Friday, February 11th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Romance Eyeshadow Duo
Dolce & Gabbana Romance Eyeshadow Duo

Dolce & Gabbana Secret Garden: Romance

Dolce & Gabbana Romance Eyeshadow Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.) is new for spring, part of Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Garden collection, which should make its way to Saks within the next couple of weeks. Romance includes a bright silvery white with a frosted, metallic sheen and a dirty gray with a satin finish. The silvery white works well both dry and wet, though the metallic sheen is more noticeable when it is used wet. The gray shade is best used wet, because it went on a little patchy when applied dry.

my thoughts on the formula: Dolce & Gabbana’s Eyeshadows are inconsistent, which is troublesome–you just never know if you’re going to get! Usually, they have a really silky smooth texture, but often, they do not perform so well when applied. I’ve found that using them wet often makes them more manageable (sometimes fantastic!).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

final thoughts: Both eyeshadows are okay–the gray shade being on the lower end, the silver shade being on the higher end. The duo does make for a quick and easy smoky eye, though, and I love that Dolce & Gabbana paired a matte shade with a frostier one.

where to buy: Saks, February 2011

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio
NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio

NARS Spring 2011: Calanque

NARS Calanque Eyeshadow Trio ($45.00 for 0.17 oz.) is described as a mix of gold infused platinum with silver flecks, light matte caramel, and rich antique bronze infused with gold. NARS does an admirable job describing their shades, because the official descriptions are quite apt.

The largest shade is a part-shimmer, part-glitter sheer overlay of a pale white-gold color. In all honesty, I do not like it at all–it applies unevenly, makes a mess, and the “silver flecks” aka silver glitter get everywhere. To make this shade manageable, try using it over a sticky base and wet, because dry, it proves to have far more fall out than it is worth. It’s more of a layering shade, too, because there isn’t much of a base color so much as a dusting of shimmer and glitter.

In the middle, there is a soft beige-tan with a subtle sheen; it’s not exactly matte–seems more like a satin to me, because of the sateen finish. This shade had a beautiful finish, very smooth and silky, with nice color pay off, too. The thinnest shade is a dark bronze brown with soft bronze shimmer. It has a softened frost sheen; it’s not a true frost finish, but it is a little more than a satin.

my thoughts on the formula: NARS states that you can use their eyeshadows wet or dry, though. The texture is soft, smooth, and very blendable, with the colors being nicely pigmented more often than not.   Here, two of the three shades are true to the NARS formula, but the largest and lightest shade is more difficult to work with than one would expect.  A NARS Eyeshadow Duo contains 0.14 oz. of product and retails for $32, which makes the trio more per ounce (but a better value than the single eyeshadows).

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

final thoughts: Given that the largest shade is also the most difficult one to work with, I’m hard-pressed to recommend this trio, because I only think two shades are worth having.  The amount of glitter fall out from the lightest shade is quite bothersome.

where to buy: NARS

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

NYX Sparkling Beige Round Lipstick
NYX Sparkling Beige Round Lipstick

All That Glitters is Not Always Gold

NYX Sparkling Beige Diamond Sparkle Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a rose-tinged amber brown with lots of copper shimmer and micro-glitter. It is kind of opaque, but it doesn’t apply evenly, so it ends up looking patchy in some places but totally opaque in others. This one was a bummer, because it wasn’t as creamy as NYX lipsticks typically are, and the overall result was less impressive.

my thoughts on the formula: NYX Diamond Sparkle lipsticks are super, super shimmering/glittery (I think the formula’s name should give that away!).  Sometimes they’re opaque, but sometimes, in this instance, they aren’t quite.  Texture can be a little gritty.  However, the scent of them can run from waxy to synthetic sweetness (neither are particularly pleasant)–and sometimes they smell like nothing at all. I typically get two to three hours of wear.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

final thoughts: It just depends what your expectations are; I think it can be a fun layering shade for the price tag, but it’s not the same quality as other NYX lipsticks.

where to buy: NYX

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer
Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011: Platinum

Dolce & Gabbana Platinum Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a pale, metallic pewter-gold that’s almost neutral with silver shimmer strewn through the metallic base.  I only needed two coats to get opaque color coverage, but as is common in metallic finished polishes, Platinum does show some.  It was easier to even out the brush strokes, though, so it has more of a brushed metal finish.  It is warmer than MAC Very Important Platinum, but it has just as many brush strokes.  Dolce & Gabbana’s formula isn’t as thick nor as troublesome, though, which is a definite plus.  Similarly, Dior Timeless Gold is even warmer and has a less metallic finish (it is more like a part glitter, part metallic finish).

my thoughts on the formula: I found the applicator a bit bothersome, as the brush itself is larger and thicker than average; it allows quite a bit of the lacquer to absorb into the brush, so it’s easy to overdo it if you’re not especially careful. If you have very narrow nail beds, you may also find the brush too wide to use with ease. The lacquer wore just fine with Zoya’s Color Lock System with tip wear but no chips after a week.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

final thoughts: As long as you don’t mind brush strokes, I think it’s a gorgeous shade.  If you have really small nail beds, you may find the brush more difficult to work with.  The formula went on smoothly, evenly, and only required two coats for opaque color coverage.

where to buy: Saks, February 2011

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Bon Bon Lipgloss
Dolce & Gabbana Bon Bon Lip Gloss

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011: Bon Bon

Dolce & Gabbana Bon Bon Lip Gloss ($29.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a pale, milky cotton candy pink with ultra-fine shimmer. It’s semi-opaque, and with its creamier finish, it does settle into lip lines, which I did find was noticeable even from afar. I would recommend wearing a light pink or nude lipstick underneath to minimize the lip gloss settling into the lines.

my thoughts on the formula: Dolce & Gabbana Lip Glosses are moisturizing, and they fade really well when they wear away. I only get about two to three hours of wear (this one just under four), which is a little below average for me. These glosses are heavily rose-scented but don’t seem to have any taste. With just 0.13 oz. in a tube (compared to 0.20 oz. for other high-end brands like Chanel, Guerlain, and YSL), these are pricey.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This pink should suit light to medium skin tones, both cool and warm, because it doesn’t have strong cool undertones.  It may wash out deeper skin tones, though.  I also want to reiterate that Dolce & Gabbana glosses have a very strong rose scent.

where to buy: Saks, February 2011

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Smashbox Endless Kiss Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss
Smashbox Endless Kiss Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss

Smashbox Spring 2011: Endless Kiss

Smashbox In Bloom Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a pale coral-nude with subtle gold shimmer. On lips, it’s virtually colorless, while it does add a glossy shine. This is a new and limited edition shade from Smashbox’s spring collection. This gloss has an angled doe-foot applicator that’s thin and pointed, which makes it easier to maneuver on thinner lips.

my thoughts on the formula: It’s a thicker, nearly non-sticky but it has this faint tackiness, along with a subtle, spiced vanilla scent. I have not found the majority of the range to have much pigmentation, so the differences between each gloss is minimal. They last four hours on me, which is shy of the six they’re proposed to last. My concern with these glosses in the amount you get — a mere 0.10 oz. Most glosses are more like 0.20 oz.  They do have SPF 15 in them, which is a nice touch.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: From what I’ve read and seen, these are not meant to deliver a lot of color but are more about high shine with longer-lasting results.

where to buy: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →