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Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #20, 21, 22, 23

Giorgio Armani #20 Obsidian Black Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #20 Obsidian Black Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #20 Obsidian Black Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow ($32.00 for 0.14 oz.) has just launched four new and limited edition shades for summer.  I bought these shortly after they became available, and I’ve been testing them out over the past week.  I’m a big fan of this formula, so I’m always eager to see how new shades perform and compare to existing shades.  I will admit that I haven’t been overly wowed by some of the newer shades, though they’re not by any means awful! Just… less impressive, but on the whole, still good.

#20 Obsidian Black is a blackened navy blue with teal-green and navy blue shimmer. It’s not nearly as black or as intense as Giorgio Armani #13. Giorgio Armani #1 is also lighter, grayer, and generally doesn’t look much like this. I do think you could mix the two and come fairly close, though. #20 works best wet; when it’s used dry, the color payoff wasn’t there (and it usually is with this formula). More of the shimmer comes through, as the base color looks mostly like a faded black, when it is applied dry–and it does apply with a little more oomph to the lid with a brush. Some of the complexity gets lost when it’s applied to the lid–it’s very subtle and more noticeable in-person than it is in a still photo (which isn’t completely unexpected given the nature of shimmer and how it plays with the light). Oddly enough, it actually reminded me of Revlon Neptune Star in color and shimmer. It also reminded me of Urban Decay Loaded, which is a little bluer. (9, 8.5, 9.5, 10, 4.5, 4; A-)

#21 Obsidian Grey is a medium-dark gray with a silver shimmer and sheen. It has decent color payoff dry but still works best applied damp.  This shade read more dupeable to me; it doesn’t have as much dimension to it compared to some of the other shades in the range.  That’s not something that affects the overall rating, but it’s a point worth considering if you can’t (or don’t want to) grab all four.  MAC Warm Thunder is similar, perhaps a little less gray. Tarina Tarantino Lovely is slightly darker. Tarina Tarantino Diamond Dusk has a purple tint to it.  This shade applied the smoothest out of the four on the lid. (9.5, 9.5, 10, 10, 5, 4; A)

#22 Ecailles is a pale bluish silver with a metallic finish. It applied about the same both dry and wet, which is decent but not great. I did find it applied better to the lid when I used a brush to do so–more like good pigmentation there. Bare Escentuals Mingle is bluer and a bit darker. MAC Water & Ice is cooler-toned. Lancome Style Section is similar. Wet ‘n’ Wild Enter a New Realm is a bit darker. It is a bit similar to Giorgio Armani #12, which is brighter, lighter. (9, 8, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; B+)

#23 Madre Perla is a pale, iridescent warm white with a frosted metallic finish. It has flashes of blue, green, pink, and purple. It applies better wet than dry with more color payoff and a smoother texture. This one was a little chunky in texture; it wasn’t as smooth as the other shades. It felt like this was more designed to layer over other shades. Illamasqua Beguile is very similar. MAC If It Sparkles… is almost the same as well.  This is the most wearable shade on its own (Ecailles would the the runner-up).  (9, 9, 9, 10, 4.5, 4; A-)

I’ve only tested one shade within the range for a full twenty-four hours, but I have tested several others for twelve to sixteen hours. I did a look using all four of the limited edition shades and wore it for sixteen hours. These wear and wear and wear. No creasing, fading, or fallout during wear, not even after sixteen hours. Because these have an interesting texture and consistency–they are much like a loose powder product that has been compacted by the accompanying plastic insert–it can be easy to use more than you really need and end up with some minor fall out.  The fall out I’m concerned and dock points for is major fall out or fall out that occurs while you wear it (aka during the day); and there isn’t any of that with these.

I think Eyes to Kill Intense is an excellent formula, but it’s not necessary to own every single one of them either. There are some unique and transformative shades, but there are a few that are more basic or end up looking similar to another shade.  These four create a beautiful gradient effect when used together, though Madre Perla is the most versatile of the bunch.  I think it can work as a wash, inner corner highlighter, or as a layering shade that will change-up whatever is underneath it.  The one that is most visually stunning at first is Obsidian Black, but like a lot of ultra dark shades, some of that loveliness gets swallowed up once applied.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #20, 21, 22, 23

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This Week’s Sales for April 30th, 2012

Get $10 off $50 at Beauty.com!

Feel free to share any upcoming deals you’ve spotted!

Deal Sites/Rebates

  • EBATES:  The Body Shop (10%), Elizabeth Arden (10%), Sephora (8%), DermStore (7.5%)
  • FAB: Juniper Ridge (5/1)
  • GILT:  —
  • HAUTELOOK:  Napoleon Perdis (4/3), BeFine (5/1), Alterna (5/2)
  • IDEELI:  —
  • MRREBATES:  Proactiv (25%), Sheer Cover (25%), WEN (25%), Murad (12%), SkinStore (12%), Beauty.com (12%), Philosophy (12%), ULTA (12%), Clarins (10%)
  • MYHABIT: —
  • Rue La La:  —

Free Shipping, Coupon Codes, GWPs

  • APOTHICA: Free shipping on orders of $49+.
  • BATH & BODY WORKS:   20% off exclusive candles, wallflowers, body care, gifts, etc. with code FAVORITESCENTS, expires 4/29.
  • BEAUTY.COM:  Get $10 off $50 through THIS LINK
  • BENEFIT: Free shipping on $50+ purchases. Free international shipping with $125+ purchases.  Free shipping + gift wrap with $50+ order with code WELOVEMOM, 5/1 through 5/8.  Free chacha tint and mini moisture with $45+ orders with code CHACHACHA, 5/1 through 5/31.
  • BLISS:  Free silver and chocolate bag filled with Sisley mini goodies with $300+ Sisley purchase with code CUTEBAG, expires 4/30. Free kit with any $75+ purchase with 10ml Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, 50ml Triple Oxygen Energizing Cleansing Foam, 15ml Triple Oxygen+C Energizing Cream with code TO2MINIS, expires 4/30. Buy 2, get 3rd free with code APRIL123, expires 4/30.
  • BLOOM:  25% rewards back on your first purchase with code 25BACK. 30% rewards back on your first purchase with code 30BACK.
  • BLOOMINGDALE’S: Free shipping on orders of $150+ with code FS150.
  • BOBBI BROWN: Free shipping on $65+ orders. Free Plumberry Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 with $65+ order with code PLUM11, expires 5/25, one time use.  Free Nougat Lipgloss with $65+ order with code GLOSS12, expires 6/30, one time use.
  • CLINIQUE:  Free shipping on $50+ orders.  Free shipping in any purchase, expires 5/2.
  • DERMSTORE:  10% off when you shop for your My Favorites List, expires 6/2/12.
  • ELIZABETH ARDEN: —
  • GIORGIO ARMANI BEAUTY:   Free shipping with $75+ orders + 2 samples of choice for registered members. Free shipping with any $75+ purchase with code DESIGNER10, no expiration. Free overnight shipping with any gift set purchase with code GIFTSET2, expires 4/30.
  • JURLIQUE: Free Rosewater Balancing Mist with $75+ orders 4/26 through 4/30. Free shipping on $50+ orders.
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  • LANCOME: Free 4-piece sample set plus free shipping with $45+ order with code LANAPRIL, expires 4/30. Receive 5 deluxe sampels + free shipping on $45+ orders ($97 value) with code MAYDELUX, expires 5/4.
  • MOLTON BROWN:  Free gift with purchase when you spend £45+.
  • NORDSTROM:  Free shipping & free returns everyday.
  • OJON: Free shipping and free returns.
  • ORIGINS:  Free shipping on $50+ orders, no code necessary. Free Origins eco-friendly tote + travel-size duo of Make a Difference Hand Treatment & Peace of Mind with $30+ orders, expires 6/30.  Free shipping on any order, expires 6/30.
  • PHILOSOPHY:   Free shipping on $50+ orders, no code necessary.
  • SAKS FIFTH AVENUE:  Spend $150 and get a free subscription to Harper’s Bazaar with code BAZAAR. Spend $250 to $499, get $25; Spend $500 to $999, get $50, etc. Free shipping on $150+ orders with code APRSFA. 20% off (15% off jewelry), beauty/fragrance EXCLUDED, 4/23 through 4/29 with code FRIENDS.
  • SEPHORA:   Free sample of Guerlain Lip Shine in Extrait de Rose with $25+ purchase with code LIPSHINE, 5/1 through 5/22. Choose 1-4 fragrance sample bags with $25+ purchase with code 6SCENTS, 4/27 through 5/31.  Free Lancome Hypnose Instant Drama mascara deluxe sample with $25+ purchase with code DRAMA, 4/24 through 5/24.  Choose 1-2 deluxe fragrance samples with $25+ purchase with code SCENT4U, 4/24 through 5/24.  Choose 1 of 2 free Origins deluxe moisturizer samples with $25+ purchase with code EARTH12, 4/21 through 5/21.  Free Narcisco Rodriguez for Her Eau de Toilette deluxe sample spray with $25+ purchase with code 4HER, 4/18 through 5/21.  3 free Stila Eyeshadow Palette cards with $25+ purchase with code TRYSTILA, 4/17 through 5/20.  Free PTR Retinol Fusion PM deluxe sample with $25+ purchase with code PTRSERUM, expires 5/24.  Free Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Tote with purchase of 3.4 oz. EDP with code WONDER, expires 5/24.
  • SKINSTORE.COM:  20% off select gift ideas under $200 with code NEW2012, expiration unknown.
  • TARTE: Free shipping on $40+ orders.
  • THE BODY SHOP (USA): All body butters are 3 for $30, expires 5/13.
  • ULTA: $3.50 off $10+ purchase with code 72783, exclusions apply.
  • YSL:  Free shipping on any order, no code necessary.

NORDSTROM - Philosophy gift with purchase

When possible, I much, much prefer a two-in-one product.  However, for extra coverage for when I’m going to be outdoors for extended periods of time, I’d actually rather have a separate sunscreen.  For instance, I wear SPF 55 for the hour that I play tennis in the AM, but for the rest of the day, I use a moisturizer with SPF 20 in it.

— Christine

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MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Pink Nouveau Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

MAC is not known for an excellent nail polish formula. Sometimes they do it right, but they often create some major misses that tend to suffer from too thin/too thick consistencies, streaking, and poor pigmentation. As is generally the case, the set of sixteen matching nail lacquers was a mixed bag but with more winners than real losers. Pigmentation wasn’t a problem with most of the shades, but I found several of them to be on the streakier side with some more readily covered with a thicker second coat. There were also a handful of shades that were lovely to apply!

The other downside was that a few of the nail lacquers did not match well with the lipstick/lipgloss (Angel, Impassioned, Razzledazzler, Rebel, Snob, and Spice were among the least matching, particularly in tone, not just slightly lighter/darker).

I think MAC has accelerated the price point of their nail lacquers far too quickly–$16 is more than a lipstick or a gloss! It’s $2 less than NARS, the same or $2 less than Deborah Lippmann (depending on the type of polish, as some of hers are $16 and others are $18), $2 MORE than Illamasqua (one of the best polish formulas I’ve ever tried), and $2 more than Butter London. And frankly? At that price tag, MAC is giving you less than the brands I just mentioned–0.34 fl. oz. vs. 0.50 fl. oz. 0.50 fl. oz. is the standard lacquer size (China Glaze, Essie, OPI, etc. all have this size as well). This formula needs to be on point to command a $16 price tag when there are nail polish niche brands where all they do is nail polish have excellent formulas.  The nail lacquers have increased in price faster than other comparable price points at MAC (e.g. lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows go up $0.50 every year).

I very specifically removed price from the overall rating so that a $30 formula can be compared to a $3 formula with no boost/decrease because of the price–you are the only one who can decide what is too expensive, just right, or not worth it. As a buyer, I’m most interested in quality, and then I’ll figure out if the quality-to-price-ratio is worth it to me or maybe the color is so original that I’m willing to pay a higher price — or maybe it’s so cheap that I’ll accept that it streaks or is powdery. I try to shed light on situations where the price seems out of line with the brand’s position in the market, against competitors, or if the price/quantity ratio is unusually low or high.

MAC’s lacquers are packaged in a cylindrical bottle (though it has some tapering) and a rubberized cap, and this type of cap normally brings packaging scores up to 5/5, but because it’s awkward to hold (it’s stubby and oddly shaped when gripped), it ends up being a wash. Though it has been an issue in the past, I didn’t have any problems with the brush–they all seemed fine and didn’t have any splaying issues.

The best shades were: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Morange, Pink Nouveau, and Russian Red (A). A good but not great shade was Impassioned (A-). The most under-performing shades were: Saint Germain (C+) and Snob (B-). The rest were middle-of-the-road shades with mostly Bs and a few B+s.

Availability: Based on the information I have received from MAC, the distribution of these shades is regional. I cannot confirm the extent of non-regional shades being available online for your region (e.g. whether all of these will be available on the UK website). I can confirm only that for North America, all shades are available for purchase online. Only the North America-specific shades will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2012. Select Macy’s will also carry Latin America & Middle East region-specific shades.

North America: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Snob, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town and Snob to the permanent range in July
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Saint Germain, and Snob to the permanent range in July
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Impassioned, Morange, and Saint Germain, to the permanent range in July
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; all are limited edition at this time, but MAC will be adding Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, and Snob to the permanent range in July

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

MAC Fashion Sets: Nail Lacquer Review Round-up

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Please note that the photos included in this post are for summary purposes only–there are four additional photos for each lipstick shade that have been excluded in this post but are available in the set’s original post: one product photos, one swatch (diffused flash), and two swatches (studio lighting).

Most Overrated & Underrated Mascara

Over & Under: Most Overrated & Underrated Mascara

There are always products that receive endless raves, but they don’t always live up to our expectations or work out as well as they do for others.  Share your picks for most overrated and underrated MASCARAS.  Don’t forget to share your whats and whys as to your choices!

  • Most Overrated: [answer]
  • Most Underrated: [answer]

My Picks

  • Most Overrated: DiorShow — I could never quite get it to look as amazing as others made it seem; it just blackened lashes but didn’t add enough thickening/lengthening for me.
  • Most Underrated:  Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash — it’s something I reach for all the time for whenever I want really long lashes.  It doesn’t thicken at all, but it lengthens so well and never clumps.  It’s a great mascara to layer with, too.

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Girl About Town Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

Of the sixteen Lipglasses in this launch, it ended up being a mixed bag. A lot of the common problems seen from the thicker formula of Lipglass came up, and these tend to be seen more often in lighter, milkier shades. These lighter shades tend to apply unevenly and settle into lip lines. Darker shades tended to be more opaque and less problematic, though the less opaque they were, the more unevenly they applied.

Lipglass is a heavier, thicker, and very sticky formula (it is often my benchmark for how sticky a gloss is–many readers have experience with the formula, so it often works as a global reference point), which doesn’t mean that it’s bad, but I know that it specifically does not appeal to some for those very reasons. I think the thickness could probably be improved upon as more and more glosses have come out and have a lighter feel that’s more comfortable and wears just as long and as well–it’s more a sign of improved and more refined formulas in the past decade. MAC has shown it themselves with their gloss extensions and limited edition formulas.

This opinion does not change or have any impact on the overall rating, which is about the product and its quality and relevant metrics in relation to quality. I don’t think the lipglosses are necessary if you own or love the lipstick version and do not typically wear gloss alone or are only really seeking out the gloss to pair with the lipstick. The lipsticks are very opaque on their own, so they do not need a semi-opaque or opaque gloss on top to help it along. What the glosses really do is add glossiness, which can be achieved with clear gloss. If you want to mix your favorite lipstick-now-gloss shade with other lipsticks or wear it on its own, then some of the shades can certainly be worth purchasing.

The top-performing shades were: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Russian Red, and Spice (A- — no lipgloss received an A). Good but not great shades were: Angel, Please Me, Rebel (B+). The most under-performing shades were: Saint Germain (C); Chestnut and Myth (B-).

Availability: Based on the information I have received from MAC, the distribution of these shades is regional. I cannot confirm the extent of non-regional shades being available online for your region (e.g. whether all of these will be available on the UK website). I can confirm only that for North America, all shades are available for purchase online. Only the North America-specific shades will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2012. Select Macy’s will also carry Latin America & Middle East region-specific shades.

North America: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Snob, Spice; only Russian Red is permanent
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; all shades are limited edition
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; only Russian Red is permanent
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; only Russian Red is permanent

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipglass Review Round-up

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Please note that the photos included in this post are for summary purposes only–there are four additional photos for each lipstick shade that have been excluded in this post but are available in the set’s original post: two product photos, one lip swatch (diffused flash), and one lip swatch (studio lighting).