Friday, February 21st, 2014

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

Here are the next six shades from the forty-four new eyeshadows available in pan-form from theBalm, which launched at the beginning of this year. For more information about sizes, the palettes, and a general overview of the custom palette/eyeshadow pan system, please read this post. You can view swatches all of them in the Swatch Gallery here or view photos and swatches on theBalm’s Eyeshadow Single product page. .

They can be purchased at their San Francisco store or by calling 415-817-1800. Each eyeshadow pan is available for $6.50 and comes in a cardboard sleeve. The 9-pan palette is $8.00, while the 16-pan palette is $10. If you fill either the 9- or 16-pan palette up at the time of purchase, they will run you $44.00 (normally, $66.50) and $64.00 (normally, $114.00) respectively. Each palette is made out of thick cardboard–same as theBalm’s eyeshadow palettes have been in the past–and come with full-sized mirrors on the top flap.

#7 is a golden peach with warm undertones and a frosted finish. It had good color payoff with a soft texture that was easy to blend and work with on the eye. It wore well for eight hours before gradually fading. Tarina Tarantino Delightful #4 (P) is lighter. bareMinerals Ball Gown (LE) is warmer. Clarins The Essentials #3 (LE) is similar. Too Faced Cheers! (LE, $16.00) is a smidgen lighter. LORAC Light Bronze (P) is less frosted. Disney by Sephora Splendid (LE) is lighter. MAC All That Glitters (P, $15.00) is darker. See comparison swatches.

#8 is a dark brown with subtle warm undertones and a sprinkling of gold sparkle. The texture was dry, so it didn’t bind or adhere well to the skin, which resulted in semi-sheer to semi-opaque color payoff. It performs better with a base, as it will give it something to adhere to. On my eyes, it lasted for seven hours before looking faded. theBalm #1 (P, $6.50) is darker, warmer. bareMinerals Toasted Espresso (LE, $14.00) is more frosted. Makeup Geek Bada-Bing (P, $5.99) is warmer, darker. See comparison swatches. I thought it might be a replacement for B4, but it seems like it lacks a little bit of that gold sparkle/shimmer.

#9 is a deep, dark black with a mostly matte finish. It was intensely pigmented but had a soft, blendable texture. A little will go a long way, so depending on the look, you might want to use a light hand! It wore well for eight hours before fading. It seems like it is Serious with an even softer texture. There are many deep, dark blacks, so it is easily duped — see comparison swatches.

#10 is a golden, medium-dark brown with a soft, frosted finish and warm undertones. It had excellent color payoff, and the texture was really soft, buttery, and smooth. It wore well for just over eight hours. MAC Golden Hours #1 (LE, $21.00) is darker. MAC A Medley of Mauves #4 (P, $21.00) is less frosted. Too Faced Hazelnut (P, $16.00) is darker. Dior Golden Flower #4 (LE) is more golden. Too Faced Buttered Rum (LE, $16.00) is more metallic, lighter. Urban Decay Ambush (LE, $18.00) is darker. Too Faced Gangsta (LE, $16.00) is slightly darker. See comparison swatches.

#11 is a bright white with a metallic finish. It had fairly good color payoff, but it wasn’t as opaque as you’d expect, though it was buildable. The texture was soft and smooth, and the color lasted for eight hours before beginning to fade. As you might expect with a basic shade like this, there are tons of possible dupes — see comparison swatches. It seems very comparable to theBalm Sassy as well.

#12 is a slightly muted, light-medium yellow gold with a pearly sheen. It had so-so pigmentation, and it was somewhat powdery to work with. It showed signs of fading after seven and a half hours of wear. theBalm #29 (P, $6.50) is less shimmery, more orange-tinged. theBalm #40 (P, $6.50) is a little brighter but surprisingly similar. MAC Lemon Tart (P, $15.00) is similar. MAC Captivating #1 (LE, $21.00) is lighter, more frosted. theBalm D1 (LE, $16.00) seems to have a smoother sheen but color-wise, very similar. theBalm Snobby (P, $16.00) is a little lighter. MAC Dreammaker (LE, $15.00) is darker. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

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#7

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9/10

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9/10

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9/10

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8.5/10

Application

5/5

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Dupes
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#8

D+

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

6.5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

7.5/10

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4/5

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#9

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10/10

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10/10

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10/10

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8.5/10

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5/5

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Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Le Metier de Beaute Sun Drenched Bronzer
Le Metier de Beaute Sun Drenched Bronzer

Le Metier de Beaute Sun Drenched Bronzer ($55.00 for 0.49 oz.) is a deepened, orange-toned brown with subtle gold sparkle. Guerlain Moyen Brunettes (05) (LE, $75.00) is less warm-toned, matte. Too Faced Sun Bunny #1 (P) is more shimmery, lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bikini Contest (P, $3.99) is lighter, more muted. Clarins Splendours (LE, $35.00) is less shimmery, a little lighter. See comparison swatches.

According to the brand, the bronzer is described as a “sheer, silky-light powder.” If by sheer, they mean, intensely pigmented with the merest flick of the wrist, sure, we’re on the same page, but since that’s not at all what sheer means, their description is far off. The powder is so, so pigmented–a little goes such a long way–but the texture is incredibly soft, silky, and finely-milled, so at least part of what they say is true. It’s just slightly powdery, though. It’s absolutely possible to get a softer, sheerer application out of the bronzer, but you’ll want to use a stippling or less-dense brush and a lighter hand to do so. Otherwise, the application is easy, as the powder is very blendable, and it wears for a full eight hours before gradually fading.

The Glossover

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9.5/10

Pigmentation

6.5/10

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9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

5/5

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Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Milani Brilliant Shine Lipgloss
Milani Brilliant Shine Lipgloss

A few weeks ago, I reviewed Milani’s Brilliant Shine Lipglosses, and today, I have three more shades that I’ve tested from the line-up. To recap, the recently launched formula is supposed to have rich color, extreme high shine, and comfortable lasting wear,” plus be “moisturizing and non-tacky.” The texture is thick but smooth and mostly non-sticky, and the gloss smells like sweet vanilla but has no discernible taste. It comes with a paddle-shaped, sponge-tip applicator that fits along the curve of the lip. The formula has a high-shine, glossy finish, and they wear between three and four hours on me. I notice a slight tackiness that develops after an hour of wear, but it never feels full-on sticky, but it’s not 100% non-sticky. In some ways, the formula reminded me of MAC Lipglass, just not as thick or as tacky. They’re somewhat hydrating as well.

Milani Sweet Grapefruit (09) Brilliant Shine Lipgloss ($5.49 for 0.21 oz.) is a medium, warm-toned pink with a cream finish. It had semi-opaque color coverage with some translucency but a noticeable amount of color. This shade lasted four hours on me. Chanel Sonate (178) (P, $29.50) is darker. Paul and Joe Beaute Carnaval (06) (P, $29.00) is lighter. MAC Kiss & Don’t Tell (LE, $15.00) is pinker. MAC Star Quality (LE, $20.00) is darker, brighter. See comparison swatches.

Coral Crush (10) Brilliant Shine Lipgloss ($5.49 for 0.21 oz.) is a medium, muted orange with a creamy, glossy finish. It had semi-sheer to semi-opaque color coverage, but the natural lip color will still come through. As the gloss is on the thicker side, it seems to bunch up if you press your lips together. It wore well for three and a half hours. MAC Everlasting Nude (LE, $19.50) is more muted, lighter. MAC Strictly Plutonic (LE, $20.00) is darker, sheerer. See comparison swatches.

Red My Lips (12) Brilliant Shine Lipgloss ($5.49 for 0.21 oz.) is a bold, brightened, medium red with subtle neutral-to-warm undertones and a creamy, glossy finish. This shade had rich, opaque color coverage, and it didn’t settle into lip lines. The gloss wore well for four and a half hours on me. Maybelline Signature Scarlet (020) (P, $8.99) is lighter. MAC RiRi Woo (LE, $15.00) is darker. Revlon Fire (P, $7.49) is warmer. MAC Russian Red (P, $15.00) is darker. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

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8.5/10

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8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Dupes
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Coral Crush (10)

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8.5/10

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9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

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4.5/5

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Red My Lips (12)

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9/10

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10/10

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9/10

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9/10

Application

5/5

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Friday, February 14th, 2014

theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples? Lip & Cheek Cream Palette
theBalm How ‘Bout Them Apples? Lip & Cheek Cream Palette

theBalm How ‘Bout Them Apples? Lip & Cheek Cream Palette ($32.00 for 0.70 oz.) contains six shades of cream products that are designed to be used on the lips and cheeks. The formula is described as having a “smooth finish that won’t streak or fade.” In the past, I haven’t been a huge fan of theBalm’s multi-tasking lip/cheek products as they can be drying on the lips (which is a problem that many lip/cheek products suffer from), so I was wary about this palette. After wearing and trying all the shades on lips and cheeks, it’s definitely an improved formula. I think they function and wear better–and more comfortably–as cheek products than lip ones, but they’re more tolerable on the lips. Some are more comfortable than others as lip colors, so you can check my shade-by-shade review below for more information on those. As blushes, these are true creams–they don’t set or dry down completely or feel like powders on the skin, so they have dewier finishes. They’re blendable and buildable, but they tended to wear for six to seven hours.

Cider is a light peach with a faint hint of pink and a luminous sheen. It had semi-sheer color payoff, and this particular shade didn’t really build–it started and stayed at the same intensity. It lasted for six and a half hours on me. As a lip color, it did accentuate imperfections on the lips somewhat, and it wore for two hours–very slippery on the lips–but was somewhat hydrating. MAC Lured to Love (LE, $25.00) is a powder, so it has a different finish. MAC Something Special (P, $21.00) is darker, pinker. See comparison swatches. (If you’re looking for similar shades for how it appears on lips, here are some comparison swatches.)

Cobbler is a vibrant, orange-toned red with a luminous sheen. This shade had buildable color payoff that could be worn as a sheer, reddish tint or a bolder, brighter, candy-apple red. As a blush, it wore well for seven hours, and as a lip color, it managed three hours and was lightly hydrating. Kevyn Aucoin Fira (P) is more orange and a powder. See comparison swatches. (If you’re looking for similar shades for how it appears on lips, here are some comparison swatches.)

Pie is a muted, pinky-red with a luminous sheen. It was buildable to semi-opaque coverage both on lips as well as cheeks. When I tested it as a blush, the color wore well for six hours, and as a lip color, it wore well for three hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. Chanel Intonation (69) (LE, $38.00) is warmer, brighter. theBalm Toile (P, $22.00) is a powder. MAC Posey (P, $21.00) is more muted. See comparison swatches. (If you’re looking for similar shades for how it appears on lips, here are some comparison swatches.)

Crisp is a warm-toned coral with gold shimmer and a frosted finish. The color was buildable to mostly opaque color coverage both on cheeks as well as on lips. The golden sheen is less prominent when I wore it as a blush than when I did as a lip color. On the lips, it was drying, and the frost emphasizes any imperfections easily. On cheeks, pores were slightly emphasized. It wore well for six and a half hours on cheeks and four and a half hours on lips. Clinique Peach Pop (02) (P, $21.00) is less shimmery, lighter, powder. Chanel Intonation (69) (LE, $38.00) has no shimmer, brighter. NARS Soulshine (Together) (LE, $29.00) is a powder. MAC Fleet Fast (LE, $21.00) is a powder. See comparison swatches. (If you’re looking for similar shades for how it appears on lips, here are some comparison swatches.)

Candy is a cool-toned, bubblegum pink with a luminous sheen. It had good color payoff, and it was easy to apply and blend on the skin. On cheeks, it lasted for six hours, and on lips, it wore well for two and a half hours and was lightly hydrating during that time. Sleek MakeUP Macaroon (P) is very similar. Bobbi Brown Summer Pink (LE, $26.00) is darker. See comparison swatches. (If you’re looking for similar shades for how it appears on lips, here are some comparison swatches.)

Caramel is a muted, orange-brown with a luminous sheen and warm undertones. It had mostly opaque color payoff, and the color was buildable and blendable. The color lasted just over six and a half hours when I applied it to cheeks, and on lips, it managed to last for three hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. MAC Early Morning (LE, $25.00) is shimmery, powder. MAC Fiery Impact (LE, $25.00) is powder. MAC Optimistic Orange (LE, $21.00) is brighter. See comparison swatches. (If you’re looking for similar shades for how it appears on lips, here are some comparison swatches.)

The Glossover

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How 'Bout Them Apples?

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8.5/10

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9.5/10

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8/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

5/5

Results
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product

Cider

B-

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Cobbler

B+

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Formula X Wavelength Nail Lacquer
Formula X Wavelength Nail Lacquer

This spring, Formula X (for Sephora) launched Liquid Crystals Nail Lacquer ($12.50 for 0.40 fl. oz.) in fourteen shades. The new finish is described as a “brilliant, light-reflecting nail lacquer made from crushed micro-crystalline and pigmented mica.” Now, these really need some clarity on just how pigmented they’re supposed to be. The individual shade descriptions all imply that there’s some hue of glitter in a sheer color base, then the formula is described as a “buildable formula that intensifies with each coat.” The press release elaborated a bit more and said, “Apply one coat for a sheer crystalline look, or layer for a full stained-glass effect.” So, it sounds like most other polish–one coat will be sheer, two will not be, and that is what I looked for with these.

Fluorescent was the only shade that I’d really describe as sheer, and it was only semi-opaque after three coats–it wasn’t that buildable. Borealis was very pigmented and fully opaque after two coats, and Wavelength was nearly opaque after two and just had subtle nail line only visible if I held my nails at certain angles where enough light was coming underneath the nail. So, the pigmentation is a mixed bag, but in general, if you were seeking opaque color, most seem to be there. If you were looking for really sheer top coats, I felt like some were too pigmented to let a base color come through. The drying time on all of these was faster than average; not so fast that you can’t work with the formula. They all dried down to a shiny, reflective finish that wasn’t really glossy but smooth and shiny. I typically get over a week of wear with Formula X with little tip wear.

Wavelength Nail Lacquer ($12.50 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is described as a “pink micro-glitter in sheer purple pink.” It’s a cool-toned, fuchsia-pink with pink sparkle. It was semi-opaque in a single coat, mostly opaque after two; only if I held my nails at certain angles could I see any visible nail line. Zoya Bobbi (P, $9.00) is darker, less cool-toned. China Glaze Love’s a Beach (LE, $7.50) is brighter, less shimmery. China Glaze Endurance (LE, $7.50) is darker. See comparison swatches.

Borealis Nail Lacquer ($12.50 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is described as a “gold micro-glitter in sheer olive green.” It’s a murky, yellow and brown-tinged green with golden olive and olive green shimmer and flecks of sparkle. It was nearly opaque in a single coat, and it was fully opaque after two. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Ripley (P, $10.00) is less yellow-toned with finer shimmer. SpaRitual Lithophonic (LE, $10.00) is less shimmery, darker. Rescue Beauty Lounge Turn It Around (LE, $20.00) has coppery shimmer, lighter. China Glaze Zombie Zest (LE, $7.50) is cooler-toned, has a duo-chrome. See comparison swatches.

Fluorescent Nail Lacquer ($12.50 for 0.40 fl. oz.) is described as a “lime micro-glitter in sheer lime.” It’s a mix of gold and chartreuse-hued sparkle and shimmer suspended in a sheer, green-ish base color. Two coats, it was still sheer, and three coats, it was semi-sheer (see ring finger). The consistency of this shade felt a little watery, and the shimmer and sparkle didn’t spread as evenly across the nail.  This one had more of a duochrome effect, which was really noticeable over black (I applied one coat over one coat of black in the swatches).  Butter London Dosh (P, $15.00) is much darker and opaque. NYX Lime (P, $4.00) is darker, brighter, less yellow. See comparison swatches.

The Glossover

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Wavelength

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Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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product

Borealis

A

Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

5/5

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Fluorescent

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8.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

OCC Pleasure Model Nail Lacquer
OCC Pleasure Model Nail Lacquer

OCC Pleasure Model Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “pink-toned pearl.” It’s a pale, warm-toned milky pink with a metallic finish. It had mostly opaque color coverage after two coats, but it was slightly streaky. The consistency was also a bit thicker than average but workable. Cult Nails Angel Whispers (LE, $12.00) has a different finish. Anna Sui Minnie Mouse Snow White (002) (LE, $16.00) has larger sparkle. Tom Ford Beauty Vapour (LE, $30.00) is whiter. Dior Lady (LE, $26.00) is whiter. See comparison swatches or view on The Dupe List.

OCC Seething Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “lingerie satin pink.” It’s a light-medium, yellow-toned pink with metallic, pale gold shimmer/sheen. This applied more evenly than Pleasuremodel, and it had almost no visible brush strokes. It was very nearly opaque after two coats. The lightness coupled with the warmer undertone made this one harder for me to dupe. MAC Ke Ai (LE, $16.00) is warmer. Cult Nails Enticing (P, $12.00) is cooler-toned, less shimmery. China Glaze Encouragement (LE, $7.50) is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches or view on The Dupe List.

OCC Vapid Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “palest lavender.” It’s a very, very pale lavender (almost like a milky, lavender-white) with a cream finish. This had an impressive application, as the initial coat was almost not streaky at all, and the second coat made the resulting finish smooth and even, plus opaque. It’s the lightest lavender I’ve swatched personally, so while the following shades are the closest I can think of, they’re not very close at all. Illamasqua Speckle (LE, $17.00) has large black glitter. Zoya Marley (P, $9.00) is darker. Zoya Julie (P, $9.00) is darker, shimmery. See comparison swatches or view on The Dupe List.

The Glossover

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Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Seething

A-

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

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Vapid

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Product

9.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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