Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow
MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow

All That and Then Some on the Matter of Electric Cool Eyeshadows

There are twelve shades of MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow ($18.50 for 0.07 oz.), which is a new formula (though rumor has it is the concept is Big Bounce Eyeshadows reformulated). There’s not a whole lot of information on these; the texture is described as soft and lightweight, it will deliver rich color, there is “sensational blending power,” and has “medium-to-high coverage.” The press release mentioned also wearing it as a wash of color. I think I managed to wear all twelve shades over eight different tests (a mix of with and without primer, different primers).

This post is only the review portion.  There will be two follow-up posts featuring a breakdown of all of the shades along with photos, swatches, possible dupes, and the like.  This post includes 26 photos from the tests I did to see how these applied and wore.

First, I don’t think I’d ever attach Big Bounce to these. From a texture standpoint, they’re nothing alike, and from the way they look and wear, they’re also nothing alike. No more than one eyeshadow to the next, at least. I think it does them a disservice and sets up expectations as being almost leery. When I originally tested out Big Bounce Eyeshadows, the only way I could get them to work was as an eyeshadow base, which meant they had to be set with a powder eyeshadow, and once that happened, they were fine.

The texture of Electric Cool is spongy; it’s more moveable than putty, lighter than sludge. These felt a lot like Buxom Stay-There and Chanel Illusion d’Ombre eyeshadows, both have a spongy, lightweight texture.  Buxom has more spring, as it returns more to its original shape upon pressure, while Electric Cool will just retain whatever shape you mold it into. When I stabbed at one pan with an eyeliner brush, there were all these little burrows where the brush had gone. MAC’s formula is more buildable, overall, compared to Buxom’s (which are supposed to be sheer). There is also a lot of shade overlap between MAC and Buxom’s ranges. Chanel’s formula feels similar but has a slightly wetter feel initially. There is less overlap with Chanel’s color range, but the few that do overlap, Chanel’s seem to have slightly more depth, which is going to be even more negligible once applied.  The texture is completely unlike products like Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense and L’Oreal Infallible, which are very powder-based products.  You might liken the finish to them, as it has a very shimmery, sparkly end result.

The wear of Electric Cool was hit-and-miss. Some shades performed better than others, as not all shades were as dry or as wet as the next one. These actually don’t crease easily; for the most part, they didn’t crease over time–if there was any creasing, it seemed to happen shortly after application. What I did have problems with was fading–I routinely went back to pack on more product during application. I’d apply one shade to one eye, then apply the same shade to the other eye, and when I went to apply another shade, the original eye already seemed to have faded somewhat. This was particularly true with some of the brighter shades like Dynamo, Fashion Circuit, Highly Charged, and Switch to Blue. I did not experience fall out with the shades when I used them on the lid*; when I tried using Fashion Circuit on the lower lash line, it did have a tendency to migrate downwards.

These have a beautiful finish; it’s very sparkly and shimmery in an interesting way. It’s not frost, not metallic, but a complex combination thereof. I think the neutral shades are exceptionally lovely as a wash of color (and honestly, the best results with this product were when these eyeshadows was worn that way). Some of them play well with others; some really did not want to be in the company of others.

Applying them evenly, smoothly, and opaquely, was more of a challenge. I tried an assortment of brushes and tools, mostly firmer, flat bristled brushes, along with fingertips and sponge-tipped applicators. I liked MAC’s 242 the best, because it is just slightly fluffy at the edge, so it worked well to pat the color into place (and you must pat, don’t sweep, or else it will be a mess) and then using the edge to lightly blend the color into the next one or diffuse it for a wash.

Blending was also an area I found seemed to hurt these rather than help these. When you blend it out, you get left with mostly shimmer and not much; the color seems to bunch up a little, which creates a slightly patchy result. I do want to note that it was hard to see it with my eyes (and even more so from a distance), but it’s obvious in the photos. To blend two colors together, it’s a very gentle process, and you really have to use a light hand to do so.

I liked them best of bare lids, and second to that, over a creamy, opaque primer like MAC Painterly Paint Pot. I tried these over NARS Smudgeproof Primer (awful over this base–made applying the color difficult to get even!), Too Faced Shadow Insurance (better than NARS for these), and MAC Painterly (best results for over a primer). I think the color adheres better over bare lids, but you can get more even color application when used over an opaque base (again, Painterly is what I tested these with). With or without a base, the wear didn’t seem affected.

The biggest problem I had with these had to with packaging.  Six of the twelve shades had loose pans, which meant that the actual metal pan that houses the eyeshadow would fall out of the container if turned upside down–which meant a lot of product was caught on the lid and lip of the product.  Second, despite overnighting these, several had moved significantly during shipment.  They were delivered before noon, and here, it’s only been getting to 80 degrees in the mid-afternoon–it’s not that hot.  The formula isn’t that moveable.  I set several of these on their sides for 48 hours, and they didn’t seem to move away from the edges.

They absolutely can be pushed back into place, but for some of them, it seemed like shrinkage or drying occurred because it didn’t fill the pan when pushed back into place, which leads me to my next point: these are tiny.  For this product category, we have two competitor formulas that are very similar:  Buxom contains 0.12 oz. ($17.00 and comes in a glass jar) and Chanel contains 0.14 oz. ($36.00 and comes in a glass jar).  These come in shiny black screw-top jars with a clear plastic window on top.  I thought it was worth pointing out that MAC has about half as much product as two similar formulas on the market and comes in cheaper packaging.  MAC Paint Pots, for example, contain 0.17 oz. and come in glass jars.  Even MAC Big Bounce was 0.17 oz. and also came in a glass jar (and also $2 cheaper just a year ago).

Overall, I can see some people loving the sparkling, shimmering finish of these eyeshadows. They really can look splendid as the light catches and plays with the dimension of the colors.  They take some work, some practice, and aren’t flawless. I feel like they’re a quirky, finicky product that can work but it has to be worth the effort to the individual who uses them.  If you intended to use them together, they’re hardest to use that way; if you just wanted to use them as a wash of color and don’t need 100% opaque color, they’re a lot easier.  For example, if you wanted a beautiful wash of color, Pure Flash is magic.  No creasing, some fading with the bolder/darker colors, not-so-blendable, and the colors can apply patchy at times (Love Power was the worst; it clung to itself like you wouldn’t believe and made my lid look so crepe-y).

* Any fall out you see in photos of single shades being tested was actually sparkle that didn’t get 100% removed when I removed the multi-shade tests (I would do one test for eight hours, and then I’d remove that and do a second test for eight hours).

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Tests

B-
If you really, really love shimmering, sparkling finishes, you might consider checking out the formula and seeing if it's worth the effort. If you want to wear them alone as washes of color, they're definitely worth a look.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

3/5

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Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Dior Golden Light Vernis / Nail Lacquer
Dior Golden Light Vernis / Nail Lacquer

Dior Golden Light Vernis / Nail Lacquer

Dior Golden Light (207) Vernis / Nail Lacquer ($23.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) is a sheer, champagne gold with subtle yellow undertones and then dirty gold and red shimmer. OCC Cruising is more opaque and yellower. Shades like Chanel Diwali are all more brown, less yellow. China Glaze White Cap is more of a white gold.  I couldn’t think of a dupe for this shade, though–the red sparkles do make it different from other potential golds.

After two coats (which is what the swatches show), there’s still a fair amount of visible nail line, and there was still some visible nail line after three coats. You’d need at least four to get more opaque color.  It’s the type of color I think one can get away with as a sheer, and it might even be intended (but without color descriptions, I can’t know, and I’ll err on a lower grade than a higher one), because it has a slightly translucent look even in the bottle.  There are subtle brush strokes in the end result as well.

The consistency was a hair on the thicker side, though it did not impede the application, as it applied fluidly, evenly, and didn’t bubble or pool along the sides of the nail.  I typically get a week of wear out of Dior’s formula.  If you’re unfamiliar with Dior’s lacquer, it does come with a wide, tapered brush, which I’ve had a good experience with but if you have narrower nails, it might be something to consider.

I’m not sure why, but Golden Light is a very confusing shade–namely because there are several name variations. It may be best to know it by its number, 207. Nordstrom lists it as Golden Era, while the press release (and bottle) list it as Golden Light or Or Lumiere. It has been released previously, so if you tend to pick up Dior’s polishes, you may already have it.

The Glossover

LE
product

Golden Light

B-
It's the type of color I think one can get away with as a sheer, and it might even be intended (but without color descriptions, I can't know, and I'll err on a lower grade than a higher one), because it has a slightly translucent look even in the bottle.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Monday, July 16th, 2012

NARS High Society Eyeshadow Trio
NARS High Society Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Fall 2012: High Society Eyeshadow Trio

NARS High Society Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as “lavender,” “matte forest green,” and “iridescent amethyst.” It’s new and limited for fall. I love that NARS has individual wells for each shade of the trio, but it’s a little disappointing that the amount of product is only 0.03 oz. more than a duo yet $11 more. Their eyeshadow formula is described as highly pigmented, long-wearing, and crease-resistant.

The first shade is a smoky light-medium purple with noticeable pink–it’s almost too smoky/dark to be lavender, though it looks a little lighter in the pan than how it does applied. It has a slight powderiness to it when you press your brush against the surface, and it’s a little sheer. I did have to pack it on somewhat to get opaque color. Bobbi Brown Cool Lilac is lighter and pinker. MAC Daylight is more mauve. Bare Escentuals Azure is purpler.

The second shade is a smoky medium-dark brown-toned green. Kind of like a muted army green to me. The texture was soft, just barely powdery, but applied fairly smoothly. Like the first shade, it was a little sheer. Tarina Tarantino Wonderful is greener, brighter. Giorgio Armani Green Jacquard is slightly more intense. Bare Escentuals Utopia is cooler-toned. MAC Flourishing is greener, warmer. Make Up For Ever #84 is rather similar but has a shimmer finish, so the two aren’t as close as they seem.

The third shade is a darkened purple with subtle red-brown undertones and a satiny finish. It had a drier, stiffer texture than I’d liked to have seen, but it was easier to use on the eye with a brush–it wasn’t as blendable as the other two shades, though. Urban Decay Rockstar has a more metallic finish and has less purple (almost more mauve/plum). Bobbi Brown Black Violet is comparable but less smoky. Estee Lauder Cyber Lilac is more frosted. theBalm All the Way Annie is a hint lighter. Make Up For Ever #142 is a smidgen brighter.

I love the color combination; it’s dark and sultry but it really works. The colors and tonal differences flatter each other immensely!  I’m less impressed by the overall texture and quality of the trio, though.  Two shades were powdery, while the other was dry and stiff.  They were easy enough to work with on the lid, but I did have to pack on the lavender shade during application.  Without a primer, I had noticeable fading after six hours, especially of the lavender shade.  With a primer, the results were better, but there was still enough fading after eight hours to be disappointing.

The Glossover

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NARS High Society Eyeshadow Trio Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
It's frustrating to have problems with the colors fading even over primer (and NARS' primer, to boot!), especially when the formula is supposed to be long-wearing and crease-resistant on its own merits. It's a shame as the color combination is perfect for fall in an unusual way.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Friday, June 29th, 2012

Bobbi Brown Sunset Beach Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15
Bobbi Brown Sunset Beach Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15

Bobbi Brown Sunset Beach Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “golden bronze.” It’s an orange-brown with a coppery orange shimmer–the finish looks very frosted. The color is mostly opaque. CoverGirl Hypnotic is darker, redder. NYX Sparkling Beige is more metallic, more shimmered. MAC Viva Glam VI is more subdued, pink-toned. Dolce & Gabbana Desert is darker, browner. MAC Infused with Glam is similar, perhaps more metallic. Guerlain Forever Beige is very similar. MAC Spiced Tea is also quite similar, perhaps more orange.

The texture of Sunset Beach isn’t quite as smooth as other shades in the range, and I think it’s due to the much higher frost content.  The others have more of a subtly shiny balm look to their finishes, but this looks a little drier. It feels that way, too. I wouldn’t describe it as dry so much as it has a thinner texture with less slip.  It still applied evenly and easily, though.  This shade only wore two and a half hours on me before fading away into oblivion, which was disappointing.  It wasn’t as moisturizing as some of the other hues I reviewed from the launch.

Like the rest of the line, it is scent- and taste-free, comes in a glossy black tube with a shiny gold interior. Each tube of lipstick is about half the size of your average lipstick, but the amount is consistent with this type of a tube/product type. I still wish brands would give you more, though. I wonder what it is about this type of packaging that they don’t seem to make it large enough to accommodate a full lipstick’s worth of product.

The Glossover

LE
product

Sunset Beach

B-
Not my favorite in the Treatment Lip Shine range, because it's doesn't wear as well as the other shades, has less moisturizing benefits, and has a drier texture.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

MAC Cusp of Dawn Lipstick
MAC Cusp of Dawn Lipstick

MAC Heavenly Creatures Lipsticks

MAC Heavenly Creatures Lipsticks ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) features five shades: Cusp of Dawn (beige pink), Cut a Caper (mid-tone peach pink), Fire Sign (red pink), Pleasureseeker (creamy peach), and Venus (sheer yellow pink with pearl).  Both Cut a Caper and Pleasureseeker have been released in previous collections, and all five are limited edition.

  • Cusp of Dawn is a soft, warm peach-beige with a little hint of brown and orange-copper shimmer. This has a lustre finish. The color coverage is semi-sheer, depositing more visible shimmer-sheen (almost looks metallic on my lips) while muting any natural pink in my lips. On my lips, it comes out as a subdued beige with a semi-metallic finish. Guerlain Chant d’Aromes is slightly browner and more opaque, less metallic. MAC Viva Glam VI has more red and plum (but it looked a little similar on). Maybelline Coral Kiss is slightly rosier. Guerlain Grace is rosier.
  • Cut a Caper is a pink-coral with this really, really subtle purplish iridescence. This has a lustre finish. The color coverage is semi-opaque and very buildable, so you can use almost nothing and get sheer color. Bobbi Brown Pink Seashell is less pink. Chanel Coquette is more vibrant, pinker. NARS Niagara is darker, pinker.
  • Fire Sign is a pinky-red with semi-opaque color coverage. This has a lustre finish. Was anyone else wanting this shade to be more fiery? It’s exactly as described, so I don’t take any real issue with it, I just envisioned something more fiery by the name (this has no impact on the review!). Guerlain Pour Troubler is a little more ruby red. NARS Flamenco is comparable. Guerlain Grenade is similar, slightly more muted.
  • Pleasureseeker is a dirty peach with subtle warm undertones. This has a glaze finish. It has semi-sheer color payoff, though it has more of a frosted/metallic effect than a lot of color. It seems to warm up my natural lip color and make my lips look a little coral–I imagine this is because it’s semi-sheer, so it’s not adding noticeable peach as a solid color but mixing peach with my underlying lip color. Bobbi Brown Pink Seashell is very similar (perhaps a little pinker in the tube) and also turns my lips to a shade of coral. MAC Razzledazzler is darker, more opaque. Burberry Devon Sunset is more opaque and darker.
  • Venus is a semi-opaque subtly yellow-toned medium pink with subtle golden shimmer. This has a lustre finish. MAC Blood Red is less pink. MAC Radicchio is lighter, plummier. Guerlain Bloom of Rose is more frosted.

Four of the five shades have a lustre finish, which isn’t one of my favorites by MAC for two major reasons: 1) they don’t wear very long (anywhere from one and a half to three hours usually), and 2) they’re drying. One shade has a glaze finish, which is similar but slightly glossier (heavier on the shine, slightly creamier), which wears about as well as lustre finishes do, but I don’t find the glaze finish as drying–slightly drying but not too badly.  MAC lipsticks are vanilla-scented with no discernible taste and come in black bullet tubes with silver accents.

Yesterday, I tested the wear of Cusp of Dawn (two hours), Cut a Caper (three hours), and Fire Sign (five hours), while this morning, I tested out the wear of Pleasureseeker (hour and a half) and Venus (three and a half hours).  All of the shades were on the drying side with Cut a Caper being the least drying but slightly so.  Cusp of Dawn and Pleasureseeker will do best on well-hydrated, smooth lips.  The sheer and frost combination doesn’t work well on dehydrated lips, as it tends to accentuate any imperfections on the lip, like dryness, flaking, and cracking.

On the whole, I do like MAC lipsticks, and I think there are few brands that provide as many shade varieties as they do (there are so many classics in the permanent range, and plenty of “ooh, I remember loving you” shades that were limited edition). I also think they’re a good option for someone who wants to go high-end but doesn’t want to shell out $20+ for true high-end brands (as MAC is generally considered mid-end, though their price points have been creeping–especially on newer product types–upward into high-end territory, e.g. $20 for an eyeshadow).  Lustres just don’t work well on me; they wear off easily and dry out my lips, and since four of the five are lustres, this review certainly reflects those problems.

The Glossover

product

MAC Heavenly Creatures Lipsticks Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
Lustres just don't work well on me; they wear off easily and dry out my lips, and since four of the five are lustres, this review certainly reflects those problems. If you find lustres to be moisturizing or non-drying and/or don't mind frequent reapplication, then these are worth considering. I didn't have any problems with pigmentation, evenness, etc.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

MAC Earthshine Mineralize Skinfinish
MAC Earthshine Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Earthshine Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Earthshine Mineralize Skinfinish ($29.00 for 0.24 oz.) is described as a “tarnished bronze with gold pearl and pink reflects.” It’s a red-toned brown with burgundy and gold shimmer. The powder is composed of a dirty gold, peach-orange, and burgundy.  I don’t have Metal Rock, but it might be similar to this (so check your own stash!)–from what I can recall, Metal Rock is browner. MAC Warm Blend has a similar-colored strip in the middle, though it’s not as red-toned. MAC Pressed Amber is much lighter and browner, less red-toned.

This shade is really, and I mean, REALLY intense. Like use a stippling brush with a feather light hand if you have a medium or lighter skin tone. I can’t stress how easy it is to go overboard with this shade, and the texture is extremely unforgiving. It doesn’t want to diffuse at all; it barely blends along the edges, but with enough persistance, it can be blended out to look one with the skin. This color will work well with deeper complexions, and it can certainly work on lighter skin tones, just be prepared for some trial and error.

The texture of Earthshine is dry and powdery, which did make blending more difficult and I ended up cheating a bit by using loose powder around the edges to blend out the edges. Its finish is decidedly metallic; it was extremely reflective, though not glittery, and it did emphasize my pores.  The wear on Earthshine was better than Center of the Universe, as it lasted for seven hours before it started to fade noticeably.

The Glossover

LE
product

Earthshine

B-
This color will work well with deeper complexions, and it can certainly work on lighter skin tones, just be prepared for some trial and error. The texture was unforgiving, though, as it was on the drier side, so it was difficult to blend out the color along the edges.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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