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Giorgio Armani #300 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick

Giorgio Armani #300 Rouge d'Armani Lipstick
Giorgio Armani #300 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick

Giorgio Armani #300 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a warm-toned, orange-red with a luminous sheen. It’s a lovely shade, but there are so many similar shades to this from all brands and price points, so whether this one captures your heart is really a matter of how many others have already done so. MAC Tomango is matte. Urban Decay Bang is similar. Maybelline Orange Edge is slightly redder. Maybelline Vibrant Mandarin is also slightly redder. Maybelline Electric Orange is less red. MAC Sail La Vie is similar. MAC Morange is less red, more orange. Buxom Rogue is very similar. See comparison swatches.

The consistency of #300 is lightly creamy, so it doesn’t tug or pull at lips, and the color glides on in a single pass with even, opaque color. There’s a light sheen that makes lips appear smoother and almost fuller. The Rouge d’Armani formula is touted as long-wearing (eight hours) without fading or feathering, hydrating, and comfortable to wear. I found this shade to be nicely hydrating over the six and a half hours it wore (it did not make it to eight for me). The case is exceptional with a magnetic enclosure that closes with a soft click, and the bullet itself is 0.14 oz., which makes it one of the best high-end lipsticks by value per ounce (most lipsticks range between 0.10 and 0.12 oz.). This is the only shade I have to review from the fall set, but there are five other shades available with the collection as well.

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Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush (02) Review & Photos

Tom Ford Cream Foundation (02) Brush
Tom Ford Cream Foundation (02) Brush

Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush (02) ($72.00) was created to be used with Tom Ford’s Traceless Foundation Stick, but it can easily be used with liquids as well as true creams. The brush is about 6″ long, while the brush head is about 1″ in height and width and is about a 1/2″ thick. It’s made with natural hair, though I haven’t been able to confirm exactly the type of natural hair (likely goat and potentially something else). The brush is made in Japan, and it’s rumored that Hakuhodo manufactures these, but I haven’t seen it confirmed or mentioned in a press release (only that Tom Ford engaged the world’s leading brush maker in Japan to make them to his exact specifications).  The handle is well-balanced, and the brush head is densely-packed and very, very soft. It’s not a small face brush, but it’s not a large one, so it can still maneuver underneath the eye and around the nose without issue.

This brush excels at both cream and liquid foundation application, as it does not take any more product than is necessary to achieve a natural, even finish. It doesn’t soak up the product, which can sometimes result in a heavier application than you really need. Because it’s so densely-packed, it’s not a fluffy brush, but it is soft and holds its shape well and never leaves streaks or brush lines. It’s really as if all you do is apply the foundation, because there’s no need to blend it afterward–it’s already done. It can also be used with cream blush (even powder), but it stands out most for liquid and cream foundations because of the streak-free finish it leaves behind.

I’ve been using this brush for a year and a half, having received in late 2011. Oh, I’m sure you’re wondering why so long, and that’s really because it’s at such a luxury price point that I’ve wanted to not just put it through the paces but incorporate it into my regular routine. I really wanted to see how it held up to consistent, prolonged use. One of the things I was most surprised about was how clean and pristine the brush looks after over a hundred washes (I wash my brushes after each use)–still as white as the day it arrived. I haven’t experienced any shedding or funny smells after washes.  It’s retained its shape well over time, and it really shows no signs of wear.  The ferrule is perfectly in place, bristles aren’t splayed at the edges, and it still looks new and shiny.

The majority of my brushes are MAC, though I do have other brands in there, and my often-used brush for foundation is Hourglass No. 2 Foundation/Blush Brush (which is a nice alternative if you prefer Taklon bristles, rather than natural hair).  Tom Ford’s brush is easier to clean and requires even less attention to get a flawless, even finish in comparison, so between the two, yes, Tom Ford gets my personal vote, though the two are both great brushes.  Tom Ford does, however, easily beat my previous go-to MAC 109 for liquid foundation application.

See more photos!

Zoya Giovanna, Mason, & Neve Nail Lacquers

Zoya Giovanna Nail Lacquer
Zoya Giovanna Nail Lacquer

Zoya Giovanna Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “emerald green metallic.” It’s a rich, vibrant green-leaning teal with metallic shimmer. It was opaque after two coats, and the consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin. Dior Samba is similar. Zoya Zuza has a different finish, is lighter. Butter London Thames is slightly darker. See comparison swatches.

Mason Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “red violet metallic.” It’s a rich, metallic fuchsia-shimmered plummy red. It was opaque in two coats, and it applied smoothly and evenly. L’Oreal The Mystic’s Future is slightly purpler, less pink. Illamasqua Charisma is redder. Zoya Izzy is pinker. Zoya Carly is purpler. See comparison swatches.

Neve Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “sapphire blue metallic.” It’s a rich, bluish-purple with violet, blue, and fuchsia micro-shimmer and a metallic finish. It was fully opaque after two coats of polish, and the consistency was just slightly on the thicker side. MAC Blue Gaze and MAC Breezy Blue are both creams. SpaRitual Blue Moon is less metallic. China Glaze Want My Bawdy is lighter, less blue. See comparison swatches.

All three had very slightly visible brush strokes, and the degree to which they’re noticeable depends on just how strong the light is when it hits the nail. If you’re very sensitive to them, I’d stay away, but if you don’t mind minor to moderate brush strokes, these are lovely. All three shades were very rich and decadent, and they had a lot of depth on the nail. I typically get a week of wear out of Zoya’s polish formula.

Giovanna
Giovanna
A-

Permanent

9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
4.5
Application
92%
Total
Mason
Mason
A-

Permanent

9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
4.5
Application
92%
Total
Neve
Neve
B+

Permanent

9
Product
10
Pigmentation
8
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
89%
Total

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Fyrinnae Lucky Charmed, Wicked, Biker Chic Eyeshadows

Fyrinnae Lucky Charmed Eyeshadow
Fyrinnae Lucky Charmed Eyeshadow

Fyrinnae Lucky Charmed Eyeshadow ($6.25 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “lush, metallic golden green with a touch of green sparkle throughout.” It’s a rich, medium-dark molten gold with strong yellow and brown undertones and a subtle green micro-shimmer. It was mostly opaque applied with a damp brush or applied over Pixie Epoxy. Fyrinnae Aztec Gold is more metallic and slightly greener. Too Faced Instigator is more golden. Marc Jacobs The Starlet #5 is lighter. Urban Decay Spell #1 is glittery. Urban Decay Stargazer is greener. NARS Paramaribo #1 is similar. Le Metier de Beaute Chameleon is warmer, browner. Make Up For Ever #11 is a cream product, lighter. Inglot #433 is similar. See comparison swatches.

Wicked Eyeshadow ($6.25 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “deep, dark purple with turquoise shimmer.” It’s a rich, dark pink-toned purple base with teal shimmer. It’s very interesting and complex, and I don’t have anything quite like this that I can recall. The downside is that it feels somewhat dry, and it didn’t apply as smoothly or as evenly as many other Fyrinnae eyeshadows have for me. It seemed to be an eyeshadow that applied differently every time I tried it.

Biker Chic Eyeshadow ($6.25 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “turquoise-blue sparkle on a deep black base.” It’s a cool-toned, dark black base color with blue-teal shimmer. Applied dry, it is blacker with only a smattering of shimmer, but applied over Pixie Epoxy, then the shimmer is much more apparent. The texture is very finely-milled, but it’s definitely a shade that it is easier blended when it is dry than wet or used over Pixie Epoxy, as it tends to stick slightly. I thought it was best when applied over Pixie Epoxy to maximize the shimmer, and then going over it the edge lightly with dry product to blend. Sephora Midnight Swim isn’t black-based. Milani Mix It Up is greener. MAC Magic Spell is darker, less blue/teal. See comparison swatches.

When I wore these three together, I had had slight fading with Wicked after seven hours but the other shades did not show any signs of wear (no primer but over Pixie Epoxy). Over a primer (and Pixie Epoxy), I still saw some fading with Wicked, but it wasn’t until eight and a half hours, while the other shades continued to remain strong and crease-free.

A

Permanent

9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total
Wicked
Wicked
B

Permanent

8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8
Longevity
4
Application
83%
Total
Biker Chic
Biker Chic
A-

Permanent

9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
92%
Total

Sugarpill ElektroCute Neon Pigments

Sugarpill Hellatronic ElektroCute Neon Pigment
Sugarpill ElektroCute Neon Pigments

Sugarpill ElektroCute Neon Pigments ($16.00 for 0.19 oz.) come in an assortment of five bold, bright shades. Overall, these are going to be a product some will absolutely love and others will find frustrating and difficult to use (and ultimately not worth the patience). These are designed to be used with some sort of base or mixing medium and shouldn’t be applied straight to bare skin. Over the past week, I’ve tried a rich assortment of bases and mixing mediums, and I’ll lay out my findings below, but suffice to say, expect a fair amount of fall out, some trial and error, and maybe a test of your patience. On the plus side, when I wore these out, I was stopped by no less than five people asking me what I was wearing (in the space of an hour).

First and foremost, these are not considered eye safe in the U.S. due to neon pigments (as “the FDA has not yet tested/approved the use of neon pigments in the immediate eye area,” per Sugarpill’s website), but they are considered eye safe in Europe and Canada. I’ve used them on lips and on eyes, but I reiterate that they are not considered eye safe in the U.S. and by using them that way, I am doing so at my own risk (and if you decide to do the same, it is at your own risk). All shades, except Hellatronic, are listed as lip safe.

I had the most luck using NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil as a base (the one I used for testing was Electric Blue, and I would have chosen Milk, but I actually don’t have it), as it absorbed and took the color mostly evenly and kept the majority of the sparkles that were pressed on… on for the remainder of the day. I was not able to get nearly as much sparkle to stick to the lid as appears in the jar, though, and the sparkles do not apply evenly and tend to stick randomly. In my test, I applied Sparkage on half of the lid with Hellatronic on the outer half, and all of Sparkage’s sparkles wound up in the center of the lid. Be very careful blending the product and only blend around the edges if applied on the skin. Here are my results with other bases:

  • MAC Mixing Medium: slightly uneven color application, only partial adhesion of sparkles
  • Lit Cosmetics Glitter Base: somewhat even color application but was slightly darkened/patchy in places, better adhesion of sparkles
  • Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy: good adhesion of sparkles, somewhat even application but very imperative to watch the amount of Pixie Epoxy applied and allow to half-dry before applying (it felt far more finicky to use than when I’ve used it with Fyrinnae’s loose eyeshadows)
  • Regular Eyeshadow Primers: some color applied and fairly evenly, but sparkles go everywhere but the lid (I tried Too Faced Shadow Insurance, NARS Smudge Proof, Urban Decay Original Primer Potion)

These can be applied to the brows by using a mixing medium like Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel or Lit’s Glitter Base and a thin, liner or brow brush. For lips, apply a thin coat of clear gloss and then pat on the pigment across the lips, then blend with fingers, brush, or just press and move your lips together. I like applying a little more gloss after that to get more even color. They can be applied to the body and used to accent body painting. I would recommend a creamy, opaque, slightly tacky base to apply the color on the skin and some of the sparkle, and to intensify the sparkle, use a glitter adhesive and a soft, rounded brush to lightly pat on additional product just where you need it. Small, dome-shaped brushes work the best for me for patting on color precisely and to minimize fall out. I also liked to pat and push my brush against the inside of the lid to keep the product “sticking” to the brush, rather than loosely pressed against it. The opaque base helped the most with yielding even color coverage, as invisible/clear bases seemed to highlight that they don’t always go on perfectly even. I spoke with both xSparkage (Leesha) and Queen of Blending (Lauren), and they both recommend a similar application to maximize color intensity and minimize fall out.

I’m sure some of you are thinking to yourself, “Wow, these sound like a lot of work, why would I bother?” To that, I can easily say that these are the easiest neons I’ve worked with. They are certainly a drastic improvement from MAC’s neon pigments, and these can take dampness better than most matte loose pigments. They’re more pigmented than Sleek’s neon eyeshadows and are slightly easier to blend. Sugarpill’s improved on some of the issues with neon pigments, but there is still plenty of room for improvement (in sparkle dispersion/evenness). Of the shades, Hellatronic was the most interesting and complex, as the base color actually seemed to shift (not just the sparkle), and the sparkle seemed finer and more embedded with the underlying color, whereas the others seemed more like a matte neon pigment with sparkle on top.

I looked across the different types of application (brows, body/skin, lips) to assess a rating, and ultimately, it’s hard to have such a varied application and resulting grade. I suspect most will use these around the eye area as eyeliner, eyeshadow, or brow color, so I did weight how they applied on skin (be it my forearm or somewhere else) slightly more than say lips (which was an area that these were easier to use in). I could not fully contain the fall out (even using adhesive bases designed for glitter). They don’t apply perfectly evenly. They do not want to be blended (together or on their own or with anything else).  When they work, they can look gorgeous and totally traffic-stopping, but to get them there is certainly a journey.

Hellatronic is described as a “fluorescent indigo with red/purple/blue color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a cool-toned, violet-tinged blue with bluish-violet sparkle. Sephora My Boyfriend’s Jeans is bluer, darker, less sparkly. Sugarpill Velocity is bluer, matte. Urban Decay Chaos is slightly darker, less sparkly. MAC Dynamic Duo 2 #2 is darker, matte. MAC Cobalt is matte. Illamasqua Sadist is bluer, matte. See comparison swatches.

Hi-Viz is described as a “blazing neon yellow with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a brightened, warm-toned yellow with goldish-green sparkle. Fyrinnae Banna Mochi is more frosted, less sparkly. MAC Bright Yellow is more matte. MAC Colour Added is more shimmery, less sparkly. Illamasqua Hype is matte. Inglot #370 is matte. See comparison swatches.

Love Buzz is described as a “brilliant neon hot pink with yellow/orange/red color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a brightened, neon fuchsia-pink with pinky-red sparkle. Fyrinnae Superstar is more frosted, les ssparkly, lighter. Sugarpill Dollipop is matte, darker. MAC Magenta Madness is similar but has no sparkle. Make Up For Ever #75 is darker, matte. See comparison swatches.

Sparkage is described as “radioactive lime green with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a light-medium, cool-toned green with yellow-ish edges–it looks cool-toned overall, but there’s still a yellowness that comes through. It has green-ish-gold sparkle on top. Sephora Picnic in the Park is darker, less sparkly. Sugarpill Midori is much darker and cooler-toned. Illamasqua Fledgling is slightly darker, matte. See comparison swatches.

Supercharged is described as “flaming neon orange with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a light-medium tangerine orange with golden sparkle. Fyrinnae Pyromantic Erotica is darker, more shimmery, less sparkly. Wet ‘n’ Wild Newport Nights #5 is les ssparkly. Maybelline Fierce & Tangy is darker, brighter, cream product (might work well as a base for this shade). MAC Chessa is less sparkly, more shimmery. Illamasqua Vulgar is a bit darker, matte. See comparison swatches.

6
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
7
Longevity
2.5
Application
71%
Total
Hellatronic
Hellatronic
6.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
7
Longevity
3
Application
77%
Total
Hi-Viz
Hi-Viz
6
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
7
Longevity
2.5
Application
71%
Total
Love Buzz
Love Buzz
6
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
7
Longevity
2.5
Application
71%
Total
Sparkage
Sparkage
6
Product
7
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
7
Longevity
2.5
Application
69%
Total
Supercharged
Supercharged
6
Product
6.5
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
7
Longevity
2.5
Application
68%
Total

Guerlain Madame Flirte (861) & Madame Reve (862) Rouge G Lipsticks

Guerlain Madame Flirte (861) Rouge G Lipstick
Guerlain Madame Flirte (861) Rouge G Lipstick

Guerlain Madame Flirte (861) Rouge G Lipstick ($49.50 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “fruity red.” It’s a medium-dark, coral-red with a soft, pearly finish and warm undertones. It had mostly opaque color coverage, and it wore well for five and a half hours and was hydrating while worn. It lightly stains as it wears away. The consistency was lightly creamy and easy to apply. Chanel Dialogue is redder, darker. Revlon Wild Watermelon is very similar. Maybelline Shocking Coral is pinker, brighter. MAC Fusion Pink is iridescent. Guerlain Rouge Sensuel is redder. Guerlain Chamade is lighter, sheerer. See comparison swatches.

Madame Reve (862) Rouge G Lipstick ($49.50 for 0.12 oz.) is a soft, medium pink with subtle cool undertones and pearly finish. It had a soft sheen that gave it a luminous look. The color coverage was mostly opaque, and this shade lasted four and a half hours on me and was moisturizing while worn. .  I sent an inquiry over to see if we can get clarification on this.  MAC Pleasurefruit is brighter. Urban Decay Turn On is lighter, cool-toned. MAC Speak Louder is darker. MAC Plumful is less pink. See comparison swatches.

Updated @ 10:49AM PST: The third fall color is indeed Madame Reve (862) and not Madame Fascine (863) (which does not exist).