Monday, May 9th, 2011

NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo
NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Summer 2011:  Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo

NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo ($33.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “metallic white silver sheen and metallic gold.” It’s a duo of a bright snow white with a metallic sheen that’s not quite 100% opaque and a darkened, metallic bronzed gold, which applies smoothly and has nice color payoff. It’s kind of like a cooler-toned version of Key Largo. The white seems similar in color to the white from the Cleo duo, but the one in Exotic Dance has a more metallic finish.

The texture of the darker shade is lovely–very smooth, soft, and applies evenly.  The lighter white shade has a few sheerer patches when applied and needs to be patted on for more even application.  NARS’ eyeshadows are supposed to be long-wearing and crease-resistant.  When I wear them alone, I tend to get around seven to eight hours of wear before there is a faint amount of creasing, so it’s pretty good and isn’t a huge mess, but I’d recommend a primer for all-day wear (especially for those with oilier lids).   As far as NARS eyeshadows go, their duos are your best bang for your buck. Most individual eyeshadows from high-end brands are 0.05 oz. on average, while these almost equal out to three of those for $33.

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NARS Exotic Dance Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B-
This is a duo that will work well by itself; you can easily create various gradients of color with this pairing of really light and medium-dark. It's on the cooler side, but the bronzy gold shade is certainly not devoid of warmth entirely.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, May 6th, 2011

MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack
MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack

MAC Surf Baby: Summer Stash

MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack ($32.50 for 0.40 oz.) comes with two stacks of colors, with each stack having two shades. The Summer Stash stack’s shades are described as “light pink champagne, light white pearl, light violet with silver pearl, brown bronze with gold pearl.” The individual colors do not have shade names, just the stack itself.

  • The first shade I swatched is a pinky plum–it’s purple and yet it’s pink. Just a touch a sheer. It reminded me of Plum Dressing with a purpler base.
  • Next, I swatched a rich, decadent chocolate brown with a bronzy shimmer and metallic finish. It’s a darker, more lush version of Chocolate Brown pigment; richer, deeper than Bronze eyeshadow.
  • The third shade is a bright white-beige with a metallic finish–also a little sheer. It’s similar to Phloof! but more frost in the finish.
  • Finally, the last shade is a gilded champagne beige with a bright metallic finish. It’s a slightly pinked, more metallic version of Sunnydaze. It’s a little less pink than Naked Lunch.

Each stack is about 2.5x the size of a regular, full-sized pigment–essentially, the value here is about $52 worth of product. The texture of these is chunkier than pigments, though they don’t apply that way. For the most part, they have a tendency to stick together, which is why I can see the “crushed metal” name coming from, and obviously, the finishes are very strong frosts/metallics (also, expected, from the name). The gold shade was the chunkiest, unusually so (it looks nothing like the previous stacks I’ve had nor any of the ones from this launch)–made it look like little nuggets of gold goodness!

These are best used over a slightly tacky base (like MAC Mixing Medium) or wet, because they are more like a loose color than a pressed one, but the pigment itself does bind well over an eyeshadow base or regular eyeshadow without having to be used wet, because as you press the product on, it doesn’t poof everywhere. These adhere well, and for all intents and purposes, I find them very much like MAC Pigments. When applied wet, they adhere really well without a base; when applied dry, you really have to press and ensure it’s been smoothed out to wear it alone without a base.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Summer Stash Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack Swatches, Photos, Reviews

B+
This stack had two shades that were a little sheer, so the rating differs from the Surf the Ocean stack slightly. These are more wearable shades, and I think the colors coordinate better together here than in the other stack, too. Summer Stash also has a warmer leaning, but it's not too warm.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, May 5th, 2011


Chanel Monte Carlo Rouge Coco Shine

Chanel Monte Carlo Rouge Coco Shine

Chanel Monte Carlo Rouge Coco Shine ($32.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a semi-sheer, pinked red with subtle pink shimmer. The Rouge Coco formula is designed to be a lightweight lipstick with high shine and a moisturizing base. Based on the description of the color range, it is expected to be sheerer rather than opaque.  (If you’re looking for something more opaque, Rouge Allures will be more up your alley.)

It’s a lightweight, nearly scent-free (I couldn’t distinguish what it was, but it was very faint), and has an emollient base. It applies evenly and smoothly, because it has that balm-like quality. Unfortunately, it only lasts two to three hours on me, but I would say it is on the moisturizing side, though not as moisturizing as my favorite lip balms.

I do wish these were the same size as other lipsticks in Chanel’s line (like 0.12 oz.), because of the emollient base, it’s easy to over-apply the product–and the need for reapplication being every couple of hours means you’ll go through a tube much faster than other lipsticks in Chanel’s range.

The Glossover

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product

Monte Carlo

B+
Monte Carlo is much more in line with what I expected based on Chanel's description - soft but noticeable color with translucence and shine. The color is soft and natural but still visible enough that it enhances the natural lip color across skin tones.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


NARS Club Mix Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) was a new product, released for spring, as a twist on NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. It’s a glossy, moisturizing jumbo-sized pencil available in six “glazed” shades. The range includes: Baroque (raspberry sorbet), Club Mix (sheer grape), Frivolous (iridescent seashell pink), Happy Days (pink coral infused with gold shimmer), abd Hopi (honey beige), and New Lover (gold infused strawberry pink).

  • Baroque is a dark, pink-tinged red with silver and pink shimmer. It’s nearly opaque on lips.
  • Club Mix is a berry plum with soft pink and burgundy with a slight metallic finish. It’s semi-sheer to semi-opaque on lips with a glossy shine.
  • Frivolous is a sheer pink nude with soft gold shimmer that applies semi-sheer to semi-opaque. For me, it’s a rather my-lips-but-better shade.
  • Happy Days is a sheer coral-red with coppery gold shimmer that gives medium color coverage.
  • Hopi is a darkened, coppered tan with gold and copper shimmer. It is almost semi-opaque on lips, but you can still see my lip freckle.
  • New Lover is a dark, cool-toned pink with iridescent pink-peach shimmer. Like Hopi, it is almost semi-opaque in color coverage.

It’s hard to determine just what kind of color coverage to expect from these, because it seems to range from semi-sheer to semi-opaque overall, with Baroque being the most opaque and Frivolous being the sheerest. Given NARS’ gloss range and lipgloss in general, they are typically not opaque, so I think the pigmentation level in these is good and above average.

The finishes of each is a glossy enough to be a gloss but the thin texture of the pencil won’t give lips as full of a look as thicker lip gloss does. These are a great alternative to those who want the shine of the gloss but the texture of a lip balm.

These are smooth and glide on effortlessly, and the coverage is fairly even without having to work at it. They also deposit color well without requiring lots of layers to achieve the results seen in swatches. I get about three hours of wear with these, which is about average. I detected no scent or taste, and the texture of these is not at all tacky.

My concern with these lip pencils is how soft the pencil is–though it lends to easier application, these are so soft that they don’t do well if the temperature is 70 degrees or higher and end up rather melty. Jumbo-sized pencils like these can waste product when sharpened, and the softness of the pencil seems to exacerbate that problem.

Iwish NARS had gone with twist-up packaging, like Clinique, which would make these more convenient (no sharpening required) and eliminate the waste. The amount of waste does seem to vary from sharpener to sharpener, and I usually reach for Urban Decay’s Grindhouse, which gives me minimized waste, but there is still some.

The Glossover

product

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If the packaging didn't waste product every time you sharpened it (or conversely, if they gave you a lot more product!), I'd love these more (they'd be rated a B+ if packaging was fine!). The color range is really workable and wearable across skin tones, and I can see New Lover being a favorite.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Milani Teal the Truth Baked Eyeshadow
Milani Teal the Truth Baked Eyeshadow

Milani Baked Metallic Eyeshadow: Teal the Truth

Milani Teal the Truth Baked Metallic Eyeshadow ($7.49 for 0.05 oz.) is a medium-dark teal with soft bluish-teal shimmer.  This is a teal that leans bluer, but it’s really well balanced on the edge of green and blue.  In some light, it almost looks like there is more of an aqua color to it, but in other light, it seems bluer.  For a color that is, essentially, just teal, it is more nuanced than it appears.  It applied better wet than dry, as it applied smoother and the color was denser and more opaque.

I do wish they’d ditch the sponge/brush applicator, though, because the bristles are splayed and scratchy, while the sponge is thin and surprisingly scratchy. I did like the switch to a black interior, over the champagne gold from the Runway Eyeshadows. The lid is also quite secure, and I had to pry it open with my nails.

The Glossover

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product

Teal the Truth

B+
It's a particularly gorgeous and well-made shade when used wet, but when used dry, there are some pigmentation issues (and resulting uneven color) that resulted in a lower score.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, April 30th, 2011


MAC Packed to Go: Warm Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Packed to Go: Warm Smokey Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Packed to Go Warm Smokey Eyeshadow Palette ($38.00 for 0.19 oz.) includes: Shroom (soft beige with shimmer), Naked Lunch (minimal pink with shimmer), Tempting (sinfully rich coco), Greensmoke (tarnished olive), Stormy Love (dirty brown with green frost), and Showstopper (deep blackened brown). Stormy Love is the only new and exclusive shade here, while Showstopper isn’t available in the permanent range, it has been released several times in the past (it is a favorite to be repromoted).

  • Shroom is a pale, soft beige with a soft frost finish. It’s a slightly sheered shade and popular highlighter color. This has a satin finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Naked Lunch is a pinked beige with a smooth, frost finish. This has a frost finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Tempting is a warm, golden bronze. This has a lustre finish and is part of the permanent range. It is one of the few lustres that I like, because it has a smooth texture and doesn’t have lots of glittery bits.
  • Greensmoke is a blackened olive green with subtle gold shimmer, and it is rather sheer and stiff here. This has a lustre finish and is part of the permanent range.
  • Stormy Love is a duochrome of teal and brown–it’s like a richer, tealer version of Blue Brown pigment… Club on steroids. This has a frost finish and is exclusive to this palette.
  • Showstopper is a dark, cool-toned brown. It has a matte finish, and it has been out in several other collections.

If you’re familiar with MAC’s holiday palettes from last year, the packaging is very similar–this palette is just all black and has no special design on the outside. The palette contains $55.10 worth of eyeshadow ($14.50 for 0.05 oz. for individual eyeshadows), so unlike the lip/face palette, this one is a much better deal.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Packed to Go Warm Smokey Eyeshadow Palette Review, Photos, Swatches

B+

For a "warm" palette, I actually felt the color selection was more neutral to slightly cool. Shades like Stormy Love and Showstopper are cool-toned, while Tempting is the only really warmed over shade here. It's a nice color selection, and it's a shame that a shade like Stormy Love is only available with four permanent shades and the ever-repromoted Showstopper! Greensmoke is the only dud in this palette.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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