Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Chanel Contraste Duos

Those Double Cs Do It Again!

Chanel Ombres Contraste Duos (Eyeshadow Duos) ($42.00 for 0.09 oz.) each include a shimmering, light creamy powder shade that is designed to be worn alone or as a base, and then a darker shade with a matte finish to pack on the color. Each compact includes a mirror, sponge-tipped applicator, and a brush-tipped applicator.

Even though Chanel says one side is creamier than the other, I really didn’t find the texture to vary much between the two shades. They both felt smooth as silky, buttery, and incredibly finely-milled as Chanel eyeshadows are known to be. When I saw the duos, they reminded me of oversized quad eyeshadows–they have the same dome and shape, but they’re a bit larger than the quad eyeshadows.

I didn’t experience any fall out or fading with these shadows when used over a regular eyeshadow base (NARS, if you’re curious). These are classic colors–it’s clear by the shades chosen that this isn’t meant to be a daring, avant garde kind of collection or look; they’re suitable across the gamut of skin tones, easy to wear, and fit into most people’s lives. If you want something subtler, use more of the light shade; if you want a smokier look, go heavier with the darker shade. Each duo complements itself and can easily be worn on its own without having to look for other eyeshadows to pair it with (though that works, too!).

  • Berry-Rose (50) contains a shimmering, light cotton candy pink and a darker, eggplanty burgundy with a matte finish. Both shades were really smooth and buttery.
  • Gris-Subtil (10) has a shimmering silvered gray and matte charcoal gray. Gris is definitely a shade that looks better applied than just swatched–almost looks dusty when swatched.
  • Khaki-Clair (60) has a shimmering white with very subtle yellow undertones and a matte grayish olive green–I don’t know if I’d really call it olive green, because it’s very subtle. The darker shade was the most pigmented color out of the four duos I tried.
  • Misty Soft (40) contains a smoked out plum with subtle red undertones but an overall rather cool, and it’s complemented by silver-shimmered mauve. The lighter mauve shade reminded me of MAC’s Mauvement pigment a bit without the subtle gold sparkle.

I had a bit of sticker-shock with these, because a full-sized quad is $59, and it’s been a long time since I’ve really taken a look at their Silky Eyeshadow Duos as well (which retail for $40/0.07 oz.). Whether for good or bad, the pricing isn’t much of a stretch after looking at the price/quantity of other high-end brands like Dior and YSL. It seems a little less than stellar, but ridiculously overpriced/undersized.

Overall, I like these. I don’t love, love, LOVE these, but I like them, and I think they’ll fit well for doing more sophisticated looks that are elegant and classy. If you’re more into bolder, brighter shades, the current color range is definitely not that.

There are two more duos available that aren’t reviewed in this post: Taupe-Delicat (20) and Bleur-Tendre (30).

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

RECOMMENDATION: With such a classic selection of shades, you may have similar colors in your stash already. If you’re just started to delve into the world of beauty and you’re a fan of Chanel, I think you’d like these.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Burberry Cameo Lipgloss
Burberry Cameo Lipgloss

Burberry Cameo (08) Lipgloss ($27.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is a beautiful shade of peachy-melon with soft golden shimmer and a nice level of glossy sheen.  It’s semi-opaque, so it delivers a healthy dosage of color to lips, but it doesn’t cover or mask your natural lip color.  Those with redder lips may find that this turns their lips a rather pretty shade of coral, because that natural redness will peek through but be lightened up by the gloss’ coloring.

Burberry’s gloss is non-sticky, not too thin or thick, and feels rather comfortable on lips.  It’s not drying, and it lasts three to four hours on me (on the longer end of gloss for me).  It does have Burberry’s floral scent, though I did not notice it lingering while I wore it, but if you tend to be sensitive to scents, particularly rose or floral ones, this might not be something to pick up scent-un-sniffed.

The packaging is right in line with the brand’s makeup range; the gunmetal, checked cap with a clear tube (so you can see the gloss color).  Burberry didn’t skimp on the product with 0.20 fl. oz., which is about average for designer brands or above average for high-end brands.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For a non-sticky gloss with medium color coverage, staying power, and a sophisticated shimmer, Burberry’s lipglosses nails all three.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

MAC Viva Glam Lipglass - Gaga and Cyndi
MAC Viva Glam Cyndi Lipglass

MAC Viva Glam Lipglass — Cyndi & Gaga

Coming at you on September 2nd, MAC will launch corresponding lipglasses to February’s roll out of Viva Glam Cyndi and Gaga Lipsticks. Like the lipsticks, the lipglasses are only around for a limited time (six months) — both the lipsticks and lipglasses will be available until February 2011.

Just like the same-named lipsticks, Cyndi is a coral with very subtle white micro-shimmer, while Gaga is a light pink with blue undertones and nearly imperceptible white micro-shimmer. Surprisingly, Gaga [lipglass] seems more wearable than its lipstick counterpart–it’s not as cool or blue toned, so its more flattering across skin tones.   Cyndi feels like there’s just a little less red to it–maybe a touch more coral, more orange, but certainly feels at least a smidgen brighter.  Both glosses are incredibly opaque for a gloss, which is nice–but they can, of course, be worn sheerly by simply using less.  It doesn’t take more than two or three swipes (depending on how big your lips are!) for a nice, opaque look.

When you’re looking for a lipstick/lipglass, Viva Glam is always a good way to go!

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Saturday, August 21st, 2010

theBalm To the Rescue Lip Balm
theBalm To the Rescue Lip Balm

Lip Balm for the Love of Pugs

TheBalm theBalm to the Rescue ($16.00 for 0.25 oz.) is a large, mirrored compact full of lip balm.  It’s a vegan lip gloss, which can sometimes be difficult to find–it uses carnauba wax and candelilla wax rather than beeswax to get its waxy base.  To the Rescue also contains both shea butter and various other oils (like jojoba and castord).  It does have a very slight minty scent and tingle (but very, very subtle) from the inclusion of peppermint oil.  There are also some exfoliating crystals, but I honestly couldn’t tell you I felt any of those nor that my lips were any more or less exfoliating post-use.

It’s also a product with a cause:  all net proceeds from To the Rescue go to Pug Rescue (note the pug on the cover of the packaging!).  I’m someone who advocates donating year-round, for whatever causes that are close to your heart, and not solely through purchasing products (especially since so many only donate a percentage)–unless you need or want the product, then it’s a nice bonus to have at least some of it go towards a cause.

IngredientsSimmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Esters, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter), Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Ricinus communis (Castor) Seed Oil. Copernicia cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Euphorbia cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Cannabis sativa Seed Oil, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Olea europaea (Olive) Oil, Mentha piperita (Peppermint) Oil.

Overall, it’s a nice lip balm that does a good job of keeping my lips moisturized for a few hours.  It’s very thin, and if you’re not a fan of goopier, slicker or jelly-like kind of balms, this might be more up your alley.  The product size is great, though the price tag is a bit steep–I’ve found better balms at lower price points (Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm), but the compact is convenient (nice, full-size mirror), and of course, the donation of net proceeds is also nice.  I look at this as a product that lets me get my beauty fix while knowing that whatever I’m paying above your average lip balm is probably going to the cause.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: For mild to decently chapped and cracked lips, this balm could prove to be quite the champ to give you a smooth, extra kissable pucker.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Friday, August 20th, 2010


Urban Decay S&M Eyeshadow

Permanent Play:  Urban Decay S&M Shadow

Urban Decay S&M Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is smooth, buttery shade of silvered gray with a part frost, part metallic finish. It’s nicely pigmented, and it applies incredibly evenly with little work. It’s the type of shade that works well for a very classic smoky eye. I also like to pair it with navies and bright blues for something a little unexpected.  S&M is part of Urban Decay’s permanent line-up of eyeshadows, so it’s available year-round as a single shadow.  (If you’re not much of a pot person, Urban Decay shadows are as easily depotted as MAC and will fit into MAC palettes as well.)

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in need of a metallic silver-gray, S&M might be a shade for you.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow
Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow

Burberry Almond (06) Eyeshadow ($29.00 for 0.088 oz.) is a soft, medium brown with just a touch of warmer, more golden undertones, but very subtly so.  This would make a great contouring shade for those with fairer, paler skin, and it would work well as an all over color on medium to medium-dark skin tones.  It pairs well with Trench for a quick neutral eye.

The texture is soft and smooth–buttery and feels like silk.  It adheres well to the lid, over a base or without, though I haven’t worn it sans a base for twelve hours or anything (I always prefer a base–it feels like I’m committing a cardinal sin otherwise!).  It’s pigmented but it’s a buildable shade–you can sheer it out with ease for a very soft look or apply in layers for something deeper.  Burberry eyeshadows uncomplicate makeup; it’s hard to go wrong if you use their shadows.  I also like the amount you get for the price tag; a little more than the usual high-end shadow.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you like subtler color and enjoy soft, buttery textures, you may like Burberry eyeshadow.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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