Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Cult Nails Princess Nail Lacquer
Cult Nails Princess Nail Lacquer

Cult Nails Princess Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is a light-medium dusty blue with a subtle pink-copper shimmer. Chanel Coco Blue is darker, bluer. Rescue Beauty Lounge Concrete Jungle is darker, grayer. Butter London Lady Muck is darker, grayer, and has silver shimmer. Chanel Riva is lighter, less blue.  None of these comes close, though–not even in the base color–let alone having the coppery shimmer. A lot of times you’ll find something that has a similar base color, but I couldn’t think of anything that was even close to being a dupe.

I’m definitely a fan of the Cult Nails brand, particularly because Maria keeps coming out with shades where I get to say, “I couldn’t think of a dupe for this!” as part of my review.  It’s tough to be original in such an over-saturated industry, so it is very much appreciated.  The formula is long-wearing–a full seven days or longer–with very minor tip wear and no chipping.  Princess was fully opaque after two coats of polish, and it had good flow and wasn’t too thick or too thin.

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Princess

A+
Princess has a very Cinderella-esque feel to it. It reminded me of her dress and the way it sparkled. It's soft but has some interest because of the copper shimmer. The formula is excellent, easy to use, and is opaque in two coats.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Monday, June 18th, 2012

Milani Champagne Toast Shadow Eyez
Milani Champagne Toast Shadow Eyez

Milani Champagne Toast Shadow Eyez

Milani Champagne Toast Shadow Eyez ($6.99 for 0.10 oz.) is a warm champagne beige with a highly reflective, metallic finish. MAC Summer Haze is darker and more of a frosted than metallic finish. Make Up For Ever #13 is darker, less champagne. Urban Decay Sin is a touch darker and less metallic. Cle de Peau #207 is lighter. Inglot #397 is very similar but slightly less warm-toned.

Milani’s Shadow Eyez formula is touted to last for twelve hours and be water-resistant and crease-proof. Champagne Toast was the second shade I tested wear on, and it was phenomenal–it looked as good after ten and twelve hours as it did when I initially applied it.  The pigmentation was also top notch, because it was totally opaque in one pass.  It has a creamy texture that glides across the lid without a single tug or pull, and it deposits smooth, even color.

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Champagne Toast

A+
Champagne Toast is an excellent all-around pencil and shade to have in your arsensal. It works well for brightening eyes with little effort, but it can also brighten eyes by using it on the lower lash line to add some metallic sheen.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Cult Nails Evil Queen Nail Lacquer
Cult Nails Evil Queen Nail Lacquer

Cult Nails Evil Queen Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is a vibrant cherry red with subtle blue/pink undertones. There are several shades that are similar: MAC Touch of Red is slightly darker, MAC Russian Red is darker, China Glaze Poinsettia is a little warmer, Essie Too Too Hot is richer, and China Glaze Hey Sailor is pretty close.

It’s nearly opaque in one coat, but two are needed for full opacity. It dries down to a fairly shiny finish, and it looks really rich and intense on the nail. The consistency is not too thick or too thin, so it flowed flawlessly across the nail. This was really a dream to use–application was so, so easy. Cult Nails’ formula wears like iron–I get a full seven days with very minor tip wear but no chips. If you’ve been holding out for just the right red cream polish, this is one of the best I’ve come across.

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Evil Queen

A+
Absolutely flawless--this formula is beyond phenomenal. It's so fluid, pigment-packed, and Cult Nails' formula has always been very, very durable on me.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Monday, June 11th, 2012

bareMinerals The Hidden Agenda Eyeshadow Duo
bareMinerals The Hidden Agenda Ready Eyeshadow Duo

bareMinerals The Hidden Agenda Ready Eyeshadow Duo ($20.00 for 0.10 oz.) contains two shades: Stealth (apricot chiffon) and Undercover (glistening granite). This is one of seven new duos for spring/summer.  Each duo is packaged in a rubberized plastic compact with a full-size mirror inside and a sponge-tipped applicator. Each eyeshadow is the size of the average full-size eyeshadow (0.05 oz.).

Stealth is a soft, pastel orange (very much the apricot they describe) with a satiny finish. The texture is soft, dense, and buttery, which resulted in excellent color payoff. MAC Orb is more beige. Inglot #330 is lighter, yellower. Dolce & Gabbana Jewels is slightly darker. bareMinerals Nirvana is more orange and frosted.

Undercover is a dark, steely taupe–very gray with a hint of brown and almost plum undertones. The texture is still soft but not as dense as Stealth. It has great pigmentation. MAC Dynamic Duo 3 is similar, slightly darker. Urban Decay Mushroom is darker and browner. MAC Keep Your Cool is very similar. Giorgio Armani #4 is browner. Chanel Illusoire is more frosted.

It’s an interesting color combination; Stealth is very warm-toned, while Undercover has strong gray tones, so it is a cooler color. They can work together, but it’s not as classic of a combination (which isn’t a bad thing!).  Both shades applied beautifully, and they were easy to blend on the eyes.  When I tested the wear, I was able to get eight hours of wear with and without a primer; there was some minor fading around the very edges after nine hours when worn without a primer.  bareMinerals’ duos are some of the best eyeshadows on the market.

The Glossover

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bareMinerals The Hidden Agenda Ready Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

A
Bare Escentuals' duos are some of the best eyeshadows on the market, and this is one of the top duos they've come out with, as far as quality goes. The taupe shade--Undercover--is sure to win a lot of people over, but it is more dupeable.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Monday, June 4th, 2012

Tom Ford Savage Cheek Color
Tom Ford Savage Cheek Color

Tom Ford Savage Cheek Color ($55.00 for 0.28 oz.) is dirty red-brown. It’s hard to describe it, because it looks red, technically, but red brings images of bright, ruby reds to mind, whereas this is a much more muted red with a lot of brown to bring down the intensity. There’s a very faint sprinkling of gold shimmer that’s barely noticeable once applied. MAC Buddy Up is similar but browner. NARS G-Spot is very similar but has a different finish. NARS Oasis is much more plum.

What I like about Tom Ford’s blush range is the texture, and then after that, the buildable nature of the color itself. The texture is ridiculously soft, smooth, and feels dense, buttery–it almost feels like a cream blush because of how finely-milled and dense it is. You can build the color from a sheer flush to a more intense, true-to-pan color, if so desired. It doesn’t go on heavily, so you do not have to fear applying it, but it’s easily intensified without having to pack on the product. I continue to be impressed by the overall wear of the formula, too; Savage wore for a superb nine hours and was barely faded after ten.

This shade would be lovely on medium and medium-dark complexions in particular. It’s barely warm-toned, so it should be flattering on both warm and cool complexions, too. The only thing not to like is the price–at least Tom Ford gives plenty of product for the hefty price tag; it’s higher than average and definitely not skimpy. For reference, MAC blushes are 0.21 oz. and NARS blushes are 0.16 oz. each.

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Savage

A+

This shade would be lovely on medium and medium-dark complexions in particular. It's barely warm-toned, so it should be flattering on both warm and cool complexions, too. The only thing not to like is the price--at least Tom Ford gives plenty of product for the hefty price tag; it's higher than average and definitely not skimpy.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Saturday, May 26th, 2012

NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.086 oz.) is described as a “siren red.” This is an extremely intense, vibrant cherry red with pink undertones and a blue base. It’s very cool-toned and equally bright. It’s bluer than Maybelline Very Cherry. It’s more vibrant than Giorgio Armani #406. CoverGirl Hot has a similar brightness level but not the same blue undertones. Chanel Rouge Byzantin is darker. MAC Ruby Woo is redder and darker.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencil formula is designed to allow you the precision of a lip pencil with the ease of all-over application like a lipstick. It’s supposed to be opaque, matte, creamy, long-wearing, and non-drying. Dragon Girl wears and wears and wears; its strongest suit is in how well and long it wears–a full six hours of excellent coverage and looks good enough not to need a reapplication until eight hours. It hardly transfers, so it lasts through a cup of coffee with ease. It’s not moisturizing, but it isn’t drying; you’ll want to properly moisturize and prep lips in advance (or just have a good lip health routine), since it’s not adding any moisture over the course of the day.

Dragon Girl has to be one of my favorites within the range, because it applies evenly and easily without tugging or pulling on the lip, so there’s just enough glide and waxiness in the base to get that even, opaque color, but it clings to lips so it wears a long time (not in a bad clingy way, though). It has a matte finish, but it appears so bright that it almost has a sheen.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils are large, jumbo-sized crayons, and you’ll need to sharpen them periodically. You will lose some product, but because the texture of this is fairly dry and firm, there is less product loss than from the brand’s Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils. Many readers have suggested freezing a pencil briefly prior to sharpening to help minimize waste.

The Glossover

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Dragon Girl

A+
Everything about this product is fantastic--except for some of the waste that happens when you sharpen the pencil, which is something that occurs with most pencil packaging--the color is rich and opaque, and this shade wears six to eight hours with ease.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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