Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Barielle High Steppin' Collection

Barielle High Steppin’ Collection for Summer 2010

For summer, Barielle is releasing six shades of summery shades in late April/early May. There are quite a few metallic finish shades in this collection, which made me a bit wary, as I cannot seem to minimize brushstrokes enough to feel good about wearing a metallic finish polish. Freestyle has only a slight metallic finish, so I was able to work with that one, but Passion Pirouette and Slow Motion are both distinctly metallic and were less easy for me to work with. Electric Boogie is absolutely divine and if you’re a fan of dark blues, you might just have to get this shade.

  • Passion Pirouette is a reddened fuchsia-purple with a metallic finish with a silver-ish overlay. If you take your time with this shade, I think you can bang out a pretty fun, metallic-look with minimal brush strokes. With metallic finishes, less is definitely more — you don’t want to have to go back over the same area, because you want to minimize the brush strokes as much as possible. It is an opaque shade, though, as it only requires two coats for a good, opaque color.
  • Slow Motion is a gray, lilac-tinged shade with a metallic finish. This shade takes about three coats to go opaque, but I found it was harder to disguise the brushstrokes, because the color itself is on the light side.
  • Belly Dance is a slightly grayed fleshy beige with champagne shimmer. This applied beautifully; it was easy to apply and went on smoothly. I found two coats was about right, though I applied three for good measure.
  • Night Moves is a silver with an almost pewter cast and a very glittery, more foil-like finish than a metallic-finish. Because the glitter is noticeable, it helps to disguise any brush stroke issues. This really did remind me of foil… but way, way more intense. It’s like foil met a disco ball and they had a glitter-tastic baby.
  • Electric Boogie is a rich, deep water blue with night sky sparkle. This is truly the standout shade of the six. This is a seriously lush color that looks kind of sexy on nails. It has sky blue shimmer and larger, more obvious blue-teal flecks of glitter. Beautiful!
  • Freestyle is a pastel mint green with champagne gold micro-glitter. This shade was the sheerest of the bunch and definitely needed three coats to look opaque, but three was good. It has a slightly metallic finish, so some brushstrokes are visible, but much less obvious than with Passion Pirouette and Slow Motion.

LOVE Electric Boogie, LIKE Freestyle and Night Moves, but would SKIP Passion Pirouette.

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

Recommendation:  It’s not a solid collection, because not all shades are made equal, but there are some nice shades to be found within the collection as well.  If you do like metallic finishes and have no issues working with them, though, then you may enjoy the entire collection!

Availability: May 2010

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Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Make Up For Ever #3L Aqua Eyes Liner

Summer-proof Your Eye Makeup with Make Up For Ever #3L Aqua Eyes

Make Up For Ever #3L Aqua Eyes Liner ($17.00) is a dark, navy blue with lighter, twilight blue shimmer.  It’s smooth and has a soft sheen.  I like wearing this particular navy shade with other blues, greens, golds, and even blue-toned purples.

I’ve reviewed several shades of Aqua Eyes, so if you’ve read those, much of the rest of this review is going to sound a bit redundant… but for those who haven’t read my previous Aqua Eyes’ reviews, this is for you!

Aqua Eyes have a really brilliant formula that’s budge-proof, smudge-proof, and water-resistant.  They’re excellent for those looking for long-wearing eyeliners that won’t migrate and fade throughout the day.  I particularly like them during the summer when I know I’ll be spending quite a bit of time outdoors, because I don’t have to worry about my eyeliner sweating all over the place.  The color range is tremendous with twenty-five shades to choose from, too, which is convenient–if you find you love this formula, you don’t have to look elsewhere for the shade you want.

They’re not as creamy or soft as Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliners, but they’re not hard on the eyes, either; they’re just not quite as soft, and some may prefer that for getting more precision in their looks.

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  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been wanting a navy blue eyeliner that’s not going to fade or migrate on your lash line, Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes formula may just do the trick for you!

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Chanel Nouvelle Vague Le Vernis

Chanel Les Pop-Up de Chanel:  Nouvelle Vague

At $23 a pop, Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Lacquer is a decadent indulgence for your hands. Some love ‘em, some hate ‘em. I’m in the camp of love the product, hate the price (but who loves to pay more? seriously!). I’ve personally haven’t had any issues with formula or wear on the Chanel shades I own. In Les Pop-Up de Chanel (Chanel’s summer collection), Chanel is releasing three new shades of Le Vernis: Mistral (soft pink), Nouvelle Vague (turquoise), and Riviera (intense pink).

I literally just received Nouvelle Vague this afternoon, and I was thinking about holding off to post until tomorrow, but I just can’t resist. Nouvelle Vague is a beautiful shade of aqua-blue. It’s turquoise, but it’s not a brightened turquoise. It’s pastel without being light and sheer. There is the finest dusting of icy, aqua-blue shimmer laced throughout the aqua-blue. It’s a very stunning shade of turquoise. It’s one of my favorite polishes by Chanel, ever.

For those who find Chanel out of their price range (or fear their bank account murdering them in their sleep if they purchased this…), don’t despair, because China Glaze For Audrey is so, so close. Chanel’s Nouvelle Vague is just the slightest bit lighter and it has shimmer, whereas China Glaze’s is a pure cream.  Check out the swatches to see just how similar they are.  Personally?  I would have bought Nouvelle Vague anyway.  In a heartbeat.  I wouldn’t even think twice (barely once!).

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  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I think for those who love their polish, there may be the need to own both, but for those who are simply lusting after the shade, For Audrey might be a little lighter on the wallet.

Availability: May 2010

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Body Creme

A Bedtime Indulgence with Vanilla & Anise

Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise Body Creme ($75.00 for 5.9 fl. oz.) is a decadent scent indulgence for the body.  It’s expensive, but it’s a definite luxury.  Vanilla & Anise is new for spring, and it is delicious!  It’s times like these that I wish I had a more sophisticated sniffer, because I’ve been bumbling over how to describe this scent for the past week!

Top Notes: Sicilian Bergamot, Tunisian Neroli, Wild Fennel Flower, Star Anise
Heart Notes: Oleander, Tuberose, Frangipani, Purple Vanilla Orchid
Base notes: Clove, Tonka, White Amber, Creamy Musks, Vanilla Bourbon Absolute, Vetiver Haiti

Initially, it has a spicy, lightly vanilla scent mixed with a sharper citrus taste, which is pleasant and enjoyable, but the dry down is fantastic.  It’s like a heady, seductive mix of tempered vanilla and amber with an almost woody feel.  The vanilla notes you find in this scent is not the vanilla cupcake scent you’ll find at a bakery.  It has a definite sweetness to it, but it’s not cloying or sugary-sweet.

Though the scent is the most important part of the product, I was particularly impressed by how well and long it wears.  I’ve been using this before I go to bed on my arms and legs, and the scent lingers beautifully.  I find a lot of scented body lotions and creams don’t last long and often have a stale smell, if they do last a few hours.  Vanilla & Anise stays with me until I wake up and take a shower, though it has gently worn over through the night–but I can still smell it on me without trying.

The Body Creme also does a bang-up job keeping my dragon-lady legs at bay, which I was surprised at as well.  I just imagined that, despite enjoying Jo Malone products in the past, it wouldn’t be a truly rich and luxurious body cream, but it was and is.  The texture of the Body Creme is certainly rich, but it’s creamy without being too thick or stiff.  You don’t need much (which is good, ’cause you don’t get much!), and despite being a richer cream, it absorbs within minutes and doesn’t leave behind any greasiness or stickiness.

Last night, I walked into the office, and my boyfriend instantly took notice and was like, “Mmm!”  It’s always a wonderful thing when you and your significant other can agree on your beauty favorites!

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’re a Jo Malone fan and haven’t yet tried a body creme, you might want to try a sample if you’re able to–you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was.  A supreme indulgence but a very much worth it indulgence!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Urban Decay Summer of Love Eyeshadow Palette

Travel with Urban Decay This Summer

Urban Decay Summer of Love Shadow Palette ($29.00) is a new-for-summer eyeshadow palette that features four eyeshadows (0.04 oz. each), a miniature Sin Primer Potion (0.09 fl. oz.), and miniature Bourbon 24/7 Eye Pencil (0.03 oz.). The eyeshadows included in the palette are Flash (bright iridescent purple), Maui Wowie (medium gold with silver glitter), Chopper (coppery fawn with silver microglitter), and Smog (deep coppery bronze).

Everything in the palette is available individually, should you only fall in love with one of the shades! As such, everything included is also permanent. However, for those who do not already have the majority of these eyeshadows either individually or in various past-released palettes, you get a good amount of product in the palette itself.

Normal eyeshadows are 0.05 oz. (and retail for $17) while the palette versions are 0.03 oz. — still plenty to use. The eyeliner is typically 0.04 oz. (and retails for $17) but 0.03 oz. in the palette. Plus, you do get the mini-sized Sin Primer Potion (my least favorite of the primers, though–so metallic!). All in all, the palette is a good deal with lots of value–if you don’t already own the shades in it.

  • Flash is a cool-toned violet purple with a slight iridescence. It’s very smooth, pigmented, and vibrant.
  • Maui Wowie is an antique gold with silver glitter. It has great color pay off, and I swear this version felt so much smoother than the one included in the Alice in Wonderland palette, which felt much grittier. You may encounter some fall out with this shade from the glitter.
  • Chopper is a muted copper with a gilded-bronze sheen/shimmer. It has nice pigmentation and applies smoothly.
  • Smog is a deepened chocolate brown with a warm bronze sheen. It, too, is a vibrant shade that has rich pigmentation.

Urban Decay seems to really love releasing summer palettes with a series of browns and then a pop of color. (Remember Get Baked from last year?) I do like this color variation a lot better than last year’s, because I feel like there is a good amount of differentiation between each shade.

The packaging fits with their theme–definitely groovy and all that–but I’m not digging the vintage photographs on the back. I would have personally loved to have seen the floral pattern continue around the mirror, like it did in Get Baked. It’s cool that the graphic designer’s parents are now immortalized in a makeup palette, but for me, it’s just, “Who are these random people?” Like the majority of Urban Decay products, it is made out of sturdy cardboard. I like these flip-open palettes, because they’re slim, streamlined, and easy to travel with and store.

It’s a nice option for a summer palette, but as always, I wish Urban Decay would release new shades of eyeshadows rather than using their permanent shadows. It makes it hard to purchase as a fan, just because you probably own all of them with the palettes you already have! Maybe Urban Decay should make palette forms available of all their eyehadows so we can just mix and match throughout the year! :)

P.S. – I think I have enough mini-sized Bourbon liners to get me through year 3000.

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

Recommendation: If you don’t own a lot of Urban Decay eyeshadows, this palette makes a fun option for some summery shades. It’s a great value if you don’t have any of the shades, and the quality of the products within the palette are tops.  It’s easily skipped if you own half or more of the shades/products in it.

Availability: Urban Decay

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Toki Doki for Sephora
Toki Doki

tokidoki for Sephora: Royal Pride Inferno Bronzer

tokidoki Royal Pride Inferno Bronzer ($22.00 for 0.37 oz.) is a warmed, golden-tan with champagne-gold shimmer bronzing powder. The powder itself has a heart and crossbones raised design in the middle, and there’s no overspray on it, it’s just the same as the rest of the product–which is nice, just because I hate being duped by those oversprays!

Though I was disappointed with the color pay off of Adios Star, I had no such pigmentation issues with Royal Pride. This swatched beautifully–pigmented, smooth, and gorgeous to look at. As far as bronzing goes, I think this will work nicely on lighter medium skin tones to deeper medium skin tones, but it may turn orange on some of the paler beauties. I’d recommend paler and very cool skin tones to swatch in-store if they’re able to.

tokidoki also has Diavolina, which is described as a “medium/tan with gold shimmer.” I felt like Royal Pride was a pretty deep bronzer, but it’s described as a “light/medium with gold shimmer.” I think Diavolina may be best for medium deep to deep complexions, but I haven’t seen it to be sure.

The packaging is made out of plastic, but it feels heavy and thick enough that I don’t feel like I’m using dollar-store makeup (which is always my fear whenever I see a non-beauty brand enter the beauty biz!). It’s solid, semi-clear, and should be sturdy enough to tote around.

You also get a whopping 0.37 oz. of product, which is rather hefty for a bronzing product. MAC Bronzing Powders are also $22, but you get 0.30 oz. I think tokidoki did a good job pricing themselves above mass, but they didn’t price themselves out of range, either. I wouldn’t go crazy buying hundreds of dollars over this without testing it first, but I can see myself picking a few items just to try and see (and if all else fails, take advantage of Sephora’s excellent return policy).

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation:  If you’re looking for a golden-toned bronzer, I think you may like Royal Pride.  It’s quite pigmented, so use a light hand or a fluffier brush when you go to use it to keep from overdoing it!

Availability: Sephora

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