Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

NARS Gina Highlighting Blush
NARS Gina Blush

Fresh-Squeezed with Gina

NARS Gina Blush ($28.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “true tangerine.” It’s a softened orange with a satiny sheen. It’s not vibrant, not an intense orange, but it’s much more orange and richer than peach (hm, I am amused that all descriptions are fruit-related!). This is actually one of the closest shades I’ve seen to Illamasqua Expose, which is darker, richer–but when worn softly, they look nearly the same. Illamasqua Lover is lighter, brighter. MAC Solar Ray is more shimmery and golden-tinged.

I really liked the texture of this shade, as it was so soft, smooth, and finely-milled without being powdery.  The color was true-to-pan, and it’s a buildable blush.  A light tap of product gives a warm cloak of color, while a swirl of the brush in the blush (say that five times fast!) yields full color.  The softness lends to effortless blending on the skin, and the subtle sheen is both glowy and natural so it doesn’t emphasize pores.  The lightness inherent in the shade keeps it from looking red-toned or burnt on the cheeks.  Gina wore well for eight hours and started to have noticeable fading after nine hours.

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Gina

A+
Quality-wise, one of the best NARS blushes I've come across. The texture is soft and blendable, while the color is buildable and true-to-pan with excellent color payoff. It wears particularly well to boot!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

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Saturday, August 18th, 2012

MAC Rich Ground Fluidline
MAC Rich Ground Fluidline

A Perfect Bronze for Fall

MAC Rich Ground Fluidline ($15.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “reddened coco with frost.” It’s a subtly red-toned bronzy brown with a soft sheen. Make Up For Ever #14 is darker, redder. Make Up For Ever #12 is more copper in color. Urban Decay Lucky is rather similar, perhaps a smidgen more copper.

I’m so glad this is part of the permanent range, because it’s a lovely shade of coppery brown. The red undertones are downplayed, so it won’t emphasize any redness in the eye, which can sometimes make eyes look tired. Instead, this has just enough sheen to brighten with enough lightness to be an alternative to both black and brown.  The pigmentation was excellent–I was able to get a fully opaque line of color in one stroke with the 263 angled brush.  It wore for an impressive ten hours when I tested its long-wearing claim yesterday!

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Rich Ground

A+
MAC's permanent range has many amazing products, and Rich Ground is certainly one of them! It will work well with the autumnal tones we'll be seeing shortly.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4.5/5

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Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Guerlain Gracy Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Gracy Rouge G Lipstick

Another Summer Hue Just in Time for Fall

Guerlain Gracy Rouge G Lipstick ($48.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a warm coral-pink with a little hint of red. It has almost imperceptible pearl; there’s a minor reflection and sheen but no obvious shimmer particles. MAC Watch me Simmer is much lighter. MAC Force of Love is pinker and lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Hot Paris Pink is a smidgen lighter but close. Make Up For Ever #38 is less pink but a little brighter. OCC Trollop is lighter and pinker. MAC Fusion Pink is redder and has a pink iridescent sheen. Chanel Phoenix is a bit lighter and has noticeable pink shimmer.

Bright and bold with full color coverage and a natural finish, Gracy is more summer than fall, even if it is part of the fall release.  The color glides on and hugs lips without feeling clingy, while the formula itself wears for six and a half hours and keeps lips well-hydrated the entire time.  I did not experience any feathering or bleeding lip color.

Like the rest of the range, there is a perfume-like scent attached to these but no discernible scent. Each is packaged in a hefty silver metal case that has a flip mirror. I appreciate the sleek design of the case, and it feels very luxe to hold, but from a practical purpose, they’re kind of heavy to keep your bag, and there’s no great way to store them (the top and bottom are curved), and they do hold fingerprints.

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Guerlain Gracy Rouge G Lipstick Review, Photos, Swatches

A+
If you love bright corals with some darkness to them, you'll like Gracy. It feels very summery to me, partially because corals are so often part of one's summer routine, but also the level of brightness in the shade.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Estee Lauder Violet Underground Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Violet Underground Eyeshadow Palette

Take Me to the Violet Underground

Estee Lauder Violet Underground Eyeshadow Palette ($48.00 for 0.15 oz.) consists of five shades ranging from pink to black to brown. The formula is long-wearing and is not supposed to crease while still blending easily.

The first shade is a vibrant fuchsia pink with a subtle metallic sheen. When applied dry, it’s slightly sheer and looks like it has a soft frost finish. When applied damp, it is incredibly opaque and vibrant with a soft metallic finish. MAC Moon Rose is just a little less fuchsia. MAC Tease With Ease is softer. NARS Caravaggio is darker. Urban Decay Woodstock is very similar. MAC Bright Fuchsia is also close.

Next to the fuchsia shade is a chocolate bronze with a metallic sheen. When applied dry, it still retains a subtle metallic finish and has excellent color payoff. When applied damp, it becomes more intense but doesn’t change too much. NARS Surabaya is similar but has a less metallic finish. Make Up For Ever #14 has less red in its base. theBalm Tres Moi is less red-toned and a smidgen lighter. Le metier de Beaute Bordeaux has a stronger red undertone. Chanel Ebloui is grayer.

Moving on, we arrive at a light beige-peach with soft, warm undertones and a frosted finish. It’s nearly the same whether it is used damp or dry, though it becomes just slightly more metallic when it is used wet. The pigmentation is full and opaque both ways. Bare Escentuals Stealth is more matte in finish and a little lighter. Dolce & Gabbana Jewels is a fraction lighter. MAC Say Yeah is frostier and has a subtle golden sheen. theBalm Luscious Lani is noticeably lighter and more metallic in finish.

In the middle is a dark black with subtle shimmer that’s just barely noticeable. It has good color payoff when used dry, though it is more intense when applied damp. When applied, it does intensify better with a brush than just in a swatch even when applied dry. It’s not quite as dark as MAC Dark Dare or Milani Pitch Black. It is darker than MAC Carbon.

The final shade is a rich violet with hints of blue and an underlying dark base. It had good pigmentation dry but had less depth, whereas when applied damp, it took on a much more intense, deeper look, though both dry and damp had similar metallic finishes. I felt that this was the least dupeable shade in the palette, because it is a darker purple with only a hint of blue. Giorgio Armani Ecailles Black Pearl is lighter, less blackened. MAC Starless Night is darker, not really blue–more black in its base (so you lose some of the purple). MAC Imaginary has no blue. Givenchy Lune Mordoree is bluer. Urban Decay Frigid is the closest but it lacks the blackened base.

I think this is one of the most stunning eyeshadow palettes that has launched in the past few years. It’s utterly breathtaking–whether or not these are the kind of hues you’d feel comfortable wearing or not, it’s a showstopper. What I love is that it does deliver on the color, and all five shades work well together; not just in one color combination but multiple ones. If you prefer subtle pops of color, there are two more neutral shades (beige and bronze) that can be accented by the richer shades (pink and violet) or darkened (black).

These wore impeccably, too!  I had no problem achieving nine hours of wear with no fading or creasing with or without a primer, and I used four of the five shades in the look (no black).  They were easy to blend, didn’t have any fall out, and applied with full color without having to pack it on.  It comes in a purple metallic case with a mirror on the inside and two dual-ended sponge-tipped applicators. The only criticism I could come up with was the pink shade could be better pigmented dry.

The Glossover

palette

Violet Underground

A+
I think this is one of the most stunning eyeshadow palettes that has launched in the past few years. It's utterly breathtaking--whether or not these are the kind of hues you'd feel comfortable wearing or not, it's a showstopper.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Giorgio Armani Black Eyes to Kill Waterproof Liner
Giorgio Armani Black Eyes to Kill Waterproof Liner

An Intense Black Eyeliner That Lasts All Day

Giorgio Armani Black Eyes to Kill Waterproof Liner ($28.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a rich, deep black. If you want an intense, no-bones-about-it kind of black, that’s exactly what this. It joins the likes of MAC Black Black and Urban Decay Perversion when it comes to richness.

The formula is soft and creamy–almost too creamy, because I worried about the wear of the product as I applied it–that it glides on like silk and melts against the lash line like butter, filling in any minuscule gaps. It sets after about a minute, and after testing it twice, it held up quite nicely for a full eight hours without migrating or smudging. It still looked 90% after twelve hours.  It doesn’t wear for a full eight hours on the water line, but it does look pretty good. From afar, the water line still looks mostly lined, though up-close you can see some gaps and areas where it has worn away. There isn’t a whole lot of information on this formula online, so I didn’t actually see whether this was water line safe or whether it was intended to be used there (so the assumption is that it is not water line safe).

It’s supposed to be water-resistant and long-lasting with a soft, creamy texture. All true: water-resistant to a point, such that water won’t make it smudge or smear, unless you go rubbing your eyes, then you will get subtle smudging, but sweat, steam, and a little “rain” (well, I closed my eyes and sprayed water on my eyes) don’t cause the eyeliner to fade, smudge, or smear.

Too bad this is limited edition! Why do brands put out limited edition products like this? It’s not like it’s an electric blue eyeliner that maybe won’t do so well. It’s black–it’s such a basic, staple item!  Boo!

Update:  The version I have will be released in October for the holidays. The pencil will be permanent and will come with a smudge-tip on the end when it launches in October. This information has come from Giorgio Armani.

The Glossover

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Black (01)

A+
Rich, intense black color with a creamy, glide-on formula that wears for eight hours easily (I wore it for twelve hours no problem). Just wish it wasn't limited edition!

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Bobbi Brown Slate Eyeshadow
Bobbi Brown Slate Eyeshadow

Contour with a Clean Slate

Bobbi Brown Slate Eyeshadow ($21.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as a “medium grey.” It’s a softened gray-tinged taupe brown with a matte finish. MAC Omega is lighter, warmer. theBalm Celebrational is darker and has a satiny sheen. Bare Escentuals Vow is a few shades darekr and has a strong red undertone. MAC Twilight Falls is frosted and darker. MAC EarthlyM is a little browner and has a shimmery finish. Inglot #360 is a bit darker and less gray, but it was the closest I could think of.

This hue is part of Bobbi Brown’s permanent matte eyeshadow range.  The pigmentation is true-to-pan, but it looks soft, almost sheer, but not really.  I think the matte finish, combined with the soft texture and muted color, might give off that impression.  This kind of shade works well as a contouring shade (great for defining the crease or layered to add definition over another crease color) on light to medium-dark skin tones.  Darker complexions may like this has a general lid shade but will not see as much contouring with it as it starts to blend in more with the skin color on the darker end of the spectrum.

It has a soft texture that’s not too dense or buttery but not horribly dry and stiff and firm. There are two distinct matte formulas:  one is softer, more buttery/dense (but often can be powdery) and the other is firmer, drier, but so long as it’s soft and not stiff, it will work quite nicely and deliver great color payoff, blendability, and wear.  The same is true for eyeshadows, but I’ve noticed the distinction is much stronger within the matte category.  Slate is dry but soft, so it isn’t powdery and blends out easily–but not so easily that you have to go back and add more color.  It wore for eight hours (without a primer as well as with a primer) without creasing or fading.

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Slate

A+
This kind of shade works well as a contouring shade (great for defining the crease or layered to add definition over another crease color) on light to medium-dark skin tones. Darker complexions may like this has a general lid shade but will not see as much contouring with it as it starts to blend in more with the skin color on the darker end of the spectrum.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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