Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Aveda Brushes
Aveda Flax Sticks Daily Effects Brush Set

Quick Review: Aveda Flax Sticks Daily Effects Brush Set

Aveda Flax Sticks Daily Effects Brush Set ($65.00) includes a Medium Eye Color Brush (#2), Brow & Lash Brush (#7), and Blush Brush (#9). The handles are made of 30% natural flax fiber and 70% polypropylene (90% is post-consumer recycled resin). The bristles are 100% taklon, which means they are synthetic and not made out of animal hair.

The bristles on all three are incredibly soft; no scratchiness whatsoever, and the blush brush was extremely dense. I liked the Eye Color Brush the most, because it picked up a good amount of color without puffing it everywhere. The blush brush could have been a touch firmer, but otherwise worked well for me. I have not tested these brushes for longevity or put them through extensive washing/using tests, though, so I cannot comment on long-term conditions.

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: As set, it’s a nice value, because you’re getting three high-end brushes for about $20 a pop (while the face brush would certainly be more valuable).  They’re soft, seem sturdy, and didn’t shed.

AVAILABILITY: Aveda

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Maybelline Silver Starlet Eye Studio Baked Eyeshadow
Maybelline Silver Starlet Eye Studio Baked Eyeshadow

Quick Review: Maybelline Silver Starlet Baked Eyeshadow

Maybelline Silver Starlet Baked Eyeshadow Duo ($7.29 for 0.09 oz.) is a baked eyeshadow (similar to MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows), and one side is solid while the other is marbled. When swatched, the product works amazing whether wet or dry–the solid side is a steely blue with frosty, silver sheen; the marbled side a neutral champagne pink with a frosted sheen.  The blue shade is actually similar to the blue from MAC’s Sea & Sky Duo.

It has a smooth texture, high frost finish, and both shades were incredibly pigmented.  In the past, I’ve found that baked eyeshadows often must be used wet in order to achieve good color pay off, but these worked well dry, too.  I did have the ever slightly noticeable fading after eight hours of wear with Maybelline’s Baked Eyeshadow Duos, but it was very slight.

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Maybelline has several other variations on their duos, and based on this one, these might be a great alternative to higher-end baked eyeshadows like MAC’s Mineralize Eyeshadows–perhaps not necessarily exact dupes in terms of colors but the product type is quite similar.

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

L'Oreal Brown Extra Intense Eyeliner
L’Oreal Brown Extra Intense Eyeliner

Quick Reviews: L’Oreal Brown Extra Intense Eyeliner

L’Oreal Brown (797) Extra Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner ($8.49 for 0.03 oz.) is a dark neutral brown with a creamy, semi-matte finish. It’s easy to work with, and it glides on smoothly on the lid and lash line. It doesn’t drag, pull, or tug, and it deposits color evenly and doesn’t need layers to go opaque.

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This is one of the better eyeliners I’ve discovered at drugstores — at the price tag, I’d recommend waiting for them to go on sale!

AVAILABILITY: Drugstore.com

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Guerlain Brun Satin Kiss Kiss Strass
Guerlain Brun Satin Kiss Kiss Strass

Quick Reviews: Guerlain Brun Satin Kiss Kiss Strass

Guerlain Brun Satin (343) Kiss Kiss Strass ($31.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a semi-sheer rose-tinged brown with multi-colored shimmer-glitter. Kiss Kiss Strass comes in typical Guerlain packaging, except it comes in silver casing rather than the gold casing of Kiss Kiss Strass. The lipstick still has the traditional sweetened rosy scent of Guerlain lip products, and it’s not quite as subtle as the Rouge G line, though not as heavy as the Kiss Kiss range either. Kiss Kiss Strass has this really shimmery, glittering-water type of effect on lips and doesn’t feel chunky despite all that shimmer. It is smooth, soft, and doesn’t suck the moisture from your lips.

Welcome to Swatch-all-idays! To start 2011 off on the right foot (or post, as it may be!), Temptalia is going through a backlog of products we have photographed, swatched, and often tested but in a slightly different manner. Quick reviews may be partially incomplete, such as a blush may only be swatched on the arm rather than shown on the face. It is our hope that what we are able to provide is still helpful!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Fans of Guerlain that love a little extra dosage of shimmer will likely enjoy Kiss Kiss Strass!

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010


Guerlain Spring 2011: Rue de Rivoli

Guerlain Rue de Rivoli Eyeshadow Palette ($84.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a palette that so perfectly embodies the feeling of spring from the textures to the colors themselves. The palette includes six eyeshadows (one which can double as an eyeliner): a soft, cool-toned, taupe brown with a matte finish; bright, frosted gold-tinged white; fuchsia pink with a pearly finish; soft, semi-sheer gray lilac; iridescent white pink and gold; and dark, grayish taupe with plum.

The gray lilac was the only shade that went on a bit sheer for me–it’s a little barely there and could use a boost in pigmentation (just because I couldn’t layer it on any more than what’s shown), but the other four shades had excellent pigmentation. The last shade, which is the grayish taupe with plum, is a difficult color to describe, because it is multi-faceted. It’s a charcoal gray, but then wait, there is some tuape, but is it taupe or is it mauve or maybe plum? This is the shade that can also be used as an eyeliner, too. These were silky smooth, applied beautifully and evenly, and there is a nice mix of matte, satin, and frost finishes.

I’m a fan of Guerlain overall, but when they released six of these palettes during fall, I was skeptical, and after trying two variations (Rue de Francs Bourgeois and 2 Place Vendome), I wasn’t sold. Price aside, the texture didn’t seem as fine or as soft as the brand’s other eyeshadows (singles, duos, and quads). Don’t get me wrong–they are nice eyeshadows, but I thought their other variations were better. I’m extremely pleased with this one; it really redeemed these palettes in my eyes!

The price tag is hefty, though the product is surely stunning from packaging to the composition of the colors–it’s all impeccably laid out. They even include a bristle-based dual-ended brush inside of it, which is an upgrade from the sponge-tipped applicators that dominate eyeshadow palettes (from low- to high-end). The filigree patterning on the cover of the palette is elegant and well-done, while the full-sized mirror is convenient but also covers the eyeshadows and keeps them protected. It’s a very sturdy palette, though the downside is the metal casing will show some fingerprints.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION: I think Guerlain fans will enjoy this, especially if they liked fall’s palettes (I think this is even better than the two I tried, so!). The palette leans on the cooler side, but these kind of shades work well on warmer skin, too.

AVAILABILITY: January 2011

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Sunday, December 19th, 2010

MAC Cream Colour Bases
MAC Cream Colour Bases: Madly Magenta, Movie Star Red, Tickle Me Pink, Virgin Isle

MAC Stylishly Yours: Cream Colour Bases

MAC Cream Colour Bases ($16.50 for 0.12 oz.) are multi-purpose cream-based colors. Stylishly Yours includes two permanent (but PRO) shades: Madly Magenta (vivid pinkish purple) and Virgin Isle (vivid bright coral); and two limited edition shades: Movie Star Red (medium toned blue-red) and Tickle Me Pink (poppy creamy bright pink).

THESE ARE NOT SAFE FOR USE ON THE EYES. Each of these came with a safety insert, and I’m going to retype it in full, because it’s a good reference for other Cream Colour Base shades, too.  (I italicized the four shades from this launch.)

The following shades are not for use in the eye area: Bamboo, Cooled Pink, Devilish Orange, Fabulush, Flaming Fuchsia, Flighty, Fuchsia Perfect, Full Fuchsia, Improper Copper, Madly Magenta, Movie Star Red, Orange Alarm, Pink Shock, Plumed Violet, Premeditated, Reel Red, Rich Coral, Rich Spice, Soft Rose, Tickle Me Pink, Vintage Rose, and Virgin Isle.

The following shades are not for use in the lip area: Brown, Dusk, Fawntastic, Greensmoke, Mid-tone Sepia, Pink, Plumed Violet, Slick, Vintage Rose, and White.

  • Madly Magenta is a cool-toned fuchsia purple with a glossy sheen and nearly opaque color coverage.  This is a permanent shade at PRO stores.  It is similar to Love Forever and Dolce & Gabbana’s Violet.
  • Movie Star Red is a medium-dark pinky-red with opaque color coverage.  This is a limited edition shade.  It is a darker version of Gesina.
  • Tickle Me Pink is a pale pink with opaque color.  It’s a little milky, but it’s not too pale, though it is a rather light pink (and I don’t love it on me personally).  This is a limited edition shade.  It is a cooler, pinker version of Unlimited.  It’s a warmer, pinker version of Viva Glam Gaga and Snob.
  • Virgin Isle is a softened orange with a hint of coral, and it has opaque color coverage.  This is a permanent shade at PRO stores.  It is a lighter version of Vegas Volt.

The good news is that all of these are lip safe, because they all make for lovely lip colors as well as blushers.  Even though they are not safe for the eyes, I will address general Cream Colour Base wear on the eyes:  they will crease if worn alone, but if worn over a good eyeshadow primer or set with powder eyeshadows, they hold up quite well.  CCBs have an emollient texture that’s more gel-like than cream-like.  All four of these are insanely pigmented; you will have no trouble getting good pay off whether you use it as a blusher (go easy!) or as a lip color.

For blush application, I liked the 130 or the 188 for blush.  Just one push of the brush against the product yields plenty of product, so tread softly when applying any of these four as a blusher.  You can always go back for more, but you should not need much!  I like to use a stippling brush to pick up the color then lightly stipple on the apple of the cheek once and move a centimeter or so outwards and stipple again–then blend with small, firm circles.  I like to use my foundation brush (which still has some foundation on it, as I use liquid) to buff gently around the edges of the blush for a finished look.

For lips, I prefer to take a clean metal spatula (MAC recently launched one) to take out some product and then pat on with my finger or you could use a lip brush for more precision.  These shades were surprisingly emollient and comfortable to wear; they didn’t feel dry or tight at all, and they will stain if left on for longer than a few minutes!  You can also pat a little on and then finish with clear gloss or balm for more of a stained lip look.

P.S. — In the full face photo, on eyes, I wore Chilled on Ice as a base, Retrospeck and Caviar Dreams on top with Dark Diversion to line (upper lash line) and I Get No Kick (lower lash line), and then New Hue on lashes.  Cheeks and lips are indicated below the photo (it is the CCB worn both on cheeks and lips).

MAC Stylishly Yours Collection is a limited edition launch (official information and photos here) that is set to launch in-stores on December 26th in North America, January 2011 for international MAC locations. The approximate launch date for online is December 24th.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: They work well whether you wear them as a cream blush or on the lips, so if you see yourself using them in those capacities, I definitely think they are worth checking out.

AVAILABILITY: MAC Cosmetics on December 26th (U.S. stores), January 2011 (International)

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