Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection:  Photos & Swatches
MAC Baroque Boudoir Lipgloss: The Lap of Luxury, Preciousness, D’Nouveau

MAC Baroque Boudoir Collection: Lipglosses

Every year, MAC presents us with a very limited edition, small-sized collection that’s decked out in more luxe packaging accompanied by equally more luxe prices. This year’s collection is Baroque Boudoir, which is in clear packaging with filigree in semi-opaque white overlayed (but to be sure, they’re not stickers). This year’s collection contains a whopping nine items to covet: three lipsticks, three lipglosses, two shades of Sheer Mystery Powder, and a clutch.

The lipglosses are creamy, hydrating, and they’re non-sticky. They do feel a lot like MAC’s Cremesheen Glass, to be honest. They’re about as sheer, too! The glosses themselves are quality and feel very nice on the lips, but my big issue with these is that they’re just out of sync with MAC pricing (which is part of the point of their luxe collection, I’m sure).

They’re not any better or worse than MAC’s Lustreglass (these are completely non-sticky, Lustreglass is mostly non-sticky), which is priced at $14. I will also point out that this year’s shade range is less unique than years’ past, which is a little disappointing. Pretty colors, but you can find decent dupes or similar shades in the permanent range.

P.S. – I will do lip swatches this afternoon!

Baroque Boudoir Lipgloss ($22.00 U.S. / $26.00 CDN)

  • The Lap of Luxury is a sheer, peachy-melon nude with pink shimmer. On my lips, there’s really not much too it: glossy lips with a little bit of peach and pink shimmer. This shade reminded me of Enchantress Lipglass or Love Nectar Lustreglass.
  • Preciousness is an icy pink with a little bit of lilac in it. It is fairly sheer and sort of gives my lips a milky look to them, but it doesn’t add much color, mostly pinky-purple sparkle from the shimmer. This reminded me a lot of Cultured Lipglass or a slightly more purple Luminary Lustreglass (though it’s less noticeably different when applied on lips).
  • D’Nouveau is a raspberry-ish color base with lighter pink and copper flecks of shimmer throughout. It was the most pigmented of the three, but I’d still consider it fairly sheer. It brightened up and added a rosier look to my lips along with the shimmer. I was immediately reminded of Star Nova Lustreglass. This is also kind of like a more berry version of Love Alert Dazzleglass.

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: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of the packaging or love non-sticky, creamy glosses like Cremesheen Glass, you might find these worth the splurge.

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Mmm… Body Scrub:  Kiehl’s Lavender Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub

Kiehl’s Lavender Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub ($25.00 for 6.8 fl. oz.) is pretty much my new favorite body scrub.  A part of me is struggling with how to describe what exactly I’m loving about it in such a way that truly conveys how much I adore it, but obviously, I’m going to give it a shot or else this review wouldn’t be here!

This totally does its job!  I don’t know about “gentle” exfoliation, but it has a nice level of grit/abrasiveness that makes it effective without being too harsh.  I’ve used other scrubs touted as gentle/sensitive, and they are definitely much less abrasive than this one, so I just don’t know if I’d really call this gentle.  I’d consider it more of a happy medium between what I’d consider gentle (which I think of as more of sand-sized exfoliating grains) and the average body scrub (that likely has sugar or salt particles for exfoliating).  It’s for your body, and I personally find this to be a good level of abrasiveness.   I couldn’t tell you what exactly they use for their exfoliant other than they’re “natural exfoliation particles.”

Surprisingly, the body scrub was also really hydrating post-application, too.  It both exfoliated, but it didn’t take any moisture out, and I felt like it even added a little to it. I know Kiehl’s website does point out that one of the “key ingredients” is aloe vera, so perhaps that’s where the moisturized feeling comes from.  I do feel like the scrub delivers on its promise to “leave skin silky-soft, refreshed and primed for moisturization.”  It’s also a body scrub that is creamy and lathers up a bit, so it almost feels like both a body scrub and a body wash.  I am a little partial towards body scrubs that also have a more lathering base, because I do find that they’re more moisturizing on the whole and easier to use.

I’m satisfied with the pricing on this product, too, because you get a good amount that will yield plenty of usages.  I found about a nickel-sized dollop was a good amount per leg, and I didn’t feel like I was being skimpy, either–it was just enough to be rich and effective without feeling like I was trying to conserve the product.   There are, obviously, cheaper body scrubs available, but if you’re a Kiehl’s fan, it is a bit on the top line of  their price range, but it’s a solid product.  I’d say that after seeing the pricing on Kiehl’s other body washes and scrubs, it’s about where I’d expect–cheaper than Creme de Corps, but a little pricier than their Ultra Moisturizing.  (I haven’t tried either of those, but now I’m curious!)

The one I tested out has a very lovely lavender scent–there’s nothing to it, it smells exactly as lavender would smell, and I love that.  I do find the scent of lavender to be particularly relaxing, so I often use lavender-based products at night.  I’ve been using this in the shower at night, and then layering a lavender-scented lotion afterward.  It’s soft, not at all overwhelming, and smells very natural.  They also have the scrub in Coriander, Grapefruit, and Pear Tree if Lavender isn’t your thing.

Bottom Line: This is definitely one of my favorite body scrubs of all time, and it’s my new go-to since I started using it.  I’m going to take a sniff at the other scents next time I’m near the Kiehl’s counter, but I have a feeling Lavender is the best scent for me.

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

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

Recommendation: Body scrub buffs should look into Kiehl’s for a moisturizing, gritty scrub!

Availability: Nordstrom

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro Collection:  Gold Attraction Eye Quartet

Clarins Gold Attraction Eye Quartet & Liner Palette ($66.00) is a limited edition holiday palette from Clarins’ Palazzo d’Oro collection, which was “inspired by the light and sumptuous radiance of the architecture of Venice.” It’s a very minimalist collection with four pieces: an eyeshadow palette, a face palette, a lipstick, and a mascara.

The Eye Quartet includes a soft, shimmery milky pink, high-sheen peachy-gold, subdued taupe brown with subtle gold shimmer, and a richer, chocolate brown with just a smidgen of gold specks in it. It also has a black-brown cream liner included with the palette. All four shades are pigmented, and the eyeshadows themselves are smooth to the touch. They blend easily, and this combination of shades is actually very easy to use, because they work so well together. It’s not quite a neutral quad–almost like a neutral quad with a kick, I suppose. It’s perfect for the holidays, but it’s a palette you could easily continue to use throughout the year.

The packaging is stunning; it’s a heavy metal-ish compact that looks like gold. I may even go as far as to say I like the packaging more than the contents! It’s just particularly lovely and well-done, and I am happy that the insides didn’t disappoint.

I only found one drawback for this eyeshadow palette, and it’s the price. The price is really tough to swallow, even for Clarins. Even though you are getting 0.17 oz. of eyeshadow in the palette, it still works out to be $388.24/ounce–which prices it above MAC and NARS, but around the level of Givenchy and Chanel. They sell eyeshadow quartets as part of their regular line-up at $40 each, so I do think you are paying quite a bit on top of this for the packaging itself.

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: 5/5

Recommendation: If you’re a sucker for packaging, Clarins’ Gold Attraction palette just might sucker you in!

Availability: Clarins, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick
Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick

Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a deep, blue-based red. It’s fairly bright and most definitely noticeable, but it’s deep enough that it doesn’t come off too bright. It has a slightly glossy sheen, and it’s surprisingly hydrating. One of the best parts about Make Up For Ever’s lipsticks is how well they wear and how long they wear for. I find I get no less than four solid hours of amazing wear, but it easily extends into six or more, if I’ve only eaten a light meal or had one or two drinks. #205 is richly pigmented, goes opaque in just one layer, and it hugs lips.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

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!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Affordable Skincare: Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser ($6.99 for 5.5 fl. oz.) is a foam-based cleanser that feels lightweight, doesn’t dry out skin, and removes most makeup.

This review is one of those short and sweet kind, because the product itself is really simple.  Like many Aveeno products, it’s not about frills, it’s about meeting a need.  If I had to compare this to another high-end brand, I’d consider this similar to Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (Foaming).  This one comes in a bottle-shaped container with a pump to distribute the foam cleanser.  I find one or two pumps is all I need to feel clean.

It is advertised as a makeup removing cleanser, not just a cleanser, and it’s unfortunate, because it doesn’t quite remove all makeup.  Whenever I have a makeup remover, I test it against the long-lasting power of MAC Fluidline.  This removed some, but it didn’t remove all.  It does remove the majority of my makeup (eyeshadow, non-waterproof mascara, foundation), but it’s not necessarily the best choice for heavier or more long-wearing products.

I do, personally, prefer to remove heavier makeup with an oil-based makeup remover (like Lancome’s Bi-Facil) before I do my nightly cleanser, so it’s not a big deal for me.  It’s just something that does take away from this product’s score, since it doesn’t completely live up to its claims.

It smells like something soft and clean and a little sweet–it reminded me of baby shampoo, to be honest.  When I was trying to describe it, all I could think of was baby shampoo as my descriptor.

Bottom Line: This is an affordable cleanser that works well for daily dirt and grime and light to medium makeup.  If you’re looking for a cleanser to remove heavy eyeliner, you may want to look elsewhere.   I actually really liked it, and I was pleasantly surprised by it overall.  I’ll probably be switching over my boyfriend over to this from Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple when he runs out.  (Well, I’m going to have to see if Aveeno offers a foaming cleanser in this product line that doesn’t have “makeup remover” on it!)

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For an easy, lightweight cleanser that works well on daily dirt and build-up, this one is worth checking out!

Availability: ULTA

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick
Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick

Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a richly pigmented, medium bright red that leans only slightly blue, but otherwise reads fairly neutral on my lips. It applies easily and evenly (though it should be worn with a lip liner to keep it inside the lines so-to-speak) and has a glossy sheen. I like how hydrating the Rouge Allure formula is, and I can appreciate the high level of pigmentation that accompanies it, too. It doesn’t compete against Chanel’s Dragon for me, but it’s a very nice, more color and no shimmer kind of red lip color that’s nice on other occasions.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

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!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →