Saturday, August 4th, 2012

China Glaze I'm With the Lifeguard Nail Lacquer
China Glaze I’m With the Lifeguard Nail Lacquer

Add a Little Electric Green to Your Routine

One of twelve shades from China Glaze Summer Neons Collection, China Glaze I’m With the Lifeguard Nail Lacquer ($3.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “glimmering lime green.” I’d say that’s a rather apt description! It’s a vibrant, slightly cool-toned lime green with soft shimmer. Cult Nails Deal With It is warmer, darker, less neon. China Glaze Cha Cha Cha is also darker, moer golden, and not neon. China Glaze Kiwi Cool-ada was the closest shade that I could think of, though it has a cream finish.

The consistency was somewhat thick, so each coat was thicker than I’d like, which resulted in some pooling of polish along the edges. The shimmer also created some noticeable brush strokes, but the color was opaque after two coats.  It’s just a fussier formula overall–takes longer to dry, more patience required to get even coats (and color).  I’m usually a fan of China Glaze’s formula, but something wasn’t quite right with a lot of the shades in their summer launch.  The colors are fun and gorgeous (totally summer-esque), so it’s a little disappointing! I could see this lime green working well on toes.  I normally get a week of wear with no chipping and minor tip wear with China Glaze’s formula.

The Glossover

LE
product

I'm With the Lifeguard

B-
I'm usually a fan of China Glaze's formula, but something wasn't quite right with a lot of the shades in their summer launch.  The colors are fun and gorgeous (totally summer-esque), so it's a little disappointing! I could see this lime green working well on toes.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3/5

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Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

MAC Highly Charged Electric Cool Eyeshadow
MAC Highly Charged Electric Cool Eyeshadow

Breakdown of MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow – Part 2

The last six shades of MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow ($18.50 for 0.07 oz.) that we’re going to go through are: Highly Charged (rich purple with pink pearl), Infra-violet (mid-tone pink violet with blue pearl), Love Power (soft shimmering rose), Pure Flash (pale champagne), Superwatt (light shimmering taupe), and Switch to Blue (rich cobalt). Please read my review for how these feel, wear, etc.

  • Highly Charged is a subtly red-toned medium-dark purple with a soft shimmer-sheen. It has so-so color payoff and some fading issues when worn. All of these only faded to a point, they didn’t disappear, but they weren’t as vibrant on as they were in the pan. Buxom Schnauzer is more of an eggplant purple. MAC Drawn to Drama is more blue-based. L’Oreal Perpetual Purple is brighter by a small amount. MAC Plush is softer, more red-toned. Make Up For Ever #142 is very similar in color though more matte in finish.
  • Infra-violet is a vibrant fuchsia-magenta with a violet iridescence. It has decent color payoff, and it actually performs better on the lid in terms of pigmentation–it has some very slight fading over time. Make Up For Ever #89 is more magenta. Both Urban Decay Fishnet and MAC Stars ‘n Rockets are less pink, more purple. Bare Escentuals Boudoir is very similar though has less iridescence.
  • Love Power is a pale pink with subtle yellow undertones and a highly metallic finish. This had beautiful color payoff when I swatched it, but I couldn’t get it to apply evenly at all. It was the worst on the lid out of all twelve. MAC Young Venus is paler, icier. Dior Garden Roses is similar but blue-based. MAC Taupeless is similar but frostier. MAC Seedy Pearl is cooler-toned. Inglot #431 is more metallic.
  • Pure Flash is a soft peach with warm undertones and a frost-metallic shimmer-sheen. It’s semi-opaque in color. This would be a great brightening shade on light to medium complexions. Buxom Collie looks exactly the same in color, but it has a more metallic finish (less sparkle, more sheen). NARS Ramatuelle is similar, possibly lighter. Tarina Tarantino Delightful is more metallic.
  • Superwatt is a subtly gray-tinged medium-dark brown with a frosted, metallic finish. It had good color payoff and applied easily to the lid without needing a lot of packing or manipulating. Buxom Mutt is warmer, more golden. Urban Decay Rehab is slightly darker. MAC Street Cool is darker. Urban Decay Midnight Rodeo is a bit warmer, browner. Inglot #402 is very similar, perhaps a touch darker.
  • Switch to Blue is a medium-dark blue with softer blue shimmer and a satiny sheen. It’s mostly opaque but there is some underlying sheerness. Buxom Bulldog looks very similar, perhaps very slightly purple-tinted. Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm is brighter, more cobalt. Inglot #428 is darker, more intense. Make Up For Ever #81 is darker, more navy blue.

The Glossover

LE
product

Infra-violet

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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Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

MAC Blacklit Electric Cool Eyeshadow
MAC Blacklit Electric Cool Eyeshadow

Breakdown of MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow – Part 1

The first six shades of MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow ($18.50 for 0.07 oz.) that we’re going to go through are: Blacklit (black with multi-dimensional pearl), Brilliantly Lit (bright acid yellow green), Coil (copper bronze), Dynamo (mid-tone coral), Electroplate (cool gunmetal grey), and Fashion Circuit (bright kelly green). Please read my review for how these feel, wear, etc.

The Glossover

product

MAC Electric Cool Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

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

Results
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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

Results
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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

palette

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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