Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss
Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss

Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss

Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss ($22.50 for 0.20 fl. oz.*) is a vibrant, nearly neon fuchsia-pink with iridescent fuchsia sparkle. It’s redder and more shimmered compared to Milani Flashy. MAC Gimme That! is redder, lighter, less shimmered. The color is opaque and extremely heavy in sparkle.  You can feel the sparkle a little bit, but it’s not too noticeable or gritty.  Because of the overall brightness and vibrancy of Violet Rain, it should complement most skin tones–it’s going to give you lots of oomph, pop, and contrast whether you’re pale, deep, warm, or cool.

This new (but limited edition) formula is supposed to have a high shine, long-lasting wear, and non-sticky.  It has a great glossy shine that wears for two to three hours, while the color and sparkle itself lingers for five to six hours.  The sparkle travels ever-so-slightly, but it manages not to travel to parts on unknown, and I only found a few stray sparkles outside of my natural lip line.  It’s slightly tacky but not what I’d describe as sticky.  This is scented with Estee Lauder’s signature fig scent, which is a softly sweetened fruit scent overall, but I didn’t detect any taste.  I also liked that it was somewhat hydrating, because even after six hours of wearing Violet Rain, my lips weren’t dying of thirst, but they did need a boost of moisture shortly after.

* When Estee Lauder sends samples, they are usually not in full retail packaging, so they do not come with outer boxes or real labels, which means I don’t have the official weight/volume of the gloss written on the package. I will call the Estee Lauder counter when they’re open today to get an official number. For now, I’m assuming it’s the same as the rest of the Pure Color Glosses.

The Glossover

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product

Violet Rain

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Because of the overall brightness and vibrancy of Violet Rain, it should complement most skin tones--it's going to give you lots of oomph, pop, and contrast whether you're pale, deep, warm, or cool.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as a “lilac rose.” It’s a cool-toned rosy pink; it’s not as red as raspberry pink, but it’s not so cool-toned that it leans magenta or purple. NYX Rose is similar but has a very frosted finish, so it appears lighter. Guerlain Bloom of Rose is a warmer pink. Guerlain Belgravia is slightly pinker. Revlon Carnation is a bit frosted. MAC Unlimited is lighter and less cool-toned.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is supposed to be richly pigmented, have a “velvety matte finish,” be long-wearing, and have a non-drying formula. NARS recommends using it as a lip liner, all-over color, or paired with another lip product. The drier, matte texture allows Never Say Never to wear long and hard–a solid five and a half hours–but my lips feel dehydrated after four hours. After six hours of wearing this shade, my lips weren’t cracked or severely chapped, but I did feel the pull for a boost of hydration.  The texture is soft, creamy enough that it doesn’t pull or tug too much at lips during application, but it is dry enough that it does feel like a matte lipstick.

It comes in a large, jumbo-sized crayon that needs to be sharpened, so you will lose product when this occurs, though it’s not as much as with the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils, since this formula is drier and harder (not as soft and as pliant as the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils). Readers have recommended freezing the pencil prior to sharpening it to minimize the waste.

The Glossover

product

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

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This shade will flatter the cooler-hued products in the collection, which is primarily the Marie-Galante eyeshadow duo. It doesn't pair as well with the warmer shades, like the Ramatuelle eyeshadow trio!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio
NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.15 oz.) consists of a “silver, icy peach, [and] matte apricot” as described by the brand. This is the only limited edition product within the summer collection. I like how NARS’ trios are packaged with three individual wells, which means that there’s less cross-contamination from excess powder. The downside is that the trios are only 0.15 oz., whereas their duos are 0.14 oz.–but the duos are only $34, which is a $11 difference!

The first shade is a light gray with a silver shimmer and subtle silver metallic sheen. It has good color payoff–there’s an underlying sheerness in the swatch, but it is more pigmented when applied to the eye. Tarina Tarantino Lovely has a similar shade that’s a touch lighter and frostier. Guerlain Les Aquas has a similar shade, which has a more metallic finish.

The middle shade is a soft, pale peach with a satiny sheen–it’s a little more amped up and reflective than your average satin, though. The color payoff is good, though there is a touch of sheerness to the color. Tarina Tarantino Delightful has a shade that’s a few shades darker. Inglot #328 is similar in color but is darker. Inglot #330 is very close in color but has a matte finish.

The last shade is a warm, muted orange with a matte finish. This shade was also on the sheerer side, but I didn’t have any problem getting it to show up closer to opaque color when I applied it on the lid, which is not an uncommon result with matte textures. Dolce & Gabbana Cocoa has a shade that’s a bit richer, darker, more orange. MAC Fresh Daily is deeper, brighter. MAC Rule is more orange, darker. Inglot #368 is more tangerine.

NARS’ eyeshadow formula is supposed to be long-wearing, crease-resistant, and highly-pigmented according to their website (and it still drives me batty that they have it listed as “highly-pigminted“).  NARS’ eyeshadow formula can also be used wet or dry, depending on your preferences.   I applied the light gray shade to the very inner tearduct, pale peach to the inner half of the lid, and the orange shade on the outer half of the lid and into the crease to test out the wear.   Without a primer, it wore for eight hours without creasing and just very minor fading around the edges.  All three shades were easy to apply and blend together; the matte shade is very workable and while it feels dry, it’s just as blendable as the shimmery shades.

This should be very flattering on warm and neutral skin tones, and cooler complexions should still be able to wear this, because of the inclusion of gray as well as the softer, lighter feel of the other two distinctly warm shades.

The Glossover

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NARS Ramatuelle Eyeshadow Trio Review, Photos, Swatches

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This should be very flattering on warm and neutral skin tones, and cooler complexions should still be able to wear this, because of the inclusion of gray as well as the softer, lighter feel of the other two distinctly warm shades.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Vendanges Lipstick
NARS Vendanges Lipstick

NARS Vendanges Lipstick

NARS Vendanges Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “sheer grape.” It’s a semi-opaque plummy brown with a subtly glossy shine–it is a little more pigmented than I would expect for a shade from the sheer range. MAC Sheer Plum is much browner. MAC One of a Kind is quite similar. Estee Lauder Plum Fizz is redder. Guerlain Galante is lighter and less plum. Benefit I Think I Love You is shimmery. MAC So Very Good is darker. MAC Offshoot is plummier. Chanel Bel Ami is similar.

Vendanges is part of the Sheer Lipstick range, which is a formula that is supposed to be long-wearing with translucent color and “sophisticated shine.”  The lipstick is scent- and taste-free (and no waxy scent either–it seems NARS has fixed any issues they had with that particular scent, because I haven’t come across one in a very long time).   The consistency has just enough slip to yield that pretty shine in the finish as well as enables it to glide across the lips and deposit color evenly without being so slippery that it slides around.

This kind of sheer is lovely–there is a translucency that is apparent but there is still a healthy amount of color deposited.  It’s a deeper shade that’s not too vampy, so it’s easy to wear and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.  When I tested the wear of this shade yesterday, it wore well for four hours.  My lips felt hydrated after wear, too, so the formula is on the moisturizing side.

The Glossover

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product

Vendanges

A-
This kind of sheer is lovely--there is a translucency that is apparent but there is still a healthy amount of color deposited.  It's a deeper shade that's not too vampy, so it's easy to wear and doesn't require a lot of maintenance.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

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Thursday, April 12th, 2012

NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss
NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Spring Break Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) is described as a “pale golden beige sheen.” This shade is exclusive to Sephora. It’s a pale, light beige with peach-gold micro-shimmer. MAC C-Thru is very similar, perhaps a smidgen darker. MAC Scottish Lilt is warmer. MAC Jest for Fun is more peach-pink. MAC On the Scene is warmer, no shimmer. MAC Fashion Whim is just slightly warmer. Urban Decay Max is darker, peachier.

I actually really like the way this looks on the lips; for such a pale, light color, it applies fairly evenly and doesn’t settle too noticeably into lips (at least not from a normal viewing distance). The soft peach-gold shimmer gives it necessary warmth and dimension. The color coverage is not quite opaque but close.  When I tested this shade for wear, it did surprisingly well for such a pale shade–a solid five hours.  It was also hydrating enough that my lips didn’t feel any worse for the wear while I wore it.

Larger Than Life Lipglosses have a gel-like texture, which slides across lips well and enables mostly even application.  Though it doesn’t feel sticky when you first apply it, it does get noticeably tacky after a half hour and gets tackier while it wears.  It never approaches super sticky territory, but it’s definitely not non-sticky. The only downside to this product is the really, really tiny brush-type applicator.  It could be about double the size and still be several sizes smaller than the average lipgloss applicator while retaining the ability to apply precisely.

The Glossover

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product

Spring Break

A-
It delivers well on most of the claims that NARS made with respect to the formula--the only downside is the applicator with this particular shade. It's just too small; there's nothing wrong with going smaller than a doe-foot applicator, but I think this is the other extreme.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Monday, April 9th, 2012

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette
Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette ($8.99 for 0.32 oz.) contains six shades arranged as thin strips inside a clear, plastic compact. It comes with a dual-ended sponge-tipped applicator (not particularly useful). The product can be used dry for a sheerer, shimmery color, or it can be used damp for greater intensity.

The last time I tested one of these palettes, I wasn’t particularly impressed (see this review), but I was pleasantly surprised with Milani’s latest addition to their Runway Eyes line-up. Primary packs a lot more color payoff both wet and dry! It’s an excellent buy if you’re looking for really bright pops of color and don’t want to spend a lot.

The first shade is a primary canary yellow with warm undertones and a shimmery finish. It has good color payoff both dry and wet–when it’s wet, it’s just slightly brighter, but it’s opaque color either way. MAC Bright Sunshine is similar, slightly lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bright Idea is a bit darker, almost more orange-y (but not orange at all). Inglot #370 is matte and not as sunshine-yellow.

The second shade is a shimmery red with subtle orange undertones. When it’s applied dry, it has more of a brick red hue, whereas when it is applied damp, it appears redder and the orange tones become muted. Milani I Heart You is similar to the dry swatch. Wet ‘n’ Wild Enter a New Realm isn’t as shimmery.

The third shade is a medium orange with a tangerine orange shimmer and sheen. The color payoff when it is applied dry is a bit faded/muted, and when it is applied damp, it’s better, though it is one of the softer shades in the palette. MAC Fresh Daily is similar but a touch darker. MAC Rule has a matte finish and is a bit darker.

The fourth shade is a blue-based purple with a soft, shimmery finish. When applied dry, there’s a noticeable sheerness to the color, which does improve when applied damp. Urban Decay Ransom is similar, slightly cooler. MAC Pink Union is richer, more intense. MAC Parfait Amour is bluer.

The fifth shade is an aqua-teal with a shimmery sheen. This was one of the sheerer shades both wet and dry, though it does intensify to get to good color payoff when used wet. MAC Shimmermoss is a bit greener, more opaque. Make Up For Ever #302 is very similar but more metallic in finish. MAC Rain Drop is darker.

The sixth (and final!) shade is a medium-dark blue with a hint of violet. It looks more navy blue when applied dry, because the sheen disappears and there’s some sheerness in the hue. When applied damp, the color intensifies tremendously and has a lovely sheen that’s glowy without being metallic. MAC Love Cycle is darker, bluer, no violet in sight. Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm is lighter. MAC Blue Storm is darker. NARS Outremer is matte.

I don’t love the overall setup of the palette, because each strip of color is too thin. I usually use MAC’s 239 eyeshadow brush to apply eyeshadows, but it was a little too big–I ended up using the MAC 213, which worked better.  Each strip is fairly soft–if you pressed your finger against it, you could flatten it out with medium pressure, so the palette is a little fragile.  The texture of the eyeshadows is soft and smooth, and the color payoff is fairly good to great when applied damp.

When I tested this palette, it wore well both with and without a primer, though it did perform better with a primer–no creasing though very subtle fading around the edges with a primer after eight hours, but there was minor creasing after seven hours without a primer.  What I did really like was how much intensity remained when using these wet!  Typically, when you use a product wet, it often loses some of its vibrancy as it dries back down, but these really retained their color. Milani didn’t mention that these were long-wearing, crease-resistant, etc. on their own, so longevity is based on wear with a primer.

The Glossover

palette

Primary

A-
This is one of the better pigmented products I've found at this price point for shades like these--it's not always easy to find really vibrant yellows, reds, or purples. Milani does each shade fairly well to exceptionally well.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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