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AM: Before tennis, Shiseido SPF 55 Lotion for Face. After, Kiehl’s Facial Cleanser (was using Eve Lom’s AM, but it wasn’t cutting through the sunscreen very well–it was the like the two were working against each other into sludge), then bareMinerals SPF 20 Lotion. PM: Heavier makeup – shu uemural cleansing oil, lighter makeup – Eve Lom Cleansing Balm; Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, Boscia Hydration Gel. Everything is business as usual, which is good!

— Christine

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Tom Ford Wet Violet Ultra Shine Lipgloss

Tom Ford Wet Violet Ultra Shine Lipgloss
Tom Ford Wet Violet Ultra Shine Lipgloss

Tom Ford Wet Violet Ultra Shine Lipgloss

Tom Ford Wet Violet Ultra shine Lipgloss ($45.00 for 0.24 fl. oz.) is a rich wine-berry with violet and pink shimmer. I couldn’t think of a perfect dupe for this exact hue, though I found some shades that are similar enough that they’re worth mentioning. MAC Color Saturation (because it recently debuted) is much, much lighter and appears more as a raspberry-pink. MAC Indigo Pink is pinker, redder, not as cool-toned or as berry. NARS Bougainville gives me a similar vibe, but the colors themselves are noticeably different–NARS’ shade is raspberry pink, not berry or purpled like Wet Violet. The closest shade I could think of was NARS Nana, which is redder and less purpled, but it has a similar vampy quality as well as similar application issues.

Tom Ford describes his gloss formula as being “high-shine” and “color-saturated.” He doesn’t mention any moisturizing benefits, just that the texture is “smooth and creamy.” It’s also noted that the gloss has a “high adherence,” which I assume is code for clings to lips better than your average gloss and, presumably, allows it to wear better/longer. The gloss is vanilla-scented but has no distinctive taste. It’s a sweet vanilla, less potent and not as sweet as MAC’s signature vanilla. Pleasing without being a confection of overblown sweetness.  It comes in a square tube with a brush-type applicator that doesn’t have any problems with random bristles being splayed out.

Wet Violet appears to be one of the deepest shades within the range of ten (I haven’t seen the range in person, so I can only make assumptions from the disappointing computer-generated swatches online), which means it is going to really push and test the limits of the overall quality and feel and look of the formula. Darker lipglosses are very difficult to master; they are naturally problematic, because you’re taking a very obvious, deep color and unless the gloss is opaque, there tends to be issues with color settling into lip lines (and being noticeable), evenness (which stands out, rather than disappears like it can with a lighter shade), and bleeding/feathering.

While the texture is undeniably lovely–soft, smooth, lightly tacky without being full-on sticky and thick (think MAC Lipglass), with a thicker feel that doesn’t end up feeling like goop–the color settles into lip lines and the color itself is tricky to apply evenly. The color coverage is semi-opaque; it adds plenty of color, but there’s enough translucency there that it enables a lot of your natural lip color to come through. This kind of gloss actually looks best on those with more pigmented lips!

Despite some of these drawbacks, Wet Violet wore for around five hours with most of the color intact, though the high-shine glossy finish had dwindled after three and a half hours. Tom Ford wasn’t able to overcome some tricky issues when working with really dark colors as glosses, and at this price tag, I had my fingers crossed. If you’re the type who only wears glosses over lipsticks, then it may still be worth checking out, as it will look much better over an opaque lipstick.

Overall, I can’t see myself shelling out the full $45 on this, but it makes me think of my favorite gloss of all-time (Cle de Peau #2), which is a whopping $55, but I adore it so much that it is still worth it to this day.  So perhaps not this shade but another shade, and if not for my wallet, for someone else’s wallet when the right color comes calling.  The formula seems good, as far as texture, feel, slip, and wear go, but it’s the color here that seems to take it down a peg with the color settling into lip lines.  I have a lighter shade I’ve yet to finish testing, so hopefully that one wears a bit better.

Wet Violet
Wet Violet
8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9
Longevity
3
Application
86%
Total

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Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette
Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette ($8.99 for 0.32 oz.) contains six shades arranged as thin strips inside a clear, plastic compact. It comes with a dual-ended sponge-tipped applicator (not particularly useful). The product can be used dry for a sheerer, shimmery color, or it can be used damp for greater intensity.

The last time I tested one of these palettes, I wasn’t particularly impressed (see this review), but I was pleasantly surprised with Milani’s latest addition to their Runway Eyes line-up. Primary packs a lot more color payoff both wet and dry! It’s an excellent buy if you’re looking for really bright pops of color and don’t want to spend a lot.

The first shade is a primary canary yellow with warm undertones and a shimmery finish. It has good color payoff both dry and wet–when it’s wet, it’s just slightly brighter, but it’s opaque color either way. MAC Bright Sunshine is similar, slightly lighter. Wet ‘n’ Wild Bright Idea is a bit darker, almost more orange-y (but not orange at all). Inglot #370 is matte and not as sunshine-yellow.

The second shade is a shimmery red with subtle orange undertones. When it’s applied dry, it has more of a brick red hue, whereas when it is applied damp, it appears redder and the orange tones become muted. Milani I Heart You is similar to the dry swatch. Wet ‘n’ Wild Enter a New Realm isn’t as shimmery.

The third shade is a medium orange with a tangerine orange shimmer and sheen. The color payoff when it is applied dry is a bit faded/muted, and when it is applied damp, it’s better, though it is one of the softer shades in the palette. MAC Fresh Daily is similar but a touch darker. MAC Rule has a matte finish and is a bit darker.

The fourth shade is a blue-based purple with a soft, shimmery finish. When applied dry, there’s a noticeable sheerness to the color, which does improve when applied damp. Urban Decay Ransom is similar, slightly cooler. MAC Pink Union is richer, more intense. MAC Parfait Amour is bluer.

The fifth shade is an aqua-teal with a shimmery sheen. This was one of the sheerer shades both wet and dry, though it does intensify to get to good color payoff when used wet. MAC Shimmermoss is a bit greener, more opaque. Make Up For Ever #302 is very similar but more metallic in finish. MAC Rain Drop is darker.

The sixth (and final!) shade is a medium-dark blue with a hint of violet. It looks more navy blue when applied dry, because the sheen disappears and there’s some sheerness in the hue. When applied damp, the color intensifies tremendously and has a lovely sheen that’s glowy without being metallic. MAC Love Cycle is darker, bluer, no violet in sight. Tarina Tarantino Violet Storm is lighter. MAC Blue Storm is darker. NARS Outremer is matte.

I don’t love the overall setup of the palette, because each strip of color is too thin. I usually use MAC’s 239 eyeshadow brush to apply eyeshadows, but it was a little too big–I ended up using the MAC 213, which worked better.  Each strip is fairly soft–if you pressed your finger against it, you could flatten it out with medium pressure, so the palette is a little fragile.  The texture of the eyeshadows is soft and smooth, and the color payoff is fairly good to great when applied damp.

When I tested this palette, it wore well both with and without a primer, though it did perform better with a primer–no creasing though very subtle fading around the edges with a primer after eight hours, but there was minor creasing after seven hours without a primer.  What I did really like was how much intensity remained when using these wet!  Typically, when you use a product wet, it often loses some of its vibrancy as it dries back down, but these really retained their color. Milani didn’t mention that these were long-wearing, crease-resistant, etc. on their own, so longevity is based on wear with a primer.

Milani Primary Runway Eyes Palette

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Guest Post: My Most Embarrassing Moments in Fashion and Beauty

By Dustin Hunter, Makeup Artist

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Dustin Hunter has been designing various media since his early teen years. Studying several different art forms, Hunter’s creative background ranges from illustration and photography to fashion and interior design to music production and makeup artistry. He has worked for over a decade as a professional illustrator and his retail interior design concepts have been featured in nation-wide publications, receiving recognition for their uniqueness and creativity.  Check out his blog and YouTube channel!


My Most Embarrassing Moments in Fashion and Beauty

With every decade comes a birth of something… unnatural. An exaggeration of something that was once cool, twisted and warped into something truly horrific: massive shoulder pads and razor-sharp blush, “Hammer” pants (which is even embarrassing to type), and the HUGE wall o’ bangs fringe, platform Mary Janes and–one of my favorite love-to-hate moments–the Bobbi Brown look of the 90s.

I actually experienced TWO trendy-at-the-time flashbacks recently. One of them, I am sad to report, was entirely my own doing. I had requested a specific haircut from my stylist (shaved on the sides and long on the top) that would allow me to style a nice pompadour, which looked great, except on the days when I didn’t style it, and I looked like Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys circa 1998.

Later on, during that week of bad decisions, I also began sifting through the boxes in my attic (re-organizing and making room for new piles of crap that I have decided I cannot part with but no longer want in my immediate vicinity) where I stumbled upon a relic from the Flintstones era: actual photographs! On paper!  That’s when I noticed the hair. “Wow… that looks a lot like my hair right now,” I thought to myself as I looked over a photo of me from the late 90s.

Flash forward a couple more Kodak envelopes and a few more years, and there it was:  a wonderful gem of me with spiked hair (bleached tips of course) wearing one of those silver beaded necklaces that we all thought were somehow… good?

Aye, I had my share of skater shoes and tight shirts (some with Lycra even), baggy pants and wallet chains, silver rings, and those bizarre necklaces. I would even routinely shave off all seven of my chest hairs in an attempt to look more like a model from an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog! Why?! Because I thought it was cool, that’s why!  And no one ever thought to tell me otherwise.

It made me wonder… what fashion and beauty trend will be next? What offensive thing am I wearing RIGHT now that will haunt me years later? Wait… hang on–my low-rise pants are riding a little too low and people are looking at me funny while I’m typing.

What are your worst or funniest memories in fashion and beauty? Any trends that you actually miss and would love to see make a come-back? What do you think will be next on the chopping block of style?

Essie Navigate Her Nail Lacquer

Essie Navigate Her Nail Lacquer
Essie Navigate Her Nail Lacquer

Essie Navigate Her Nail Lacquer

Essie Navigate Her Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “new growth green.” It’s a soft pastel green with subtle warm yellow undertones. The closest dupe I could think of was Zoya Tracie, which has subtle metallic shimmer running through it. It’s also a little yellower. Barielle Myrza’s Meadow is also a bit similar, though a touch lighter, and it has multi-colored flecks of sparkle.  I love the yellow component to this, because it keeps it from being a cool, minty green that screams winter to me; the warmth gives it the freshness of springtime to me.

Navigate Her was opaque in two coats. The initial coat was a little streaky, but it was opaque and even with the second coat. It had a well-balanced consistency that was neither too thick or too thin, so it applied fluidly and evenly without pooling or bubbling. I tested Navigate Her for wear, and it managed a full seven days without chipping and had minimal tip wear at the end of the week.

Navigate Her
Navigate Her
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9.5
Longevity
5
Application
97%
Total