Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Dolce & Gabbana Eden Eyeshadow Quad
Dolce & Gabbana Eden Eyeshadow Quad

Maybe Some Secrets are Best Left Alone

From Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Garden Collection emerges a new eyeshadow quad, Eden ($59.00 for 0.16 oz.), and it seems to be somewhat of a mystery, because it swatches well enough, but I really couldn’t make it work on the eyes. The palette includes: an icy white with pink and blue shimmer-sheen; petal pink with yellow undertones; seafoam aqua with a matte finish; and a dove gray with a satin-matte finish.

The most difficult shade to work with in the palette was the aqua, which was worse wet than dry–when used wet, the product would ball up and apply patchy. The easiest shade to work with was the gray, but it didn’t work well wet either. The white shade is a little powdery and sheer, and your lid better be primed to perfection with nary a dry spot, because it emphasizes every imperfection . The pink shade was sheer when used dry but came together better wet.

I actually like the pastel hues of spring, and I think the mix of these four shades is striking but workable, so I was hopeful they would come together well in a look. They didn’t–these shades applied so sheerly when used dry but were even worse when used wet, because it made the whole look patchy. The colors applied so unevenly, and I really had to pack on the color to get anything resembling the shades in the pan. I was so desperate for color that I had to resort to using the included sponge-tip applicators and only then did I get anything significant.

Pale colors are lighter, and sheer can be OK, but when getting an even, sheer wash is troublesome, I’m concerned. When products can’t be layered for an opaque look, I’m more concerned. When the product swatches decently and even opaque in places, but then we end up with ultra sheer colors on the lid–I’m disappointed.

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

FINAL THOUGHTS: I think this palette would work best on paler skin tones, because of the powderiness and slight chalkiness of the pastel shades. I think on darker skin tones it may come across ashy and chalky, rather than soft and spring-y. The quality seemed rather mediocre across the board, but it was the lack of quality was discovered upon application and use rather than purely on swatches.

WHERE TO BUY: Late January/early February @ Saks

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

NARS Eye Pencils
NARS Eye Liner Pencils: Manon, Parrot Cay, Kitty, Kaliste, Black Moon

NARS Eye Liner Pencils for Lightweight Lining

NARS Eye Liner Pencil ($20.00) is a richly pigmented pencil eyeliner that is available in sixteen shades: Black Moon (dense black), Iceberg (crisp white), Kaliste (teal), Kitty (turquoise blue), Kyoto (olive green with shimmer), London (foggy gray), Mambo (chocolate brown), Manon (violet), Parrot Cay (mint green), Patmos (khaki green), Istanbul (sky blue), and Sandstorm (gold leaf).

I test-drove five shades over the past week, and NARS has some really stunning shades available. They’re just so rich and intense without being bright. Though the pencil tip is a little on the sharper side when you initially get them, after doing swatches on my arm, it whittled away enough that it was soft, smooth, and easy to use on my lower lash line.

It’s not ultra creamy but not dry either. I wouldn’t describe it as creamy so much as smooth. It easily glided on my lower lash line without any pulling or tugging, so that’s enough softness for me. I also didn’t have to layer in order to achieve true pigmentation, either.  Sometimes with pencils, the initial use can be a little rougher, but since I always swatch on my arm first, it helps to wear down the tip, in case it’s too sharp.

  • Manon is a blue-based violet purple. There’s no shimmer, just pure purple.
  • Parrot Cay is a minty green. I’m surprised it doesn’t look super chalky, being so pastel, but it’s an interesting way to open up eyes with color rather than a white or flesh-toned eyeliner.
  • Kitty is a rich sky blue. This one felt and looked the creamiest of the five I tried. It also felt like the most pigmented–very rich.
  • Kaliste is a darkened teal–I want to call it a forest teal, because it’s so dark–and it looks lovely with a neutral eye.
  • Black Moon is a blackened brown. I’m not sure why it’s described as a “dense black,” because it’s definitely not black–there are significant brown tones to it.

But there is one huge problem that renders these eyeliners amongst the worst I have ever used: they have no lasting power at all. I can’t even express to you how much I wanted these to work, because they are truly beautiful shades, and they do look amazing on–but I can’t even go twenty minutes without it starting to smudge and migrate all over the place. I don’t have an oily lash line, and I’ve never had major issues with an eyeliner going all over the place. But these took smudging and migration to a whole new level.

NARS Eye Pencils
After just one hour…

After an hour of wear, I had liner that was on my lower lash line… on my upper lash line (say WHAT?!), all faded and smudged every which way on my lower lash line, crept up to my waterline… it was not a pretty sight in the least bit, but I couldn’t resist capturing just how smudge-tastic these were on camera.

But anyway, the point is I loved the shade range and the feel of these pencils so much that I tried every single liner multiple times. They all performed the same. I was secretly wishing and hoping that maybe just Black Moon or Kaliste were poor performers, but even the lighter shades like Parrot Cay and Kitty played me for a fool. Not to mention, when I was checking for reviews of these online, I just did not find that many negative reviews.

So, I have these, and I do really love the shades. After I get over being totally laughed at by these pencils, I’ll probably use them, but set them with an eye sealer (like Benefit’s She-Laq or Make Up For Ever’s Eye Seal) and/or set with powder eyeshadow. But this is NARS we’re talking about, and even worse yet is it’s supposed to be a long-wearing pencil.

I give it points for being incredibly pigmented, smooth, and looking lovely on, but I took away the majority of points for its complete miss on long-wearing power and how extreme the fading, smudging, and migration is.  I would really love to hear from those who have used this product, because I’m totally sad over their performance after reading so many glowing reviews online!

Have you tried NARS Eyeliner? I hope your results were better than mine!

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Unless you’re able to try these first in-store, I really can’t recommend them. I had such a terrible experience with them fading, smudging, and migrating that there’s no way I could feel good about saying, “Try ‘em for yourself!” There seems to be plenty of positive reviews on these, so maybe I’m the rare exception. But how I wish I wasn’t!

Availability: NARS

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, November 9th, 2009

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

Holiday 2009: NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a new product recently released by NARS designed to provide smooth, long-wearing all-over eye color. It can be used to smudge along the lash line or as a base. NARS also released two other shades: Goddess (a shimmery light pink) and Skorpios (a shimmery copper).

Aigle Noir is a dark brownish-black with green-gold shimmer laced through it. It’s a very nice, solid shade to wear on the lower lash line, but when it’s applied to the lid, it just tends to appear sheerer (especially if you apply or blend with a brush or fingertip). So, every cream-based eye product gets a very simple test: apply it all over my lid and wait to see if it creases. NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencil did not make it past five minutes before there was a distinct line where the color creased on my eyelid. Consequently, I wouldn’t consider this a grab-and-go product, because it just doesn’t hold up on its lonesome.

NARS says the new Soft Touch Shadow Pencils are the “[i]deal base for layering with powder eyeshadow to increase color intensity,” which is always the follow-up test when an emollient product can’t keep from creasing. They also state that this is a “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula,” which I’ll have to disagree with–at least when worn by itself. However, when set with a powder eyeshadow, the results are definitely much better. I didn’t find it creased or smudged on me once I had a layer of powder shadow on top. I imagine you could, if you really wanted to keep the color itself showing, try translucent powder dusted on top to minimize creasing.

Since NARS suggests these as an “ideal” base and doesn’t necessarily call out that it should be used totally alone, I won’t knock off a ton of points for missing the mark on that.  Nope, NARS does, actually. Major impact on rating!  I know that even purported crease-proof products can vary from person to person, with it never creasing on some but creasing in minutes on others. For the record, my lids are about average; neither dry nor oily.

It also works nicely as an eyeliner, and it didn’t smudge, budge, or migrate on my lower lash line when I wore it for a day. I noticed it had no staying power on my waterline, though, so if you were hoping to use it for that, you may find yourself looking at other products. I will also say that because these are oversized pencils, they’re not the easiest to line with. I was able to get a thin line on my lower lash line, but it does take a little maneuvering to make sure you don’t end up with a thicker line. Aigle Noir was smooth, lightly creamy, and worked best as an eyeshadow base.

Bottom Line: These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you’ve set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you’re good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look. I wasn’t blown away by the formula, but if there’s a color that really calls to you, I think it’s worth checking out. For me, I’d would have loved to see this shade as a pressed eyeshadow.

The Glossover

coming-soon

NARS Aigle Noir Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

F
These are not crease-proof on their own, but they can work as a good base beneath powder eyeshadows. Once you've set the product with the powder eyeshadow, you're good to go. Aigle Noir applied fairly evenly when I applied directly from the pencil onto my lid, but it took a bit of layering to get a more opaque look.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3/5

Results
Loading ... Loading ...
Dupes
Login or Register to be able to add this to your Vanity or Wishlist! Plus rate and review!

See more photos and swatchesContinue reading →

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Lippmann Collection Funky Chunky Nail Lacquer ($35.00 for 3 0.5 oz. lacquers) is third polish from Lippmann’s Celebrate Set, which also contained my new polish love Ruby Red Slippers and the gorgeous Superstar.

I had several readers ask me why I didn’t review this polish alongside the other two, and the simple reason is it looked unexciting in the bottle, so I didn’t reach for it when I was trying out the other two, much more eye-catching shades! A follow-up to that would be that it’s such a subpar lacquer from Lippmann that it’s such a real disappointment–not just within the set, but overall. Lippmann has such a fantastic formula and color selection, I’m quite surprised at how dismal Funky Chunky is.

Funky Chunky is a black jelly base lacquer with black hexagon glitter bits. It’s very similar Ruby Red Slippers, but it lacks dimension, pizazz, and pretty much anything that would make it pop. It ends up looking like a sloppy black polish, because the glitter is nearly undetectable in terms of sparkle – it just looks uneven and messy. The black base doesn’t go opaque in two coats either, so you do need to go for three thinner coats for better coverage.

One of the big reasons this product just doesn’t hit the mark is that the chunky glitter actually makes the black base look sloppy and messy–uneven without any reason as to why it would be that way.  Glitter polishes always tend to have a bit of an uneven texture and feel to them, but you can see the glitter so it’s all good.  Since you can’t visibly see the glitter here, it just looks like you don’t know how to paint your nails!

Normally, a Lipppmann lacquer is priced at $16 a pop, so you pay an extra $3 for the other two and you do get this polish. It’s disappointing, but maybe you can add some extra glitter and make it pop for fun. Call it a chance to experiment!

Bottom Line: It’s a bad sign when glitter isn’t even detectable with flash photography (which can always amplify the sparkles of glitter!). This polish is just a total miss for me, and if you could purchase the other two separately, I’d advocate for that, but since you can’t, I still think the set is worth every penny for the two standout shades Ruby Red Slippers and Superstar.

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

  • Product: 15/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I don’t recommend this shade whatsoever on its own, but I do recommend the set it comes with overall, just because the other two shades are amazing.

Availability: Beauty.com, Nordstrom