Monday, April 5th, 2010

Zoya Sparkle Collection
Zoya Nail Lacquer: Alegra, Nidhi, Gilda, Ivanka, Charla, Mimi (Natural Light)

Summer Sparkle with Zoya

Zoya Sparkle Collection includes six sparkling shades of lacquer in fun, summery shades. Zoya Polishes are $7 a pop or else you can buy the Sparkle Sampler (includes full sizes of all six) for $36 (save $6!).

After reviewing several of this season’s nail lacquer collections, I might have to say this is my favorite in sum. (I think Chanel’s Nouvelle Vague is my ultimate favorite, but I have a penchant for Tiffany-blue polish, period, so I’d say that was a no-brainer.) I love me some glittering, sparkling polish, and Zoya does not disappoint here.

The glitter used in this feels very fine, more like a micro-glitter, so it has a smoother feel and look–and a huge plus is that it is easier to remove than traditional glitter polish. The polish has a very glassy look once you finish and apply a top coat, and the glitter shimmers across like sparkling water.

I found the formula to be consistent across all six shades, which is mostly a good thing. Despite having a very thin, almost watery feel and consistency, it works well and delivers stunning results. All of the shades required three coats for solid, opaque color, except Nidhi, which only needed two. Nonetheless, I found you could use thinner or thicker coats here–there wasn’t any concerns about application. I could get away with a thinner initial coat and go with medium-thick coats on two and three, or I could do three thin coats. The glitter spreads very evenly, which can sometimes be an issue in glittery lacquers. The drying time seemed faster than usual on these, and even without a top coat, these had quite a bit of gleam.

  • Alegra is a fuchsia-red jelly base with deeper red and fuchsia iridescence. I found I did need three coats in order to get an opaque look, but the glitter applied evenly, so it wasn’t a hassle at all.
  • Nidhi is a darkened squishy fire-orange with gold and red glitter flecks that are most noticeable when light catches them just right. I found this shade to be the most pigmented of the bunch–so pigmented that you only need two thin coats to get a solid color, though I still used three in the swatches.
  • Gilda is a brightened fuchsia-pink with iridescent fuchsia sparkle. I felt like this one almost glowed in the light! This was a three coater for me.
  • Ivanka is a dazzling emerald green with a darker, forest green base and brighter, more emerald-esque shimmer along with gold and green flecks. I thought this one applied and looked the most beautiful out of the six. I felt like you could get away with just two coats here, but I liked three better.
  • Charla is a glassy darkened sky blue with greenish-teal flecks of shimmer in it. Of the six, I found this to be the sheerest, surprisingly. You definitely need three thicker coats on this one. To be honest, though, you can only see a hint of the nail beneath when it’s under very strong light.
  • Mimi is a deep, royal purple with iridescent flecks of purple shimmer. I thought this one was stunning–what I love about it is how fantastic it looks even in low light conditions. It doesn’t turn into a muddy purpled black at all.

These are really some can’t-be-missed polishes for lacquer addicts out there. All six are fantastic in look, feel, and formula. There are absolutely no duds here, and I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them (or all!). Of course, I have my favorites, but they’re more based on my personal taste than anything else. For the curious, my favorites (in order) are: Ivanka, Mimi, Nidhi, and Charla. I liked Alegra and Gilda, but I don’t wear red-based shades so much as brighter shades. But I’m actually going to just wear all of them at once for fun, since I can’t decide! :)

Tell me, are you loving these as much as I am? I hope I’m not the only one swooning!

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 love sparkling nails without the chunkiness of real glitter, Zoya’s Sparkle Collection has your number.

Availability: Zoya

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Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Two-Minute Reviews: CoverGirl Eyeshadow Palette, Physicians Formula Healthy Glow, Smashbox Heartbreaker

The concept behind two-minute reviews is mostly products that I photographed, swatched, but I never ended up reviewing.  Rather than just bury the photos into the “Unlikely to Review” folder and never let them see the light of day, I decided that perhaps a quickie review was better than no review at all… Let me know if you’d rather a quickie review than no review :)

CoverGirl Vibrant Browns (#700) Eyeshadow Palette ($7.49) is a palette that features four shades of eyeshadow: a softened, matte black with glitter overlay, subdued blue-toned sheer gray with silver sheen, muted copper with orange-gold shimmer and frost finish, and an incredibly sheer white with sheen. The colors are all on the sheerer side, and the shadows themselves just don’t grab me. I think one or two more muted shades might work, but these altogether just don’t. I find the gold too warm to work with the coolness of the black and gray. Quick Rating: C-

Physicians Formula Healthy Glow Shimmer Strips ($11.95) reminded me of Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbricks. Healthy Glow is a gradation of light, icy pink to a muted raspberry pink. The colors are better used together rather than alone, as individually, they’re not very pigmented. Together, they create a lightened raspberry with a frosty white sheen. This is great for those with closer-to-flawless skin, because it’s pretty and shimmery–but if you have larger pores, the high frost finish will accentuate them. For a drugstore blush, though, the price is a little steeper than I’d like to see. Quick Rating: B

Smashbox Heartbreaker Collection looked super cute in the promos, but I wasn’t loving it when I saw some of the pieces in person. In fact, I loved the actual box packaging infinitely more than the product packaging! The boxes are cute with doodles and polaroids on it–just sweet and fitting for the theme. The shiny white plastic makes it look and feel on the cheap side, and Smashbox really isn’t a cheap brand. I tend to think of Smashbox as more of a mid-to-high end brand. I tried three products: Starlight Fusion Soft Lights ($30), Rollerball Lip Gloss ($21), and Liquid Liner Pen ($24). I reviewed the eyeliner previously, but I never got around to the other two products. Despite looking rather vibrant in the pan, Starlight is a very soft, lightened raspberry sorbet with a soft champagne sheen. It didn’t show up very well on my medium skin tone, so I wasn’t never driven to wear it in a look (hence this quickie review!). Quick Rating: C+

The Rollerball Lip Gloss was very much the same — it’s clear gloss with icy white shimmer. It’s very slightly pink tinged, but on lips, it looks clear. I also felt like the Rollerball packaging made me feel like I was using Bonne Bell (which is fine… if I’m paying Bonne Bell prices!). Quick Rating: C-

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Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Chanel Venus (124) Glossimer
Chanel Venus Glossimer

The Summer Season: Chanel Venus (#124) Glossimer

Chanel Venus (#124) Glossimer ($27.00) is a dazzling shade of brightened rosy pink with iridescent fuchsia and gold sparkle. This shade, apparently, released last summer, but it’s still available at Nordstrom (which means I’m still allowed to feature it, woo!), so you can grab it there if you love it enough to buy! :) I love this shade in particular for its color pay off and glittering shimmer. Glossimers always look best in the sunlight, by the by, because they look phenomenal–truly like shimmering water. It’s a very slicked, wet, and dazzling look. Glossimers are incredibly glossy with a medium-thick formula that’s not overly sticky. I get about three to four hours of wear when I wear a Glossimer on its lonesome.

P.S. — Wouldn’t this look FABULOUS over Guerlain Giulette? I think I may have to do that this week!

Is this the right pink gloss 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.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #3L Aqua Eyes Liner

Going Green for Earth Month with #16L Aqua Eyes

Make Up For Ever #16L Aqua Eyes Liner ($17.00) is a muted grass-green with yellow undertones and subtle darkened, grassy sheen.  I find this shade of green to be particularly unique amongst eyeliner shades.  Despite owning more eyeliner than eyes (ha, ha, not hard to do!), I don’t have a green quite like this.  It’s green without being bright or dark.  It’s almost muted but not exactly dull.  This looks pretty with soft, warmer browns and plums as well as the more expected blues, greens, and teals.

Aqua Eyes has a really great long-wearing formula that won’t budge, smudge, or fade throughout the day.  They have enough softness to glide on smoothly without tugging on the sensitive skin around the eyes, and they deliver color just as you see it in the pencil itself.  I’ve always found Aqua Eyes to look very true-to-pencil in color, which is always a nice thing, because you know what you’re getting!

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: This is a great green for those who love the color but want something more wearable and, perhaps even, office-friendly.

Availability: Sephora

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Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Korres #18 Peach Lipstick
Korres #18 Peach Lipstick

The Summer Season: Korres #18 Peach Lipstick

Korres #18 Peach Mango Butter Lipstick ($18.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a semi-vibrant darkened rose with gold shimmer and a glossy sheen. I don’t have any idea why it’s named “Peach,” because there isn’t anything peach about it. In fact, I swatched this twice and had to have the tube next to me to ensure I wasn’t going crazy. It’s a gorgeous shade of pink for the summer that’s bright enough to perk up your pucker, but it’s not electric, so those who aren’t sure about their bright lipsticks might enjoy this one as a nice stepping stone. Korres’ Mango Butter lipsticks have a lightly sweetened fruit scent (“mango”) with a moisturizing, creamy lipstick formula that glides onto lips and looks even without drying them out.

Is this the right pink lipstick 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.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Urban Decay Pocket Rockets

Urban Decay’s Summer Pocket Rockets: Max & Colin

Urban Decay’s Pocket Rocket Lip Glosses ($19.00 for 0.27 oz.) are non-sticky, thick enough to be moisturizing but thin enough not to feel heavy, and have a burnt caramel scent (well, creme brulee, officially). I’ve always found the Pocket Rockets to be a little gimmicky for my taste, but the formula is really cushy–it gives lips a slightly plumper, fuller look (without actually plumping).

After reviewing a fair amount of Urban Decay lip products, I’ve noticed that there’s a definite debate on whether the scent of their lip products is yay or nay. It doesn’t bother me, but if you’re sensitive or particular about your scents, you may want to give these a sniff in-store before purchasing.

  • Max is a semi-opaque pinky-nude cream with a glossy finish. Since it’s creamy and pale, it does settle a bit into lip lines, but it’s not too bad.
  • Colin is almost like a coral-red that applies sheerly for the most part, but it does add quite a bit of red to your pucker. It kind of looks like you’ve been eating cherries and slicked some gloss on afterward. I found it did fall into my lip lines a tad, but again, from a normal viewing distance, it’s not a big deal. I did, however, think this one tended to give my lips a more splotchy look–I think the color may not work for me so much!

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: If you love the idea of a gloss that also features a half-naked man, you might get a kick out of Urban Decay’s Pocket Rockets. There’s a nice non-sticky and moisturizing gloss that comes along with the near-nude model, too!

Availability: Urban Decay

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