and shop like you would any other MAC location. If you don’t, I know in the U.S., you can place a phone order with any PRO store and they’ll ship you your items for a flat rate of $7 (this is usually how I get any PRO products). Since shipping is a flat rate, I usually make up a good list of PRO-only items I want so I can make it worth it, too :)

By the by… some PRO stores will have collections in a week early, and so if SF, LA, or SCP PRO have it out, sometimes I place a phone order and that’s how I’ll get the products a couple of days earlier than the national launch date. Secrets from a MAC addict… LOL!

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

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

Recommendation: If you’ve ever had trouble with your pigments or loose color eyeshadows, you may want to check out MAC’s Mixing Medium to keep your loose color on your lid better!

Availability: MAC PRO