Monday, October 12th, 2009


Dynamic Duo

Sonia Kashuk Eyeshadow Duos ($7.99) are a great, budget-friendly way to satisfy your eyeshadow fix. Today, I thought we’d take a look at two duos:

Dynamic Duo is a mix of pale, seafoam green and a dirty brown with silver-gray frost.  Dynamic Duo works really well with the cooler weather these days, as it’s just dark enough to work with autumn tones, but it’s not so vampy that it’s too dark, either. Dynamic Duo is a very wearable duo, and I didn’t find either shade to be chalky or hard to use. Both shades were pigmented and had a frost finish.

Double Whammy is a vibrant, medium blue with a soft sheen and a bright pop of springy green with yellow undertones.  Double Whammy is one of my favorite Sonia Kashuk duos, because it is extremely pigmented, but it is also vibrant. Sometimes it can be difficult to find this kind of brightness in the drugstore, but Sonia Kashuk gives us a good answer for bright blues and greens. The blue reminds me of MAC’s Freshwater, while the green is kind of a mix of MAC’s Swimming and Juxt.

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Availability: Target

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Sunday, October 11th, 2009


Guerlain Gabrielle Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick

Guerlain Gabrielle Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a sheer, baby pink with soft shimmer.    It’s creamy in texture, and the formula keeps lips hydrated.  This shade wears so-so; I get about three or four hours without having to reapply, but since it’s lighter, once it starts to fade, it’s more noticeable on me.  It’s not as opaque as I’d like, and it reminds me of the way MAC lustre lipsticks look on me (which I don’t love).  I wouldn’t recommend this shade as the first Rouge G to own, just because it doesn’t represent the lipstick as well as some of the other shades.

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Availability: Nordstrom

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Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Tarte Femme Naturale Eye Palette ($44.00) is an eyeshadow palette that contains ten different shades of Tarte eyeshadow from their fall collection. (Tarte also released the Femme Fatale Eyeshadow Palette with this one.)

  • A pale champagne with slight sheen. This one is a paler version of the color next to it and has more of a frost finish.
  • A champagne with the lightest champagne shimmer. It’s a soft shade, and it makes for a perfect highlighter within this palette.
  • A subdued, semi-matte rose-mauve. I like this shade for two reasons: it’s a subtle way to incorporate a pinker color into your palette without worrying so much it may make you look like you’re crying; but also because I don’t see this particular shade very often. I also dig the finish.
  • A sparkling mix of peachy-gold and soft rose. This reminded me of MAC’s Say Yeah eyeshadow, but a little dark, which is just fine in my book. Say Yeah was always one of my go-to shades. This one has the most frosty/glittery appearance, but I didn’t find it had a lot of fall out issues as glittery shades often do.
  • A deep forest green with a little bit of a grayish tinge. This one had amazing pigmentation and texture–very soft, smooth, and gives you plenty of intensity without having to pack it on.
  • A semi-matte reddish brown. There’s not a whole to say about the shade itself, but it doesn’t read too warm to me (maybe even cool, actually). It has really good pigmentation, and it is surprisingly not chalky for a shadow with such a matte finish.
  • A light, peachy-brown with a frosty finish. This one is similar to the other neutrals in the palette, as it has that frosty look. It’s pigmented and feels soft to the touch.
  • A chalky, cool-toned lilac-pink. Personally, this shade is one I’d find difficult to pull off on my skin tone, but I think those with cooler skin tones will appreciate it. It’s chalky, but I’d say half of it comes from how cool the shade is along with the matte finish.
  • A plummy rose with gold glitter. This color is so stunning! It’s this gorgeous shade that I envision being perfect for fall or holiday. I love the way the gold flecks sparkle in the plummy base. This one wasn’t as pigmented as the others, but it still was pretty good.
  • A rich bronze with gold flecks and a frost finish. This one has a very nice feel to it–very soft–and goes on like butter and has intense pay off.
  • A dark, smoky blue-black with a gray cast. This one was the least pigmented out of the ten shadows, and it kind of dragged a bit when I swatched.

This is a solid palette that gives you a ton of product for under $50. Tarte shadows themselves are high in quality and still affordable.  They’re soft, smooth, and they’re usually easy to blend. The only thing I really wasn’t jazzed over was the product’s packaging.  It just feels tacky to me, and I hate that fingerprints get stuck all over the casing.  The “rose” attached also presents some storage woes.

Each eyeshadow is 0.06 oz., and the palette itself is refillable. Tarte refillable eyeshadows retail for $10 a pop. The palette itself yields you a cost of $73.33/oz. whereas one refillabe Tarte eyeshadow will run you $166.67/oz. Buying these together means you get twice as much for half the cost! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation:  If you’d like some neutrals–but not just neutrals–Tarte’s Femme Naturale palette offers a good combination to get you started.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Chanel Holiday 2009 Collection
Les Tissages Lames de Chanel / Shimmering Tweed Highlighter

Chanel Shimmering Tweed Highlighter ($60.00 for 0.45 oz.) is the next level of limited edition, luxurious highlighters from Chanel’s Holiday Collection. If you’ve enjoyed Chanel’s Tweed Blushes, I can only imagine you’re particularly curious about this new item.

Chanel describes this highlighter as, “Holiday beauty furthers the fantasy with three delicately ‘woven’ shades of shimmering colour for cheeks and décolleté. Gold, bronze and copper tones cast a natural luminous glow on skin to highlight and heighten a festive effect. Unmistakably CHANEL: the powder’s imprinted surface, inspired by the iconic tweed.”

It’s a woven mix of metallic, paled down silver-gold (seriously, silver-gold), subtly shimmered fleshy-peach, and coppery-brown, while gold flecks permeate throughout the product. The entire effect is a shimmery golden-bronze color. For lighter skin tones, this can be worn as a light bronzer/blush, but for most, it’s just an excellent highlighter. It feels smooth, soft, and looks like holiday if it were a highlighter. It twinkles, shimmers, and glitters (but not in a disco ball way!).

Value wise, the price tag is steep no matter how you look at it. Even though you get a fair amount of product for your buck, it’s still more than a lot of us want to spend on a highlighter. In the end, it’s slightly pricier than Dior’s SkinShimmers, but not by much. This highlighter is $133.33/oz. whilst Dior’s is $122.86/oz. If you compare it against blush shades, Chanel comes in as less expensive than NARS ($156.25/oz.) and Smashbox ($184.62/oz.)–and significantly less expensive than even Chanel blushes ($300.00/oz).

Bottom line: I consider this a splurge item, but I wouldn’t wait too long, because it is limited edition, and it’s a product that’s easy to fall in love with. I still prefer my Dior SkinShimmers for everyday highlighting, because the shimmer is finer and subtler, but this is definitely going to be a go-to for special occasions! (Besides, Dior doesn’t have a SkinShimmer in quite this tone — Amber Diamond is a bit darker/more copper than golden as this is.)

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

Recommendation: For a beautiful holiday highlighter, consider Chanel’s limited edition Tweed Highlighter.

Availability: Chanel in October/November 2009

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Chanel Holiday 2009 Collection
Chanel Bird of Paradise Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Bird of Paradise Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00) is a new, limited edition, colorful palette that’s part of Chanel’s Holiday Collection. It includes four pops of color, which is a surprising twist on what we typically expect from holiday launches. Genius, perhaps? We’ll see…

The shades included in the palette are:

A paled down blue-teal with green-teal shimmer. I love the mix of a blue-teal colored base with green-teal shimmer. The color is muted without being boring; it still packs a punch of color, but it’s not over the top. It’s kind of what I’d expect from a teal by Chanel. It’s pigmented, silky soft, and blends easily.

A warm pop of goldenrod yellow-gold. This is an interesting color, because I think on cooler tones, the yellow is going to come out to play more, whilst on warmer tones, you’re going to get more of a warmer, golden shade. Also, I noticed that it seemed to warm up and cool done depending on the lighting situation (less light = more yellow; brighter light = more golden). This one wasn’t quite as pigmented or smooth as the other three shades, but it was still soft and the shimmer wasn’t too gritty. I really love the shade itself, though, because it’s not a true gold, yet it’s not orange or yellow.

A muted coppery-orange with golden shimmer and sheen. Orange can be a tough color to pull off, particularly for those who naturally have cooler complexions (because many oranges run very warm), so I know some just skip this color altogether. This is a great shade of orange that runs neutral-warm, which means it has some warmth, but it’s not overly so. It’s also not a straight copper. I love how the golden sheen catches light.

A soft olive green with golden olive shimmer. A lovely shade that actually reminds me more of fall than it does winter, but nevertheless, still nice. Pigmentation is true and the shade itself feels smooth to the touch and goes on like butter.

I’m really digging Chanel’s take on holiday this year. The colors are fun and playful, but they’re not hard to wear or even pair together (I was a little weary at first – so much color, could they work together? but alas, they can!). The only shade it’s really missing is a highlight shade, so you will have to tap into your stash to get that, but at least you get four rockin’ colors in it. Each has a metallic shimmer sheen, and I think that’s exactly what the holiday season is about–lots of glitz and glam!

This eyeshadow quad is eons better than Chanel’s Les Folie Noirs Eyeshadow Quad — so I am quite pleased. I was a bit hesitant that this one might not do it for me, but it worked out, thankfully!

As far as value goes, I do believe Chanel quads are around 0.24 oz. (I have some that say 0.24 oz., others that don’t say, and the recent Noirs Obscurs quad was 0.21 oz.), so they’re not a bad deal by the ounce (less than MAC eyeshadows). With colors like these, you may find yourself slower to get through each shade as well, so I think you’ll get plenty of usage out of the palette.

Bottom line: This is a nice palette with quality eyeshadows that give you color to play around with, but it’s not intimidating. It’s inviting, and I think it’s a good mix of colors that can also work together, not just by themselves. It’s also not overly warm or cool on the whole, so it’s more universal. I really like it, overall, but I’m not head-over-heels for it like I am over their Rouge Allure Laques.

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For a downplayed approach to color, Chanel’s Bird of Paradise eyeshadow quad is stop that might be worth your while.

Availability: Chanel in October/November 2009

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Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Fusion Beauty Infatuation

Fusion Beauty LipFusion Infatuation ($29.00 for 0.19 oz.) is supposed to be a liquid lip color that also plumps up lips with Fusion Beauty’s Amplifat™ technology.

In the past, Fusion’s LipFusion has always been my go-to if I ever want a lip plumper, just because I found their original LipFusion line to be incredibly non-irritating — no burning, stinging, tingling, or in other words, pain, when using it. I tried DuWop Lip Venom, and I thought my lips were going to fall off! I’m personally not into lip plumpers myself, because I do like my natural lip size (and sometimes feel they’re too big!), so I don’t often seek out anything that’ll fatten them up.

What Fusion Beauty says are key ingredients…

  • Amplifat™: concentrate (derived from a perennial sea fern) works with the skin’s own triggers to help naturally increase two key proteins that occur naturally in the skin (ADFP and FABP5). These two key proteins help induce diffusion and storage of fatty acids.
  • Lip Vantage: is a dual-encapsulated plumping and highly hydrating ingredient that delivers incredible moisture and promotes lip renewal for more youthful looking lips
  • Peptides: enhance collagen synthesis for naturally enhanced, lush, youthful, healthy lips.

But naturally, I was curious about Fusion Beauty’s new Infatuation line-up, and I’m all about more color in a lipgloss! I tried three shades…

  • In the Flesh is a semi-opaque darkened peach with light pink-peach shimmer and lots of glossy shine.
  • Sugar Rush looks like a light peachy-pink when I swatched it, but on my lips, it looks much more like a sheer milky pink with silver-pink shimmer.
  • Pucker Up is a semi-opaque medium pink with a little bit of brightness, but I wouldn’t call it a full-on hot pink. I felt like this one had the least amount of noticeable shimmer and looked more like a creamy gloss (but it did seem to have a touch of shimmer).

None of the three shades I tried really grabbed me by color. They didn’t apply too evenly on their own, and the color had a tendency to settle into lip lines. If you layer it over a lipstick, you’ll get a more even application, but then you’ll lose a lot of the lip plumping effect (since it’s no longer directly on your lips), so it’s kind of a wash. The gloss smells like grapefruit to me, but at the very least, it has a slightly sweet scent with a kick.

The tingling action was so-so — it felt like a bit more than LipFusion, but it was still something I could endure (and I have a low threshold for tingling on my lips). The result was just slightly bigger lips, but the effect could have easily been from how glossy the formula was rather than any actual fattening on a more scientific level. The gloss itself was thick enough that it felt like a creamy lip gloss, but it was still non-sticky. The wear time felt a little less than average, as it seemed to fade and wear off after just two or three hours when I tested it out.

This lip plumping gloss goes for about $152.63/oz. as compared to Fusion Beauty’s Color Shine (which contains 0.29 oz.) at $131.03/oz. — but each Color Shine retails for $38, which is a bit of a steep investment to make into a single lip product. $29 puts it around the level of Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain lip glosses but with a plumping effect.

Bottom line: As a gloss, not overly impressive, and there are numerous other high-end glosses at $29 a pop I’d opt for over these (Chanel Glossimers and Guerlain KissKiss Gloss, just to name two). As a lip plumper, it makes lips look fuller, but it’s not enough plumping for me to shell out $29 to get it. I think, as well, since the gloss itself isn’t outstanding, I’d rather go for their clear formula and use another gloss for color.

  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  For those who prefer a lip plumper that doesn’t pain them, LipFusion might work out for you.  These glosses are more pigmented than their Color Shine formula, but your mileage will vary by the shade.

Availability: Sephora

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