Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2013: Corcovado

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “24-karat gold.” It’s a bright, sunshine-yellow gold with a frosted, metallic finish. Cinderella Gus Gus is a bit darker, more orange (and a powder eyeshadow). OCC Triptych is darker, more honey-hued (and a powder). NARS Goldfinger is a paler yellow (and a powder). Inglot #403 is not quite as yellow/intense (and a powder). MAC Bright Sunshine is comparable, slightly yellower, but is also a powder.

It will come as no surprise to long-time readers that Corcovado, for all its gorgeous coloring, did not work well for me. I’m not going to do an in-depth review here, because I’ve done plenty in the past of this formula and exactly why it doesn’t work well on me. I love the color, and I really wanted it to work. NARS often produces beautiful colors in their Soft Touch Shadow Pencil, and I had hoped that the more frosted finish would have allowed for a quicker, better dry down of the product.

Here are the ways I tested Corcovado specifically: on its own, over NARS’ Smudgeproof Primer, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + gold powder eyeshadow on top, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + translucent powder (NARS’!) on top, over NARS powder eyeshadow, sheered out quite a bit, and as an eyeliner. I have applied with these tools: fingertips, brushes (fluffy, firm, and in-between), sponge-tip applicator, and directly from the pencil. I experienced heavy creasing within an hour or less for every way except: 1) over powder eyeshadow it took two hours; 2) sheered out, the creasing was less noticeable but still there after an hour; and 3) as an eyeliner, it took six hours to disappear and smudge fully, but there was “bleeding” color after an hour.

So, in summary: excellent pigmentation, and it applies rather opaquely on, but it takes me on repeated trips to Crease City in as little as ten minutes (when worn alone) or as “long” as two hours (when worn over powder eyeshadow). There are definitely readers who have had success with these, and there are others who’ve had similar experiences to mine. I just recommend trying it prior to purchase or purchasing from a retailer with a return policy, in case your experience is more like mine. I have no problem with many, many shadow pencils on the market (Milani, NYX, MAC, Urban Decay, to name a few).

The Glossover

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Corcovado

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There are definitely readers who have had success with these, and there are others who've had similar experiences to mine. I just recommend trying it prior to purchase or purchasing from a retailer with a return policy, in case your experience is more like mine.

Product

2/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

2/10

Application

2.5/5

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Sunday, December 30th, 2012

10 Worst Beauty Products of 2012

There have been several disappointing products released over the past year, but these are ten that really frustrated me… They’re in no particular order!  Now that these are out of the way, we can end 2012 and start 2013 on a happy, positive note going over all the bests of the year :)

What was the worst product you tried this year?

Monday, September 3rd, 2012


NARS Heat Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencils ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) come in four shades for the holidays: Empire (black), Heat (teal), Silver Factory (aluminum), and Trash (vivid purple). Silver Factory is limited edition, but the other three are permanent.

If I had a makeup nemesis, I imagine it would look a lot like NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, because it’s one of the worst products I have ever seen, and I get frustrated every time I use a new shade in the same disappointing formula. I wish I could tell you that the latest four showed improvement, but I can’t. They’re as awful as expected. I have reviewed these thoroughly. I have tried them in various ways; as a base, alone, over a base, over a primer, over eyeshadow, under eyeshadow, as eyeliner, as brow highlighters.

NARS describes these as having an “easy, portable, long-wearing application” to “shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye.” They’re supposed to make for “an ideal base for layering with powder shadow or increased color intensity. All four shades creased on me within five minutes if used on the lid; it did not matter whether I used it alone or over NARS’ eyeshadow primer. I tried them as an eyeliner, as well, even though I fully intended not to bother, and they were migrating onto my waterline (FYI, Heat and Trash burned terribly), into my eye, and below my lash line within minutes. Empire didn’t smudge, but it did disappear, as an eyeliner.

  • Empire is a medium black that has a slightly drier consistency compared to other shades as well as the ones in this launch. Realistically, black eyeliner (in general) looks just like this. As a base, you might opt for a gel eyeliner (MAC Blacktrack makes for an excellent all-black base).
  • Heat is a bluish-teal with so-so color payoff. It’s very, very creamy and retains a rather glossy finish. Maybelline Edgy Emerald is greener. Make Up For Ever #21 is more shimmery.
  • Silver Factory is a bright silver with a metallic finish and silver glitter. It doesn’t really get opaque–but it’s not too uneven when it applies, at least. MAC Virgin Silver is similar.
  • Trash is a medium-dark royal purple with strong pink-red undertones. This had good color payoff for a purple; when used in a single pass, it looks rather pink-purple, but layered, it looks more purple. Make Up For Ever #26 is similar, slightly pinker. Urban Decay Delinquent is less red/pink-based.

There are lots of jumbo eyeshadow pencils on the market; using them does not require applying in a myriad of ways in hopes to find the one way that will last longer than an hour. They don’t take days and days of usage just to figure how to use them for longer than five minutes. Imagine me fumbling down the hallway with my eyes closed so that I can get at least one photo where it doesn’t look like Crease City. Suffice to say, these were consistent with the past shades I’ve tried. If you’re so inclined, I recommend reading my past reviews for a full lecture on these.

The Glossover

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NARS Andy Warhol Soft Touch Shadow Pencils Reviews, Photos, Swatches

If you're been looking for a product to deliver a creased, glossy look, perhaps for an editorial, maybe this is up your alley. I suspect you could find a cheaper cream product to do something similar or else pat Vaseline or gloss over your eyeshadow of choice.
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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “shimmering plum.” It’s a dark burgundy plum with softer plum shimmer. Bare Escentuals Passion is slightly redder, less frosted. Le Metier de Beaute Fig is very similar, perhaps a little warmer. Guerlain Boulevard de Montparnasse is plummier. Tarina Tarantino Fantastical is purpler.

I have to emphasize how NARS markets the formula: “easy, portable, long-wearing application,” “functionality to shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye,” “an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased color intensity,” “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula.” Then, from the press release for this collection and specific shade, “This versatile, shimmering plum Soft Touch Shadow Pencil is the ideal complement for color on lids. Named for the region south of Naples, at the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula—it can be worn solo, as a base for powder shadows, or as a liner.”

The reason why this pencil can’t make it past five minutes (let alone an hour) without creasing is that it never dries down. It remains glossy and creamy for as long as I wear it–after three hours, I removed it and tried using it as a base with powder eyeshadows over it, but it creased horribly after an hour. The areas where the product has creased and accumulated are very slick, while the color on the lid will transfer onto my finger even with the slightest tough. There’s always a fine line between too quick and too slow when it comes to a cream eyeshadow/base product, but this one takes “too slow” to new lengths. I used it as an eyeliner and set it with eyeshadow, but it was entirely smudged after two hours and I had to remove it. The consistency is very, very creamy, which means it doesn’t tug or pull on the lid or lash line when it’s used, but it has a tendency to apply unevenly as it slides around the lid.

I am often asked why do I keep reviewing this formula only to give it a bad rating:  would (or should) I stop reviewing new shades of a good product? I don’t think so.  My policy is to review as many products as I can, whether or not they are good, bad, or just so-so.  Aside from the idea that all shades are individual and may perform better/worse than other shades in the same formula, there’s still value in reviewing a product, even if it’s consistently good or bad.  There’s opportunity to confirm that it is or isn’t consistent, how it may differ, the color, better alternatives on the market, and the like.  I wouldn’t seek this product out, but if NARS keeps making them and sending them to Temptalia for review, I’ll keep letting you know how they perform.

If you’ve been able to work these, I’d love to hear your thoughts! A review is always bolstered by reader comments – shared experience is what creates a fuller picture of how a product does and doesn’t perform.

The Glossover

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product

Calabria

If you're been looking for a product to deliver a creased, glossy look, perhaps for an editorial, maybe this is up your alley. I suspect you could find a cheaper cream product to do something similar or else use Vaseline mixed with a similar-colored shade.
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Friday, January 13th, 2012

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “navy blue.” It’s a dark navy blue with a shimmery finish. I feel it necessary to do a full copy-and-paste from spring’s press release regarding this product, because too often I receive comments and emails saying I’m being unduly harsh and unfair, all because NARS “meant” for this product to crease; that this is supposed to have that “creased” look.  I’m harsh, but I don’t think unduly so; this is an atrocious product, and from a high-end brand that can and does put out quality products, it’s appalling. I don’t make excuses for brands, least of all when they create products that perform this poorly.

This is what the press release states: “The navy blue Soft Touch Shadow Pencil complements any warm-weather look. Use the creamy, long-wearing formula alone, as a base for layering with powder shadow, or to line and sculpt the eye.” This product is long-wearing by itself, can be used as a base beneath powder eyeshadow, as well as an eyeliner. There is nothing about this product creasing, migrating, moving, turning to sludge, or otherwise indicating it’s supposed to look like this on the lid.

Whenever I wear/experiment NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, I notice my eyes are a bit irritated; there’s a burning sensation (not on the lid but of my eye), especially when I use these as eyeliners. I’ve tried Dark Rite in the three methods that NARS states: alone, as a base, and as an eyeliner. None of these methods was successful. The good news is this product creases so quickly that it takes very little time to go through all those tests!

Alone, it fades, smudges on the beneath the lower lash line (from the lid!), creases, and pools into creases. It isn’t dry to the touch after a half hour of wear, which is obviously going to be a problem–if it doesn’t dry, it doesn’t set, so it won’t stay in place. It applies somewhat evenly but does have problems; if you apply with a finger, it seems to just slide around but I wasn’t able to get a really even look with it using my fingers. I had the best luck doing one pass and doing my best not to layer.

As a base with powder eyeshadows on top, it’s both a pain to use (because it’s wet, the powder eyeshadow tends to clump and stick to it but not blend out well; the darker hue also has a tendency to “eat” the eyeshadow) and wear (because it creases after five minutes, just not as bad as it was alone). In the past, I have tried several of these pencils over/under various bases, with/without eyeshadow, and the results are dismal  (See Celebrate.).  I tried the same methods with this one as well with the same disappointing results, whether it’s used alone, underneath eyeshadow, or over a primer, it’s a one-way trip to Crease City.

Finally, as an eyeliner, it smudges and travels further and further away from the lash line. I don’t need any help making my under eye circles look any darker, but this product excelled at it.

The only reason it earns any points is that it is pigmented, but the pigmentation is patchy and uneven, which does impact the overall pigmentation score.  The texture is creamy enough that it glides on the lid without too much tugging or pulling, which accounts for some points.  But you’ll notice that when it comes to overall product score and longevity, there are none.  These continue to be one of the worst formulas I’ve come across.  At $24, it’s a slap in the eye.

If you want a shadow pencil that actually works, consider Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils, which not only wear all day long without trouble, they’re four bucks cheaper. Here are some navy blue eyeliners to consider as well.

The Glossover

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product

Dark Rite

If you're been looking for a product to deliver a creased, glossy look, perhaps for an editorial, maybe this is up your alley. I suspect you could find a cheaper cream product to do something similar or else pat Vaseline or gloss over your favorite navy blue eyeshadow.
Results
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Sunday, January 1st, 2012

10 Worst Beauty Products of 2011

These are some of the biggest flops I tested out during 2011!  Creasing, poor pigmentation, grittiness, dryness, you name it, you’ll find it on this list!

  1. MAC Interior Life Eyeshadow Quad
  2. Dolce & Gabbana Sweet Temptations Eyeliners
  3. MAC Street Art Eyeshadow Palette
  4. Dior Blue Tie Palette
  5. YSL Volupte Sheer Candy Lipstick
  6. MAC Evil Eye Eyeshadow Quad
  7. NARS Celebrate Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
  8. MAC Miss Piggy Pink Eyeshadow
  9. Clarins Barocco Gold Shimmering Powder
  10. MAC Big Bounce Shadows

What was the worst product you tried out this year?