Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

NARS Claudia Audacious Lipstick
NARS Audacious Lipstick: Claudia, Michiyo, Greta, Angela, Janet

NARS Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new (and permanent) formula debuting September 1st, they’re now online at narscosmetics.com, with a total line-up of 40 shades. It’s supposed to be a highly pigmented formula (“full-coverage finish in a single stroke) while give lips a smoother appearance and be moisturizing. They’re also packaged in matte black metal cases with magnetic closures. I’m working my way through the shades, and I’ve found the range to be fairly consistent so far. These have excellent color payoff with most shades being opaque in a single stroke. They’re also very forgiving when applied; they don’t seem to catch on flakes or imperfections on the lips, and lips look smoother and slightly fuller due to the satiny finish that gives it just a little reflection/shine. The consistency is creamy, lightweight, and comfortable to wear for the most part. It’s not too thick or too thin–it doesn’t bunch up with most shades, even lighter ones, as there isn’t a lot of slip, but it doesn’t feel clingy. However, something I noticed was while this formula is really lovely to wear for the first three to five hours, but as the finish mattifies and wears down, which can sometimes look drier. I don’t find the formula moisturizing, unfortunately, but for the most part, the shades are more neither drying nor hydrating, but a couple were a little drying on me. They wear well and fade fairly evenly, while the formula appears to be scent- and taste-free. The formula also re-applied well, so you don’t have to worry about fully removing to get smooth color.

I checked in with NARS, and their regular Lipstick formula isn’t being replaced by the Audacious Lipstick formula, which is good news, because at $32 compared to their regular lipstick at $26, it’s a significant up tick in price. The regular Lipstick range contains 0.12 oz. in comparison, so you get slightly more in the new formula. To put it in perspective, the Audacious Lipstick formula costs $228.57/oz. and the regular Lipstick formula costs $216.67/oz. (Though, if you never finish a lipstick, the lower price, regardless of quantity, may be more important.)

Claudia Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “cool pink.” It’s a brightened, light-medium cotton candy pink with blue undertones and a satin finish. It had rich, opaque color coverage that applied smoothly and evenly. This shade wore well for five hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Sephora Collection Cougar (P, $12.50) is brighter, darker. Bite Beauty Kumquat (LE, $24.00) is lighter. NARS Goodbye Emmanuelle (LE, $26.00) is darker. Maybelline Pink Pop (P, $7.49) is more shimmery, sheerer. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Narcissus (P, $18.00) is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Michiyo Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “shocking pink.” It’s a brightened, medium-dark fuchsia pink with cool undertones and a semi-matte finish. It had full color coverage in a single stroke that went on well. The color wore well for six and a half hours, but it was a little drying towards the end (felt totally fine for five hours). Melt Cosmetics Shady Lady (P, $19.00) is more matte, brighter. Too Faced Melted Fuchsia (P, $21.00) is brighter. YSL Fuchsia Tourbillon (31) (P, $34.00) is warmer. NARS Full Frontal (LE, $26.00) is more magenta. MAC Flat Out Fabulous (P, $16.00) is more matte. Maybelline Hot Plum (P, $7.49) is similar. MAC Quick Sizzle (LE, $16.00) is more matte. MAC Pink Pigeon (P, $16.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Daddy’s Little Girl (LE, $16.00) is more magenta. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Greta Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “wild azalea.” It’s a brightened, coral-red with a slight pinkish tint and warm undertones. It had excellent color coverage that went on evenly and smoothly, and it made lips look plumper from the get-go. The color wore well for six and a half hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Guerlain Insolence (144) (LE, $35.00) is more matte. Revlon Vivacious (120) (P, $8.99) is similar. Givenchy Magnolia Organza (301) (P, $36.00) is more muted, warmer, lighter. MAC All Fired Up (P, $16.00) is more matte. Maybelline Vivid Rose (P, $7.49) is glossier, redder. Guerlain Gourmandise (P, $49.50) is warmer. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Angela Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “pink orchid.” It’s a cool-toned, magenta pink with a slightly muted quality and a satin finish. It had rich, opaque pigmentation that went on fairly evenly–this one had a bit more slip and thickness to the consistency, so there’s a fine line between perfectly and over-applied (the latter may show “lines” if you press lips together, but it is pretty faint even when over-applied–it really is hard to detect except in a close-up photo!). It lasted well for five hours on me and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Lust Extract (LE, $17.00) is pinker. MAC Kelly Yum-Yum (LE, $16.00) is brighter. Bite Beauty Grape (LE, $24.00) is slightly brighter. NARS Full Frontal (LE, $26.00) is similar. Maybelline Brazen Berry (P, $7.49) is darker, sheerer. MAC Love Forever (P, $18.00) is more muted. MAC Night Blooming (LE, $16.00) is brighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Janet Audacious Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “deep magenta.” It’s a brightened, fuchsia-red with subtle, cool undertones and fuchsia micro-shimmer. It had mostly opaque color coverage, though it was less pigmented than the other four shades in this review. The color lasted for six hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Too Faced Melted Berry (P, $21.00) is less shimmery, darker. Estee Lauder Tumultuous Pink (P, $30.00) is less shimmery, brighter. MAC So Good (P, $22.00) is glossier. Urban Decay Jilted (P, $22.00) is redder. Milani Raspberry Rush (P, $5.49) is more matte, more shimmery. Illamasqua Atomic (P, $24.00) is more matte. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

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Claudia

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9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

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Michiyo

A

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Greta

A

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Surratt Beauty La Vie En Rose Artistique Blush
Surratt Beauty La Vie En Rose Artistique Blush

Surratt Beauty La Vie En Rose Artistique Blush ($32.00 for 0.20 oz.) is described as a “soft rose.” It’s a medium, pink-plum with warm undertones and a satin finish. MAC Animal Instincts (LE, $21.00) is darker, cooler-toned. Hourglass Mood Exposure (P, $35.00) is warmer. Urban Decay Fetish (LE) is darker. NARS G-Spot (P, $39.00) is darker, more shimmery, cream. Illamasqua Allure (P, $26.00) is much warmer. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

This is the kind of shade that is easy to wear on light to medium skin tones but may get lost on deeper complexions. It isn’t too warm or reddish, and it has a subdued quality to it, so it is easily worn as a sheer layer of color or applied with more true-to-pan color. It had a soft, silky texture that felt almost like a cream blush, though it was definitely a powder product. La Vie En Rose seemed less pigmented than other shades I’ve tested in the Surratt range, though it had decent, buildable color coverage. It has a satin-matte finish that gets more luminous as it is buffed and worked into the skin, but it never loks shimmery or frosted, so it doesn’t emphasize pores or skin imperfections. The color wore well for eight and a half hours before it started to fade along the edges.

The Glossover

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La Vie En Rose

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette
Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette ($29.00 for 0.30 oz.) contains six eyeshadows; five have matte finishes, one has a more satiny finish. The palette leans cool-toned, but I didn’t find it to be strongly cool-toned across the board. The palette is the same size as the previous Naked Basics palette, though this one has a slightly different color and has lighter lettering. The quality is good overall, but the darkest shade is under-pigmented and a little harder to blend, and most of the matte shades were a little powdery, though they’re soft and didn’t look dry or powdery on the lid.

It will launch on Urban Decay’s website on August 19th, but it will be available at the usual suspects like Sephora, ULTA, Macy’s, Beauty.com on August 28th.

Skimp is described as a “pale nude satin.” It’s a light, peachy-beige with a satin finish. It is warmer and has a peach tone to it that wasn’t present when this was released in the Feminine palette (which looks pink-ish). The difference is subtle, and once applied to the skin, blended out, and so forth, it isn’t noticeably different–but it may be more noticeable if you are very cool or very warm-toned. It had good color payoff, and the texture was blendable but thinner than is typical for Urban Decay (and less dense/buttery compared to the previous version I have). It lasted for eight hours before fading on me. LORAC Navy #1 (LE) is darker. YSL Saharienne #1 (P) is similar. Divergent Serene Vanilla (LE) is lighter. MAC Warm Breeze (P, $15.00) is slightly darker. Clarins The Essentials #1 (LE) is similar. bareMinerals Magnate (LE) is lighter. MAC Shroom (P, $15.00) is more beige. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Stark is described as a “nude-pink matte.” It’s a muted, peachy-beige with a matte finish and soft, warm undertones. It may be hard to see against my skin tone, as it is very similar to it, but it had good pigmentation, though it was slightly powdery. It lasted for seven and a half hours on me. Tarte Peach for the Stars (LE) Bobbi Brown Truffle (LE, $22.00) is darker. Anastasia Cream (LE) is warmer. Urban Decay Habit (LE, $18.00) is slightly cooler-toned. Urban Decay Freestyle (LE, $18.00) is a touch darker. MAC Malt (P, $15.00) is darker, cooler-toned. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Frisk is described as a “warm gray matte.” It’s a light-medium taupe with subtle, warm undertones and a matte finish. The pigmentation had potential, but the somewhat powdery consistent made it so a lot of the pigment didn’t adhere to the skin, which resulted in decent color payoff but not great. If you normally use a primer, you should be okay. It lasted for eight hours on me before fading. Dior Mirage (761) (P, $30.00) is darker, cream. Urban Decay Naked 2 (P, $18.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Cover is described as a “muted red-brown matte.” It’s a medium-dark, warm-toned taupe brown with a matte finish. This shade was excellent: great pigmentation, a beautifully soft but buttery and blendable texture, and lasted for just over eight hours before fading. Dior Mirage (761) (P, $30.00) is darker, cream. Kat Von D Renholder (P) is more shimmery, warmer. Urban Decay Naked 2 (P, $18.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Brains & Brawn (LE, $15.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Fashion Fix (P, $21.00) is darker, less matte. Bobbi Brown Slate (P, $22.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Primal is described as a “muted brown matte.” It’s a muted, medium-dark brown with soft, warm undertones and a matte finish. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft, blendable, and only a smidgen powdery. It wore well for eight and a half hours before fading. LORAC Navy #3 (LE) is darker. Urban Decay Rewind (LE, $18.00) is similar. bareMinerals Get Ahead (LE) is warmer. theBalm Sultry (P, $16.00) is similar. Urban Decay Secret Service (P, $18.00) is darker. Urban Decay Faint (P, $18.00) is warmer. MAC Omega (P, $15.00) is lighter. bareMinerals Namaste (P) is similar. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Undone is described as a “deep, smoky brown matte.” It’s a dark brown with subtle, cool undertones and a matte finish. It had poorer color payoff, and it had a thinner, more powdery consistency that just didn’t apply well. I had trouble blending this shade with the others when I used it in the crease. It lasted for almost eight hours on me before fading. Tarte Don’t Turn A-Brown (LE) is darker. LORAC Cool Gray (P) is lighter, cooler-toned. Kat Von D Shadow Box (P) is darker. Tarte Dream in Chocolate (LE) is darker. Too Faced Triple Fudge (P, $16.00) is darker. Laura Mercier Espresso (LE, $23.00) is darker. Chanel Charming #5 (LE) is similar. Too Faced Dark Chocolate (LE, $16.00) is warmer. Tom Ford Beauty She Wolf #1 (LE) is darker. NARS Bali (P, $24.00) is warmer. MAC Dance in the Dark (LE, $15.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The Glossover

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palette

Naked2 Basics

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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product

Skimp

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Stark

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

5/5

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Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Z Palette - Fall 2014 Colors
Z Palette – Fall 2014 Colors

Z Palette Large Palettes ($20.00 each) will add five new colors in September. The new colors are: Lavender, Orange, Sky Blue, Yellow, and Pearl White. The Yellow shade is the brightest and most neon, while Sky Blue and Orange are slightly subdued. The White is a bright, crisp white.

Each palette comes with 20 metal stickers so you can magnetize any product you plan to put in it. The Large palette fits about 28 standard-sized eyeshadows (MAC, Urban Decay, Makeup Geek, etc.). Ever since I saw MakeupByTiffanyD depot NARS eyeshadows with floss, I’ve been kind of wanting to try, so I just might see how that goes to fill these up! Has anyone tried that method with success?

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

simplehuman sensor mirror
simplehuman sensor mirror

A couple of weeks ago, after seeing several readers recommend it, I decided to pull the trigger and buy the simplehuman sensor mirror ($200.00). It supposed to be a light-up mirror that uses a built-in sensor so it lights up when you get near it, and it uses LEDs to provide light that mimics natural sunlight. The LEDs are supposed to outlast you even with daily use, so theoretically, you shouldn’t have to replace the light or the mirror while you have it. (The claim specifically: “Our mirror’s LEDs have been rated to perform like new after 40,000 hours — that’s an hour a day, everyday, for more than 100 years.”)

simplehuman is likely known for their design, and I definitely liked that this is more of a cordless product, as it keeps my countertop cleaner, requires one less electrical socket, and is easily moved from one room to another. (I find that I keep it nearby for photos when I’m applying lip products, but then I’ve also been using it where I do my makeup.) One charge is supposed to last five weeks, so you don’t have to worry about regularly plugging it in. I haven’t had to charge mine over the two weeks I’ve used it. It’s heavy enough that it isn’t easily knocked over, but it’s easily carried to another room or put away. The mirror tilts nicely, so you can choose the angle that makes sense for how you’re positioned. I have it angled so it looks more like a dinner plate when I’m applying lip swatches, as I stand while doing so, but when I’m doing my makeup, I sit, so I have it positioned more vertically. You can also adjust the height. simplehuman has an adjustable diagram here so you can see how it adjusts.

The lighting is good; it does a good job of mimicking natural sunlight–much like sitting in front of a window without direct light (so it doesn’t turn yellowish), and it illuminates evenly as it is a ring of light.  It’s not hard on my eyes, as it is not so bright that it’s going to light up a room, but it does give you targeted, consistent lighting right where you need it. It would be nice if there was a dimmer, as some may be more/less sensitive to light.  The size and magnification worked well for me, as I could see my features more closely and do a better job at applying products more precisely as things were magnified, but I could still see more of my face to get an overview of the look. I still think having a regular mirror nearby is handy, though.

My only gripe was that there wasn’t a way to force the sensor to take longer to shut off. We actually have sensor lighting in our bathrooms, and we’ve adjusted all the timers, because when we first moved in, we’d end up showering in the dark as they’d turn off too soon! According to simplehuman, they use “intelligent multi-sense” that’s supposed to “adapt to your behavior … It becomes more sensitive during use, so it won’t turn off unexpectedly.” About half the time I use it, the light turns off when I look down to do eyeliner, because my face drops beyond the sensor on the top. If you actually get up to get an item, or if you lean over to pull something out of a drawer, it’ll probably shut off. It takes a second to pop back on when your face returns. I’d love to adjust it from maybe 5 seconds delay, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, etc.

It does lack some of the features you may be more comfortable with (or prefer) in other makeup mirrors, like the ability to switch between magnification levels (or swivel to a regular mirror/no magnification mirror), types of lighting, dimming, side panels for more extreme viewing angles, and so on. Ultimately, this is a simpler makeup mirror, but the brighter, more calibrated, and even lighting is one of its greatest selling points. I just think it depends on your needs and what features you actually use.  I don’t know that it is “worth” the price tag, as it is significantly more than most makeup mirrors on the market.  It has a really nice streamlined, cordless design and great lighting, but if you already have a set-up with good, natural lighting streaming in, I’m not sure you’ll get the value out of this product. For my purposes (for lip swatches and eye makeup), I’m finding I really like it a lot–more than I thought I would–so yes, if it holds up for several years, I think I could tell you it was worth it (for me).

I was actually debating on whether to opt for the smaller (and cheaper) version, but I ended up buying the full-sized for myself. Not even twelve hours after I bought it, Sephora pitched me about the mirror and asked if I wanted to receive either the standard or mini for consideration, which ended up working out nicely because one of the things I really was curious about was how the full-sized and travel version compared to each other! Now, I get to do that for you :) There is also a wall-mounted option that is the same as the full-sized version in this post. I think the wall-mounted one would be best suited for someone with a set-up that requires standing.

simplehuman mini sensor mirror ($130.00) has one major advantage over the larger version: it’s travel-friendly. It comes with a zippered, slightly firm case that holds the mirror, which folds down. Potentially, the second major advantage is that this mirror has 10x magnification (compared to 5x magnification of the full-sized mirror).

The easiest difference to spot is that it is a much smaller mirror–4.75″ across compared to the 8″ full-sized mirror–but the magnification is also quite different. On the mini, it has 10x magnification, whereas the standard is 5x. The sensor light is on the bottom of the mini but on the top for the standard. If desired, you could actually flip the mirror to the other side, which shortens the height of the mirror (depending on the surface you set it on, how tall/short you are, your seat, etc.). The mini is about 3″ shorter, a skinnier stem, but the base has a similar footprint, it’s just lighterweight and less robust (but the diameter is about the same). A single charge on the mini is supposed to last up to 8 weeks, while the full-sized is 5 weeks, though they use the same USB charger. I have a note on my calendar to check in sometime in October on charging.

The mini is lighter-weight, though I wouldn’t describe it as that light, and it’s a fine weight if you’re packing a larger suitcase but may add a bit more weight than ideal to a carry-on. It doesn’t take up too much space, though, and the case has some protection but has some give (perhaps best described as firm, but not solid, case).

I found I preferred using the full-sized mirror, as I could see more of my face, and felt like I didn’t have to be as close-up to the mirror, which gave me more room to work (especially important if you use a long-handled brushes) and some ability to “step back” to see the results. When I used it, I felt really close to the mirror at all times, so I think the diameter is smaller than what my needs require, much like the magnification was more than I needed except for tweezing that one stubborn misplaced brow hair. For me, it didn’t feel as practical or as useful when I would sit down and do my makeup in front of this. However, if you really need more than 5x magnification, the mini may be the right choice. No matter which one you have, a regular mirror nearby is handy so that you don’t forget to look at the big picture (whatever everyone else will see!) as well.

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Standard

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Kat Von D Lullabye Studded Kiss Lipstick
Kat Von D Lullabye Studded Kiss Lipstick

Kat Von D Lullabye Studded Kiss Lipstick ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “sparkling iridescent magenta violet.” It’s a vibrant, fuchsia pink with cool-toned, magenta-fuchsia shimmer/sheen that gives it a slightly metallic sheen over a matte finish. Melt Cosmetics Shady Lady (P, $19.00) has no shimmer. Too Faced Melted Fuchsia (P, $21.00) has no shimmer, brighter. MAC Pink Poodle (DC, $16.00) is glossier. MAC Midnight Mambo (LE, $22.00) is less matte. Revlon Lollipop (P, $7.49) is sheerer, glossier, more muted. Milani Violet Volt (P, $5.49) is purpler, more shimmery. MAC Show Orchid (P, $16.00) is less matte. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Yaoi (P, $18.00) is pinker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The consistency was very lightly creamy-just enough that it didn’t tug or drag and the color went on evenly–and yielded rich, opaque color coverage. The texture was lightweight, thin, a little clingy (but not in an uncomfortable way), and I didn’t feel the shimmer/sparkle in the shade while I wore it. The color wears and wears like iron; I managed to get eight hours of wear with a fairly noticeable stain that lingered for a few more hours (but it’s supposed to last for 10 hours). It was a little drying towards the last two hours I wore it, but it was moderately comfortable to wear overall.

The Glossover

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product

Lullabye

B+

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

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