This Week’s Topic: GLITTERY BLUSH!
Your Mission: Tell us what you love, hate, or are otherwise indifferent to about glittery blushes. What drives you bananas? What makes them necessary?
Your Mission: Tell us what you love, hate, or are otherwise indifferent to about glittery blushes. What drives you bananas? What makes them necessary?
Tarina Tarantino Emerald Pretty Eyeshadow Palette
Tarina Tarantino Emerald Pretty Eyeshadow Palette ($36.00 for 0.54 oz.) consists of six full-sized eyeshadows inspired by The Emerald City. They include: Glinda’s Kiss (iridescent white), Silver Shoes (pearlized silver), Dandy Lion (pearlized olive green), Saw Dust Heart (matte deep brown), Ozma (pearlized aqua blue), and Very Wicked (pearlized emerald green).
Glinda’s Kiss is a pale white with a white gold sheen. It has great color payoff, but it is a shade that is dupeable–and Tarina Tarantino has already put similar shades in a few of her palettes. Bare Escentuals One Hit Wonder is creamier, less frosted, slightly yellower. Tarina Tarantino Delightful and Tarina Tarantino Dreamy are more frosted, less metallic, subtler yellowness. MAC Manila Paper much yellower. MAC Nylon is yellower. Bare Escentuals Breathtaking is very similar, slightly less white. Urban Decay Zephyr is less yellow-toned.
Silver Shoes is a dark charcoal gray with a frosted shimmer-sheen. It has excellent pigmentation and a soft, smooth texture. Maybelline Audacious Asphalt is very similar though in a cream form. Tarina Tarantino Lovely has a pretty similar gray shade. Bobbi Brown Gunmetal is slightly darker and bluer-toned. Urban Decay Gunmetal is bluer-toned. theBalm Inspirational is also similar but bluer-toned.
Dandy Lion is a deep olive green with a dirty gold shimmer-sheen. It has intense color payoff and a really soft, smooth texture. Dior Garden Pastels has a lighter, more green shade. Tarina Tarantino Wonderful has a much darker, more cool-toned green. Wet ‘n’ Wild Earth Looks Small From Down Here has a browner, less green-toned version. MAC Sumptuous Olive is browner, less green. Inglot #433 is more golden, less green.
Saw Dust Heart is a dark burgundy chocolate brown with a matte finish. It has rich pigmentation (it applies even better on the lid). It has a similar color to NARS Ponderosa, without the shimmer. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off is less brown. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone is a little lighter and has shimmer. MAC Smut is a little darker and has shimmer.
Ozma is a blue-teal with a metallic shimmer-sheen. The color payoff is rich and intense, and the texture feels like butter. MAC Rain Drop is darker. Milani Primary Runway Eyes has a shade that’s a bit bluer. Milani Teal the Truth is more teal. theBalm Open to Offers Olwen is more frosted, less metallic, but the colors are very similar. Inglot #413 is a bit lighter.
Very Wicked is a dark brownish-green–it has this murky olive brown base with dusted forest green sheen. The pigmentation was spot on. OCC Poison is the closest dupe, though it has a much darker, blacker base color. Make Up For Ever #84 is greener.
Tarina Tarantino’s eyeshadow formula is AMAZING! — seriously one of my absolute favorites on the market and one of the more affordable formulas, too. The color payoff is excellent across the board, and the texture is buttery, dense, soft, and silky smooth. These apply as beautifully as they swatch, too. I wore Glinda’s Kiss, Dandy Lion, Ozma, and Very Wicked together to test out the wear–both with and without a primer–and after twelve hours, I didn’t have any creasing or fading either way. I applied them all dry, though her eyeshadows can be used both wet and dry.
Now, there is one glaring downside to this product, and it bothered me from the moment I opened up the palette: the size is unnecessarily large. There is a lot of wasted space in this palette, and while it’s slim, it’s still obnoxiously large. I was bummed about the packaging, because if it had been tighter and more like her other palettes (or just smaller), this would have been an A+ product all day long. Know that the contents are A++++ and its the size of the palette that holds it back.
It’s made out of heavy-duty cardboard, so it’s not the same plastic compacts that her other eyeshadow palettes and duos have been packaged in. Cardboard has its advantages and disadvantages–it’s much, much better if you’re prone to dropping products, because the cardboard will absorb more of the impact compared to plastic. Cardboard can be tossed around more easily without causing breakage of the eyeshadows, but it will show scuffs, dents, scratches, and wear and tear around the edges while plastic compacts won’t.
P.S. — Both Sephora and the back of the palette itself list the product weight as 6 x 0.9 oz. but also as 2.5g–2.5g is actually 0.09 oz. Based on the size of the eyeshadows compared to her other palettes and the various eyeshadows on the market, 0.09 oz. makes sense. Most eyeshadows are around 0.05 oz. (like MAC and Urban Decay), so six shades at nearly double that size for $36 is a great deal.
Giorgio Armani #20 Obsidian Black Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) has just launched four new and limited edition shades for summer. I bought these shortly after they became available, and I’ve been testing them out over the past week. I’m a big fan of this formula, so I’m always eager to see how new shades perform and compare to existing shades. I will admit that I haven’t been overly wowed by some of the newer shades, though they’re not by any means awful! Just… less impressive, but on the whole, still good.
#20 Obsidian Black is a blackened navy blue with teal-green and navy blue shimmer. It’s not nearly as black or as intense as Giorgio Armani #13. Giorgio Armani #1 is also lighter, grayer, and generally doesn’t look much like this. I do think you could mix the two and come fairly close, though. #20 works best wet; when it’s used dry, the color payoff wasn’t there (and it usually is with this formula). More of the shimmer comes through, as the base color looks mostly like a faded black, when it is applied dry–and it does apply with a little more oomph to the lid with a brush. Some of the complexity gets lost when it’s applied to the lid–it’s very subtle and more noticeable in-person than it is in a still photo (which isn’t completely unexpected given the nature of shimmer and how it plays with the light). Oddly enough, it actually reminded me of Revlon Neptune Star in color and shimmer. It also reminded me of Urban Decay Loaded, which is a little bluer. (9, 8.5, 9.5, 10, 4.5, 4; A-)
#21 Obsidian Grey is a medium-dark gray with a silver shimmer and sheen. It has decent color payoff dry but still works best applied damp. This shade read more dupeable to me; it doesn’t have as much dimension to it compared to some of the other shades in the range. That’s not something that affects the overall rating, but it’s a point worth considering if you can’t (or don’t want to) grab all four. MAC Warm Thunder is similar, perhaps a little less gray. Tarina Tarantino Lovely is slightly darker. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk has a purple tint to it. This shade applied the smoothest out of the four on the lid. (9.5, 9.5, 10, 10, 5, 4; A)
#22 Ecailles is a pale bluish silver with a metallic finish. It applied about the same both dry and wet, which is decent but not great. I did find it applied better to the lid when I used a brush to do so–more like good pigmentation there. Bare Escentuals Mingle is bluer and a bit darker. MAC Water & Ice is cooler-toned. Lancome Style Section is similar. Wet ‘n’ Wild Enter a New Realm is a bit darker. It is a bit similar to Giorgio Armani #12, which is brighter, lighter. (9, 8, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; B+)
#23 Madre Perla is a pale, iridescent warm white with a frosted metallic finish. It has flashes of blue, green, pink, and purple. It applies better wet than dry with more color payoff and a smoother texture. This one was a little chunky in texture; it wasn’t as smooth as the other shades. It felt like this was more designed to layer over other shades. Illamasqua Beguile is very similar. MAC If It Sparkles… is almost the same as well. This is the most wearable shade on its own (Ecailles would the the runner-up). (9, 9, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; A-)
I’ve only tested one shade within the range for a full twenty-four hours, but I have tested several others for twelve to sixteen hours. I did a look using all four of the limited edition shades and wore it for sixteen hours. These wear and wear and wear. No creasing, fading, or fallout during wear, not even after sixteen hours. Because these have an interesting texture and consistency–they are much like a loose powder product that has been compacted by the accompanying plastic insert–it can be easy to use more than you really need and end up with some minor fall out. The fall out I’m concerned and dock points for is major fall out or fall out that occurs while you wear it (aka during the day); and there isn’t any of that with these.
I think Eyes to Kill Intense is an excellent formula, but it’s not necessary to own every single one of them either. There are some unique and transformative shades, but there are a few that are more basic or end up looking similar to another shade. These four create a beautiful gradient effect when used together, though Madre Perla is the most versatile of the bunch. I think it can work as a wash, inner corner highlighter, or as a layering shade that will change-up whatever is underneath it. The one that is most visually stunning at first is Obsidian Black, but like a lot of ultra dark shades, some of that loveliness gets swallowed up once applied.
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When possible, I much, much prefer a two-in-one product. However, for extra coverage for when I’m going to be outdoors for extended periods of time, I’d actually rather have a separate sunscreen. For instance, I wear SPF 55 for the hour that I play tennis in the AM, but for the rest of the day, I use a moisturizer with SPF 20 in it.
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MAC Pink Nouveau Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer
MAC is not known for an excellent nail polish formula. Sometimes they do it right, but they often create some major misses that tend to suffer from too thin/too thick consistencies, streaking, and poor pigmentation. As is generally the case, the set of sixteen matching nail lacquers was a mixed bag but with more winners than real losers. Pigmentation wasn’t a problem with most of the shades, but I found several of them to be on the streakier side with some more readily covered with a thicker second coat. There were also a handful of shades that were lovely to apply!
The other downside was that a few of the nail lacquers did not match well with the lipstick/lipgloss (Angel, Impassioned, Razzledazzler, Rebel, Snob, and Spice were among the least matching, particularly in tone, not just slightly lighter/darker).
I think MAC has accelerated the price point of their nail lacquers far too quickly–$16 is more than a lipstick or a gloss! It’s $2 less than NARS, the same or $2 less than Deborah Lippmann (depending on the type of polish, as some of hers are $16 and others are $18), $2 MORE than Illamasqua (one of the best polish formulas I’ve ever tried), and $2 more than Butter London. And frankly? At that price tag, MAC is giving you less than the brands I just mentioned–0.34 fl. oz. vs. 0.50 fl. oz. 0.50 fl. oz. is the standard lacquer size (China Glaze, Essie, OPI, etc. all have this size as well). This formula needs to be on point to command a $16 price tag when there are nail polish niche brands where all they do is nail polish have excellent formulas. The nail lacquers have increased in price faster than other comparable price points at MAC (e.g. lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows go up $0.50 every year).
I very specifically removed price from the overall rating so that a $30 formula can be compared to a $3 formula with no boost/decrease because of the price–you are the only one who can decide what is too expensive, just right, or not worth it. As a buyer, I’m most interested in quality, and then I’ll figure out if the quality-to-price-ratio is worth it to me or maybe the color is so original that I’m willing to pay a higher price — or maybe it’s so cheap that I’ll accept that it streaks or is powdery. I try to shed light on situations where the price seems out of line with the brand’s position in the market, against competitors, or if the price/quantity ratio is unusually low or high.
MAC’s lacquers are packaged in a cylindrical bottle (though it has some tapering) and a rubberized cap, and this type of cap normally brings packaging scores up to 5/5, but because it’s awkward to hold (it’s stubby and oddly shaped when gripped), it ends up being a wash. Though it has been an issue in the past, I didn’t have any problems with the brush–they all seemed fine and didn’t have any splaying issues.
The best shades were: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Morange, Pink Nouveau, and Russian Red (A). A good but not great shade was Impassioned (A-). The most under-performing shades were: Saint Germain (C+) and Snob (B-). The rest were middle-of-the-road shades with mostly Bs and a few B+s.
Availability: Based on the information I have received from MAC, the distribution of these shades is regional. I cannot confirm the extent of non-regional shades being available online for your region (e.g. whether all of these will be available on the UK website). I can confirm only that for North America, all shades are available for purchase online. Only the North America-specific shades will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2012. Select Macy’s will also carry Latin America & Middle East region-specific shades.
North America: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Snob, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town and Snob to the permanent range in July
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Saint Germain, and Snob to the permanent range in July
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Impassioned, Morange, and Saint Germain, to the permanent range in July
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, and Snob to the permanent range in July
Please note that the photos included in this post are for summary purposes only–there are four additional photos for each lipstick shade that have been excluded in this post but are available in the set’s original post: one product photos, one swatch (diffused flash), and two swatches (studio lighting).