Monday, January 25th, 2010

Tarte Flower Child Eyeshadow Palette for Spring 2010

Tarte for Spring 2010:  Flower Child Palette

Tarte Flower Child Natural Eyeshadow Palette ($44.00) is a new spring-styled palette from Tarte. It seems like every season, Tarte has a new eyeshadow palette up their sleeves. The Flower Child palette is in the same vein; it includes ten eyeshadows housed in a purple-covered case (kind of like a patent material) with flowers sprouting out on top (sorry, no photo).

Inspired by the rich earthen hues from which their pure color pigments are harvested and this Spring’s runway and red carpet trends, Tina’s interpretation of tarte’s best-selling eyeshadow palette combines saturated pigments with subtle pops of color. Versatile and artistic, this palette seamlessly transitions between day and night thanks to a wide variety of tones ranging from delicate to robust. This harmonious balance of shades ingeniously captures the expressiveness of the eyes no matter the look.

Eyeshadows

  • Soft Daffodil is a lightly shimmered peach. It’s hard to see on my skin tone, but it’s a very pretty shade to use with a neutral or softer look.
  • Ecru Hibiscus is a pink champagne. It may not seem ultra pigmented to the eye, but it’s designed to be softer shade — this is something you could use as a highlighter or as a wash. I think it’s just pigmented enough to do what it should.
  • Pink Peony is a brightened up blue-based pink. It was a little powdery when I played with it and looked sheerer when swatched than I’d have liked it to be. Even though it’s supposed to have shimmer, it seemed very minute to me.
  • Gray Periwinkle is a silvered gray with a light shimmer sheen (but it’s truly quite faint). I didn’t see any periwinkle in this, though. This shade was decently pigmented relative to the rest of the shades in the palette.
  • Peach Tulip is a coppery bronze that goes on very smooth and looks rich. This one is very pigmented, but it looks absolutely nothing like a peach or tulip. This seems like a better fit for the name “Firewheel” (while Firewheel seems a better fit for Peach Tulip).
  • Firewheel is a peachy melon with a soft gold sheen. This is a played down, more pinked melon than MAC’s Melon pigment. I always gravitate towards these kinds of shades! This applied very smooth and pigmented.
  • Buttercup is a slightly warmed-up soft brown with a matte finish. It’s soft, but it’s a little on the sheerer side and can look a bit faded.
  • African Violet is a darkened purple with red undertones with a light shimmer sheen. It’s decently pigmented, though not intense.
  • Delphinium Blue is a powdery navy blue. This was the sheerest and most powdery shade of the ten eyeshadows–it just wasn’t very pigmented or smooth.
  • Vibrant Forest Grass is a darkened cool-toned green with a soft shimmer finish. I think the name is a little off — it’s not vibrant (just pigmented, but not intensely so), but it is like a forest green, I suppose.

Also included in the palette is a double-sided eyeliner that has a dark brown on one side and a lightly shimmered darkened teal on the other; a double-sided brush (yes, a brush–no sponge tip applicators here!), and a miniature-sized Natural Eye Primer. The Eye Primer doesn’t actually fit inside the palette, though, so it’s not as functional as it could be. (It comes in a plastic holder that hangs off of the side.)

All of the eyeshadows are full-sized and magnetized so you can remove them if you want, refill with other Tarte eyeshadows as needed, and so on. I really do like that, because it means you are getting a great deal for your money, but it means you can always slot in another shade if you happen to finish one of these!

Bottom Line: It’s a solid palette, but it’s definitely on the sheerer/softer side of the eyeshadow spectrum. The colors do fit well with the season, as it gives me a spring feeling. The palette itself holds excellent value as you get ten full-sized eyeshadows for $44 (as opposed to $10 a pop, not that you can purchase these shades individually, though). I think some of the shades could have used some more pigmentation, particularly the deeper shades, but it’s a decent palette overall.

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

Recommendation: For a real value-loaded palette, Tarte’s Flower Child offers several soft shades for the spring season.

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Drugstore Treats from Maybelline’s Eye Studio Collection

Maybelline Eye Studio Give Me Gold Color Plush Silk Eyeshadows ($9.99) may be a mouthful to say, but it’s a surprising treat to be found at your local drugstore. Each of the Color Plush Silk Eyeshadows can be found in a palette with four shades in each, and there are twelve different varieties currently on the market.

I’m often left wanting more from mass makeup, but Maybelline really knocked it out of the park with their Eye Studio collection. (I’ll be reviewing two shades of the Marbleized Eyeshadows and Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliners later this week!) I’m a tough one to impress when it comes to “drugstore makeup,” and I’m just really glad I had the opportunity to try these so I could share a new find with you.

Give Me Gold includes four shades: a silky champagne-white, a yellow gold with shimmer, a copper-bronze with gold shimmer, and a chocolate brown with a little bit of gold shimmer. I particularly liked this palette because the shades really work well together; they complement and you can get some nice neutral-ish eyeshadow combinations out of it. I’m pleased to report that all four of the shades were well-pigmented, felt soft to the touch, and applied very smoothly.

The only real downside to this palette was the packaging, which looks so-so, but it does feel a little cheap and flimsy. It may not last if you carry it around in your makeup bag on a daily basis, but if you just take it with you for travel from time to time (and leave it at home most of the time), I think it’ll be fine. I found the cover of this one snapped off, but I was able to snap it right back on.

Other than the packaging not wow-ing me, I’m pleased. The product itself is the most important part, and it was standout. Definitely some of the best eyeshadows I’ve tried from a drugstore beauty brand. You can definitely expect a look from me in the next day or two with these!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for eyeshadow on a budget, Maybelline’s new Eye Studio palettes may be just right!

Availability: Maybelline, Target

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Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Beautiful, Glittering Eyes with Stila’s Jewel Eyeshadow Palette

Stila Jewel Eyeshadow Palette ($32.00) is a mysteriously glittering, shimmering palette. When I saw the promotional images for the palette, I was definitely curious — who doesn’t love some glitter? (OK, I know a few of you don’t, but shh!)

I find myself at a loss as to how exactly to describe the texture and feel of these eyeshadows. They feel almost wet, but not really creamy and certainly not powdery. They apply fairly sheerly when used, though they can be layered for a slightly more intense look.

Since it has a bit of a creamy feel (but it’s sooo not a cream shadow!), I patted the Golden Topaz shade all over my lid, just to see what kind of fall out we were looking for. I wasn’t even concerned about staying power, because it wasn’t over a base, so I expected it to crease. Well, it didn’t. It didn’t crease after just having patted it on my lid for over an hour. There was also very, very minimal fall out (like I saw three or four sparkles). Typically, I find myself having to strategically apply foundation over glittery bits and doing all sorts of tricks to make sure my undereye area isn’t more sparkly than my eyelid.

  • Golden Topaz is a soft peachy-brown with champagne shimmer/glitter.
  • Amethyst is a medium dark purple with red undertones and soft golden glitter.
  • Black Diamond is black with silver glitter.
  • Rose Quartz is a light-medium rosy pink with silver glitter.

I was pleasantly surprised at Stila’s newest palette for the spring season. I just wasn’t expecting it to knock my socks off, and I admit I was totally expecting the glitter to fall everywhere. But you know what’s REALLY awesome about this? It looked like my lids were wet. The color really does look like shimmering water. Gorgeous!

Now, I just hope they’ll release another one of these, but with vibrant jewel-tones… say a deep blue, mermaid teal…

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: If you love glitter and have always wanted glitter that looks like reflecting water… you have to check this out!

Availability: Sephora, Stila

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Friday, December 18th, 2009

Guerlain Jeu d'Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad

The many shades of purple… Guerlain Jeu d’Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad

Guerlain Jeu d’Ombrelles Eyeshadow Quad ($59.00) is the other new product featured in Guerlain’s Cherry Blossom Collection. You can expect to see the eyeshadow quad hitting counters in the next two weeks or so.

Guerlain describes the four shades as: pink and white tones with violet and mauve. For some reason, I was surprised with how the colors actually swatched — this just didn’t strike me as a definitively cool-toned, purple-inspired kind of quad, but that is very much what it is. In order to swatch with meaning, I pretty much wiped off the overlay prior to actually doing swatches. The results are an icy white-pink with soft shimmery sheen, a deepened eggplant plum with a matte finish, a fresh, medium pink with subtle shimmer/sheen, and a matte cool-toned medium purple.

The shades don’t immediately say “unique, buy me!” but I don’t think I have exact dupes in my collection. If I had to list MAC dupes for these shades, I’d suggest Crystal Avalanche, Shadowy Lady, Sweet Lust, and Fig. 1/Satellite Dreams — none of which would be that close. It’s just one of those situations where the shades don’t look particularly original and yet somehow they’re not exactly repeated shades either.

All four eyeshadows swatched smoothly, felt like silk, and were decently pigmented. Both the matte shades felt soft to the touch and didn’t feel or look chalky. The other two shades are noticeably shimmery, but they didn’t feel frosty on me. (They may appear frostier on darker skin tones, though.)

Like the Cherry Blush Blush, it’s housed in an elegant black lacquered compact. The total eyeshadow weight is 0.20 oz. (0.05 oz. per shade), which means you are getting a good amount of product per shade. The compact also includes two double-sided sponge applicators, but I only found them useful for swatching and wouldn’t use them for actual eyeshadow application myself (I’m a brush snob, what can I say?).

Bottom Line: I like this eyeshadow quad, but I’m not quite in love with it yet. It’s very soft, pretty, and certainly reminiscent of spring. The more I use it, though, the more I appreciate it for its subtly and how easy it is to use (all four shades coordinate really well with each other, since they all lean a little purple).

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you like purple eyeshadow, this just might be a match for you.

Availability: January 2010

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Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Holiday Makeup: Subtle Glam?

Sonia Kashuk Starry Eyes Eye Palette ($14.99) is a mix of six eyeshadows–three glittery, three matte–for the holiday season.

My favorite part about this palette is the outside casing — it’s this shimmery, sequin-y black case that sparkles in the light. It’s really stunning, and it’s probably one of the best holiday-themed packaging jobs I’ve seen in awhile. Unfortunately, the inside of the palette, which is more important, just fell a little flat for me.

While I liked Sonia Kashuk’s Showstopper Eyeshadow Quad, which had the same shimmery shadow texture, these colors just seem drab–muted. They’re so muted and subtle and yet have so much shimmer, it seems contradictory. The texture is smooth, and they look wet when applied and have surprisingly little fall out (though there is some). For me, the colors don’t jump out at me, so I’m just not excited over it.

Included in the palette are three glittery shades: a muted warm-toned medium-dark brown, a glitzy warmed up champagne gold, and a muted mauvey-brown, along with three matte shades: a cool-toned chocolate brown, a dusty white, and a plummy mauve.  The matte shades didn’t feel chalky or dusty, though they were a little sheerer than I’d like–overall, they felt smooth to the touch.

I did like how the shimmery shades were coordinated with the matte shades – almost like reflections of each other. I think I liked the actual shades of the matte colors more than the shimmery ones, though!

Bottom Line: This just isn’t the palette for me, but it’s still a quality palette. The shadows were smooth, had decent color pay off, and they’re shades that can definitely be worn by many. Though they’re muted and subtle (and inexplicably, it just didn’t work for me in this palette–because I know I can appreciate a subtle color palette!), they would make for some more nuanced, less in-your-face holiday looks for sure.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: If you enjoy more subtle, muted shades, you might like this!

Availability: Target

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Friday, December 4th, 2009

Holiday Makeup Palettes:  Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad — Cool

Prescriptives Luster Baked Eye Color Quad ($40.00) is available in two varieties: cool and warm. The one I’m reviewing is the cool palette, which contains four shades of lightly shimmered, soft sheen baked eyeshadows.

The four shades in the palette are: a soft, plummy pink with gold shimmer; copper-bronze with peachy gold shimmer; pinky bronze with soft sheen; and a neutral-cool chocolate brown with soft gold shimmer. The shades work extremely well together, which is something I love to see in a palette–just on principle–so this is something you can easily take with you during your holiday travels. (Or not, if you’re staying home like me!)

The texture is soft and smooth, and the shades themselves are fairly pigmented. They’re not ultra intense, but they have good pigmentation and aren’t too sheer or overwhelming to use. Since they’re baked, they can be used wet for more intensity, and you don’t have to worry about the wetness ruining the product like the typical powder product.

These are very similar to MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows, even down to the fact that they’re baked on a terracotta plate. Considering both brands are owned by Estee Lauder, I’m not too surprised. Props to Prescriptives for putting them in a palette, though, and also? not giving us an overly glittery mess of useless color! These are much less frosty than MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows tend to be as well, so that may also appeal to you.

I’m not a big baked/mineralize eyeshadow fan myself, so this palette didn’t get me dancing, but it was a nice piece to see for the holiday season, and I think those who do love themselves some mineralized goodness will want to check this out.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love MAC Mineralize Eyeshadows, you may find Prescriptives’ Baked Eyeshadow Palettes are right up your alley!

Availability: Nordstrom

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