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Guerlain Lou-Ling Nail Lacquer

Guerlain Lou-Ling Nail Lacquer
Guerlain Lou-Ling Nail Lacquer

Dig Your Nails Into a Juicy Plum

Guerlain Lou-Ling Nail Lacquer ($23.00 for 0.38 fl. oz.) is described as a “stunning plum for a spellbinding look.” It’s a deep berry-burgundy with strong red wine undertones and a very subtle dusting of subdued red shimmer. There are a lot of similar shades on the market–the biggest difference is going to be that smattering of shimmer, but it’s not very visible in most lighting. MAC Gadabout Girl is darker. Deborah Lippmann Single Ladies is redder. MAC Blueblood is a smidgen darker, no shimmer. China Glaze Velvet Bow is a touch redder. Urban Decay Wrecked is similar but darker. MAC Purple Majesty is also a fair bit darker. Zoya Anja is fairly close (no shimmer, though). China Glaze Loft-y Ambitions is the closest–it has subtle shimmer and is a tiny bit lighter. Rescue Beauty Lounge Drifter is similar but has no shimmer.

Lou-Ling performs well; it’s fluid, flowing, and completely opaque in two coats.  The consistency was on the thinner side but not watery.  It dried down a little faster than average, and there was a natural shine to the end result.  In the past, I’ve had no problem getting a week of wear out of Guerlain’s polish, but they haven’t released a lot of shades. I’ll be testing this one fully, and if there are any deviations from that, will update.  (But heads up, next to nothing chips on me, even if I go without a base and top coat!)

Guerlain Le Vernis Nail Lacquer Lou-Ling
Lou-Ling
Lou-Ling
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

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Dior Diva Diorific Vernis

Dior Diva Diorific Vernis
Dior Diva Diorific Vernis

She’s a True Diva!

Dior Diva Diorific Vernis ($26.00 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is a deep, dark black with just a hint of brown and multi-colored flecks of shimmer in fuchsia, gold, and bronze. China Glaze Midtown Magic is browner and has more shimmer. Dior Czarina Gold is also browner and has a lot more shimmer–also has a few bits of green sparkle. Chanel Strong almost similar in natural light, but it has a berry tone to it.

Now this shade is one that just might be worth picking up to get your hands on the packaging and feel good about doing so.  I think the way it looks in the bottle is gorgeous–all dark and foreboding with lots and lots of shimmer catching the light.  More importantly, it performs beautifully.  The consistency is just right, so it’s not so thick that it pools or bubbles, but it’s not so thin that you have to sacrifice pigmentation. It’s fully opaque after two coats, and it dries down a bit faster than average and finishes with a natural shine.  (For really glossy nails, I would still use a top coat.)  I typically get a full week of wear out of Dior’s polishes with no chipping and just minor tip wear.  It’s not a cinch to apply with the little cap of a handle, but at least what’s inside the bottle is quite nice.

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 Diva
Diva

MAC Pro Sculpting Creams

MAC Accentuate Pro Sculpting Cream
MAC Accentuate Pro Sculpting Cream

If It Matches, Sculpt Away!

MAC Pro Sculpting Creams ($20.00 for 0.17 oz.) are described as a “cream-to-powder formula for sculpting and shaping key features … [s]ilky-smooth, easy-to-blend and neutrally-shaded.” It’s supposed to have sheer-to-medium buildable coverage.

  • Accentuate is a pale white beige with mostly neutral undertones–it almost pulls a smidgen pink on me.
  • Coffee Walnut is a gray-ish medium-dark brown with subdued, orange-tan undertones. It has a slight green-cast.
  • Copper Beach is a medium-tan with strong orange undertones. If anything, this shade seemed more appropriate as a bronzer.
  • Naturally Defined is a light-medium beige with mostly neutral undertones–perhaps a smidgen warm.
  • Pure Sculpture is a softened tan brown. It’s not as orange as Copper Beach–more subdued.
  • Richly Honed is a dark brown with warm, reddish undertones.

I think the shades in MAC’s Sculpting powder range (which is permanent at PRO stores) are better-colored for contouring, because they’re much more shadowy, and these tended to be rather warm-toned. When you contour, you’re emphasizing or adding shadows, and when you highlight, you’re shaping and sculpting by adding light/sheen. If one of these shades is the right color, it can be a really great product. I’m just not sold that this is the right set of shades–I would have loved to have seen them take the existing Sculpting range and make them into cream form.  Accentuate, Coffee Walnut, and Naturally Defined are the closest to neutral, while Copper beach, Pure Sculpture, and Richly Honed are very much warm-toned.

The texture is lightly creamy, not too thick or too thin.  I’d almost describe it as a stiff cream, but in the best way.  All six shades had buildable coverage, so you could get sheer-to-light color easily, but you could layer just once or twice for more intensity.  While I did try using the new 163 brush that came with the launch, I preferred the 193 or finger tips (using a clean spatula to remove product, then warming it up between finger tips and blending it out on the skin).  It dries down and has a natural finish.  I tested all six of the shades (though used together, not individually), and I had no problem getting a full eight hours of wear with no noticeable fading.

MAC Pro Sculpting Creams

A-
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
91%
Total

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MAC Pressed Pigments

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

De-Pressed About These Pigments

MAC Pressed Pigments ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) were recently launched as an “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence and versatility of finish.” It can be “[applied] dry for a high shine, or on damp skin for a dramatic wet look” with “sheer-to-moderate buildable coverage and natural dimension finish.”

These had me at a loss of words. I spent the past week trying to figure out how these could be used for something that wasn’t purely editorial or only needed to last about five minutes. I was hopeful about MAC’s recent Face & Body launch, as I love highlighting/contouring–I was hoping for something a little more shimmery than the Shaping powders (PRO) that launched a few years ago. Well, these aren’t shimmery; they’re like a disco ball exploded and fractured all over your face, eyes, body, or wherever you happen to put them.

I tried using two shades as a highlighter on the cheek (one on each cheek), and it looked like dirt/sand/grit. It travels to parts unknown within an hour of wearing it on the cheek–I found glitter on my lip, on my ear, and on my shoulder, and I had only applied it to my cheek bones. It’s not a product that applies well with face brushes; it really needs to be applied with fingers or a sponge and really pressed/crushed. The texture really reminded me of MAC’s Crushed Metal pigments, because without grinding them down, they are so loose and chunky.

I tried using them on the body (collarbone/decolletage), and it looked the same – like flecks of brown dirt rather than a luminous sheen or even glittery dazzle. I tried using them on the brow bone, inner tear duct/lid, and on the eyelid in general. The glitter is really, really chunky, and the fall out is tremendous, not just during, but after application. I was getting a ton of glitter in my eye for the six hours I managed to wear these. After six hours, at least half of the glitter on the eye had transferred to my cheeks, nose, or got lost in my eye ball. I even used MAC’s Mixing Medium to see if it would help these adhere better but no luck. Frankly, these were painful to use on the eye – both of my eyes were red and irritated for the rest of the day/night.

I tried using these both wet and dry with numerous brushes (215, 228, 231, 242, 116, 130, 188, and 193) but nothing yielded a result that did anything flattering. On the lid, it’s sparkly and pretty–but the fall out is over-the-top ridiculous. It’s some of the worst fall out I’ve seen. It makes Urban Decay’s Midnight Cowboy Rides Again seem like a dream to work with. It’s funny, too, because they actually swatched beautifully. They looked stunning on my arm!

As you can see, this review is all about “I tried,” but I failed. I couldn’t highlight my brow bone, eyelid, cheekbones, or collarbones with this product.  I have used lots and lots of highlighters in the past ten years, but this is a product that left me grappling for any use that might possibly work.  The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I’ve seen in a glittery product that wasn’t loose to begin with. I’m honestly surprised these are eye safe (there wasn’t any warning to the contrary on the box), because they were so irritating from the fall out.

MAC Pressed Pigments

F
4
Product
6
Pigmentation
6
Texture
2
Longevity
2.5
Application
46%
Total

Milani Olympian Blue Eyeshadow

Milani Olympian Blue Eyeshadow
Milani Olympian Blue Eyeshadow

Shadow Like an Olympian

Milani Olympian Blue Eyeshadow ($5.99 for 0.11 oz.) is a rich medium blue with a matte finish. MAC Blue Candy is lighter. MAC Electric Eel is comparable. MAC Freshwater is a smidgen darker and frosted. Inglot #371 is a touch lighter. Inglot #322 is similar. Make Up For Ever #72 is also comparable.  This is one shade that has a lot of dupes–this, of course, is the most affordable!

Olympian Blue is highly pigmented, just as described, with an ultra-finely milled, silky soft texture that’s easy to blend.  I love that it’s not so soft that it’s powdery, and it doesn’t disappear once applied. You don’t have to pack this color on at all–it’s very intense and stays that way, even as you blend around the edges.  When I tried it out, it wore for a full eight hours without primer and there was no apparent fading or creasing.

Milani Eyeshadow Olympian Blue
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

Buxom Euphoria True Hue Blush

Buxom Euphoria True Hue Blush
Buxom Euphoria True Hue Blush

Buxom Adds a Little Euphoria to Your Day

Buxom Euphoria True Hue Blush ($24.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as a “lively coral.” In the pan, it looks like an orange-coral, but when I swatched it, the color was much more medium orange with a more tangerine-like hue when blended out. Illamasqua Expose is darker, less bright. MAC Optimistic Orange is a touch darker. NARS Gina is browner, more subdued.

Buxom’s True Hue formula is supposed to be “silky, sheer, and ultra-buildable.” While I was less impressed with Luvitate, Euphoria was much better! The texture was softer, more finely-milled without being dry nor powdery, while the payoff was sheer as advertised–but buildable, also as advertised–so you can use it without fear of overdoing it while medium and deep complexions can still use it, too.  The soft texture made it easy to apply, layer, and blend out Euphoria on the skin.  It wore for a full eight hours with no noticeable fading.

Buxom Euphoria True Hue Blush

A
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

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