Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette
NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette

Another Disappointment from the NARS & Andy Warhol Collection

NARS Debbie Harry Eye & Cheek Palette ($65.00 for 0.42 oz.) consists of one blush, one highlighter, and four eyeshadows, tucked into a matte black palette with a full-size mirror on the interior. Each shade sits in its own pan and well.

Shimmering Pink Champagne is a soft, rosy plum with silver sparkle. The sparkle is very, very loose and doesn’t bind at all to the underlying color, so it either doesn’t translate to the cheek or disappears throughout the day. It had a very dry, stiff texture, though the color payoff was so-so. It wore for seven hours when I tested it. NARS Oasis is a bit more muted, less pink. theBalm Cabana Boy has a soft sheen. MAC Plum Foolery is less pink, more frosted.

Brilliant Cream is a shimmery, pale beige. It had good color payoff, and it wasn’t dry–a little powdery–but not dry, at least. It was also blendable on, and it lasted for six and a half hours. NARS Albatross has a golden sheen. theBalm Promiscuous Pearl is more beige. MAC Snowglobe is similar.

Twinkling Purple is an eggplant purple with a matte finish. It was dry, powdery, and had dismal color payoff. Tarte Napa Grapes is more intense. Guerlain Boulevard du Montparnasse has a satiny sheen. BareMinerals Nightcap is very similar (more pigmented). MAC Fig. 1 is purpler (also more pigmented).

Sparkling Turquoise is an aqua-green with a satiny sheen. It had so-so color payoff, but this one was such a pain in the behind to use. It was very soft, powdery, and prone to pulling a disappearing act if you made any attempt to blend it. Sugarpill Mochi is very similar in color.

White Shimmer is a shimmery white with silver sparkle (that doesn’t bind with the base color, so it gets lost). There are so many shimmery white eyeshadows on the market, so there is no shortage of dupes. MAC She’s Got Class, Cinderella Ball Gown, MAC How to Marry, and MAC Crystal Avalanche are all very similar–just to name a few.

Starry Black is a matte black (with silver sparkle, but it never shows up and doesn’t even make it onto the swatch!). This shade had the best payoff of the four eyeshadows! It was stiff and a bit dry, but it wasn’t powdery. Like the white eyeshadow, matte black eyeshadows are numerous (it’s a classic, basic shade, and everyone should have at least one!). When you put out core/basic shades, you have to do them well, because there are too many options available to settle for less.

Technically, all four eyeshadows had silver sparkles in them, but they come loose as soon as the brush hits the pan–they just flake away or get caught in the bristles of your brush. It was a disappointing palette and not worth the $65 I spent on it. I had hoped that this palette would be better than the other Warhol palettes, because each product was in a separate well, but it was not meant to be. It’s hard for me to comprehend how the textures and payoff throughout the collection were so far off the norm for NARS.

Dry and powdery is one of the more frustrating textures to work, because you don’t even get the blendability and payoff that really soft eyeshadows (which can be powdery) have to their advantage.  The highlighter was the best product in the palette, but there was a general theme: poor color payoff, dry/stiff/powdery textures, and fading throughout the day.  Despite layering the eyeshadows over NARS’ own eyeshadow primer, these were looking very faded after eight hours (and without a primer, they had disappeared after six and a half).

P.S. — There is no step-by-step for this palette, because I tested and took photos prior to starting those!

The Glossover

palette

Debbie Harry

F
The highlighter was the best product in the palette, but there was a general theme: poor color payoff, dry/stiff/powdery textures, and fading throughout the day.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

2.5/5

Results
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Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment
MAC Beaming Pressed Pigment

De-Pressed About These Pigments

MAC Pressed Pigments ($21.00 for 0.10 oz.) were recently launched as an “intensely creamy highlighter offering extreme pearlescence and versatility of finish.” It can be “[applied] dry for a high shine, or on damp skin for a dramatic wet look” with “sheer-to-moderate buildable coverage and natural dimension finish.”

These had me at a loss of words. I spent the past week trying to figure out how these could be used for something that wasn’t purely editorial or only needed to last about five minutes. I was hopeful about MAC’s recent Face & Body launch, as I love highlighting/contouring–I was hoping for something a little more shimmery than the Shaping powders (PRO) that launched a few years ago. Well, these aren’t shimmery; they’re like a disco ball exploded and fractured all over your face, eyes, body, or wherever you happen to put them.

I tried using two shades as a highlighter on the cheek (one on each cheek), and it looked like dirt/sand/grit. It travels to parts unknown within an hour of wearing it on the cheek–I found glitter on my lip, on my ear, and on my shoulder, and I had only applied it to my cheek bones. It’s not a product that applies well with face brushes; it really needs to be applied with fingers or a sponge and really pressed/crushed. The texture really reminded me of MAC’s Crushed Metal pigments, because without grinding them down, they are so loose and chunky.

I tried using them on the body (collarbone/decolletage), and it looked the same – like flecks of brown dirt rather than a luminous sheen or even glittery dazzle. I tried using them on the brow bone, inner tear duct/lid, and on the eyelid in general. The glitter is really, really chunky, and the fall out is tremendous, not just during, but after application. I was getting a ton of glitter in my eye for the six hours I managed to wear these. After six hours, at least half of the glitter on the eye had transferred to my cheeks, nose, or got lost in my eye ball. I even used MAC’s Mixing Medium to see if it would help these adhere better but no luck. Frankly, these were painful to use on the eye – both of my eyes were red and irritated for the rest of the day/night.

I tried using these both wet and dry with numerous brushes (215, 228, 231, 242, 116, 130, 188, and 193) but nothing yielded a result that did anything flattering. On the lid, it’s sparkly and pretty–but the fall out is over-the-top ridiculous. It’s some of the worst fall out I’ve seen. It makes Urban Decay’s Midnight Cowboy Rides Again seem like a dream to work with. It’s funny, too, because they actually swatched beautifully. They looked stunning on my arm!

As you can see, this review is all about “I tried,” but I failed. I couldn’t highlight my brow bone, eyelid, cheekbones, or collarbones with this product.  I have used lots and lots of highlighters in the past ten years, but this is a product that left me grappling for any use that might possibly work.  The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I’ve seen in a glittery product that wasn’t loose to begin with. I’m honestly surprised these are eye safe (there wasn’t any warning to the contrary on the box), because they were so irritating from the fall out.

The Glossover

product

MAC Pressed Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

F
The texture is rough, gritty, and dry (not actually creamy as described), and the fall out is something to behold; some of the worst I've seen in a glittery product that wasn't loose to begin with.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

2/10

Application

2.5/5

Results
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Monday, September 10th, 2012

MAC Baby Don't Go Pro Longwear Blush
MAC Baby Don’t Go Pro Longwear Blush

Where’s Your Blush?

This review focuses on four new shades of MAC Pro Longwear Blushes ($23.50 for 0.21 oz.) from the latest launch, Office Hours: Baby Don’t Go (light cool beige), Blush All Day (light dirty rose beige), Eternal Sun (warm brown), and Rosy Outlook (light yellow pink).

This is a new product that has been added to the permanent range. MAC describes it as, “A lightweight blush with extreme colour perfection and non-fading, eight-hour wear. Ultra fine, silky powder glides on and blends easily to provide a moist, flawless, natural finish or with layering, a brighter, more dramatic look.”

Baby Don’t Go is a light beige brown with a barely-there sheen. It’s sheer when applied, and I can only see this showing up on very fair-skinned individuals–even that you may require some layering! In the full face photo of me, I applied about four layers of blush–and I’m not even sure you can really see it on. The texture is so soft, but it is powdery. Tarina Tarantino Neopolitan Lane is slightly pinker. Burberry Russet is a bit darker, browner.

Blush All Day is a soft pink with subtle yellow undertones and a golden shimmer. On the skin, the shimmer isn’t very noticeable. This shade is on the sheerer side and required layering, but it wasn’t as powdery as Baby Don’t Go. I did have to apply four layers of product to get noticeable color on my skin tone, so again, this is a color better suited for someone with very fair skin. MAC Brit Wit is grayer. Chanel Pink Cloud is lighter. MAC Pet Me has a stronger yellow undertone.

Eternal Sun is a subdued orange with a satin-like finish. It looked more matte on the skin. This one seemed to swatch better than the others, but when applied to the cheeks, it still took four layers of product to achieve noticeable color, so it’s a shade that would suit very light complexions. MAC Worldly Wealth is browner, less orange. MAC Sun Power is very similar.

Rosy Outlook is a pale pink with subtle yellow undertones and a gentle sheen. Even though I see there’s shimmer in the product, it doesn’t translate onto skin. I think that’s because these have a powdery texture, that it tends to look more matte on the skin. Illamasqua Naked Rose is darker. MAC Crew is very similar. Chanel Brompton Road is more blue-based. Chanel Horizon de Chanel is darker. MAC Stunner is comparable.

The texture of these is very different from their regular blush formula. It’s incredibly soft and feels silky, but all four shades were also incredibly powdery. There was just a lot of excess powder that billowed in the wind and sat upon the skin. If you have oilier skin, it might not be as noticeable on, but on my normal cheeks (at least, when swatching and testing these), they looked almost caked on and visibly powdery. Part of that is undoubtedly due to how much product I have to apply to get any color to show up on my medium skin color. If you have really fair skin, you should be able to get away with (somewhat) less product.

It feels lightweight, even though it doesn’t look that way on. The finsh is more matte than natural on; the powderiness contributes to giving it a mostly matte appearance. Though MAC says you can layer these, I did not find them very buildable, because they disappeared so readily. When you applied the product and went to layer on more product, it just swept away what you originally put on, so despite going through the steps, the result looks about the same as when initially applied.  I have to emphasize:  every swatch (whether on the arm to on the face) is layered three or four times for visible color payoff–this is three or four times the amount of product I use for 95% of swatches.

I’ve been testing the wear on these for a few days now, and the wear was disappointing. I had similar problems with the blushes that I did with the eyeshadows. Baby Don’t Go wore visibly for three hours and was gone by six; Blush All Day managed not to fade until the fourth hour, but by six, it, too, had disappeared. Eternal Sun started to fade after five hours, and it had gone into the ether after seven hours (best-wearing so far!). Rosy Outlook started to fade after four hours and was totally missing after six hours.

Not every color is going to be as wearable on every skin tone, which isn’t unexpected. What’s odd is that some of these colors I’ve come across before (by other brands) and have been able to get those to show up on my skin tone (which is medium, around NC30), but you can’t really see any of these on me except Eternal Sun.  Even in cases of lighter shades (including other blushes by MAC), I can get the same color payoff in one sweep of color as I did with four sweeps of color of these. For all of the swatches, I had to pile on the product; it’s not just a normal swatch but a swatch of desperation. The first round of swatches I took, you couldn’t even see, so I had to re-do them and really pack each one on.

I can only see these working (as far as payoff goes) on very pale skin tones (NC/NW15 or lighter)–again, Eternal Sun was more buildable, so light to light-medium complexions could get it to show up with enough packing on of the color.  And that’s assuming that you’re able to get a better wear-time out of them than I did. Unfortunately, they wore consistently poor and faded faster than many other blushes I’ve reviewed. I usually find blushes last between six and eight hours to varying degrees, but so few of them actually disappear entirely.

The Glossover

product

MAC Office Hours Pro Longwear Blushes Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

F
These wore marginally longer (on average) than the eyeshadows from the collection, but they suffered from a similar set of problems: poor payoff that required multiple layers of product just to yield visible color, very powdery/dusty textures (despite the softness), and an inability to build/layer the color to true-to-pan color. MAC's permanent blush range is much, much better.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Sunday, September 9th, 2012

MAC Bloom On Pro Longwear Eyeshadow
MAC Bloom On Pro Longwear Eyeshadow

Three Pinks to Think Twice About

This review focuses on three new shades of MAC Pro Longwear Eyeshadows ($21.00 for 0.11 oz.) from the latest launch, Office Hours: Bloom On (light burnt rose), Endless Passion (mid-tone rose), and More Amour (mid-tone red).

Bloom On is a pale rose-beige with neutral undertones and a matte finish. The color applies rather sheer; I had to layer it just so the swatch would show up. It requires a lot of product on the lid, and I had to use it over a primer to boost the impact (or else it wasn’t visible). It was very dusty. MAC Pink Frontier has a stronger yellow undertone and a shimmery finish. MAC Hush is lighter.

Endless Passion is a pinky-mauve with a soft, satiny finish. It had so-so color payoff when layered, but it was on the softer side, so it was prone to disappearing if you made any sweeping motions. It just didn’t sit well on the lid–imagine a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging off your lid when you wear this. This shade also darkened when it was applied (compared to how it looked in the pan). NARS Douce France is lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bright Idea is more shimmery. MAC Rose is a smidgen lighter and more shimmery.

More Amour is a muted pink-red with a matte finish. This was the most pigmented shade out of all the ones I’ve seen so far. It was also the least powdery, though it still had a fair amount of dustiness. MAC Passionate is a bit brighter. MAC Sushi Flower is quite similar.

Here’s how MAC describes these: “A unique longwearing Eye Shadow with a silky, creamy texture formulated for maximum colour impact. Easily blendable and buildable; lids are visibly smooth no matter how intense the application. Lasts 8 hours.” These should have a great texture, be nicely pigmented and blendable, while wearing for eight hours.

Out of these three shades, More Amour was the only one that was visible after six hours of wear (both over a primer and directly on bare lids); Bloom On and Endless Passion both looked faded after three hours and were missing in action after six hours.  These three had the same dusty, powdery texture that makes them difficult to use.  When you apply the color, it’s barely there, and when you attempt to layer or build the color up, it disappears very easily. The more you attempt to build the color, the more powdery it looks, which resulted in lids looking kind of dry.  More Amour may have been the best out of a bad hand, but it’s still just a so-so eyeshadow. It was somewhat powdery, and it faded substantially after six hours.

To reiterate:  when MAC released this formula originally (about a year ago), it was a lovely formula that was nicely pigmented, blendable, and long-wearing (seriously, they lasted 12-hours without a primer). The texture of these doesn’t feel like the ones from last year. They feel like different formulas entirely.

The Glossover

product

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

F
If you like sheer eyeshadow, you might consider purchasing some feathery brushes--most eyeshadows can be used sheerly, with the right tool. Because these disappear after six hours (as in, nothing remains), even as sheer eyeshadow, I could not recommend them.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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Sunday, September 9th, 2012

MAC Always Sunny Pro Longwear Eyeshadow
MAC Always Sunny Pro Longwear Eyeshadow

What a Difference a Year Makes

This review focuses on four new shades of MAC Pro Longwear Eyeshadows ($21.00 for 0.11 oz.) from the latest launch, Office Hours: Always Sunny (light yellow brown), Ever Ivory (pale ivory), Fashion Fix (dark cool slate grey), and Linger Softly (light frosted grey blue).

Always Sunny is a muted orange with a matte finish. It had so-so pigmentation an felt soft to the touch, but it was on the powdery side. This was one of the “best” performing shades out of the four. Chanel Tigerlily is brighter, more tangerine. Inglot #368 is a bit lighter. MAC Samoa Silk is a smidgen lighter.

Ever Ivory is a pale white with a matte finish. It had decent color payoff, but it disappears if you attempt to blend it out. It was very powdery. MAC Laundry Daze is darker, less ivory. Bobbi Brown White is cooler-toned. Inglot #351 is similar, slightly less beige.

Fashion Fix is a gray-tinged brown–taupe–with a mostly matte finish. It had some powderiness, but the color payoff was the best out of the four. Chanel Premier Regard is browner. MAC Satin Taupe is darker and frostier. Inglot #363 is darker and more pigmented–if used lightly, I think you would get rather close.

Linger Softly is a pale medium-dark blue with silver micro-shimmer. It had so-so color payoff, and it was rather dusty. This shade had a tendency to disappear when you applied and blended it. MAC Bright Moon is similar. MAC Frozen Blue has a more frosted finish.

Here’s how MAC describes these: “A unique longwearing Eye Shadow with a silky, creamy texture formulated for maximum colour impact. Easily blendable and buildable; lids are visibly smooth no matter how intense the application. Lasts 8 hours.” These should have a great texture, be nicely pigmented and blendable, while wearing for eight hours.

These shades are not very pigmented, and they’re barely buildable. Trying to layer the color on doesn’t intensify the color, but it does add a layer of powdery dust to your lid that serves to make the lid look drier and drier. I couldn’t yield visible color with the majority of shades without some sort of eyeshadow base/primer underneath, which is really a shame. To show you the products in action, I had to use them over a primer. When I tested the wear, I wore them without and with a primer. Funny enough, you wouldn’t even believe I had applied eyeshadow–after six hours, it looked like I had bare lids–so the reality is they wear for about three to four hours in sum. It was the same wear for alone or over primer.

I actually quite enjoyed MAC’s Pro Longwear Eyeshadow formula! Most of the shades from Styledriven were excellent–rich color payoffs, soft, blendable textures, and long-wearing. The previous shades lasted a full 12-hours (without primer!). I don’t know what MAC did here. The texture feels different; these have a very thin, dusty texture that kicks up so much powder. They’re prone to fall out during application (because it’s so powdery), and often with powdery eyeshadows, they fade once applied–and these do that. Entirely, completely. I’m so puzzled, because I thought I could count on these being pretty good, as they were a surprise to see last year.

At least, because of how soft and powdery the shades are, they are blendable. It could be worse; they could yield patchy payoff with a stiff, dry texture that didn’t want to budge (a la Carbon from Carine Roitfeld). But these are a poor showing after MAC seemed to do so well when they introduced the formula last year. The finishes of all of these is nearly matte, whereas last year’s were more satin to frost. I don’t know if they had to muck around with the formula to accomplish the finish, but something was lost in the translation. At this price point, you can grab top notch matte eyeshadows by brands like Make Up For Ever and Illamasqua (not to mention, at a lower price point, Inglot and Sugarpill).

Sheer eyeshadow has its place, and the most important thing that a brand has to do is make sure to let buyers know that it’s sheer. Then, they still need to deliver color that applies evenly, easily, blends well, and stays in place. Sheer eyeshadow doesn’t have to be bad eyeshadow–these just leave so much to be desired (but of course, these aren’t described as sheer). I’m devestated that what was once a great formula was manipulated into something very different. I don’t think these feel, look, or perform at all like the ones released last year (which are permanent, so you can still grab ‘em).

The Glossover

product

MAC Office Hours Pro Longwear Eyeshadows Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Part 1)

F
If you like sheer eyeshadow, you might consider purchasing some feathery brushes--most eyeshadows can be used sheerly, with the right tool. Because these disappear after six hours (as in, nothing remains), even as sheer eyeshadow, I could not recommend them.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

3/5

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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


NARS Self Portrait 1 Eyeshadow Palette

Best Left Untouched and Admired From Afar

NARS Self Portrait 1 Eyeshadow Palette ($55.00 for 0.42 oz.) features a variation on Warhol’s Self Portrait (1967) painting. This palette is described as “black, bright periwinkle blue, and vibrant green.” It is the first of three palettes, and it will be available at department and specialty stores, NARS’ boutiques, and narscosmetics.com on November 1st (so you have some time to think about it, to the say least!).

Each of the Self Portrait palettes has a black overspray, which will disappear quickly. I recommend taking a large powder brush (I used MAC’s 134) to brush back and forth, up and down, to get the majority off. Now, I say that with the expectation that you’d actually like to use the colors in the palette. Assuming you only intended to keep it as a collectible, then I’d recommend not using it much and would say to avoid the blue to maintain the facial structure/details.

The first shade is a brown-based soft black that yields sheer, uneven color payoff and comes complete with a dry, stiff texture that doesn’t like to blend or move much. It was as fussy as MAC Carbon was in its most recent release. There are numerous matte black eyeshadows that are comparable; finding the intensity you’re looking for is very personal. Brands like Urban Decay, Inglot, Make Up For Ever, and Sugarpill all make excellent rich blacks.

The second shade is a cornflower blue–blue with a hint of violet–that’s powdery, sheer, and prone to fading. The texture is soft to the touch, but it is hard to maintain any vibrancy. I’d say the only way to do so would be to layer over a cream base with similar coloring (which is a rather cheater-cheater kind of way to make a really inferior product work). It absolutely needed at least a primer (I used NARS) to show up, because on dry lids, it just wasn’t getting there. I had to pack it on, and after I moved from this color to the next, I had to go back to pat more on, because it does a disappearing act. Bare Escentuals On the Rocks is brighter, and it also has an iridescent sheen. MAC Dynamic Duo 2 is bluer and darker. NARS Rated R is bluer. MAC Cobalt is darker, slightly bluer.

The third shade is a medium grassy green with subtle yellow undertones and a satiny sheen. It had below average pigmentation, and the texture was on the drier side. It was less powdery than the blue shade, not nearly as dry as the black shade. By those standards, it was the best performing shade out of the three, but still rather disappointing. I had to do quite a bit of packing of the color on itself, and over a primer, to get decent color intensity.  MAC Fresh Flare is darker, less yellow. MAC Wondergrass is similar but shimmery. Inglot #384 is darker, more intense. Make Up For Ever #91 is brighter.

It includes 0.42 oz. of product, which is plenty o’ eyeshadow, and it does make it cheaper by the ounce than buying the brand’s duos, trios, etc. However, you’re far better off going for a quality single, duo, or trio, because this palette is really lacking in quality. None of the three shades are redeeming; none of them are even as good as an average-rated eyeshadow.  I have nothing positive to say about the performance of this palette; I had to use an eyeshadow base just to get the colors to show up, and even over a base, there was noticeable (and uneven) fading of all three shades.  As soft as the blue shade is, it’s so powdery and disappears quickly.  If you want to blend the colors together, do so with the most feather-light touch you can muster.

The Glossover

palette

Self Portrait 1

F
If you're a huge NARS and Andy Warhol fan, and if your intention was to collect and admire without using, this review is not designed to talk you out of it. I'm assessing the quality and use of the product itself, and on that front, this was a major disappointment to see from a brand so many readers love.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

5/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

6.5/10

Application

3/5

Results
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