Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

The Mysterious Case of Tired Face

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer ($16.50 for 0.30 fl. oz.) has been a product I’ve felt compelled to test for the past two weeks straight. I don’t like to review a product until I have a good handle on how I feel about it, and I’m not big on reviewing anything that I’m waffling over.

Admittedly, I’ve been sleeping a lot less and not nearly as well as I usually do, which is good news for concealer-testing purposes, given that my under eye circles are more prevalent this week than they normally are! Often when I’m running on low sleep, I suffer from a phenomenon I’ve named TIREDFACE. The primary symptom is tightness around the eye area (at least for me). So, one of the things I’ve had going on has been this feeling of tightness when I’ve been wearing this concealer, and I wasn’t sure whether it was due to the concealer itself or more to the exhaustion. For about three days, I wore concealer under one eye and none under the other. The concealer does contribute to some of the feeling of tightness.

The concealer does last a miraculous twelve hours, though, without creasing or budging. It is a very dry product, and if you have a lot of dryness around the areas you’re trying to conceal, I think this may emphasize those areas rather than hide them. I felt like it pulled a little underneath my eyes (which is where I used it most of the time), which is why I felt that tightness despite no discernible dryness in the area.  It conceals good, though for the heaviest of dark circles, it may not be enough, and it’s difficult to layer this product for additional coverage due to its fast drying time.

It has a creamy feel when dispensed, and it’s not too thick–there’s a good consistency to it, but it dries quickly, so you’ll have to work just as quickly. I actually recommend doing one eye at a time, because if you don’t move fast enough, it can be difficult to blend out! I also liked using a flat concealer brush like the 195 for application; the 217 seemed to sheer it out too much. I have noticed that it will settle a little into fine lines if you don’t blend out the area first. Once you’ve blended it out, though, it won’t creep back in.

I originally tried this in NC30, but it’s definitely a little on the orange side. I received a sample of NC20, so I figured I might as well give that a shot, though I’m ultimately thinking that NC25 or even NW25 might be the best match for me (I am NC25). NC20 seemed like a pretty good match, but next time I’m at the counter, I’m going to grab samples of NC25 and NW25 to see if either of those is a better match.

I was incredibly frustrated by the inclusion of a pump that–wait for it–pumps out enough to cover half your face in concealer. If the technology is not available to create a pump that easily distributes just enough for the product’s purpose, why use something inferior? It is certainly possible to get just the right amount out, but after two weeks of use, I couldn’t do so consistently. Sometimes I got just enough, sometimes a nice blob that went down the sink. If you’re having pump troubles like I have had, I recommend pumping once or twice into a small sampling jar. No need to pump it all into there, just whatever excess–that way you can go back and use that during the week and not let it go to waste.

All in all, this concealer does last all day long for me. It doesn’t crease later on during the day, and this is a big deal for a lot of us. I do feel a little tightness around my under eye when I wear this, though, so I probably won’t wear this every day.  It’s definitely worth trying out for its long-wearing prowess–but if you can, grab a sample, so you can find your shade and decide if you like it without having to purchase from the get-go.

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  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you have really dry skin that you’re looking to use this concealer on, I think this may be too drying and end up just looking cakey on you.  The wear of this is fantastic, and the coverage is good for light to moderate under eye circles or blemishes.  If you have really heavy under eye circles, this might not be enough coverage.  Overall, it’s worth a try, particularly if you’re able to grab a sample.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Barielle Style in Argyle Collection
Barielle Nail Lacquer: Cashmere or Loose Me, Tight Knit, Cowl of the Wild

Barielle Goes Brown for Fall

For fall, Barielle’s Style in Argyle Collection is quite literally autumnal in tone. It’s a myriad of shades you’d see in fallen leaves. It includes six new shades: Cashmere or Loose Me (soft brown with copper pearl), Tight Knit (purple brown creme), Cowl of the Wild (mushroom taupe creme), Aura Angora (royal gold creme), Wool You Marry Me? (plum brown creme), and Unraveled Rust (burnt rust creme). All but Cashmere or Loose Me (soft brown with copper pearl) are creams. Each retails for $8.

  • Cashmere or Loose Me is a warmed-up red-toned medium brown with a soft sprinkle of pale gold shimmer. The shimmer is very subtle in the creamier base. Two coats.
  • Tight Knit is a rich, plum-tinged brown cream. You barely need two coats, because one coat is so rich, but I did two.
  • Cowl of the Wild is a medium-dark chocolate brown with a little taupe cream. Two coats.
  • Aura Angora is a yellow, mustard-y cream. Two coats. It’s darker and more orange-based than Butter London’s Bumster.
  • Wool You Marry Me? is a deep burgundied brown cream. This one was my favorite, because it looks very decadent in color. Two coats. This one reminded me a bit of Essie’s Sexy Divide.
  • Unraveled Rust is a rich, almost molten dark chocolate brown cream. Two coats.

Barielle’s formula is on the thicker side, though it applies very evenly and never streaks. I found all shades except Cashmere or Loose Me to be nearly opaque in one coat. I ended up using two coats for all colors, but the creams are quite pigmented. These felt like they took longer to dry than the average polish, and I think that might be due to the thickness of the polish itself.

Honestly, I don’t own many brown polishes for whatever reason, so I don’t have a full range of shades to pull from for dupes. Given that Essie does a lot of creams, you may want to look there first (assuming you have a large Essie stash, of course).

These are colors you may love or hate, and they’re not your typical shades, regardless of the coordination with the season. I’m kind of digging Aura Angora and like Wool You Marry Me? the best, but none of these shades are must-haves based on my color preferences.

Any of these shades catch your eye?

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: The formula is a little thick and takes a bit longer to dry, but the creams are incredibly pigmented and apply beautifully.

AVAILABILITY: Barielle

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Thursday, September 23rd, 2010


Dolce & Gabbana Cosmopolitan Nail Lacquer

Corals for fall? Who woulda thunk it?

Dolce & Gabbana Cosmopolitan (108) Nail Lacquer ($20.00 for 0.37 fl. oz.) is a bright true coral cream. I was torn between calling it a pink coral and an orange coral, because it seems to flitter between the two, which makes me realize, “OH! That’s a TRUE coral!”  Am I the only one who didn’t expect to see a coral polish come out in a fall collection?

In two coats, it’s very close to being opaque; you can kind of see my nail line, but it’s slight–I’d advise doing three coats to totally hide it, but I was happy with the effect of two myself. I find Dolce & Gabbana’s brush a little on the thick side, and it seems to hold a lot of polish in it. Thankfully, while it seemed like it would be hard to work with, I didn’t encounter any application issues; the color applied smoothly, and it didn’t streak or overflow on my nail. However, I think if you had smaller nail beds, it might be more problematic.

I went through several of my photo folders for possible dupes, and everything was either too far orange or pink but not quite like this. Not that there are no dupes out there, but nothing jumped out at me. Any suggestions?

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: Though it’s not a color I think about for fall collections, it would be lovely for coral fiends… especially during these last days of summer.

AVAILABILITY: Saks

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Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Guerlain Gigi Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Gigi Rouge G Lipstick

Caution: Sunglasses Needed

Guerlain Gigi (68) Rouge G Lipstick ($46.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a new-for-fall shade of neon fuchsia pink with a slightly glossy sheen but nearly imperceptible shimmer. This is MEGA-WATT bright, I swear! Despite its brightness, it’s actually a little less opaque than the majority of Rouge G lipsticks, which is odd. It does remind me of MAC Full Fuchsia Lipstick, which is a PRO shade, but it’s a lot frostier (and thus more reflective). Gigi seems to have less blue in its base, too, and this would make it a touch more flattering on warmer skin tones than Full Fuchsia. I am definitely surprised to see such a bright shade launched by Guerlain, and even more since it’s part of their fall launch!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: This is probably not a must-have shade in everyone’s color wardrobe. It has the same lovely texture and feel as the rest of the Rouge G line, but you may not want to sink $46 into a shade unless it’s one you’ll love and wear often.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Monday, September 20th, 2010

Guerlain 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette
Guerlain 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette

Is this palette worth $84?

I know that it probably sounds funny, but after reviewing and being disappointed by Guerlain’s Rue de Francs Bourgeois Eyeshadow Palette, I felt the need to determine whether the palettes were a miss in general or perhaps just that particular combination was underwhelming. I decided to go with Guerlain’s 2 Place Vendome Eyeshadow Palette ($84.00 for 0.25 oz.), which is one variation that seemed to stand out more than the others (to me).

The palette includes six eyeshadows in varying shapes and sizes.  It’s housed in a beautiful compact with a filigree pattern on the cover that’s actually see-through.  There’s a black plastic piece that lifts open to reveal the eyeshadows themselves (and on the inside, there is a mirror).  A dual-ended miniaturized brush is also included, and while not something I’d use under regular circumstances, is nicer than many other palette applicators I’ve come across.

This is a rather cool-toned palette, which would make it most suitable for those who lean cool, but it’s still wearable on warmer skin tones, since they’re closer to neutral than very cool.  There is a pale white-beige with a satin finish, muted gray-brown with a satin finish, medium-dark ocean blue with soft sheen, antique gold with a hint of taupe base and frosted shimmer, cool-toned charcoal brown with a semi-matte finish, and darkened purple-black with flecks of violet shimmer over a semi-matte color base.

I think the pigmentation on the eyeshadows is nice overall, but it’s not rich and intense and luxe to me.  I really don’t get the luxury feel from the texture, but these shades are more impressive in their subtle nuances than in Rue de Francs Bourgeois.  I’m not keen on the level of pigmentation in the lighter brown shade, which is a little sheer; though the charcoal-brown shade appears sheer when swatched, it applies just fine with a brush on the eyes (say in the crease).

I’m still not as wow-ed as I’d like to be with these palettes, and while the palette’s case is most assuredly gorgeous, the eyeshadows don’t quite match it.  The texture could be finer, richer — I think this is what makes me go, “Hmm, I want to like you, but it’s not quite there,” because they don’t feel as buttery as Guerlain’s singles, duos, and quads’ eyeshadows do.  I do like that these have nearly no fall out, and they do apply very smoothly and evenly.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

RECOMMENDATION:

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Friday, September 17th, 2010

Video Review: MAC Pro Longwear Lipcreme

Grab some popcorn, bon bons, and a drink, this video is long.  The first nine minutes or so are my “first impressions,” as I shot this video over two days.  The remaining twenty minutes consist of showing some possible dupes for a few shades of the Pro Longwear Lipcremes and review of the formula itself.