Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Collection
Bronze Goddess Liquid Eyeshadow: Aqua Flash, Ultra Violet, Molten Bronze, Sand Shimmer

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Collection: Bronze Goddess Liquid Eyeshadow

Bronze Goddess was definitely one of the first summer-esque collections to release (with Guerlain’s Terracotta right on its heels!). Each year, Estee Lauder launches Bronze Goddess and while there are certainly near-staple products released (bronzers and the like), they also create a makeup collection around the theme.

This year includes Exotic Bronzing Blush ($35, reviewing later!), Wild Orchid Pure Color Nail Lacquer ($18), Wild Coral / Wild Orchid Exotic Lip Gloss ($18), Luminous Liquid Bronzer ($28.50), and Liquid Eyeshadow ($17.50). Of course, all of those products listed above are, the ever-dreaded, limited edition. I am/was most excited for the Liquid Eyeshadows, because I was very curious to see Estee Lauder do some COLOR!

Liquid Eyeshadow ($17.50)

  • Aqua Flash is a shimmering aqua-blue. It’s like tropical island ocean blue–not quite blue, but not a true aqua, either. Yes, take me away to paradise, Estee Lauder… who knew!
  • Ultra Violet is a shimmering, near metallic violet purple with red shimmer and undertones.
  • Molten Bronze is a metallic coppered bronze with ultra fine gold shimmer.
  • Sand Shimmer is a muted, gilded gold shimmered champagne-gold metallic shade.

The good: Estee Lauder described the new Liquid Eyeshadow as a “[f]eatherweight liquid shadow [that] delivers maximum metallic impact in one stroke.” Count me among the skeptical when it comes to Estee Lauder and vibrant pops of color–but I am always happy to be wrong on this kind of thing! These are surprisingly true-to-color and quite pigmented.

They can be layered for complete opaque intensity or sheered out by blending with either your finger or a brush (try something fluffy with synthetic bristles) for more of a wash (Sand Shimmer works particularly well for a quick one-color-and-you’re-done kind of look). One stroke is pigmented, but to blend it out and cover the lid, you may find that layering works better to obtain truly opaque color–I personally like that you can sheer it out as it makes it a more versatile product, particularly when using it as an eyeshadow base.

No budging, fading, or creasing when I wore Aqua Flash on one eye and Sand Shimmer on the other. (It was a totally happening look, no joke!) They wear well and look stunning. I find I can apply and blend shadows on top and use these as bases, too–because I am incapable of wearing just one product on my eyes…  You can also take an angled eyeliner brush and swipe it across the doe-foot applicator to use the color as an eyeliner!

The packaging is simple: clear tube with a “gold” metal cap with “Bronze Goddess” emblazoned across the tube in gold. The pricing is right on target, if almost on the lower end of what I’d expect.

The bad: I really can’t think of anything bad to say about these. More colors? Make them permanent? They meet every expectation I have in a good liquid eyeshadow: blendable, creamy, crease-resistant, long-wearing, and pigmented. I suppose if we’re being nit-picky, perhaps the shimmer/metallic finish of these is not universally appealing, but they’re supposed to be that way, so… not a true negative but a preference!

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Those who love their metallics and shimmers in vibrant colors may need to take a little detour at their local Estee Lauder counter. Rich colors done well that wear as well as they look make it easy to recommend these if you’re on the hunt for something fun for summer. My favorite shade would be Aqua Flash, but I think the most wearable shade is Sand Shimmer.

Availability: Estee Lauder, Nordstrom

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Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Weekend Quickies:  Carnival Lights, Lancome Cream Shadows, Philosophy Holiday Shower Gels

Here are some products I’ve tried in the past few months with reviews done all quick-style ;)

  • China Glaze Carnival Lights Nail Lacquer ($3.50) has a medium pink jelly base with silver micro-glitter and larger silver hexagonal glitter. It doesn’t go opaque on my nail, as you can still see the tip of it a bit. Above is two coats.
  • Lancome ‘Color Design’ Cream Eyeshadow ($22.00) came in three shades: Garter Belt (deep burgundy with red shimmer), Haute Smoke (soft taupe brown with multicolored shimmer), and Pink Lace (a milky pale pink). These lasted on my lids well (until I took it off, so about eight hours or so), though they are advertised to last for sixteen hours (I don’t think I usually wear my makeup for much more than eight hours!).
  • Philosophy Candy Cane Shower Gel ($16.00) smells exactly as advertised — like the peppermint-y candy canes of the holiday season. Lathers up quite well, as the rest of their shower gels do.
  • Philosophy Have a Cherry Christmas Shower Gel ($16.00) lathers up nicely and smells like slightly sweetened cherries that still have that tartness to them. The Muse has a more in-depth review if you’re curious. I love me some Philosophy Shower Gels, but how many times can I tell you that? Ha! ;)

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Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection
MAC Shadesticks:
Relaxed, Warm & Cozy, Nurture, Cuddle

MAC Warm & Cozy Collection: Shadesticks

MAC is definitely bringing back shadesticks with a vengeance, don’t you think? With five limited edition shades from Sugarsweet and four new (but still limited edition) shades from Warm & Cozy, it makes me wonder if we’ll be seeing more of these in 2010.

  • Relaxed is a deep, chocolate bronze with a soft frost finish. It has the least frosty finish out of the four, but it’s still noticeably shimmery and has that frost edge associated with frost textures. I thought this was the most pigmented and smoothest of the bunch as well.
  • Warm & Cozy is a burnt copper shade with sparkly glitter particles. I actually felt like this had a very chunky, gritty texture–it wasn’t a winner for me. Shadesticks should be smooth, and I didn’t find that this one was nearly as smooth as I’d expect. It felt like a lustre eyeshadow almost, with the way the glitter flecks were so obvious.
  • Nurture is a pink champagne with a neutral feel. It’s not a bright, nor pastel, pink and it looks very fleshy-pink-beige in a way. It has the same frost finish appearance as the other shadesticks in the launch.
  • Cuddle is a frosty white-gold with yellow daffodil feel. It definitely has a frost finish, and since it is so light, yet covers well, it would make an excellent base as well.

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Saturday, November 7th, 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow
NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow from Holiday 2009

NARS Mousson Cream Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a new shade of cream-to-powder eyeshadow from NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes this shade as “[a] shimmering, spicy pine named for the monsoon – natural and unpredictable … [i]t has richness and depth, yet allows for a surprising range of intensity.” They later describe the color as “silver sage.”

Mousson is is an antique gold with a green tarnish and silver sparkle. It’s creamy, dries to a mostly powder finish fairly quickly (but not so fast you don’t have time to work with it), and I’ve found it fairly crease-resistant. I would say it’s much better and doesn’t crease easily when set with a powder base or layered over an eyeshadow base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. The shade itself is exactly something I’d wear and a color I’d feel compelled to own–you know me and (antique) golds!

NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows aren’t my absolute favorite cream formula to work with (Benefit’s are my current favorite), but I do like it. I just find it does have a slight tendency to crease if you apply too much or you don’t set it with an eyeshadow. For me, I rarely wear cream shadows alone anyway, so it’s not a big deal to use it in conjunction with powder eyeshadow.

Bottom Line: For a fun, sparkly shade of antique gold with a green cast, Mousson might be something you’d like. If you’re not normally a cream eyeshadow fan, while it’s still worth taking a peek at your local NARS’ counter, I’m not sure these will persuade you otherwise at the end of the day.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love NARS’ Cream Eyeshadows, I do think you’ll like Mousson!

Availability: NARS

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Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Today, CoverGirl is doing a pre-sale for their two new additions to the Blast line-up with Smoky ShadowBlast ($8.49) and ShineBlast Lip Gloss ($8.49). For those who purchase by visiting Drugstore.com, they’ll save $5 and earn free shipping while supplies last. For those who purchase by visiting CVS, they will receive free shipping. I found the pre-sale site forced me to “build a look,” when I just wanted to see where to buy, so you can just go to drugstore.com directly and search for it by name and it’ll show up.  Drugstore.com is also showing all of the shades shipping in “one to two weeks.”  Curious!

Smoky ShadowBlast is available for pre-sale in four shades: Silver Sky, Onyx Smoke, Bronze Fire, and Purple Plume. ShineBlast Lip Gloss is available for pre-sale in four shades: Dazzle, Flare, Ablaze, and Firecracker.

When these officially hit stores in January 2010, we’ll see an addition of Citrus Flair and Tempest Blue ShadowBlasts, and we’ll see a whole slew of additional glosses come the new year. The additional gloss shades are: Aglow, Beam, Ember, Fire, Gleam, Glimmer, Glow, Heat, Ignite, Radiate, Smolder, and Sparkler.

I just played around with two shades of ShadowBlast this weekend, because I wanted to be able to share a little more insight than just marketing blitz as the pre-sale got underway…

First, an obvious point of contention with this product is the lack of labeling on the product itself.  The original packaging does tell you the shade names, but once you take ‘em out of the packaging and toss it away, there’s nothing to tell you what you have.

First, I tried Citrus Flaire ShadowBlast, which was a duo of shimmery chartreuse green and a rich, shimmery copper. The chartreuse side is “step one,” designed to be use as a lid color, while the copper side is “step two,” meant to be used as a liner or crease shade. The second one I tried was Silver Sky ShadowBlast, which was a duo of a shimmery, light silver (“step one”) and a smoky purple with lighter shimmer (“step two”). Both ShadowBlasts were pigmented, smooth, and creamy without being overly so–just enough slip to glide along the lid without tugging or pulling.

After playing around with these this weekend, I’d say that they’re best layered over a base like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance or else set well with powder eyeshadow for best results. I found when worn alone, it was hard to get just the right amount so it didn’t crease or look faded. If you just want to use them as a liner, I didn’t have migration issues, but the tip of the product is a little bulky, so it’s not super easy to use as a liner.

These reminded me a lot of MAC’s shadesticks, actually – just a little softer and smoother and with less staying power (on their own). When I used it alone the first time around, it creased within fifteen minutes–I threw a layer of the chartreuse shade all over my lid for a quick and dirty crease-test, and by the time I finished photographing and swatching the other ShadowBlast, it had definitely creased.

Bottom Line: It’s really great to see CoverGirl step up their game with these pigmented cream eyeshadows. I think if you’re looking for a way to boost up eyeshadow colors, these make a great way to add an extra level of dimension underneath your regular eyeshadows.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: For a more budget-friendly alternative to pigmented cream shadows and ways to enhance your eyeshadow, these are worth checking out.

Availability: CoverGirl

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Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows
Bobbi Brown Chrome Patina, Goldstone, Starry Night Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long Wear Cream Eyeshadows: Chrome Patina, Goldstone, Starry Night

Bobbi Brown Metallic Long-Wearing Cream Eyeshadow ($22.00 for .12 oz.) is a new product launched this September from Bobbi Brown. They’re inspired by and yet a bit of a departure from her classic Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadows. They seem to be the same on the surface, but when I played with three of them, I found them to be a bit different.

“With these shadows there’s no need to choose function over style. They’re longwearing and come in the most glamorous, eye-catching shades ever.” – Bobbi Brown

The Metallic Long-Wear Cream Eyeshadow is available in eight shades:

  • Antique Gold A deep gold sparkle
  • Black Pearl A medium purple
  • Brown Metal A warm brown sparkle
  • Chrome Patina A golden pewter
  • Goldstone A gold sparkle
  • Mercury A silver sparkle
  • Starry Night A navy blue sparkle
  • Starry Purple A deep purple sparkle

I tried three: Chrome Patina, Goldstone, and Starry Purple. Chrome Patina is a sheer, glittery wash of pewter with gold sparkle. Goldstone is a semi-opaque toned-down gold with a brown cast and brighter gold sparkle. Starry Night is a sheer, glittery navy blue concotion with almost multicolored sparkle.

I’m actually surprised by Bobbi Brown’s introduction of these glittery shadows to her line-up, just because they’re a bit over the top with how glittery they are. I do, however, think they’re fun and will definitely wear them myself, but I can see some avoiding these because the glitter finish feels inappropriate or accentuates signs of aging on the eyes (as frosts and glitters often do).

Sheer or opaque?

It seems like your mileage will vary from shade to shade, because Goldstone had the best finish and pigmentation, going on nearly opaque, while both Chrome Patina and Starry Night were sheerer and therefore the look glitter was emphasized (instead of a more metalized look). I do wish they were more pigmented so they had a much smoother look and were more the metallic finish they’re touted to be than glitter. (I would personally call these Glitter Long-Wearing Eyeshadows from my experience so far.)

How well do they wear?

They wear very well, just like the original Cream Eyeshadows. They are long-wearing and hold up throughout day without smudging, fading, or creasing. I actually wasn’t sure if they would work out, because they feel very wet when you initially apply them, but they do dry down completely and aren’t subject to creasing (even when worn alone). I found it a bit difficult to blend cream shadows on top of this color or with it once it was dry, so you do have to work quickly if you are trying to use cream shadows together. If you just want to layer on powder shadows over the glittery base, there’s no need to be concerned over timing.

Wait — you can wear these as liner, too!

If you aren’t so much a fan of glitter eyeshadow, there is one alternative usage that I actually may find myself using these more for than as shadows — eyeliner!  I think these are excellent to layer over (or for some, worn alone — again, depends on how sheer the shade is) say a fiercely intense black liner for an extra kick.  Ohh!  I’m getting excited just thinking about experimenting now…

Are they worth the price tag?

As far as value goes, Bobbi Brown provides enough product in each pot to make it about as much and priced as I’d expect for the Bobbi Brown product range. Benefit cream eyeshadows are slightly cheaper ($19.00 for .16 oz.), while these are more affordable than NARS cream eyeshadows ($21.00 for 0.1 oz.) and less of an investment as shu uemura’s ($30.00 for .17 oz.). Despite the pot feeling and looking small (reminded me of gel liner sizes), it does hold more product than it seems. The packaging is classic Bobbi Brown: clear, glass with a black screw-on lid. It’s hefty, but I don’t mind — I like seeing non-plastic packaging.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you love shimmering glitter, you might love these to layer underneath your eyeshadows or as a quick wash of color (at least, some of the more neutral shades). I definitely recommend checking them out in person and seeing how the shade you’re most interested in swatches, because it may or may not be pigmented enough for your liking.

Availability: Nordstrom, Bobbi Brown

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