Friday, December 28th, 2012

MAC Amethyst Pressed Pigment
MAC Amethyst Pressed Pigment

MAC Pressed Pigments Part Deux

MAC Pressed Pigments ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) includes nine new shades: Amethyst (purple with silver undertone), Angelic (off white), Blonde Streak (light cream), Blue Willow (light icy blue), Enlightening (deep silver), Flicker (pastel yellow), Jet Couture (charcoal black), Smoky (deep silver blue), and Sweet Acting (mid-tone pink). There are three repromoted shades: Day Gleam (high pearl powder in NC30 shade), Deeply Dashing (high pearl powder in NW55 shade), and Light Touch (high pearl powder in W10 shade). I reviewed those three shades just three months ago when they originally debuted.

Amethyst is a pale lavender with a metallic, sparkling finish. It’s sheer when used damp, more opaque when used wet. Dolce & Gabbana Jewels has a similar coloring but appears darker, as it does not have a metallic finish. MAC Light Violet is a darker lavender.

Angelic is a cool-toned white with a hint of silver. It has a frosted, metallic finish. It is a bit smoother and more metallic than it is sparkly–compared to other shades. The payoff dry is fairly sheer, while damp is better but not fully opaque. MAC She’s Got Class is very similar. shu uemura Smoky Velvet #3 is also similar.

Blonde Streak is a silver-shot off-white; it almost looks creamy at one angle, then looks silvered at another. It has a frosted, metallic finish. shu uemura Smoky Velvet #3 is whiter. MAC She’s Got Class is less metallic. Bobbi Brown Bone is yellower.

Blue Willlow is a bluish-green tinted white with a frosted, metallic finish. This one had a chunkier finish, and it never quite smoothed out, even when applied damp. The payoff was about the same whether used dry or damp. Giorgio Armani #10 is very similar in color.

Enlightening is a light-medium silver with a bright metallic sheen. This had a chunkier texture, so it did not lay down as smoothly as other shades did. Tarte Silver Burst is lighter, less metallic. Bobbi Brown Tinsel is lighter. MAC Misty is a touch lighter. Giorgio Armani #12 is a bit lighter.

Flicker is a yellow-tinged white, but it almost has this silver-ish sparkle. The color payoff was semi-sheer both wet and dry. This didn’t have a really gritty texture but did have a lot of sparkle. Bobbi Brown Bone is warmer. Too Faced Spun Sugar is darker. Tarina Tarantino Elektron is more metallic, less sparkly. Dior Khaki Design #4 is less metallic.

Jet Couture is a dark black with brown undertones and coppery-gold sparkle. It had fair pigmentation when used dry, and it was more intense when used damp. It applied more smoothly than some of the other shades. The only similar shade I cuold think of was Cinderfella, which has a silver sparkle instead.

Smoky is a muted, darkened blue with lots of silver sparkle. It had good pigmentation both dry and wet, though the wet version was smoother. MAC Love Cycle is darker, richer. theBalm Sensational is richer, deeper. MAC Moon’s Reflection is slightly brighter. Urban Decay Mary Jane is more metallic, darker.

Sweet Acting is a light-medium pink with yellow undertones. This one felt the grittiest/chunkiest in texture to me out of the nine new shades. It had decent color payoff both dry and wet, though, with wet making the pink appear darker. MAC Rose Light is a bit darker, less sparkly. Dior Fairy Golds #4 is lighter. MAC Love Power is darker, pinker. Giorgio Armani #7 is darker, more mauve.

I double-checked my press materials, and these are listed as “limited edition,” but the MAC website indicates they are permanent. I did a Live Chat with MAC online, and I was told that the Pressed Pigments are permanent. More interestingly, both the press release and the description online says, “Gorgeous eyes, from sheer and ethereal for day to intense and illuminating for evening.” It is further described as an “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence.” It can be applied dry “for a high shine” or dampened “for a dramatic wet look.”

They’re less of an utter and abject failure as a for-eyes-only product, than when they launched as the highlighter counterpart to MAC’s contouring Sculpting Creams. Some of these shades work better than others, and ultimately, it comes down to how smoothly they can be pressed into submission. The grittier, sparklier the shade, the worse it performs. With a really tacky base, you can absolutely get these to cooperate better. Dry, they’re a catastrophe of glitter fall out. I’m pretty sure more ends up below my eye than on it, no matter whether I’ve taken the 215 brush (which is what is sold alongside these shades) and done my utmost to “crush” and “press” the pigments on a separate stainless steel palette. The only way I can get the color to apply and transfer to some degree is with a fairly damp brush.

For testing, I used Blonde Streak on the inner lid and (lightly) on brow bone, Smoky on the middle of the lid, and Jet Couture on the outer lid. These are definitely products to be applied prior to foundation, because clean-up is absolutely necessary! I found that the fall out really need to be fully wiped away (I used Lancome Bi-Facil on a cotton round), rather than lightly dusted off. Throughout the day, over the course of eight hours, there was fall out. My eye was watering a lot while I wore these to test, because the fall out was getting into my eyes (or onto my lashes, and then into my eye). By the time I removed these, my eyes were bloodshot and a bit irritated.

If I use a glitter adhesive, it will hold on better and help to minimize the fall out, so if the finish of these is up your alley, I’d recommend doing something like that, rather than wearing it as MAC states–dry or damp–because neither work well. (But that is the criteria that I am rating on.) This is the type of product that is more specialized and will be loved by some, hated by others; I think they could be marketed better–and now would be a great time to make Mixing Medium available across counters and stores as a great side product. (Even with MAC opening Pro products online, it is not actually available to regular customers online at this time.) Though, Mixing Medium, from my experience, isn’t tacky enough with these guys–I like Lit Cosmetics, LA Splash, or lash glue better. You really need something wet and tacky that says, “COME TO MAMA!” to holds that glitter tight.

Loose glitter is rarely designed to be applied all on its own–this product just needs help in the form of major adhesion. A lot of glitter is like that but let’s call a spade a spade! But as is, these remain on my naughty list.  I love glitter and sparkle, especially on the eyes, but I want it to remain there!  I don’t want to find sparkle in my nose. The better performing shades were Angelic and Smoky, as they bound better and applied more smoothly; Jet Couture was the most unique.

P.S. — Does anyone else wonder what makes MAC decide to make a new formula permanent? Sometimes you’ll hear almost nothing but major raves for a new formula but you’ll never see it again… then a product like this, which is polarizing, is made permanent three months after it first launches (which likely means it was decided earlier on, though).

The Glossover

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MAC Pressed Pigments Part Deux Review, Photos, Swatches

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As is, these remain on my naughty list. I love glitter and sparkle, especially on the eyes, but I want it to remain there! I don't want to find sparkle in my nose.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

2.5/5

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Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Wet 'n' Wild Dutchess Fergie Nail Lacquer
Wet ‘n’ Wild Dutchess Fergie Nail Lacquer

Whoa! Ease Up on the Brush!

Wet ‘n’ Wild Dutchess Fergie Nail Lacquer ($3.49 for 0.42 fl. oz.) consists of small, medium blue glitter and larger, circular violet purple glitter suspended in a clear base. Nails Inc. Connaught Square is extremely similar, just denser. Zoya Twila has some similarity in how textured it looks on, but it has horizontal bar glitter and is all blue.

It’s semi-opaque after two coats; you can see the underlying nail, but it’s not just a sheer coat of glitter.  This polish was extremely thick–almost goopy–that I don’t think three or coats would be do-able.  It took a long time just for two coats to dry.  If left without a top coat, it dries to a slightly flat finish.  The brush is huge; it’s wider and longer than Dior’s, which is fairly wide from my experience across polish brushes.  It was larger than the width of my pinky nail!  The thicker consistency, paired with the large brush, made it extremely easy to get a big glob of polish on the nail.

You know how I’ve mentioned that very few polishes chip on me (and I can’t really recollect anything in particular)?  This one started to peel on me on the fourth day, almost half of the polish on one nail lifted off.  By the seventh day, there was peeling/lifted color on all four other nails.  It happened on two nails that I did not use a base/top coat on, and on three nails that I had a base/top coat on.

P.S. — It is, in fact, spelled Dutchess; that was not a mistake on my part, as it ties to Fergie’s The Dutchess album.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Wet 'n' Wild Dutchess Fergie Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

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I was so enchanted by this polish when I saw it in the store! It's such a shame that the consistency was so thick and the wear so poor.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

2.5/5

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Monday, September 10th, 2012

MAC Stay By Me Pro Longwear Blush
MAC Stay By Me Pro Longwear Blush

Still Powdery, but Better Color

This review focuses on three new shades of MAC Pro Longwear Blushes ($23.50 for 0.21 oz.) from the latest launch, Office Hours: Stay By Me (light peach coral), Stay Pretty (light bright blue pink), and Whole Lotta Love (light blue pink).

Please see part one for a more in-depth review of the formula. I echo those sentiments overall. Stay Pretty and Whole Lotta Love had better color payoff compared to the other five I’ve reviewed. Stay By Me lasted for three hours well, then had disappeared by the sixth hour. Stay Pretty started to look a smidgen faded around the edges after four hours and had disappeared after seven hours. Whole Lotta Love didn’t look faded until five hours, and there was still a glimpse of color after eight hours. It’s less wear than I typically get out of a MAC blush (normally, I’d see six to eight hours with some fading but the majority of the color is still there).

Stay By Me is a pale peach with a barely-there shimmer. It looks mostly matte on the skin. This shade was noticeably powdery and dusty, so it did not look natural against the skin (kind of cake-y). I needed to apply four layers of product to get the color to show up in the swatch (my forearm is around NC20 in color; I did the same on cheeks, but my face is darker (around NC30), so it didn’t really show up. NARS Sex Appeal is slightly lighter.

Stay Pretty is a light-medium blue-based pink with a subtle golden shimmer. This shade wasn’t quite as powdery as the other six shades I tried. I applied three layers of product to get it to show up on my arm and four layers of product on my face. MAC Lovecloud has a stronger sheen. Bobbi Brown Nude Pink is bluer-based. NYX English Rose is similar, perhaps a bit lighter.

Whole Lotta Love is a brightened pop of medium-dark pink with a subtle sheen. I only needed to use two layers to get the color to show up on the arm, and I layered it three times on my face. The texture was a little drier compared to the other six shades, which actually was good, because it wasn’t as powdery. MAC Full Fuchsia is slightly darker. MAC Her Blooming Cheek is more fuchsia, more blue-based. Tom Ford Wicked has a smidgen of plum in it. MAC Supernova is darker, redder.

The Glossover

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MAC Office Hours Pro Longwear Blushes Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 2)

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This trio performed better (on average) than the other four. Specifically, Stay Pretty and Whole Lotta Love wore slightly better and required less layering of product for visible color.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

6.5/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Color Club Backstage Pass Nail Lacquer
Color Club Backstage Pass Nail Lacquer

Color Club Backstage Pass Nail Lacquer

Color Club Backstage Pass Nail Lacquer ($6.67 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “silver and purple hex glitter.” The description is really dead-on; it’s silver and magenta purple hexagonal glitter pieces. Both have a fairly metallic/mirror-like finish. The glitter is then suspended in a thick, clear base.  I couldn’t think of anything similar for comparison.

On one hand, I think this looks pretty spectacular, if only because it’s 3D and unlike other polishes I own, but on the other hand, it wears terribly (the glitter flakes off, even if you layer two top coats on top), because the hexagonal glitter particles are curved right around the edges. They just don’t stay put. Application requires significant patience and effort; this is not a quickie polish at all. You have to apply a blob of polish (the consistency is quite thick) and then use the brush to pull out the polish and push and pull the glitters into place. I showed three coats, just so you could see how “opaque” it could get.

The Glossover

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Backstage Pass

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This is just one of those products where you have to decide whether the effect/shade is worth all the trouble it takes to overcome the drawbacks from the application and consistency.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

1/5

Results
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Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Urban Decay Eldorado Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Eldorado Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Eldorado Eyeshadow

Urban Decay Eldorado Eyeshadow ($17.00 for 0.05 oz.) is described as a “bright gold with gold sparkles.” It’s a yellow gold with a lightness that seems to tone down some of the brightness. It has gold micro-glitter strewn through the golden base color, which does have a tendency to cause fall out when used without a really tacky base. I had trouble getting an opaque, even layer of product, though–the pigmentation is lacking, and the texture is too dry, which seems to be the cause of uneven application.  On the lid, you really have to pack it on just to get decent color payoff.

It’s a disappointment, because El Dorado 24/7 Liner is a gorgeous true yellow gold, but this is a very faded variation of that. Inglot #403 is a much more intense version of what this looks like in the pan, while Make Up For Ever #10 is a little darker. I find that MAC Goldmine is significantly darker and almost looks orange.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Urban Decay Eldorado Eyeshadow

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This is a real miss -- it's not very pigmented, has glittery fallout, and applies unevenly.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

6.5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

MAC Big Bounce Shadow
MAC Big Bounce Shadows

MAC Big Bounce Shadow: Photos/Swatches, Part 2

Make sure you read my original, in-depth review for these eyeshadows here. This post only contains photos and swatches of the second half of the shades that will launch on May 5th. Each retails for $16.50.  I just did heavier swatches here (I just used whatever stuck to the spatula I used to fish each shade out), but these can go from sheer to medium coverage.

  • My Next Indulgence is a dark forest green with a blackened base.
  • Reward Yourself is a muted copper with a golden champagne shimmer-sheen.
  • Rich, Sweet is a dark, rich chocolate brown with a bronzy-brown sheen.
  • Rich Thrills is a purple-tinged, silvery gray.
  • Sizzlin’ Diva is a darkened, bronzed copper with a metallic sheen.
  • Spread the Wealth is a dirty olive green with multi-colored micro-shimmer and metallic sheen.
  • Trophy is a pinky champagne with a metallic sheen.
  • Up the Ante is a rich, coppery shade with micro-glitter (the texture is like Impeccably Rich).

The Glossover

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MAC Big Bounce Shadow Swatches, Photos (Part 2)

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It's really too bad that there is so little wear time when worn alone (Reward Yourself had maybe a half hour of nice wear, but the others I tried were done in fifteen minutes), because I feel like these don't deserve such a low score. If you intend to set with powder shadow, these perform much, much better and would see a B- rating instead.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

/10

Application

3.5/5

Results
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