Eye Shadow -NARS - Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Aigle Noir
AQuestionofLust 1/31/2011 11:33:00 PM
Firstly, I would like to say that if I had a favorite cosmetic brand, NARS would be it. Moving right along: this is one of the worst high-end cosmetic products I can remember trying in the last 10 years. And I have a great memory for this kind of thing. I am helplessly attracted to on-the-go beauty products. I'm forever applying my makeup on the subway, in the backs of cabs, at work, etc... not to mention re-applying touch-ups throughout the day or night... for this reason, I like products that function well with minimal effort and/or are easily portable. The sleek, capped pencil eye shadow concept appealed to me greatly. I own and love one by Smashbox that's on its last legs, so I figured I'd try the NARS when I saw it. Aigle Noir is a beautiful dense carbon black with a plethora of tiny golden shimmers. I wish the formula wasn't so awful because the color has amazing depth. I suppose it's the cream texture that makes it stand out from other black and gold combo shadows-- AN is really very beautiful color and texture wise to the eye. When I swatched it on my hand in-store I had a hard time wiping it off and took this to mean that the product would last a goodly amount of time on my lids(with primer, of course). I was so, so wrong. I used primer(Too Faced), a base(MAC's Groundwork paint-pot, the perfect true nude) underneath, *and* brushed a similar toned eye shadow over this pencil and it still creased like mad. Within minutes. The primer-base-powder trick has worked with literally every other eye product I've tried in terms of keeping shadows in place, from cream to kohl to powders. But not NARS' Soft Touch Pencil. On my eyes, this product took the consistency of tar. Even when used alone with no base or powder, or used with just a base. Upon application it pulls and tugs and is generally a pain in the butt to put on. It runs in dense clumps and smudges and goes everywhere. On the NARS site, this pencil is described as "Smooth, creamy, long-wearing formula". The only place that the product was long-wearing on was my contact lenses after the product ran into my eyes-- not exactly what I was going for. If I could give this item a 0, I would. NARS soft touch pencils retail $24USD-- this is a joke. Don't even bother.
Lily Rose appears to be an almost violent shade of fluorescent red-pink in the tube, but applies as a beautiful, gentle popsicle-pink stained hue on the lips. If you apply a thicker than normal layer, Lily Rose(named after Johnny Depp's daughter, I'm fairly sure given Illamasqua's penchant for names) is a face brightening sheer cherry shade on my pale mauve lips. It's perfect for a subtle pop of color for the more timid, or a great perky spring shade. I really, really like Illamasqua's gloss tube. It's a squeeze tube, but narrow with a slant tip. The slim package allows for easy and accurate application on the fly, which makes my life easier... and also makes me more inclined to actually use this product(makeup hoarder I am!). It's also more sanitary than a wand applicator, which I typically prefer to squeeze tubes simply for ease of application. The plastic used is also firm, which is great because I don't feel like it's going to explode in the abyss of my purse or in my pocket while I'm out dancing. The formula is what causes my less than stellar rating. It provides excellent gloss and wear without being too sticky, however, my lips are always horribly dry whenever I remove this gloss or it wears off naturally. My lips aren't prone to dryness, even with matte lipsticks, so I find this odd-- and annoying! I always have a lip balm on hand, but even with that, my lips are sensitised from being so dry and so after using Illamasqua gloss I may go a whole day with sore lips. This isn't the end of the world and I enjoy the look of the product as well as the excellent and minimalistic packaging, so I will probably buy again for the way the product performs. Lily Rose is a particularly nice hue and I enjoy wearing it, I just wish it wouldn't dry out my lips so!
This product is absurd. I got this because my cousin had some sample packets and had run out of her full-size jar, but wanted me to try some. She gave me one of her few. I suggested that perhaps she should simply squeeze a packet into her empty jar to stretch it a little farther. Here's the kicker: one single free sample pack filled her empty jar half full. Huh? We stared at it in amazement for awhile. Why spend the $33USD retail price for this when you can just ask for samples? Using this product, I can understand why they're willing to give so much for free: it's terrible. It leaves my eye area feeling greasy and strange. What's more, it ran into my eyes and made them blood-red! I tend to lean towards conservative use of products, and no matter how little of this product I use, it always went right into my eyes. Abyssine Eye Cream did nothing but make me cry, literally. Boo.
I've always thought LUSH was overrated and somewhat overpriced, but this product takes the cake. I was shopping for gifts for a friend and a friendly sales associate came to help me. I don't remember how this came up, but I mentioned the types of things *I* like and she lead me to Creme Anglaise. All she had to say was "saffron" and I was sold on trying this product. Saffron is probably one of my favorite things in the world. Everything in LUSH always smells the same, and my hands were too busy to actually try the product, so I asked for a take home sample. Thank goodness I stuck with only buying gifts for my friend! This is a good moisturizer. But there are other products that perform as well or better for much less money. In addition, it has... well, a stench. It smells like old woman! Yuck! The worst part? It lingers. All day. Gross! $44.95 for the pleasure of smelling like my grandma's neglected wardrobe? No thanks, LUSH!
I got this as a present as a mistake-- I'd asked for All About Eyes, and was given All About Eyes Rich. I figured it couldn't hurt to try the thoughtful and generous gift, even if it wasn't what I thought I wanted, and I'm so glad I did! When I was younger I worshiped my beauty maven cousin, who preached about excellent skincare from day one. Because of this, I've been using skincare since I was 13. Ten+ years later, I've tried a lot of eye creams(amongst other skincare products, of course!)... and nothing has helped as much as this has! I had used up several jars of AAE regular several years ago. I switched because it hadn't done anything special, although it was fine for just a basic product. The price, however($29USD for .5oz, the same price as AAER), wasn't indicative of the quality, which was another reason to switch. I bounced around several brands before deciding to give it another try. Within 3 days, All About Eyes Rich reduced the appearance of the natural hollows I've got under my eyes courtesy of my father. It also helped soothe and heal the spot of severe eczema I had in the corner of my eye due to lack of moisture this harsh winter. I had compliments from co-workers about how "refreshed" I looked about 5 days into using this product once in the morning and once at night. I was a bit worried I'd develop millia from this product, but several weeks in, so far, so good. AAER is a rich cream that sinks into the eye area quickly, leaving the skin feeling comfortable and velvety. When all's said and done, my eyelids do get greasy at the end of the day no matter what... but this product has not contributed to this condition. This is more than I can say for other eye creams! As for puffs, I don't have enough skin around my eyes to get those unless I've been crying, so I can't really attest to its efficacy in helping with them. It has, however, softened my super fine lines in addition to helping with my under-eye shadow. The best part is that even though it's pricey, a tiny bit goes a long, long way. I've been using AAER for several weeks and the product hasn't even dipped below the jar rim yet! This makes it well worth the $29USD price and after this jar was gone, I will certainly buy myself another. The only thing about this product I would change is that I'd prefer it in a more hygienic squeeze tube. However, I'm not a terrible germaphobe and only apply products with clean hands to a clean face, so I don't think this is an awfully huge deal. I haven't ever gotten such consistently nice results from an eye cream from low end to high, so for me, this is the best one I've found. I'll continue to buy it as long as it works, and will update here accordingly :)
Makeup Brushes -Pop Beauty - Double Duty Kabuki Brush
AQuestionofLust 1/13/2011 3:34:00 PM
Travel/retractable brushes are seldom of very good quality. This brush is the exception. It comes in an elegant, sleek, and sturdy matte metallic tube. Removing the cap reveals an exceptionally full natural hair brush. At first it's a bit too scratchy and smells like the factory, but several washes in a gentle soap solve these problems easily. This brush is a little too large for smaller makeup bags, but it's worth it for on-the-go touch-ups. It's taken a ton of abuse floating around in various bags, back-packs, and satchels of mine and is still in perfect shape. Oddly, the label on the package is cheap flimsy sticker. A quick rub with alcohol will get off the residue and reveal a "Pixi" brand logo. Huh? The brush itself can easily hold its own over many more expensive kabukis I've had, and is a reasonably priced $25USD. A great investment for ladies who like a professional finish on-the-go!
Lipstick -Sephora - Rouge Cream Lipstick in Mr. Lover
AQuestionofLust 1/11/2011 4:51:00 PM
(PLEASE NOTE that the photo included with this review was taken in natural, but overcast and therefor very cool toned lighting) What a wonderful surprise! Many bright pinks are too cool for my fair-olive self to pull off. This is not. It's bright, in your face, and wonderful. $12USD gets you a generously sized lipstick in a sleek black tube. The product smells of black currant, which is surprisingly... pleasant. The scent dissipates quickly once applied, though, which is also nice. It reminds me of France, which is where this product is made(go figure), but too much would ruin it for me! One swipe and you've got the color pay-off you want: saturated but moist. This lipstick is super long-lasting. I apply once and blot with a tissue, then apply again and don't have to touch up all night. Even after open bar ;) Furthermore, this formula is actually quite conditioning. I find this shocking, as most long last lip formulas are either drying or non-moisturizing by virtue. I cannot recommend this enough based on the color alone, but it is an overall great product for a great price. Just beware: once you remove the outer shrink wrap packaging, you will be left with no way to identify your color other than a window packed with the actual product at the base. This is a nice extra bit when you wear your lipstick down, but it'd be nice to have a label to identify the product with!
Powder -Cover FX - Powder FX Mineral Powder Foundation
AQuestionofLust 1/11/2011 4:31:00 PM
This review is for the pressed powder product, not the similarly named "Pure Mineral" loose product from this line. Cover FX has an interesting way of grouping foundation colors: B Series(golden brown to ebony undertones) C Series(primarily pink undertones) E Series(pink and yellow undertones) M Series(yellow and olive undertones) I fall under the "M" series. My perfect match is M50: Deep Honey. I find the name a bit misleading as I am on the fair-ish side(medium in summer, maybe), but this color is a near perfect match for me. I was startled the first time I applied this with the provided applicator to clean, moisturized skin. It blended in so well and perfect that my face looked like a mask with no dimension! Every flaw and shadow was erased. This kind of coverage scares me(I'm not a drag queen!), so I tried it with a brush. Voila! I use a full animal-bristle brush, typically kabuki to apply to clean skin or over concealer and get naturally perfect(human) skin with ease. My look lasts into the night with minimal effort-- I typically blot once or twice or use my travel brush for a fresh dusting if I've been quite active. I like to spray this with Vichy or Evian spray water mist to set after applying, and I feel this may help with its lasting power. It also helps make the product "melt" into the skin. It costs $35 for 12g which is cheaper than a night at Studio 54 back in 1983, maybe, but is quite pricey for the amount of product-- my compact has quite a substantial dip after a month of use(I wear makeup 3-4 days a week max). My skin is sensitive, and this product has not caused breakouts or irritation. On to the compact: it's a tacky but sleek matte silver thing. It's tolerable, but for the price of the product, it could be nicer. I'm a big snot about skin cosmetics, so this is extremely high praise for me. I would rather(and often do) go bare than have something on my face that looks less than perfectly natural. Powder FX is exceptionally natural when used right, non-irritating, and easy to use. If you're looking to resemble Kim Catrall in Mannequin, using Powder FX with its applicator is your dream come true. If you just want exceptionally natural but even looking skin and like using your brushes, this is fortunately also for you! The range of skin tones is amazingly true to life.
I agree with others-- the name of this product is a misnomer. I expected bright but deep strawberry and got deep raspberry. Again, I appreciate that NARS doesn't abuse shimmer and sparkle. This gloss doesn't have that. But it's just too much pigment for me. It's quite dark, nearly opaque. Good for enhancing similarly toned lipsticks, but I generally like my darker colors as satin or matte, personally. If you like darker hues and would like one in a non-staining gloss form, then this is for you. It's got that sticky-but-less-sticky-than-MAC-gloss texture I'm not terribly fond of(but will put up with for shades I like) and lack of fragrance typical to NARS, which I am fond of. At $24, I certainly would not re-purchase, and have decided to swap mine. It's not a bad product, however, it's not for me.
Giza is the perfect juicy peach gloss. Not too XXX shiny-- I hate that. But it is certainly glossy, as the product type would indicate:P This has no shimmer or glitter, but the pigment is the slightest bit creamy. I use it alone for ripe summer lips with just one product-- yum. I like that this gloss has no flavor or scent. The drawbacks: this gloss is pricey($24 USD) and stickier than I would like. But the price tag is worth the color alone-- it's quite hard to find nice shades without shimmer!
A generally boring, pearly-light blue shade of which there are a million similar. I got this for my kit, but it's so boring, I never even use it on models. It's got MAC's typical functional but unimpressive formula. Nothing to sneeze at. It's a pretty color, just boring. I suppose it's nice as a blender for those who wear many shades on the lid at once, but it's just not practical or interesting enough to keep, IMO.
I've purchased this item 3 times now. I use it predominantly to conceal my under-eye area, but also as a spot concealer on minimal makeup days. I take an NC-20, which is unusually light for me but matches my skin well. I am notoriously snotty about natural-looking skin products, but this happens to melt in with my natural color and skin texture with minimal effort. Select Moisturecover is a good general purpose concealer. Although not my favorite, it is the best I have found for my sensitive and delicate eye area for the price range, which is $16USD. It comes in a convenient tube with a doe-foot applicator. A tube lasts me about a year(I wear makeup maybe 3-4 days a week max). This concealer doesn't dry out my skin, nor does it leave it oily. However, it does settle into the few tiny lines I've always had under my eyes, so I have to be sure to set it with powder and check it throughout the day. I seldom need to re-apply, though-- I just blend the color back in and re-powder. The pigment and formula render this product to be quite blendable and flexible in coverage. It works without much effort. All said, I will continue to buy this product until I find something similar but better in this price range.
These pencils are silky, saturated, and generally perfect. The product description is quite accurate. The texture is perfectly velvet-matte. I don't find these to be drying, but beware-- this formula will not add moisture to dry lips. Make sure your lips are flake free before applying. I'm on my second pencil in Dragon Girl and my first in Roman Holiday(which is a more wearable version of the NARS lipstick of the same name). These are staples for me, although Dragon Girl is more of a night-out kind of thing. I get multiple compliments every.single.time I wear it. One swipe and I'm done. I get perfectly dense, rich color in one go, and the pencil shape allows me to apply to my naturally full lips more accurately than with a lipstick. I don't need to re-apply unless I've been lucky enough to have been kissed ;) The only drawback to Dragon Girl is that it's highly staining on the lips. Don't try to wear a nude lip the morning after. Using a bit of jojoba oil to remove should help with any remaining pigment. Roman Holiday doesn't cling as much pigment-wise, and is a cool purpley-pink that manages to be wearable enough for most occasions. I have dark hair and fair skin and this is just enough brightness for spring! It lasts a long time on the lips and also works nicely paired with glosses. I've also owned this product in the color "Dolce Vita", which is a nice rosey neutral and thus boring to me. I gave this to my best friend, who has an office job, and this is a staple for her. I also had the shade "Bettina", but that simply didn't work for me. The range of shades this product comes in is minimalistic but perfect-- you'll find a shade that works for you, I promise. NARS has done well in sticking to choosing colors appropriate for their texture, and this product range is no exception.
The packaging of this product is cute, but the overall nice-ness of this product ends there. The Eraser comes in an array of oddly pink and orange hued colors, none of which I could get to match my fair golden olive skin very well. The click pen is annoying no matter how patient one is-- too much or too little product always comes out. The actual product itself is thick but drying-- yuck. It did nothing to help my very mild complexion maladies, and I can generally make most things work for me in a pinch... even cheaper drugstore items. This is pricey at $21USD. I'll stick to my MAC Select Moisturecover, thank you!
Really, NARS? REALLY? No matter what I do with this, I look like I did back in the late 90s when I was in my early teens and playing with Bonne Bell's "big girl" makeup. I tried it on a model I was working with, and she had similar sentiments. I grimaced as I handed her some makeup remover. My bad. Orgasm multiple is sparkly, tacky, and generally NOT CUTE. I'm not a huge fan of the shade of powder blush, either, but I can agree that that at least is a generally good product. I am sorely disappointed in you, Francois!