Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Revlon Top Speed Nail Lacquer
Revlon Celestial FX Top Speed Nail Lacquer

Revlon Celestial FX and Hearts of Gold FX Nail Lacquer ($5.99 for 0.50 fl. oz.) are two glitter top coats I spotted earlier this year at my local drugstore, and they looked like a lot of fun, so I picked them up. They were, unfortunately, both very un-fun and more frustrating than anything else.

  • Celestial FX has multi-colored glitter along with larger, holographic diamond-, star-, and moon-shaped glitter pieces suspended in a clear base.
  • Hearts of Gold has gold glitter with larger holographic, heart-shaped glitter suspended in a clear base.

I applied both polishes on a few occasions, and the swatches in this post represent the best results I was able to get–and I went on a major fishing expedition to do so. I just couldn’t get the larger glitter pieces (the shapes) out of the bottle; on the few occasions I did, there was so much of the clear base that it just pooled and dribbled off the nail. The clear base is so, so thick and runny.  To top it off, the larger glitters curled along the edges, so they did not lay flat.  This caused the few glitters to snag on things, and I did have two of the three catch and flake off.

The only positive thought I had was that the small glitters in Celestial FX are pretty on their own, since they’re multi-colored.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Revlon Celestial FX & Hearts of Gold FX Nail Lacquers Reviews, Photos, Swatches

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The only positive thought I had was that the small glitters in Celestial FX are pretty on their own, since they're multi-colored.

Product

3/10

Pigmentation

5/10

Texture

3/10

Longevity

7/10

Application

1/5

Results
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Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil
NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil

NARS Spring 2013: Corcovado

NARS Corcovado Soft Touch Shadow Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) is described as a “24-karat gold.” It’s a bright, sunshine-yellow gold with a frosted, metallic finish. Cinderella Gus Gus is a bit darker, more orange (and a powder eyeshadow). OCC Triptych is darker, more honey-hued (and a powder). NARS Goldfinger is a paler yellow (and a powder). Inglot #403 is not quite as yellow/intense (and a powder). MAC Bright Sunshine is comparable, slightly yellower, but is also a powder.

It will come as no surprise to long-time readers that Corcovado, for all its gorgeous coloring, did not work well for me. I’m not going to do an in-depth review here, because I’ve done plenty in the past of this formula and exactly why it doesn’t work well on me. I love the color, and I really wanted it to work. NARS often produces beautiful colors in their Soft Touch Shadow Pencil, and I had hoped that the more frosted finish would have allowed for a quicker, better dry down of the product.

Here are the ways I tested Corcovado specifically: on its own, over NARS’ Smudgeproof Primer, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + gold powder eyeshadow on top, over NARS Smudgeproof Primer + translucent powder (NARS’!) on top, over NARS powder eyeshadow, sheered out quite a bit, and as an eyeliner. I have applied with these tools: fingertips, brushes (fluffy, firm, and in-between), sponge-tip applicator, and directly from the pencil. I experienced heavy creasing within an hour or less for every way except: 1) over powder eyeshadow it took two hours; 2) sheered out, the creasing was less noticeable but still there after an hour; and 3) as an eyeliner, it took six hours to disappear and smudge fully, but there was “bleeding” color after an hour.

So, in summary: excellent pigmentation, and it applies rather opaquely on, but it takes me on repeated trips to Crease City in as little as ten minutes (when worn alone) or as “long” as two hours (when worn over powder eyeshadow). There are definitely readers who have had success with these, and there are others who’ve had similar experiences to mine. I just recommend trying it prior to purchase or purchasing from a retailer with a return policy, in case your experience is more like mine. I have no problem with many, many shadow pencils on the market (Milani, NYX, MAC, Urban Decay, to name a few).

The Glossover

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product

Corcovado

F
There are definitely readers who have had success with these, and there are others who've had similar experiences to mine. I just recommend trying it prior to purchase or purchasing from a retailer with a return policy, in case your experience is more like mine.

Product

2/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

2/10

Application

2.5/5

Results
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Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Benefit Fine One One
Benefit Fine One One

Benefit Fine One One ($30.00 for 0.28 oz.) is described as a “coral pink flush.” There are three shades in the stick that work together to create a sheer, brightening effect on the cheeks and lips. The palest color is a pale, white gold beige with pale gold shimmer (highlighter). The middle color is a pop of light-medium pink with a hint of coral (blush). The bottom color is a tangerine orange (“contour”). Together, they create a sheer tint of coral-orange with a very subtle sheen.

I was not a fan of this product. The texture is a little tacky, firm, and generally not the best feel or consistency for a cream blush. Because of the natural tendency for cheeks to be curved, it’s difficult to get all three colors at the same pressure. I ended up just swiping a brush across the surface and applying the color to my cheeks that way, because from the stick itself didn’t work well or make much sense–you’d get three stripes of color that you’d have to blend out anyway. It’s not as blendable as a cream blush should be; there’s a stiffness and stubbornness to the texture that doesn’t want to blend onto skin. The way it feels and dries down is not quite powder, not quite cream; it looks uneven and a little patchy within hours of applying. It’s pulled a disappearing act after a mere three hours.

I really disliked it on lips; it’s not particularly easy to apply, and it’s so, so drying. It looked like my lips were flaking, and it felt like they were after trying to wear it for two hours–not a forgiving nor hydrating formula at all. It just sat on top, not really blending in or staining the lips.

This is not going to show up on medium or darker complexions; it just barely shows up on me even layered and built up as much as possible. There are too many excellent coral blushes to opt for this one. Even Benefit’s own ChaCha Tint works infinitely better, though it is more orange–you can’t tell the difference on the skin.

The Glossover

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product

Fine One One

F
There are too many excellent coral blushes to opt for this one. Even Benefit's own ChaCha Tint works infinitely better, though it is more orange--you can't tell the difference on the skin.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

6/10

Longevity

3/10

Application

3/5

Results
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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

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MAC Pressed Pigments Reviews, Photos, Swatches

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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)

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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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