Eye Shadow -Bourjois - Ombre Stretch Eyeshadow - Brun Nylon
musicalhouses 10/18/2009 8:47:00 AM
Bourjois was 3-for-2 at my Superdrug, so I got this baby, Bourjois Ombre Stretch eyeshadow in 09 Brun Nylon. a nice e/s: Comes with a decent, if teeny, brush applicator: TAUPEY GOODNESS! Aaaaand, swatches! It's not a dark taupey, purply taupe, if you know what I mean (ie. not like satin taupe.) But it's a good medium-to-light taupey color, with a good shot of silver, beige-ish-ness (I think that's what makes it medium-to-light, instead of a dark plummy taupe), and just a hint of purple. But it's still taupe. It reminds me of a more purple, less beige and brown Stila Wheat, if you know what I mean, since it's of a similar color depth. It's a little on the frosty side, but not that OTT frosty. The color is also pretty neutral. I think its neutral-leaning-cool, so I think this would look awesome on cool-toned and neutral-toned girls, although I think warm-toned girls would also carry this off, due to the beige-ish-ness in the color. Would look awesome paired with a matter crease shade for those who aren't comfortable wearing this color on its own. I personally really love this color, because for me a lot of the cult taupes out there are on the dark side, and it's hard finding a nice light taupe. This for me is perfect - not too dark and not too light. FYI my skintone is NC20, AAB, with olive skin with neutral-to-cool undertones: Pigmentation starts off sheer at first, but color is very buildable. I think that's what the 'Ombre Stretch' selling point means - like the idea is that they have these nylon micro-spheres that allow the e/s to be 'stretched' out - ie. stretched out sheer, or packed on opaque. I don't believe nylon particles are going to make an e/s fantastic, but at least they got the description right on this one - it is buildable, and very nicely buildable, even if it starts off sheer. Just the whole thing about nylon-microspheres is such a terrible way to put it across to the consumer. The texture of the e/s is also pretty smooth, which is good, and it applies well. I wore it the other day to try out how it wore as the day went on, and I'm pleased to say this is decent. It doesn't fade, but it does crease a little by the end of the day (I wore it out for one entire day), but I wasn't wearing any primer or anything (I don't have major e/s issues), so I think with a little primer this will be much better. I'd recommend this for those who don't mind frosty eyeshadows, and for those who don't mind buildable shadows, and for those who want a taupe that's not a deep, dark, taupe like so many other taupes out there. It's harder to find a light taupe than a dark taupe, and good ones are hard to come by, so this is good for anyone who feels that alot of the taupey colors out there are too dark for them. The wear and pigmentation is pretty good too. I also would recommend this for most skintones, although the color is probably better on cool and neutral ladies than on warm ladies, although I'm quite sure a warm lady could pull it off too, it's not by any means totally cool. I'd say its a pretty good color overall.
Loose Powders -Coastal Scents - Silica Spheres Powder
musicalhouses 9/11/2009 2:53:00 AM
Product: Finely-milled, light white powder that goes on mostly transparent. Purely composed of silica. Absorbs oil and has great mattifying and 'soft focus' effect. My experience: This is my HG. Yes it is my HG. I refuse to use any other powder without using this one now. I use it with other powders and I use it alone, but I could never go without it now! I have some main concerns with my skin, which this addresses very well. Firstly, I have acenic, oily skin that tends to develop into an oil slick as the day progresses, AND to make a bad situation worse, I wear sunscreen everyday, which adds on to the oily look of my skin. Before the advent of this powder, I used to overload on my powder foundation in an attempt to mattify the shine from my sunscreen and face. And while the powder did mattify my face, the mattifying property did not last, and when I took photos, it was evident that I used sunscreen, as all my photos had that ghostly flash that made my face look like it was 4 shades lighter than my neck, AND super oily to boot. I was also tired of having to powder my face by midday lunch break AND after work, when I had already done a full face in the morning. So, when the raves for CS silica powder started filtering in through the boards, I decided to give this a go. So I placed my order, and waited. It came in a really lousy container, with powder leaking out. Well, OK. I transferred it to another more secure sifter jar, and tried it out. The first few times I tried it, I didn't like it at all. It seemed to stay white instead of blending in transparently into my skin, which was puzzling for me as I was NC20, and girls darker than me were raving on the boards about it, and I couldn't seem to layer it nicely. However, after much experimentation with application techniques - a puff, a 187, a kabuki, a round-tipped powder brush, a flat-top powder brush, I realized that I was putting too much on, and not very evenly. With this powder, very little is required! (However I have to admit I do use more as the weather gets hotter and my face gets oilier to control the shinies). So with that in mind, I used a little each time, adding more if needed, and got pretty good results with any of the brushes. Now, I alternate between a round-tipped powder brush and a flat-top for application, although a soft synthetic kabuki gives good results too. I also realized that if I was using this in conjunction with other powders, this was better UNDER, rather than OVER, other powders. Why this is so baffles me, but it seems to be the case - perhaps it acts as a sort of primer? Who knows, but this is my experience - I'm sure someone else would find that over works better for her. In anycase, after much experimentation, I came to love this to death. After I managed to not apply too much, and to apply it under my other powders, this was a dream come true. During the hot Chicago summers, I only needed toput a fair amount of powder all over my face, and I could just leave my makeup alone for the rest of the day, and not have to touch up by dinnertime! Imagine my joy at realizing I didn't have to touch up at all, after being used to touching up twice everyday! My non-makeup-wearing friend was so impressed by the oil-controlling and mattifying properties of this powder after seeing its effects on me that she wanted to get some of her own too! An added bonus is that this photographs really well - it seems to dim the 'sunscreen-flash' effect my face has in photographs (although it doesn't make it disappear - after all sunscreen reflects through everything if a flash is used), and if I'm not wearing sunscreen, this makes my skin look better. At first I didn't really believe the 'soft focus' claims of this powder, and I used it primarily because of it's mattifying properties. However, after taking a look at photos of me with this powder on, I have to say there IS a difference - not a wow-no-wrinkles-at-all difference, but a the-surface-of-my-skin-looks-more-even kind of difference. Not a big one, but it helps. So now, if I know I'm going to be photographed (as was the case in my college graduation), I make sure this is the powder I'll be wearing that day, just so the photos of me look as nice as they can be. In fact, I loved this powder so much that when I left the US, I ordered a huge 8lbs pack of powder to last my entire life, and my children's life, until the day I die - I couldn't imagine ever living without it! OK so what's the catch? I've said all the good things about it, but I recognize this might not be suitable for everyone. For one, I said it goes on mostly transparent, and when I started using it, I had trouble with the powder appearing white, and I think for girls who are NC35 and darker, they might experience this kind of problem, unless the powder is applied sparingly. Another thing is that since this powder is good for oily skin, I wouldn't recommend it for dry skins, since it could potentially dry the skin out! Also another of my complaints is the cosmetic elegance of the powder - because its so light and finely milled, spills are a disaster, and the powder just tends to poof into the air (those of you who own it will know what I mean). This is because of the nature of silica powder, of course, so it's not anything that can be helped, but careful handling and application of the powder should do the trick. Overall, I'd recommend this for those who have oily skin and want a powder with mattifying properties, and for those who want a powder for events at which there will be lots of photographs being taken. But I'd be wary about recommending it to girls of darker skin since this can appear a bit whitish, and girls with dry skin, since it could dry out their skin.
Mascara -Maybelline - Unstoppable Mascara [DISCONTINUED]
musicalhouses 8/11/2009 7:16:00 AM
Product: Fibre-based mascara in a slim silver tube with traditional wand with bristles. My experience: Alright, this is the 3rd Maybelline mascara I've tried, and I don't think I'll try any Maybelline mascaras from now on. Something in their mascaras just doesn't work for me. So I was given a tube of this by my mum, who insists this is good. I was hesitant - Maybelline mascaras I've tried before positively suck (see Great Lash and Full N Soft, which both bombed on me although I know FnS is popular on the boards), and I didn't want to so much as touch another Maybelline mascara again. However, my mum was trying to be nice, and it would be rude to refuse right? So I decided to accept it, and check out the reviews on MUA. Uh, 3 out of 5 stars? Not good...But anyway I decided to try it out just to give it the benefit of the doubt, and I have to say....I shouldn't have bothered. Ok now on to the review proper. First off, this is is one of those Imju-Fibrewig pretenders. Meaning it lengthens your lashes by having little fibres in its formula that attach to your lashes when you brush the mascara on. Sounds like a great deal (and that said, I DO like the original Imju Fibrewig), only that there are 2 big problems with this mascara. First, the formula is so watery that any fibres you manage to get to stick to your lashes don't stay stuck to your lashes, so when you brush your mascara wand over your lashes again, instead of building up another additional coat of mascara, the wand just removes whatever you've built. Secondly, for a fiber based mascara, this has too few fibers. I know not all fiber-containing mascaras have to have tons of fibers - sometimes fibers are just the icing on the cake, and the formula of the mascara is great enough to lengthen on its own, and when you get a fiber stuck to your lashes, great (see NYX Doll Eyes Length for a great case study of such a mascara). But in this case, the formula is watery and does nothing, so the fibers had better be there. Unfortunately, in this case, the formula is watery, and there are too few fibers to even stick to your lashes. So you're just left with not very much to recommend it. To be fair though, if you have the patience to slowly build up and keep brushing the fibers onto your lashes, you will acheive some length, and it will look pretty good. But given how few fibers there are in the mascara, this is just too much of a hassle for me. It's just OK in my book, not as horrendous as Great Lash or FnS. But I'll pass and save my money for something better, like NYX Doll Eyes, which is similar but has a much better formula.
Polishes -TheFACEShop - Nail Talk Polish (All Colors)
musicalhouses 8/8/2009 10:31:00 AM
Product: Nail polish in a variety of colors (mostly traditional pinks and sheers) and finishes (mostly sheers, shimmers and frosts) in a small cute bottle with a large white, designed cap. My experience: So I was on holiday in Korea and The Face Shop things were much cheaper in Korea than in elsewhere in Asia, so I decided to just buy a few of these polishes to try. I ended up getting three colors: BR801, A sheer milky beige-y nude color with no shimmer or anything special (sort of like OPI's At First Sight without the interesting shimmer effect), PP402, a cooltoned light sheer frosty lilac-pink, and PK102, a sheer light pink that's not as pink as PP402 and not as beige as BR 801 with blue flash. Right now on my nails I'm wearing BR 801, and so far have tried all except PP402, but here are my first impressions on the polishes: 1. They're tiny. Of course this wasn't a surprise to me, because I bought them IRL, but for anyone ordering online, they're smaller than OPI and Essie bottles. 2. They're annoyingly sheer and streaky. Of course sheer could just be the colors I bought, since I bought light colors, and in most brands somehow the lighter colors are always formulated (or should I say, mis-formulated) as sheers, because somehow they always assume people never ever want an opaque sheer. Don't even get me started on Essie. Or maybe I shall talk about Essie. Compared to Essie, these are even more sheer - You'll need at least 3 coats, or better still 4 for the polish to look good - and this is from someone who likes to use as few coats as possible. After 2 coats of BR801 I still had a disappointingly visible nail line, and this is coming from someone who normally isn't too bothered about VNL, and doesn't do more than 2 coats of 1 color. But after seeing my VNL I just HAD to put on another coat. In terms of streakiness, these fare worse than Essie's too. Because they're so sheer, I personally feel they'd look best as 'your nails but better' 1-coaters, but it's hard to use them that way because they're so streaky, and because the brush sucks. Which brings me to 3. The brush sucks. Yes, oh yes it does. When have you ever seen a nail polish with a SPLAYED brush? Get one of these, and you'll see. Maybe I got a dud - or three, but the brushes suck. Or maybe I'm spoiled by the OPI Pro-Wide brushes (which I love due to my masculine big nails). And the brushes are tiny too. With the OPI brush, I use about 3 strokes for each nail. With this tiny brush I'm using 4, and I find the polish doesn't go on evenly. AND because the brush is SPLAYED I have to be especially careful that I don't get polish all over my cuticles and cause an extra big mess when I paint. It just makes cleanup so much harder. Wear time? These are just OK, but I'll update on how my 4 coat mani comes along as time goes on. Anyway, I'm giving this an overall 3 rating - it could just be the sheer, light colors I bought, but I think I'll stick to OPIs and Revlons (my drugstore favourite) for now.
Eye Shadow -L'Oreal - HiP Metallic Duo - Electrified
musicalhouses 7/21/2009 9:47:00 AM
Product; Split pan eyeshadow duo in a plastic flip-top packaging, containing a shimmery metallic light taupe, and a purply brown. My experience: So I saw this at Walgreens, and I thought, "wow, nice taupe!" Like everyone else, I was immediately attracted to the shimmery silvery-goldish light taupe in the packaging. However I wasn't convinced that I NEEDED it, so I went back without it. As it turned out, I couldn't stop thinking about the annoying taupe, and MUA was giving it raves, so finally, deciding that I needed it after all, I went ahead to buy it. Wow. This is really a beautiful pair of colors! This is a pairing of a shimmery metallic light taupe color with a beautiful purply brown. I didn't like any of the HIP duos when they first came out, because some of the color combinations were totally beyond me, but this was a color combi that actually looked like it would work! So anyway. The now-famous taupe color that is now the stuff of MUA legend is indeed worthy of its reputation. It's taupe, sure, but it's a complex taupe. It has hints of brown, tan, silver (thanks to the frost) but at the same time it has just the slightest bit of purple. And it's a straight up neutral, neither too warm or too cool - well, maybe leaning just ever so slightly to the cool side, but this looks neutral enough to me, as far as taupes go. And it has this lovely metallic finish, almost frosty, that makes it look silvery in some lights, and gold in others. I think this is because the 'base' color for this is brownish, but the frost gives it a slivery tone, thus producing a color that transcends the cool-warm divide. (Am I getting off my rockers here? Anyway.) No fallout from this shade either, texture is divine. The brown side is a lovely brown with purple thrown into the mix, and is a good cool-leaning-neutral basic type of color. Nothing too exciting, but certainly a basic well done, and a great complement to the taupe shade, bringing out it's complexity with the purply-ness of the brown. Pigmentation and blendability are excellent, quality-wise I have nothing to complain about in this duo. Now for color comparisons. I have no idea why people are comparing the taupe shade to MAC's Satin Taupe - have they even seen the two together? The taupe shade is so much lighter, so much more frosty and so much more silver. Maybe they are comparing the brown side instead - that might be a closer match, although I think just by eyeballing, they're not exact dupes. The taupe in the HIP Sassy duo is the closest there is to a Satin Taupe dupe, not in the Electrified dupe. And finally, some may ask - is there a dupe for this beauteous taupe in Electrified? And the answer is - sure, for $14 more. I thought Bobbi Brown's Heather Mauve looked similar in the pan: (Click Continued to see the version with pictures) Top - BB heather mauve, Bottom - L'oreal Electric Taupe Sorry Bobbi buddy. Looks like L'oreal's got your ass kicked. Rematch: L - L'oreal electric taupe, R - BB heather mauve: Sorry Bobbi..I kind of prefer the L'oreal. The colors aren't 100% alike, of course, as the swatches show, but they're definitely similar. This is because the base colors of both taupes are the same (ie they are both browns with taupe and the slightest hint of purple, ever so slight), but 1. L'oreal is tons more pigmented (it took forever to build up that bb swatch and its not too pigmented), and 2. L'oreal is a lot more frosty than the BB. I'd recommend the BB if you like sheer e/s and if you dont like frost, and if you just want a sheer wash of color, but if you want more pigmentation and dont mind some shimmer or the metallic finish, the L'oreal is really awesome and cheaper to boot. (and hopefully not LE).
Product: Cool-toned pigmented pinky-plum lipgloss with a moderate amount of fine silver shimmer with a wand-type doefoot applicator. My experience: So I got this because it was cheap, and it looked like a nice color online. And there was going to be a free gift with any purchase, and Fame was on sale. Hmm why not? So I bought it, not really knowing what to expect, not really knowing whether to like it or not. And guess what? I LOVE IT! And for so many reasons too! Let's start off with the shimmer. It has moderate silver shimmer, and by moderate, I mean 'yes you can tell that is shimmer and your lips look moist, but you can still wear it to work and not look like a 'ho!'. So for me this is a great way to amp up my look - it pulls together what would otherwise be a boring yet-another-neutral-look face, and gives it a focus and a pop of color, but not SO much that it's unwearable to an office. Also, I like the fact that while there is shimmer, the texture of this gloss is still very smooth - unlike MAC's Dazzleglasses, you don't feel the shimmer when you rub your lips together, and you definitely don't feel like the shimmer bits are big or obnoxious. This is pretty fine shimmer here - not the finest, and certainly not so fine that you can't tell there's shimmer, but fine enough to be worn without drawing too much attention at the office. Also, other than the shimmer balance, I like that it is pigmented - this is definitely not a sheer lipgloss! While I wouldn't go as far as to call it a liquid lipstick type gloss, this is just one step down, and pretty much comes in a close second! It's emollient enough to be worn with my perpetually-dry-thanks-to-accutane lips without any balm underneath, and it doesn't aggravate or irritate them, or dry them out further as some lip products can. Also, I love the color - for those of you who are familiar with MAC's Sweetie lipstick, well this is the lipgloss dupe of it! It is EXACTLY the same, from the pinky-plum color to the silver shimmer! In fact, while I have both Fame and Sweetie, I just tend to pick Fame more because Fame isn't as drying as Sweetie (being a lipstick, so no surprise there) can be. Also, since it is a pinky-plum color, with a bit more plum than most pinks, this color is really a cooltoned color - I don't imagine anyone with strong warm undertones wearing this at all! That said, I do believe this could be worn by neutral and neutral-leaning-warm types, because while it is cooltoned, it isn't all the way to the end of the cool spectrum. I'm neutral-leaning cool, NC20 AAB, with olive undertones, and this looks really pretty on me. I do imagine that it would look great on almost every girl with the right undertone for it - it isn't too dark or too light to exclude any particular skin color depth from usage. It is a pretty midtone color, and I could imagine an NW15 girl rocking this for a pop of color as well as an NW40 girl! Lasting power is not too bad for a gloss - stays on until you eat, essentially. It doesn't mysteriously wear off to nothingness if you don't eat, so that's a plus for me. I personally like doefoot applicators, so this applicator is right up my alley - however if you have something against doefoot applicators then this might not float your boat. I've already used half the tube up, so this is a sign of a good lipgloss for sure! All in all, I'd say this is a good color for neutral-to-cooltoned girls, and for girls of any depth of skin color, since this is a cooltoned pinky plum of middling color depth. I also like the fact that it is pigmented well, and has just the right amount of shimmer to give the color a bit more oomph without making it unwearable for the office. The only people I'd ask to exercise caution when buying this color are girls with very strong warm undertones in their color, as too cool a lip color might look ashy on them. Highly recommended overall, this is definitely a staple.
Product: Matte, sheerish, off-white yellow cream color eyeshadow (more white than cream) in a twist off-top pot, now repackaged in square flip-top pots. (Unfortunately I do believe the newer square packaging has less product by weight...3.2g/0.11oz vs 2.8g/0.1oz. Oh well, what's new.) My experience: I hate to bring down ratings on products, especially for those great underrated basics, but trust me, this isn't one of those. Honestly, I think its one of those hyped-up-beyond belief products, because while it is nice (and I DID hit pan on it once, as part of a palette), it isn't anything special. And once I found superior alternatives to it, I stopped going back to Bone, and swapped away my backup. But first, I'll be nice and say what I liked about this. Firstly, the color is a great underrated neutral - bone, like the name, is a yellowed-off-white-ivory that really does make a good base. It really does brighten your eyes, and makes a fantabulous base, or just to wear alone for an everyday look. It's one of those off-white-ivory colors that a neutrals ho like me totally goes gaga over. That said, the only thing I liked about this product was the color. There. I said it. I only liked the color. I know bone is matte, and trust me, I prefer matte base shades to shimmery ones, but this one isn't a creamy kind of matte - its a dry, powdery, chalky kind of matte. Eew. The finish is so horrible, if you try to do more than 2 layers on your eyelids, it will look awful. This of course, wouldn't be a problem so much if the eyeshadow also wasn't so annoyingly sheer. The skin around my eyes is naturally darker than the rest of my face, so I'm always in need of an off-white-creamy-yellow-ivory color to even out the color and make my eyelids the same color as the rest of my face. For me, it is important that my base shadow be pigmented, since my eyelids are like 2-3 shades darker than my face, but if your concerns are only slight, this would probably do for you. Anyway, if Bone was pigmented but chalky, you could just apply less and it wouldn't look chalky on your eyelids. But NO, it just HAS to be sheer so that you absolutely have to pack it on your eyelids (I literally drag my Stila #5 brush through the pan to get enough color to show up) in order for it to even show up, and when you do that, it gets all chalky on you, and powder gets everywhere. I don't know why this gets all the raves. Maybe people like to use it sheer, as it is? Anyway, I'm surprised it didn't show up on me, because I'm NC20 (neutral-olive-ish skintone, neutral-to-cool undertones) so most colors show up on me, even the light ones. And I can imagine that if you were any darker than NC/W35, you might not like this because it either won't show up, or show up but look chalky if packed on. Oh well. The shadow isn't too finely milled either, as is evident by the chalkiness. MAC, Stila, Shu and even Ulta and some WnW beat BB anyday when it comes to texture. Also, the staying power isn't all that great. It looks fabulous at first, but at the end of a 8 hour day, it always ends up fading. I do believe other brands that cost less have better staying power, so this was another disappointment. Anyway, I did say I hit pan on it once right? Yep, I did. Despite not liking the texture and the sheerness of the color, I continued using it because I couldn't find a similar color that brightened my lids up so nicely. It was like a lid-lift! I resigned myself to living with terribly chalky eyeshadow, until I decided to go on THE hunt for the perfect base shadow. In my huge quest, I tried couple of colors which were similar to some extent in that they were all off-white-yellow-cream-ivory type colors, and are all very close to BB Bone: Stila Chinois, which I liked, MAC Vanilla and Blanc Type. And you know what, all of these had better pigmentation and texture than the BB, although they weren't exact dupes (IIRC the Chinois was a bit more yellow, Vanilla and Blanc Type were a bit more pink?). So I used those instead. If you are searching for an alternative to BB bone, since all these are cheaper and more pigmented, and are worth looking into. However, I wasn't convinced that I had to pay more than $10 for my perfect basic eye-brightening shadow, so I continued looking, and VIOLA! After incessant searching, I found Ulta Naked. It isn't quite as matte as BB bone, (there are a few shimmers here and there but they are so sparse the shadow is as good as matte), but it sure is a lot cheaper, more pigmented, and has a much more creamy texture. So now the Ulta Naked is my HG, and BB Bone was just what I hoped it would be. Anyway, I'm giving this 3 colors because I like the color, but don't like the texture or quality of the BB eyeshadow, and I hope my process of looking for a similar color with better texture, which I have described above, helps out other girls who are looking for something similar. So all in all: No, wouldn't recommend this unless you plan to use it sheer. If you actually have discoloration on your lids you want to disguise, this won't go very far - sure it will make your lids look better, but the veins and redness are still going to show through. However if your eye concerns are only slight, this is good enough. For me, however, I'm personally glad I found a HG eye brightening shadow that is of good quality but doesn't cost $22.
Blush -Wet 'n' Wild - Silk Finish blush in Berry Shimmer
musicalhouses 5/19/2009 12:01:00 PM
click continued for version with pics. Product: Big blush pan in a cheap plastic compact. Comes with a small brush. My experience: so i finally got the WnW berry shimmer to see if it could replace my breaking-me-out-like-a-mofo nars outlaw (which i love). anyway, here are the pics: in the pan: hmm looks similar. well, not quite, there are differences that are quite subtle, although the two are close, and definitely in the same color family. the WnW is brighter, and less 'dusty' in color, and also a bit warmer. the nars is more 'dusty' (like more brown?) and more berry and more blue-based than the WnW. but they look the same. so here they are swatched: L - R: WnW berry shimmer applied lightly, nars outlaw applied lightly, WnW berry shimmer applied heavily, nars outlaw applied heavily yup theres definitely a difference when swatched heavily. even though they are close (and this is possibly the closest dupe ive seen so far), there are differences, esp if you layer it on like me, for swatch purposes (see the last 2 swatches from the left). the WnW is a warm berry color, the nars is definitely more cool, and more muted. so for girls who are worried that the nars might be too cool, the WnW is actually a better bet for you. but for cooltoned girls who hate any sort of warmth on their skin, the nars might be a better bet. the WnW is also a bit brighter, but given how both colors are screaming berries, not by much. but what if you wear both as a blush? you wouldnt be wearing them as heavily, so i did light swatches (first 2 from left). and here , i think theyre pretty much indistinguishable. i did make the swatches lighter, but this is still much more than what you'd wear on your face as a blush. so i'd say that to all intents and purposes, theyre not exact dupes of each other, but they're close, and in the same color family. now for notes on quality: surprise! the WnW is by far sooo much more pigmented than the nars. no kidding! this shocked me. for the 2 heavy swatches i really had to dig into my nars to get this level of pigmentation, but for my WnW i only needed a few strokes. i cant believe this, but it looks like WnW has totally smashed, kick-assed, owned, pwned, and just generally trashed nars in terms of pigmentation. the only gripes i have about WnW are the packaging. the plastic window in the casing likes to come off and dig into the blush (be careful if travelling with it), and the small brush it comes with is really useless. the brush issue isnt a problem for me, since i use my own brushes anyway, but i'm always worried about my WnW blushes getting all banged up if the plastic window screen comes off. not that sturdy for travelling. all in all: i'd totally recommend this if: you want something similar to nars outlaw, but dont need an -exact- dupe, or you like nars outlaw, but found it ashy or muddy or too cool on you, or if you found the nars not pigmented enough for you, or that it doesnt show up on you. i'd totally recommend this to anyone and everyone. now everyone likes to rave about cheap dupes for expensive stuff, and not all of them live up to the hype, but this blush is proof that you dont need to spend a ton to get good quality makeup!
Lipstick -Cover Girl - TruShine - Blushberry Shine 415 [DISCONTINUED]
musicalhouses 5/6/2009 10:44:00 AM
Product: Pinky-rosy-brown, slightly sheerish lipstick in a plastic casing, with a clear top. My experience: Ahhhhhh, now I've found my HG lipstick! This makes me want to get rid of all my MAC, BB and Smashbox, seriously! I love everything about it! Let's see, where do we start. First off, I really do like the color. It's been said to be a dupe for Dolce Vita lipstick, but I've never owned DV so I wouldn't know. However it IS a dupe for Urban Decay's Sellout lipstick (which i have in sample size), only less drying and less bitter (for some reason UD lipsticks have this really odd bitter taste - I know its supposed to be vanilla caramel, but somehow you'd think vanilla caramel would be sweet), which I also love. I think Sellout is probably a tad more brown, but unless you layer it on heavily I don't think there is an actual difference - or at least not on my pigmented lips, but I do imagine that if you have no pigment in your lips then the differences would show through. But for me, this is even better than Sellout, because its more rosey and less brown. On my NC20, neutral-leaning-cool skin with olive-ish undertones, Blushberry is the perfect color - it's a good mix of pink and rose, with a hint of brown to give the perfect dusty rose kind of color. Very MLBB, and goes with anything, both warm and cool colors. I really see this being very versatile, since it is a straight-in-the-middle neutral, leaning to neither warm nor cool, so it really would work on most people. I can't think of anyone it wouldn't work on. The color is slightly sheer, so it definitely isn't opaque, you'd always get some of your lip showing through it, and yet at the same time the color definitely shows up on your lips. I have pretty pigmented lips naturally, and I get a very pretty just-slightly-flushed MLBB color from this. I like the combination of not being too opaque but still having pigment, because it looks very natural - like you're not wearing any lipstick, but that your lips just are that color. I also love the finish of this lipstick - it is glossy, without any shimmer or glitter in it at all, so it looks and feels more like a well-pigmented gloss than a lipstick. That said, this is a more rosy color, so if you're someone who likes to wear nude lips 99.9% of the time, this color may not float your boat, but I guess it's a good addition for the 0.1% where you do want some color to your lips. However, if you're a fan of the rosy-lips look, like me, then this is right up your alley! I hear this compared a lot to Clinique's Black Honey, and to be honest this puzzles me, since the two colors are nothing alike. However they do have similar finishes, in that both are glossy without any glimmer, glitter or sparkles, and both have that not-opaque-yet-pigmented quality, and both are non-drying. However, color-wise, both of them are very different. I had Black Honey but ended up giving it away - although it looks like it would go on a dark berry in the tube, Black Honey actually pulled rather orange on me, and ended up looking like a dark, warm browned-plummy-berry color - almost like a brick red, crossed with plum. Blushberry, on the other hand, doesn't have the plumminess of Black Honey, and is more rosy and pinker than Black Honey. Also BH was more warm on me, but the CG is a straight-up neutral. The BH was also darker and more deep in color than the CG, so if anyone finds the Clinique version too brown, purple or dark, then this one is worth trying out. OK, enough about the color. Quality-wise, this is honestly the best I've tried. It doesn't feel heavy going on, unlike other drugstore lippies, and it has a lovely moisturizing feel to it and doesn't dry out my lips at all! And I'm on accutane, so EVERYTHING dries out my lips. MAC lipsticks are really drying on me, even the lustres and cremesheens that everyone claims are so moisturizing, and BB creamy lip colors also dry me out (creamy?! BB what are you talking about!?). Shu Uemura and Lancome were slightly less drying, but the texture wasn't as nice as the Covergirl. Personally, I do think this is one of CG's best products, and a standout in their line. Lasting power is as usual with most lipsticks - stays on while you're not eating, but be prepared to reapply when you eat. I really love this though, because this is the only lipstick that I can wear without having to wear a balm underneath, so I'd definitely recommend this for people who want to try out a lipstick but prefer the feel of a gloss, or for people whose lips tend to dry out easily. I think this would also be a great introduction to makeup for young girls - you know, if you have a young girl who is looking for her first lipstick - because it won't feel like she's wearing too much makeup, but at the same time it shows up well and is a pretty flattering and classic color, so it should be a good choice for someone who would like a good basic or a neutral with a bit of a pop. The only unfortunate thing about this is the cheap packaging. I mean it looks really terrible. But at least it's sturdy and travels well in a makeup bag - the cap doesn't come off the lipstick tube or anything like that, so it's not an issue for me. Overall, I really like this. It's HG status, and I just had to rave. It's similar to UD Sellout lipstick, only that sellout is just a tad browner, so if sellout was too brown for you this should work. The color is pretty universally flattering and should work for most skintones, and it doesn't dry out my lips at all. I'd recommend for almost anyone, really. I think it's a good staple to have in your makeup wardrobe, unless you only wear nude lips. This is my must-have for naturally rosy-looking lips, and I stock up everytime these go on sale.
Product: Non-waterproof very black mascara (that's what I bought) in a slim blue tube with a white cap. Mascara brush is tapered to one end, and mascara formula is 'wet' formula (as opposed to creamy mascara). My experience: I have stick straight, sparse wimpy Asian lashes with no length, volume or curl, so my ideal mascara must have: Length, Curl and Volume, in that order. In my quest for a HG drugstore mascara, I bought this due to the hype on MUA. And sadly, despite all the raves, I found this one just meh. Didn't lengthen at all for me, didn't hold a curl either, and it only volumized a bit. And it smudges, not very much, but enough for me to get annoyed at it. It smudges less than Great Lash though (the ultimate worst mascara in my book) so anyone who can tolerate the smudginess in Great Lash shouldn't mind Full n Soft. Personally, though, out of all the other much-raved about drugstore mascaras I've tried (Covergirl Lashblast, Max Factor 2000 Calorie, NYX Dolleyes, and Maybelline Full n Soft), this is the poorest performer of them all, and here's why. It doesn't volumize as much as lashblast, or lengthen as much as LB or Max Factor 2000 Calorie did. It definitely doesn't hold much of a curl, compared to NYX Dolleyes and Covergirl Lashblast. All of the other drugstore mascaras are better than this. And none of them smudge as much as this does! And despite this thing being annoyingly smudgey, it doesn't come off as easily as the other non-waterproof mascaras. I have no idea how Maybelline managed to make a mascara that is at once smudgy and hard to remove all at one go, but that's certainly an accomplishment - now all they have to do is make something that doesn't smudge but is easy to remove. Now I usually hate to waste product, so I try to finish up one tube of mascara before going on to another (hence my quest for the perfect drugstore mascara is going to take forever) but this was such a dud that after about 2 or 3 weeks, I got fed up with trying to make this thing work and just threw it away. In fact, I posted an FOTD with it on the boards, and they suggested that I should wear mascara!!! That's when I decided I should just toss it. I can't believe it. Wearing this is like wearing invisible mascara. The only good thing about this is that the black color is black. Oh well. On to the next one. I hope it's better. Bottom Line: I don't understand the raves for this one. I know mascara performance varies greatly from one individual to another, but for me any of the other more reputable drugstore mascaras are a better bet (except Great Lash). At least the black color is black.
Concealers -Prescriptives - Flawless Skin Total Protection Concealer
musicalhouses 4/25/2009 12:46:00 AM
Product: Emollient cream-type concealer in a small flip-top pan with a mirror inside. My experience: I really like this, although its not top of the range, it is definitely one of the better ones that won't burn a hole in your wallet and is really value for money. I find that a lot of high-end concealers are good but a tad pricey, but drugstore concealers tend to have a really unnatural finish, look cakey, or just have no coverage. Enter Prescriptives, which provides good coverage, a natural finish, and a pretty long-lasting concealer at a price that is actually worth its money. I am NC20, Olive-ish skintone, but with neutral-to-coolish undertones, and I got Level 2 Cool. I think the color match is good enough, since it is blendable, but I think it still is just a tad too pink. I would go for Level 2 Warm or Level 1 Warm next time, and would recommend Level 2 cool for NW20ish. Packaging-wise, I like the packaging. There is a smallish mirror on the inside (abit too small for my preference, but will do in a pinch), and I like the casing - easy to open, and sturdy enough to toss in your bag for touchups. Now the product itself. The good points about this concealer is that it is easy to use, because it has an emollient texture. Now I'm no stranger to the 'harder' type of concealer formulas (I use LM's secret concealer, which is almost spackle-like and solid and hard in quality, too), so I don't have anything against harder formulas, but this is really very easy to use, in part because it is so emollient, yet pigmented at the same time. It is more emollient and less 'sticky' and 'tacky' than MAC's studiofinish, and also MUCH better than Benefit's Erase Paste (which I detested - sticky, tacky, unblendable rubbish - but that's for another review), and thus much easier to blend. This makes it very ideal for people who want a natural looking finish - it doesn't look too cakey because it isn't too hard, yet at the same time, it is easy to use because although it is so emollient and smooth it is still very pigmented! Oftentimes I find that more emollient concealers sacrifice the level of pigment for their smoothness, but this is a very good balance of the two. Two swipes covers my dark undereye cirles on a bad day when I've slept at 4am rushing homework, and two swipes covers a fes spots of acne. A few more swipes (3-4) covers this red patch on my cheek which is perpetually having breakouts. This covers my undereye circles (in particular, the Level 2 cool is slightly pink-based, so it works really well at covering brown-colored circles, which mine are), and acne redness very well. I'm totally impressed by the pigmentation and blendability, as well as by the fact that it looks very natural - not cakey, not overly shiny, not flat-out-matte - just natural. The only gripe I have about this, however, is the wear. It isn't as long-lasting as I would like, unfortunately. After about 6-8 hours or so my acne spots start to show through the concealer, however my undereye circles are still well-covered. I suspect this is due to the fact that my acne-skin is more oily than my undereye circles, so I'd say this has better lasting power on those with drier skin, as opposed to oiler skin. Also, it does crease a bit in the fine lines of my undereye, so if anyone has terrible wrinkles, I don't think this is the best concealer for you. I'd say someone with relatively wrinkle-free skin that is dry would benefit the most from this concealer. All in all, I like this a lot for its pigmentation and coverage, and its blendability and great texture, as well as its natural finish. Only the wear and the fact that it doesn't last as well on oiler skin and settles into fine lines bothers me. I'd say that this concealer works better on dry skin, not oilier skin, and on skin that is relatively wrinkle-free. UPDATED TO ADD: OK so everything I said still stands about this product. However I'm going to upgrade it's rating from a 4 to a 5. I've hit pan on this, and totally used up ALL of it (yes, I hit pan!!!), and despite doing that, I've found myself wishing for another pan of this. I think the fact that I'm actually missing something I've used up says that this is pretty good staple material. Upgrading the rating because of this.
Makeup Brushes -Flirt - Feather Dust-her (aka Skunk Brush)
musicalhouses 4/20/2009 11:33:00 PM
Product: Soft-bristled skunk brush with a small head (think MAC 188 brush head size) with loosely packed hairs of both black and white. My experience: I totally love this brush, but NOT for powder! I decided to write this review because people keep thinking that this is a dupe of the MAC 187 brush, but it is not even close. The Sonia Kashuk one is much closer, but that's in another of my reviews. Back to the Flirt skunk though. It has a really small brush head, so for anyone who thinks this is a replacement for the 187, nah, forget it. The head size is more like the 188, so it is much much smaller - probably about 1/3 to 1/2 the size, and like 1/4 the density because the bristles are so loosely packed. It isn't even a good dupe of the 188 because the 188 is much more sturdy as the bristles are harder (as in not so soft and flexible and bendy), and much more densely packed than Flirt's version. Thus, no it's not a dupe for the SK skunk or the 187 or the 188 (I have them all so I would know). And because the brush head is sooooo small, I would never suggest it for foundation application - it would take you forever, and for that the SK or the 187 is a much better choice. For powders, too, it isn't really very good because the bristles are just too sparse and too soft and flimsy. I can't imagine how this would distribute powder evenly or what blush you'd want to put this on with. Maybe if you were an NC15 girl trying on some insanely pigmented blush like Exhibit A or something, you might want to try this blush because it will pick up virtually no powder. So I wouldn't recommend this for powder, or foundation. If you've read to this point, you'll be wondering - so what are the 5 stars for? This is where I confess - the Flirt skunk is lousy at powder and foundation application, but for cream blushes, it works just right. It's very soft, flimsy bristles allows it to pick up enough product on the bristles, and because it is so soft it's easier to use this than, say, the 188 for blending out the cream blush. Also because it has a small head size, it's good for the cheek area (if you're using a cream foundation, this would be too small for foundation application). So that's what I use it for, and for that I give it a 5. Not quite the job it was built to do, but works beautifully anyway. I use this with all my cream blushes - Becca cream blushes, Bobbi Brown pot rouges, and Stila convertible colors. I find it works equally great with all of them. For the BB pot rouges, which are harder in texture, I have to work the brush a bit more, but it gives a great finish. It's perfect for the Stila CC's and the Becca creams though, which are softer. All in all, I wouldn't recommend this for powder, or foundation, but for cream blushes, because of its soft bristles and small head size. And I'd just like to reiterate that it's not by any means a dupe for the SK Skunk, the 187 or the 188. It's just a different brush altogether, although still part of the skunk family. I know they're all skunks, but I was going into detail for people interested to know the differences between the various skunks available, and what uses each skunk would be best suited for. For the Flirt, it serves it's purpose best with cream blushes and highlighters.
Product: Skunk duo fibre brush, very close in feel and quality to the MAC 187. My experience: I have nothing bad to say about this brush, except one tiiiny thing, so let's start with the good first. Yes, this IS a close dupe of the famed MAC 187 (I own and have both, so I would know), yes, it does function as well, yes the bristles are equally soft and as good quality as the MAC, and yes, it does hold up to repeated washings, and yes it doesn't shed. So far so good. It would be perfect and equal to the 187 in fact, if not for the one tiiiiny gripe I have with it - the head of the SK Skunk is just a tad wider than the 187. Unfortunately, this means that the SK skunk, great as it is, is a tad too big for me (I use it for blush/highlighter application), but the 187 is just the right size. It was with much sadness that I swapped my SK skunk away, because I don't use a skunk to apply my foundation. That said, I do believe that the SK skunk is just as good as the mac, brush head size notwithstanding. In fact, if you plan to use the brush for foundation or loose powder, then I'd recommend the SK version over the mac, because its larger brush head size will make it easier to work with since it will cover a larger area of skin, and make applying foundation or powder less tedious. But if you just want it for blush, then the 187 is better since it fits better into my cheek area. But I'm splitting hairs here for the sake of a review, and for those who would like to know the details. Both are similar enough for the SK skunk to be a dupe of the 187, and the closest dupe I've found so far. I'd recommend this to everyone who doesn't want to fork out for the 187, or who wants a 187 but with a slightly larger brush head, and wants to use the brush for foundation and powder. It's a good brush, quality-wise, and is proof that you don't have to spend a lot to get good quality products.
Product: Sticky, tacky, thick but pigmented pink-based concealer in a plastic screw top pot. My experience: I hated this. I had a decent sized sample (the kind where you can get at least a few uses out of) but after the first time I couldn't bring myself to try it again. I'm NC20, and even the lightest shade is too pink and too dark on me. The shade selection is appalling (a general feeling I have about Benefit's concealers on the whole), and I honestly don't think anyone who doesn't have unnaturally pink-toned skin could use this. Maybe if you're NW35 and up or something this could work well, but on me I just don't see this going anywhere. Also the tacky texture is hard to work with. I'm pretty used to hard, slightly sticky concealers - LM and Mac's Studio Finish are both a bit hard in the pot but warm up well and go on without much problem. Benefit's, however, isn't as hard as the previous two, but it's incredibly STICKY. And it seems to stay tacky no matter how much I try to warm it up, and when it goes on your undereyes (where I tried it out), it remains tacky and doesn't spread out well and looks very thick. It's also really hard to blend, making look pretty obvious. I used fingers and a concealer brush, both didn't work out for me, it looked very tacky, cakey and obvious. The same thing happened when I tried it out on my blemishes - too dark, too pink, too tacky, too thick. The only good thing about it is that it's pigmented, so if your skin happens to match one of their unusually dark and pink colors, then it might work for you. But for anyone else who is yellow-toned and fairer, please look for something else. There are so many concealers out there that I don't see a point trying to make something that obviously sucks 'work' for you with so much effort. Just get something else that's easier to work with!
Product: Brown-Bronzey-Taupey-Champagney-Plummy color with some small gold glitter bits, in a plastic flip-top casing. To me this is a dupe for Coco Pigment (see image links for pictures). My experience: Oooohh, I really love this shade. I'm the queen of plummy-taupey-brown shades, and even with my huge stash of similar purples-crossed-with-taupe-crossed-with-brown shades (just check my profile pics if you need convincing), this shade is still so lovely and still so unique, there is truely nothing like it at all in my stash. I don't even know where to begin to describe this color, it is so lovely and versatile and wonderfully, wonderfully complex. First off, it goes beyond the normal purpled-taupey-with-a-hint-of-brown type of color description, it DOES have purple and taupe and brown elements, but YDK goes further than that. My best description would be that this shadow is a very good mix of light bronze, some brown, a tad of taupe, and a bit of plummy purple for good measure. On my NC20 AAB neutral-to-cool olivey skintone, this shows up more bronze than anything else, but it's not a straight up bronze (which tends to go orangey on me), is a beautiful champagney kind of bronze with some plum, and is one of the few wearable bronzes I've come across in my life. On other people it seems to turn out differently though, so my guess is how it looks on you would depend on your skintone - some people might find the color pulls more purple or taupey on them, while others might get more brown or champagne or bronze. No way to tell really, but to try out the color, or guess from swatches. I love it, it's a neutral color with just the right amount of 'pop' to make it wearable to the office, yet interesting enough in its own right. It also has some gold glitter to warm up the color a bit and add some interest. Here it really is 'glitter' as opposed to 'shimmer' or 'sheen', but the glitter bits are so small that my glitter-averse self isn't turned off by them. I really love this color, it is both warm and cool, and I can see it being universally flattering on both warm and cool-toned girls, and in the same vein, I can see it being paired with warm and cool colors - greens, browns, bronzes, champagnes, taupes, anything, really! This color I can see being really very versatile and pretty, it is a total chamelon to me, and this is why I really love this color - it is so unique I'd give it 6 stars if I could. I know the combination of bronze and taupe and brown and all that may not sound workable, but the color is surprisingly neutral when all mixed together. I strongly suggest you give this a try, if nothing else just to see how unique the color is. Quality-wise, this is great, as are most UD shadows that aren't too sheer or glittery. It has some small glitter, but nothing that turns me off, and there isn't much (if any) fallout. It also lasts a long time and is richly pigmented, my favourite characteristic of UD shadows. This baby is a keeper. I do wish there were more unique shades like this one. All in all, this color, a unique mix of light bronze, brown, champagne, purple, and taupe doesn't sound like it would look good, but it does, and it is wonderfully versatile, and can go with both warm and cool colors and complexions. I can see this being used for all occasions - whether to the club or to the office, and I would totally recommend this to anyone because the color is so unique and workable and pretty. The quality isn't bad either, pigmented, lasting, and has small gold glitters which don't fall out. The only drawback is that it has minor small glitter bits, so for anyone who cannot tolerate any glitter at all, this may not be for you. EDITED TO ADD: This is the PERFECT dupe of MAC's Coco pigment! You know, the Coco that was going for insane amounts on ebay? I always KNEW YDK was something special, its the prettiest, most unique color my taupe-hoor eyes have ever seen! Now I know why Coco created such a furore in its time! Here are my pics as proof: CLICK CONTINUED TO SEE PICS. L - UD YDK, R - Coco pigment