Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad

Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.) looks like a beautiful, elegant mix of feminine colors that seem neutral–not too cool, not too warm.  I’ve always liked Dolce & Gabbana’s eyeshadows in the past (like Dazzling, Gold, Laguna), and I really haven’t had trouble with application of them.

In addition to having trouble with this palette, I also found similar issues with Ocean eyeshadow duo (also from fall, to be reviewed separately).  I thought perhaps it was due to my usage of NARS’ Smudgeproof as a base, so I tried Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, and I experienced the exact same issues:  sheer, faded colors that looked lovely at first but seemed to fade away as quickly as I applied them; slight muddying of color when blended.  It’s like there was nothing to bind the shadow to my lid, despite the eyeshadow base.

The best solution I was able to come up with was to use a shimmery, white gold cream shadow base (Shiseido Lemon Sugar).  Cream bases can sometimes be more adhesive, which can help softer or more difficult shadows stay on better, and shimmery bases always seem to emphasize colors in my experience.   It’s better–decent to just below good–but it’s not fabulous.

Divine consists of a barely-there beige with a subtle cool tone; medium mauve-tinged beige; frosted cotton candy pink; and darkened blue-toned purple with a semi-matte finish.  After using the quad in three look attempts, the lightest shade was my favorite, because it worked really well as a highlighter on my skin tone.  Though the pink shade swatches the best, it is the worst performer of the bunch, because despite its brightness in the swatch, it looks faded and flat on the lid.  The other three shades are more on the matte/satin side, so they already have a softer look and don’t fall flat when used.

I’m also mildly amused that the Eyeshadow Duos contain 0.17 oz. of product for $36, while the quads hold 0.16 oz. and go for $59.  This quad was a total miss for me, and I really wanted to love it.  It’s stunning when you first open the compact, but it’s such a let-down in practice.  Nothing will get a product onto my skip list faster than requiring me to give it three tries just to yield decent results.  As they say, three strikes and you’re out!

I mentioned it previously, but the nude shades worked just fine; they’re soft, smooth, and apply the same.  I don’t think they’re going to work well on anyone that’s medium-dark to dark in skin tone–they’re just going to be way too light and look chalky rather than subtle.  These shades would work well on light to medium skin tones for a contoured nude eye.  So in a sense, half the palette is… palatable (ha, ha).  I already spoke on the pink shade, and the purplish shade is so-so; it applies smoothly, but it seems to go sheer and fade pretty quickly.

Edited 10/01: Despite calling the Saks’ Dolce & Gabbana counter and being told not to use these eyeshadows wet or else I would ruin them, I did use them wet–it did solve a lot of smoothness/evenness of the eyeshadows on the lid, though the colors were still a bit faded and flat.  I changed the product grade from 20 to 23 as a result, which raised the overall grade from a C- to a C+.  A new issue, as a result of using them wet, was a bit of difficulty in blending out the darker shade.

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  • Product: 23/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I’d rather get two lipsticks for the price of one eyeshadow quad. (I have reviewed many of Dolce & Gabbana’s lipsticks with happy results!)

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Test-driving Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall Collection:  Attempt #1

Don’t let that preview image fool you, this look did not make it past my front door.  I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, why bother showing us?” Because inevitably, I’ll be reviewing the products I used in this look, and it’s proof positive of my experience.  Loved the lips, but the eyeshadows just weren’t working.  They didn’t seem sheer, and they felt soft and smooth, but I couldn’t get them to stick for the life of me.  I packed on three or four layers in a futile attempt to get the colors to look true-to-the-pan.  A tackier base (like a creamy eyeshadow) helps, but you’ll need to get creative to get these to work.

I will also admit fully to giving up at a certain point and not even bothering to fully blend it out–everything just kept blending away into a faded, slightly muddied mess.  But you know what’s funny?  In reality, few people would really notice anything was amiss, especially since your eyes remain open for longer intervals than closed.

This my process when I review products, even product types I may have tried before, even from brands I enjoy.  I may not always share the process (I often wear a mash up of all sorts of products in disarray, so it’s not exactly pretty, LOL!), but I had originally aimed to create and share a look around the collection in addition to testing wear and application.  It didn’t work out as a look, but perhaps sharing the process will also help (and help you understand my review, which will follow shortly).

What I used…

  • Eyes: NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base (neutral eyeshadow base), Dolce & Gabbana Divine Eyeshadow Quad (soft nude, medium beige, medium pink, dark purple), Dolce & Gabbana #11 Eyeliner (silvery gray), Bare Escentuals Buxom Mascara
  • Face: MAC Pro Longwear Foundation (NC30), Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder (translucent)
  • Cheeks: Korres #15 Natural Blush (pink-nude)
  • Lips: Dolce & Gabbana Orchid Lipstick (fuchsia-purple), Dolce & Gabbana Vibrant Lipgloss (fuchsia)
  • Brushes: 249 (flat, firm brush), 239 (fluffy shadow brush), 226 (fluffy crease brush), 219 (pointed crease brush), 116 (dense blush brush)

For eyes, start by applying Smudgeproof as your eyeshadow base all over the eye area with the 249. Using the 239, apply the pink on the inner half of the lid and pull upwards along the inner crease. Lightly blend the medium beige eyeshadow on the outer half of the lid with the 239. Next, apply the dark purple eyeshadow into the crease with the 226, lightly blending onto the outer lid. Blend the nude eyeshadow with the crease shade and highlight the brow bone. Bring everything together by applying #11 eyeliner on the lower lash line. Finish by sweeping lashes with Buxom mascara.

For cheeks, apply #15 Natural blush on the apples of the cheeks and sweep upwards towards the temple with the 116.

For lips, apply Orchid lipstick first, and then layer Vibrant lipgloss for a complementing lip.

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