Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

NARS Vintage Nail Polish
King Kong, Mash, Zulu, Midnight Express, Full Metal Jacket

NARS Vintage Nail Polishes see the re-release of five coveted NARS shades. As of late last night, Zulu was back in stock, actually, though it was sold out for a time. These are all limited edition, and each shade retails for $16.

  • King Kong is a orange-toned molten copper bronze with copper shimmer threaded through the base color. This was the most pigmented shade out of the five; I used two coats. This applied evenly and smoothly, and it didn’t show brushstrokes too much for a metallic finish.
  • Mash is a darkened olive green base with green and gold shimmer that warm it up. This was my favorite color out of the bunch. You’ll definitely need three coats, and some brushstrokes ended up showing for me, so be patient.
  • Zulu is a deep, dark blackened green jelly. It’s very inky and solid and virtually black in low lighting. In the sunlight, the green of its base is more apparent. You’ll need at least three coats, if not four, to get full, opaque color. I’d also recommend slightly thicker coats, because those thinner coats seem to cause some streaking.
  • Midnight Express is a deep, dark blackened navy. Just like Zulu, this shade is mostly black in low light and brightens up to its bluer form in sunlight. I did three coats, but you may find four better. The application for this shade was exactly the same as Zulu for me.
  • Full Metal Jacket is a bluish silvered gray with silver shimmer. It is the most metallic of the five, and it is incredibly prone to showing brushstrokes. Patience is key with these kinds of metallics–you want to minimize the pressure and the number of times you brush the polish on the nails. Three coats.

The application issues make me wary of recommending these. Part of me wants to tell you to scoop up any shades that catch your eye before they’re sold out or gone for good, but the other part of me just wants to say, well, they don’t seem super-freaking-awesome as some shades have been hyped up to be. (Zulu, I’m looking at you!) It can be fun own a piece of history, as it were, though, and with some patience and a steady hand, all of these shades are workable. Mash and King Kong were good, while the rest were decent, so they kind of balance out. What also saves these polishes is that they’re not easy to dupe, which makes them even more covetable.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t normally purchase $16 nail polish, these might not be the best ones to go for first. They’re not as easy to apply as your average nail polish. Also, if you can’t be fussed to be careful and wait between coats, you’ll probably have a poor experience with these.

AVAILABILITY: NARS

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Monday, October 4th, 2010

Urban Decay Potion
Greed, Sin, Eden, Original

Urban Decay Little Sins Eyeshadow Primer Potion Set ($29.00) is new for the holidays and contains miniature sizes of the three existing Primer Potion varieties: Original (invisible), Eden (matte nude), Sin (shimmering champagne). It also contains a miniature size of a new and (currently) exclusive shade: Greed (pearly gold).

  • Greed is a shimmering slightly paled gold with definite yellow undertones. It’s not really an opaque base, and it’s not as pigmented of a base as Sin. It also has more of a shimmer than a frost base, unlike Sin. I think warm-toned beauties will find this works really well as a base as well as an all-over color for quick looks.
  • Sin is a beige-nude with a high frost sheen and champagne micro-shimmer.
  • Eden is a yellow-toned light nude with a matte finish.
  • Original is virtually invisible, though I’ve always found it has a slight shimmer to it.

I think one of the more frustrating marketing strategies that pops up during the holiday season is when a brand brings out one new, exclusive/limited edition shade amongst a set of several other permanent shades.  (And don’t get me wrong, many brands employ this strategy.)  I don’t want to have to buy the three other Primer Potions just so I can get Greed. This is how I end up with doubles or triples of certain eyeliners, pigments, etc. — none of which I’ve ever used up the original! I really do like Greed, though, so I’m crossing my fingers that Urban Decay releases it on its own.

I find that the Original Primer Potion has a tendency to crease on me after about seven hours, though Eden and Sin both seem to hold up better.  Greed didn’t give me any creasing problems after wearing it on three different occasions for over eight hours on each.

Each contains 0.13 oz., which means you’re getting 0.52 oz. of product in sum.  This translates to $55.77/oz. while a full-sized version ($18 for 0.34 oz.) goes for $52.94/oz.  It’s a nice opportunity for those who haven’t tried our the brand’s line of eyeshadow bases yet.  It may also be worth it for those who are devotees, because you’ll likely run through your tubes eventually and need replacements… ta-da.  Plus, the travel-sized versions may be more convenient for those treks to Mom and Dad’s house for holiday dinner.

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

RECOMMENDATION: It really depends on two things:  whether you have any of the full-sized versions and how badly do you want Greed?  (I suppose I should have said how greedy are you to have Greed…)

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, October 4th, 2010

Hourglass Nocturnal Lipstick
Hourglass Nocturnal Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Hourglass Nocturnal Lipstick

Hourglass Nocturnal Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a softened raspberry pink with a subtle sheen.  It’s a rich, opaque shade that applies in just one or two layers (depending on the pressure).  It’s lightweight, moisturizing enough to wear for hours without needing gloss on top or balm underneath.  There’s a very faint vanilla scent but no taste. It is also supposed to be refillable, but I haven’t yet spotted refills available, though I have heard they are coming and will only be available via Hourglass’ website.

Hourglass touts the Femme Rouge line to be water-resistant, long-lasting, and moisturizing, and it delivers pretty well on all three points.  Just don’t interpret water-resistant as “I can drink a cup of coffee and no lipstick stains will be left on the cup,” because in reality, water-resistant really means water won’t make it slip off, but pressing your lips against a glass will.  It transfers a lot less than the average lipstick, and it does make it through a cuppa java well enough not to need reapplication.  Otherwise, it wears four to six hours on me, and my lips don’t feel dried out after wearing it for a full six hours.

Is this the right berry for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

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Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Chanel Confidentielle Rouge Coco Lipstick
Chanel Confidentielle Rouge Allure Lipstick

Pretty in Pink with Chanel

Chanel Confidentielle Rouge Allure Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a petal pink with a frost finish.  It has very subtle micro-shimmer of gold and pink with a frost-gloss sheen.  It’s nearly opaque, and it wears well, being part of the Rouge Allure family.  It’s a new shade introduced alongside the new Extrait de Gloss line-up.  It has a nice yellow undertone, making it a warmer pink, and more suitable for warmer complexions.  It doesn’t lean too yellow, though, and will help brighten cooler complexions as well.

Rouge Allures have a slight rose scent, but I’ve found that the scent is usually subtle though occasionally a tube will have a more concentrated rose scent.  (I’m not personally bothered by the scent, but those with more sensitive noses may want to check it out in person.)  I wore this shade alone for five hours and a coffee, so it holds up with the rest of the Rouge Allure family in respect to wear.

I really thought I was going to find a plethora of dupes for this one, but warmer pinks are certainly a shade range that could use more options.  I figured to find at least a few in the Spring Season, but nothing matched quite right to me.  Between the medium-pink color and the yellow undertone, it was difficult to dupe.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For a warmer pink, Confidentielle may be that perfect pink!

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Barielle Style in Argyle Collection
Barielle Nail Lacquer: Cashmere or Loose Me, Tight Knit, Cowl of the Wild

Barielle Goes Brown for Fall

For fall, Barielle’s Style in Argyle Collection is quite literally autumnal in tone. It’s a myriad of shades you’d see in fallen leaves. It includes six new shades: Cashmere or Loose Me (soft brown with copper pearl), Tight Knit (purple brown creme), Cowl of the Wild (mushroom taupe creme), Aura Angora (royal gold creme), Wool You Marry Me? (plum brown creme), and Unraveled Rust (burnt rust creme). All but Cashmere or Loose Me (soft brown with copper pearl) are creams. Each retails for $8.

  • Cashmere or Loose Me is a warmed-up red-toned medium brown with a soft sprinkle of pale gold shimmer. The shimmer is very subtle in the creamier base. Two coats.
  • Tight Knit is a rich, plum-tinged brown cream. You barely need two coats, because one coat is so rich, but I did two.
  • Cowl of the Wild is a medium-dark chocolate brown with a little taupe cream. Two coats.
  • Aura Angora is a yellow, mustard-y cream. Two coats. It’s darker and more orange-based than Butter London’s Bumster.
  • Wool You Marry Me? is a deep burgundied brown cream. This one was my favorite, because it looks very decadent in color. Two coats. This one reminded me a bit of Essie’s Sexy Divide.
  • Unraveled Rust is a rich, almost molten dark chocolate brown cream. Two coats.

Barielle’s formula is on the thicker side, though it applies very evenly and never streaks. I found all shades except Cashmere or Loose Me to be nearly opaque in one coat. I ended up using two coats for all colors, but the creams are quite pigmented. These felt like they took longer to dry than the average polish, and I think that might be due to the thickness of the polish itself.

Honestly, I don’t own many brown polishes for whatever reason, so I don’t have a full range of shades to pull from for dupes. Given that Essie does a lot of creams, you may want to look there first (assuming you have a large Essie stash, of course).

These are colors you may love or hate, and they’re not your typical shades, regardless of the coordination with the season. I’m kind of digging Aura Angora and like Wool You Marry Me? the best, but none of these shades are must-haves based on my color preferences.

Any of these shades catch your eye?

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The formula is a little thick and takes a bit longer to dry, but the creams are incredibly pigmented and apply beautifully.

AVAILABILITY: Barielle

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Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Zoya Fire & Ice Collection
Zoya Nail Lacquer: Tiffany, Gloria, Crystal

Zoya Fire & Ice: Hot or Cold, It Works

For winter, Zoya has six new metallic shades: Tiffany (soft champagne sparkling metallic), Gloria (pink champagne sparkling metallic), Crystal (frosty blue sparkling metallic), Lisa (celebration red sparkling metallic), Sarah (possibly the prettiest sparkling red metallic ever!), and Valerie (deep purple baby in a sparkling metallic). You can purchase all six together for $40 or individual shades for $7 a pop. Not sure about a shade? Consider Zoya spoons, which cost $0.50 each, but the cost will be refunded in the form of a coupon that you can use on your next order.

  • Tiffany is a peach-copper color base with flecks of gold glitter pieces and peachy-pink shimmer. Two coats.
  • Gloria is a pinky-red jelly color base with flecks of shiny gold glitter and pink shimmer. Two coats.
  • Crystal is a medium sky blue foil with flecks of green-tinged gold glitter and light blue shimmer.
  • Lisa is a ruby red with pink-red shimmer. The bottle looks like there is gold shimmer in it, but I couldn’t detect it once applied. In the third natural light photo, you can see a little gold edging around the nail. Two coats.
  • Sarah is a deepend brown-tinged red base with pink and copper shimmer. It almost has a duochrome feel to it, but it’s very subtle. Two coats.
  • Valerie is a deep blackened burgundy color base with fuchsia-purple and copper-gold flecks of shimmer. I thought this was the most unique shade out of the collection. Two coats.

First and foremost, there is NO DUPE of MAC’s Bad Fairy. I’ve included swatch comparisons just to be absolutely clear about it, but Bad Fairy has a strong duochrome, while Zoya’s collection is more about a sparkling, metallic finish. Tiffany is incredibly peach in comparison, as well as lighter. Gloria has a very similar composition, but because it lacks the duochrome finish of Bad Fairy, it looks different on the nail; it is also less pink, more orange-red. I think the shade should stand on its own, rather than as a comparison to Bad Fairy.

Crystal and Valerie are my personal favorites out of the six; I think both shades are standouts. The way Zoya did a foil base with foil glitter flecks is fun, but I love that it’s a blue base with green-gold layered on top. I love duochrome polishes, and I don’t have anything like Valerie, so that makes it a winner in my book.

The formula was even, smooth, and not too thick or thin. Everything applied with ease, and I didn’t have any trouble removing them. The glittery shades like Crystal may leave some glittery bits on your fingers, but it’s not at all like removing a large particle glitter polish. I used two coats on all six shades, but Lisa, Sarah, and Valerie were quite pigmented in just one. I found to get a smooth, even distribution of shimmer/glitter, two coats were optimal.

P.S. — I can’t believe that Zoya still has common names like Lisa and Sara available in their arsenal!

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: Great formula, fun shades, easy application–any of these are worth checking out if a shade catches your eye.

AVAILABILITY: Zoya

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