Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette

Get Ready to Make a Scene

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette ($38.00) contains something for each part of your face — 0.1 oz. CORALista, 0.09 oz. High Beam, 0.18 oz. Juicy Coral Lip Shine, 4 0.1 oz. eyeshadows, Smokin’ Liner, and 2 double-sided makeup brushes.

  • CORALista is a pink-cral with subtle sheen but not a lot of shimmer. It’s very pigmented, so a little goes a long way. I actually didn’t even realize it was in the palette until I went to write the review! It’s a pretty small pan, so it may take some maneuvering to get your brush in it. The included brush is a bit stubby, so I find it cumbersome to use.
  • High Beam is a light, shimmering pink-toned highlighter. It’s a whitish-pink, and it works best on light to medium skin tones (Moon Beam better for deeper skin tones).
  • Juicy Coral Lip Shine is a semi-opaque coral-orange with golden shimmer. It’s a very pretty shade of coral, and it’s not too orange either.
  • Smokin’ Liner is a dark black-brown eyeliner that goes opaque without trouble. Very smooth and richly pigmented.
    Charcoal is a darkened gray-black with subtle silver shimmer.
  • Shimmering Beige is a pink-toned medim beige with a frost finish.
  • Misty Blue is a slightlyg rayed medium-dark blue with a silver sheen.
  • Navyis a rich navy blue with a purple edge and flecks of midnight sky blue shimmer.
  • Dual-Ended Brushes have an angled brush on one end and a fluffier brush on the other–and then two of them. They’re usable in a pinch, but they’re not the best brushes of all time. Better than the usual inclusions, though.

I like all of the products individually, and I feel Benefit gives you a good amount of each of them (in fact, the eyeshadows are surprisingly weighty–0.1 oz. compared to the average of 0.05 oz.–but I don’t feel that such a rich shade of coral on both cheeks and lips is actually all that suitable to pair with the eyeshadows. I think medium skin tones will be able to pull off that look, but paler skin tones may have to be a little cautious. I fear it may be too much all at once. I was expecting a pinker blush (maybe Sugarbomb) rather than CORALista here.

That’s my only gripe about the palette, though! There are only powder products exposed, while the lip and cream products are housed in their own containers, so there’s no worry about cross-pollination of shadow dust. The palette is cute and still functional, and it even includes a step-by-step guide on how to wear the palette.

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like yourself a blue smoky eye, this may make a great g-to palette.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

MAC Marine Life Dupes

MAC Marine Life Dupes — Sorry, Keep Looking

When I think of dupes, I think of something that is pretty close to it — I’m talking 90% or closer — not just similar. There are plenty of similar shades to Marine Life; after all, it’s really just a vibrant coral-red with minimal shimmer in it. NARS Deep Throat and MAC Foolish Me come the closest, though the texture of Deep Throat is obviously different and Foolish Me is a little more orange. It’s not quite as red/orange and intense as Marine Life, but it’s the closest I found of the many shades I do own that were in the running.

  • MAC Ripe Peach (Limited Edition) is lighter, more peach-coral than vibrant red-based coral. Verdict: not really a dupe, maybe a cousin.
  • Benefit CORALista is a pinker, less distinctly coral version with a significant amount of shimmer in comparison. Verdict: not a dupe, but a good friend.
  • MAC Instant Chic (Limited Edition) is much softer pink-coral with a bit of peachiness to it. It has a more powdery look and feel, but it’s so, so subtle. Marine Life is like Instant Chic if it took steroids for a year. Verdict: similar color but so, so much lighter–like a fruit picked too early.
  • MAC Hipness is much pinker in comparison to Marine Life. It’s not quite as intense, and it doesn’t have the strength of the redness that Marine Life as. Hipness is a less shimmery, pinker version of CORALista, though. Verdict: not a dupe, too pink.
  • Illamasqua Hussy is similar in its intensity, but it’s definitely pinker. It’s a more pigmented, matte version of Hipness/CORALista. Verdict: not a dupe, too pink.
  • NARS Super Orgasm is a peachy-pink concoction that pulls a noticeable gold sheen. It has a lot more shimmer (and even Orgasm, which I don’t own, would still be pretty shimmery in comparison). Verdict: not a dupe, too peach, not pink/red enough.
  • MAC Springsheen is very similar to Super Orgasm–it’s that same mix of peach and pink with a gold shimmer-sheen. Verdict: not a dupe, too peach and shimmery.
  • NARS Deep Throat is a pinker version of Super Orgasm/Orgasm, and it’s probably the closest to Marine Life, but it’s still not quite as red or as intense–plus it has the sheen/shimmer that Marine Life definitely doesn’t have. Verdict: almost a dupe, like sisters.
  • MAC Dainty is a sheer peach-coral with a smidgen of pink in it. It’s way too sheer and light to be a great dupe for Marine Life. Verdict: not a dupe, too light and peach.
  • MAC Foolish Me is everything that Marine Life is, except a little more orange.  The two are very similar, both in finish and color, but Foolish Me does run a little on the orange side.  Plus, it’s discontinued, so that sucks. (I thought about this one originally, but it looks so orange in the pan… just swatched it at the last second, and yep, they are indeed surprisingly close.)  Verdict:  similar, like fraternal twins.

I don’t own Fleur Power or Style, but I did swatches here last year, and by referencing those, I can tell you Style is most definitely not a dupe — too orange/peach. Fleur Power comes a little closer, but it seems a bit pinker in comparison to Marine Life.

See swatches… Continue reading →

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Benefit is the Girly Cure to Your Makeup & Skin Woes

Have you ever tried the ever-feminine Benefit Cosmetics line? Really? Never, you say? Let us fill you in on some of the best products they have to offer. But between you and me, we definitely suggest starting out with their amazing Velvet Eyeshadows, followed by their Creaseless Eyeshadows.

Hint:  Click the links for reviews (if there’s no link, we haven’t reviewed it explicitly on the blog yet).

  • Creaseless Cream Eyeshadows ($19.00) come in twelve shades, and they often put out limited edition ones as part of their seasonal collections. These are easy to wear, last all day, and can be worn alone or under other eyeshadows as a base.
  • CORALista Blush ($28.00) is a value-sized coral blusher that’s absolutely divine on warmer skin tones, but it isn’t so warm or so coral that it doesn’t work on cooler or paler skin tones, too. (I love how many of Benefit’s products work for a variety of skin tones.) This is a summer staple for me.
  • Gilded Eyeliner ($20.00) is a quick and dirty way to pop open those peepers and make those eyes look alive, even when you’re operating on little to no sleep. A pearly, golden-yellow works well on the lower water line and inner tear duct to brighten up your eyes.
  • Full-Finish Lipsticks ($18.00) came back with a vengeance last fall (in 2008) and is available in fourteen shades. These lipsticks are creamy, pigmented, and moisturizing while giving you great wear. One of my favorite lipstick formulas!
  • One Hot Minute ($30.00) is an all-over loose powder that makes your entire face look brighter and more awake with just a light dusting. It gives a soft, luminous sheen that’s not disco-ball glittery.
  • Benetint ($28.00) is just one of those cult products that you either adore or you don’t understand the buzz. It’s a great multi-tasking product that you can keep in your makeup bag for any spontaneous occasion. You can use it to add color to cheeks or lips, and one little bottle goes quite a long way. It’s soft and natural–the two must-haves of any cheek/lip stain.
  • Velvet Eyeshadow ($18.00) is easily one of the best eyeshadow formulations on the market. Velvety, silky, and smooth describe the finish of these lovelies. Pigmented and true-to-color bring it all home. The only downside? There are only ten shades! I adore, ADORE Bikini Line.

Availability: BenefitCosmetics.com, Sephora.com