Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Guerlain Terra Azzurra Bronzer & Blush
Guerlain Terra Azzurra Bronzer & Blush

Guerlain Terra Azzurra Bronzer & Blush

Guerlain Terra Azzurra Bronzer & Blush ($75.00 for 0.56 oz.) is made up of half bronzer and half blush. The collection is a collaboration with Emilio Pucci, and the print chosen was “Winter Capri.” I really liked that Guerlain changed up the compact’s cloth case, and it’s a very appropriate print for summer. It’s bold, vibrant, but has that summery, beachy breeze feel. It’s definitely more interesting than the velvety pouches we typically see.

Inside, there are four distinct shades, with over half of the compact made up of an orange-tinted tan with a very subtle satiny sheen. MAC Tan Tint is a little yellower. MAC Cajun is similar but more golden, less red-toned. MAC Sun Power is pretty similar, though a tad rustier. MAC Pink Power is similar. Urban Decay Toasted is also very similar. The bronzer seems fairly easy to replicate, and it does have subtle orange and red undertones.

The other three shades make up the other half (or less) of the compact. The first is a pale pink-white that really didn’t deposit much color, just shimmer. It was nearly imperceptible when I swatched it. Next to that is a medium pink with subtle blue undertones. Between the pink and the bronzer, there is a muted orange. These shades are done in a thin swirl, so they’re not particularly usable individually, though the bronzer could be used on its own.

When you mix the three blush shades, you’ll get a more coral-pink kind of color, and when you mix all four shades together, you get a tangerine-coral with a satiny sheen.  Becca Damselfly is similar but less pigmented and more golden in sheen. MAC My Paradise is more orange, more gold shimmered. Make Up For Ever #153 has a stronger golden sheen. It actually reminded me of MAC Ripe Peach quite a bit.

As expected, the texture is soft and smooth–very finely-milled–but not too dense, so it doesn’t feel powdery or kick-up excess product when you tap your brush against the surface. It blends out easily once applied, but it doesn’t fade away into nothing, so it’s well-balanced. When I tested out the wear, it wore well for around seven hours and looked slightly faded around the edges after eight hours. This powder is heavily fragranced with a floral scent, so if you are sensitive to scents, I recommend checking it out in person or finding a way to de-scent the powder. I had it open on my studio table, and I could catch whiffs of the fragrance from a foot away–the scent, of course, is not nearly as noticeable when it’s applied as it is in the compact.

The Glossover

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Terra Azzura Bronzer & Blush

A-
I think the blush gradient shades are lovely and very appropriate for summer, but the bronzer is less universally wearable--I think that red-orange undertone may be harder for cooler complexions to wear. Because the bronzer makes up half of the product, you should probably love the bronzer side of it!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Illamasqua Apocalips Lipstick
Illamasqua Apocalips Lipstick

Illamasqua Apocalips Lipstick

Illamasqua Apocalips Lipstick (£15.50 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “teal” with a matte finish. It’s an opaque blue-teal with a matte finish. It’s certainly not the shade you think of when you hear the word “everyday.” I’m sure it doesn’t come as much of a surprise when I say I don’t have anything quite like this. The closest would be Illamasqua’s Gender, which is a bluish lipgloss. I haven’t swatched or used it yet, but perhaps OCC’s Chlorophyll will be similar (but it looks more like a green-teal).

The formula is very dry, though it will slide over lips well enough to deposit opaque color without too much pulling or dragging (but there is some). The finish is entirely matte. It’s unscented, and there was no discernible taste when I tested it. Apocalips will wear and wear and wear–and it will stain, too. The stain is almost like frostbitten lips, to be honest! This shade wore for six hours with little fading, but because of the drier texture, you’ll want to ensure that you absolutely have perfect, moisturized lips prior to application. My lips felt a little dry after wearing this for six and a half hours. I wouldn’t describe the formula as drying, just dry, and naturally, lips without any hydration, will need some after several hours. My lips weren’t chapped or cracked, though–and that is how my lips react when a formula is truly drying.

The Glossover

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Apocalips

A-
Bold, unconventional color that applies neatly, stays in place, and goes on entirely opaque (no streaking!)--wear it with confidence!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss
NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss

NARS Coeur Sucre Larger Than Life Lipgloss ($26.00 for 0.19 fl. oz.) is described as a “shimmering vibrant pink.” It’s a medium cotton candy pink with blue undertones and a silver-white micro-glitter/shimmer. I couldn’t think of too many shades that came close to this. MAC Vanity Fair is much lighter and has no shimmer (more like a liquid lipstick formula). NARS Angelika would be much closer, except it’s not as opaque and applies fairly streaky. MAC Sassy Lassy is darker and brighter.

The Larger Than Life formula is designed to give “intense color” with “brilliant shine” while being long-wearing. It also has moisturizing ingredients and “natural lip enhancers” that will plump lips. The consistency of Coeur Sucre isn’t too thick or too thin, and it’s not a gloss I’d call lightweight, but it doesn’t feel thick and goopy either. It has a gel-like texture initially, which is non-sticky, but after a half hour or so, it delivers a tackiness that gets rather sticky after an hour and a half (much as I experienced with Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armani). It delivers semi-opaque color and applies surprisingly evenly for a gloss in this color–there is some minor settling into lip lines that is barely noticeable because of the high-shine finish.

Coeur Sucre wore for five and a half hours, which is longer than the average gloss wears (three to four hours; as little as two for lighter shades).  I found the formula to be hydrating–sometimes when you wear just gloss all day long, your lips can easily show signs of dehydration, but even after twelve hours of wearing the Larger Than Life formula, my lips felt lush and lovely.  I don’t see (or feel!) any plumping effect; the glossy shine does give lips a larger, more luminous appearance.

Here is what I loathe about this product–and I don’t use the word lightly–the applicator. It is like applying lipgloss with a toothpick, or nearly so. It’s just absolutely miniscule, and if you have very thin lips, I think this may be the applicator you’ve been looking for, but even you may find it takes several pumps of gloss to get enough product to cover your lips. I get that NARS is hoping this applicator will give you the precision you want, but it’s unnecessarily small. You can maneuver around the lip lines with something double the size. In order to cover my lips, I had to go back five times for color.

The Glossover

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Coeur Sucre

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It's not quite the "intense color" that NARS promises, and the applicator is too small--it makes applying this a more painstaking process than it should be. I think there is a happy medium available; something slightly larger (perhaps wider), that's still a bit tapered and smaller than a doe-foot gloss, could still achieve precision without taking so much time.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

MAC Modern Pewter Extra Dimension Eyeshadow
MAC Modern Pewter Extra Dimension Eyeshadow

MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadows (Part 2)

MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadow ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a new formula that’s coming out in-stores April 5th.  It’s a hybrid powder that can be used wet or dry, with buildable color coverage, and wear for up to six hours.  If you’ve seen Estee Lauder’s Powder Gelee eyeshadows, these are very similar in texture–but at least there is very little overlap in the shade range.

Here are official color descriptions for the five in this post: Modern Pewter (dirty olive gold), Rich Core (dirty aubergine), Sweet Heat (bright peach champagne), Warm Thunder (dirty silver grey), and Young Venus (pale white pink).

The good news is that these all felt and wore fairly consistently.  There weren’t major discrepancies from one shade to another.   Rich Core had one of the best textures–it felt extra smooth compared to the other shades–while Young Venus had a slightly grittier texture, though it would not be described as gritty.  Young Venus also had one of the frostier finishes.   Warm Thunder was the least pigmented (at least, when applied dry) of this set of five, while both Rich Core and Sweet Heat were quite pigmented both dry and wet.

From the previous review:  These are the shades that I have worn and tested for wear: Blue Orbit, Dark Dare, Havana, Modern Pewter, and Rich Core. I wore them alone over bare skin, over a primer, and used them both wet and dry.   Without a primer, they do hold up fairly well for six to eight hours when applied damp (with water), but if they are applied dry, they do seem to fade after three to four hours, with it looking rather sheer at the sixth hours. The worst thing is that when they are applied dry, they don’t stick as well, so if you rub your eye even briefly (oops!), it wipes away instantly.  Over a primer, they do very well; no fading or creasing even after ten hours of wear. I was definitely surprised at how well they held up over bare skin when used damp–there was only a little fading after six to eight hours, but it was not really noticeable from afar. My eyelids are normal-to-dry, but they’ve been closer to normal these past few days.

The texture of these is that same unexpected combination of dry, soft, and smooth. There’s just this inherent dryness to it and then a real softness so it ends up applying really smooth. These can be used wet or dry, so all swatches are dry and then wet (using just water). These will look more intense, opaque, and smoother when applied damp, but overall, they were fairly pigmented when used dry. Over a primer, you can get closer to the damp results, but I still liked using these damp best. I also liked that it retained a lot of the intensity even after it dried on the lid.

The Glossover

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MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

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If you want to wear these without a primer, I strongly recommend using them damp during application, because when they are applied dry, they do fade within a few hours and are mostly gone by six, but damp, the results are much, much better. The payoff is a similar story--always more intense when applied damp.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

MAC Blue Orbit Extra Dimension Eyeshadow
MAC Blue Orbit Extra Dimension Eyeshadow

MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadows (Part 1)

MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadow ($20.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a new formula for the brand, but it may seem and look familiar! Estee Lauder’s Powder Gelee formula is very comparable to this one. Since Estee Lauder is the parent company of MAC, I’m not surprised! MAC says this is a buildable formula that can yield sheer to heavier coverage, and they state that it lasts up to six hours. These are ten shades in total, and this post looks at the first five (and the next post will cover the remaining five).

Here are official color descriptions for the five in this post: Blue Orbit (light iridescent purple), Dark Dare (charcoal black), Grand Galaxy (dirty mid-tone violet), Havana (dirty copper brown), and Lunar (royal blue).

  • Blue Orbit is a violet purple with blue undertones and a soft silvery-purple sheen. This was one of the sheerest shades out of the ten–it was fairly sheer when applied dry, and there was still some underlying sheerness when used damp. I tried to test this one dry, but it was difficult to get it to show up! MAC Wintersky is bluer, less purple. Urban Decay Blue Bus is darker.
  • Dark Dare is a medium-dark black with brown undertones and a very subtle silver and teal micro-shimmer (hardly noticeable, looks almost matte from afar). It has a slightly dry look when it is applied dry to the skin, but it takes on a smoother result when applied damp. This one has a “glow” finish, and though I don’t know what that means in MAC-speak, it has a low-level sheen compared to the other shades. It’s similar to a lot of other black eyeshadows.
  • Grand Galaxy is a medium purple with red undertones and a silvery metallic sheen. It is less metallic and almost redder-toned when applied dry, while when it is applied damp, it takes on a more metallic quality to the finish. theBalm Lavish Latoya and Urban Decay AC/DC are similar to the dry swatch of Grand Galaxy. Bare Escentuals Encore is in-between the dry and damp swatch.  Estee Lauder’s Cyber Lilac is not a dupe!
  • Havana is a medium-dark warmed-up amber brown with subtle orange undertones (but it doesn’t read red at all). This is one of the more pigmented shades, as it is opaque both dry and damp. The damp swatch makes the color appear a little darker, but there’s a very low-level sheen in the finish either way. MAC Buckwheat is very similar. MAC Make Your Mark is a touch red-toned. Laura Mercier Cedar is a little yellow-toned.
  • Lunar is a midnight navy blue with a subtle violet purple shimmer over a blackened navy base. The blackened base is most apparent when it is used dry, while it takes on a very smooth blue result when applied damp. It is rather sheer when used dry as well. MAC Naval Blue is purpler. MAC Blue Flame is similar but has a more intense black base. MAC Shop & Drop is darker and more purple-tinted. MAC Blue Storm is slightly purpler.

I’ve put off the writing of this post for the majority of the day for two reasons: 1) readers voted highlighters over eyeshadows first, and 2) I really wanted to test a few more shades for wear, since MAC made a very specific wear claim. These are the shades that I have worn and tested for wear: Blue Orbit, Dark Dare, Havana, Modern Pewter, and Rich Core. I wore them alone over bare skin, over a primer, and used them both wet and dry.

Without a primer, they do hold up fairly well for six to eight hours when applied damp (with water), but if they are applied dry, they do seem to fade after three to four hours, with it looking rather sheer at the sixth hours. The worst thing is that when they are applied dry, they don’t stick as well, so if you rub your eye even briefly (oops!), it wipes away instantly. Over a primer, they do very well; no fading or creasing even after ten hours of wear. I was definitely surprised at how well they held up over bare skin when used damp–there was only a little fading after six to eight hours, but it was not really noticeable from afar. My eyelids are normal-to-dry, but they’ve been closer to normal these past few days.

The texture of these is that same unexpected combination of dry, soft, and smooth. There’s just this inherent dryness to it and then a real softness so it ends up applying really smooth. These can be used wet or dry, so all swatches are dry and then wet (using just water). These will look more intense, opaque, and smoother when applied damp, but overall, they were fairly pigmented when used dry. Over a primer, you can get closer to the damp results, but I still liked using these damp best. I also liked that it retained a lot of the intensity even after it dried on the lid.

The Glossover

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MAC Extra Dimension Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

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If you want to wear these without a primer, I strongly recommend using them damp during application, because when they are applied dry, they do fade within a few hours and are mostly gone by six, but damp, the results are much, much better. The payoff is a similar story--always more intense when applied damp.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4.5/5

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Thursday, March 29th, 2012

MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter
MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter

MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter

MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter ($29.00 for 0.31 oz.) is described as a “soft peachy nude.” It’s a champagne beige with a little hint of rosiness and a champagne metallic sheen. While I didn’t review Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee (by the time I was ready to photograph it, it had already sold out), it is exactly the same as Superb. I could not detect a single difference between the two! MAC Redhead is a little pinker and has a whiter sheen, not as warm. Bobbi Brown Rose Gold has more of a frosted finish. MAC Rose Ole is peachier.

Again, fans of Estee Lauder’s Powder Gelee formula will love these–not just like–because I couldn’t find real differences between the two.  So far, MAC’s formula seems to wear a little longer for me.  I’ve never used the original Powder Gelee Estee Lauder released (I left it brand new, until I did the comparison swatch in this post!), so I couldn’t tell you how long that wore on me for–I just know that Topaz Chameleon was more like seven to eight hour wear, whereas Whisper of Gilt and Glorify both hit the eight hour mark with the majority of the product still intact (just some fading around the edges).

Superb has a soft, dry texture that’s really smooth.  It will feel different than other powder products, but it’s not quite the same texture as a baked product (like MAC’s Mineralize line).  There’s a high-shine metallic finish that reflects light really well and smoothly, and the real surprise is that it manages not to emphasize pores or skin imperfections much–it will call more attention to it than a lower-sheen product, but for something with as strong as a sheen here, it’s very little emphasis.  More or less, it’s the kind that’s worth trading off for really dewy, glowy cheeks.

This shade is the most universally wearable shade out of the three–it will work well on cool and warm, light and dark complexions.  I also suspect that with the comparison swatch to Estee Lauder’s powder, which sold out extremely quickly, it will be snapped up in a heartbeat–especially since this is much more affordable than Estee Lauder’s.

The Glossover

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MAC Superb Extra Dimension Skinfinish/Highlighter Review, Photos, Swatches

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This shade is the most universally wearable shade out of the three--it will work well on cool and warm, light and dark complexions. I also suspect that with the comparison swatch to Estee Lauder's powder, which sold out extremely quickly, it will be snapped up in a heartbeat--especially since this is much more affordable than Estee Lauder's.

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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