Monday, January 31st, 2011

Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Lipstick
Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Lipstick

Shiseido Tawny (BR 735) Perfect Rouge Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a warmed up caramel brown with a hint of coral. It’s semi-opaque and finishes with a noticeable glossiness.  I have always felt that Shiseido’s Perfect Rouge is rather under-appreciated, because it is such a flattering formula.

my thoughts on the formula: It’s moisturizing and applies evenly, while it wears for about four hours before beginning to fade. It is also scent- and taste-free. Perfect Rouge has a really beautiful color range and ranges from semi-opaque to opaque in color. The finish is a semi-gloss with very subtle micro-shimmer.

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

final thoughts: This is a beautiful shade for warmer skin tones; it is a color that works alone or paired with a brighter eye/cheek.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Monday, January 31st, 2011

Fresh Soy Face Cream
Fresh Soy Face Cream

Skincare: Fresh Soy Face Cream

Fresh Soy Face Cream ($38.00 for 1.7 oz.) is a lightweight face cream that moisturizes skin without leaving behind any greasy residue. To me, this feels and acts like a no-frills face cream, but it has a surprising amount of ingredients designed to hydrate and freshen the skin.

what it’s supposed to do: It is a paraben-free daily moisturizer for all skin types. It is enriched with moisture-retaining amino acids and protective antioxidants to hydrate and smooth the skin. Provides essential daily moisture while soothing, protecting, and firming the skin. It is scientifically demonstrated to have significant, long-term moisturizing and restorative effects on the skin. The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula can be worn alone or under makeup.

It took me about a month and a half to get through an entire tube, and I used it as my AM moisturizer. My skin type is normal-to-dry, and when I was using this, it was early fall, so my skin was closer to normal. I found this kept my skin perfectly hydrated throughout the day, and I loved how thick and rich it felt when I first applied but then how quickly it absorbed.

There are a few ingredients in the cream that work to give skin a better appearance but not in the vein of delivering you newborn baby skin–it includes rosewater and cucumber extract, both of wihch help to balance/restore skin while calming irritation/redness. There is also meadowfoam and jojoba seed oils that amp up hydration.  I felt like this came in handy after doing several cheek swatches–always made my skin feel better about itself.

ingredients: Water, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Stearic Acid, PPG-2 Myristyl Ether Propionate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Maltooligosyl Glucoside, Fragrance (Parfum), Polyglyceryl-10 Distearate, Sucrose Polysoyate, C14-22 Alcohols, Sea Water (Maris Aqua), Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Jojoba Alcohol, Potassium Jojobate, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Acrylamide/Ammonium Acrylate Copolymer, Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Polyisobutene, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Polysorbate 20, Maltodextrin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Citral, Geraniol.

It has this fresh scent of cucumbers and rose with a little citrus. It smells natural to me–not synthetic, not flowery–and I liked it personally. It comes in a squeeze-tube, which I liked, because it made it convenient to dispense and hygenic to use.

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

final thoughts: I liked this a lot–I would definitely consider purchasing it again in the future. There was enough richness to keep my skin hydrated during the day, but it absorbed into the skin in a minute or less, and so it made for an excellent base under makeup, too.

where to buy: Sephora

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Make Up For Ever #4 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick
Make Up For Ever #4 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick

Digging for Antiques with Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever #4 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a dusty pink with a matte finish. It’s opaque in color, and it wears really long and well (over five hours). It’s actually described as a “matte antique pink,” and I can kind of see where they get that, but there’s just this peeking of coral through the pink that I can’t ignore.

my thoughts on the formula: The Rouge Artist Intense formula is typically opaque, and while it’s not a moisturizing lipstick, it’s not a drying one either, though it does not feel creamy against the lips (it may take a little more pressure to apply than your average lipstick). With lighter shades, I see four hours of wear, but with darker shades, I get around five to six hours of wear.

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

final thoughts: This is a flattering shade on a variety of skin tones, from light to dark, cool to warm. The color coverage is excellent, so it should work well on those with more pigmented lips, too. It is also one of the less clingy shades from the Rouge Artist Intense range.

where to buy: Sephora

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Wonder Woman Lipsticks
MAC Wonder Woman Lipsticks

MAC Wonder Woman: Lipsticks

MAC WONDER WOMAN LIPSTICK ($15.50 for 0.10 oz.) include four shades: Heroine (brown bronze), Marquise d’ (sandy cream peach), Russian Red (intense blue red), and Spitfire (bright creamy magenta).

  • Heroine is a rich, molten bronzed brown with a metallic sheen. It is nearly opaque in color, though not quite. This is a frost finish. It seems like a less red version of Strength.
  • Marquise d’ is a semi-sheer pinky-nude with soft champagne sheen. This is a lustre finish, and it is a repromote. It’s a little like Shy Girl, though lighter and sheerer.
  • Russian Red is a rich, creamy blue-based red. This is a matte finish and part of the permanent range. This is not one of MAC’s drying mattes, though!
  • Spitfire is a dark pink with magenta. This is a satin finish. It is pinker than Style Curve, pinker and less bright than Petals & Peacocks, similar to Smashbox Flirty.  Anyone else think it’s a little muted for something named Spitfire?

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. I typically get four hours of wear, but some of the lighter lustre and glaze finishes tend to disappear by hour three. Amplified cremes and amplified finishes, however, tend to go beyond four. I find the formula comfortable to wear and not drying (but not moisturizing–a couple of the matte shades can be drying).

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

final thoughts: Heroine will suit warmer complexions slightly better than cooler ones, while the other three are wearable by both cool and warm skin tones. Russian Red looks stunning on light to dark and cool to warm. Keep in mind, Russian Red is permanent, so you can save $1 by buying it in regular packaging. Spitfire is rather dupeable as MAC has put out several pinky-purple shades in the past six months.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Wonder Woman Opulash Mascara
MAC Army of Amazons Opulash Mascara

MAC Wonder Woman: Opulash Mascara

MAC OPULASH MASCARA ($15.00 for 0.38 oz.) is a thickening mascara that also lengths and helps with holding a curl, and it is a “long-wearing formula” designed to work for up to fifteen hours. Wonder Woman sees the release of these shades; Army of Amazons (green), Bad Bad Black (black), Themyscira (blue), and Victorious (purple). The Bad Bad Black shade is available permanently but in permanent packaging.

  • Army of Amazons is a muted emerald green.
  • Bad Bad Black is a deep black.
  • Themyscira is a violet-tinged blue.
  • Victorious is a medium purple.

my thoughts on the formula: I liked the soft, feathery look Opulash gave my lashes along with some very nice length! I’m actually surprised I didn’t see length pushed in the marketing write-up for Opulash, because I look at the before/after photos, and I see longer, slightly blacker lashes, but not necessarily a ton of volume. I found two or three quick coats was all you needed to get the feathery lash effect going. More than that resulted in a bit of clumping, but if you don’t load up your lashes with the product, it’s a nice, full and feathery lash that’s clump-free. You can see my full review of Opulash here.

I have only trialed Army of Amazons on my lashes (well, and the black shade, many months ago, when Opulash first released), but I was impressed with the amount of noticeable color it delivered. I did not use any primer, but my lashes definitely have that green tint. Colored mascaras usually look rather dull and muted (if they show at all) on my lashes, wihch are naturally a soft black. As I work through the other shades, if I find that any of the others perform less, I will revise this review at that time.

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

final thoughts: I like the Opulash mascara formula, and it’s a good mascara for those who have decent lashes to begin with.  It lengthens more than it volumizes or thickens for me, though.  So far, it seems like the color actually shows up surprisingly well even over black lashes.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Pink Power Mineralize Skinfinish
MAC Pink Power Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Wonder Woman: Pink Power Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC PINK POWER MINERALIZE SKINFINISH ($35.00 for 0.70 oz.) is a super-mega-jumbo-sized tri-colored mineralize skinfinish. MAC describes the colors as peachy rose with pink shimmer, soft rosy bronze, and soft shell pink with fine shimmer.

The oversize mineralize skinfinish does allow for easy use of each color individually, and I could see mixing and matching, though they’re wearable on an individual level. The way I looked at these mineralize skinfinishes was they included a “highlighter” shade, “bronzing” shade, and “blushing” shade.

The “highlighting” shade, which I found was best used that way (more shimmer than color when applied), is a pale champagne beige with white-gold shimmer. The “bronzing” shade is a mid-tone orange-tinged brown, but it doesn’t feel orange-y (like Golden Lariat) with a subtle satin sheen. The “blushing” shade is a peached pink with a shimmer-sheen.

my thoughts on the formula: Mineralize Skinfinishes can be used for a variety of things–from blush to bronzer to highlighter. The way you use it depends on your skin tone, how pigmented the particular shade of mineralize skinfinish is, the texture, and what you want to use it for. These are baked products, so they can be used wet or dry without fear of ruining the product. The texture is soft, but the fineness of the shimmer depends on the individual shade. Stippling brushes like the 187 and 188 are ideal for applying mineralize skinfinishes.

Normally, mineralize skinfinishes retail for $28 (0.35 oz.), so this is double the size for $7 more. To put it simply, you’re paying $50/oz. rather than $80/oz. Whether you’ll ever use all whopping 0.70 oz. of it depends on you! It does feel huge, though, and the size makes it less convenient to tote around in your bag or makeup bag. I also think that for its gigantic-size, I would have loved to see a mirror included.

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

final thoughts: I thought this one actually worked well–I can see a variety of skin tones working this. Golden Lariat may pull too orange to be wearable for some, but Pink Power looks beautiful applied. It has enough warmth to work for my warmer-toned friends, but it’s not so warm that it turns orange, so it should be lovely on cooler skin tones, too.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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