Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette
Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Palette

Beauty Rules?!

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules Face Palette ($45.00) has me at odds! I do and don’t like this palette. I do LOVE the new and exclusive Pot Rouge shades to this palette. I also adore the packaging–I just think it’s cute and fits so well with the theme. I absolutely do not like the eyeshadows included in the palette, and I really disliked both of the sparkle eyeshadows.

My dislike of those two eyeshadows actually overwhelmed me for awhile, because I kept giving this palette a look of disdain. Once I sat down to write the review, though, I realized that only two of ten products weren’t so hot. I do think the Pot Rouges are really the highlight out of this palette, because they are wearable, flattering shades. Both shades are exclusive to the palette, as are the two lip glosses and Eclipse eyeshadow. (Ivory is permanent; Lightning, Orchid, and Crystal Gold have been in previous palettes.)

  • Ivory is a matte white ivory. If you have a few Bobbi Brown palettes, you probably have this shade somewhere! It’s similar to MAC’s Blanc Type.
  • Lightning is a sheer, softened gray taupe with silver shimmer and has a sparkle finish. It was in Bobbi Brown’s Aquamarine Palette.
    Orchid is sheer, sparkly lilac with a sparkle finish. This was in Bobbi Brown’s Orchid Palette, and I disliked it as much then as I do now. It’s just a mess to apply–fall out everywhere.
  • Eclipse is a matte, stormy black. It’s a nice black, but it doesn’t stand out strongly against other matte blacks available.
  • Baby Pink is a rosy pink with cool, blue undertones. It can be built up for a more intense look or blended out for a rosy flush. I was reminded a bit of Benefit’s Posietint, but Posietint is not as buildable.
  • Homecoming Pink is a medium pink with neutral undertones. It’s as wearable and buildable as Baby Pink, just darker and neutral. Fun find: Pale Pink from the Orchid Palette is a mix of Baby Pink and Homecoming Pink!
  • Air Kiss is a sheer, pale milky pink. It lightened my natural lip color a bit–essentially washed out my lip color.
  • Rum is a sheer rosy brown. It has a little milkiness to it, but it’s not as milky or as pale as Air Kiss.
  • Crystal Gold is a sheer glossy base with metallic bronze and copper shimmer. This is a Glitter Lip Balm, but I’d like this more layered over a lipstick. It’s a little streaky on its own.
  • Jet is a creamy, jet black eyeliner.  It wore well, and it wasn’t too soft or hard, though swatching it lightly on the back of your hand initially is recommended, just to wear down the sharpened point.

The palette contains 0.02 oz. Creamy Eye Pencil, 0.04 oz. x4 Eyeshadows, 0.07 oz. x2 Pot Rouges, 0.04 oz. x2 of Lip Gloss, and 0.04 oz. Glitter Lip Balm. After going through the math, the palette is a good deal. It’s not a fantastic deal, but it’s not a rip off. You get about $10 worth of Eyeliner, $20 worth of Eyeshadows, $15 worth of Sparkle Eyeshadows, $10 worth of Pot Rouge, $10 worth of Lip Gloss, and $5 worth of Glitter Lip Balm–so somewhere around $65 to 70 in value.

I don’t feel like this is a great palette for teenagers. Even though sparkle is fun and they always say it’s for the young (pfft!), both shades are prone to fall out, and I think the last thing a makeup newcomer should have to deal with is that. The Pot Rouges are forgiving, because they’re so blendable, and the lip colors are natural and wear with most looks–but it’s the eyeshadows that seem out of place for a palette geared towards teenagers.

P.S. — Though I am not a fan of lip palettes, particularly when lip colors are mixed with powder products, I did not let that personal bias influence the rating or grading of this palette, but I do still feel that way about them–haven’t changed my mind!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: My gut says to pass on this, but if you’re a Pot Rouge fan like me, those pinks are hard to pass up.

AVAILABILITY: Bobbi Brown

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Philosophy Rainbow Sherbet
Philosophy Rainbow Sherbet

Looking for Rainbows with Philosophy

Philosophy Everything’s Coming Up Rainbows Set ($28.00) includes a 4 oz. Rainbow Sherbet Shower Gel, 4 oz. Rainbow Sherbet Body Lotion, and 0.5 oz. Rainbow Sherbet Flavored Lip Shine. It pulls more like orange sherbet but it has that sweetness from pineapple, too. I loved the scent in the shower, because the getting a sniff of citrus was invigorating in the early morning.

The body lotion smelled exactly the same, but it’s a product that works best for someone who moisturizers daily or doesn’t suffer from dry skin–it’s a lotion, so it has a thin consistency. (My dragon scales need a body butter or cream!) It did absorb quickly, and the scent did not overwhelm me at all but still detectable after a few hours. Similarly, the Lip Shine shared the same scent, and it’s pretty much just a clear gloss with white shimmer. They’re fun and always give me an urge to lick my lips.

It’s a cute set, and I’m glad I bought it so I could try out a new scent. Even though it’s a fun set, it’s not a value set. Full-sized shower gels retail for $16 (for 16 oz.) and body lotions retail for $24 (for 16 oz.), while Lip Shines retail for $10. The set comes with $4 worth of shower gel, $6 worth of body lotion, and $10 worth of Lip Shine–$20 in sum but will set you back $28.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Depending on what product you like most, you may just want to grab that one (as all three are available separately in full-sizes).

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette
Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Blue Dahlia: Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette

Estee Lauder Surreal Violet Eyeshadow Palette ($42.00 for 0.27 oz.) is a purple-hued palette from the Blue Dahlia Collection, which debuted for fall. It includes five shades: pink-lilac with soft sheen; dusty gray with mauve in a matte finish; shimmery white; darkened eggplant with a matte finish; and a sparkly cool-toned purple.

The palette’s interior design is similar to Guerlain’s Eyeshadow Palettes, but the outer packaging is entirely different, and Guerlain’s palette does include a sixth shade along the right hand side of the palette. None of the five Guerlain palettes released for fall resemble either of the two palettes released by Estee Lauder, though–there might be one shade overlap at best, but they are all pretty different from each other. As far as texture is concerned, Guerlain’s is a little smoother, but the pigmentation is similar across both brands with some shades slightly sheer and others more opaque.  Again, even though at first sight, the two brands seem similar, the color schemes for their palettes deviate quite a bit, so it may not curb your desire for an $84 palette.

Both of the matte eyeshadows are a touch dusty but very workable when used with a brush–just make sure to tap excess off to avoid fall out–while the pinky lilac shade is absolutely gorgeous, because the sheen is just right. The frosted white shade may be garish on darker skin tones, and the high-shine finish works better on the lid than on the brow to highlight. The sparkly purple shade is pretty but a little sheer and a good portion of the sparkle seems to disappear by the time you apply it to the lid.

My favorite part about the palette is how well the colors work together.  This is not a palette that has too many dark shades, not enough available textures, or colors that just don’t work together.  It’s well-designed to create both lighter purple-based looks as well as smokier looks.  The inclusion of both matte, satin, and frost finishes allows for the creation of looks with depth.

P.S. — Is it just me or are white sponge-tip applicators incredibly cheap looking?  I don’t like sponge-tip applicators in general, but white just seems to scream cheap to me.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

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

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a purple fiend, I think you’ll get a lot of use out of this palette.  There’s a good mix of both warmer and cooler shades, as well as lighter and darker shades, to make this a rather versatile palette.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, October 18th, 2010

Illamasqua Disciple Lipstick
Illamasqua Disciple Lipstick

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Disciple

Illamasqua Disciple Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deep navy blue with a near matte finish.  It’s pretty opaque, but it is a little dry, so it’s best applied with a lip brush.  Between the opacity and the more clinging nature of the formula, though, it’s incredibly long-wearing–yielding about six hours of wear for me.  Illamasqua’s lipsticks are also scent- and taste-free.

Most of probably wouldn’t wear this shade on the regular, but it’s always nice to have options, which is one of the fun parts about the Illamasqua brand. Disciple is surprisingly flattering even when worn on its own.  Normally, I’m not a huge fan of really dark lip colors on myself, but I kind of dug the way the blue worked with my skin tone here.   I also appreciate that it’s not a black-blue but a true navy blue on lips.

The Glossover

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Disciple

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Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Taking a Long, Windy Drive with Ocean Eyeshadow Duo

I really loved the coloring of Dolce & Gabbana’s Ocean Eyeshadow Duo ($36.00 for 0.17 oz.)  LOVED! ON SIGHT!  It’s a mix of lilac-periwinkle and dusty, navy blue.  And so I was greatly disappointed when my first attempt to use it proved as difficult as the Divine Eyeshadow Quad.   Instead, Ocean did this weird thing where it clumped up in spots and went really sheer in others.  I also packed on the color FIVE times before throwing up my makeup brushes in frustration.

AHH, AHH. I FOUND THE KEY. BURIED. LIKE TREASURE!

Oh, yes, I finally found the key to success with these more finicky eyeshadows, but I’m pretty frustrated at how I did find it–which was completely by accident.  I had the compact open by my bathroom sink, and I accidentally splashed water on it.  Since I was about ready to throw in the towel, and there was already a wet spot, I figured let’s try it–let’s dare to use it wet.  TA-DA! VOILA! LIGHTBULB FLASHFLASH!

I don’t typically use powder products wet unless I know it’s designed with that in mind, because some powder products will have a “wet spot” left behind, which just hardens and looks gross.  Mind you, I had previously called the Dolce & Gabbana counter at Saks NY and the artist on the phone said that these could not be used wet.

So I started to hunt around on the ol’ interweb to see if I could find more insight on using these eyeshadows wet, since it worked a treat.  Buried on the Dolce & Gabbana website–but only under the eyeshadow duos–within the “application” tab is a quote from Pat McGrath:  “Achieve multiple looks from a single colour: applied dry, the shadows appear softer and more transparent, but with a wet brush, they become opaque and intense.” This information doesn’t appear on Saks’ website nor under the eyeshadow quad area of Dolce & Gabbana’s website at all.

I’m sad to report that using the eyeshadows wet for the Divine eyeshadow quad I reviewed a few weeks ago didn’t do much for improving the color, but it did make the color apply more evenly and look smoother–so I did go back and amend the review briefly and raised the grade up two notches.

But I think what really killed me was that even though I called to ask, the artist (at least the one working that day) explicitly told me to NOT use these wet or else I would ruin the eyeshadow.  If I had paid for this, I don’t think I would have ever risked it.

The one problem I did encounter by using the duo wet was that it made it more difficult to blend out–you have to work really quickly, because once it dries, it sets and stays as vibrant as it went on initially, but it’s a pain to diffuse after that.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you don’t mind using your eyeshadows wet, then I think this could be a really good duo–they’re two shades I feel like I don’t see that often.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Chanel Tentation Cuivree Eyeshadow Quad
Chanel Tentation Cuivree Eyeshadow Quad

Chanel Holiday 2010: Tentation Cuivree

Chanel Tentation Cuivree Eyeshadow Quad ($56.00 for 0.24 oz.) is new for holiday, and just like everything else in the collection, it is also limited edition. It’s a rather neutral quad with a smoky brown edge. I actually mean neutral in overall color scheme while the undertone is slightly warm but not much so.

The quad consists of a medium-dark cocoa brown with flecks of silver and bronze shimmer-glitter; softened champagne with a frost finish; high-shine light-medium pink with subtle yellow undertones; and a dark cocoa brown with flashes of molten bronze shimmer. Chanel’s eyeshadow quads can be used wet or dry (with no effect on the eyeshadows themselves), and the two lighter shades look about the same regardless, while both browns deepen. Funny enough, when used wet, the darkest brown seems to loses some of the copper flecks.

Overseas, the circular eyeshadow pans are the norm, while U.S. quads come in square pans typically. I’m not sure whether the change is just for holiday or going forward. I think I prefer the square pans; perhaps that pyramid shape lends it a bit of sophistication that the circular pans lack. It almost looks like a knockoff to me, but I imagine that’s also due to the fact that I’m not used to seeing it that way more than anything.

I don’t love this eyeshadow quad, and I don’t think it’s exactly the same in texture as other quads. It’s not quite as buttery or as smooth. I had some trouble with the medium brown swatching dry, though it sure came together when used wet. This quad is shimmer-heavy, with both of the brown shades having more of a micro-glitter effect than shimmer/sheen, so there is a touch of fall out, which I don’t usually associate with Chanel.

It’s nice but not knock-your-socks-off stunning. I like but don’t love, you know? The quality just isn’t quite there for me, and the abundance of shimmer and frost (and even a bit of glitter) came as a surprise. It’s worth taking a peek at, though!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: I think warmer beauties will find it very easy to use and a good go-to for smoky brown looks. It will still be nice on cooler skin, but it may not feel quite as complimentary (if you find warmer browns go red on you, I’d skip this).

AVAILABILITY: Chanel

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