Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

The Mysterious Case of Tired Face

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer ($16.50 for 0.30 fl. oz.) has been a product I’ve felt compelled to test for the past two weeks straight. I don’t like to review a product until I have a good handle on how I feel about it, and I’m not big on reviewing anything that I’m waffling over.

Admittedly, I’ve been sleeping a lot less and not nearly as well as I usually do, which is good news for concealer-testing purposes, given that my under eye circles are more prevalent this week than they normally are! Often when I’m running on low sleep, I suffer from a phenomenon I’ve named TIREDFACE. The primary symptom is tightness around the eye area (at least for me). So, one of the things I’ve had going on has been this feeling of tightness when I’ve been wearing this concealer, and I wasn’t sure whether it was due to the concealer itself or more to the exhaustion. For about three days, I wore concealer under one eye and none under the other. The concealer does contribute to some of the feeling of tightness.

The concealer does last a miraculous twelve hours, though, without creasing or budging. It is a very dry product, and if you have a lot of dryness around the areas you’re trying to conceal, I think this may emphasize those areas rather than hide them. I felt like it pulled a little underneath my eyes (which is where I used it most of the time), which is why I felt that tightness despite no discernible dryness in the area.  It conceals good, though for the heaviest of dark circles, it may not be enough, and it’s difficult to layer this product for additional coverage due to its fast drying time.

It has a creamy feel when dispensed, and it’s not too thick–there’s a good consistency to it, but it dries quickly, so you’ll have to work just as quickly. I actually recommend doing one eye at a time, because if you don’t move fast enough, it can be difficult to blend out! I also liked using a flat concealer brush like the 195 for application; the 217 seemed to sheer it out too much. I have noticed that it will settle a little into fine lines if you don’t blend out the area first. Once you’ve blended it out, though, it won’t creep back in.

I originally tried this in NC30, but it’s definitely a little on the orange side. I received a sample of NC20, so I figured I might as well give that a shot, though I’m ultimately thinking that NC25 or even NW25 might be the best match for me (I am NC25). NC20 seemed like a pretty good match, but next time I’m at the counter, I’m going to grab samples of NC25 and NW25 to see if either of those is a better match.

I was incredibly frustrated by the inclusion of a pump that–wait for it–pumps out enough to cover half your face in concealer. If the technology is not available to create a pump that easily distributes just enough for the product’s purpose, why use something inferior? It is certainly possible to get just the right amount out, but after two weeks of use, I couldn’t do so consistently. Sometimes I got just enough, sometimes a nice blob that went down the sink. If you’re having pump troubles like I have had, I recommend pumping once or twice into a small sampling jar. No need to pump it all into there, just whatever excess–that way you can go back and use that during the week and not let it go to waste.

All in all, this concealer does last all day long for me. It doesn’t crease later on during the day, and this is a big deal for a lot of us. I do feel a little tightness around my under eye when I wear this, though, so I probably won’t wear this every day.  It’s definitely worth trying out for its long-wearing prowess–but if you can, grab a sample, so you can find your shade and decide if you like it without having to purchase from the get-go.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have really dry skin that you’re looking to use this concealer on, I think this may be too drying and end up just looking cakey on you.  The wear of this is fantastic, and the coverage is good for light to moderate under eye circles or blemishes.  If you have really heavy under eye circles, this might not be enough coverage.  Overall, it’s worth a try, particularly if you’re able to grab a sample.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, March 29th, 2010

Make Up For Ever HD Blush
Make Up For Ever #5 Nip Slip HD Blush

More on Make Up For Ever HD Blush

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Make Up For Ever’s HD Blush in three shades (#3 Truth or Dare, #4 Walk of Shame, and #6 Quickie). Today, I’m sharing with you three more shades and a run-down of them, but this is less a review as it is simply showing you what three other shades look like in real life.

I did, however, receive a full-size sample of #5 Nip Slip (can you believe they got away with that name?!), so I can confirm what I thought previously: the pump delivery system does pump out way too much if you simply do one pump. You really have to be careful and squeeze out just the tiniest bit. It’s better to go under than over, because you’ll end up wasting a good bit otherwise. I actually think I may prefer using them out of the 5-gram sample jars, just because I don’t have to worry about getting too much at once!

  • Nip Slip (#5) is a neutral, slightly yellow-toned pink that would look beautiful and fresh on both cool and warm skin tones. I think this is a good shade for light to medium to dark skin tones, too — it’s very buildable, so you can achieve that brighter pop of pink if you so desire.
  • Star Struck (#14) is a soft apricot peach that goes on more orange-apricot when blended and smoothed onto skin. Despite having a stronger orange tone, it’s not overly warm. It almost reads neutral to me, but I’d err on the side of warm.
  • First Kiss (#12) is a brightened orange with a soft shimmer/satin-y sheen built-in. It’s not neon orange, but it’s not quite the “bright apricot” that Sephora describes it as (even when it’s been blended out). This is definitely one of the more pigmented shades, so go easy if you want softer, sheerer color. It’s easier to intensify than it is to mute!

Other shades include: Innuendo #1 (vibrant plum), Caught in the Act #2 (bright raspberry), One Too Many #7 (peachy beige), PDA #8 (pinky nude), In the Spotlight #9 (nude), Skinny Dipping #10 (light orange brown), Mistaken Identity #11 (redwood brown), Smooth Talker #13 (vibrant pale pink). I previously reviewed Truth or Dare #3 (hot pink), Walk of Shame #4 (bubblegum pink), and Quickie #6 (salmon pink) here.

Make Up For Ever’s HD Blush wears well throughout the day. It’s easy to use, because it blends and softens without a lot of work, making it harder to make mistakes as long as you use less. You do not need to use a lot–I can’t stress it enough–we’re not even talking a pea-size of product. We’re talking about a pin-drop-size! One bottle will last you quite awhile, I’d imagine.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation:  Those who are always looking for longer wearing products should check out the new HD Blush line-up, because these cream blushes stand up to day-long wear without fading!

Availability: Sephora

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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

MAC Tabloid Beauty Collection
MAC Pro Longwear Lustre Lipcolour: Jazz-Y-Razz, Night Rose, Lishious,
Boss Brown, Betwixt, Sappho

MAC Tabloid Beauty: Pro Longwear Lustre Lipcolour Reviews, Photos, Swatches, Lip Swatches

Pro Longwear Lustre Lipcolours only vary from the regular PLWs in one way: they have a shimmery gloss on the end. However, you can actually purchase replacement gloss ends (just alone), and you can always opt to swap it for the regular clear gloss or replace it with the shimmery one. I’d recommend the same application technique with these as I did in the previous post. Oh, and while I’m remembering, last I checked, you can B2M for these as well… (Hopefully, someone who has done B2M more recently than I–it’s been many months for me–can confirm or deny!)

Pro Longwear Lustre Lipcolour ($21.00)

  • Jazz-Y-Razz is a shimmery, almost frost finish shade of muted pinky-beige. MAC describes this shade as “dirty plum with pearl,” but I really didn’t see much plum in it myself. Despite its frostiness, it applies well and looks even on.
  • Night Rose is a beautiful shade of rosy pink with a soft shimmer (which is emphasized by the shimmery gloss coat). This has always been one of my favorites, because it’s so wearable and looks good on a variety of skin tones.
  • Lishious is a peachy-brown with champagne shimmer. It looks a little creamy once applied, but it has that shimmer to it as well.
  • Boss Brown is a warmed-up brown with a copper/orange tone to it and gold shimmer. Nice, full color coverage.
  • Betwixt is a coppery red with copper-bronze shimmer. This is a nice mix of red without being overwhelmingly red. It applies smoothly and gives opaque color.
  • Sappho is a plummy berry that really doesn’t have much shimmer in its color coat, but the shimmery gloss coat adds it. This one blends really well with the lip, because it seems to meld with your natural lip color.

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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

MAC Tabloid Beauty Collection
Pro Longwear Lipcolour: Durashell, Clingpeach, Unchanging, For Keeps, Loyal;
Stuck on You, Passion Preserved, Lasting Lust, Perennial Rose, Commitment

MAC Tabloid Beauty: Pro Longwear Lipcolour Reviews, Photos, Swatches, Lip Swatches

Tabloid Beauty is a “collection” of sorts, but all of the products included in the collection are permanent products. MAC is showcasing some of their products that have some stellar results that are scientifically proven (according to the website). I’m only reviewing and showcasing the Pro Longwears — also included in the launch is Penultimate Eye Liner ($16.50), Plushlash ($13.00), Prep + Prime Line Filler ($19.50), and Prep + Prime Skin Refined Zone ($19.50) — all of which I’ve reviewed previously.  Tabloid Beauty launches in-store on February 25th!

Though the Pro Longwears are permanent, since I’ve never done lip swatches for the majority before, I thought this was a good excuse to do so. Pro Longwears are one of the longest wearing lip products I’ve ever put on my lips. No, seriously. I could only manage to swatch four or five at a time, because they cling onto lips, which makes removal more grueling than typical lipstick/lipgloss. You’ll need an oil-based makeup remover to get this guy off, and you’ll likely want to blot and smear the oil-based makeup remover around to let it “sink” in and break down the product.

Pro Longwears are really great… once you know how to apply them.

A half hour before you apply, slather on lip balm, then blot off prior to application. I like to apply from the tube using the included doe-foot applicator and start on the bottom lip, smoosh lips together gently, then round out the top lip color. You have to be patient and use a steady hand, because this stuff dries fast and doesn’t budge after it dries, so you need to make sure to stay inside your natural lip line.

Next, let your mouth hang open a bit to dry. I like to wait about a minute to a minute and a half for it dry. After all of that, top with gloss. You’ll need to reapply the gloss every few hours as that part will fade away–the lip color itself stays on pretty well. It will breakdown if you eat really greasy/oily food, but it holds up decently through that, in my experience.

Just for clarity, I purchased 10 of the 16 featured here (six were press samples). I’m actually going to bestow most of these on my Mom as a little surprise gift when I see her next! (She loves PLWs–her favorite is Night Rose!) Also, for reference, if you purchase during the Tabloid Beauty collection is up (and “while supplies last”), they come in specially printed sleeves (they slip around the normal black box packaging).

Pro Longwear Lipcolour ($21.00)

  • Durashell is a milky pink with a golden, frosty sheen. Application with Durashell wasn’t as smooth or even as the other shades–it has a tendency to emphasize every flaw on your lips and can look a little streaky since it’s not quite as opaque as the other shades as well.
  • Clingpeach is a peach shimmered coral. This is one of my favorites, because it applies evenly and is totally opaque.
  • Unchanging is a pinky-nude with icy pink shimmer that looks pretty creamy once applied.
  • For Keeps is a reddened berry with multicolored shimmer. It has full color coverage and doesn’t settle into lip lines as much as some of the other shades.
  • Loyal is a milky-looking browned nude with no real shimmer. It looks creamier once you apply the gloss on top.
  • Stuck on You is a beautiful shade of berry-red with a gilded gold sheen. This one is such a stunning shade–you have to check it out in person to really see how it glows.
  • Passion Preserved is a brownish red with a little plum thrown in. It has a very creamy, opaque look when applied.
  • Lasting Lust is a retina-burning creamy red. It’s almost a neutral red, but it seems to lean orange-red just a smidgen. Super bright, opaque, and lush. This is a show-stopping red for sure. (Though, to be honest, Perpetuate is/was my favorite red PLW.)
  • Perennial Rose is a subdued, rosy red with golden shimmer. This has a shimmer, frost feel in the finish, but it still goes on opaque.
  • Commitment is a reddened brown with gold shimmer. It’s a very intense, bold shade when worn. It’s dark, vampy, and dare I say it? sultry!

Love or hate Pro Longwears?  What are your favorites?

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Monday, February 15th, 2010

Milani Liquif'eye Liner

Long-lasting Eyeliner on a Budget:  Milani Liquif’Eye

Milani Liquif’Eye Metallic Eye Liner Pencils ($5.49 each) are new for spring and available in five shades: Black, Silver, Gold, Aqua, and Brown. As far as I’m concerned, there is always more room in the world for metallic/chrome eyeliner. These do remind me of L’Oreal HIP Chrome Eyeliners in many ways, though these are a little firmer and more metallic than chrome finish. They’re definitely similar, though.

Liquif’Eye is soft, smooth, and richly pigmented eyeliner. It glides on like my beloved Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Liners and looks just as smooth. I get good wear out of these–no smudging, budging, or migration eight hours later. They don’t look faded either! Surprisingly, they stay well on my waterline, too, for several hours (but I do have a more watery waterline at times), which isn’t something most liners can do for me.

At just $5.49 each, they’re hard to resist. Not only are they excellent in every way–quality, long-lasting liner that is rich in color and smooth in texture–but they’re priced just right. I tried out four of the five shades, and I found each one to be just as good. I hope to see Milani release more shades in the future–how about a green, copper, and violet?

  • Black (#01) is a rich, deep dark black. It’s an absolutely smoldering black that’s truly black–there’s no gray here.
  • Silver (#02) is a bright and shiny silver with a metallic finish.
  • Gold (#03) is a toned down, burnished gold. It’s not a true yellow gold, but it’a step down from that. Little more “antique” gold in it.
  • Aqua (#04) is a bright aqua-blue. It isn’t quite as metallic as either the gold or silver shades, but it still has that metallic sheen.

Even the packaging is anything but cheap.  It’s a matte black that looks and feels sleek.  If you blindfolded me, I couldn’t tell you that these didn’t feel like other high-end eyeliners, like Smashbox and Urban Decay.

Have you tried these yet?

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

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

Recommendation: Next time you’re near a Milani display, these are definitely worth a little look-see.

Availability: Local drugstores, MilaniCosmetics.com

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