Monday, August 27th, 2012

Illamasqua Aurora Gleam Highlighting Cream
Illamasqua Aurora Gleam Highlighting Cream

A Little Light Goes a Long Way

Illamasqua Aurora Gleam Highlighting Cream ($24.00 for 0.23 oz.) is described as a “champagne.” It’s a soft, warm ivory champagne with a strong shimmer-sheen. The shimmer is fairly fine, but it has a strong sheen that’s almost metallic depending on how much product you use. Benefit Watt’s Up! is similar, though a bit less warm-toned. NARS Albatross is similar in color but a bit lighter because the white base is stronger. MAC Truth & Light is lighter.

The Gleam formula is supposed to be lightweight with an iridescent finish to highlight both the face and body. It’s very creamy and slides right over the skin, and it doesn’t take a lot of product to highlight the higher planes of the face. I used some on the top of my cheekbones, along the bridge of my nose, and above my cupid’s brow. I used a clean spatula to take a little product out of the pan, and then I used my fingertips to pat it on. (Bonus: you can see it live in this video.) It does emphasize pores somewhat, because it does have a strong sheen that almost looks metallic, depending on the lighting.

This is a true cream, as it doesn’t dry down or set over time, so the wear time wasn’t stellar.  I managed about five hours of decent wear (and I have normal-to-dry skin), and after a little over six hours, a lot of it had faded/separated. It’s a product I’d consider setting lightly with translucent powder, which would help to set it as well as tamp down some of the high sheen finish (if you prefer a subtler highlight).

The Glossover

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product

Aurora

B
If you like more intense highlighters, you might like Aurora, which should work on a variety of skin tones, because it's not an ashy champagne, but it's not too yellow that it becomes gold. The shorter wear time is its biggest downfall.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight Bronzer/Blush Duo
Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight Bronzer/Blush Duo

Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight Bronzer/Blush Duo ($36.00 for 0.34 oz.) contains Bahama Brown (Shimmer Blush) and Pink Peony (Illuminating Bronzing Powder).  It’s a limited edition piece from Bobbi Brown’s Desert Twilight collection.

Bahama Brown is listed as “the perfect way to add a pop of color to the apples of cheeks.” It’s a muted brown with a hint of champagne shimmer-sheen, subtle orange-brown undertones, and a barely-there gray tinge. MAC Equilibrium is browner, no orange/red. Burberry Russet is closer but has a matte finish. MAC Pressed Amber is browner with subtler orange undertones. This shade had decent color payoff, but the texture was a little dry and stiff, so it wasn’t as blendable as I’d like in a powder blush. The sheen was nice–not too much, which meant it didn’t emphasize pores or imperfections on the skin. It wore for seven and a half hours before I saw some minor fading along the edges.

Pink Peony is described as a “blend of sheer powder and micro pearls.” It’s a soft, light-medium pink with a pale golden sheen. The color is sheer, as described. It’s almost coral, though the pink tends to dominate. MAC Immortal Flower is darker with no gold sheen. Tarina Tarantino Parasol is brighter, pinker. Tarina Tarantino Feather is more coral. Guerlain Blush G is similar but has a moer metallic sheen. Pink Peony was softer and more blendable on, and the sheerness of the color did help it smooth out more easily, since you couldn’t go overboard with it! This shade wore for six hours on me–it was much faster to show fading.

I like it, but I don’t love it.  If Bahama Brown was softer, more finely-milled and blendable, this would be a great combination of colors.  The brown could be used faintly as a contour shade on lighter complexions or as a way to bronze or add a glowy sheen on medium to dark skin tones.  The pink works either as a blush for lighter skin tones or as a highlighter on deeper ones.

The Glossover

product

Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight Bronzer/Blush Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
I like it, but I don't love it. If Bahama Brown was softer, more finely-milled and blendable, this would be a great combination of colors. The wear of Pink Peony was underwhelming, though.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, August 17th, 2012

MAC Marche aux Puces Eyeshadow Duo
MAC Marche aux Puces Eyeshadow Duo

March on Past This One

MAC Marche aux Puces Eyeshadow Duo ($27.50 for 0.09 oz.) contains two shades: Chessa (mid-tone golden orange) and Indie Spirit (chestnut brown).  This is a new, but limited edition (aren’t they always?) duo from the latest Styleseeker collection.

Chessa is a bright pop of tangerine-orange with golden orange sheen. It has a veluxe pearl finish. The texture was soft, so it applied smoothly and evenly, while the color payoff was good. OCC Mimosa is very similar. Dior Aurora has a shade that’s more golden. Maybelline Fierce & Tangy is a smidgen lighter and has less shimmer.

Indie Spirit is a medium brown with red-orange undertones and a matte finish. This was fussy–it did not want to yield good color payoff, because it was really dry and stiff. When I applied it to the lid, it was easier to use and with enough product, I was able to get it to show up. It blended out better than I anticipated, given the stiffer texture. MAC Soft Brown is darker, less orange. MAC One to Watch is a smidgen less red-toned and shimmery. MAC Tete-a-Tint is very similar in color–slightly less red-toned.

Indie Spirit is such a let-down in texture and color payoff.  It’s a little better during application than when just swatched, but it really takes some effort to get it to show up properly.  I had to go back three times in order to get decent color; my best advice is to work in small areas at a time, because it doesn’t deposit and then blend out.  Chessa is very pretty and would work well for both summer and fall.  It also would pair well with reds, berries, and burgundies.  When I tested these shades, both lasted for eight hours without creasing, and I only had some minor fading with Indie Spirit that was just barely noticeable.

The Glossover

palette

MAC Marche aux Puces Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Indie Spirit is such a let-down in texture and color payoff.  It's a little better during application than when just swatched, but it really takes some effort to get it to show up properly. It was the downfall of this duo!

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, August 17th, 2012

MAC Culturalized Eyeshadow Duo
MAC Culturalized Eyeshadow Duo

Where Retrospeck is Not Actually Retrospeck… in Retrospect!

MAC Culturalized Eyeshadow Duo ($27.50 for 0.09 oz.) contains two shades: Brule (soft creamy beige) and Retrospeck (mid-tone neutral gold).  It’s a new and limited edition duo from Styleseeker.

Brule is a pale, white beige with very subtle warm undertones. It has a satin finish, though it reads more matte against the skin. It has good color payoff, and it blends really easily. Urban Decay Kinky is lighter, less warm. theBalm Matt Smith is pinker. Urban Decay Walk of Shame is grayer, pinker. MAC Vanilla is warmer, lighter, less beige. Urban Decay Skimp has more of a shimmer-sheen finish and is warmer in tone.

Retrospeck is a molten gold with bronze and gold shimmer. It’s supposed to have a lustre finish, but I’m not entirely sure, since the color is NOTHING like Retrospeck. The texture feels somewhat like a lustre, as it has a looseness of sparkle that is very true-to-lustre-finish. The payoff is much, much more than a lot of lustres, though. I did experience noticeable fall out both during and after application (and the latter is what I worry and look for). Clarins Enchanted Summer is lighter, less brown. Milani Gold Dust is lighter. Tarina Tarantino Amber is very similar but smoother.

I could go on a rant about the ridiculousness of including a shade called Retrospeck, a shade that’s part of your core permanent range, and making it entirely different, but I’ll restrain myself.  I wasn’t originally going to purchase this duo, just the other three, because both of these shades were permanent, but I figured, “Why not?” so I’m glad I did!

I like Brule. It’s a nice highlighter color for light to medium skin tones–it doesn’t look too chalky or pale.  It’s also a nice all-over-lid color; consider patting it all over the lid and carving out the crease with a brown or gray to define eyes.  I’m not loving Retrospeck (V2) due to the residual fall out I experienced during the day when I wore it.  Both shades wore for eight hours over bare lids with no creasing or fading, though Retrospeck had fall out.

The Glossover

palette

MAC Culturalized Eyeshadow Duo Review, Photos, Swatches

B
Put together your own duo of Brule and Amber Lights if you like these two colors but want two of quality. Buy them both in pans and put them in a palette you already own, and you'll even save $3.50.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Milani Gold Dust Powder Eyeshadow
Milani Gold Dust Powder Eyeshadow

Follow the Trail of Gold Dust to Find Your Way Home

Milani Gold Dust Powder Eyeshadow ($4.49 for 0.11 oz.) is a warm gold with orange tones and a frosted, metallic finish. Giorgio Armani #1 is similar, slightly darker. Clarins Enchanted Summer contains a gold that is similar but also a little darker. Dior Couture Gold has a slightly lighter shade. Milani Drenched in Gold is less orange-toned.

The color payoff is decent to good, and it will apply mostly opaque to lid with a little packing of color but not too much is required.  In my use of this shade, what I liked least was the texture, which was on the powdery side with some dryness (it’s quite apparent in the swatch).  I wish it had a better or more binding ingredients, so it would stick together better.  This would make it apply more smoothly, though the powdery texture makes it easy to blend–but there is a little fall out during application, and the color can be sheered out too easily if you are not careful.  It managed eight hours of wear without a primer and only showed some very subtle fading along the inner corner.

The Glossover

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coming-soon

Caramel Brown

B
Not bad, not fantastic. For the price, some of the drawbacks might be worth overlooking. I think you may still be able to find a better gold for a similar price tag, though.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Hourglass Raven Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick
Hourglass Raven Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick

Not Nearly for 14 Hours–Maybe for 8 Hours

Hourglass Raven Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick ($28.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as an “orange-red.” It’s a vibrant, bold orange-red that’s much more orange than red. Nonetheless, it is extremely bright and attention-grabbing! The color is not that unusual; there are numerous orange-red lipsticks. MAC Strut Your Stuff is a smidgen lighter. Guerlain Genna is very similar but has a sheen. Estee Lauder Extravagant Red is similar but has gold shimmer. MAC Ruffian Red is less orange. OCC Stalker is quite similar.

This is a new product from the brand, and it’s, in essence, a liquid lipstick. It’s supposed to be extremely pigmented, have a matte finish, and last 14 hours (with “continuous wear without flaking or dryness.” I’m usually impressed by Hourglass’ products, but I had a sinking feeling about the wear as soon as I read “14 hours.” That’s a really, really long-time for a lip product. Most (maybe all? I’m no cosmetic scientist) makeup breaks down with oil, which means eating oily food will contribute to faster breakdown of long-wearing products even in this kind of formulation.

Hourglass’ liquid lipstick creates a second-skin feel and look on the lips, almost like cling wrap but far more comfortable. The formula is one of the best-feeling I’ve worn to-date, because it’s not drying at all. I wore this shade for ten full hours, and I didn’t have to run for the lip balm, which is something I typically have to do with these formulas. It starts off glossy but sets after thirty seconds to a minute. I recommend trying to keep lips slightly parted while it’s drying, because as it drying, it gets a smidgen tacky, so it can cause unevenness if you press your lips together during the setting time. The color was totally opaque with one pull of product.

There was minor transfer throughout the day. I let it set for a full half hour before I tested it for transfer (note, the description of this product does not indicate it is transfer-free or -resistant), and there was a few stray marks on my coffee cup; very little but some. I put this on after breakfast around 10AM, then had lunch at 1PM, where there was some loss of color but it looked about 90% there. After eating dinner at 6PM, it had definitely worn away significantly and was flaking in places. I did not experience any feathering or bleeding, though. I did, unfortunately, find stray bits of lipstick on my teeth throughout the day, which is not normal standard operating procedure. It removed easily when I used my shu umeura cleansing oil to remove all of my makeup. There was no residual staining post-removal either, which is nice!

I recommend prepping lips for application; it’s not drying, but the matte finish is a less forgiving finish if you have any dry or flaking areas on your lips. It’s also imperative that you remove any lip balm that you may have been wearing prior to applying this–lip balm will absolutely impair the wear as well as the application, because it will cause uneven color and shorter wear. If you have dry lips, apply lip balm beforehand, let it sink in, and then blot. I always apply to the bottom lip first, and then the upper lip going around the cupid’s bow first. Then, I press lips together and look for any unevenness.

At best, this would wear better for eight to ten hours if you had a relatively oil-free meal (when I tested another shade of this formula, I timed it better and only had it on for one meal, so it lasted closer to 10 hours).  It will last through many, many cups of whatever you happen to drink.  Meals will test it, and the oilier the meal, the less likely it will make it to the end fully intact.  I wish the claim wasn’t so extravagant–14 hours is a very long time!–because the way it looks at eight hours is discouraging (note, the brand said 14 hours of continuous wear).

The Glossover

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product

Raven

B
At best, this would wear better for eight to ten hours if you had a relatively oil-free meal. It will last through many, many cups of whatever you happen to drink. Meals will test it, and the oilier the meal, the less likely it will make it to the end fully intact. It's comfortable to wear, hydrating, and fully opaque--it just doesn't last the full 14 hours as claimed.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

5/10

Application

4/5

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