Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

MAC Art Supplies Collection:  Greasepaint Sticks
Greasepaint Sticks: Zinc Zone, Uniformly Blue, Slick Black, Greengrease,
Dirty, Charred Mauve, Brown Now, Below Ground

MAC Art Supplies Collection: Greasepaint Sticks Review, Photos, Swatches

MAC Art Supplies Collection launches in-stores on April 1st (late April for international locations) and online March 30th. The collection includes eight new and limited edition shades of Greasepaint Sticks ($17.50), six new and limited edition shades of Pearlglide Intense Eye Liners ($14.50), and nine new and limited edition shades of Pro Longwear Lipstain Marker ($16.00).

Today, I’m going to review the new Greasepaint Sticks and (in a separate post) three of the six Pearlglide Intense Eye Liners. I’m going to mull over the Lipstain Markers until tomorrow, but I’ll give you my review of the three (of nine) shades I tried so far–so stay tuned! :)

Greasepaint Sticks ($17.50)

  • Below Ground is a soft bronzed chocolate brown with lighter bronze flecks. It reminded me of a lighter, less frosty version of Bronze eyeshadow.  I liked this one a lot, because I felt like it was light enough to be used in lighter looks as well as darker looks.
  • Brown, Now is a burgundy-brown. I don’t know why it’s called Brown, Now, to be honest, because it’s pretty burgundy to me.
  • Charred Mauve is a cool-toned blue-based purple with soft blue-violet flecks/sheen. It is similar to V, but it’s not the same–it’s a darker, grayer version–but the two are close enough that you don’t need both.
  • Dirty is a taupe brown with multi-colored shimmer. Kind of cool how it has all different colors of shimmer in it.
  • Greengrease is a forest green over a blackened base. It has flecks of gold, blue, and green shimmer. I found this one to be the least pigmented of the eight, though you can layer to get a more opaque look.
  • Slick Black is a matte, all-black shade. It’s rich and dark. It’s not like the original Greasepaint Stick from Style Black, because the original Greasepaint Stick is a black base with flecks of blue and violet shimmer. It reminded me a lot of Blacktrack fluidline, though.
  • Uniformly Blue is a medium-dark navy blue over a blackened blue-gray base with flecks of blue shimmer/sheen. Compared to B, it is a darker version; Uniformly Blue has a blackened base that the blue shade sits over. It’s close enough, though, that unless you’re a huge fan of Greasepaint Sticks, you only need one of the two.
  • Zinc Zone is a gunmetal silver over a lightly blackened base with silver and black shimmer/sheen. This is a fun shade, and I think it would make a nice base for a very dramatic, near-black smoky eye.

The good: I loved the variety of the shades offered in the collection. There are eight to choose from, so you aren’t stuck with just one or two like in the past. On me, I find they wear quite well–no real budging, smudging, or transferring throughout the day. They’re very smooth, soft, and easy to apply without tugging on the eyelid too much.

They’ve also improved the scent/smell of the Greasepaint Sticks this time–which is huge. My previous Greasepaint Sticks have a funky scent that’s unpleasant, but I didn’t notice any scent on these (whereas the scent on the original shades is still overwhelming!). These might have the faintest scent if you’re particularly gifted in the smelling department, but I didn’t detect anything with my sniffer.

The bad: Even though a nice dark base can be useful, I don’t necessarily need eight different variations on the theme. I’ve always found that most darker bases eat color rather than enhance it, so you’re always left with some sort of darkened smoky eye. Personally, I find that they’re a bit too thick to use as eyeliner without having to do some clean-up after application with a cotton swab.

My picks: Below Ground, Brown Now, Greengrease, Zinc Zone

Skip if you have…: Charred Mauve if you have V, Uniformly Blue if you have B, Slick Black if you have Blacktrack (Fluidline)

How to Use Greasepaint Sticks

  • As an all-over eyeshadow base — think of them as darker versions of shadesticks
  • As a smudged out eyeliner — make sure to sharpen them (sharpener is found on the opposite end) so you don’t get too thick of a line
  • As a defined crease — draw it into the crease and then smudge with a brush and/or eyeshadow

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Monday, March 29th, 2010

Urban Decay Summer of Love Nail Kit

Summer of Nails with Urban Decay

Urban Decay Summer of Love Nail Kit ($28.00) includes seven miniature-sized bottles of nail polish in summery shades. Each bottle contains 5ml/0.17 fl. oz. of product in it.

  • Shine On is a brightened bronze with gilded bronze shimmer. You can see a few brush strokes in this one, but they’re not too bad. I found the formula on this one to be a little goop-y but watery. You can’t rush this one — you have to let it dry quite a bit between coats. I found three were necessary for overall smoothness and color.
  • Woodstock is a bright neon pink. Like most neons, it’ll dry on the matte side, but a shiny top coat like Seche Vite will give it a glossy look. This went opaque in two coats, and it was a fuss-free formula.
  • Love Light is a sheer champagne shimmer. Even with three coats, you’ll still see the nail beneath it, but there’s plenty of shimmer here. The formula is sheer but easy to work with.
  • Hashbury is a magenta-fuchsia purple. It has a lot of red in it, and in the light, it looks much lighter than it does in the dark (where it looks more like an eggplant-y purple). Compared to the other two shimmery/metallic shades like Shine On and Aquarius, this one was easy to use and was just a bit on the runny side but not difficult to work with.
  • Magic Bus is a darkened neon orange. It’s like construction cone orange to me. Like Woodstock, it has a very smooth, easy to use formula that applies opaque in two coats.
  • Aquarius is a metallic-y aqua blue with teal sheen/shimmer. This one is both a pain to photograph and apply. It applies sheerly, so you need at least three coats for an opaque look. The problem with the formula is that it’s both goop-y and watery — it’s difficult to get enough for a thin coat, because if you do a medium-thick or thick coat, you’ll end up with goop-y looking nails (see my index finger in the swatch) that looks terrible. This was the problem child of the bunch for sure. Like Shine On, make sure you give each coat time to dry.
  • Psychedelic Sister is a neon coral-red. Again, like the other two neons (Woodstock and Magic Bus) in this kit, Psychedelic Sister applies smoothly and evenly without any work.

Three of the seven shades have an excellent formula–Woodstock, Magic Bus, and Psychedelic Sister–while three aren’t so hot–Shine On, Hashbury, and Aquarius. Love Light was neither excellent nor problematic; it just was, you know? Shine On and Hashbury weren’t too bad, but the formulas had a bit of a goop-y yet watery feel to them. Aquarius had this issue, but it also showed brush strokes the most and required nearly four coats to look right. With my larger hands, I found the tiny bottles harder to work with (I felt like I had meathooks!), but I was able to get used to that pretty quickly so it wasn’t a huge issue.

I like that it comes in a cute little bag that you can reuse later on for whatever makeup essentials you might want to put in it. It’ll fit your 24/7 Eyeliners, a few eyeshadows, glosses, and a blush. It’s not huge, but it has enough space for an overnight adventure.

If it was just the neons, these would be an A! Unfortunately, the metallic shades are harder to work with, and between Shine On and Aquarius, they have more of a low-B/mid-C formula, respectively, to me.  The kit, in total, is thus somewhere in between–just to clarify how everything came together.  I didn’t feel that comfortable rating it as a whole, just because some were great, some weren’t so great!

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

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

Recommendation: If you love trying lots of shades at once, this nail kit is a great way to grab some metallics and neons without breaking the bank. If you don’t mind a little patience, the metallics are workable, while the neons apply like a dream.

Availability: UrbanDecay.com on March 30th

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Monday, March 29th, 2010

Make Up For Ever HD Blush
Make Up For Ever #5 Nip Slip HD Blush

More on Make Up For Ever HD Blush

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Make Up For Ever’s HD Blush in three shades (#3 Truth or Dare, #4 Walk of Shame, and #6 Quickie). Today, I’m sharing with you three more shades and a run-down of them, but this is less a review as it is simply showing you what three other shades look like in real life.

I did, however, receive a full-size sample of #5 Nip Slip (can you believe they got away with that name?!), so I can confirm what I thought previously: the pump delivery system does pump out way too much if you simply do one pump. You really have to be careful and squeeze out just the tiniest bit. It’s better to go under than over, because you’ll end up wasting a good bit otherwise. I actually think I may prefer using them out of the 5-gram sample jars, just because I don’t have to worry about getting too much at once!

  • Nip Slip (#5) is a neutral, slightly yellow-toned pink that would look beautiful and fresh on both cool and warm skin tones. I think this is a good shade for light to medium to dark skin tones, too — it’s very buildable, so you can achieve that brighter pop of pink if you so desire.
  • Star Struck (#14) is a soft apricot peach that goes on more orange-apricot when blended and smoothed onto skin. Despite having a stronger orange tone, it’s not overly warm. It almost reads neutral to me, but I’d err on the side of warm.
  • First Kiss (#12) is a brightened orange with a soft shimmer/satin-y sheen built-in. It’s not neon orange, but it’s not quite the “bright apricot” that Sephora describes it as (even when it’s been blended out). This is definitely one of the more pigmented shades, so go easy if you want softer, sheerer color. It’s easier to intensify than it is to mute!

Other shades include: Innuendo #1 (vibrant plum), Caught in the Act #2 (bright raspberry), One Too Many #7 (peachy beige), PDA #8 (pinky nude), In the Spotlight #9 (nude), Skinny Dipping #10 (light orange brown), Mistaken Identity #11 (redwood brown), Smooth Talker #13 (vibrant pale pink). I previously reviewed Truth or Dare #3 (hot pink), Walk of Shame #4 (bubblegum pink), and Quickie #6 (salmon pink) here.

Make Up For Ever’s HD Blush wears well throughout the day. It’s easy to use, because it blends and softens without a lot of work, making it harder to make mistakes as long as you use less. You do not need to use a lot–I can’t stress it enough–we’re not even talking a pea-size of product. We’re talking about a pin-drop-size! One bottle will last you quite awhile, I’d imagine.

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: 3/5

Recommendation:  Those who are always looking for longer wearing products should check out the new HD Blush line-up, because these cream blushes stand up to day-long wear without fading!

Availability: Sephora

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Monday, March 29th, 2010

Urban Decay Peroxide Lipstick
Urban Decay Peroxide Lipstick

The Spring Season: Urban Decay Peroxide Lipstick

Urban Decay Peroxide Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.13 oz.) is an icy champagne shimmered yellow pink. When I swatched it on my arm, it had a glossy look to it, but on my lips, it looked less glossy and more shimmery/frosty. Peroxide is a semi-opaque shade that lightens up my natural lip color while giving it more of a soft rose look and feel. Surprisingly, with a name like Peroxide, it’s quite wearable. It’s lightened but not so light that it’s hard to pull off. Urban Decay lipsticks have a creme brulee-ish scent (kind of a sweetened, kind of burnt–but not in a bad way–smell), and I didn’t taste anything off with this shade.

Is this the right pink lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Guerlain Ombre Perlees

For our Natural Beauties: Guerlain’s Take on Summer

This summer, Guerlain goes supremely natural with their Meteorites Perles Collection. It is definitely different from last summer’s Summer Splash Collection.

I think those who find summer colors too bright, shimmered, or the like will find the Ombre Perlees Eyeshadow Palette ($59.00) a refreshing experience. It contains four shades: a dusty pinked white with a near matte finish, muted pinky-brown with a near matte finish, softened gray lilac with a satin finish, and grayed taupe with subtle satin shimmer.

I’ve always found Guerlain eyeshadow to have a supreme texture–soft, silken, smooth, nearly buttery–and this quad is no exception. All four shades applied smoothly and had good pigmentation. These are not bright shades in the least bit, but they swatch exactly as you’d expect given the way they look in the palette. Like most limited edition eyeshadow palettes from Guerlain, the flower design is only an overlay and will disappear after a couple of uses.

The packaging is luxe and traditional to Guerlain’s line, except it’s metallic silver, not quite the typical “metal” feel. I personally like that while Guerlain keeps the same shape and style of its palettes, the color will change based on the collection itself. Included with the palette are two sponge-tip applicators, but like all sponge applicators, they’re nothing to write home about and could easily be left out as far as I’m concerned! Brushes, please!

Being a more high-end, luxury brand, Guerlain doesn’t come cheap, but at least they’ll give you a good amount of eyeshadow (0.24 oz. — for reference, a MAC eyeshadow is 0.05 oz.) and make it look pretty while they’re at it!  There are no real low points to this product–it’s a solid natural-toned eyeshadow palette.  Price is really the only negative that I can think of!

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: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re cool-toned and looking for more natural shades to play up your eyes with, I think this should definitely be on your list of products to keep an eye out for. Warmer skin tones can still wear this quad, because all of the shades run closer to neutral than strongly cool, but it really strikes me as exceptionally beautiful on cooler skin tones–even more so on fairer skin tones.

Availability: April/May 2010

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Monday, March 29th, 2010

Essie Spring Collection
Top row: Red Nouveau, Tart Deco, Van D’Go
Bottom row: Pop Art Pink, Neo Whimsical, Lilacism

Spring for Pastels for Your Nails

Essie’s The Art of Spring Collection is a pretty-in-pastel six shade launch.  They’re a nice bunch of colors that give you some color on your nails without being too bold, so they may work nicely for those who need to have more office-appropriate nails.

  • Red Nouveau is a brightened red cream. It’s pretty, but it’s a shade we’ve seen before. It applies beautifully, though — very smooth, even, and nearly opaque in just one coat.
  • Tart Deco is a peached coral cream. The formula was easy to work with, surprisingly. Though I’m wearing three coats in the swatch, you really only needed two for an opaque finish. The shade itself isn’t too thick, but it is on the thicker side, and I didn’t have any issues with streakiness.
  • Van D’go is a lightened, milky pink with a peach cream finish. It took two coats to get an opaque look, but I went with three for swatching purposes. Like Tart Deco, the polish was thick but not overly so, and I didn’t encounter any streakiness with this shade either.
  • Pop Art Pink is a milky, jelly baby pink. Even though I don’t do sheers often, this shade is exceptional because you can layer it with three coats for a near opaque finish. One coat will get you that softly pink-tinted look that’s cute and feminine without being bold.
  • Neo Whimsical is a light lavender cream with a pink tint. I found this shade to be on the runny side, but three coats get you opaque color.
  • Lilacism is a cool-toned lilac cream with blue undertones. This gave fairly opaque color with two coats, but I swatched it with three just to be sure. Like Neo Whimsical, Lilacism is a little on the more watery side, but it’s not a big deal, because it dries about average and still gives solid results.

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 love pastel creams, you may want to take a look at Essie’s spring collection. If, on the other hand, you’re not so into pastels or creamy finishes, this is not the collection for you. It’s an almost romantic collection with the color palette, which makes it very fitting for spring.

Availability: Essie

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