Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

MAC x BollyDoll/Blue Makeup Bag
MAC x BollyDoll/Blue Makeup Bag

MAC x BollyDoll Makeup Bags ($36.00) are available in two prints, one with bluer shades and the other with pinker shades. Each bag is made out of 100% polyester and measures 6.75 inches / 17 centimeters width, 1.75 inches / 5 centimeters in depth, and 5 inches / 12 centimeters in height. The outside feels very soft and smooth, while the inside is slightly more textured. There is a small, clear plastic pocket on the interior. The side of the bag has a black fabric loop, and it has a black zipper. The bags seem durable and should be able to take a little dirt/makeup debris when traveling and be easily wiped down. I would consider them medium in size; large enough for a multi-day trip as well as to be used as an everyday makeup bag.

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Friday, November 28th, 2014

Alexis Bittar Liquid Gold Compact Mirror
Alexis Bittar Liquid Gold Compact Mirror

Alexis Bittar Liquid Gold Compact Mirror ($42.00) is a medium-sized, heft 24 karat gold-plated compact mirror with Swarovski crystals. It has a very interesting, unique shape, and it is incredibly heavy, which makes it feel higher quality in the hand as it feels solid, but it’s not something I’d want to keep in a bag to use for touch-ups on-the-go. It might be a nice item to keep on a desk (or a vanity) for touch-ups at the office or the like, or if you normally carry a big purse, you might not mind the additional weight.

Given the metallic finish of it, fingerprints are easily seen, so ultimately, this is more like a paperweight or collector’s item. The quality of the mirrors seems exceptionally good; just really crisp and made me take mental note that it seemed like a higher quality compact overall. One mirror is normal, and the other side has a 2x magnification. It comes with a velvet, drawstring bag, so you can keep it in there for storage. The box itself is numbered, but the compact is not (wish it was engraved somewhere on it).

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Friday, November 14th, 2014

Diptyque Spice Candle
Diptyque Spice Candle

Diptyque Spice Candle ($68.00 for 6.5 oz.) is described as “cinnamon with the reassuring roundness of plum.” Sometimes, I’m not sure why I buy things I know I probably won’t like, because Diptyque’s candles always disappoints me. Their holiday candles are always so beautifully packaged, and since I tend to gravitate towards spicy, cozy scents in the fall and winter, I thought this one might hit the spot (and being cinnamon-driven, I didn’t think it would be a shy scent).

I was wrong – there is so little throw that I’m not even sure there’s any scent being released as the wax melts. When I burn it, I can’t detect any scent. I get more scent in the room when it is unlit and just sitting there (though it is very subtle, and only if I’m within a foot of it). Unlit, it smells of warm, spicy cinnamon with a hint of clove and sweet plum. It’s not an overly complicated scent but very holiday-esque (to me) and aptly named. The only positive things I have to say about it is that it does burn evenly, and it burns cleanly. Currently, I don’t need to read by candlelight, so the lack of throw is devastating at this price point (and this is what I’ve experienced with every Diptyque candle I’ve tried). Someone remind me of this next holiday season when those prettily housed candles try to tempt me again.

It’s also available in a smaller size for $34 (2.4 oz.) or as part of the holiday trio ($98 for 3 x 2.4 oz. candles) The large size featured in this post is supposed to have a 60-hour burn time, while the smaller size has a 30-hour burn time.

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Friday, October 31st, 2014

Hello Kitty Ruby Compact Mirror
Hello Kitty Ruby Compact Mirror

Hello Kitty Ruby Compact Mirror ($49.00) is described as a “Hello Kitty-shaped compact mirror” that’s supposed to have 300 “hand-placed jewels.” For a serious collector who is less concerned about quality or durability, it might still be nice to have on a desk or vanity, but with as much Hello Kitty merchandise out there, I would be surprised if there wasn’t something that was really dazzling to be had. (Or even DIY one!) This just doesn’t have much sparkle–it looks dull–they almost look like clear crystals, even in person. The exposed edges of the mirror scratched really easily, so I don’t think I would keep it in a bag unless you found a pouch for it. It is lightweight with a thin feel–I’m not even sure it is metal. The hinges are a bit stiff, but it doesn’t readily open in a makeup bag or purse. The red paint on the bow arrived partially chipped on the side, and there were a few scratches on the interior upon arrival. It doesn’t feel like a luxury compact, and the real lack of shift and sparkle with the “jewels” is so disappointing.

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Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Guerlain Coque d'Or Perfumed Shimmer Powder
Guerlain Coque d’Or Perfumed Shimmer Powder

Guerlain Coque d’Or Perfumed Shimmer Powder ($95.00 for 0.61 oz.) is described as a “silky halo of a golden shimmer.” It’s a fine misting of gold shimmer, just as described. Guerlain says it can be used to “illuminat[e] hair, face, shoulders, and the top of the decollete.” It is a scented powder, which the brand says is a “chypre composition based on bergamot, rose, jasmine, and patchouli.” It’s very subtle when I tried wearing it all-over arms–it’s no substitute for perfume–and I only get a hint of a scent when I have my nose to my skin. It’s warm, sweet, and slightly woody with a little earthiness.

Guerlain’s holiday Shimmer Powders are no doubt a luxury item, and it is most likely going to appeal to collectors. It adds a gorgeous sparkle–that’s finer than glitter but more noticeable than shimmer–to the skin that dances in the light as one moves. I can only imagine that one bottle has many, many uses out of it, as one “spritz” has a fair amount of sparkle (enough for both arms). It’s best applied about six to twelve inches away, and you may want to turn the nozzle, because of the wide, bow-like bottle, the way it arrives means that a lot of the sparkle settles on top of the bottle (instead of on you!). I would also recommend applying a body lotion or moisturizer first, and then spritzing the powder on just before it finishes drying.

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Coque d'Or Perfumed Shimmer Powder

Guerlain's holiday Shimmer Powders are no doubt a luxury item, and it is most likely going to appeal to collectors. It adds a gorgeous sparkle--that's finer than glitter but more noticeable than shimmer--to the skin that dances in the light as one moves.
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Friday, October 10th, 2014

NARS Kabuki Brush Set
NARS Kabuki Brush Set

NARS Kabuki Brush Set ($149.00) includes three, kabuki-style brushes: Mie Kabuki, Mizubake Kabuki, and Kabuki Eye Brush. The Mie and Mizubake brushes are both $55 each, so that is $110 value there, and then $39 for the eye brush (which seems about right–the Kudoko, an eye Kabuki brush NARS released earlier this year is priced at $40). The brushes come housed in a thick, plastic rectangular box (it feels like acrylic storage containers to me). There’s a thin, removable plastic insert that holds the brushes upright in the box.

Mie Kabuki is supposed to be used for “all-over face application of loose and pressed powders.” It’s a medium-large powder brush that flares from the bottom, rounds out in the middle, then gradually tapers to a soft point at the top. It felt exactly like the full-sized version I’ve tested previously (see my original review here, and consistency is good, but the brush is unimpressive due to the rougher, scratchier bristles.

Mizubake Kabuki is supposed to be used for “contour and sculpt[ing].” It is a short-handled, flat-topped brush that flares out from the base. It had moderate density with light spring, so it worked well for buffing product into the skin, stippling, blending, and sweeping. This felt the same as the original, full-sized brush I reviewed previously (see review here). When NARS rolled out their Kabuki series brushes earlier this year, the Mizubake was the only one I liked, as it wasn’t scratchy/rough. The cutting is slightly uneven, so that could be improved.

Kabuki Eye is supposed to be used for a “soft-focus, seamless effect” for eyeshadows. It is a limited edition brush. It is a large, tapered brush that looks like a jumbo-sized crease brush. The brush head was 0.75 inches / 2 centimeters in length and 0.5 inches / 1.2 centimeters in width/thickness. The brush had a total length of 7 inches / almost 18 centimeters. It has good spring so that it flexes and diffuses powder eyeshadow easily, while it is dense enough that it still deposits color. Most of the time, it doesn’t feel scratchy (but I wouldn’t describe it as really soft or silky), but occasionally, there’s a bristle or two that seems to be scratchy/thicker. If you can, you may want to see this brush in person, as it is quite large, and that may or may not work for you depending on your routine. If it was softer, I would have liked it for diffusing and blending out concealer, but I prefer something with a silkier feeling against the under eye area.

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Mie Kabuki Brush

A medium-large all-over face powder brush with rougher/scratchier bristles, which makes it more unpleasant to use as an all-over face brush. The lack of softness is more noticeable when tapping or patting the brush against the skin and slightly less apparent when doing a sweeping motion.
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Mizubake Kabuki Brush

Moderately dense, light springiness that made it work well for buffing and blending out powder products on the skin for a really diffused look. The bristles were fairly soft, and the brush is similar to how one might use a buffing brush but with a flatter edge and a longer handle (but it is a short handle compared to face brushes in general).
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Kabuki Eye Brush

If you can, you may want to see this brush in person, as it is quite large, and that may or may not work for you depending on your routine. If it was softer, I would have liked it for diffusing and blending out concealer, but I prefer something with a silkier feeling against the under eye area.
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