Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Tom Ford Pink Dusk Lipstick
Tom Ford Pink Dusk Lipstick

Tom Ford for Lipstick — Test #1

Tom Ford Pink Dusk Lip Color ($45.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a subtle, toned-down pink with a little fleshy nude to it. I wouldn’t describe it so much as a nude as I would a pale pink. I’d say it’s a rather neutral pink, too — in some light, it looks almost cool-toned, but if you turn your head, it turns warmer. It is a well-pigmented lipstick that looks opaque on lips without very little layering required.

Tom Ford’s Private Blend Lip Color collection are all vanilla scented and come in a white and gold square tube. It’s a very clean and elegant look, and the tube itself is weighty, so it feels more luxurious when you hold it in your hand. I like that the usage of the white paneling means no fingerprints, since that is a common problem when brands use more metallic/metal kind of packaging. The top and bottom are both “gold,” with the top having “Tom Ford” imprinted on it. It does click shut and stay closed well.

The formula itself is creamy and lightweight–it doesn’t feel slippery or nearly as creamy as YSL Rouge Voluptes, nor does it glide on as smoothly and effortlessly as Guerlain Rouge Gs. Tom Ford’s color range is full with twelve different shades ranging from nudes to deep plums. The textures of Tom Ford’s lipsticks are semi-matte–they’re not shimmery at all–and so they have a smidgen of sheen/glisten but overall, a much flatter finish.

Where Tom Ford excels is in the wear of his lipstick. These last for hours and hours, and depending on what you’re eating/drinking, may last through those as well. Without eating/drinking, I can easily get four to five hours of wear. I made it through a meal with the majority of the color intact, though the color looked nearly matte after the meal. It doesn’t cling and feel drying from the get-go nor when you go to remove it at the end of the day. These wear very well, and the darker shades do stain, which will give them even more wear. For a light shade such as Pink Dusk to last for five hours, it’s definitely a feat.

I love the rich, opaque color Tom Ford’s lipstick delivers, and I like that they’re comfortable to wear without being drying. Pink Dusk seems like a nice, universal shade that’s neither bold nor barely there that can be worn by all skin tones.

I will say that $45 is rather steep, and even for a designer brand like Tom Ford, it’s not where I would have pegged the price to come in at. I wish that, despite the high price tag, they would beef up the quantity — maybe 0.12 or 0.14 oz. — rather than a mere 0.10 oz. One tube should last you awhile, since you don’t need much for a single application and reapplication should be less frequent than your average lipstick, but the slightly below average quantity for a slightly above average price tag is worth noting.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re in the mood for a decadent luxury and prefer your lip color on the more matte side, Tom Ford’s range of twelve might interest you.

AVAILABILITY: Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus

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Sunday, July 18th, 2010

China Glaze Awakening Collection
China Glaze Nail Lacquer: Zombie Zest, Mummy May I, Ick-a-bod-y

China Glaze Awakening Collection for Fall 2010

To get in you in the Halloween spirit, China Glaze’s Awakening Collection contains three spook-tacular shades–Zombie Zest (mossy green shade with gold flecks of migro glitter), Mummy May I (vampy, wine colored purple with flecks of hot pink glitter), and Ick-a-bod-y (dark green base chock full of orange glitter). Come September, expect to see the full display at Sally’s Beauty Supply Stores, while a four-piece set (which includes the three shades plus a Fast forward Top Coat) at all other beauty and nail supply outlets, stores, and e-tailers.

  • Zombie Zest is a yellow-tinged green brown base with darkened chartreuse and emerald green micro glitter. I found I needed three coats to get an opaque look. This shade felt smooth to the touch, similar to most other polishes, while the other two shades dried with a more obvious glitter feel.
  • Mummy May I is a deep black-purple base with fuchsia pink glitter. It took about two coats to go opaque, and the formula itself was on the thicker side but did not feel unmanageable. You will definitely need a thicker top coat so you don’t feel the glitter on the surface.
  • Ick-a-bod-y is a blackened brown color base with lots of bright orange and copper glitter. It is much, much more glittery than Mummy May I, which has sparse glitter. I needed two coats here, and again, it will dry gritty without a thick top coat on top.

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

RECOMMENDATION: As long as you don’t mind using a thicker top coat, Mummy May I and Ick-a-bod-y are both fun shades for Halloween. Zombie Zest is my favorite, just because it isn’t necessarily a pretty shade at first glance but looks quite lovely on.

AVAILABILITY: September 2010

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Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Guerlain Galante Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Galante Rouge G Lipstick

Ahh, Rouge G — I Still Love You

Guerlain Galante (09) Rouge G Lipstick ($46.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a slightly brown-tinged, plum-kissed pink. Sephora describes it as a “rosy plum,” and I see the plum, but I also feel like you can’t not say there’s some brown in there, too. It’s a shade that’s difficult to describe. Not that that really matters, because it’s such a beautiful shade.

Every time I apply one of the Rouge Gs, I am reminded of how amazing the formula is. It’s soft, smooth, and moisturizing while delivering rich color in a whole slew of universally flattering shades. Galante has this subtle light rose pink micro-shimmer that dazzles and shimmers in the light in such a lovely way. I love the way they feel and wear–I get anywhere from three to six hours, depending on the shade. With a shade like this, I usually hit the four or five hour mark.

Guerlain’s Rouge Gs are scented with fragrance, so if you’re sensitive to scents, you may want to stop by and give it a whiff before committing $46 to it. I don’t notice it when I wear it, only when I smell the tube itself, but I’m not bothered by it either way. I still have a secret wish that they made the Rouge G formula available without the fancy case (which is truly fancy with its substantial weighty feel and flip mirror), just so the price wouldn’t be as high.

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

RECOMMENDATION: This is one of my favorite shades of Rouge G — it’s so flattering without being neither bold nor subtle!

AVAILABILITY: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Urban Decay Eye Brushes
Lip, Shading, Liner, Blending, Crease, Multi-Tasker, Smudger, Shadow

Vegan, Eco, and Planet Friendly Brushes

For fall, Urban Decay released a whole slew of brand spankin’ new brushes (and as such, are now discounting their older brushes by 50%). There are seven eye brushes, one lip brush, and three face brushes. This post features the eye and lip brushes, and I’ll do a separate review for the face brushes (which I’m still testing). I’ve only had these for a little over a week, so I can’t speak on heavy duty usage and just how well they’ll serve you over a multi-year period.

All eleven new brushes are cruelty-free and vegan, as the bristles are made out of recycled PET plastic bottles. The handles are made out of recycled aluminum. Even the boxes these come in are from recycled egg crate material. However, each box is housed in a plastic sleeve–which I don’t know if it’s recycled or not, but even if it were so… it is unnecessary. The box is sturdy and large enough to contain that single brush and travel across country.

  • Shadow ($26.00) is a flat, domed shape brush designed for application of eyeshadow onto the lid. It’s dense and stiff enough to pat on color but flexible enough to use it to blend out color, too. I’d say it’s about 10mm across and 13mm in height.
  • Smudger ($26.00) is a stumpy dome-shaped brush used for smudging eyeshadow or liner on the lower lash line. It’s pretty soft (which is not always a feature of smudgers, because they are so short), and it’s stiff and densely-packed. It’s around 10mm across and 5mm in height.
  • Multi-Tasker ($24.00) is a tiny slightly dome-shaped brush (we’re talking around 6mm wide and 7mm tall). Because of its small size, I think those with smaller lids may have more use for this than others. Personally, I just know this is not a brush I’ll be using regularly–maybe as a lip brush. It’s quite small, so it’s not my favorite brush for concealer or primer.
  • Crease ($26.00) is a densely-packed rounded, dome-shaped brush. It’s rather thick–as crease brushes often are–but it holds its shape quite well. It’s not floppy or particularly fluffy, so it’s really good for depositing color into the crease as well as blending out crease colors. It’s about 18mm in height and 10mm at its widest point.
  • Blending ($26.00) is a very large, flat and dome-shaped brush. It’s very similar to the Shadow brush, except three times as large. It’s about 18mm in height and 15mm in width. I could see this being used for an all-over wash, but it’s like half the size of my eyelid, so it’s just too large for me to use for much else. It’s a bit too thick/dense to be a go-to for creamy products like eyeshadow bases (I think too much would get caught in the bristles).
  • Liner ($24.00) is a small angled brush. It’s my least favorite brush out of the bunch, because it’s considerably thick, particularly for an eyeliner brush. I’m used to using very thin angled brushes for eyeliner, and then just thin angled brushes for brows–this is thicker than my usual brow brush (MAC’s 266). It has a great angled edge, but it’s rather thick, so I found it difficult to achieve thin, precise liner. It’s about 7mm in height at its tallest point and 7mm wide and 2mm thick.
  • Shading ($26.00) is a medium-sized, circular brush with a slanted cut. It’s stiff without being sharp. It looks an awful like the Crease brush, except someone cut it half-way and at an angle. I don’t have any brushes like this one, and to be honest, I was pretty confused by it initially. I’ve used it primarily to apply my brow highlight. It can also be used to apply color to the crease or blend it out. It’s about 12mm in height at its tallest point and 8mm in diameter.
  • Lip ($20.00) is a skinny, long dome-shaped flat brush for applying your favorite lip color. I have no issues with the brush itself, but it’s a pain in the butt to use because of the packaging. It comes in a retractable container, so you push the brush up to get it out of its container, but as soon as you start applying your lip color, it starts moving back into its home. You have to make sure you keep a finger on the slider and apply pressure to keep it in position. It’s annoying but you can maneuver it so it’s functional.  I tried to put the cap on the end to keep it in place, but my cap didn’t stay on well.  It’s about 11mm tall and 5mm wide.

The brushes I liked most were the Crease and Shading brushes. I liked the Crease brush for its stiffness, though with my lid size, I could use something a little skinnier and more tapered, but it’s a nice brush even for me without those modifications. I also liked the Shading brush just because it’s an interesting brush that I don’t have yet so it’s giving me something new to work with.

I also really liked how each brush has its usage labeled on the end–it makes it easy to keep track of them, especially for those who are newer to brushes.  I’m always a sucker for gunmetal packaging, too, so I dig the look of the brushes as well.

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re trying to stay away from natural fiber brushes, Urban Decay has made a solid alternative that’s eco-friendly and animal-friendly.

AVAILABILITY: Urban Decay

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Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Burberry Beauty Blush
Burberry Peony (04) Blush

Burberry Peony (04) Blush ($42.00 for 0.24 oz.) is a pale neutral pink that can be sheered out for just a hint of color or layered for a more intense, doll-like look.  This is definitely the softest of the three blushes I’ve seen (the other two being Russet and Cameo), and I think it best suits light to light-medium skin tones, with medium skin tones seeing a soft look overall.  I think deeper skin tones will find it doesn’t do much to their skin tone without a good amount of layering.

The texture is soft and buttery but a little dusty, though it still melts onto the skin and looks as natural as can be.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For really light skin tones, this is a great blush.  Those who are medium or dark in skin tone may want to be cautious.

AVAILABILITY: Burberry, Nordstrom

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Dior Tailored Mauve Ultra Gloss

Lips Fit for the Sugarplum Fairy

Dior Tailored Mauve (692) Ultra Gloss ($26.50 for 0.21 oz.) is a semi-sheer plum-tinged pink with white and pink microshimmer. It gives my lips a nice pink tinge, but it also looks a little plummy but not mauve or deep plum at all–very wearable and still in season for fall. It also has enough color to be worn alone or layered over one of fall’s vampier lipsticks.

I like the Ultra Gloss for its moisturizing, non-sticky formula and the lovely way the shimmer reflects, but I do wish it were more long-wearing than just under two hours. The formula is designed to be sheer, so don’t go in expecting rich, opaque color–some of the darker shades are, inevitably, more pigmented than the lighter shades, but I’ve found that the majority shades are semi-sheer but not indistinguishable from each other–which is nice.

I’ve done numerous reviews on Dior’s Ultra Gloss, should you want to explore other shades!

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

RECOMMENDATION: If love sheer, non-sticky lipgloss, Dior Ultra Gloss is exactly that. And if you don’t mind reapplying every two hours or so, I think you’d really like these.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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