Friday, March 18th, 2011

NYX HD Studio Foundation
NYX HD Studio Foundation

NYX HD Studio Foundation

NYX HD Studio Foundation ($15.00 for 1.26 oz.) is described by the brand as a foundation that reflects light to give skin a smoother appearance and reduce the appearance of pores. It also includes “tri-peptides infused to promote collagen generation, reduce wrinkles, and rejuvenate skin.” I’ve only used tihs foundation for a week, so I’m not going to even touch that last part.

The HD Studio Foundation delivers light-medium to almost medium coverage. The consistency is thin overall, but not runny or watery, so it spreads and blends out easily but applies more sheerly. It is a buildable product, so for those who want heavier coverage (up to medium), simply apply more or apply more to the areas where you need it. The foundation dries down quickly and has a velvet matte finish–not ultra matte but not too dewy. I did about twenty lip swatches with this foundation on, and it photographed quite nicely, which is ultimately one of the major marketing points for it.

I’m NC25/NC30 in MAC, 140 in Make Up For Ever, #02/03 in Guerlain, and I found #04 Sand Beige to be a fairly good match. It did have a strong yellow tone, though, so I would only recommend this shade match for those with medium skin tones with warm (yellow) under tones.

I used one pump for my entire face, and for me, my primary concern is evening out my skin–I have some blotchiness in my cheeks and my forehead is a little darker than the rest of my face (always fun to deal with!). At the time of review, I did not have much in the way of major active acne or post-acne marks.

It compares well with Make Up For Ever’s HD Foundation, but NYX’s coverage seems slightly less buildable and ends up being sheerer overlal. There’s a subtle but noticeable chemical-like scent when I used NYX’s but it seemed to dissipate after being applied. NYX’s shade range is inferior to Make Up For Ever’s (8 vs. 25), and it seems like the lightest and darker complexions will have trouble finding a match within the existing range.

I was surprised at how well it wore–it wears nicely for six to eight hours before sheering out (for me, that means on my forehead, which is where I get a little oily by the end of the day). I get a little longer with Make Up For Ever–eight to ten hours–but NYX’s HD Studio Foundation hangs out respectably even past its initial wear period and doesn’t disappear at lightning speed.

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nyxHd

NYX HD Studio Foundation Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's one of the better budget-friendly foundations I've tried.  I can definitely see myself reaching for it when I'm taking a lot of photos, because it applies easily, has a photo-friendly finish, and works well.  Unlike other products in NYX's HD Studio line, this one fits the price range of the line.  It's cheaper than the HD Grinding Powder by $10!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go
Benefit Brows A-Go-Go

For the Brow Enthusiast

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go ($38.00) is an all-i-one brow kit, which includes both Light and Dark Brow Zings Powders (0.04 oz. each), Brow Zings Wax (0.03 oz.), Smokin’ Liner (0.01 oz.), Eye Bright (0.03 oz.), Brow Highlighter Powder (0.04 oz.), mini tweezers, and dual-ended brush.

Benefit and brows take me back almost ten years (which makes me a little nauseous to think about, because sometimes I think I’m still 18 and when I’m clearly not). One of my first beauty experiences was begging my makeup-enthused best friend to tweeze my brows, and she always carried Benefit’s Brow Zings and their mini tweezers. I can’t tell you how I longed for a pair of my own mini tweezers–they just seemed so cool at the time. (With my hands, I can appreciate full-size tweezers for regular maintenance but minis are nice in a pinch.)

The lighter shade is a medium-dark taupe brown, while the darker brow shade is a dark brown with subtle red undertones. The wax is a cross between the two–not too dark, not too light. I found the eyeliner to be fairly black but a bit stubby so it may be difficult to hold for some. I actually liked the shimmering icy pink of the highlight powder; not quite as cool-toned as Eye Bright, which is a creamy, pale white-pink.

The dark shade works well for me, having nearly black natural brows.  I like mixing the two, though, for a softer look as well.  I would be careful using the highlighting products on deeper skin tones, because I think it may turn a little ashy, but they work well on light and medium skin tones.

The Glossover

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Benefit Brows A-Go-Go Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If you're someone who likes to have immaculate brows and tends to focus more time on them, the kit is useful. If you don't find yourself doing much to them, it may be too superfluous to merit buying. For something more compact, there is the traditional Brow Zings, which is a smaller-sized palette featuring a coordinating brow powder and wax (available in light, medium, and dark) along with mini tweezers but retails for $30.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush
NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush ($16.50 for 0.25 oz.) is one of eight shades of blush from NYX’s HD Studio line. According to NYX, by grinding a blush powder each use, you’ll avoid “oil trappings on powders, contamination, and cracking.” The blush formula itself is supposed to reflect light from the skin while giving pores a smaller and smoother look. Menage a Trois is a soft tangerine-peach with spun gold shimmer-sheen. It’s really a gorgeous shade and one that will work exceptionally well on warmer skin tones.

Next to the blush, you might recognize an elephant–the price tag. NYX is known as a brand with affordable options but still a wide variety and higher quality products than many other more affordable brands (overall). It’s obvious the HD Studio range is at a higher price point, but I think it might be outpricing the comfort zone of some of their customers. Their Powder Blushes are $6, Cream Bushes are $6.50, and Mosaic Powders are $8. The HD Grinding Blush is double the price of their more expensive blush. I’m not worried that NYX is going to change directions and move to mid-tier, but it’s an interesting move.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of the HD Grinding Blushes is very smooth–definitely finely milled. The colors themselves are a lot less intimidating when applied than they look initially–I did not find that you could quite get the level of intensity as see in the shavings themselves, but you can get close. The softness of the blush powder makes it easy to apply, blend out, and difficult to overdo. On me, it wears around six hours before there is some fading (over liquid foundation, set with loose powder).

Though I haven’t personally tested Smashbox’s Halo powders, the grinding mechanism of NYX’s HD Grinding Blushes reminded me of them. I’m not sure if Smashbox has put out Halo blushes, but they do have the twist ‘n’ shave mechanism for their Perfecting Powders, Perfecting Bronzers, and Color Correcting Powder. It’s neither a pro nor con but more for your reference.

I’m not keen on the grinding packaging, actually.  It’s cool, but any excess powder left inside inevitably seems to get everywhere else.  I had twisted and ground each blush for photos and carried them to my bathroom and left little blush shavings in my wake.  When I opened the blushes, the loose shavings had collected on the outer rim, where the cap screws on, and easily escaped to the freedom of my carpet, sink, and swatching pants!  (And that is exactly why one wears swatching pants…)  The only mitigating factor is that usually you do not twist too much excess, so there is an end in sight, unlike perhaps an entire jar of loose blush.

The Glossover

P
product

Menage a Trois

B+
I’m not particularly surprised that I’m most drawn to this shade–after all, if it’s gold, peach, or coral, I’m already there. The whole grinding concept is more of a novelty for me, and the packaging could use some tweaks so that any excess shavings stay within the jar, rather than settle around the rim (outside of the recessed opening). It could wear a touch longer; most blushes last all day (eight to ten hours) on me.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit
Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Neiman Marcus Exclusive: Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Kit

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit ($95.00) is an exclusive set available at Neiman Marcus this spring. It contains a peony and python printed zippered makeup bag, Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, and two miniature-sized makeup brushes (face and lip).

  • Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer is a medium-dark pink with gold micro-glitter and sheen; it is slightly cool-toned, though it seems to shift between cool and neutral depending on how the light hits it. It applies rather sheerly but can be intensified for a more obvious blush.
  • Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss is an ultra sheer gloss that really has a clear base with pink and gold shimmer. This shade is available individually.
  • Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is a blackened burgundy brown. This shade is available individually.
  • Eye/Lip Brush is a miniature-sized brush with a glossy black cap that slips on and off. It’s not officially labeled, but it seems like a really narrow lip brush–not quite small enough to be a true eyeliner brush though it does seem to resemble the Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush a bit.
  • Face Brush is a fluffy, dome-shaped brush that resembles the Face Blender Brush. It seems wider and less tapered, though. It was soft against the skin.

The kit itself comes with a high price tag, but individually (though not all shades are available individually, the product type is), Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer would retail for $33, Pink Lilac Brightening Gloss retails for $22, Black Mauve Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner is available for $21, and then assume $20 worth of brushes. The innards of the kit are worth approximately $96, but you also receive the printed makeup bag, too. There is a Peony & Python printed makeup bag available alone for $40, but I don’t know how the size compares to the one from the Neiman Marcus kit.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Bobbi Brown Peony & Python Beauty Kit Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's a cute kit, and if you like every product in it, the price tag doesn't seem so difficult to pay.  If you were hoping for a value-packed deal, this isn't quite it.  The kit will complement cooler skin tones.  I wish the Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer was available individually!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Sugarpill Chromalusts
Chromalusts: Paperdoll, Tipsy, Weekender

Sugarpill Chromalusts: Paperdoll, Tipsy, Weekender

Sugarpill Chromalust ($12.00 for 0.19 oz.) recently launched seven new shades, and I have three of them to show you today: Paperdoll (lovely lavender with dazzling shimmer and sparkle), Tipsy (high-shimmer true grass green), and Weekender (metallic blue-violet with intense sparkle and sheen). All three shades are also vegan, just for reference! I hope to review the last remaining shade soon.

  • Paperdoll is a cool-toned, medium lavender with silver sparkle.
  • Tipsy is a brightened, medium grass green with yellow undertones. It’s a yellower green than Urban Decay Graffiti and darker and more pigmented than MAC Swimming.
  • Weekender is a silvered violet purple with blue and violet shimmer.

Chromalusts are loose eyeshadows that are extremely soft and smooth because of how fine these loose powders are milled. The three shades featured in this post are vegan, for reference. They can be worn wet or dry, though I tend to prefer them wet as a base, but they do work nicely dry–though better over a stickier shadow base.

The Glossover

sugarpill

Sugarpill Chromalusts: Paperdoll, Tipsy, Weekender Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
The texture of these is so silky--I think that is easily one of my favorite characteristics of the product line--and it's always fun to see new shades get added to the range.  I was surprised to see two purples in the new seven shades launched, but after swatching, I can see why--they're so different!

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Friday, March 11th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Lipgloss
Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Lipgloss

Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Lipgloss

Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Lipgloss ($29.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a deepened burgundy berry with soft violet and burgundy micro-shimmer.  It’s semi-opaque with decent color pay off and definitely gives lips a darker, vampier look, but my natural lip color does peek through.  What I really liked about this gloss though was how despite the deeper color, it did not settle into lip lines.

my thoughts on the formula: Dolce & Gabbana Lip Glosses are moisturizing, and they fade really well when they wear away. With this particular shade, I was able to get a solid four hours of wear. 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.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Dolce & Gabbana Amethyst Lipgloss Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's pretty and should be flattering on both cool and warmer skin tones, though it will be particularly beautiful against pale, cool skin.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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