Friday, November 6th, 2009

Cargo Cherry Bliss Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Cargo Cherry Bliss Lipstick

CARGO PlantLove Cherry Bliss Lipstick ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is an earth-friendly lipstick (tube is made out of corn) that also does good, too.  For their celeb-designed lipsticks, $2 from the purchase price goes to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research.   Even the box it comes with can be planted and you’ll see some nice flowers grow.  Cherry Bliss was designed by celebrity Kim Raver, and it is a glossy, opaque cherry red. It’s a bright pop of red with a really glossy finish (but no real shimmer). The formula itself is creamy and moisturizing while it wears really well (about five to six hours).

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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Friday, November 6th, 2009

NARS Luxor Multiple

NARS Luxor Multiple ($37.00 for 0.50 oz.) is the newest Multiple to debut as part of NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes it as, “[a]n iridescent pink to be used on eyes, cheeks, lips and body.”

Luxor is an icy pink that almost runs a little lilac on me because it is definite cool undertones. It has a slight iridescence that’s noticeable without being over the top; it’s about the right about of shimmer I’d expect from a product best used as a highlighter. It’s surprisingly pigmented and can definitely be layered for a more opaque look. It does blend easily once warmed against the skin.

I personally prefer to use Luxor in a way that might be considered a little unconventional. I like to pat a little on the areas I want to highlight just before I apply my moisturizer. Once I’ve done that, then I apply my facial moisturizer as usual (which I do apply with my hands and slather all over). I find that it gives the highlighted areas this very soft, refined highlight and lends a certain glow to my face overall (because some, of course, does get mixed up in the moisturizer). It’s an interesting effect, nonetheless. I was inspired to try it this way because of how I use MAC’s Strobe Cream. Luxor reminds me a bit of it, only amped up–like if you took the Cream part out of Strobe Cream and just left the Strobe!

You can also take a fluffy brush and lightly dab on Luxor onto lids to give eyes a more awake look, or you can lightly dust it on your lips before layering on a gloss for some extra sparkle. The more traditional use of this as a highlighter would be to dot it along the areas you’d want to highlight, blend with a stippling brush, and then set with loose/translucent powder. You can definitely do this with Luxor, so have at it — after all, it isn’t called The Multiple for nothing!

My only big issue with The Multiples, in general, is that they’re pretty pricey. I don’t actually feel like you get a ton of product for your money, because I think these can be used up quicker than you’d think. They can be very emollient, so you may end up wearing more than you necessarily need (if you use a brush to apply, it helps to mitigate any potential over-use). I don’t think they’re a rip-off, but they do feel a little overpriced.

My secondary issue is I do find I need to use a translucent powder to set these in place to prevent them from fading too much throughout the day (I then get about four to six hours of good wear before it starts to fade).  Since I’ve found a way to combat fading, it’s not a biggie, and I tend to set my makeup anyway, so it’s not adding an extra, otherwise unnecessary step either.

Bottom Line: I think Multiple fans will enjoy Luxor. I still haven’t found a Multiple that really turns my head as others have, but I am eagerly awaiting the day it happens!

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for a cream-to-powder cool-toned highlighter, Luxor may be your new best friend.

Availability: NARS

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Thursday, November 5th, 2009

MAC Mischief Makers Collection:  Pigment/Glitter Sets

Alongside the lipglass/lustreglass sets are three pigment sets. Each set includes four vials of pigments and one vial of glitter. MAC has them priced at $32.50 a pop, but they denote the value of the set as $39. Again, each set is housed inside a holiday box, so they’re easy to give away as gifts.

I always like the holiday pigment sets, because I think they give people a chance to try out pigments without investing $19.50 per shade (not to mention, you’re very unlikely to ever finish a jar–I never have… not even have I come close!). The only part I don’t love is the vial of glitter, as none of MAC’s glitters are eye-safe, so I just never find myself using them often. However, people do ask what can you do if not use them on the eyes, and my answer is: try them in your hair (e.g. mix with hair spray), mix into a nail polish, dust on your body, or pat onto your lips. Each vial is smaller than a full-size jar, but I really think you get more than you’ll probably need–certainly enough to last you years.

My favorite set was 5 Cool Capers, because I think they brought together some very bold, but perfect for fall/winter, shades. Running a close second was 5 Haute High Jinks, because I am always a sucker for earth tones. I think they’re flattering on a variety of skin tones and they tend to be easy to use (particularly the shades they chose–they all have excellent texture). 5 Sexpot is so-so, but it consists of mostly permanent shades, and I think I’d have liked to see the addition of a gray or silver in it, just for a little more kick.

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Thursday, November 5th, 2009

MAC Mischief Makers Collection:  Lipglass/Lustreglass Sets

Every year, MAC offers up holiday kits and sets for giving and receiving.  This year, there are three lipglass/lustreglass sets, each with three lipglasses and two lustreglasses, and all of them are in miniature sizes.  MAC has them priced at $29.50 a pop, and they denote the value of the set as $35.  (Yay, they did the math for me!)  Each set is housed in cute, giftable packaging (as pictured above), so they’re incredibly easy to give as holiday gifts.

The majority of the sets contain a mix of permanently available shades, repromoted shades, and the occasional brand-spankin’-new shade.   Long-time collectors may want to take a quick glance at their stash to see if they already own a lot of the shades (or need to replace some of their old favorites).  I did notice that they repromoted quite a few shades from 2005, which is about four years ago, and I imagine some of those lipglasses may be in need of an update.

Don’t forget — if you like one of the shades that’s permanent but aren’t sure about the rest, consider purchasing it by itself and in full-size! ;)

Overall, I really did like the way these came together. My favorite set was the 5 Models Misbehaving, but I’m also often attracted to bolder lip colors, even if I seldom wear them!  5 Sexy Shenanigans was the lightest/sheerest of the three sets, while 5 Frisky Business was a good mix of soft, medium, and bold.

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Thursday, November 5th, 2009


Stila Smudge Pot Collection

Stila Smudge Pot Collection ($32.00 for 4 0.07 oz. smudge pots) is a limited edition set of four shades of smudge pots (two exclusive to the holiday set, two existing) half the size of the full-size individual versions (which contain 0.14 oz. and retail for $20.00 each).

  • Kitten is a soft, shimmering beige with a slight golden touch–but it’s not warm. Stila describes it as a “nude champagne,” and I’d agree on that. It works well as an all-around eyeshadow base, as well.
  • Violet is a bright pop of blue-violet with slight glitter/shimmer particles. I found this one was the least opaque of the four, and I noticed some drag when swatching. It was easier to use with an angled eyeliner brush on the eyes than it was to swatch on the skin, though!
  • Starry Night is a deep dark navy blue without much shimmer (though there’s a touch). It goes on very dark and pigmented.
  • Black is a dark black with no shimmer whatsoever.

With the four miniature smudge pots, this set is like getting two full-size smudge pots for the price of $32.00, which is about $8 in savings, so I’m liking it as far as value goes. The pots are also on the small size, so they’re easy to travel with or keep one in your purse without adding much weight.

I like Smudge Pots in general, because they’re easy to use, have great pigmentation, and they stay on well throughout the day with no creasing or smudging. I personally prefer to use my Smudge Pots for lining rather than as eyeshadow bases, but they’re up to meet either challenge head-on. I love me a multi-tasker!

Bottom Line: The only reason I’m not ultra excited over this set is because the shades themselves just don’t grab me as much as I thought they would. I think I’d have preferred a more distinctly purple shade, rather than a very blue-based violet and a navy blue together — it’s a bit too much blue, you know? Also, if you already own Kitten and/or Black, this set isn’t so high in value any more, either. It’s a blessing for those who haven’t yet tried them, and a curse for those who want to collect ‘em all!

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: If you’ve wanted to try Smudge Pots, here’s your chance to get four different shades for the price of two.

Availability: Sephora

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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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