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MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush Review & Photos

MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush
MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush

Defined Contouring Made Easy with the 163

MAC 163 Flat Top Contour Brush ($35.00) is a new and limited edition brush designed to be used with MAC’s Pro Sculpting Creams, but they are noted as a multi-purpose brush, so they can be used however you find it works.  The brush is not MAC’s softest face brush, but I wouldn’t describe it as scratchy.  I think the blunt edge gives it a harsher feel against the skin, but when I run it back and forth against my face or arm, it feels fine.  It’s tightly packed with bristles, making it a very dense brush.

It was good for placing the Pro Sculpting Creams on the face, but it wasn’t so good at blending them out. I needed to use my fingertips or another brush to do that.  I think this brush is fairly purpose-specific, and as a result, it’s not a must-have brush for everyone.  It may work well in professional kits or for anyone who does more intense, dramatic contouring.  I did not like this for foundation, blush, or powder products in general.  It worked best with liquids and creams, mostly for initial application.  It had a tendency to drag products in noticeable streaks when used to blend.

Again, this is a brush that seemed to be more of a one trick pony than a great workhorse of a brush.  It’s great if what you’re looking for is a way to apply cream/liquid products in defined lines. There’s also a Sonia Kashuk brush that’s supposed to be a dupe, but I only just bought mine so I can’t weigh in quite yet!

See more photos!

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Bobbi Brown Uber Suede High Shimmer Lipgloss

Bobbi Brown Uber Suede High Shimmer Lipgloss
Bobbi Brown Uber Suede High Shimmer Lipgloss

Would You Rock Brown Lipgloss?

Bobbi Brown Uber Suede High Shimmer Lipgloss ($23.00 for 0.24 fl. oz.) is described as a “mid-tone golden beige.” It’s a medium-dark brown with yellow undertones and pink and gold shimmer. NARS More is the closest in color, but it doesn’t have any shimmer and looks a bit more like a lipstick when applied. Bobbi Brown Canary has similar gold sparkle but has no real base color. MAC Bright & Perky is sheerer.

Uber Suede is mostly opaque, and it applies evenly without settling into lip lines.  It’s a warmer brown, but it doesn’t look too orange or red.  The formula is hydrating, comfortable to wear, and the sparkle doesn’t travel.  This shade wore five hours on me, which is longer than average.  It has a mint scent with no discernible taste.  The texture isn’t too thick or too thin, and it is non-sticky.

Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lip Gloss Uber Suede
Uber Suede

Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis

Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis
Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis

Nails the Color of Hollywood Red

Dior Marilyn Diorific Vernis ($26.00 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is a rich, medium red cream with mostly neutral undertones. If pressed, I’d say blue-based but it’s very, very neutral. There’s a very fine ruby shimmer that’s really not visible in most lighting conditions. Frankly, I didn’t even know it existed until I was editing photos. Cult Nails Evil Queen is a smidgen lighter. China Glaze Poinsettia is not as rich. Chanel Rouge Carat is darker, bluer-based, and has more noticeable shimmer. Zoya Sooki is similar. Zoya Tamsen is very comparable. Butter London Pillar Box Red is a smidgen darker. MAC Touch of Red is lighter and warmer.

The formula is thin but not watery, and while the color looks opaque in two coats, under brighter lighting (like flash), it’s not quite–there is a shadow of visible nail line.  Because of the thinner formula, three coats is do-able and doesn’t feel too thick or take forever to dry.  It even dries down to a nice, shiny finish that doesn’t have to have a top coat, but it does look a little better with one.  I typically get a week of wear with Dior’s polishes with no chipping and only minor tip wear.

P.S. — I know a few readers asked for brush photos, so, the ever-lovely Musings of a Muse has some! 🙂

Dior Diorific Vernis Marilyn
Marilyn

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NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo

NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo
NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo

Beautiful Combination, Less Lovely Execution

NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo ($34.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “shimmering amethyst” and “black with red pearl.” This duo was launched to celebrate Fashion’s Night Out this year.

The shade on the left is a grayish-mauve with a satiny sheen. The color payoff is so-so to good; it seemed to have more color when applied to the lid, but it wasn’t quite fully pigmented. The texture, however, was very soft and finely-milled. NARS Flower 1 is a bit less plum, more purple. Giorgio Armani #27 is more metallic and darker. MAC Universal Appeal is warmer, pinker. NARS Charade is darker and more matte. MAC Hypnotizing is a smidgen grayer. Tarina Tarantino Fantastical is very similar. NARS Lhasa is darker. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar.

The shade on the right is a blackened burgundy with red sparkle. The base color has a matte finish, and the sparkles get lost between the pan, your brush, and your eye for the most part. It has a slightly dry, stiff texture that doesn’t make blending effortless–it takes some work, but it’s doable–and the color tends to look browner the more you blend it out. Tarina Tarantino Saw Dust Heart is quite similar when applied. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is similar. Giorgio Armani #2 has a similar composition, but it has a lot more shimmer.

It’s saddening that both shades were somewhat problematic (but the darker one was more so), because they look stunning together in the compact. There’s a lot of contrast but still common threads between both shades, so they would work well for a plummy smoky eye.  It’s decent but not the best duo by NARS.  I wore both shades together, and I had minor fading with the darker shade after eight hours without a primer (but the lighter shade was fine).  When I used a primer, both shades wore without fading or creasing for eight hours.

NARS 413BLKR Eyeshadow Duo

B
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8
Longevity
4
Application
86%
Total

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette
Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette

Take Flight with These Fairy Golds

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a limited edition palette for the holidays that consists of five shades of eyeshadow. It will be available in October.

The first shade (on the upper left) is a pale pink-tinged beige with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft and finely-milled. Urban Decay Sellout is similar. Milani Champagne Toast is a bit warmer, darker. MAC Summer haze is browner. Urban Decay Booty Call has more of a matte finish.

The next shade (on the upper right) is a dirty champagne with a sparkly, almost glittery, finish and a metallic sheen. It was fairly true-to-pan in color and payoff. Despite its glitter-content, it applied well enough (could have been a little smoother) and didn’t have much fall out during application, and I only saw one or two stray particles after eight hours of wear. Urban Decay Echo is darker. Giorgoi Armani #1 Madreperla is more muted, less metallic. MAC Retrospeck is similar.

The center shade is a pink-tinged white with a bright, metallic finish and some larger shimmer/glitter particles. It had decent to good pigmentation and applied smoothly. This shade has less glitter compared to the golden shade. I did not experience any fall out with it. Dior Garden Roses is a less metallic variation. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk is darker, pinker. MAC Fresh Ice is a bit darker. Giorgio Armani #11 is very comparable.

The fourth shade (on the bottom left) is a lightened, pink-mauve with a frosted finish. It had good color payoff and applied easily. Urban Decay Provocateur is darker, glittery. MAC Invincible Light is pinker. MAC Star Crystal is very similar. Urban Decay Midnight Cowboy

The last shade (on the bottom right) is a medium-dark brown with red-orange undertones and a pearly finish. It had excellent pigmentation, and it was soft and finely-milled. Urban Decay Lost is a bit darker. MAC Havana is warmer but very close. Benefit Dandy Brandy is just a touch lighter. MAC Roasted Chestnut is similar but frosted. MAC Buckwheat is very comparable.

I was surprised to find this palette rather warm-toned, as the other holiday palette was very warm-toned as well. This isn’t cool-toned at all, though it’s not as warm as Night Golds. However, it is frostier, because it has two sparkly/glitter shades. I think it could benefit from having one matte or near-matte finish in it. When I tested the wear, I had no fading or creasing after eight hours (both with and without primer), and there were only a couple of stray particles from the glittery shades below my lid.

Dior Fairy Golds Eyeshadow Palette

A-
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
4.5
Application
90%
Total

Dior Lady Diorific Vernis

Dior Lady Diorific Vernis
Dior Lady Diorific Vernis

The Lady in White

Dior Lady Diorific Vernis ($26.00 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is a bright, neutral white with metallic shimmer. Urban Decay Love Train is slightly pink-hued. MAC Frayed to Order is also pink-toned and dries to a matte finish. Chanel Pearl Drop is yellow-hued. Nubar Organza is very similar. China Glaze Frosty is similar in base color but it has silvery-white sparkle, so it does not have the metallic finish (or resulting brush strokes).

The most concerning drawback about Lady is its streaky, brush-stroke-riddled finish.  It has a slightly thicker consistency, which doesn’t help matters, as it makes for a rather uneven application as the polish had a tendency to dribble to the edges of the nail.  There was some leveling but not enough.  It’s semi-opaque after two coats but some places looked more semi-sheer.  It took a bit longer to dry, and it’s a formula that you need to wait for the first coat to really dry down before applying the next, as it will pull and drag the first coat otherwise.  I typically get a week of wear out of Dior’s formula with no chipping, just minor tip wear.

P.S. — I know a few readers asked for brush photos, and I’m working on it, but this is what (usually) happens: I take too long and the review doesn’t go up. So, hoping to snap one next photo/swatch session, but until then, the ever-lovely Musings of a Muse has some! 🙂

Dior Diorific Vernis Lady
Lady

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