Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Illamasqua Lover Blush

First Blush of Spring:  Illamasqua Lover Blush

Illamasqua Lover Blush ($23.00) is one of the better blush shades I’ve tried from Illamasqua since its stateside launch. Lover is an orange-apricot color with a matte finish, but it’s matte without being chalky or powdery (which can sometimes be the case with matte blushes!). The color looks smooth and natural with nice color pigmentation. It has rich color that can be layered and built up for greater intensity or used with a light hand for a subtle flush.

I still don’t love the packaging, since it feels bulkier than it needs to be. I do like that the lid is clear, so you can see the color without opening the compact or reading the label. The price point is near similar priced brands, but it is a little higher than I’d expect (or at least, you get less than I’d expect for the price tag), but if you’re like me, you’ll never finish a blush in your life so it’s not a deal-breaker.

More Illamasqua Blush reviews…

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation:  If you love yourself some matte blush, try swatchin’ Illamasqua next time you’re at Sephora.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in #4L

Make Up For Ever #4L Aqua Eyes Liner ($17.00) is a reddened plum with subtle red shimmer. I like Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes a lot–it’s budge-proof, smudge-proof, water-resistant, and it just really hangs on all day long. There are also many shades to choose from, so you’re bound to find at least one that appeals to you!

I personally wish they were a softer pencil eyeliner, though; they’re not too hard, but I definitely prefer mine to be on the softer, creamier side. They’re about average in price–not falling in the “affordable” category, but they’re not prohibitively expensive either.  The packaging is straightforward; it looks like a pencil with a glossy black casing.

I also reviewed Aqua Eyes in several other shades (seven, to be exact) last year.

What are your must have Aqua Eyes?

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’ve been looking for a pencil eyeliner that stays put, Make Up For Ever might have your number!

AvailabilitySephora

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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Lancome Creme Brilliance
Amande Sucree, Berry Noir, Blush Classique, Champagne, Cherrywood Luxe,
Exotic Orchid, Rose Mythique, Sienne Ultime

Lancome L’Absolu Creme de Brilliance: Review, Photos, Swatches

This Spring, Lancome released eight shades of their newest lipgloss, L’Absolu Creme de Brilliance ($29.00 each). According to Lancome, Creme de Brilliance is a cross between lip gloss and balm designed to deliver “intense hydration that helps lips stay comfortable for up to 10 hours.” It contains “shine-boosting oils” and “light-diffusing pearls” for richer color pay off; Pro-Xylane™ for increased hydration, and glycerin and hyaluronic acid to hydrate lips and help color stay put.

Like you, fancy ingredient names don’t mean anything at first. I typically don’t even read the press release or description in its entirety until after I’ve tried it. (I prefer to try things as I would normally… diving in head-first, not caring about the science behind it, and just getting down to business!) Then I go back and read the product’s description, check out tips or insight on the website, etc. to see if my experience lines up with what the product was supposed to do.

Creme de Brilliance is definitely a cross between gloss and balm. I didn’t make that bridge myself, as I was thinking maybe it was more like a glossy lip stain, but the balm part makes sense. It’s glossy and liquid enough to pass for a gloss, but it’s thin and sort of melts into lips. It doesn’t impart an ultra glossy finish (which is more a preference than a necessity). The gloss isn’t drying, but I don’t think it’s particularly moisturizing either — it just doesn’t suck moisture out of your lips while you wear it and keeps it locked in, so your lips don’t dry out, but you should make sure your lips are moisturized prior to applying for best results.

The applicator is the same as most (all? can’t remember!) as Lancome glosses – a modified doe-foot applicator (always reminds me of a heart for some reason). I felt like the scent on these is very low-key–kind of a rosy scent, but it’s not nearly as strong as other Lancome lip products. I’m not loving the price –

  • Amande Sucree is a neutral chocolate brown with bronzy shimmer. I found this one applied beautifully on lips–completely opaque and lush.
  • Berry Noir is a creamy berry red with subtle silverish shimmer (but it’s very, very subtle, as you can tell from the swatch). This one really feels and looks like a stain (in fact, I think it stained my lips for about five hours!). Not quite as opaque as Amande Sucree, it’s still mostly full color coverage. On me, the redness of it certainly stands out, but there is still enough berry to keep it from being purely red. This had a creamier look with a glossier finish.
  • Blush Classique is a brightened up medium pink with shimmer. This brightened, yellower-toned pink is a pretty spring shade that goes on nearly opaque and is one of the more shimmery shades.
  • Champagne is a cooler toned medium pink with silvery-pink and gold shimmer. Side-by-side, Blush Classique and Champagne are similar, but I think the warmth/coolness of each is apparent. Do you need both? Probably not unless you’re a pink fiend! Not too cool, so still wearable by a variety of skin tones, Champagne applies mostly opaque and has the same shimmery look as Blush Classique.
  • Cherrywood Luxe is a coppery brown with subtle gold shimmer. This was an interesting shade, just because it’s not quite brown, but it’s not really a red-brown, so I went with coppery at the end of the day. I found this one to be a little streaky in application, whereas the other seven shades applied very evenly without much work. Cherrywood Luxe has a glossy sheen and shimmer like most glosses.
  • Exotic Orchid is a plummy pink with pinky-gold shimmer. This is a creamier but still glossy shade of plummed down pink. It’s pink enough that it’s not a true plum, but there’s enough plum in it that mutes the pink tones of it and darkens it a bit. It has an almost iridescent fuchsia shimmer in it.
  • Rose Mythique is a brightened cherry red with gold shimmer. Like Exotic Orchid, this is a creamier shade with a glossy finish. It has less noticeable shimmer–just a few bits of gold shimmer. This is the shade that Kate Winslet is wearing in the Creme de Brilliance promo (though there is also a lipstick shown in the advertisement, just to be clear). It’s not a true cherry red when applied to my lips–it’s more like a cherry stain. The color does make me feel like I have “juicy” lips, ha! Funny enough, Rose Mythique may be one of the lesser pigmented shades of the eight.
  • Sienne Ultime is a more muted, darkened red (with maybe a little brown) with soft gold shimmer. This is actually much more pigmented than Rose Mythique and redder, too, though still not a true red. Like the majority of the shades, this provided nearly opaque color coverage on my lips. (You can still see my lip freckle but barely.)

Which are your favorites?

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you love pigmented gloss that’s not too glossy and locks moisture in, you might like these!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

China Glaze Poolside Collection
Pool Party, Flip Flop Fantasy, Sun Worshipper;
Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Kiwi Cool-Ada, Towel Boy Toy

China Glaze Poolside Collection: Review, Photos, Swatches

Poolside is a summer collection that includes six shades of neon lacquer. As with most neons, application isn’t the easiest, but China Glaze has certainly improved the formula from the last round of neons they did. Similarly, the finish is mostly matte, but I used a glossy top coat to give it the glossy look (but if you prefer something more matte, then just opt to go without a top coat).

Both a benefit and a potential issue, these polishes dry faster (like matte polishes do), so keep that in mind. All of the shades had a runnier consistency than I’m used to from China Glaze, so I went with a thinner first coat to lay down a “base” in a sense, before layering on two more coats (about medium in thickness — it’s easy to over-apply).

Please note, Poolside will not be available until April 2010.  (You may see it start showing up online at etailers in March, though.)

China Glaze recommends, “Like most neon polishes, the first layer will look extremely opaque and thin. You will need to build up to desired coverage and always remember to let each layer dry completely before applying the next. This will help prevent streaks and missing patches of color on the nail bed.”

  • Pool Party is a brightened hot pink. This applied in three coats for an opaque, smooth look.
  • Flip Flop Fantasy is a neon coral — I’d say it’s a little more coral-pink than the pictures show, but it’s about that dark. Three coats on this one was good enough to give me a solid and smooth look.
  • Sun Worshipper is an orange-y yellow — aptly named — that just glows. This is my favorite shade from the six, because it’s something different and really vibrant. Three coats for smooth, opaque coverage.
  • Yellow Polka Dot Bikini is neon, highlighter yellow. I had the most trouble applying this one, and I think if you take your time and build up to about four coats, you’ll get decent results. It’s ultra bright, though! This kind of cool greenish-edge of highlighter yellow is not so flattering on my skin tone, unfortunately!
  • Kiwi Cool-Ada is a brightened neon green. It’s brighter than grass, that’s for sure! Like Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, application was a little fussier than the other shades. I think a slower, more precise application might be key, as well as layering two thinner coats as the first two, then building up to four.
  • Towel Boy Toy is a brightened sky blue with soft blue pearl. This is the only shade that has any shimmer in it, but this was the shade that applied the easiest (in fact, it was easy!). Pictured is just two coats, but a third wouldn’t hurt.  This was my second favorite, but I’d say some of that comes from how easy it was to apply.

Application Troubles?

Temptalia readers shared their suggestions on perfecting the neon manicure/pedicure…

  • Samantha suggested applying a thin coat of white polish on before you apply the color itself. April agreed, while Phyrra recommended Color Club’s Milky White for the perfect base coat for these brights.
  • DVC and Charlotte agreed that lots of thin coats may not be the way to go–two or three coats should do the trick, neither too thin nor so thick it’s hard to work with.
  • Roslyn finds a sheer, pearly top coat helps make them pop a bit more.

What are your favorites?

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Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Napoleon Perdis Havana Lipstick
Napoleon Perdis Havana Lipstick

The Spring Season: NP Set Havana Lipstick

NP Set Havana Lipstick ($15.00) is a soft, creamy medium pink with a subtle pink shimmer. This is an easy-to-wear shade for just about any skin tone, because it’s not too yellow or blue-based–very much neutral. It has a very soft feel when applied to lips and not at all drying. I got about three hours of wear with this shade in particular. There’s a bit of a glossy sheen to it, but I still like to layer a lipgloss on top for extra pop.

Is this the right pink lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Sugarpill Chromalust

Sugarpill Cosmetics:  ChromaLust Loose Eyeshadow

Sugarpill Cosmetics released eleven shades of Chroma Lust loose eyeshadows ($12.00 for 0.18 oz.). These loose eyeshadows are ultra finely milled with rich color pay off that apply smoothly. Many of these eyeshadows are also vegan (check their website which marks which shades are vegan), for those curious! I’d recommend using these with a stickier base (e.g. something like mixing medium) for brighter and more long-lasting eyeshadow. Myself, I’d use these as bases, much like I’d use MAC Pigments.

  • Asylum is a rich burnished red with a shimmery sheen. I found it looked redder when used wet (and obviously, more intense).
  • Decora is a medium baby girl pink with silvery sheen and gold glitter flecks.
  • Goldilux is a metallic bronzed gold. This is a truly gorgeous color–easily my favorite of the eleven shades currently available.
  • Junebug is a dark forest green with black flecks and a frosty sheen. The darkened base really comes through when used wet.
  • Absinthe is a brightened yellow-green with a golden yellow sheen. It’s not chartreuse, but it’s not quite green either. This one applied beautifully wet or dry.
  • Magpie is a medium-dark navy blue with silvery sheen and shimmer. I found this one definitely looked much better when used wet.
  • Starling is a slightly darkened sky blue with a radiant silver sheen. This one could be used wet or dry, but I liked it better when wet.
  • Royal Sugar is a vibrant shade of royal blue with silver and sky blue flecks of sparkle. This is not only an intense shade, but it’s a very unique color as well.
  • Hysteric is a medium purple with a red base and an almost multi-colored shimmer.
  • Lumi is an iridescent teal-reflecting white shimmer. This is a very fun shade to work with, and it’s one of those colors that can be layered over dark bases to give it a more unique look. (This one reminded me of MAC Transparent Teal Glitter in a non-glitter form.)
  • Tiara is a metallic silver with a bright silver sheen. I found this looked lovely wet or dry, but the metallic sheen is brought out when this is used wet.

These are held cynlider-style plastic containers with slightly glossy black screw-on lids with the Sugarpill logo printed (it’s not a sticker!) on top. The containers are cute and functional (reminded me of stumpier, smaller versions of MAC Pigments). There’s no insert or lid once you open, so take care when opening.

I really liked the texture of these, because they were so soft and smooth, you didn’t need much to get intense color. My favorite shades were Goldilux, Absinthe, and Royal Sugar.

What are your favorites?

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