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Zoya Carter & Tomoko Nail Lacquers

Zoya Carter Nail Lacquer
Zoya Carter Nail Lacquer

Zoya Carter Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “regal purple.” It’s a cool-toned, medium-dark purple with pink-violet sparkle and shimmer. It has a Pixie Dust finish, so it has a matte, sparkling finish (and the sparkle always looks prettier in person than in a static image). It was mostly opaque after three thin coats of polish (I applied per Zoya’s PixieDust instructions). I felt like this one was less sparkly, though, than other shades. It seemed dull in comparison. I didn’t have anything similar to this shade in my stash, but if you’ve discovered a similar shade, please share it in the comments!

Tomoko Nail Lacquer ($10.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “glowing silver.” It’s a sparkling champagne beige with dark and lighter champagne sparkle. It was mostly opaque after three thin coats of polish. These are similar shades in terms of color, but the finishes are quite different as they do not have that matte, sparkling finish. Revlon Gold Coin, Illamasqua Swinger, Chanel Diwali are all a golden beige/dirty gold kind of color with frosted, metallic finishes–Diwali is slightly warmer than the other two. China Glaze I’m Not Lion is more glittery but not as opaque. See comparison swatches.

The PixieDust formula is always fun, and I like it a lot. I wasn’t as impressed by the overall sparkle effect of Carter, as it seemed weak and looked gritty rather than sparkly half of the time. Tomoko was more in line with past iterations of the finish, as it sparkled and shimmered beautifully. If you prefer a glossier finish, you can apply a top coat over both. The formula wears well, even without a top or base coat, as it doesn’t even really have tip wear; instead, it’s like it gently sands away right at the edge, but it’s so minimal that it’s not even noticeable after a week.

Carter
Carter
A

Permanent

9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total
Tomoko
Tomoko
A

Permanent

9.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
94%
Total

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Revlon Plum Velour Super Lustrous Lipstick

Revlon Plum Velour Super Lustrous Lipstick
Revlon Plum Velour Super Lustrous Lipstick

Revlon Plum Velour Super Lustrous Lipstick ($6.99 for 0.13 oz.) is a reddish plum-berry with a luminous, lightly glossy, sheen. Marc Jacobs Seduce Me is brighter, more opaque. Too Faced So Berry Sexy is similar but less shiny. Illamasqua Magnetism is darker, redder. Revlon Berry Couture is lighter. Revlon Sorbet is brighter, pinker. See comparison swatches.

It had semi-opaque color that noticeably tinted and colored my lips but had a lightweight, somewhat translucent appearance so the natural lip color still came through. (If you have naturally redder lips, this may look much redder and less berry on you!) This particular shade is of the “Shine” finish variety, so it’s not quite the same as other Super Lustrous shades if you’ve tried them previously. It is supposed to have buildable color, which is does, and a “moisturizing shine,” which it is. It’s not as hydrating as a balm, but it is nicely moisturizing while worn (but it doesn’t add back a lot of hydration if you start with dry lips; instead, it helps to maintain). The one area this fell short was in wear; because it has such a thin, emollient consistency, it just doesn’t last all that long on, so it wears away in three hours or less.

Plum Velour
Plum Velour
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
7
Longevity
5
Application
89%
Total

Sephora Banana Split (10) & Indulge Yourself (22) Contour Eye Pencils

Sephora Banana Split (10) Contour Eye Pencil
Sephora Banana Split (10) Contour Eye Pencil

Sephora Banana Split (10) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “yellow.” It’s a bright, sunny yellow with a matte finish. It’s this matte finish that makes it hard to dupe–I only have one other matte yellow in my stash, which is MAC Primary Yellow, which I find is slightly warmer. The color payoff is good, even in a single stroke, and it’s buildable to mostly opaque color. The consistency is creamy, a little thicker compared to other shades in the formula, but it works well on the lash line as it doesn’t tug or pull and deposits good color from the get-go. It wore well for ten hours on me, which isn’t the full 12-hours that Sephora claims, but relative to other eyeliners, it is a nice, long-lasting shade.

Indulge Yourself (22) Contour Eye Pencil ($9.00 for 0.04 oz.) is described as a “flashy green.” It’s a brightened, grassy green with a subtle, cool undertone but warmer, gold shimmer that brightens and warms it up, so it looks cool and warm at the same time. The finish is pearly–not too frosty but more sheen than a satin. In a one layer, it only had so-so color payoff, and then when layered, it had semi-opaque color coverage but was not an intense, richly pigmented product. It wore well, though, and lasted nine and a half hours when I tested it, and it didn’t tug or pull at the lash line when I applied it. Urban Decay Freak is much lighter. Urban Decay Graffiti would be most comparable. See comparison swatches.

9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8.5
Longevity
5
Application
90%
Total
8
Product
6.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8
Longevity
4.5
Application
80%
Total

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Physicians Formula Rose Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Blush

Physicians Formula Rose Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Blush
Physicians Formula Rose Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Blush

Physicians Formula Rose Sexy Booster Sexy Glow Blush ($11.99 for 0.19 oz.) is a soft, subtly warm-toned pink with a silvery-white sparkle and metallic sheen. The majority of the powder is a warmer, pale pink (almost peachy), and then the center is a darker, berry-ish pink. There is some sparkle, as well as shimmer. MAC Rio is darker but has a similar sheen. Giorgio Armani No. 08 has a sheen but less color. MAC Stunner is warmer. MAC Easy Manner is less shimmery. MAC Porcelain Pink is less pink but has a similar sheen. Illamasqua Lies is cooler-toned but has a similar sheen. See comparison swatches.

According to Physicians Formula’s website, it’s supposed to be the “perfect blend of shimmery blushing tones … for an instant sexy boost with an alluring blushing glow.” The product is vanilla scented. It’s a soft, subtle pink hue on my medium complexion–so on paler skin tones, I would expect it to show up more as a blusher, and on medium or deeper complexions, more as a sheen and highlighter. The texture was fairly soft (but you could feel the sparkle at times), and it applied smoothly, though the finish is quite metallic so it did emphasize pores just slightly. I felt like the luminous finish was distracting enough from that defect, so it wasn’t as noticeable. It wore well for almost eight hours, and it started to look a bit patchy after that. While ULTA’s website said it said it has 12-hour wear, I didn’t see this claim on the brand’s website (or on drugstore.com), so I’m deferring to the brand on wear (or the lack of a particularly long-wearing claim).

Rose
Rose
B+

Permanent

8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8
Longevity
5
Application
89%
Total

Tom Ford Eyeshadow (11), Eyeshadow Blend (13), and Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brushes

Tom Ford Eyeshadow (11) Brush
Tom Ford Eyeshadow (11) Brush

This post wraps up all of the Tom Ford Brushes I’ve tested for the past several months. Generally, they’re well-made, high quality tools that likely won’t disappoint you–except if you already have high-end, well-loved tools. The handles are exceptionally well balanced and nice to hold, while the brushes are soft, durable, and easy to wash. I worried that the white bristles would really stain over time, but they’ve held up quite nicely since I’ve been using them. I can’t weigh on the Eyeshadow Contour, Shadow/Concealer, Foundation, Smokey Eye, Shade & Illuminate, or Lip Brush, as I don’t have those. My favorites have been Tom Ford’s Cheek, Cream Foundation, and Eyeshadow Blend Brushes.

Tom Ford Eyeshadow (11) Brush ($55.00) is large, lightly fluffed-up, eyeshadow brush with a flatter, wider shape that is dome-shaped at the top. The brush head is 15mm in length, 14mm in width, and 6mm in thickness. It has a pinched, gold metal ferrule, and a total brush length of 6.75 inches or 17 centimeters. The handle is etched with the brand’s logo and the brush’s number in gold foil at the end of the handle, and the very tip of the handle is flat.

The brush head is soft, not too densely packed, and just fluffy enough to allow for blending and diffusing of color in addition to being able to pack it on. I expect that this is a brush that is less universally applicable, because it is a larger brush, so if you have more eyelid space or you tend to wear one or two eyeshadows at a time, you may find it handy. If you have smaller eyes or you tend to work more precisely, it is not a must-have. It is similar to the MAC 252 ($32), which less fluffy, not as soft, and not as dome-shaped, but the overall size and shape are definitely similar–it is made out of synthetic fibers. shu uemura #10 ($68) is smaller, narrower, flatter. OCC Large Shader Brush ($22) is quite similar and made out of synthetic bristles. For this type of size and shape, I like to apply cream eyeshadows, pat powder over under eye concealer, or pat a powder eyeshadow all over the lid.

Tom Ford Eyeshadow Blend (13) Brush ($55.00) is a long, narrowed brush with a rounded, domed edge that fits well into the crease. It’s not so long that it becomes floppy, and it’s wide enough to blend as well as deposit color. It also has good resistance, so it doesn’t splay easily. The brush head is 17mm in height, 9mm in width, and 9mm in thickness. It has a rounded, open gold metal ferrule, and a total brush length of just over 6.75 inches or 17 centimeters. The handle is round, not too thick or too thin, and flattens at the bottom.

This was definitely one of my very favorite brushes from Tom Ford, because it’s well-made, works well for its purpose, and is a shape and size that I would often reach for. It’s soft and never scratchy, and it lays down color well into the crease as well as blends and diffuses it above and below the crease as you want. Hakuhodo J142 ($18) is very similar, just slightly narrower–but at a third of the price, I would get three of these instead; unless, of course, you’re sold on the Tom Ford aesthetic! MAC 222 ($28, discontinued) has a more flared shape, so it doesn’t come to a point. MAC 226 ($24.50, limited edition) is smaller and shorter; there is also some variance in how these were made, so some are rather pointed and others are more dome-shaped. OCC Tapered Blending Brush ($22) is smaller but similar in shape. Sephora PRO Crease (10) ($20) is fluffier and wider. NARS Large Dome Brush (13) ($33) is more rounded at the edge with more flare. Make Up For Ever #242 Large Blender is less tapered, longer. Urban Decay Crease Brush is less tapered.

Tom Ford Eyeliner & Definer (15) Brush ($50.00) is a tiny, squat brush with a rounded edge. The brush head is 4mm in length, 6mm in width, and 2mm in thickness. It has a pinched, gold metal ferrule, and a total brush length of 6.25 inches or just under 16 centimeters. The handle is well-balanced, rounded, and the handle end is flat.

It can be used for apply eyeshadow very, very precisely, but it worked best (for me) for smudging eyeliner, applying cream/gel eyeliner, applying eyeshadow along the lash line, and cleaning up any mascara smudges. The bristles are soft, but it’s a thin, firm, brush, so if you use too much pressure, you’ll feel the edge somewhat. Hakuhodo G5513 ($16) is longer and has a straighter edge. MAC 228 is also longer and fluffier. Make Up For Ever #208 Small Precision Shader Brush ($22) is slightly longer, but it is very similar–except it is not as firm or stiff, so it’s not as precise or as easy to control for applying cream or gel eyeliner.

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad (RiRi Hearts MAC)

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad
MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad

MAC Smoked Cocoa Eyeshadow Quad ($44.00 for 0.19 oz.) is a new and limited edition palette from the upcoming RiRi Hearts MAC (Fall Edition) that launches at MAC stores on September 26th, online on September 30th, and counters and international locations on October 3rd.

Edited at 9/18 at 10:24AM PST: It features four eyeshadows, and the eyeshadows do not have names (only the actual quad has a name). Originally, the shades were listed with working names (so they are not finalized and often serve as placeholders). When I wrote the review, I swatched each shade to the corresponding working name (because they were permanent shades) to try to determine if, in fact, they were the same. I’ve kept that information below, but I wanted to update and clarify based on information I received this morning. I also received official shade descriptions and corresponding finishes, which I’ve added to the shades below.

To that end, I swatched each supposedly permanent shade against the individual, permanent eyeshadow I had previously (some of mine are quite old, so you may find quality differences even when colors are similar). I’ve included these swatches below for your reference. The only one that was wildly different was Smoked Cocoa #1, which was listed as Shroom–it is much, much cooler-toned and lighter. My Copperplate (which is from the original release of the Matte2 formula, so several years ago) is darker/more pigmented than Smoked Cocoa #2–the texture of my original definitely had a more buttery, silky feel, but they looked nearly identical when I compared the pans.

Smoked Cocoa #1 is described as a “dirty cool champagne [with a Veluxe Pearl finish].” It is a cool-toned, off white with a frosted finish. It had fairly good color payoff, and it applied smoothly and evenly. It lasted well for eight hours before showing signs of fading. MAC Winterscape is similar. MAC Star Crystal is a touch pinker. MAC Creamy Bisque is less frosted. See comparison swatches.

Smoked Cocoa #2 is described as a “muted mid-tone grey [with a Matte2 finish].” It’s a neutral-cool taupe with a matte finish. It had a soft, finely-milled texture but was noticeably less silky compared to my original Copperplate eyeshadow (which this was listed as in my information), and as a result, Smoked Cocoa #2 appeared lighter when swatched side-by-side, though in the pans they both looked the same. It applied easily and blended out well. This wore well without showing signs of fading until nine hours of wear. Maybelline Tough as Taupe is grayer and a cream product. bareMinerals Rowdy is cooler-toned. See comparison swatches.

Smoked Cocoa #3 is described as a “black with silver pearl [with a Lustre finish].” It is a darkened matte black base with fine silver sparkle and shimmer. This could be a number of eyeshadows, and it could very well be Black Tied as it was originally listed as, since Black Tied is essentially a matte black base with silver sparkle. If it’s any consolation, my permanent pan of Black Tied is even worse. The quality of this shade was horrendous; it was dry, patchy, and incredibly sheer. It was a total pain to apply and blend out on the lid. It seemed faded after seven hours. There are so many of these types of shades on the market, and the main way they differ is that some are more pigmented than others. See comparison swatches.

Smoked Cocoa #4 is described as a “dirty black charcoal [with a Satin finish].” It is a bluish black, so it looks almost gray at times, but it is still quite a dark shade. It looked really deep in the pan, but this did not translate in application as the pigmentation was very, very weak. The texture is dry, stiff, and a total pain in the behind to use. It didn’t want to apply smoothly, and blending this shade out took far more patience than I had. It looked noticeably faded after six hours of wear. There was a very fine hint of navy micro-shimmer in the shade that I didn’t really catch in my permanent pan of Nehru, so while I think they are certainly similar (especially when applied–those micro-shimmers never show up!), they may not be the same shade. MAC Fashion Legend is darker, less blue. LORAC Black is darker. MAC Typographic is grayer, matte. bareMinerals Amnesia is darker. See comparison swatches.

Also In This Review

A-

Smoked Cocoa #1

Limited Edition
Read Review
A-

Smoked Cocoa #2

Limited Edition
Read Review
F

Smoked Cocoa #3

Limited Edition
Read Review
F

Smoked Cocoa #4

Limited Edition
Read Review