Monday, February 21st, 2011

NARS Nana Lipgloss
NARS Nana Lipgloss

NARS Spring 2011: Nana

NARS Nana Lipgloss ($24.00 for 0.28 oz.) is a blackened plum that applies semi-opaque. It is still quite dark, but it is nowhere near as dark applied as it appears in the tube (which almost photographs black!). Though I really liked the color itself, and it gave a rather stained glass look to lips, it isn’t so easy to work with by itself. I would recommend layering it over a lipstick or lip liner in order to minimize the gloss settling into lip lines. I also found that if you touch your lips together at all, it really moved the gloss around and made it look blotchy.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of this particular gloss felt so different from other NARS’ Lipglosses, it was rather sticky. It wasn’t thick like holiday’s Downtown, but I still found this gloss rather tacky, while other NARS glosses are non-sticky (and it is a trait that these lipglosses are known for). In the past, NARS glosses have had plastic-y smells, but I haven’t noticed this in the latest seasonal launches, including Nana.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: If you don’t mind some prep work (like lip liner) or layering (over a lipstick), I think it’s a nice shade. It should suit both cooler and warmer skin tones, though it is naturally cool toned. It is a more high-maintenance kind of lip color, unfortunately!

where to buy: NARS

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Sunday, February 20th, 2011


Quick Review: Milani Glamorous Gems

Milani Glamorous Gems Eyeshadow Palette ($8.99 for 0.32 oz.) includes six shades of eyeshadow, all coordinated and in thin, raised strips. They can be used wet or dry, but I found the color pay off too sheer to work with when used dry that I had to use them wet (all swatches are of them wet). I liked the colors in the palette and felt like they coordinated well with each other.

When you use them wet, the color pay off is decent for the first three shades and a little better for the bottom three shades. The palette contains a shimmery white, soft grassy green, teal-tinged forest green, pale yellow gold, softened copper, and bronze. The first three shades have a frostier finish, while the bottom three shades have more a metallic finish.  They all looked more intense in the palette than when swatched, though; most of the shades looked rather muted.

My biggest issue with the palette is actually the packaging/set-up. Each strip is very thin, so it can be difficult to maneuver your brush so that you only get one color–it’s very easy to pick up whatever shade is above or below. The shadows also break down very easily, so use a light touch or else you risk crumbling.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

final thoughts: If these colors popped a little more swatched as they do in the pan, I think it could be a real winner.  I also wish these could be used dry–they just weren’t holding together for me when I tried to swatch (and later attempted to apply).

where to buy: Milani

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Thursday, February 17th, 2011

MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2 Lipglass
MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2 Lipglass

MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2 Lipglass

MAC Viva Glam Gaga 2 Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) is described as a “light neutral pinked beige.” In reality, I found it more of a neutral light-medium beige with subtle white micro-shimmer. The finish was creamy, not quite milky, but as such, there was some settling into lip lines. It is a thicker gloss, too, so be careful when applying it to ensure an even finish (also avoiding smooshing your lips together too much, as it will push around the gloss and making it look uneven).

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Lipglasses are vanlla-scented, and they are typically thick and sticky. However, because of their tackiness, they do tend to wear better and longer (four hours for me).

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: The color itself is a great neutral nude; I do see it working for most skin tones and under tones, assuming you like nudes. It’s not too pale, not too deep that it’s more brown than beige. Surprisingly, I couldn’t come up with a great MAC dupe for this shade; it is closest to Illicit but it’s less orange.  C-Thru would be your closest within the permanent range but much paler.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Lancome Amethyst Glam Shadow & Liner Palette
Lancome Amethyst Glam Shadow & Liner Palette

Lancome Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette: Amethyst Glam

Lancome Amethyst Glam Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette ($48.00 for 0.141 oz.) is a purple-themed palette of five eyeshadows. It is one of ten new palettes from Lancome, just in time for spring. This one seems quite apt for the season, with the springy hues of lilac.

The all-over base shade is a pale white with a subtle pink-lilac iridescence; it seems more like a shimmer overlay. The lid shade is a brightened lilac purple with pinky undertones–such a pretty shade. The crease shade is a gray-cast purple with a blue-gray undretone and copper-gold shimmer. The highlighter shade is a soft pink-lilac with a shimmered finish. The liner shade is a deep blue-violet with soft blue micro-shimmer, which applies much better wet than dry.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of these eyeshadows is very soft and silky, but all but the lid shade were sheerer than I’d like. The all-over base shade was the sheerest, while the highlighter shade seemed a touch sheer but worked out pigmentation-wise when worn on the lid–except it suffered from some fall out.

I’m disappointed in the quantity provided in the palette, though. Lancome’s Color Design Quads come in at 0.16 oz. and their Color Design Eyeshadow singles at 0.0458 oz., which works out to be $263/oz. and $371/oz. respectively. This palette is $340/oz., which makes it more expensive ($48 vs. $42) with less product (0.141 oz. vs. 0.16 oz) than the Color Design Quads.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: The palette is cooler in tone, but I think the brightness of the lid color along with the pink tones of the highlighter shade, make it appropriate for warmer skin tones, too.  I’d recommend this for light to medium skin tones, but darker skin tones may find some shades a little too sheer.

where to buy: Sephora

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Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Lancome Teal Fury Color Design Palette
Lancome Teal Fury Color Design Palette

Lancome Color Design Shadow & Liner Palette: Teal Fury

Lancome Teal Fury Color Design Palette ($48.00 for 0.141 oz.) is a mix of blues and teals. This is the second palette I tested out of Lancome’s ten new palettes, where each includes five shades which are then labeled.

The all-over base shade is a pink-tinged white with a bright, frosted finish, and it is nicely pigmented. The lid color is a medium teal with a silvered-white sheen and shimmer; it has good color pay off but could stand for a touch more intensity in the base color. The crease color is a dusty, grayish teal with a near matte finish, but unfortunately, the color pay off leaves something to be desired. The highlighter shade is a brightened medium blue with a frost-metallic finish, and it has beautiful pigmentation. The liner shade is a charcoal blue-black with soft, silver shimmer, though it looks less blue when applied.

my thoughts on the formula: Both the all-over base and highlighter shades have smooth, silky textures with excellent pigmentation. The crease shade is a naturally muted color but that doesn’t mean I should need to pile it on to get a decent swatch of it! As before, I was able to use the shimmery shades both wet and dry, along with the liner shade.

I’m disappointed in the quantity provided in the palette, though. Lancome’s Color Design Quads come in at 0.16 oz. and their Color Design Eyeshadow singles at 0.0458 oz., which works out to be $263/oz. and $371/oz. respectively. This palette is $340/oz., which makes it more expensive ($48 vs. $42) with less product (0.141 oz. vs. 0.16 oz) than the Color Design Quads.

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  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: I love the blue in this palette, and I think the dusty blue-teal is gorgeous in theory but could use a lot more intensity in real life.  I felt like I had to really layer and pile it on just to get it to show up for a swatch.  I think this palette has a nice mix of colors, though the pink-tinged all-over base seems a little out of place.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Milani Black Cherry Lipstick
Milani Black Cherry Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Milani Black Cherry Lipstick

Milani Black Cherry Lipstick ($4.99 for 0.14 oz.) is a blackened berry-red with nearly opaque color–it did not apply quite as nicely as other Milani shades. It looks a little dry, though it didn’t feel that way, and the color seemed to get drawn into my lip lines.

my thoughts on the formula: Milani’s Color Perfect Lipstick is a nice formula that delivers opaque color and are usually creamy, though Black Cherry seemed rather dry and seemed to settle into lip lines. They do have a rather a synthetic/waxy scent, though, which may be too much for those with sensitive sniffers. I typically get three to four hours of wear on average with this formula.

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  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: It’s not my favorite Milani, just because the texture isn’t the same as other shades.  It’s not as creamy and doesn’t look as flattering when worn.

where to buy: Milani

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