Thursday, May 17th, 2012


MAC Vestral White Nail Lacquer

MAC Vestral White Nail Lacquer

MAC Vestral White Nail Lacquer ($17.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) is described as a “creamy white.” It’s a stark white cream. NARS Ecume is similar. China Glaze Snow is a bit cooler-toned. Nubar White Peony is warmer.  You might even consider White-Out (thanks Brooke!), because the way this applied reminded me of being in elementary school when girls would apply White-Out like it was nail polish during class–dry, chalky, and oh-so-streaky.  It’s mostly opaque after two coats, but it’s not even.

It’s not really a shocker, given that this was an awful polish when it came out two years ago (and talk about time flying by–two years ago, you could grab this for a measly $12!). It’s disappointing, though, that there were no improvements made to this formula, because it was particularly bad. It’s still runny, kind of watery (make sure to mix this one really, really well–it settles and gets extremely watery easily), and a streak-fest. The first coat was extremely streaky, and though I tried to do a thicker second coat to hide that initial coat, it couldn’t and pooled a bit around the sides and was slightly streaky even on the second coat.

It’s funny (not really), but MAC used to only increase prices by a dollar for special packaging when it was a collaboration, like when they worked with Disney on Venomous Villains, but they’ve been tacking a little extra on for anything in special packaging these days. MAC is certainly moving into a high-end price point, given that NARS’ polish retails for this much. (And many, many niche polish brands like Deborah Lippmann, Butter London, etc. are at this price point or less!)

The Glossover

LE
coming-soon

Vestral White

F
It's about as streaky as I remember White-Out being during elementary school! It's streaky, uneven pigmentation, runny, and watery, which all contributed to a really horrendous application and result. There are far superior versions of white creams available on the market.

Product

3/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

4/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

2/5

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Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Chanel Sirocco Glossimer
Chanel Sirocco Glossimer

Chanel Sirocco Glossimer

Chanel Sirocco Glossimer ($29.50 for 0.19 oz.) might look like a soft peachy gold in the tube, but it’s virtually colorless on the lips. The base is mostly clear on my lips with a fine dusting of pale peach shimmer–it’s very subtle, barely-there shimmer. From afar, it looks like I’m wearing clear gloss or some shiny lip balm. The dupes are endless! Any gloss that has a tiny bit of shimmer but is otherwise clear will do.

Chanel’s signature gloss formula is supposed to deliver shimmer and “high-shine glow” with shades that range from “sheer and natural” to “sparkling and rich.” The formula is supposed to be both comfortable and long-wearing. Though it can be hard to make the distinction, there is a line between sheer and clear. If you want a comfortable, hydrating product that doesn’t have any color, I think you ought to opt for lip balm, which will do a better job at moisturizing your lips.  This is just too close to clear to be “sheer and natural” to me.  Maybe if there was more shimmer or even the slightest tint to the base color it would reach a level of sheer that makes sense.

I totally get the appeal of Glossimers; they can be really dazzling and sparkling, nearly breathtaking in the sunlight, but this lacks the shimmer that gives that effect.  I’m a fan of the formula, generally speaking, but some of the more recent releases have been disappointing.  Sirocco lasts about two and a half hours before the shine is gone, and since there really isn’t any color, the rest of it appears to be gone, too.  The texture is thin without being too thin, comfortable, non-sticky, and keeps lips feeling good while its on.

The Glossover

LE
product

Sirocco

F
The lightweight, non-sticky, and comfortable texture is the gloss's saving grace [from an F rating]. While it feels lovely on, it's virtually colorless and has so little shimmer that it ends up looking like clear gloss or balm once applied.

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

2/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

4/10

Application

4/5

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Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Dior Swimming Pool Eyeshadow Palette
Dior Swimming Pool Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Swimming Pool Eyeshadow Palette

Dior Swimming Pool Eyeshadow Palette ($60.00 for 0.24 oz.) is one of two limited edition summer eyeshadow palettes from the brand, and while Aurora soared, Swimming Pool sinks (couldn’t resist!).

The upper left shade is an iridescent pink-peach with sheer color. It had a powdery texture, though it wasn’t as bad as other shades in the palette. Tarina Tarantino DIamond Dusk is similar but has no peach. Bobbi Brown Black Ruby ends up looking similar because it’s also very sheer. Make Up For Ever #940 is very similar but has a much stronger duochrome.

The upper right shade is a pale silver with sheer color payoff and a powdery finish. Tarina Tarantino Lovely has a similar silver but has a more frosted finish. Guerlain Les Aquas is similar but has a more metallic finish.

The center shade is a light-medium sky blue with a mostly matte finish. It is very powdery, and it’s one of the most pigmented out of the five–but it’s still on the sheer side and impossible to build up on the lid. I wore this in the crease, and I kept going back (four times!) to get mediocre color payoff. The powdery texture makes this extremely easy to blend into oblivion–it just disappears as soon as you attempt to soften the edge. Buxom Husky is a smidgen lighter. NYX Cool Blue is darker. MAC Styledriven is very similar but has a frosted finish. Inglot #367 is lighter.

The lower left shade is a seafoam green to the eye, but when applied, it’s a sheer iridescent aqua that seems to bunch up on itself and disappear in sections. It doesn’t like to blend, and it doesn’t apply evenly. Giorgio Armani Airy Jade was the most similar, though it’s more metallic. Cle de Peau #112 doesn’t have the same finish. Lancome Fashion Forward is greener.

The lower right shade is a pale, frosted beige–the high metallic finish makes it appear almost white, though. This was the other more pigmented shade in the palette, though it’s still on the sheerer side. The texture was also the least powdery. Dolce & Gabbana Jewels seemed the closest.

This palette is characterized by two things: sheer and chalky. Let’s throw in powdery, too, because nearly every shade kicks up a ton of excess powder even when you barely touch your brush to the pan. When I applied these eyeshadows to the lid over a primer and over bare lids, I still couldn’t get much color payoff, and they didn’t want to blend. The aqua shade disappeared and looked so uneven. The blue shade insisted on looking like a pale, pasty blue. I’m about medium in color, but it’s horrific on me–the chalkiness is just emphasized and exacerbated with the genuine chalky base of the shades. I think the only people who could possibly wear this would be really pale skin tones.  What little manages to apply to the lid wears so-so; it seems a little faded after six hours or so both with and without a primer.

Swimming Pool may be one of the worst palettes I’ve come across from Dior. I can’t get over how powdery the finishes are, how sheer the colors were, and how they didn’t want to stick to the eye at all. I can only think of one compliment: it was a nice combination of colors in theory, but the execution was awful. I typically don’t return products I buy for review, since I get my “use” out of them, but this makes me want to reconsider that policy and get my $60 back.  I’ll have to settle for letting all of you know to check this out in person first!

The Glossover

palette

Swimming Pool

F
Chalky, powdery textures abound in this palette--accompanied by pitiful pigmentation! The eyeshadows are soft, but they are difficult to blend together, partially because they tend to disappear and blend to nothingness with little effort. I think the only hope this palette has is on really pale complexions and for someone who wants only sheer washes of color.

Product

3/10

Pigmentation

5/10

Texture

5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

2/5

Results
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Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow
Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow

Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow

Revlon Neptune Star Diamond Lust Eyeshadow ($4.99 for 0.028 oz.) is a muted dark navy blue with multi-colored shimmer (preodminantly blue, green, and violet). The color payoff is sheer and looks almost muddied when it is applied dry, and when it’s applied wet, the navy blue starts to bubble forth. Dry, it has a similar color as Dior Smoking Blue, though it doesn’t have the same shimmer/glitter. Make Up For Ever #147 is closest in terms of overall color but lacks the glitter component.

This eyeshadow takes a LOT of work to get to work well (or decently, I suppose). It suffers from poor color payoff, poor blendability, and fall out (both during application and later on while it is worn). When I saw this, it looked so beautiful and shimmering in its compact, so I had to buy it. I thought it was going to be a finer shimmer application, but it’s fairly large, chunky glitter–the texture actually feels gritty to the touch. This is a product that I’d say is best used patted lightly on top of some other, better performing eyeshadow. It just doesn’t deliver enough pigmentation to be used easily on its own.

The fall out is pretty bad, but I had the most frustration dealing with how difficult this shade was to blend. It is dry and stiff to work with, and when you finally manage to blend it out, there’s a really muddied look to it. It does not play well with others for that reason.  Fall out during application is one problem, and there’s fall out because you’re heavier handed and then there’s fall out because the product is too powdery or doesn’t bind together well, but fall out that continues throughout the time you wear it is the kind I focus most on and am most concerned about.  You will absolutely need to bring out your arsenal of tricks to use with the glitter-bomb–a sticky, adhesive base (like MAC Mixing Medium, Too Faced Glitter Glue, etc.) is a must.

Revlon may describe this has having “rich, refined pigments” and a “velvety smooth texture” that “glides on smoothly, blends effortlessly,” but I didn’t find that any of those things were true.  What is true is that yes, this will provide a really gorgeous dimension to the lid with the high sparkle content, but it will take some patience and additional products to get it to behave (which solves the fall out issue the most, but not so much the pigmentation or the blendability).  It ends up being a novelty purchase for me; something to work with for a very specific type of look when you have enough time to prep and clean up after it. If you like a glittery effect and don’t mind the work to create the look, you may find this is worth checking out. I recommend it as a layering shade over a coordinating eyeshadow.

The Glossover

LE
product

Neptune Star

F
If you like a glittery effect and don't mind the work to create the look, you may find this is worth checking out. I recommend it as a layering shade over a coordinating eyeshadow.

Product

5/10

Pigmentation

6/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

6/10

Application

2/5

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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

Results
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