Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Chanel Exquise Lipstick
Chanel Exquise Rouge Allure Lipstick

The Spring Season: Chanel Exquise Lipstick

Chanel Exquise Lipstick ($30.00) is a beautiful yellow-based, warmed-up pink with golden shimmer. It’s a semi-opaque lipstick that gives decent coverage, but more pigmented lips may find it isn’t full coverage enough to mask their natural pigmentation. (If you have naturally reder lips, this will only subdue the red to more of a raspberry-ish pink.) What I like about Exquise is how warm it is; it’s not easy to find neutral or warm-toned pink lipsticks, as most are blue-based. Since it is a Rouge Allure Lipstick, it also wears well, keeps lips hydrated, and has a slightly glossy sheen.

Is this the right pink for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, January 30th, 2010


Palm Springs, Cotton, Manila
Office, Peacock, Mouse
Factory Grey, Hassid

American Apparel:  Nail Lacquer, Part 2

Make sure you check out part 1 for my full review + details on the AA packaging voluntary recall.

Again, the nail lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. Each bottle retails for $6 or you can purchase a three-pack for $15. They’re currently sold exclusively in American Apparel store locations and online at americanapparel.com (expect them to be back online in a week or two).

The formula is long-wearing, easy to use, and richly pigment.  All the characteristics I look for in my nail polish!

  • Palm Springs is a soft peach cream. This one reminded me of a lightly more muted China Glaze Peachy Keen.
  • Cotton is a slightly yellowed white. I found this to be the worst of the fourteen shades — it was a little runny and it would take at least three solid coats to go opaque.  It’s not super difficult to work with, but it wasn’t stellar like the rest.
  • Manila is a bright goldenrod yellow. It’s not quite traffic-stopping yellow, but it’s not totally goldenrod either. Two coats was good on this one.
  • Office is a pale minty green Cream. I actually really liked this shade a lot, definitely a favorite out of the bunch. I found two coats was perfect for this shade.
  • Peacock is a dusty medium-deep blue. It’s kind of like a muted ocean blue, because it’s not ultra vibrant, but it still has plenty of color in two coats.
  • Mouse is a taupe-gray cream. It reminded me of Chanel’s Particuliere and OPI You Don’t Know Jacques.
  • Factory Grey is a purple-toned gray cream. It was opaque in just two coats.
  • Hassid is a rich, inky black. Super black. This looks so stunning with an ultra glossy top coat on it, too. Opaque in two coats, like the majority of these shades.

Out of the shades I tried, my favorites were Berry, Hassid, Mouse, Office, Palm Springs, and Peacock.   My top three would be Hassid, Office, and Peacock.

Which are your favorites? Any you gotta have?

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 love cream finish polishes, you may find American Apparel polishes a nice surprise!

Availability: americanapparel.com

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, January 30th, 2010


Pinto, Berry, Downtown LA
Poppy, Rose Bowl, Coney Island

American Apparel:  Nail Lacquers, Part 1

American Apparel launched eighteen shades of cream nail lacquers. I’ll be showing you fourteen of the eighteen shades (all but Dynasty, Hunter, Mount Royal, and Passport Blue) spread over two posts (there are forty-two photos–too many for one post!).

NOTE, American Apparel has recalled all bottles of their nail lacquer due to a defect in the packaging itself — the glass is prone to breaking, so the brand has done a voluntary recall so that they can rollout a second run with safer, more durable packaging. There is nothing wrong with the formula itself. American Apparel is offering customers the following: bring in your old bottle or a receipt and receive two new bottles or a $10 gift card. They expect to roll out the new and improved bottles in the next week or two.

The nail lacquer is free of DBP, toluene, and formaldehyde. Each bottle retails for $6 or you can purchase a three-pack for $15. They’re currently sold exclusively in American Apparel store locations and online at americanapparel.com (expect them to be back online in a week or two).

The formula is really good, actually. I wasn’t quite sure how an apparel brand was going to do polish, but they did an exceptional job designing a formula that is richly pigmented, easy to apply, and wears beautifully.

Even without a base, I experienced no chipping over four days and only minor tip wear. With a base, no chipping, minor tip wear, and it looked nice and glossy with a top coat of Seche Vite. All of the shades are cream finishes and, overall, have a nice consistency that’s thick enough to get bold color with just one coat, but not so thick that it’s goopy. Each shade, without a top coat, has a lightly glossy finish, but they all look better with a nice and shiny top coat (I like Seche Vite with these).

  • Pinto is a reddened brown cream. It goes on opaque in just two coats.
  • Berry is a deep raspberry-burgundy cream that goes on opaque in really just one coat, but I did two just ’cause.
  • Downtown LA is a bright orange-based red cream. I’m sure this one is dupe-able, but it has a great formula and consistency. It’s surprisingly orange-based without being flat out orange.
  • Poppy is a bright orange cream. It’s not quite neon orange, but it gets pretty close. It has just a smidgen in red in it that keeps it from being neon, I’d say. You only really need one medium-thick coat to get good opacity, but I did two.
  • Rose Bowl is a pretty, played-down yellow-based pink. It’s muted and paled a bit, but it’s not boring. This is one of those easy-to-wear more neutral shades. It found two coats was perfect to get the right color and thickness.
  • Coney Island is a light, airy cotton candy pink. It’s definitely a cool-toned, blue-based pink, so warm skin tones may find it a little hard to wear. I found two coats was almost enough, but three would get you totally opaque. I found my Coney Island seemed a little thinner in consistency than the majority of the American Apparel polishes, as well.

Any of these catch your eye?

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 love cream finish polishes, you may find American Apparel polishes a nice surprise!

Availability: AmericanApparel.com

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Chanel In Love Blush

The First Blush of Spring:  Chanel In Love Blush

Chanel In Love Blush ($42.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a dirty coral-peach with soft, golden shimmer. It can be applied softly or built up in intensity for a bolder cheek.  I’ve found Chanel blushes to be extremely smooth and silky and have a tendency to blend very well into skin to look natural. In Love had this same texture and feel when I used it. (I wore In Love in this smoky look earlier this week.) It worked best when lightly patted onto skin with a blush brush (I like MAC’s 116) and then a gentle sweeping motion at the end to blend together.

I like pairing it with gold and copper eyeshadows as well as smokier looks. It’s versatile and definitely a shade I’m often drawn to. The shimmer in this is very fine and smooth, so it looks more like a shimmer-sheen than glittery shimmer. I just wish you got more for your buck; Chanel blushes are some of the smallest (by weight) blushes on the market, which then makes them one of the most expensive blushes by the ounce ($300/oz., whereas Dior blushes are $190/oz.).

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For silky soft blush, Chanel always makes for a good choice–when you’re feeling a little indulgent.

Availability: Nordstrom

See more photos and swatches! Continue reading →

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Benefit Jing-a-Ling Lipstick

The Spring Season: Benefit Jing-a-ling Lipstick

Benefit Jing-a-Ling Lipstick ($18.00) is a creamy, mostly neutral pink with golden shimmer. Depending on what I wear it with, I’ve found it can look more blue-pink or yellow-pink. It looks semi-opaque when applied to my lips, but it does noticeably pink and pale ‘em up with a very creamy look. It almost looks like a milky pink on me, but not quite so pale. I wore Jing-a-Ling with MAC Nymphette in this sunset-eye look. Benefit’s Silky Finish Lipsticks tend to have a little more slip, so I find they last about three or four hours, but the silkiness of the finish does make it a more moisturizing lipstick.

Is this the perfect pink for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Urban Decay Stardust Eyeshadows
Eyeshadows: Space Cowboy, Bobby Dazzle, Griffith, Diamond Dog, 54
Retrograde, Atmosphere, Moon Spoon, Void

Urban Decay Stardust Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

For Spring, Urban Decay’s launched nine shades of a new eyeshadow formula: Stardust Eyeshadows. According to Urban Decay, these have a silky texture that has “40% more glitter than our most sparkly shadows,” and that this formula “delivers a sheer wash of color, topped with … sparkle that glistens like wet now.” The glitter ingredient is called “reflex” and these boast no fall out or chunky glitter. They can be used wet or dry, depending on what kind of color you want to achieve. Each Stardust eyeshadow retails for $20.00 for 0.12 oz. For reference, Deluxe Eyeshadows retail for $18.00 for 0.09 oz. and Deluxe Eyeshadows retail for $16.00 for 0.05 oz.

Stardust Eyeshadows

  • Space Cowboy is a champagne beige with golden sheen and sparkle. It goes on barely there when used dry, but it has a more opaque look when used wet.
  • Bobby Dazzle is a shimmery white (just slightly tinged by gold) with white and silver sparkle. This shade is best used dry unless layering over a more intense color, because it is incredibly sheer dry, though more obvious when used wet.
  • Griffith is a soft, yellow-toned green with paler green sheen and sparkle. You can get some green to show when you use this dry, but it’s better when used wet or over a base.
  • Diamond Dog is a dirty brown with a little gray and silverish sparkle. This brown kind of felt like one of those “ugly” browns to me for some reason. Somewhat pigmented when used wet but still nicer when used wet.
  • 54 is an icy purple with silver-white sparkle. It’s pretty pale and cool-toned and like the other shades, best used wet.
  • Retrograde is a darkened purple with red undertones and silver sparkle. I expected richer color, but I couldn’t achieve the deepness I wanted even when used wet. It just looks so dark in the pot, but it’s not nearly so dark in real life.
  • Atmosphere is a bright teal-blue with silver sparkle. Atmosphere is easily the best shade of the nine — if you only wanted one, this is the one I’d recommend. It’s richly pigmented, even when used dry, and moreso when used wet.
  • Moon Spoon is a gray taupe with cool silver sparkle. So so when used dry, smoother when used wet.
  • Void is a gray-black with silver sparkle. It reminded me of Oil Slick, just with more glitter. I found this one didn’t seem to look much different when used wet–about the same as when swatched dry.

The packaging is a matte, slightly squish plastic (think NARS) shaped into a square. You squeeze the sides and it releases the plastic flip-top back. I’m not drooling over the packaging, but it’s functional. It’s particularly streamlined and “clean” for Urban Decay, actually.

The glitter in the Stardust eyeshadows is definitely not the typical chunky glitter a la Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, but I did encounter a decent amount of fall out when I used Atmosphere in this look earlier this week. It wasn’t the worst fall out I’ve encountered, but I did get enough to be able to say that these definitely are prone to fall out for me. I used it over Urban Decay’s Primer Potion and wet, for reference, and still had the fall out. I’d say the fall out is a little less than their typical glitter eyeshadows, certainly much less so than Midnight Cowboy Rides Again, as well. If you don’t mind a little clena-up, then these might be fun to play around with.

These are probably better over dark bases or else layered on top of more pigmented or vibrant shades of eyeshadow. I could definitely see these working well over a black base for a very smoky, glittering eye. Even though layering seems to the best way to use these, they weren’t quite as blendable as Urban Decay’s powder eyeshadows. When used wet, they have a bit of a tendency to “stick” in places, so you may find yourself using a similar-colored powder eyeshadow to help blend out the Stardust eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: I have never been a fan of eyeshadows that produce a lot of fall out. I don’t want to have to spend extra time cleaning up after application; I don’t mind a little bit–the kind that can be covered up with foundation, just not a lot. These have enough fall out that I don’t love them, and I think the colors themselves aren’t as vibrant as I’d like to see from Urban Decay, so they’re not to my taste. Atmosphere was the only one that really popped to me.  It’s like they’re okay – Urban Decay states they’re sheer, but they also say “no fall out” which I found not to be the case in my experience.

I found myself preferring Stila’s Jewel Eyeshadow Palette for my dose of glitter, because I found the color went on a bit more pigmented when used dry, but I also didn’t encounter very much fall out when I used them either. Of course, the shades aren’t similar, so you may go one way or the other based on what kind of color you want.  I will say that if you use a sponge-tip applicator or your finger to press on the glitter, there is a lot less fall out, though.  Additionally, for a glittery-based eyeshadow, the fall out was much less than I’ve experienced in the past, on the whole.

Have you tried these yet?  What has your experience been like?

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love glittery eyeshadow, love the shimmering wet look, and don’t mind some fall out… I think these may be your style.

Availability: Urban Decay

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →