Monday, November 9th, 2009

Holiday Glitz: Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad

Sonia Kashuk Showstoppers Eyeshadow Quad ($10.99) is the glitz-in-a-pan that’s so perfect and fitting for the holiday season I couldn’t resist saving this review until now. There are certain items that impress you at first swatch, and this was definitely one of those items for me.

It includes a glittery warmed-up frosty white, muted reddish-brown with golden bronze glitter, glitzy soft pale antique gold, and smoky charcoal gray-black with silver glitter. These applied and looked almost wet–I will say they looked much better in person than in photos. There’s just something about the shimmer that I couldn’t capture, despite taking dozens of photos! I will say that the only real drawback to these is they have a tendency to get all over your cheeks if you use a regular eyeshadow brush with them. I do recommend using a sponge-tip applicator or else use these applied wet to minimize the fall out.

The texture of the eyeshadows was surprisingly soft and almost creamy, despite the obvious glittery bits, and the pigmentation was decent overall. I found the gold shade was the least opaque, followed by the white shade, while the brown and gray shades were both opaque. The price is just right, and you can often catch Sonia Kashuk on sale at your local Target–though I’ve heard this isn’t as easy to find locally as it is online.

Bottom Line: This is just one of those really fun, totally glitzy and glittery pieces that you may not pull out and wear everyday, but it sure is glamorous to have all that bling sparkling on your eyes.  It’s really, really stunning when you swatch–not quite as lovely on the lids (but still nice!), but ultimately not the most practical item I’ll own.

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

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

Recommendation: For lots and lots of shimmering glitter on your eyes, Sonia Kashuk is an affordable way to get glitzy this holiday season.

Availability: Target

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Monday, November 9th, 2009

C.O. Bigelow Warm Spiced Cider Lip Shine ($7.50 for 0.5 oz.) is a sheer, shimmery lip jelly that spells like a apple cider and tastes sweet. I very rarely lick my lips, but this tastes so yum! This particular flavor is part of the Mentha Lip Cordials, so there is a bit of a cooling sensation when you initially apply it, and apparently it also freshens breath (zero calories!). It gives lips a glossy look with just a touch of shimmer but no real color (which is fine) while keeping them hydrated while you wear it. Warm Spiced Cider is new for the holiday season, along with Hot Buttered Rum, Triple Hot Chocolate, and Vanilla Cream Eggnog. I find I apply this when I’m running errands or around the house to keep my lips in tip top shape.

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’re looking for a moisturizing lip balm/jelly, C.O. Bigelow’s Lip Shines give you high gloss, yummy flavored choices.

Availability: Bath & Body Works

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow
NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow from Holiday 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a new shade of cream-to-powder eyeshadow from NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes this shade as “[a] shimmering, spicy pine named for the monsoon – natural and unpredictable … [i]t has richness and depth, yet allows for a surprising range of intensity.” They later describe the color as “silver sage.”

Mousson is is an antique gold with a green tarnish and silver sparkle. It’s creamy, dries to a mostly powder finish fairly quickly (but not so fast you don’t have time to work with it), and I’ve found it fairly crease-resistant. I would say it’s much better and doesn’t crease easily when set with a powder base or layered over an eyeshadow base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The shade itself is exactly something I’d wear and a color I’d feel compelled to own–you know me and (antique) golds!

NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows aren’t my absolute favorite cream formula to work with (Benefit’s are my current favorite), but I do like it. I just find it does have a slight tendency to crease if you apply too much or you don’t set it with an eyeshadow. For me, I rarely wear cream shadows alone anyway, so it’s not a big deal to use it in conjunction with powder eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: For a fun, sparkly shade of antique gold with a green cast, Mousson might be something you’d like. If you’re not normally a cream eyeshadow fan, while it’s still worth taking a peek at your local NARS’ counter, I’m not sure these will persuade you otherwise at the end of the day.

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 NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows, I do think you’ll like Mousson!

Availability: NARS

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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.

See swatches and shade breakdownsContinue reading →