Monday, June 30, 2014

Coastal Scents Revealed 2 palette | Review, swatches, and comparisons!

Hi guys! I just got my Coastal Scents 2 palette a few days ago, and I wanted to share my review on it.

This is my first-ever Coastal Scents purchase, and I have to say, the texture of these eyeshadows is pretty good! Most of them are pretty smooth and pigmented--others are a bit powdery, but none of the colors in this palette are chalky at all. In general, the darker colors are a bit more powdery, but to be honest, I prefer them that way, because that means it would be easier to tap excess powder off my brush, so I don't apply too much. However, I am really impressed with the quality of the light and medium matte colors; they're super smooth and don't need very much building up.

I don't have the original Revealed palette, but that has been pretty much accepted as an Urban Decay Naked and Naked 2 palette dupe. I have heard a lot of people speculate that the Revealed 2 palette would be a dupe of the Naked 3 palette, so I decided to see how many colors in the Revealed 2 palette would be comparable:

The Revealed 2 palette and Naked 3 palette side-by-side

Top: Urban Decay Strange, Dust, Burnout, Limit, Buzz, Trick, Nooner, Liar, Factory, Mugshot, Darkside, Blackheart
Bottom: Comparable colors in the Revealed 2 palette

I was so surprised that every color in the Naked 3 palette has a really close match in the Revealed 2 palette. The textures of the eyeshadows are very comparable too! As a whole, I think the Revealed 2 palette is definitely a good, more affordable option that has even more colors (that gorgeous burgundy!), so you might even find the Revealed 2 palette more versatile! I hope you found this review helpful, and have a great day!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lorac Pro Palette 2 | Review, swatches, and comparisons

 Hi guys! I'm so excited to give you this review on the new Lorac Pro Palette 2! This launched online at ULTA a couple of weeks ago, and tomorrow it will be in stores! I'm not going to lie, this is an awesome palette, and in this post I'm going to show you swatches and comparisons to other palettes.

The pigmentation of these colors is what a lot of us have come to expect from Lorac--it's super soft and pigmented, and the colors all come off with a lot of impact.

If you already have the original Lorac Pro Palette, I don't think you necessarily need to use these palettes in conjunction with one another, because I feel like they both have the elements of what I consider to be a "complete palette"--a good range of light, medium, and dark colors, as well as an even mix between matte and shimmer finishes. The way I would differentiate them (according my own makeup habits) is, the Lorac Pro Palette (1) has your super basic colors (a ton of browns, matte highlight colors, and a few variations of gold) and the Lorac Pro Palette 2 is more adventurous. There are some colors that I feel like are pretty unique, like Nectar (matte peach-pink), Mocha (medium warm shimmery brown) and Rose (light rose gold). I also feel like I rarely see Jade (dark shimmery olive) in a palette.

When I was swatching these colors, I felt like the inclusion of the jewel tone colors were very reminiscent of the Urban Decay Smoked Palette. Here are some swatches side-by-side:

Top row: Lorac Buff, Chrome, Black, Cocoa, Plum, Navy, Jade, Charcoal
Bottom row: Urban Decay Kinky, Mushroom, Blackout, Barlust, Rockstar, Evidence, Loaded, Asphalt

I know none of these are exact dupes, but I just wanted to show them to you side by side so you can judge how similar or different you think they are!

So overall, I absolutely love the Lorac Pro Palette 2! I think it's really a matter of whether you like these individual colors, because they're not just your basic browns. I hope you found this review helpful, and have a great day!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Makeup Geek blushes! | Review and swatches

I’m so excited to bring you this review on new Makeup Geek blushes! They just launched on June 15th, and they come in compacts or as pans that you can fit into an empty palette. I got them in compacts, and I got three colors, which are Romance, Spellbound, and Head Over Heels. There are 13 colors, and they all have really cute love-themed names. I didn’t really choose different types of finishes and colors on purpose, I just got the ones that I was drawn to the most. Makeup Geek actually posted a video showing all the colors, and I will say, the swatches in that video look pretty washed out, so I would just go onto her website, and they have swatches of every product, and those swatches are a lot more accurate.

Pretty packaging!
Left to right: Romance, Spellbound, Head Over Heels
So if you’ve tried the Makeup Geek eyeshadows, you know that those are really smooth and pigmented, they’re also talc-free. In general, I think they’re good, but depending on the brush that I use, I feel like they can get a little bit powdery. Also, I feel like not every color comes off very true to pan, like Cocoa Bear, it’s a really warm brown in the pan, but after I blend it out it can look a bit orange to me. Nevertheless, the pigmentation is great and they blend fairly well. So I kind of kept these things in mind when I started trying the blushes. And I will say, depending on the brush, these can kick up a little bit of powder as well, but it’s not much at all. I am just amazed at how well these apply--they’re so pigmented, but they’re not hard to blend in the slightest, and I never feel like I have to be too careful about applying too much. They also never look powdery, and, in general, they have awesome staying power. So now I’m going to go through the individual colors, because there are definitely some slight variances between their formulas.

Left to right: Romance, Spellbound, Head Over Heels

Romance (peach pink with golden shimmer)
  • This is a really gorgeous color--it’s quite similar to MAC eyeshadow in Expensive Pink (Makeup Geek eyeshadow in Cosmopolitan is a dupe), or NARS Orgasm; however, it applies so much smoother than NARS Orgasm, and the shimmer is a lot more finely milled. I don’t think the staying power is quite as fantastic as the other two--maybe because the shimmer is kind of a filler--but I would still wear this blush because the color is so beautiful; I would just layer a cream blush under it to improve its staying power.

Spellbound (neutral muted pink)

  • This looks super natural and pretty, and the staying power is great! I wore this for over ten hours, and before I took off my makeup, this blush still looked great--it wasn’t patchy or faded at all.

Head Over Heels (light Barbie pink with fine silver shimmer)

  • This is probably the lightest out of all the colors I got, and in the pan it looks like it has some fine silver shimmer, but on the cheeks it just comes off with a slight satin finish. This is a perfect classic pink that gives you a really healthy glow and just looks so pretty and feminine. I’m really impressed by the staying power of this one too; it doesn’t break down when my skin gets oily by midday, and it stays looking pretty fresh.

Overall, these blushes are really awesome, and the formula and texture is really reminiscent of Sleek and MAC blushes. I would definitely recommend these if you're looking for a great quality blush that's not too expensive. Judging from the swatches on the Makeup Geek website, it looks like they have a great variety of colors, too! I hope you found this review helpful and have a great day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What's in my travel makeup bag | Vegas & EDC!

Hi everyone! This weekend I will be going to EDC in Vegas, so I thought I'd share with you what I'm bringing in my makeup bag :)

EDC makeup

It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation

EDC is taking place at night, so I don’t need to worry about sun protection, I just want to wear something that’s going to feel super light on my skin. My favorite powder foundation is the It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation, I’ve talked about this at length in two videos already, so if you want more details about this product, watch those videos here and here.

Too Faced A La Mode palette
The two colors I’m mainly going for in this palette are the copper (Cannes) and hot pink (Monaco). Any reason to use hot pink eyeshadow, right?

bareMinerals Ready quad in The Dream Sequence
This quad has a shade that is almost an exact dupe of MAC Stars and Rockets (medium iridescent purple).

Maybelline The Rocket Mascara
I love this mascara for a super dramatic look; if you have thick lashes, this is great for length and curl!

Bite Luminous Cream Lipstick Duo in Vivid
This lipstick duo contains the shades Violet and Palomino, both in the permanent line. Violet is a gorgeous purple-y/radiant orchid color, and Palomino is an awesome hot pink.

Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Pink Love
This color a really pretty light Barbie pink! It's super unflattering on me, but it’s such a fun color.

"Normal" makeup

It Cosmetics CC Cream
Vegas is super dry, so I’m going to bring a really hydrating base product, my favorite one is the It Cosmetics CC Cream, which I talked about in my last video. It has really fantastic sun protection and coverage as well!

NYX Cream Blush in Rose Petal, MAC blush in Fleur Power
A few videos ago I talked about how I don’t use cream blushes very often, but recently I’ve been getting into layering cream and powder blushes; the staying power of that combination is fantastic. That combination has incredible staying power. These two blushes are peachy-pink colors that are my current go-tos.

MAC custom palette
I'm bringing a custom eyeshadow palette with some basic neutrals (it's a MAC palette, but I have a few Makeup Geek eyeshadows in there as well!). I'm bringing MAC Expensive Pink (peach/rose gold), Makeup Geek Cinderella (light shimmery pink, similar to MAC Jest), Makeup Geek Cupcake (matte dusty pink), and Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear (warm medium brown).

NYX MegaShine Lip Gloss in Beige
This is my go-to color at the moment; it's a classic medium pink that goes with everything!

Monday, June 9, 2014

It Cosmetics face products review!

Hi guys! Today I'm going to do a big review on It Cosmetics products!

Feel the Moment Primer Serum
This primer is packed with a lot of hydrating ingredients, but it doesn't make my skin greasy. It's kind of a different texture--very thick and goopy--but I love how smooth my foundation applies over it. I don't think this outperforms other primers, but I do love that this has a lot of added skincare ingredients.

Your Skin But Better CC Cream
This is supposed to be a 7-in-1 product, replacing your serum, moisturizer, sunscreen, and full-coverage foundation. If you've been disappointed with the coverage of BB creams and CC creams, I think you'll really like this--it's a natural-looking full-coverage. However, if you like this coverage and finish of products like Estee Lauder Double Wear or Revlon Colorstay, this isn't as full coverage as those foundations, but I would definitely recommend this product if you're looking for a nourishing everyday foundation/base product that's medium- to full-coverage.

It-O2 Ultra Repair Liquid Oxygen Foundation
This foundation claims to be a "spa in a bottle." I was very surprised that this is a really light-coverage foundation. I can use this on my good skin days, but if you have serious blemishes to cover, I would go with the CC cream instead.

Bye Bye Undereye Concealer
This concealer is supposed to be super full-coverage; I don't think the coverage is as miraculous as the QVC presentations show, but if you're looking for an undereye concealer that doesn't crease, you might be interested in this concealer.

Celebration Foundation
I really love this powder foundation! I mentioned in my May favorites (see them here) that this is a full-coverage powder foundation, and I love this velvety, perfected finish that this gives my skin. It also wears super well; I can go for over 12 hours without having to touch up or blot my face.

Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finishing HD Micro-Powder
This powder is supposed to be "airbrushing in a jar"; it supposedly erases the look of pores and fine lines. I do like this powder, especially over the CC cream, and I think it does do what it says it will do. It also gives me a super matte finish that actually lasts!

Vitality Face Disc
I love handy all-in-one palettes; this contains a bronzer, blush, and highlighter, and I love all of them! The bronzer is a cool-tone color that is great for contouring. The blush is a peach-pink with golden shimmer--not a super unique color, but it's so pretty and it has great staying power. The highlighter is a golden-champagne color, and it's quite shimmery. I like it for highlighting my cheeks, but I think you have to be a little bit careful with it, because it can come off a little metallic. But, overall, I really do like this palette!

So I hope this post was helpful! Thanks so much for reading, and have a great day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My blush collection review!

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to do a mass review on my blush collection to see which one is the best! I'm going to do it King of the Hill-style, so at the end we'll see who's the winner!

Wet n Wild Color Icon Blush in Heather Silk
The staying power of these blushes is nice, and it's very pigmented; however, the texture is super soft, so it might be easy to get too much product on your brush. I like to use a duo fiber brush (I use the Sigma F15) to get a lighter application.

ELF Contouring Blush and Bronzer in St. Lucia
The blush in this duo is nice and pigmented, but they're very powdery, and the appearance of powder can definitely show up on your skin.

Inglot blushes
These blushes are pigmented, but definitely more buildable than Wet n Wild. They're powdery, but nowhere are powdery as the ELF blushes. The staying power is just okay--I get about six to eight hours before I see noticeable fading. I don't love the color range of this line of blushes, though; they have a ton of colors, but they're almost all muted and neutral :/

MAC Powder Blush in Fleur Power
I like the texture of this a lot more than Wet n Wild; it's not as buttery/soft, so it's more buildable and easier to work with. Of course, like any MAC product, the color range is really great, and whether you like bright or neutral colors, and whether you have lighter or darker skin, you can definitely find something that suits you!

NARS Blush in Day Dream (limited edition)
The texture of this is a little harder than MAC, so you do have to work a little harder to build up the color. NARS's color range is absolutely crazy, and if you're looking for one particular special color, you can probably find it with NARS. Plus, they really do apply very true to pan.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in True Love
INCREDIBLE staying power! It really does live up to its "12-Hour" name. In addition to staying on the cheeks, it stays looking relatively fresh, which is awesome. I like the color range of the Tarte blushes a little more than MAC, because instead of slight variations between each color, you get a bunch of distinctly different colors to try--peach/coral, pink, neutrals, and darker colors.

Milani Baked Blushes in Dolce Pink (shimmer) and Bella Rosa (matte)
I'm going to talk about two shades in this line, because depending on the finish, the quality is very different. The pigmentation of these blushes is very hit and miss--with the shimmery colors, you have to really scrub your brush into the pan to pick up any product. And when you do, it's mostly shimmer. On the other hand, with the matte blushes, you have to be very careful about applying too much product--I like to use my duo fiber brush to apply it, then use a fluffy brush to blend. And then, still, it's not the easiest to blend. Neither finish is the easiest to apply, so I'm not absolutely crazy about this formula.

Hard Candy Blush Crush Baked Blush in Living Doll
These blushes are so pretty in the pan and in a concentrated swatch, but when it's sheered out with your brush, you see hardly any color, just a ton of shimmer. I don't even have particularly dark skin (I'm a warm NC30), but I really don't get any pigment out of these blushes.

Sleek Blush by 3 in Lace
The pigmentation is really awesome with these blushes--especially the matte ones--but they're a lot easier to control than Wet n Wild. The staying power is really comparable to Tarte, and I think Sleek has an even better color range. They have a ton of fun, bright colors, but I don't think you'll be disappointed if you're into neutral colors; these blushes are so easy to blend, that they really turn out to look very natural and subtle on the cheeks (for example, Crochet, the orange color in this trio, turns out to look very peach).

Overall, my winner in this group would be Sleek blushes! They just fit everything that I look for in a line of blushes--great staying power, easy to apply, and a fun color selection. Tarte was a close second, but I would recommend Sleek over Tarte blushes because of the price--a single blush from Tarte costs $26, whereas a three-pan palette from Sleek costs $14.

I hope you liked this post and video! Thank you so much for reading and watching :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May favorites | Makeup

Here are some products that I've been loving this month!

It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation
This is a really full coverage powder foundation--it covers redness and blemishes so nicely! It has a great, natural-looking matte finish, and it also gives my skin a wonderful velvety-smooth look. This foundation also has great staying power; it maintains that perfect finish for 14 hours without touch-ups! I really feel like this gives me a really similar effect as foundations like Revlon Colorstay, but this just feels so much lighter!

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Tipsy
This is such a gorgeous coral color, and I feel like it actually looks very natural and rosy on me, because my skintone is so warm. Sometimes pink blushes can look like redness on my skin, but this really intensely warm and bright color is very flattering and looks like a neutral color on me, not orange-y at all!

Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick
This is a cream eyeshadow in a stick form, and they're super long-wearing! They set into a kind of dry-touch finish, so it doesn't remain sticky and dewy throughout the day. I have a few shades of these, but my favorites are Rosy Taupe (a taupe with a pink tone) and Firework (shimmery champagne). I especially love the Firework shade in this cream formula, because (unlike powder eyeshadows) it won't flake into my eyes when I apply it to the inner corners of my eyes.

It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush Butter Gloss in Pretty in Pink
This might be the most comfortable lip gloss formula I've tried! It's not sticky at all, and it's super moisturizing--my lips stay feeling really soft even after this wears off.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Makeup products that aren't worth the hype!

Today I wanted to do a post about products that I don't think are worth the hype. These aren't necessarily bad products, but just some things that I don't think are worth buying.

bareMinerals Original Foundation
This product claims to be a full-coverage foundation that gives you a really flawless coverage, and I have heard a lot of people rave about this, but somehow this just goes on really patchy on me, with really poor coverage. The staying power is also not great; by noon, most of it will have worn off on my T-zone, even if I'm not particularly greasy or it's not very hot outside. I've used this a lot (for over a year), in different climates and when my skin is dry, oily, or both, and it has never performed that way it claims to.

Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette
This is one of the most popular palettes right now, and it is an adorable idea, but it just has so many overlaps with the original Naked palette, the Lorac Pro palette, and several others. See comparisons in my blog post here.

Marc Jacobs The Lolita eyeshadow palette
I have many grievances with this product--the price, eyeshadow quality, and the composition of the palette itself. The eyeshadow colors are very, very similar to those in the original Too Faced Natural Eye palette (you can see comparisons in my blog post here). Even if you get the new version of the Natural Eye palette, I think you can still get a reasonably similar look to the Lolita palette.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

What's in my makeup bag | Work

Check out what's in my makeup bag for work!

Products mentioned:
Goody hair clips
Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens
Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 for Oily Problem Skin
Chapstick Mixstix in Green Apple Caramel
Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie
Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Soft Raspberry
EOS Hand Lotion in Berry Blossom
Colgate MaxFresh Toothpaste
Listerine Breath Strips
Ralph Ralph Lauren EDT rollerball

What I'm wearing:
Eyes: Urban Decay Naked 3 palette
Blush: MAC LoveCloud
Lips: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Rose Velvet
Nails: CoverGirl Lasting Love

I hope you enjoyed this video! Thanks so much for watching :)

Monday, March 31, 2014

LDR makeup | Webcam makeup tips

I am in, or have been in, long distance relationships with almost everyone who's important to me: my parents, my besties (all of whom live a minimum of three states away), and, until recently, my boyfriend. I've spent a good portion of time on Skype during the last four years, and I think I've perfected a makeup routine that looks great on webcam. Although I think I generally look better on webcam (yay for low definition!), makeup can look significantly more dramatic and colors can look really different from real life.

Be generous with blush

Blush is so important--it instantly makes you look more alive, which I found especially helpful during finals week. Lesser-quality cameras can wash you out a bit, so wear a little more blush than you think you need. I love Milani Baked Blush in Coralina and NYX Blush in Pinched.

Wear warm colors

Colors like taupe or purple can look really harsh and dark on webcam. Try to go for warm colors, especially if you have yellow undertones. I like the top row of the Stila In the Light palette and the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.

Be careful with shimmer

Depending on your lighting, shimmer can make your skin look greasy or your eyes puffy. Try to go for satin or matte finishes if you can help it. I like Lorac Pro Palette for a wide range of matte colors.

Pay attention to dark circles

When you're Skyping, chances are your light source is from above, so look out for dark circles--even if you use concealer, mascara and eyeliner smudges can give the look of undereye darkness, so blot away any smears with a Q-tip. If you have dark circles, try Benefit Erase Paste--a peach-colored concealer corrects darkness really well!

Other extras
Don't forget to change into a cute top and brush your hair! And, of course, smile--your loved ones deserve to see you at your best.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Em Cosmetics review - Face, eye, and lip products

Em Cosmetics came out a while ago, but it's quite expensive and I was a little hesitant to buy makeup that I couldn't see samples or testers of. But recently they lowered some of their prices, so I bit the bullet and placed an order.

Shade Play Artistic Cheek Color Palette in Wink Wink

A blush/bronzer palette is so convenient, as opposed to having a bunch of small compacts. I think this formula would be good for makeup beginners, because the powders aren't too soft, and you don't have to be careful about applying too much product . This blush is really pretty and is very true to color. Although the bronzer looks quite dark in the pan, it's a bit light for me for contouring (I'm an NC30)--it's a lot like NYC Smooth Skin Bronzer in Sunny.

I also wish they sold blushes and bronzers separately; if you wanted to try a bunch of blushes, you would have to get more bronzers as well, and I know I definitely don't need as many bronzers as I want blushes.

Shade Play Artistic Eye Color Palette in Madagascar Taupes

I really like this palette and the quality of these eyeshadows. There's a good mix of shimmer and matte colors, and they are all very smooth and pigmented. The only color that is less soft is the dark brown with copper glitter (top right), but it still has good color payoff--just make sure you tap off your brush before applying to avoid fallout. I also like that the taupe pan is a lot larger than the others, because it would definitely be the one I use the most, although I'm not sure how much sense this configuration would make in other palettes. Also, toss the brushes that come in the compact (as well as the one that comes in the blush palette). They do nothing.

*I've read other reviews on Em Cosmetics' eyeshadows, and they seem to be a little hit and miss, especially in the really large Life Palettes. The palette that I got was really good, but I would suggest looking up the swatches of the palette you want first to make sure you're not getting a dud.

Waterliner in Ro's Gold and Black Night

Left: Ro's Gold
Right: Black Night

This eyeliner is made specifically for lining your inner rim, and it does seem to last a lot longer than a lot of other pencil liners. These last about four hours on me before fading significantly (other eyeliners last less than two), but they don't transfer onto my cheeks, which I do like. They also glide on very smoothly--you get pretty full color in one swipe. Black Night is your standard black eyeliner, and Ro's Gold (get it?) is a really pretty metallic golden peach. Nude- and peach-colored eyeliners are supposed to take away the appearance of redness from your waterline and make the whites of your eyes look bigger, although I don't really like that look... I think the creators of that trend forgot the episode of Will and Grace where Will says that you can tell Jack is crazy because you can see white all the way around his pupils. Nevertheless, Ro's Gold is still a really pretty color, and it's different from lower-cost nude eyeliners that are kind of a flat, pale color.

Lip Gallery Creamy Color Sheer Lipstick in One True Kiss

This lipstick is really pigmented (although it's called "sheer lipstick") and feels really nice and creamy. However, it really enhances the look of dry flakes. I really had to make an effort to exfoliate my lips in order for it to not look crusty. Although the packaging is nice and sturdy, I'm not sure if it's worth the price, because there are so many drugstore lipsticks that I like more--Revlon Lip Butter and CoverGirl Jumbo Gloss Balm are just as creamy and full-color, but seem to glide over dead skin much smoother.

Overall, I like the products that I have from Em Cosmetics, but they aren't super unique. I don't think you should buy these products just because it's co-created by Michelle Phan, because these cheek products, eyeshadows, and lipstick don't seem to be a vast improvement compared to existing products, plus they're pretty expensive. That being said, although I can spot a few holes in the collection here and there, there are some interesting products that might be worth trying if you haven't found a holy grail yet.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tarte be MATTEnificent palette - Review and swatches

Tarte has a new palette for spring, the be MATTEnificent palette.

The packaging of the palette is really gorgeous. I'm not usually swayed by packaging--I would rather have simple plastic packaging and a lower price--but the compact is such a beautiful color, and it feels quite sturdy and snaps shut, so I would feel confident taking this when I'm traveling.

Like the name suggests, it's an entirely matte palette. You get a blush, six eyeshadows, and two powder eyeliners.

The entire palette seems pretty minimal and neutral. The blush is a muted, dusty pink, and the eyeshadows are pretty basic neutral colors, like taupe, mauve, and plum. And then, the eyeliners are dark brown and black.

The blush and eyeshadows all have a wonderful creamy texture. They're so soft and blendable, and they show up very true to color. I don't think the plum eyeshadow shows up too dark, so some purpley color actually shows. The eyeliners, though, are really dry and chalky--when I was swatching them, I actually shuddered because I got the feeling that I was running my nails down a chalkboard. However, the colors do show up quite nicely. Although I never use powder eyeliners, they're there for you and they're usable.

The only big issue I really see is that there isn't a wide range of eyeshadows in this palette. You really only have one darker color that you can use for definition (on your outer corner or for a darker crease color), so you probably can't get a ton of looks out of this one collection--I wouldn't use the eyeliners as eyeshadows, because they're quite dry and not nearly as nicely textured. However, I still really like this palette, and I would definitely get a ton of use out of it because it's so simple. I think working girls, or just people who like a really simple, natural look, will really enjoy using this palette because it's such high quality, and the colors really are very pretty!

Monday, February 3, 2014

NARS The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette - Review, swatches and comparisons

NARS has come out with a limited eyeshadow for the spring, the NARSissist palette.

All the colors are from the permanent collection, whether they're usually singles or parts of duos. None of the pans are labeled, but the colors are listed on the back of the box.

The palette seems to be relatively neutral, although there are some muted colors, like purple and navy. They all seem to be rather cool-toned and dusty-looking as well.


What seems pretty notable about the selection of colors is that there are a lot of light colors, a lot of dark colors, but only two mid-tone shades. Several of the dark colors also seem to look really similar in swatches--the dark browns, black, and navy look almost identical.

My experience with NARS' color cosmetics has been that they're usually better in singles--when the same color is in a palette, it tends to be much less pigmented and more difficult to work with (like the cheek products). I don't have these NARS eyeshadows in single form, so I can't make that comparison here, but many of these eyeshadows feel a little dry and gritty, and not nearly as nice if you're used to Urban Decay eyeshadows. They do swatch pretty nicely, but you have to make more of an effort to build the color.

When I was swatching this palette, I didn't find the colors to be really unique or exciting. I actually thought a lot of the colors looked really similar to those in Sonia Kashuk's Eye on Matte and Eye on Shimmer palettes (available at Target). I have the limited edition Matte/Shimmer palette, which is just the two palettes combined, but they're available separately in the permanent collection. Here they are side-by-side:

Below, I've swatched some comparable colors from each palette below. Top row is NARS, bottom row is Sonia Kashuk.

I was by no means impressed by the NARSissist palette. I can definitely come up with more dupes from the drugstore, and the texture of the eyeshadows could be better. Plus, even though I compared some of the eyeshadows to Sonia Kashuk--a drugstore brand that isn't considered super cheap--the NARS palette is $79, which I think is incredibly overpriced.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette - Review, swatches and comparisons

Smashbox came out with a neutral palette--the Full Exposure palette!

It has seven shimmer and seven matte eyeshadows, which is really good for people who want a variety of finishes.

The colors are all really, really neutral--as in, a variety of browns and grays. It also consists of half warm (left) and half cool (right) tones.

Top row is shimmer, bottom row is matte.

Something that is really important to note about the shimmer eyeshadows is that they all, excluding the center one, have the same chunky, glittery finish. It tends to have quite a bit of fallout, so you have to be very careful with them. The center shimmer shade and the matte colors, though, are really nicely textured and are super soft, pigmented, and blendable.

Matte eyeshadow brush

Shimmer eyeshadow brush

The palette also comes with a double-ended brush, with each side designated to be used with matte or shimmer eyeshadows. The matte end is a nice fluffy blending-type brush--a lot like the Sigma E25 brush that everyone loves (maybe just the tiniest bit fuller). The shimmer end is really interesting--it's half synthetic and half goat hair (the texture of the matte end). I've tried both sides to apply the shimmer shade separately, and I've found that I get a lot of fallout either way. If you use each side together straight down the middle, though, it applies and blends the glitter a lot more nicely. The goat hair side is also nice for packing on the matte eyeshadows.

Another popular palette that has the same half-matte-half-shimmer concept is the Lorac Pro palette, so I've compared them side-by-side below:

They do have some overlaps in colors, although there aren't that many. Top row is Smashbox, bottom row is Lorac.

Top row: Smashbox Full Exposure palette
Bottom row: Gold, Lt. Bronze, Slate, Espresso, Taupe, Cream, Black

Although the Lorac Pro palette is really different from the Smashbox Full Exposure palette, I would go for the Lorac one just because it gives you some more interesting colors, like Garnet, Mauve, and Pewter, and the texture of the shimmer eyeshadows are so much nicer.

Overall, I don't see the Smashbox Full Exposure palette to be a total musthave. The matte eyeshadows are really fantastic, but you do get quite a bit of fallout from the glitter, and there aren't any colors that are particularly thrilling. If you love browns, you might like this a lot, but if almost half the palette is a miss for me, it's not worth it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Too Faced The Chocolate Bar Eye Palette - Review, swatches, and comparisons

It's officially spring 2014! Too Faced recently launched their new neutral eyeshadow palette, the Chocolate Bar palette, which looks and smells like chocolate.

All of the color names are inspired by chocolate/desserts/candies, and the eyeshadows themselves are formulated with cocoa powder (just like their Chocolate Soleil bronzer), so they smell like chocolate.

All of the eyeshadows have a really nice, soft texture (except Cherry Cordial, which feels a little more dry and powdery). There's a good mix of matte, shimmer, and satin finishes--there are six matte colors, which is quite a lot compared to other neutral palettes. There aren't any glittery eyeshadows, which may be a good thing, because Too Faced's glitter eyeshadows tend to have a lot of chunky fallout.

As you can see in the swatches, this palette has a wide range of browns, with the exception of Candied Violet, which seems to be a bit of a wild card in this context. Although there are some pretty colors, I can definitely come up with most of them in different palettes--especially the really basic colors, like matte cream, medium brown, gold, and dark brown. Also, within this palette, some of the colors look pretty similar to each other on the eye, such as Milk Chocolate and Salted Caramel, and Hazelnut and Haute Chocolate.

As I swatched the eyeshadows, I started to recognize some familiar colors. Here are some comparisons to other palettes you might already own--top row is the Chocolate Bar palette, bottom row is the comparison palette:

Lorac Unzipped palette

Top row: White Chocolate, Marzipan, Hazelnut, Creme Brulee, Milk Chocolate, Cherry Cordial
Bottom row: Undercover, Unbelievable, Uncensored, Undiscovered, Unspoken, Unbridled

Too Faced Natural Eye palette

Top row: White Chocolate, Champagne Truffle, Gilded Ganache, Creme Brulee, Triple Fudge, Haute Chocolate
Bottom Row: Heaven, Silk Teddy, Erotica, Honey Pot, Sexpresso, Cocoa Puff

Urban Decay Naked palette

Top row: Champagne Truffle, Milk Chocolate, Creme Brulee, Hazelnut, Gilded Ganache,  Amaretto, Cherry Cordial
Bottom Row: Virgin, Sin, Buck, Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle

Lorac Pro palette

Top row: White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Strawberry Bon Bon, Semi-Sweet, Triple Fudge, Champagne Truffle, Creme Brulee, Amaretto
Bottom row: Cream, Taupe, Lt. Pink, Sable, Espresso, Nude, Gold, Garnet

As you can see, there are actually a lot of palettes that already have the colors in the Chocolate Bar palette.

Overall, I think this palette was a cute idea and it has some really high-quality eyeshadows, but I don't see it as a must-have, because there are so many overlaps with other palettes. I think this is Too Faced's best eyeshadow palette in terms of texture and pigmentation, but once you really take a look at some of the colors, there's already a lot like it out there that you probably already own.