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  • Giorgio Armani Beauty15% off all orders, plus free shipping on $75+ orders and free Lip Balm on $150+ orders with code SPRING, ends 3/28.

MAC Viva Glam Nicki Lipglass

MAC Viva Glam Nicki Lipglass
MAC Viva Glam Nicki Lipglass

Support Viva Glam with the Newest Release!

MAC Viva Glam Nicki Lipglass ($15.00 for 0.17 fl oz.) is described as a “hot pink.” It’s a brightened medium pink, kind of strawberry-pink like, with subtle yellow undertones. It’s not quite bright enough to be a true hot pink–at least not on lips, though it’s brighter in the tube than on. MAC Please Me is lighter, while Illamasqua Indulge is darker and brighter.

The color coverage is mostly opaque with a little translucency here and there. It does settle into lip lines somewhat. Lipglasses feel a little thick, and they are definitely tacky, so they are not everyone’s cup of tea. They are vanilla-scented but have no discernible taste. Viva Glam Nicki lasted five hours on me.  It’s a little lighter, not quite as yellow-toned, as its lipstick counterpart. Since it’s been awhile, and I did want to show the gloss layered over the lipstick, I also included standalone lipstick swatches as well as the two layered.

MAC fan or not, Nicki Minaj fan or not, MAC’s Viva Glam campaign helps fund an organization that does a whole lotta good–the MAC AIDS Fund. Every cent of the selling price of Viva Glam products goes towards MAF. From the press kit they currently have available on their website, they were heading towards a $250 million goal for this past July–but as of February 2012, they had raised $235 million from the Viva Glam Lipstick and Lipglass shades. 100% of the sale price–not proceeds, profits, or an ambiguous figure–every cent. MAF provides financial support to organizations across the world to provide a range of services that include preventative care for HIV/AIDS as well as care for those with HIV/AIDS.

Fun facts: What 1 Viva Glam Lipstick (or Lipglass) can do…

  • Purchase 254 condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV
  • Provide 32 Safer Sex Kits which include condoms, lubricant and instructions
  • Provide a clean, safe place to sleep for two nights for one resident living with HIV/AIDS
  • Provide 45 minutes of lifesaving HIV prevention skills to a group of 75 women and girls
  • Buy eight individually tailored, nutritious meals for a person affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Prevent one mother from transmitting HIV to her baby
  • Keep an injection drug user HIV and HCV free for one year by providing sterile syringes
  • Purchase one rapid oral HIV test
  • Test four babies to determine their HIV status
  • Provide crisis counseling to a person living with AIDS who is also struggling with drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness
  • Provide a new job interview shirt and tie for one resident at an HIV/AIDS housing organization
  • Purchase 151 safer injection kits (cooker, cotton, tourniquet)
  • Provide 30 minutes of training for 20 medical providers on integrating HIV prevention and reproductive health
  • Provide a move-in kit for a client moving into new housing, including cleaning materials, toilet paper, laundry soap, dishes for one person, lightbulbs, etc.
  • Buy 24 female condoms which are distributed by the DC Department of Health to prevent HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy

Other available Viva Glam shades include Viva Glam VI and V Lipglasses; Viva Glam Ricky Lip Conditioner; and Viva Glam I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and Nicki Lipsticks.

MAC Lipglass Viva Glam Nicki
8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
89%
Total

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Illamasqua Naked Rose Blush

Illamasqua Naked Rose Blush
Illamasqua Naked Rose Blush

Delightfully Subtle Rosy Cheeks

Illamasqua Naked Rose Blush ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as as “soft neutral pink.” It’s a light-medium rosy pink with a mostly neutral undertone (against my warmer complexion, it seems to pull just barely cool-toned). It has a mostly matte finish and true-to-pan color. MAC Crew is lighter, yellower. Chanel Blush Horizon de Chanel is lighter, more yellow-toned, a bit brighter. MAC Stunner is more yellow-toned and has a strong sheen. Bobbi Brown Pretty Pink is a bit cooler-toned. MAC Dame has a smidgen of plum in it.

The color goes on as it looks in the pan and in any variation lighter than that; it is, obviously, not a dark pink or the like, so the effect on deeper complexions may be subtle. There’s enough actual product and pigmentation for it to show up on a wide variety of skin colors, though. What’s nice about this shade is it works throughout the year and with many different looks. It can be used to complement a soft, barely-there face, but it can work to add color without overwhelming a more dramatic eye/lip (or combination thereof).

It has a soft, blendable texture that’s finely-milled.  Not dry nor powdery, it applies easily to the skin, and the color is buildable.  When I trialed the blush on my cheeks, it lasted a solid eight hours with very minor fading along the edges of the color. Had I not been looking, I don’t think anyone else would have noticed, it was that subtle.

Illamasqua Powder Blusher Naked Rose
Naked Rose
Naked Rose
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
94%
Total

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette
theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette

Rock Out with Your Shadows Out

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette ($39.50 for 0.76 oz.) includes twelve eyeshadows (0.38 oz., which is just over 0.03 oz.), one highlighter (0.14 oz.), one blush (0.10 oz.), and two lip colors (0.14 oz.). It will launch today on theBalm’s website.

Metal-ica is a silvery-white with a frosted finish. It had good pigmentation, though the texture was on the powdery side; very soft and dense. We’re definitely seeing a lot of these shades for the holidays; here are a few that compare favorably: MAC Crystal Avalanche, Buxom Sheepdog, NARS Flowers 1-3, and theBalm Sassy.

Adagio is a pale neutral beige with a matte finish. It had nice color payoff, and it was smooth and soft without being powdery. It works well layered over some of the more shimmery shades to tone down the finish if so desired. MAC Brule is very similar. theBalm Matt Smith is slightly pinker. Urban Decay Walk of Shame is pinker. MAC Blanc Type is lighter. Inglot #390 is darker.

Blink 1982 is a muted burgundy with a hint of plum/mauve and a golden shimmer. The texture on this shade was a bit dry, so the color payoff was not quite opaque. Lancome Color du Jour is darker but similar. MAC Trax is more purple.

Iron Maid-in is a dirty gold with a metallic, frosted finish. It was not fully opaque, but it had good pigmentation overall. The texture wasn’t as buttery as other theBalm eyeshadows. Chanel Eclaire is more golden. MAC Sweet & Sour is darker. Giorgio Armani #1 is similar, less metallic. theBalm Snobby is more matte and yellow.

Allegro is a medium brown with yellowed undertones and a matte finish. It’s soft enough to be easy to blend, but not so soft as to be powdery. It had good color payoff. Dior golden Savvanah is a bit darker, slightly grayer, but similar. Urban Decay Naked is less yellow. These were the only two shades that really fit the bill out of all. these. browns.

The Stroke is a dark navy blue with a satiny finish. It had so-so color payoff, because it was on the drier side. It performed better on the lid, and it blended out easily. Bare Escentuals Shaken Not Stirred is similar but a bit darker. MAC Lunar is bluer. Bobbi Brown Blue Onyx is similar. This is not an uncommon shade of blue.

Lead Zeppelin is an olive green with olive and green shimmer over a frosted finish. It had good color payoff, and while very soft and smooth, it was a smidgen powdery. Tarina Tarantino Dandy Lion is greener, lighter. Bare Escentuals Speaker Box is darker, less olive. theBalm Wocka, Wocka is more metallic but similar in color. Inglot #419 is a bit greener.

Moderato is a purple-burgundy with a matte finish. The texture was a little dry, and the resulting pigmentation was so-so. It performed a lot better on the eye, and I didn’t have any trouble with the pigmentation there–I hardly had to use any to get deep color. theBalm Sexy is browner. MAC Real Drama is similar. MAC Rich Core is similar but frosted.

rem is a smoky medium purple with gold-copper shimmer-sheen. It’s an interesting, complex color. It had good color payoff and a soft, smooth texture. Bobbi Brown Black Violet is similar when sheered out. Bare Escentuals Romp is less pink.

Alice Copper is a rich burgundy-red with orange-brown undertones and a frosted finish. It had really rich pigmentation and was somewhat powdery. Chanel Eclosino is less shimmery. Maybelline Pomegranate Punk is more burgundy. Make Up For Ever #17 is more metallic. Inglot #452 has a more metallic finish but is very similar.

Presto is a dark brown with burgundy-ish undertones and a hint of warmth. It has a matte finish, and the color payoff is good. It’s just soft enough to be blendable and pigmented, but it’s not at all powdery. Bobbi Brown Cocoa Berry is similar. Bare Escentuals Foreshadow is a little darker. theBalm Mahna-Mahna has more of a sheen and less red in it.

Third Eye Blinded is a warm, light peach with a fairly frosted finish. The pigmentation was excellent, and the texture was so soft and easy to blend. This worked well as a highlighter. theBalm Swedish Pancakes is less frosted, more metallic, but fairly similar. MAC Naked Lunch has more beige in it. MAC Jest is less peach. Estee Lauder Violet Underground is darker. Chanel Complice is close.

Solid Gold is a slightly paled, warm gold with a shimmer-sheen finish and a hint of beige coloring. It has plenty o’ color, so it will show up on all skin tones. This shade wore for eight hours without fading or separating. MAC Chez Chez Lame is the closest I could think of, but it is a little lighter. theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer is a bit yellower.

Don’t You Want Me is a warm coral-pink with a matte finish. It had decent color payoff, and it is somewhat buildable. The texture was a little dry, but it seemed to blend out easily enough. It wore for eight hours with minor, but noticeable, fading at that point. MAC Supercontinental is more orange. MAC Fleet Fast has shimmer. Tom Ford Flush is more orange. MAC Immortal Flower is softer, just barely pinker.

Milly is a pale pink with a neutral-gray undertone. It had a matte finish and opaque color coverage. When I tested it, it lasted four hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Pure Zen is less pink. MAC Lazy Day is grayer.

Vanilly is bright red with a mostly matte finish and a barely blue undertone. It was richly pigmented and had opaque color coverage. This shade lasted six and a half hours and left behind a soft stain. MAC Eden Rouge is similar. Edward Bess Midnight Bloom is bluer and darker. MAC Ruffian Red is similar. It’s a fairly common shade of red lipstick.

Overall, it’s a good palette, and at the price point, worth checking out and potentially snagging. There were a few shades on the powdery side in the palette, and a couple were less pigmented initially, but when applied to the eye, I found them to apply much, much better (upgraded to fairly pigmented/opaque in color). There’s a good mix of textures–matte, frosts, shimmers–and very fall-appropriate colors.

theBalm Balm Jovi Face Palette

A-
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
90%
Total

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NARS Andy Warhol Larger Than Life Lipglosses


NARS Candy Says Larger Than Life Lipgloss

These Lipglosses Might Surprise You

NARS Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) comes in five hues for the holidays: Candy Says (shimmering strawberry pink), Hollywoodlawn (bright orange-red), International Velvet (pink glace), Penny Arcade (raspberry), and Viva (rich rose). In the press release, these are described as having “brilliant shine” that “stays in place for hours” with “intense color” in a formula that keeps lips feeling “protected and moisturized.” NARS’ website describes these as “high-shine,” “long-lasting,” and “nourish[ing].”

Candy Says is a light-medium warm pink with subtle yellow undertones and a large dose of white micro-shimmer. It provides semi-opaque color coverage that is close to opaque, but the natural lip color does come through and will be more apparent the more pigmented your natural lip color is. This shade was hard to dupe, because of the more opaque color–most glosses that might be similar lacked the color in the background. It wore for five and a half hours. MAC Sewet Bean is sheerer and has multi-colored shimmer. MAC Karin has pink shimmer. Bobbi Brown Pastel is sheerer and has larger sparkle.

Hollywoodlawn is red-orange (more red than orange) with no shimmer. It yielded semi-opaque color coverage, but more importantly, it was very even, smooth-looking color that didn’t settle too noticeably into lip lines (and certainly, not noticeable from a normal viewing distance!). It lasted for six hours on my lips. NARS Wonder is similar, a smidgen darker, and has shimmer. MAC Knockout is creamier looking, slightly more orange. Illamasqua Temper is more orange.

International Velvet is a pale, milky pink with almost a neutral undertone–it looks almost cool-toned in the tube, but it doesn’t look very blue-based on. It is incredibly milky, though, which resulted in uneven color application and noticeable color settling into lip lines. This was my least favorite out of the five, because of the application problems. It lasted for four and a half hours. MAC Pagoda has shimmer. MA Angel is more opaque and has shimmer. Tom Ford Sugar Pink is darker and yellower. Bobbi Brown Pink Sorbet is darker, more yellow-toned, and has shimmer. MAC Japanese Spring is bluer in undertone.

Penny Arcade is a raspberry pink with no shimmer. It doesn’t apply as nicely as Hollywoodlawn did, but it was better than International Velvet. The color isn’t quite as even, and there is minor settling of color into the lip lines. The latter wasn’t so noticeable from afar, but the unevenness was. The color coverage was semi-opaque. It wore for five and a half hours. MAC Cherry Electric is lighter and has glitter. MAC Galaxy Rose is less fuchsia. NARS Mexican Rose is rather similar. Le Metier de Beaute Hibiskiss is similar but sheerer and has shimmer. Illamasqua Petulant is more opaque, brighter, less raspberry–more fuchsia.

Viva is a rose-tinted brown with mostly neutral undertones. In some ways, it’s almost like a subdued, browned coral. It has a creamy appearance, but it doesn’t look milky on. It does take a little more patience to apply, because any unevenness is noticeable. The color coverage was semi-opaque–not fully opaque but close–and allowed some of the natural lip color to peek through. This shade wore for five hours on my lips. MAC Strictly Plutonic is sheerer, softer. MAC Whoops! is darker, more orange. Hourglass Nectar is brighter, more coral. MAC Viva Glam Cyndi is lighter and has shimmer.

Overall, I found all five lipglosses to be comfortable to wear, on the longer-side of wear, and hydrating.  International Velvet was the under-performer, both because of application, as well as wear.  The texture is gel-like initially, but it gets progressively tackier as the color wears (it’s noticeably tacky after a half hour or so).  It has a tiny brush-type applicator, and I find that if I use it to apply, I really end up using the hard plastic applicator above it, too.  I know NARS wanted to make it smaller to increase precision, but it seems to leave a lot of brush strokes behind.

NARS Andy Warhol Larger Than Life Lipglosses

A-
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
90%
Total

NARS TV Party Nail Lacquer


NARS TV Party Nail Lacquer

Where’s the Remote? It’s Time for a TV Party!

NARS TV Party Nail Lacquer ($18.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “vivid orange.” It’s a medium-dark orange with a cream finish. It’s vibrant without being neon. Nails Inc. Porchester Place is a bit less orange, almost subdued in a way. Illamasqua Gamma is brighter. Zoya Jancyn is lighter. MAC Morange is darker and more red-toned.  It’s bright without being blindingly neon, and it’s not too dark.  It also doesn’t have strong red undertones, so it is a bit different than some other oranges I have in my stash.

TV Party was opaque in two coats, and it was a cinch to apply:  flowed evenly and fluidly across the nail without bubbling, streaking, or pooling at the edge of the nail.  The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, and it dried down faster than the average polish.  It even has a glossy shine in the dried finish, so a top coat could be optional.  I usually get a full week of wear or longer with NARS’ polishes–no chips, just very minor tip wear.

P.S. — Am I the only one who wanted to wear black and orange nails after seeing both shades in this collection?

NARS Nail Polish TV Party
TV Party

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette


NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette

One Out of Three Isn’t So Bad, Right?

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “dark brown with shimmer overspray, rose pink, and heather blue.” It is the second of three palettes, and it will be available at department and specialty stores, NARS’ boutiques, and narscosmetics.com on November 1st (so you have some time to think about it, to the say least!).

Each of the Self Portrait palettes has a black overspray, which will disappear quickly. I recommend taking a large powder brush (I used MAC’s 134) to brush back and forth, up and down, to get the majority off. Now, I say that with the expectation that you’d actually like to use the colors in the palette. Assuming you only intended to keep it as a collectible, then I’d recommend not using it much and would say to avoid the silver-white to maintain the facial structure/details.

The first shade is actually a matte medium-dark brown with warm undertones. It had a stiff, dry texture and, subsequently, poor color payoff. However, when applied to the lid, it was able to pack a bit more color, and at least, it was buildable to mostly true-to-pan color. It required some extra effort to blend. Dior Aurora is more shimmery. Bobbi Brown Cocoa Berry is darker. Benefit Dandy Brandy has more shimmer. Urban Decay YDK has a frosted finish. MAC Lie Low is similar but more pearly.

The second shade is a softened, burnt orange with a faint satin sheen. It’s a little terracotta-like. It was soft without being powdery, smooth, and had good pigmentation. MAC Hot Paprika is a bit brighter.

The third shade is a dusty gray-tinged purple with a hint of blue. It had a matte finish, and it was a bit powdery, but the color payoff was good–some sheerness. It was harder to use on the lid, though, as it was prone to fading and disappearing. Blendable, yes, but so blendable that trying to blend it resulted in most of it billowing off the lid in a little puff of powdery smoke. As a result, it tended to look faded from the get-go. theBalm Matt Horowitz is darker.

Of the three shades, the only one I experienced major issues while wearing them was the purple shade, which faded quickly. The brown shade takes some extra effort, but it’s do-able, and it wears well. This, of course, shouldn’t be necessary at this price point. It’s better than the other palettes, but I don’t think it’s a fantastic palette overall. The color combination can work, but it’s an unusual one, so some may not feel it’s versatile enough.

NARS Self Portrait 3 Eyeshadow Palette

C+
8
Product
8
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
7.5
Longevity
3.5
Application
79%
Total

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