Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Guerlain

Guerlain: Tsarina Eyeshadow Palette

Guerlain Tsarina Eyeshadow Palette ($58.00) from their fall collection is one of two palettes released (the other is Brun Mordore). Guerlain also released an Eye & Lip Palette called Volga Princess (which I haven’t seen yet).

Tsarina includes four shades: a coppery peach, an amber-copper, a raspberry burgundy, and a cool-toned purple-wine. The first three shades have great color pay off, but the darkest purple shade is on the sheerer side (but I wouldn’t call it sheer–it does give me decent color, just not great like the other three). All four have Guerlain’s amazing texture: soft, silky, and so, so easy to blend. The shimmer is subtle and not too frosty–very wearable. I found the mix of shades very appropriate for the fall season, too.

Some might not like that there’s not a real highlighter shade within the palette; the lightest shade is much bolder than most would choose for a highlighter. It’s not a big deal to me, because I very rarely use palettes by themselves unless I’m trying to show what you can do with *just* the palette.

Value wise? The eyeshadows are, by the ounce, the same price as MAC eyeshadows are. In a Guerlain eyeshadow palette, you get about 6.7 oz. of actual eyeshadow product for your money. Like their mega-giant single shadows, they’re a good value by weight, but they do require a larger up front investment. The packaging is luxe and solid; it doesn’t feel cheap, and there’s some heft to it. I love the design on the velvet pouch and on the case itself, which is special to this collection.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: Guerlain fans will not be disappointed in the quality of this eyeshadow palette–if you enjoy these shades, I recommend it!

Availability: < Nordstrom

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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Maybelline Colossal is Minimal

Maybelline Collosal Volum’ Express Mascara ($5.99) boasts that it creates 9x the volume in one coat without clumping. I tried it out in Glam Black, hoping for some volume-tastic lashes with a nice black color. Unfortunately, my experience wasn’t nearly as exciting as “9x the volume.” Not even with multiple coats!

What Colossal did for my lashes was add just a touch of length/thickness and blackness so they stood out jmore, but in terms of volume, there wasn’t much. When I look at my natural lashes compared to the lashes with the mascara on them, the biggest difference is that they’re blacker. On all other points (lengthening, volumizing, thickening, curling), I didn’t notice much, if anything. I was really disappointed in the results of this mascara, particularly since it was supposed to volumize and didn’t even see that. I could be more forgiving if it at least did what it said to do (I mean, 9x is a bit OTT for me, but noticeabe more volume is good enough for me).

The best thing I can say for this mascara is it doesn’t clump and the level of black pigmentation is decent–it definitely darkened my lashes and made them stand out more, but they just looked like natural lashes really. If you’re looking for a more natural mascara, perhaps this might be something to consider. I just wouldn’t have expected “natural” out of Colossal. I’ll also point out this mascara is very budget-friendly!

One of my all-time favorite mascaras is by Maybelline (Full ‘n Soft), so I was really looking forward to trying this one out and hoping for the best. What are your favorite Maybelline mascaras?

  • Product: 4/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Pass on this one and opt for one of Maybelline’s more proven formulas like Full ‘n Soft!

Availability: Drugstore.com

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque

Chanel:  Dragon Rouge Allure Laque for the Perfect Red Lip

Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00) is one of the most stunning shades of red I’ve ever had the pleasure to wear. I’m absolutely in love with the vibrancy, subtle shimmer, and opacity.  There are eight lovely shades available — you can see a full list here.

The Rouge Allure Laque formula is satiny, smooth, and very pigmented. (Lighter shades seem to go on more semi-opaque, though.) Dragon is inspiring. It’s just that kind of color to me! It wears well, and it leaves behind a very nice stain even as it fades after eating (I managed five hours of amazing wear before eating).

It’s also very easy to apply straight from the tube, despite being such an intense shade. The applicator is doe-footed, but it’s modified – it’s grooved and fits against the lips really well.  The finish is high shine, slightly glossy, and such rich, vibrant color.  Even though $32 is pricey (at least, for most) for a lip product, the fact that this is basically a lipstick and gloss in one, has intense color that requires no work to achieve… I think it’s well worth it.

Love, love, LOVE. I’m definitely going to check out the other shades and see which other ones I have to get!

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

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a way to indulge, Rouge Allure Laques may be a way to go. Chanel lip products rarely disappoint me, but this one not only met my expectations but INSPIRED me!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


Benefit Lipglosses: Almost Famous, Fresh Squeezed, Zone Out

Benefit Lip Gloss: Review, Photos, Swatches

Benefit Lip Gloss ($18.00 for 0.17 fl. oz.) is available in eight shades from copper to berry to gold. Each is scented with an apricot-lychee scent with a non-sticky, slick-feeling texture. They’re fairly glossy with lots of shimmer.

  • Almost Famous is a sheer rosy-bronze with amber bronze glitter throughout. This one felt a little glittery to me.
  • Fresh Squeezed is a pinky-coral with smoother, more shimmer-esque multicolored shimmer.
  • Zone Out is a sheer nude gloss with golden shimmer to add some sparkle.

These glosses wear about average (four hours), and they don’t dry out lips but don’t feel extra hydrating either. I like them, but I don’t love them. Both Fresh Squeezed and Zone Out felt nice on my lips, but Almost Famous has a gritty glittery texture that I didn’t appreciate. (Luckily, neither Fresh Squeezed or Zone Out felt like that!)

These lip glosses are slightly pricier (by the ounce) compared to Make Up For Ever and NARS, but they’re a better value than Dior and Chanel. At $18, I’d probably opt for a NARS gloss instead (though these smell much, much better).

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you sheer, shimmery lipgloss, you may want to snoop at the Benefit counter for these!

Availability: Benefit

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


Benefit Lipsticks: Fame Game, Label Lover, No Competition, Breakup Rumor

Benefit Full Finish Lipsticks: Review, Photos, Swatches

Benefit Full Finish Lipstick ($18.00 for .10 oz.) are slim lipsticks available in fourteen different shades and two finishes (cream and pearl). Today, let’s look at four shades — Fame Game, Label Lover, No Competition, Breakup Rumor.

  • Fame Game is a soft frosty pink with silvery-white shimmer. It’s opaque and has a pearl finish.
  • Label Lover is a bronzy, russet rose kind of color with a gold-bronze shimmer and pearl finish. It goes on semi-opaque on lips.
  • No Competition is a creamy, opaque muted berry that is dark and bold, but not overly so.
  • Breakup Rumor is a shimming rosy plum with gold and rose shimmer and pearl finish. It applies mostly opaque on lips.

Benefit’s Full Finish Lipsticks are mostly opaque to opaque in color, feel creamy, and don’t leave lips dried out while you’re wearing them. They wear well (I get about six hours of wear-time with minimal drinking/light eating), too, which is always a plus. I love the shade range Benefit has, because I feel like they offer a good mix of shades that flatter many skin tones. Their pearl finishes aren’t drying in the least, as some frost-finish lipsticks often can be. I love all four of these shades, though I love the way Breakup Rumor shimmers.

The packaging is slim and compact, and it looks sleek in an all slightly shiny all-black case with Benefit’s logo wrapping around it in white. The value is so-so; it comes in as slightly more expensive (by the ounce) than Urban Decay and MAC, but it’s still less than brands like NARS and Dior.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you love more opaque lip colors, these lipsticks are a great place to start your search!

Availability: Benefit

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Monday, September 21st, 2009


Young Punk

MAC Style Black: Mineralize Eyeshadows Review, Swatches

MAC Style Black is a deep, dark collection with the rich tones of black as inspiration.  Perhaps one item that has likely caught many readers’ attention are the four new mineralize eyeshadows:  Young Punk, Gilt by Association, Cinderfella, and Blue Flame.

Mineralize Eyeshadow

  • Young Punk is a deep purple with lighter icy pink-purple shimmer/glitter.  When applied dry, it has just so-so pay off, but the color is much more intense when applied wet.  When it dries, though, it will fade a little bit.
  • Gilt by Association is a glittering antique gold with a hint of warmer bronze shade.  It has decent color pay off when used dry, but as typical with mineralize eyeshadows, wet is still much better.
  • Cinderfella is a silver-black.  It has a deep black base with a shimmery, silver glitter laced through it.  Again, wet is more intense than dry.
  • Blue Flame is a dark navy blue with silver-blue glitter/shimmer that brightens it.  When used dry, it looks more like a sheer blue-black.  When used wet, that’s when you see the navy blue shade.  It looks very much like the eyeshadow named Blue Flame or the permanent shade Deep Truth.

If you know me, you know I’m not a huge fan of mineralize eyeshadows.  The color pay off tends to be below my expectations with too much fall out to bother.  These are definitely shades that are best used wet (which you can do with mineralize eyeshadows without fear of leaving behind a wet spot).  Using them wet also helps to minimize the fall out issue, which is something that glittery shadows are prone to have (mineralize or not).  I like the colors, and I do like the theme of this dark black-inspired base with brighter shimmer to give it color.  I’d likely be taken in by them, but I’m not sure these are the ones that’ll get me on the mineralize side of life.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you’re a mineralize eyeshadow fan, you’d probably like these.  If you’re not, these aren’t likely to win you over.

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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