Monday, October 5th, 2009


Animated

L’Oreal HIP Matte Eyeshadow Duos ($9.99) are a more budget-friendly way of obtaining brighter, more pigmented eyeshadows. Each contains two shades of matte eyeshadows with a total weight of 0.08 oz. L’Oreal currently has five different matte eyeshadow duos available: Animated, Dashing, Perky, Poppy, and Striking.

  • Animated contains a chalky grayish-white and a periwinkle blue.
  • Perky contains a medium bright grassy green and a grayish-black.

I don’t love the matte eyeshadow duos. They’re okay–about average–but they’re not stellar. Since they’re matte, I do expect some chalkiness when I swatch, which is always minimized when you’re actually applying them with a brush. Nonetheless, the whitish side of Animated definitely looked and felt chalky and almost garish. I did love the shade of periwinkle blue in Animated, though–not a shade you see often, period. Perky has a lovely shade of green that doesn’t feel chalky or powdery, but the darker grayish-black shade has a lot of drag and just doesn’t have a great texture. So in the end, each duo only has one good shade–the other half is just so-so.

For comparison, a MAC eyeshadow contains 0.05 oz. of product and retails for $14.50 each. You get 0.03 oz. more and pay $9.99 a pop. A lot of mass retailer brands, like L’Oreal HIP, do go on sale on a frequent basis, so when they’re on sale, I’d be more willing to purchase these. At full price, I feel like it’s more than I want to pay for L’Oreal. I do consider the HIP line to be one of the better pigmented eyeshadow lines available at mass. I just wish you could swatch before you bought!

Bottom line: I wouldn’t pay full price ($9.99) for either of these duos, and I’d only really recommend Animated for the periwinkle blue, just because I don’t see that color in a lot of other lines. I love that L’Oreal is bringing matte color to the forefront, and I think the price point is affordable for many, particularly if they’re on sale.

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you can catch L’Oreal’s H.I.P. line on sale, they’re worth trying. Paying full price on the other hand…

Availability: Drugstores/Mass Retailers

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Monday, October 5th, 2009


Chanel Mandarin Rouge Allure Laque

Chanel Mandarin Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) is the last shade in our seven days of Chanel Rouge Allure Laque feature.

Mandarin is a deep, reddish coral. It’s very, very deep — it’s not exactly the summer coral that comes to mind when I’m thinking about coral lip color. It’s an orange-red base with lighter, coppery orange shimmer. It’s incredibly opaque and goes on full coverage in one layer. It has the same glossy sheen as the other shades, and it has the amazing staying power of intense shades like Dragon. It lasts through hours of talking, eating, and drinking, with only the glossy sheen fading, but the color staying true. Even though these are long-wearing, they don’t dry out lips, but actually keep them fairly hydrated. Mandarin is a deeper, more intense and redder version of Dynastie.

Since I don’t want to just re-write what I say about the formula (since it is the same–if there are any variations, you can be sure I’ll call them out), here’s a quick bullet-point summary.

Pros

  • Satiny, creamy lip color that hydrates
  • Opaque color in one layer–very pigmented
  • Lasts for hours and even through eating/drinking
  • Glossy sheen
  • Looks like a lipstick AND a gloss
  • Easy to travel with
  • Sleek packaging

Cons

  • Pricey at $32 each

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

Recommendation: If you like a pop of bright pink on your lips, mandarin has you covered!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Benefit Georgia Face Powder ($28.00 for 0.4 oz.) is a pale, warm-toned peachy pressed powder. Benefit describes it as, “Our “just peachy” face powder leaves your complexion warm and vibrant. Georgia is a dream…it’s peaches and cream!”

Georgia is best used as a sheer, all-over powder on light to medium skin-tones. I think darker skin tones will find this can go on ashy or so sheer they’re not sure they’ve put anything on. It’s really good for brightening and warming up lighter skin tones, so it’s actually a very product for barely-there makeup days. When I’m in a rush, this is something I can easily dust on to make my face look a little more alive and less likely I only slept four hours the night before.

I think only the lightest of skin tones will find this useful as a blusher, just because the color is both sheer and pale. In my swatch, there’s only a hint of product that shows up, so you can see that my NC25/30 skin tone starts to get close to the end of the spectrum for this product’s usefulness. I also think that some people go into purchasing this product expecting to use it as a blusher, and then find themselves disappointed by its sheerness. I do like it as an all-over face powder, but it does have shimmer in it, so if you don’t want shimmer all over your face, this isn’t the best choice in all-over powders for you.

Additionally, this can be used as a highlighter on cheeks alone, too. It’s a more versatile product than you’d think, but I think a lot of us just get trapped into expecting a blush and not getting it. Georgia also feels a bit powdery/chalky, which is yet another reason I think it’s not a workable product on darker skin tones. I find this best applies with a stippling brush (like MAC’s 187) all over the face for a light, warmed up look without too much shimmer or product.

By the ounce, Benefit Face Powders/Blush colors are actually cheaper than MAC! Benefit comes in at $70.00/oz. while MAC is $88.10/oz. Benefit Face Powders/Blushes are actually some of the most bang-for-your-buck in the high-end department. The packaging is cute and exactly what I’d expect out of Benefit. Georgia actually does have a light peach scent to it, though it’s not something I notice while wearing the product–only when I sniff the product itself.

Bottom line: It’s not replacing any products I’m already using, and I’d probably be more apt to use it if it provided more of a peachy blush color than an all-over color.  I prefer other highlighters and all-over powders with setting qualities, as well.  It’s a quality product, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s best used as an easy all-over powder.  I think if that’s what you’re looking for, you’d enjoy this product.  For others, this is nice, but it isn’t a must-have.

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

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a sheer, warm-toned all-over powder and you’re light to medium in skintone, this might work for you.

Availability: BenefitCosmetics.com

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Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Estee Lauder’s Pure White Linen Pink Coral ($72.00 for 3.4 oz.) is the newest addition to the White Linen perfume franchise. Pure White Linen emerged originally, and then a derivation thereof in Pure White Linen Light Breeze. In June, Pure White Linen Pink Coral joined the family.

Composition

  • Top Notes: Apple Blossom, Clear Aldehydes, Waterfruits, Pink Peppercorns, Chinese Berry Mist
  • Middle Notes: Jasmine, Pink Peony, Camellia Flower, Cherry Blossom, Sweet Pea, Honeysuckle
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Heliotrope, Sandalwood

I had never taken a sniff of the original White Linen scent, because I come from a family that’s terribly irritated (nose-wise) from fragrances. Growing up, perfume was completely off-limits, and there’s no real way to sneak wearing perfume when you have a bunch of sensitive noses around the house! (Trust me, I tried a few times… spraying outside, but they’d know when I came home with the scent still lingering.)

Perfume was always this unattainable product category that I was like, “I can’t wait until I move out of the house so I can wear perfume everyday!” Turns out, unfortunately for me, that a lot of perfumes tickle my nose in rather…unpleasant way, so I actually wear very light scents when I do wear them, and I’d say only a few times a week at that.

Estee Lauder describes this scent as a soft floral, “The tender fragrance to live in all year long. It sweeps over the senses, gentle as the ocean at dawn in waves of sea-kissed Apple Blossoms, Waterfruits, Sweet Peas and Camellias blushed with Honeysuckle and Sandalwood. You’ll love how you feel in Pure White Linen Pink Coral.”

The scent of Pure White Linen Pink Coral is that of a lightweight, softly sweetened floral. It feels young, not quite as sophisticated as the other scents in the franchise, and it just has that feel like they were going for a younger demographic. It opens with the crispness of green apples and lightness of berries. As it wears, the sweetness of honeysuckle and jasmine start to appear, and gives you a more obvious floral scent. Finally, the dry down is a very tried-and-true combination of vanilla and sandalwood.

I feel like this isn’t a unique scent, but it’s a very wearable scent. It’s light, tame, and all-occasion appropriate. It’s probably more suitable to a subtle summer scent than perhaps fall, but I know others, like me, prefer lighter scents year-round, too. I think if you are, generally, a fan of Estee Lauder scents, you may find this scent too much like a redux and merely milking the White Linen chain than an original creation by the perfume giant. I like it, but it doesn’t grab me enough at the open nor at the end, so it’s not something I’ll personally be wearing often.

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: For a soft, flirty sweetened floral, Estee Lauder may have your poison!

Availability: EsteeLauder.com

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Chanel Phoenix Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) is the sixth shade to lust after in our seven days of Chanel Rouge Allure Laque feature.

Phoenix is a medium bright pink. It’s not really cool-toned, but it’s not warm, either (although, I’ve rarely met a pink I’d really classify as warm, but I digress!). I’d call it neutral-cool if pressed. Easy to apply, opaque color in one quick layer, and stunning color that lasts for hours and through eating/drinking? I’m totally on board with that! Phoenix is just as amazing as the other shades, and it doesn’t disappoint in the least bit. It’s a great shade that’s noticeable, bright without being neon, and still wearable. If the lightness of Ming wasn’t your style, maybe the brightness of Phoenix is a better fit for you. It has a light glossy sheen with subtle pinkish/white shimmer.

Since I don’t want to just re-write what I say about the formula (since it is the same–if there are any variations, you can be sure I’ll call them out), here’s a quick bullet-point summary.

Pros

  • Satiny, creamy lip color that hydrates
  • Opaque color in one layer–very pigmented
  • Lasts for hours and even through eating/drinking
  • Glossy sheen
  • Looks like a lipstick AND a gloss
  • Easy to travel with
  • Sleek packaging

Cons

  • Pricey at $32 each

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

Recommendation: If you like a pop of bright pink on your lips, Phoenix has you covered!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Jo Malone Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soap ($50.00 for 3 100g bars) is an elegant yet simple way to add a little luxury to your counter top.

Composition

  • Top Notes: Cassis, Cherry, Fresh Grass, Fig
  • Middle Notes: Cyclamen, Hyacinth, Jasmine, Pine
  • Bottom Notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Amber, Musk

Every product by Jo Malone should be opened with care, like a treasured gift, because each piece feels like an indulgence. Beautiful packaging with a signature black ribbon makes it feel like a present, even if it’s just for you. I really just appreciate that extra touch. In the box, each soap is individually wrapped, so you can use it as you need to (or even easily split with a friend) and close the box and stow away the extras.

Jo Malone describes this scent as, “Inspired by breakfast in Tuscany – the moment of breaking open juicy figs, fresh from the tree – Wild Fig & Cassis is a delicious fragrance. The scent of sun-warmed figs and delicate cassis is entwined with notes of hyacinth and cedarwood, enveloping the wearer in the warmth of the Mediterranean. Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps cleanse, moisturise and fragrance the skin. The frothy lather feels delicious to the touch.”

It has that slightly earthy, lightly sweetened scent of fresh fig, but it also has the touch of cedar, amber, and musk after you’ve washed your hands. What I love is the scent lingers. It perfumes my bathroom, and it stays on my hands after washing (not all day, but a few hours). I’m actually not a bar soap kind of gal–I usually stick with liquid soaps I can easily pump out, but I love the way this feels. It smells amazing, and the soap itself doesn’t dry out my hands. I will say that this is a scent you have to sniff more than once; at first pass, it may be too intense or bitter, but give it time, and I think you’ll enjoy it more than you’d think.

Sometimes I find life can be stressful, and I love little home accents that just make your home more welcoming, more you, and give you moments to savor scents and memories. I’ve been using the first bath soap for over three weeks now, and I can easily see it lasting me several months. For my household (since it’s just in my bathroom–please, the boy would never appreciate it!), one gift box of the three soaps will easily keep me in luxury for a year. Even though it seems pricey, I’ll get a lot of use out of these before I need to start thinking about what scent to try next. Now, the only issue I face is finding the perfect soap dish to pair this with!

The Wild Fig & Cassis Collection also includes Cologne, Bath Oil, Shower Gel, Body Lotion, and Candles, should you find yourself loving this scent and wanting to be enveloped in it! If you like Bath Soaps, Jo Malone also has them available in Pine & Eucalyptus, Lime Basin & Mandarin, Lime & Grapefruit, and Nectarine Blossom & Honey.

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

Recommendation: If you love bathroom luxury, Jo Malone’s Wild Fig & Cassis Bath Soaps are an easy way to add some warmth.

Availability: Nordstrom