Monday, September 28th, 2009

MAC DSquared Collection
Bone Beige/Emphasize

MAC Cosmetics DSquared Collection: Sculpt & Shape Duos

MAC DSquared Collection is small launch in-stores today, the 28th. The collection includes two Sculpt & Shape Powder Duos — Bone Beige/Emphasize and Accentuate/Sculpt.

Sculpt & Shape Powder Duos

  • Bone Beige/Emphasize is a duo of a soft, lightly shimmered palest cream for highlighting and a reddish-toned light-medium brown for contouring. This is supposed to be most ideal for lighter skin tones (think NC/NW15).
  • Accentuate/Sculpt is a duo of a soft, pinky-peach shimmered highlighter and a neutral-cool medium matte brown for contouring. This is most ideal for light and medium skin tones.

Accentuate/Sculpt is my favorite duo, as I feel it’s very universal and can work for a wide variety of skin tones. Sculpt can be layered for deeper color or used lightly for softer color. I personally have all of MAC’s Sculpt & Shape powder line in full-size (they’re the size of blushes–but they can be purchased individually rather than as a duo at PRO), and I love them. They’re great for cheeks and the face, but they’re also outstanding on the eyes for a very natural, sculpted look.

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a non-bronzer contouring product, try MAC’s Sculpt & Shape line!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Monday, September 28th, 2009

MAC DSquared Collection
MAC Lipsticks: Blood Red, Nude Rose

MAC Cosmetics DSquared Collection: Lipsticks & Fuchsia Fix

MAC DSquared Collection is small launch in-stores today, the 28th. The collection includes two new, limited edition shades of lipstick–Nude Rose and Blood Red–as well as specially packaged, permanent item Fuchsia Fix tinted lip conditioner.

Lipstick

  • Nude Rose is a semi-sheer, milky pale pink-beige. It’s kind of like a nude lip color, but it has enough pink tones to it that it warms it up and gives it color.
  • Blood Red is a semi-opaque pinky-raspberry shade. It’s not red on me at all; it’s definitely pink and maybe a deep pink at that, but given its name, I was expecting something quite different.

Tinted Lip Conditioner

  • Fuchsia Fix is a bright pinky-fuchsia creamy lip color that is really only meant to add a bit of a tint to lips. Fuchsia Fix has always been a favorite, because it does tint my lips a brighter pink shade, but it’s not actually a hot or bright pink on.

These are surprisingly soft lip colors in comparison to the Style Black collection from last week!

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you like rosy, pinky shades, you should consider these.

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Monday, September 28th, 2009

MAC DSquared Collection
MAC Greasepaint Sticks: V, B, Black

MAC Cosmetics DSquared Collection: Greasepaint Stick & Feline Kohl Power

MAC DSquared Collection is small launch in-stores today, the 28th. The collection includes three shades of Greasepaint Sticks and repromotion of Feline kohl power.

Greasepaint Stick

  • B is a deep, dark navy blue with lighter blue shimmer and a metallic sheen.
  • V is a deep, dark purple-violet with lighter purple shimmer and a metallic sheen.
  • Black is a dark black-purple with a violet cast and shimmer that’s more noticeable when swatched than when used as a liner.

Kohl Power

  • Feline is an intense, richly pigmented black liner that goes on incredibly dark. One of my favorite black liners!

Per my review of the Greasepaint Stick from Style Black, I haven’t yet found these to be rockin’ my world yet. They migrate on my lower lash line quite a bit – kind of smudgy and creasing on the lower lash line. It’s great that I can smudge the product when I’m applying it, but after I smudge it, I expect it to stay put!

On the water line, it holds up better, but it seems to aggravate my eyes, so I think I’m too sensitive to wear it on my water line. I wish the Black Greasepaint Stick was actually a true black, particularly since V exists so soon after the original release. The Greasepaint Sticks can be a bit thick to work with, so you may find yourself using a separate brush to apply this product in thinner, more precise lines. They feel a bit like a shadestick to me, actually.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you like shadesticks, you may find these to be great bases for darker looks!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Korres Materia Herba Toning Cleansing Foam ($27.00 for 5.07 fl. oz.) is a foaming cleanser that’s touted as being very natural/organic for you. Korres lists it as having 98.9% natural content, suitable for vegans, and doesn’t contain a whole slew of purported bad-for-you ingredients like mineral oil, silicone,s parabens, sulphyates, SLES, synthetic dyes, fragrances, or petrochemicals.

The cleanser is designed to use naturally derived salicylic acid to break up oil, bacteria, while providing mild exfoliation and controlling blemishes, according to the brand. As far as a cleanser goes, I like it, but I don’t love it. It’s a very no-frills kind of product. The packaging is simple, the product itself is simple. You pump the foam in your hands, apply to face, and massage the product into the skin to dissolve and remove daily build-up. The foam itself is white, and there’s no real scent to it – kind of reminds me of something light and airy but not fragrance-y. It just smells “natural” to me.

I like using this as a morning cleanser, because I only need a lightweight cleanser in the AM. It does a decent job at removing makeup, but it’s not excellent at removing heavy makeup (like longwearing eyeliner, mascara, etc.), so that’s yet another reason I use this in the morning rather than in the evening. It leaves my skin feeling clean without any tightness, though it can be a little on the drying side if you already have drier skin. It is great on combination and oily skin, though.

The packaging is functional, clean, and really just simple. The value of the product seems high to me, because I only need one pump of foam to cleanse my entire face. I suppose the only problem with solid packaging like this bottle is not having any idea when you start getting close to the bottom. I point this out because Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (the foaming version) is clear, so you always have an idea of when you need to buy more.

All in all, it’s a decent cleanser, and if simplicity is your style, this may be more suitable for you. For a morning cleanser, it moves up to pretty good, because it just gives you that nicely clean and refreshed feeling without being more powerful than you need.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you like natural/organic lines and are looking for a simple cleanser, Korres Materia Herba may be something to consider.

Availability: Sephora

Sunday, September 27th, 2009


Roach, Gash, Lucky, Shattered, Acid Rain

Urban Decay Liquid Liner ($18.00) is available in a slew of shades in a cute inkwell-like pot. There are fourteen shades to choose from, from purple to black to red.

  • Roach is a reddish-toned dark brown with a metallic finish.
  • Gash is a deep red with just a touch of brown.
  • Lucky is a coppery medium-dark brown.
  • Shattered is a medium-dark grassy green with some antique gold thrown in.
  • Acid Rain is a bright pop of chartreuse green.

Urban Decay’s Liquid Liners are incredibly long-wearing, smudge-proof, budge-proof, and nearly waterproof. Once dry (takes a few seconds, but it doesn’t take long), the liner doesn’t budge at all. You can move it around before it dries, but once it sets, good luck with that! All of the ones I have give off a bit of a metallic sheen even when dry, which is something I personally like. The formula is really great for those who need their liner to stay in place without a lot of fuss. I love that these don’t fade even a little bit after twelve hours of wear. I also love the shade variety — you can’t always find red or bright green liquid liners!

The packaging is so-so; the inkwell design is cute, but it’s not space-saving. It also doesn’t make these as portable as they could be if they were in the more traditional liquid liner tube packaging (I heard that it used to be, actually!). The brush included could probably be a little finer, a little tighter, but it gets the job done with some practice. If you’re not planning to take these on-the-go, a separate eyeliner brush is a better bet. I like either 208 or 209 by MAC myself for these. I will say that the included brush does feel quite comfortable in my hand, even if the brush itself could be improved upon.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you’re looking for richly pigmented liquid liners, Urban Decay has you covered!

Availability: Sephora

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Friday, September 25th, 2009

Urban Decay Book of Shadows, Vol. 2

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. II Review, Photos, Swatches

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. II ($48.00) is the second installation in the Book of Shadows eyeshadow palette series. It is also part of Urban Decay’s holiday offerings. You can view my review on last year’s Book of Shadows for comparison, as well.

First, the palette includes sixteen eyeshadows. The new and exclusive shades are AC/DC, Nylon, Mushroom, Sphynx, Jinx, Homegrown, Misdemeanor, and Perversion. The existing shades are Sellout, Gunmetal, Ecstasy, Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, Twice Baked, Half Baked, Flipside, and YDK. Each eyeshadow is 0.03 oz., compared to single eyeshadows that are 0.05 oz. and retail for $16.00 and the deluxe eyeshadows that are 0.09 oz. for $18.00. All of the existing shades are single eyeshadows (not deluxe), so it’s best to compare to that.  Just to put it in perspective, by the ounce, these are about half the price (by ounce!) as the full-sized versions.

Shade Breakdown

  • Perversion is a nearly matte charcoal black with just a tiny dust of silver sparkle. (I know Urban Decay says it’s matte, but it seemed like it had some sparkle to it every time I looked at it.) This shade was also included in last year’s palette.
  • Gunmetal is a frosty, silvery-gray with lighter silver sparkle.
  • Ecstasy is a shimmery cool-toned medium purple with lighter pinky-purple shimmer.
  • AC/DC is a burgundyish-plum with a dirty silver sheen.
  • Nylon is a medium bronzy-brown with softer bronze shimmer and has a frosty finish.
  • Sellout is a frosty, intensely pigmented champagne-nude. I really liked the color pigmentation of this shade in particular, and it felt very, very smooth.
  • Mushroom is a dark, cool-toned taupe-y brown with cool bronze shimmer. This is sort of similar to the cream eyeshadow of the same name.
  • Sphynx is a lightly brightened cotton candy pink with an icier pink sheen.
  • Half Baked is a coppery bronze with a golden bronze metallic sheen and shimmer.
  • Twice Baked is a dark, semi-matte chocolate brown with just a light dusting of bronze.
  • Midnight Cowboy Rides Again is a glittery confection of light taupe brown and champagne. This eyeshadow had the worst texture of the bunch — very gritty, very glittery.
  • YDK is a medium-toned cool-toned brown with a reddish tone and a frost finish.
  • Jinx is a bright, medium freshwater blue that goes on very pigmented and smooth.
  • Flipside is a green-teal, mermaid-esque shade with a frost finish.
  • Homegrown is a bright, grassy green with a golden-green sheen.
  • Misdemeanor is a dark, blue-green shade that is reminiscent of peacock feathers with a soft, green micro-shimmer.

At first glance, I thought the two palettes were too similar for my liking, but after comparing them side-by-side, that was definitely not the case. The only repeated shade is Perversion, but otherwise, the shades are different. Some of the shades themselves are similar, but there are no obvious repeats. I always like Urban Decay’s palettes, because they are always high on value and variety. I like being able to try out a bunch of shades without having to actually purchase all of those individual shades (particularly since it’s very hard for me to finish an eyeshadow, so I don’t actually need a whole pot of it!).

I also like that Urban Decay mixes about half in new shades and half in existing shades. With sixteen shades in total, there are many different eyeshadow combinations one could come up with within this palette. I will say I wish Urban Decay had a better highlighter shade included in this palette or found elsewhere in this, because the closest we come is Sellout, which has a very high metallic/frost finish so it can be garish on the brow bone at times. I could also go with seeing a few matte or semi-matte shades for more texture variety.

These are all minor complaints, mind you, because for the price, it’s a great deal whether you want to travel with it or just use it at home. (If you’re using it at home, the highlight and matte complaints are worthless — just mix it with products you already have.)

The shades are well-pigmented, smooth, and nearly all of them have a frost/shimmer finish. (If you don’t dig that, you won’t dig this.) The only shade I had any real issue with was Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, because it is extremely glittery, so it has fall out issues. Otherwise, the shades were impressive, and clearly there is a lot of color to play around with in this palette. This makes a great gift for yourself or a friend, too.

The packaging is just so-so; I found last year’s packaging prettier and more cohesive. I found both palettes to be a little bulky, and I wouldn’t mind something that just open and shut, rather than pulling out a drawer of eyeshadows. The inclusion of a miniature sized UDPP as well as Zero and Bourbon eyeliners is just icing on the cake–all three are handy in application and for travel.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you’ve always wanted to try Urban Decay eyeshadows, their palettes are always a choice way to do so. You get great value and good variety!

Availability: Urban Decay

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