Wednesday, November 4th, 2009


Smashbox Wish for the Perfect Pencils Set: Celebrate, Wish, Hope, Love, Dream

Holiday Glitz & Glamour with Smashbox’s Perfect Pencils

Smashbox Wish For The Perfect Pencils ($32.00 for 5 0.04 oz. eyeliners) includes five stunning, limited edition shades of pencil eyeliners.

  • Celebrate is a bright, metallic silver.
  • Wish is a deep forest green black.
  • Hope is a bright pop of violet purple.
  • Love is a rich bronze with a cool tone to it.
  • Dream is a deep black.

First, I demand to know why Smashbox doesn’t have a whole line of permanent eye pencils available.

I really, really would love to know why they keep such a fabulous product limited to seasonal offerings. (I believe the last set of liners they offered was with the Muse collection, but my memory often fails me, so perhaps they did it in summer/fall, too.) BUT WHY, SMASHBOX, WHY? I’m totally serious!

These eyeliners are incredibly smooth, easy to use, line beautifully (no dragging), and they stay all day. In fact, in a blind-lining-challenge, I wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference between these and Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners (which I love, love, love!). They even have a similar look to them. I’d say these are, perhaps, not quite as soft, but it’s really debatable and almost undetectable in difference. They’re even the same size (0.04 oz.)! But since they’re packaged together as a set, you’re actually getting a very nice deal at $32 for five full-sized liners. That brings each of these down to $6.40 a pop–cheaper than a lot of drugstore brands–and they’re some hardy liners.

I found they didn’t wear all day on the waterline (not much does), but I got about three or four hours of bold wear on the lower waterline and then the rest was just slightly faded–so it wasn’t super noticeable unless you were inspecting me and all in my face. On the lower lash line, they performed like true champs. They stayed true to their bold color, lasted all day, didn’t migrate, fade, or smudge. It’s truly a fantastic formula, and I want to be the first one to start the petition for Smashbox to make a permanent, full range of these pencils!

Plus, I love any time a brand gives part or all of their proceeds to charity: Smashbox is granting wishes this holiday season! With each purchase from the WISH collection, you are helping make miracles happen. Smashbox will donate $1 of every purchase up to $25,000 to Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that grants the wish of life by providing medical care, life-saving research, and on-going education to help millions of kids overcome diseases and injuries of every kind.

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

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

Recommendation: Seriously, less than $7 a pop, fantastic colors, long-wearing formula? I don’t know how you can resist, but I give you props if you do.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Smashbox Siren Lip Enhancing Gloss

The Scarlet Season: Smashbox Siren Lip Enhancing Gloss

Smashbox Siren Lip Enhancing Gloss ($18.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a mostly red, slightly pink-tinged semi-opaque gloss with a coppery red shimmer that’s noticeable but not in-your-face. The best part about this gloss (and other shades in the same formula) is the high shine, ultra glossy look it gives lips. My lips just seemed to look a little bigger, fuller, and just more POW! overall. The formula iteslf is non-sticky, not really thick (but not super thin, either–somewhere in-between), and very moisturizing. The gloss does contain vitamin E, so it helps keep lips feeling their best. It has a soft slightly sweet vanilla scent to it, as well. Siren is a good shade to gloss over a red lipstick for extra shine or wear alone!

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

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Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Holiday Glitz & Glamour with Dolce & Gabbana Gold Smooth Eye Colour Duo

Dolce & Gabbana Gold Smooth Eye Colour Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.) contains two eyeshadows housed in a “gold” compact and two sponge-tipped brushes.

The two shades included are a shimmery, true yellow gold with a metallic sheen and a coppery bronze shade with a metallic/frost finish. I already know what you’re thinking — because I thought the same, too — these are exact dupes of MAC’s Goldmine and Amber Lights eyeshadows. And you know what? They are and they aren’t. The gold shade in this duo is truer gold, a little yellower (less orange), and it’s not as frosty. The coppery shade is smoother, not as coppery (slightly more golden), and also not as frosty.

At the end of the day, they are reasonably similar, though, so it’s a matter of what poison you prefer. These are ultra smooth, silky shades that blend effortlessly and both shades pack plenty of color pay off. I recommend you check out a swatch of Goldmine and see how it differs, as well as do the same for Amber Lights.

Surprisingly, Dolce & Gabbana provides you with a good amount of product in this eyeshadow duo. You get 0.17 oz. for $36 or $18.00 per 0.085 oz. eyeshadow (or $211.76/oz.). This makes Dolce & Gabbana (by the ounce) less expensive than MAC ($290.00/oz.) and NARS ($314.29/oz.). I love comparing by the ounce, because it gives you a way to compare across any and all brands and just see how much you’re getting for your money. For some of us, the amount isn’t really that important, because we know we’re unlikely to finish an eyeshadow! (You know, maybe it’s not “us” but it’s me, and I feel better if I believe I’m not alone.)

Bottom Line: Dolce & Gabbana surprised me with how high quality their eyeshadows were. When I first started trying out their products, I had a fear that they’d be gimmicky and very reliant on their name rather than their product, but I was completely wrong. I’ve been pleased with the majority of their products, and the Gold Eye Colour Duo is no exception. The eyeshadows have a smooth texture, lovely metallic finish, and color pigmentation is very true.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I love that you’re getting your money’s worth in eyeshadow, even if I may not use it all up myself, and I happen to adore these kinds of shades (hello, I’m a total gold-eyeshadow girl!). I think if these shades appeal to you, it’s worth checking out. If they don’t, maybe check out one of their other duos!

Availability: Saks

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Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Zoya Astra Nail Polish ($7.00) is one of three shades of Ultra Glitter. Astra has a warm-toned pink jelly base with deeper red small, square glitter mixed in. It’s very sparkly and fun, but I kind of wish it had a more opaque base. I never thought I’d be such a fan of glitter polishes, but they’re such a nice way to add punch to your wardrobe without feeling like it’s ever too much. Zoya’s formula is always tops, and I always get great wear whenever I use their polish and Color Lock System (which is my go-to base/top/drying coat system).

Zoya also includes something I think is really handy on their website:

Tone: Warm
Finish: Glitter
Color Family: Pinks
Intensity: 3 (1= Very Sheer to 5= Very Opaque)
Original Collection: Ultra Glitter

I just think it’s informative, and it just shows that this isn’t designed to be ultra opaque but somewhere in-between sheer and opaque. I like that they let you know whether the shade runs cool or warm, because sometimes if you can’t buy in person, every extra detail they give you helps you make a better decision about whether to buy or not.

I didn’t find it too difficult to remove either, which is often a problem with glitter polishes. It’s not as quick and easy as a typical polish, but it really didn’t bother me or make me groan either. I always soak a cotton pad in remover, gently press against the nail, then I do the same for the others, and finally go back and start removing.

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’re a fan of glitter polishes, Zoya’s Astra is a fun shade of pinky-red for the holidays.

Availability: Zoya

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Guerlain Gems Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Gems Rouge G Lipstick

Guerlain Gems Rouge G Lipstick ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is the second new, limited edition shade of Rouge G from Guerlain’s Holiday Collection. (The other new, limited edition shade is Grace, which I reviewed last week.)

Gems is a beautiful shade of slight subdued pink-coral with a fiery gold shimmer laced throughout. It’s hard for me to call it a coral, because there is a very pink color base to it, yet the brightness of the rising sun shimmer makes it pop. For me, this was love at first swatch — this is a shade I could see myself wearing all the time, no matter the occasion.

It’s just one of those shades that suits me well and makes me feel great wearing it. I’ve always considered makeup more than just utility — it’s about the feeling and experience and joy I get from using it. This just makes me happy!  Even outside of my makeup haze, I really do think this is a very flattering shade that a lot of people could wear and find work well for them.

The Rouge G formula is fantastic — smooth, silky, wears and fades well, and goes on opaque overall.  The only real detractor is the wowza price tag.  When it comes to Rouge G, I really do believe you’re paying mostly for the packaging.  I just can’t deny the formula rocks — I just wish they’d make the formula available with some cheaper packaging!

By the way, Gems looks amazing with Guerlain’s Perle de Lune KissKiss Gloss (also from this collection) layered on top.

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Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Today, CoverGirl is doing a pre-sale for their two new additions to the Blast line-up with Smoky ShadowBlast ($8.49) and ShineBlast Lip Gloss ($8.49). For those who purchase by visiting Drugstore.com, they’ll save $5 and earn free shipping while supplies last. For those who purchase by visiting CVS, they will receive free shipping. I found the pre-sale site forced me to “build a look,” when I just wanted to see where to buy, so you can just go to drugstore.com directly and search for it by name and it’ll show up.  Drugstore.com is also showing all of the shades shipping in “one to two weeks.”  Curious!

Smoky ShadowBlast is available for pre-sale in four shades: Silver Sky, Onyx Smoke, Bronze Fire, and Purple Plume. ShineBlast Lip Gloss is available for pre-sale in four shades: Dazzle, Flare, Ablaze, and Firecracker.

When these officially hit stores in January 2010, we’ll see an addition of Citrus Flair and Tempest Blue ShadowBlasts, and we’ll see a whole slew of additional glosses come the new year. The additional gloss shades are: Aglow, Beam, Ember, Fire, Gleam, Glimmer, Glow, Heat, Ignite, Radiate, Smolder, and Sparkler.

I just played around with two shades of ShadowBlast this weekend, because I wanted to be able to share a little more insight than just marketing blitz as the pre-sale got underway…

First, an obvious point of contention with this product is the lack of labeling on the product itself.  The original packaging does tell you the shade names, but once you take ‘em out of the packaging and toss it away, there’s nothing to tell you what you have.

First, I tried Citrus Flaire ShadowBlast, which was a duo of shimmery chartreuse green and a rich, shimmery copper. The chartreuse side is “step one,” designed to be use as a lid color, while the copper side is “step two,” meant to be used as a liner or crease shade. The second one I tried was Silver Sky ShadowBlast, which was a duo of a shimmery, light silver (“step one”) and a smoky purple with lighter shimmer (“step two”). Both ShadowBlasts were pigmented, smooth, and creamy without being overly so–just enough slip to glide along the lid without tugging or pulling.

After playing around with these this weekend, I’d say that they’re best layered over a base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance or else set well with powder eyeshadow for best results. I found when worn alone, it was hard to get just the right amount so it didn’t crease or look faded. If you just want to use them as a liner, I didn’t have migration issues, but the tip of the product is a little bulky, so it’s not super easy to use as a liner.

These reminded me a lot of MAC’s shadesticks, actually – just a little softer and smoother and with less staying power (on their own). When I used it alone the first time around, it creased within fifteen minutes–I threw a layer of the chartreuse shade all over my lid for a quick and dirty crease-test, and by the time I finished photographing and swatching the other ShadowBlast, it had definitely creased.

Bottom Line: It’s really great to see CoverGirl step up their game with these pigmented cream eyeshadows. I think if you’re looking for a way to boost up eyeshadow colors, these make a great way to add an extra level of dimension underneath your regular eyeshadows.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: For a more budget-friendly alternative to pigmented cream shadows and ways to enhance your eyeshadow, these are worth checking out.

Availability: CoverGirl

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