Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator
Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

Several readers asked me how this compares to Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, in terms of the overall grade/rating. This product is available, but you won’t find it online; you’ll have to track it down in stores. Saks seems to be the only distributor (at least in the U.S.) that has some stock left. If you click the link above, it’ll take you to the defunct product page on Saks, but it will allow you to “find in store.”

Generally, if a product is hard to find or sold out, I don’t review it (my order for this arrived only two days before it sold out everywhere). There are always exceptions, but it’s definitely something I try to avoid doing–same with discontinued or really old limited shades. This is an exception and not a change in the rule! :)

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator ($42.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a gilded bronze with a champagne-bronze shimmer. MAC Rose Ole is a bit more peach but looks similar when applied. It’s also a bit like MAC Crystal Pink, depending on how you combine the two shades.

The texture is soft but firm, and the frosted metallic sheen goes all the way through. It’s not as frosted on as it appears in the pan or in a heavier swatch. It’s more than just a subtle glow, but it’s less than a full-on frost. I call it a shimmer-sheen, because there is noticeable shimmer within the overall glowy sheen. It doesn’t emphasize pores, though.

For me, the major difference between the two formulas is in the wear–with Rose Rendezvous, it wears great for around six hours, but it’s faded by eight.  When I bought the product, I was initially really hopeful about it, because it seemed to be getting great reviews, but the way it looked at the end of the day wasn’t ideal.  Guerlain Cruel Gardenia wore for a shocking ten hours without fading, which was far more than I expected and longer than average. I wore them both over the same foundation (Guerlain Lingerie de Peau). On a very minute scale, Guerlain’s is a little more refined–a smidgen more finely milled, softer, finer shimmer–but it’s such a close call.

They are really different shades (Cruel Garenia is pink, this shade is warmer, more champagne-bronze), even though the products are similar in formula, so it’s more about the kind of shade you prefer and would find more flattering against your skin tone. The price for Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia is $67, but you’ll get 0.31 oz. worth of product (50% more than Laura Mercier’s), so on an ounce-by-ounce comparison, Guerlain’s costs $216/oz. and Laura Mercier’s is $210/oz. I would expect this shade to flatter warmer skin tones more, while Cruel Gardenia will work well on both skin tones (as it is more neutral in undertone).

The Glossover

coming-soon

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If this wore longer and better on me (say eight hours), this would be more of an A- product, but unfortunately, the mere six hours of wear impacts the product's overall rating quite a bit. I do think the two products are comparable in texture and composition, but the shades and wear are significantly different.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush
Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush

Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush

Illamasqua Cream Blusher Rude ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “warm peach pink” with a dewy finish. I didn’t detect any pink in the pan, and on my skin, it seemed more orange than anything else. When blended out, it looks more peach-orange (and not to worry, it doesn’t have to be as fierce applied as it appears in the pan). Perhaps on those with more obvious pink undertones, it will look less peach-orange and more peach-pink. If you apply Rude very subtly, it compares to Urban Decay Indecent but without the shimmer (and I’d say Urban Decay Bang is too dark and orange-y).

It definitely has a dewy finish, and it’s almost on the wrong side of dewy, even on my normal-to-dry skin; luckily, it skates that thin line and manages to be a glowy dewy rather than an oily dewy. You can also take down the dewiness by dusting translucent powder on top. This product is buildable and very, very blendable; the creamy, melt-on-your-cheeks consistency enables that, so it is impossible to overdo it, but if you like your blush darker, you’ll likely do better by building up the color in layers.

The texture, despite its creaminess, feels featherweight against the skin; it’s thin, comfortable to wear, and doesn’t feel greasy. It wears around seven hours on bare skin before it seems to reach its limit at eight hours (where it appears faded). Over foundation, it wears five to seven hours, depending on the quality of my underlying skin; if it’s drier, then it tends to cling to patches over time, so it’s manageable for five hours or so, but if my skin is more normal, then it lasts just over seven hours. What I really liked was that it looked and felt good over and under foundation, and many cream blushes have a tendency to work best on bare skin–and let me tell you, my skin is nowhere near good enough to be wearing full makeup and skipping foundation.

The Glossover

P
product

Rude

B+
I can see why Illamasqua's Cream Blushes are popular; the wear is good (but it has some room for improvement), and the color is buildable and blendable, which are really two must-have characteristics of a cream blush.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Wet 'n' Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer
Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer

Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer

Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer ($1.99 for 0.46 fl. oz.) is a vibrant emerald green with lighter green shimmer. It’s nearly opaque after two coats (which is what I have swatched)–there’s the barest hint of visible nail line at certain angles. This is a much better affordable version of emerald green! I tried Sinful Colors HD, which just didn’t have the payoff. Zoya Holly is a deeper emerald green. This shade is perfect for the holiday season, and it won’t break the bank :)  The consistency on Sagreena the Teenage Witch wasn’t too thick or thin, so it flowed across the nail evenly and didn’t feel too thick when dry.  I didn’t experience any bubbling or streaking during application.

I really like Wet ‘n’ Wild’s formula–it wears a week with minor tip wear–but it doesn’t try in sixty seconds like the brand claims (and it’s kind of a big claim, since the official name is Fast Dry!).  It takes more like two minutes or so for each coat to dry; it feels about average across brands.  I only find that thicker polishes tend to take longer to dry, but most will dry enough to apply a second coat within a couple of minutes.  You definitely won’t have fully dry nails within sixty seconds, though, and I’d say still use a fast drying top coat to ensure dry nails!

The Glossover

coming-soon

Wet 'n' Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If you don't care about how quickly it dries (or at least, that it doesn't dry down in sixty seconds but a couple of minutes longer), then I definitely recommend checking out this polish! The quality, aside from drying time, is great, and the shade is so festive and timely!

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #18 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a pale yellowy gold with a metallic sheen. This would work well to brighten the lower lash line and on the inner tear duct to open up eyes. It is similar to Bobbi Brown Gold, which is a bit yellower; Bare Escentuals Standing O and MAC Buried Treasure are more opaque and a touch darker. theBalm Wild Child is similar in hue but has a frosted finish instead of a metallic one. MAC Nylon is lighter.

Like #17, this one isn’t as intense as other shades from the range. It can be built up, but it doesn’t have the one pass pigmentation you’d expect from the line or from a pigmented eyeshadow. It swatches about the same whether used dry or damp–it has a more metallic sheen when it is applied damp.

Eyes to Kill Intense feels and looks like compacted powder (which means it can be loosened, but it’s relatively solid and becomes more solid if you press on it, whether with a brush or the included presser). Giorgio Armani describes it as a hybrid, not a powder but not a cream–it feels more like a cream but looks like a powder. It’s a long-wearing eyeshadow whether you use it with or without a base (I achieved 24 hours of wear with #14 and over 12 hours of wear with numerous other shades).

The Glossover

LE
product

#18

B+
It's surprisingly sheer, though I will say it is buildable. The texture is still smooth and finely-milled (so no fall out like #17). This is one of the more dupeable shades from the range, so you may want to splurge on other shades first!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette
theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette

theBalm Balmbini Vol. 2 Palette ($28.00 for 0.59 oz.) is a limited edition follow up to Vol. 1 (which is still available, but I don’t have it and haven’t seen it myself). It includes one highlighter, four eyeshadows (or liners), lip/cheek color, and a lipgloss.

As other theBalm products are packaged, this one is also in cardboard packaging with a full-sized mirror on the interior of the lid. The palette opens about two-thirds of the way down so that one side covers or reveals the powder products and the other side covers or reveals the cream products–this is a really nice feature, because it helps to limit any loose powder from contaminating the cream products. It contains a good amount of product and is a good value overall.

  • Promiscuous Pearl is a pale beige with champagne shimmer. It adds a soft glow on cheeks without being overwhelming. If you like Mary Lou-manizer, you’d like this one, just as a more neutral version. The texture is still really buttery and soft, so it is blendable and finely-milled and doesn’t emphasize pores. It reminded me of Chanel Beiges Ombres Tissees.
  • Jinxy Jasmyne is a sooty black that looks morre intense in the pan than it does on the skin. It has a mostly matte finish, but it’s rather dry and ends up being chalky and uneven. When applied, it can easily darken the crease, but you really need to use a fluffy brush (remember to tap off any excess!) to make this one work. Application is better with a damp brush, like one might use if you were to use it as an eyeliner. It’s similar to a lot of matte blacks, like MAC Carbon.
  • Manic Maribel is an orange-y copper with a frosted golden sheen. The pigmentation is opaque with soft, blendable color. It’s almost the same as Bare Escentuals Louder. It’s a little lighter than shades like theBalm Meep Meep, Urban Decay Baked, and MAC Amber Lights.
  • Open to Offers Olwen is a muted teal-blue shot through with silvery-blue shimmer. This shade is also in the Shady Lady Vol. 3 palette. It has good color payoff and a dense, buttery texture. Inglot #413 is a bit lighter but similar.
  • Lavish Latoya is a medium-dark purple with subtle red undertones and a frosted finish. It was on the sheerer side, though. Urban Decay AC/DC is quite similar with a slightly more metallic sheen. Bare Escentuals Encore is also similar. Milani Purr-fect Purple is a little lighter. theBalm All the Way Annie is a bit darker but still close.
  • Strawberry is a poppy red that can be applied opaque or blended out for a sheerer look. On lips, it’s much pinker–more like a slightly coral-pink with a creamy finish. The color coverage is mostly opaque. It’s not as dark as MAC Ultra Darling. NARS Niagara is more coral. It’s pretty close to Bobbi Brown Pink.
  • Nude is an opaque beige nude with a cream finish. MAC C-Thru is similar in color, but this is much more opaque.

It’s not my favorite palette by theBalm; I think it has promise and potential, but it’s not fully there.  The color combination is off for me–this is not a palette that lends itself to a lot of versatility.  I feel like you really need to pull in products from your stash to make the palette really pop.  The cheek/lip color is pretty but vibrant enough that it doesn’t pair well with the eyeshadows.  I was disappointed in the texture and payoff of Jinxy Jasmyne and Lavish Latoya was just slightly under-performing.   Shades like Manic Maribel and Lavish Latoya are found in a lot of brands, so this wouldn’t be a palette for long-time beauty aficionados.  As a face palette, I’d have liked to see a powder blush, rather than a mega-sized black eyeshadow.

The Glossover

palette

Balmbini Vol. 2

B+
The overall quality of the palette is there, but the color combination doesn't resonate as well with me--as a face palette, it needs more in the cheek department; it's too eye-heavy.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Clarins Sunset Rouge Prodige Lipstick
Clarins Sunset Rouge Prodige Lipstick

Clarins Sunset Rouge Prodige Lipstick

Clarins Sunset Rouge Prodige Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a brightened tangerine orange with peach and white micro-shimmer and a glossy shine. On my lips, it looks a bit coral-orange. The color coverage is semi-opaque; it delivers a healthy amount of color, but there’s enough translucency that my natural lip color shows through, too.  While the texture was smooth overall, it did not apply as evenly as I’d like.  It reminded me of Guerlain Orange Euphorique, which is a little brighter and more opaque. Chanel Sari Dore is more opaque and darker. MAC Made to Order is similar but doesn’t have as much gold shimmer.

Rouge Prodige is a creamy lipstick that glides on easily and delivers an ultra glossy shine. Despite its creaminess, it has a lightweight feel, and it’s comfortable to wear for the three to four hours that it wears for. It’s supposed to be long-lasting, but unless it’s a really rich red, it’s average when it comes to wear (most lipsticks wear three to four hours on me). It has a berry-like scent but no taste; the scent is subtle and doesn’t read synthetic.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Clarins Sunset Rouge Prodige Lipstick Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
It's a flattering color on warmer skin tones, and as far as really orange shades go, I would expect it to work decently on cooler complexions because of the translucency in the color.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

Results
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