Saturday, September 17th, 2011


MAC Fall Colour

MAC Fall Colour: Pigments

MAC Fall Colour Pigments ($20.00 for 0.15 oz.) include four limited edition shades and one permanent repromote in the MAC Fall Colour Collection, which debuts in North America on September 29th, 2011 and will roll out internationally in October. These include: Blue Storm (rich metallic blue), Emerald Dusk (deep yellow blue with white pearl), Golden Olive (high frosted green-gold), Magenta Madness (intense neon blue-pink), Neo-Orange (intense neon salmon), Starless Night (deep black purple with light purple pearl), Tan (muted pinky brown bronze), and Violet (vivid bright violet purple).

  • Blue Storm is a dark navy blue with a purplish tint and silver sparkle. It gets a little darker and more cohesive when used damp as compared to dry. This shade has come out before, and yet I don’t have the original version (I’m at an utter loss as to why). It is similar to Givenchy Lune Mordoree. It’s not as dark as MAC Later.
  • Emerald Dusk is grayish blue with green-teal shimmer. When dry, it has a dustier look to it with less sheen, while when used damp, a silvery metallic sheen comes to the forefront. The color is similar to Urban Decay Hijack and Bare Escentuals Vapor.
  • Golden Olive is a medium grassy green with a hint of olive but mostly golden shimmer and sheen. This (along with Violet) were some of my very first pigments. I looked through the gallery but didn’t feel anything was very similar (and I couldn’t think of anything).
  • Magenta Madness is a neon fuchsia pink. It reads more fuchsia than magenta to me, though I wouldn’t debate you on that ’til the death. This shade is not to be used in the eye area per MAC’s safety insert. Inglot #362 is pinker, while Make Up For Ever #75 is closer but darker. MAC’s Neon pigments take a fair amount of work, and I can see why they’re a pro product. It’s better mixed with other base products (e.g. creams, mixing mediums, etc.) than applied straight to the skin. It has a matte finish, so it ends up looking chalky just swatched dry. The texture is silky soft–very finely milled–but it means it can look patchy when applied damp.
  • Neo-Orange is just shy of being a full neon orange. It looks rather dusty and softened when applied dry to the skin. This shade is not to be used in the eye area per MAC’s safety insert. The texture and issues with this shade are the same as Magenta Madness (see above). Make Up For Ever #5 is very close but in an easier format.
  • Starless Night is a violet purple over a blackened-purple base with silver and blue sparkle. It does well applied dry (binds together nicely) but takes on a more cohesive look when used damp. It’s similar to MAC Imaginary, if it were over a black base. It also reminds me of a purpler MAC Later.
  • Tan is a warm, red-toned medium brown with a gilded champagne shimmer-sheen. It looks more metallic when it is used damp. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone and Urban Decay Blaze are similar.
  • Violet is a softened violet purple with subtle red undertones and a frosted finish. Like Golden Olive, it was one of my first MAC products. Urban Decay Delinquent is darker. Urban Decay Ecstasy is less red-toned. Inglot #441 is more intense.

I have a soft spot for pigments, personally, as they were the product that made me fall in love with makeup. I prefer them with MAC’s Water-Based Mixing Medium (or 1/3 glycerin + 2/3 water for a DIY version) and have often used them as an eyeshadow base. There are only two new shades here and one more that is a repromote (so perhaps new to some); the rest of the shades are available permanently (Magenta Madness and Neo-Orange only at PRO stores, though currently available online to all!).

If you like pigments, the three new/limited edition shades (Blue Storm, Emerald Dusk, and Starless Night) are good and the latter two are reminiscent of the texture and formula of the Alice + Olivia pigments. The two neon shades (Magenta Madness and Neo-Orange) require more patience and likely better mixed with mediums/bases than alone. Pigments are technically multi-purpose products, which means you can use them on eyes, cheeks, lips, hair, nails, body, etc. (though some shades have safety restrictions). If you’re wondering where one might use the two non-eye safe shades, think cheeks or lips!

According to MAC, pigments “[contain] ingredients to help [them] adhere to the skin … easy to blend and long-lasting.” The way I review products is much, much more transparent to you as well as me (I have over fifty different characteristics I look at, though not all apply to each product). Nowadays, I try to be careful to read exactly how a brand describes their product/formula, because then I know what it’s supposed to do and then can review based on that. As much as I may like pigments, and I’m so used to using them with mixing medium, it’s almost mind-boggling to use them over bare skin!  I’m also surprised MAC doesn’t mention using these wet/damp or with a mixing medium.

The majority of colors do not apply intensely if you use them dry over bare skin. If you dampen the brush with even water, you’ll get a much better result. I also find that if I just use them damp over bare skin, they tend to fade a little (on me) after eight hours or so with minor creasing. I have no trouble with creasing or fading even after twelve hours if I use mixing medium instead of water. I have no problems with wear (whether dry or damp) if I use it over an eyeshadow primer.

The Glossover

product

MAC Fall Colour Pigments Swatches, Photos, Reviews

B
What I like about pigments is that they feel like a more finished product than a lot of loose color products do--it doesn't just feel like mica but there is more to it, which is what helps it bind together and wear better.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Thursday, September 15th, 2011


MAC In the Abstract Highlighter

MAC Art of Powder: In the Abstract Highlighter

MAC In the Abstract Highlighter ($38.00 for 0.31 oz.) is the last of three limited edition specially designed compacts from the Art of Powder Collection, which launches on September 29th, 2011 (North America) and October 2011 (International, at select locations). Like the other products, there is a good amount in the palette.

MAC describes the highlighter as a “soft pink base with yellow gold lines and lavender and mid-tone pink dots.” It’s mostly a very pale, barely-there pink-beige, especially once you’ve worn away the gold, which does not go all the way through. I have a video review we’ll have up later today, which will show that with more detail (along with the other two products). By just using a small eyeshadow brush, I was able to brush the gold away shortly–it’s thinner than the pink striping on the Optical Bronzer but has more of an effect on the product until it’s worn away.

You might find it works better as a finishing powder or an all-over highlighter because of its subtlety. It has a finely-milled texture that’s soft and silky against the skin. It wore for around eight hours on my cheek before it seemed to fade a bit. With the gold lines intact, it works nicely as a glowy highlighter on cheeks, and the warm gold shimmer translates more into a lovely sheen that’s not too much at all (and does not emphasize pores or imperfections on the skin). Once it is gone, it’s more like a finishing powder – the slightest sheen that’s barely visible. It has more of matte appearance at that point, which is why it can work as a finishing powder–at least on light to medium skin tones.

The Glossover

LE
product

In the Abstract

B
It's a soft, subtle highlighter--seems like a running theme in the collection--best suited for paler complexions. It worked well as a highlighter with the gold shimmer/lines but it seems to lose a lot of the sheen once that disappears.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011


OCC Pool Boy Nail Lacquer

OCC Pool Boy Nail Lacquer

In a very unlikely hue for fall, OCC Pool Boy Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) nevertheless makes its debut in OCC’s Pretty Boy Collection. Given that fall launches start rolling out halfway through our real summer, this beautiful blue is still quite welcome. It’s described simply as a “creme blue.” It’s not quite neon, but it’s not a softer, robin’s egg blue either. There’s a vibrancy in the hue that borders on cyan but still it is tempered by the creaminess of the color overall. It’s more like a sky blue with a hint of aqua in it. I think the yellow tones of my skin make it appear less sky blue–perhaps in cooler skintones you’ll find the blue tones are pulled out of it more.

The formula on this particular shade wasn’t perfect–it was on the thicker side, and with a color like this, you definitely need two coats. The first coat always looks uneven and almost streaky, but the second coat turns it into near perfection. I found that a thinner primary coat followed by a regular (but with the consistency of the formula, still thick) coat, which spread and flowed over the nail to give it a smooth look with nearly opaque color coverage.

The Glossover

product

OCC Pool Boy Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

B
I think the color is gorgeous, but the formula has a few issues, so it's not quite perfect. I love how it's bright without being a full-on neon shade, and the nice part about that is how it dries to a glossy finish even without a top coat.

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Sunday, August 21st, 2011


MAC Shadesticks in Butternutty, Cakeshop, Heirloom, Street Cool

MAC Me Over: Shadesticks

MAC Shadesticks ($17.50 for 0.05 oz.) may have been discontinued from the permanent range, but occasionally, MAC brings them back for a limited edition stint.  MAC Me Over includes five shades:  Butternutty (frosted light neutral), Cakeshop (frosted pewter), Heirloom (light icy pink), Street Cool (mid-tone grey violet taupe), and Tundra (icy silver).

Shadesticks are twist-up eyeshadows that can be worn alone or as a base. They are more like a cream eyeshadow than a powder, but the formula does set quickly and dry down so it wears well on its own without creasing (in my experience). The texture is creamy enough to deliver decent color payoff on the lid, but it is on the drier side, so you may feel some tugging and drag. After using a multitude of products over the years, Shadesticks are not a product I’d reach for regularly, just because they’re not as comfortable to use. I’d recommend applying with fingers or a brush, rather than straight from the tube.

  • Butternutty is a warm beige with a hint of peach. It has a frosted finish. The color is a bit like MAC Brule but frostier and a tad lighter.
  • Cakeshop is a dirty green-gray with a frosted, metallic finish. I don’t find that this goes on as evenly as you’d like a cream shadow to go out–there is a little grittiness from the size of the shimmer particles in it. It reminded me–ever-so-slightly–of theBalm Run Around Rebecca, which is greener.
  • Heirloom is a soft, grayish pink with a frosted finish. It a gray-toned version of Giorgio Armani #8. It’s darker and grayer than MAC Et Tu, Boutquet?.
  • Street Cool is a purple-tinged taupe brown with a soft, frosted finish. It has the least frosted finish of the shadesticks. It is very similar to Inglot #402 and NARS Grand Palais. It is a lighter version of MAC Satin Taupe.
  • Tundra is a bright silver with a metallic finish. It is similar to Inglot #448.

MAC Me Over is a 51-piece collection for fall, which will launch in North America on August 25th, 2011 and internationally in September 2011. It will launch online approximately August 23rd but there is no concrete online launch date. All products–unless otherwise noted–are limited edition.

The Glossover

product

MAC Me Over: Shadesticks Swatches, Photos, Reviews

B
The drier formula keeps this from being a standout product, because the dryness results in drag and tugging on the lid, and the color does not deposit evenly or opaquely as a result.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

Here is the review for the second half of the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 ($64.00) limited edition makeup palette. For an overall review of the product, along with packaging, please see part one. Because there are differences in quality for each shade, I have listed a pigmentation and texture score for each (both scores are out of 10), which I then averaged across all sixteen shades to give the scores found in The Glossover below.

Midnight Cowgirl is a warm, pale, peach-gold with a frosted finish. The color payoff is really lovely, as it is rich and buttery, though it does have flecks of gold micro-glitter. This shade is part of the permanent range. I find the majority disappears before you even apply it, but you may find that some fall out underneath the eye. It is a bit lighter than Bobbi Brown Desert Sand. It’s similar in color but lighter compared to Urban Decay Blunt. It’s also a lighter, less brown version of MAC Retrospeck. (9, 8.5)

Sin is a pink-tinged champagne with a frosted finish and rather metallic sheen. This shade is part of the permanent range. Urban Decay Scratch is much pinker. Giorgio Armani #8 is similar but more metallic in finish. Inglot #397 is similar in color, less pink-tinged. (9.5, 9)

Midnight Rodeo is a sparkly taupe brown. It does have glitter, but it’s subtle and doesn’t seem as large as Urban Decay’s other glitter-finished eyeshadows but may still have some fall out. The color payoff is good, and the texture is fairly smooth. I thought Urban Decay Toasted might be similar, but it’s not–much browner, less of a taupe. theBalm Insane Jane is grayer (more cool-toned), while Inglot #402 is nearly indistinguishable from Midnight Rodeo. This shade is a repromote from the 15th Anniversary Palette. (9, 8.5)

Crystal is a bluish-purple gray with a silvered sheen. It lacks pigmentation, and the texture is dry and stiff to work with–you’ll have to pack it on to achieve the color you see in the pan. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. Inglot #420 is similar but darker and lacks the bluish tones. Urban Decay Stripped has less purple and is much, much darker. (5, 7)

Bust is a softened, gray-tinged taupe brown with a soft, frosted finish. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It has a really smooth application with a buttery texture, while the shade itself has excellent color payoff. NARS Grand Palais is slightly browner, MAC Street Cool is darker and browner, MAC Satin Taupe is much, much darker, and Inglot #402 is warmer and less gray. It’s like a frosted version of Urban Decay Shakedown. (9.5, 9)

Missionary is a soft, beige-taupe with a frosted finish. It’s like a lighter version of Sin. It has good color payoff, but it’s not fully opaque. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It is pinker than MAC Butternutty. It’s a little lighter and has more of a sheen compared to Urban Decay Virgin. (9, 9)

Skimp is a beige-peach with a pearled sheen. The color payoff here was a bit sheer, and the texture surprisingly dry. This shade is a repromote. It is similar to Bare Escentuals Serendipitous. It is a little lighter than MAC Brule. (8, 8.5)

Zephyr is a warm white with a golden sheen. It has good color payoff, but it is a bit powdery. This shade is new and exclusive to this palette. It less yellow compared to Urban Decay Vanilla and MAC Nylon, but it is comparable to Bare Escentuals Breathtaking. (9, 8.5)

The Glossover

LE
palette

Book of Shadows Vol. 4

B
If one wants a neutral palette, Urban Decay's Naked palette does it better. If one wants pops of color, the 15th Anniversary Palette does it better. This palette lacks the quality level of previous Book of Shadows--it's not the colors but the color payoffs and textures that make this palette less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011


Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 ($64.00) is a limited edition makeup palette slated for a September launch. It contains 16 eyeshadows (0.03 oz. each), one Liquid Eyeliner (0.058 fl. oz.), Original Primer Potion (0.13 fl. oz.), and Supercurl Mascara (0.18 fl. oz.). The palette also contains a mini-speaker along with QR codes so that one can watch video tutorials designed for the palette. The value breakdown goes like this: $163.20 worth of eyeshadow, $18.00 worth of liquid eyeliner, $6.68 worth of Primer Potion, and $12.00 worth of mascara. Though you cannot purchase the items separately even if you wanted to, it amounts to the equivalent of $199.88.

Because of how photo-heavy this review is, and how long it is, the first eight eyeshadows are reviewed in this post, while the second set of eight will follow. The overall review for the palette along with packaging is included in this post.  Because there are differences in quality for each shade, I have listed a pigmentation and texture score for each (both scores are out of 10), which I then averaged across all sixteen shades to give the scores found in The Glossover below.

Blue Bus is a cool-toned, blue-based purple with a soft, frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The payoff is disappointing–it’s dry, stiff, and applies unevenly. It lacks the density of other Urban Decay eyeshadows along with the smoothness that comes from a softer powder product. The color is very similar to MAC Parfait Amour. Inglot #379 is similar in color but matte, so it has a darker appearance. (7/5)

Gunmetal is a darkened blue-based gray with a silver shimmer and sheen. This is a permanent shade. The color payoff is good, though it feels a touch less soft compared to the pot version of Gunmetal. Inglot #451 is similar but slightly darker–has more of a black base. (9/8.5)

Cobra is a dark, cool-toned brown with a mostly matte finish that’s layered with green-gold shimmer. This shade is a repromote from the Black Palette. It doesn’t reflect very green when I swatched it–more like a brown with gold shimmer. The color payoff is decent but it has a drier texture. If you wanted more of the color in the pan, Laura Mercier’s Pine Bronze is similar. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone has a shade that is similar in the pan but also swatches browner–they are surprisingly similar. Milani Melange is also similar but has a blacker color base. (9/8)

Baked is a bright copper with a high frost finish. The color payoff is excellent, and it has a dense, buttery texture that applies very smoothly. This is a permanent shade. It is similar to Giorgio Armani Gold Blitz, Inglot #405, and MAC Amber Lights. (10/10)

Bender is a dark, forest green with a subtle green-gold sheen. The finish is a softened frost. This is a new and exclusive shade. It is one of the best performing shades in the palette–very buttery and smooth, while the pigmentation is tops. It is more yellow-based compared to Make Up For Ever #310. It has less green and more olive compared to Inglot #418. It is very similar to MAC Humid. (10/10)

Gravity is a plum-tinged medium purple with a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. It has decent color payoff, but it applies unevenly and splotch in places (see the bottom half of the swatch). Make Up For Ever #142 is similar in color but has a matte finish. theBalm All the Way Annie is a touch plummier. It is more pigmented than Milani Purr-fect Purple. It is not as intense as Urban Decay Psychedelic Sister, but it is darker (and plummier) than Urban Decay Ecstasy. (7.5, 7.5)

Lost is a dark bronze brown with subtle red undertones. It has a frosted finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The color payoff is beautiful here–like Bender, it is one of the better quality shades in the palette. The texture is soft, smooth, and buttery. It is darker and browner compared to MAC Sable. It has slightly cooler tones compared to Inglot #422. There is a darker quality and a more reflective finish compared to Milani Rich Java. (10/10)

Hijack is a bluish-teal with a silvered sheen–a part frost, part metallic finish. This is a new and exclusive shade. The pigmentation in this shade was good, and it applies smoothly overall. The color is very similar to Bare Escentuals Vapor. It is darker and less teal compared to Urban Decay Aquarius. (9/9)

I’m usually really impressed by Urban Decay’s palettes, because the majority of the eyeshadows are high-quality with excellent color payoff, even if a few textures may be more prone to fall out because of the inclusion of glittery shades. I found Blue Bus, Crystal, and Skimp to be difficult to use, while Cobra and Gravity have a few concerns The standout shades were Baked, Bender, Lost, and Zephyr in terms of pigmentation and texture.    If one wants a neutral palette, Urban Decay’s Naked palette does it better.  If one wants pops of color, the 15th Anniversary Palette does it better.  Last year’s Book of Shadows Vol. 3 was much better (and still available at urbandecay.com).

The packaging is extremely bulky–it’s large and heavy. If you thought prior Book of Shadows editions were bulky, then you will loathe the size of this one, as it is 1 3/4″ wider (only marginally taller). I had issues sliding the drawer out, because the mini-speaker tends to get caught against the top. The drawer was not glued in, though, so it did pull out all the way for removal. The top flap opens up with pop-up butterflies, small-sized mirror, and a pocket for your phone along with instructions for using the QR codes. The upside of bulky cardboard packaging is that it will absorb impact better than a hard plastic case would if you were to drop it. I dropped mine a few times on the bathroom tile to no ill effects.

I didn’t play around with the technology too much myself, as I relegated that duty to our resident tech guy (I was busy cropping photographs). I did watch some and saw how it all came together. I think it’s an interesting concept, but in reality, it ends up more gimmicky than useful. The drawer is so large to accomodate a mini-speaker, which does enhance the sound of the videos, but your phone would likely do an adequate job with its own speakers. The QR codes are a bit close together, but it is a minor concern. We have iPhones here, so that is what we tested it out with, and if you have a case around yours, you’ll need to remove it or else the plug will not connect properly.

The Glossover

palette

Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. 4 Review, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

B
This palette lacks the quality level of previous Book of Shadows--it's not the colors but the color payoffs and textures that make this palette less than stellar.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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