Monday, April 16th, 2012

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Calabria Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “shimmering plum.” It’s a dark burgundy plum with softer plum shimmer. Bare Escentuals Passion is slightly redder, less frosted. Le Metier de Beaute Fig is very similar, perhaps a little warmer. Guerlain Boulevard de Montparnasse is plummier. Tarina Tarantino Fantastical is purpler.

I have to emphasize how NARS markets the formula: “easy, portable, long-wearing application,” “functionality to shade the lid, line, or highlight the eye,” “an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased color intensity,” “smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula.” Then, from the press release for this collection and specific shade, “This versatile, shimmering plum Soft Touch Shadow Pencil is the ideal complement for color on lids. Named for the region south of Naples, at the “toe” of the Italian Peninsula—it can be worn solo, as a base for powder shadows, or as a liner.”

The reason why this pencil can’t make it past five minutes (let alone an hour) without creasing is that it never dries down. It remains glossy and creamy for as long as I wear it–after three hours, I removed it and tried using it as a base with powder eyeshadows over it, but it creased horribly after an hour. The areas where the product has creased and accumulated are very slick, while the color on the lid will transfer onto my finger even with the slightest tough. There’s always a fine line between too quick and too slow when it comes to a cream eyeshadow/base product, but this one takes “too slow” to new lengths. I used it as an eyeliner and set it with eyeshadow, but it was entirely smudged after two hours and I had to remove it. The consistency is very, very creamy, which means it doesn’t tug or pull on the lid or lash line when it’s used, but it has a tendency to apply unevenly as it slides around the lid.

I am often asked why do I keep reviewing this formula only to give it a bad rating:  would (or should) I stop reviewing new shades of a good product? I don’t think so.  My policy is to review as many products as I can, whether or not they are good, bad, or just so-so.  Aside from the idea that all shades are individual and may perform better/worse than other shades in the same formula, there’s still value in reviewing a product, even if it’s consistently good or bad.  There’s opportunity to confirm that it is or isn’t consistent, how it may differ, the color, better alternatives on the market, and the like.  I wouldn’t seek this product out, but if NARS keeps making them and sending them to Temptalia for review, I’ll keep letting you know how they perform.

If you’ve been able to work these, I’d love to hear your thoughts! A review is always bolstered by reader comments – shared experience is what creates a fuller picture of how a product does and doesn’t perform.

The Glossover

LE
product

Calabria

If you're been looking for a product to deliver a creased, glossy look, perhaps for an editorial, maybe this is up your alley. I suspect you could find a cheaper cream product to do something similar or else use Vaseline mixed with a similar-colored shade.
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Sunday, April 8th, 2012

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow
shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow ($15.00 for 0.049 oz.) is a bronze-glittered golden copper. The base color is similar to MAC Sweet & Sour, which is more opaque. Bare Escentuals Remix is yellower. Dior Couture Gold is more orange. Milani Drenched in Gold is similar. None of the shades that I could think of have the same glitter component, though.

It’s sheer, and the glitter is fairly loose; it doesn’t seem to bind with the underlying color, so some of it gets lost between the pan and the eyelid during application, and the rest? It falls out like crazy throughout the day. I had absolutely no fun trying to make this work, because I’d find glitter on my forehead, beneath my eyelid, or on my chin throughout the day. Fall out that occurs while you’re applying a product can be easier to deal with, but fall out that continuously occurs while you wear it is much more frustrating.

This type of texture needs an adhesive base, perhaps something like Too Faced’s Glitter Insurance, MAC’s Mixing Medium, and so on, because it doesn’t stick to the lid on its own or over a regular primer (like NARS Smudgeproof, Urban Decay Primer Potion, etc.). It has a slight grittiness as a result of the amount of glitter in it (and that it doesn’t seem to bind the shadow portion).

The product I have shown in the photos is a pan refill, which is designed to be put into one of their palettes (though you could certainly put it into any magnetic palette, as it is held in a metal tin).

The Glossover

coming-soon

shu uemura G Bronze Eyeshadow Review, Photos, Swatches

F
Don't bother with the glitter finishes unless you're prepared to use an adhesive base, but on their own, they don't yield nearly enough color payoff and the all-day fall out is more than just a little problem.

Product

6/10

Pigmentation

4/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

5/10

Application

3/5

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Friday, January 13th, 2012

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Dark Rite Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “navy blue.” It’s a dark navy blue with a shimmery finish. I feel it necessary to do a full copy-and-paste from spring’s press release regarding this product, because too often I receive comments and emails saying I’m being unduly harsh and unfair, all because NARS “meant” for this product to crease; that this is supposed to have that “creased” look.  I’m harsh, but I don’t think unduly so; this is an atrocious product, and from a high-end brand that can and does put out quality products, it’s appalling. I don’t make excuses for brands, least of all when they create products that perform this poorly.

This is what the press release states: “The navy blue Soft Touch Shadow Pencil complements any warm-weather look. Use the creamy, long-wearing formula alone, as a base for layering with powder shadow, or to line and sculpt the eye.” This product is long-wearing by itself, can be used as a base beneath powder eyeshadow, as well as an eyeliner. There is nothing about this product creasing, migrating, moving, turning to sludge, or otherwise indicating it’s supposed to look like this on the lid.

Whenever I wear/experiment NARS’ Soft Touch Shadow Pencils, I notice my eyes are a bit irritated; there’s a burning sensation (not on the lid but of my eye), especially when I use these as eyeliners. I’ve tried Dark Rite in the three methods that NARS states: alone, as a base, and as an eyeliner. None of these methods was successful. The good news is this product creases so quickly that it takes very little time to go through all those tests!

Alone, it fades, smudges on the beneath the lower lash line (from the lid!), creases, and pools into creases. It isn’t dry to the touch after a half hour of wear, which is obviously going to be a problem–if it doesn’t dry, it doesn’t set, so it won’t stay in place. It applies somewhat evenly but does have problems; if you apply with a finger, it seems to just slide around but I wasn’t able to get a really even look with it using my fingers. I had the best luck doing one pass and doing my best not to layer.

As a base with powder eyeshadows on top, it’s both a pain to use (because it’s wet, the powder eyeshadow tends to clump and stick to it but not blend out well; the darker hue also has a tendency to “eat” the eyeshadow) and wear (because it creases after five minutes, just not as bad as it was alone). In the past, I have tried several of these pencils over/under various bases, with/without eyeshadow, and the results are dismal  (See Celebrate.).  I tried the same methods with this one as well with the same disappointing results, whether it’s used alone, underneath eyeshadow, or over a primer, it’s a one-way trip to Crease City.

Finally, as an eyeliner, it smudges and travels further and further away from the lash line. I don’t need any help making my under eye circles look any darker, but this product excelled at it.

The only reason it earns any points is that it is pigmented, but the pigmentation is patchy and uneven, which does impact the overall pigmentation score.  The texture is creamy enough that it glides on the lid without too much tugging or pulling, which accounts for some points.  But you’ll notice that when it comes to overall product score and longevity, there are none.  These continue to be one of the worst formulas I’ve come across.  At $24, it’s a slap in the eye.

If you want a shadow pencil that actually works, consider Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils, which not only wear all day long without trouble, they’re four bucks cheaper. Here are some navy blue eyeliners to consider as well.

The Glossover

P
product

Dark Rite

If you're been looking for a product to deliver a creased, glossy look, perhaps for an editorial, maybe this is up your alley. I suspect you could find a cheaper cream product to do something similar or else pat Vaseline or gloss over your favorite navy blue eyeshadow.
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Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

MAC Interior Life Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Interior Life Eyeshadow Quad

MAC for Daphne Guinness: Interior Life Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Interior Life Eyeshadow Quad ($38.00 for 0.20 oz.) includes these four shades: Stratus (light pink), Bruised Sky (dark lavender gray), Interior Life (mid-tone gray blue), and Heather Belles (dark charcoal/carbon).  It’s new and limited edition for MAC for Daphne Guinness, which will launch in-stores on December 26th.

  • Stratus is a pale iced pink with a matte finish. I couldn’t get this product to swatch at all–I literally took a metal spatula to the pan and gouged product out to just get enough visible color in the swatch so you could see it. The swatch you see is the equivalent of swatching something five times, if not more! I later tried to apply this to the lid–over primer–and it was invisible. Maybe on the lightest and on the darkest of skin tones this will show up better, but the texture is still unforgivably dry and difficult to use. MAC Taupeless is a little warmer and shimmery. MAC Seedy Pearl is shimmery but similar in hue. Inglot 319 is more blue-based.
  • Bruised Sky is a mauve-brown with a satin finish. This shade was a little dry, but it yielded decent color payoff. Wet ‘n’ Wild We’re Blasting Off has a more shimmery version of this shade. It’s similar to MAC Tendersmoke. MAC Shale is much browner.
  • Interior Life is a blue-tinted medium-dark gray with a veluxe finish, which means it has a mostly matte finish but the texture is different from their matte finish. This is one of the best matte eyeshadows I’ve come across by MAC, and ironically, there are only two veluxe finishes available in the permanent range (Samoa Silk and Brown Down). This feels much more like a Matte2 than a veluxe–it’s so dense and buttery that’s nearly creamy in feel. The color payoff is really good, too, though it does easily blend away so go easy on blending.  I don’t want to say this, but this fades a lot when applied.  It was half faded after five hours.  It’s a matte version of MAC Howzat. Chanel Gris Exquis is more neutral.
  • Heather Belles is a charcoal black with a satin finish. The good news is this shade is the same as it was when it launched with Tartan Tale; the bad news is that it’s still just as terrible. I got a little smarter with this shade, so I managed to scrape product off and apply it to the middle but left some parts still in their original, disappointing state. It’s sheer, dry, and nearly chalky because of how dry and stiff it is. Nehru is a little blue/teal. It’s a bit like theBalm Serious. It ended up looking a lot like MAC Black Tied, since neither works well. I tried applying this to the crease, but it just wasn’t applying or blending well, so I ended up using Nebula (pigment) instead.

I’ve been underwhelmed by MAC’s eyeshadow quads for quite awhile now, and I had some hope after Cindy Sherman, Interior Life really disappointed. Many brands come out with quads and palettes, and there are few high-end brands that seem to flop as spectacularly as MAC has in the past year when it comes to their quads/palettes. MAC can do an excellent eyeshadow, so I don’t know why this doesn’t translate into their eyeshadow quads any more.

The Glossover

palette

Interior Life

F
There are too many problems with this eyeshadow quad: poor pigmentation, drier/stiffer textures, and fading. At $38, there are so many better options out there. Build your own MAC quad of proven eyeshadows!

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

2.5/5

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Monday, September 26th, 2011


Dolce & Gabbana Candied Crayon Intense Eyeliner

Dolce & Gabbana Sweet Temptations: Candied & Green Almond

Dolce & Gabbana’s fall collection–Sweet Temptations–includes two new shades of their Crayon Intense Eyeliner ($29.00 for 0.04 oz.). The new shades are Candied (light gold) and Green Almond (olive).

  • Candied is a metallic finished pale yellowed gold. The pigmentation on this shade is sheer; you definitely won’t get an opaque line of color in one pass. I couldn’t really build it up to opaque color for the heavier swatch. Make Up For Ever #9L is a darker yellow, while tokidoki Unicorno is less yellow and has coppery glitter in it.
  • Green Almond is a dark forest green over a olive brown base. Again, the color payoff leaves something to be desired–it loses a lot of depth because it doesn’t deliver much color in a single pass (or even a couple of them–you really have to go back and forth several times to yield decent color payoff). It’s a dead ringer for Urban Decay Mildew. MAC Jade Way is a little greener.

I’m not a huge fan of this eyeliner formula because of the texture; it’s stiff and dry, so it doesn’t glide on easily and can pull and tug at the lid. The wear is so-so, where I get around six hours with a darker and drier shade like Green Almond but lighter shades like Candied seem to vanish after four or five hours (this is on the lower lash line, not water line!). Some shades are creamier (like their White) but the majority don’t wear longer than six hours. It’s frustrating when a formula is so inconsistent, because you can’t bank on it performing as good as previous shades.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Dolce & Gabbana Sweet Temptations: Candied & Green Almond Crayon Intense Eyeliner Swatches, Photos, Reviews

F
The flaws in this product render it rather unacceptable, and with the $29 price tag, nearly unbelievable. There are so many formulas available that perform well, but this is not one of them. Normally, a drier eyeliner would wear better than a creamier one but that is not the case here.

Product

5.5/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

3/5

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Thursday, September 15th, 2011


MAC Street Art Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Art of Powder: Street Art Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Street Art Eyeshadow Palette ($38.00 for 0.31 oz.) is one 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). The palette contains a hefty amount of product; an eyeshadow quad retails for the same amount but contains 0.20 oz. on average.

After testing this palette, I just can’t say the quality is there. It’s the design that will sell this product; it’s more for collectors than it is for someone who is after quality eyeshadow. There are six different shades (tan, beige, periwinkle, orange, turquoise, and pink) but I was only really able to grab distinct swatches of five (the beige was difficult to get individually and then to get to show up was another story!).

The tan shade is a gold shimmered orange-tan that applies very sheerly and not as smoothly as I would like (or expect). One of the better performing shades was the periwinkle shade which is more purple than periwinkle, but it depends on the lighting; it reminded me a fair amount of Digit. Despite the appearance of intensity in the palette, the turquoise shade is incredibly sheer with a slightly roughened texture (it’s not rough or gritty, but it’s not smooth); it’s like the palest teal with silvery shimmer. The orange shade was better, as it was much more pigmented but was dusty; it’s a slightly muted orange with a subtle satiny sheen. The pink shade worked the best, as it applied smoothly and with good color payoff; it’s a yellow-toned light-medium pink with a near metallic finish. There is also a beige shade that disappears against my skin and suffers from sheerness and some powderiness.

Undeterred, I wore this on my eyes (it’s what I wore in several of the photos for the Posh Paradise Mattene lip swatches), and the fall out was incredible. I went with something short and sweet, so I used the purply-periwinkle shade on the lid with the turquoise shade in the crease. The texture is rather dry and doesn’t work well on its own (I figured I’d test it with a base on one eye, without on the other). Even with a base, I had a ton of glittery fall out and really had to pack on the color to get decent color payoff and evenness in color. I tried twice with a base – once with NARS Eyeshadow Primer Potion and the second time with MAC Nubile Paint Pot (using the pink, tan, and orange shades). The second combination had less fall out (but the shades had less shimmer) but took a fair amount of color-packing to get the vibrancy in the palette.

It’s a shame to see such a design-intensive palette perform so poorly. It really is art, because the best thing to do with it is to admire it from afar. Undoubtedly, it will still sell out because of the design alone. The good news is all of the colors go through to the bottom based on digging around each shade to see how deep it went. The only part that is an overlay is the silvered shimmer-sheen that goes across the middle.  You just can’t have problems with wear (fall out, minor fading, unevenness), pigmentation, and texture and come out on top.

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Art of Powder: Street Art Eyeshadow Palette Swatches, Photos, Reviews

F
It's a shame to see such a design-intensive palette perform so poorly. It really is art, because the best thing to do with it is to admire it from afar. Undoubtedly, it will still sell out because of the design alone.

Product

4/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

5.5/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

3/5

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