Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

MAC Golden Lariat Mineralize Skinfinish
MAC Golden Lariat Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC Wonder Woman: Golden Lariat Mineralize Skinfinish

MAC GOLDEN LARIAT MINERALIZE SKINFINISH ($35.00 for 0.70 oz.) is a super-mega-jumbo-sized tri-colored mineralize skinfinish. MAC describes the colors as true coral with fine gold shimmer, soft suntanned bronze, and soft gold 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” shdae, and “blushing” shade.

There is a yellowed gold with pale white-gold shimmer that seems best used as a highlighter (virtually colorless when applied with a blush on my medium skin tone), while the middle shade is a reddened brown with a pearly sheen and seems more appropriate for bronzing (should work nicely on darker skin tones in particular). The final shade is a lightened rusted orange with pale gold shimmer and sheen; it’s less shimmery than the “highlighter” but more pigmented and does best as a blush–too much color to highlight, too orange to bronze.

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 like this best for warmer, more golden complexions. It reminded me somewhat of Cheeky Bronze Mineralize Skinfinish, because of the orange-y pull of the shades.  I think this product is good but not great–keep in mind that ultimately the value metric boosts up the overall rating of this product.

where to buy: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

NYX Brown Sugar Lipstick
NYX Brown Sugar Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Brown Sugar Lipstick

NYX Brown Sugar Round Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a rich bronzy, reddened brown with copper shimmer.  It has opaque color coverage with a frosted finish, so it is less creamy than some other NYX Round Lipsticks I’ve tried, but on the plus side, lasts for four hours as compared to my usual two to three.

my thoughts on the formula: NYX Round Lipsticks are really creamy and generally opaque in color. The texture and shade range are great. However, the scent of them can run from waxy to synthetic sweetness (neither are particularly pleasant)–and sometimes they smell like nothing at all.  I typically get two to three hours of wear.

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  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: If you tend to stay away from brown lipsticks for fear of wearing a more dated shade, this copper-shimmered brown is a modern take on a classic look.

where to buy: NYX

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Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Philosophy Crispy Marshmallow Bars 3-in-1 Shower Gel
Philosophy Crispy Marshmallow 3-in-1 Shower Gel

Anyone for a rice krispie treat?

Philosophy Crispy Marshmallow Bars 3-in-1 Shower Gel ($16.00 for 16 oz.) is a sugary-sweet confection of rich, decadent creamy and vanilla and butter.  It is a definite food scent, and if you aren’t into sweet scents, pass on this particular version of the 3-in-1 Shower Gel.

my thoughts on the formula: Philosophy Shower Gels are one of my personal favorites for body washes, because they come in an assortment of scents, with new ones each season. They lather up well and leave skin feeling clean without any tightness or dryness. I wouldn’t call these a moisturizing body wash nor do their scents linger. If you prefer your body wash to leave behind a long-lasting scent, these won’t be for you, but if you like to enjoy the scent while you shower but don’t want it to linger beyond, then these are perfect. (I belong to the latter category!) I don’t find them to lather quite as well in the hair, and they work in a pinch to clean hair, but I prefer many other shampoos over this one. It does, however, work well as a bubble bath, too–a little goes a long way.

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

final thoughts: If you love the scent of rice krispie treats, you’ll adore this!

where to buy: Philosophy

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Lancome Glowy Ballerine Butterflies Fever Blush
Lancome Glowy Ballerine Butterflies Fever Blush

Lancome Spring 2011: Glowy Ballerine

Lancome Glowy Ballerine Butterflies Fever Blush ($40.00 for 0.39 oz.) is an icy, pale pink blush that goes on barely-there. It has a silver glitter overlay, but the glitter disappears after the first use. On me (warm, medium skin tone), I get visibly pinker cheeks, but the effect is definitely subtle. The texture is soft, and it’s effortless to apply and blend out, partially owing to the softness in the color itself. It has an ultra soft sheen that looks more like a glow when applied, so there is no need to fear shimmery or glittery finishes here (and again, the glitter is only on the top layer).

Lancome says: “The new must have blush is an original twist of two incontrovertible items of the 70′s style: the bowtie and the butterfly designed by Alexis Mabille. In fashion, wearing a bowtie is the ultimate chic attitude, besides a way to express free-spirit and absolute lack of concern for what other people think. The butterfly is a multicultural symbol of free soul, feminity and beauty of nature.”

Lancome recommends using the pink shade as a blush, beige shade as a sculptor, and lavender shade to unify the complexion. This is all well and good, and I appreciate the directions overall, but you’re going to need a pretty small (and precise) brush to use any of the three shades alone–especially the lavender one.

The design is femine and pretty, though of course, it looks less elegant once you’ve used it a few times, but some of the features still linger (and as far as I know, and based on Lancome’s recommendation to use certain shades individually), there are three distinct shades that go all the way through. Also worth noting is that this is practically a brick of blush at 0.39 oz. (average blush is around 0.15 to 0.20 oz.). The included applicator worksin a pinch, but the bristles are rougher than I’d like, and they will kick up a lot of powder if you attempt to use it.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

final thoughts: This will be gorgeous on light to medium skin tones both cool and warm, but I think much of the effect will be lost on darker skin tones.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

MAC Sophisto Lipstick
MAC Sophisto Lipstick

The Sultry Season: MAC Sophisto Lipstick

MAC Sophisto Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) is a semi-sheer berry pink with gold shimmer. It is a lustre finish, which means it is on the sheerer side but has a glossier finish (more like a lip gloss than a traditional lipstick).

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 and lustre shades can be drying).

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

final thoughts: This shade will work well across all skin tones, because it’s not too bold, bright, or pigmented; it’s soft and sheer but still deposits noticeable color on the lips. It will work best on those with less pigmented lips, however, because it is a sheerer shade.

where to buy: Nordstrom

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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Bobbi Brown Blackberry Lipstick
Bobbi Brown Blackberry Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Bobbi Brown Blackberry Lipstick

Bobbi Brown Blackberry Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a deep red-brown with opaque color coverage and a glossy, cream finish. It’s a nice way to go brown without going full-on chocolate, and it’s also a way to go red on a much deeper, less in-your-face kind of way.

my thoughts on the formula: Bobbi Brown’s Lip Colors are scent- and taste-free. With a vibrant shade like this, I easily get four hours of wear, but it usually extends to five or six. Many of the shades from the Lip Color range are incredibly rich in pigmentation–lots of creamy, opaque shades to go around.

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

final thoughts: This is a suitable shade for both cool and warm skin tones, and it should look lovely on light to dark complexions, too. Pair it with neutrals to let the lips be the star!

where to buy: Bobbi Brown

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