I found Stellar somewhat disappointing. I used Laura Mercier Eye Shadow in Sandstone for a long time, and loved it. Though a light shade, it was highly pigmented, so you only needed a single swipe. With a creamy, satiny finish, it was thick and smooth and easy to blend; a great base for other shades or on it's own to brighten your eyes. A perfect shade of pale pinky peach with very finely-milled shimmer, it doubled as a highlighter when used sparingly over blush. It made the apples of my cheeks pop and added some much-needed luminosity to my large, deep-set eyes. I'm extremely pale though, so while on most people it would be a safe neutral, on my eyes (in daylight) it was quite peachy compared to my cool alabaster skin. I thought Stellar might be my best option for a less pigmented shade to highlight the inner corner of my eyes. Unfortunately it's nothing like Sandstone (at least the old formula of Sandstone - I understand it's changed). Though I obviously expected it to be paler, it is also a lot less pigmented, so I have to load my brush with it. With Sandstone you could just tap your brush in the shadow and have more than enough to cover the lid. With Stellar, I have to swirl my blender brush around in the palette at least once, possibly more if I'm going up to the brow bone. There is no actual colour payoff for me. The shade matches my skin almost exactly, so it's not pale enough to work as a highlighter, and it's TOTALLY sheer. Basically all I get from this is shimmer, and the shimmer is not even as finely-milled as Sandstone. It's more glittery than luminous. I can't use it on my cheeks, it just doesn't do anything. I do use this as a base for other eyeshadows, so I find it practical, but I don't think it will last long because I have to use so much of it. It doesn't last terribly well on it's own, either. Basically, if you want a sheer wash of faint frost, this is your eyeshadow. I'm still looking for my perfect luminous neutral.
Ah, the straightener of doom. One day, when I can afford a GHD, I'm going to have some kind of ceremony in which I destroy this straightener in creative ways, to pay it back for destroying my hair. Oh Remington Wet 2 Straight, how do I hate thee. Let me count the ways! 1. The "Wet 2 Straight" premise is something of a myth. You probably can straighten wet hair with this, but your hair will look and feel like sheet metal. 2. You need to glide this thing over your hair super slowly about 3 or 4 times to straighten. This process, rather than the heat itself, is what ruins hair, which is why you want a straightener capable of high heat. 3. This straightener is not capable of high heat, 4. The heat can be set to anything between 1 and 30, which is ridiculous, because nobody really needs a straightener that can be set to 26 rather than 25, or 29 rather than 30. I've never used anything less than 15, because it's so uselessly cool that you could achieve better results by standing near a warm oven. There's absolutely no point. It's like "this one goes to eleven!" - some genius just said "instead of having 5 settings, let's have 30! IT WILL BE 6 TIMES BETTER!!" 5. The default setting is 15, so if you want the straightener hot, you have to press the damn button 15 TIMES to get it there. 6. Sometimes, as a special favour, the straightener switches itself off, and you have to turn it on again, press the button 15 times again, and wait for it to heat up. Again. 7. It takes FOREVER to heat up. If you're in a hurry, forget it. It would be quicker to get an actual haircut that precludes straightening. 8. You really need to blow dry your hair straight first, which defeats the purpose of a straightener. If I let my hair (thick, mostly straight with a hint of wave) air dry, and then use the straightener, it takes about half an hour, by the end of which time you may as well have just deep fried your hair, because it's COOKED. 9. Even if you do everything right, this thing is slooow. 10. Don't even think about using this to create curls. You'd have more luck with an actual iron (note: do not try that). 11. If you leave the straightener plugged in, even if it's switched off, it will bleep at you randomly for days. It's like a demanding baby. I can be drifting off to sleep and suddenly "MEEP!" I don't know if this is standard safety protocol for straighteners "MEEP!", but like toasters and kettles and most other household appliances, I'd prefer to have the option of leaving it plugged "MEEP!" in. What I hate most about it is it's the straightener I have, so I have to use it until the straightener I have is a better straightener. There are just times when I want the added polish of straightened hair, and this does the job, slowly, with much frustration, and while inflicting much damage. Seriously, if you want shiny, straight hair today, you will have to tolerate brittle straw-like tresses tomorrow. I'm pretty sure this thing has done some serious damage to my hair over the last couple of years, even though I use it sparingly due to my feelings of anger, disgust, and despair. I'm sure there are inexpensive straighteners on the market that work; I've heard good things about Conair (in fact, I requested one for my birthday, but my brother thought this one looked better - I don't really want to talk about it) and I don't like the idea that straight, shiny hair is only for the 1%. I once watched someone on Youtube demonstrating curling techniques with a GHD straightener, and at the end of the clip she showed us her COLLECTION of GHD straighteners in a rainbow of colours and styles. What I suggest is that instead of buying a Remington Wet 2 Straight, which I believe to be responsible for all the problems in my life, you write to this overindulged harpy and demand that she share the wealth. I guess I don't really mean that, I'm just depressed about my hair.
Have you ever been preoccupied while washing your hair, only to realise when you go to blow-dry it that you haven't washed the conditioner out properly? You're faced with the dilemma of either rewashing your hair, or completing the drying process and putting up with slightly greasy hair. That's exactly how my hair feels after using Redken All Soft Shampoo. I've been wanting to try Redken All Soft for years due to the great reviews. I only just got around to purchasing some, without realising the formula had changed. I have long hair which is pretty normal but somewhat prone to oiliness on the scalp and dry ends, so I habitually concentrate shampoo on the roots and just apply conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends. The mid-lengths and ends feel fine, but as I was blow-drying my hair it became apparent that the roots were greasy and had some kind of residue on them. I followed through with the blow-dry in the hope that I was imagining things, but by the time I was finished it was obvious that I would have to rewash my hair. It's still visibly greasy and stringy at the roots, and if I brush the hair straight back at the crown it sort of stays there, as though I have applied some kind of gooey styling product. The conditioner seems fine, but I'm going to have to rewash my hair, because it looks and feels dirty. I assume this is due to the new "Interlock Protein Network" which I guess is code for "we took a great product and made it crappy!"
This was a major disappointment for me! It seemed like it would be the perfect colour. In the pan, it's a peachier pink than I expected, quite vivid but not highly pigmented, so it's hard to overdo. It looks close to the shade of a natural flush, like a lighter shade of Nars Orgasm but without the glitter, so there's nothing really wrong with the colour. Unfortunately the "barely pink" description seems to be based on a lack of pigment rather than a lighter colour. I'm extremely pale, but I find myself loading the brush with this stuff just to get it to show up on my skin. I've only been using it for a few weeks, and I've already hit the bottom of the pan. This is basically pretty matte, and I think I would prefer it if it had some subtle pearl. The finish tends to be a bit dry and patchy, so I don't end up with the flawless soft-focus blush I'm going for. I know it's a cliche, but I really wanted to love this. It's so highly rated, and I expected that for a pale complexion it might be a no-fail, HG blush for that naturally healthy flush. For an immaculate PPP look, I still prefer Alima's Luminous Shimmer Blush in Primrose (but the shipping to Australia costs more than the product!) I will say that I quite like this on the brow bone fto add warmth to minimal eye makeup on a complexion that tends towards ashiness. I may preserve what's left in the pan just for that purpose. I wouldn't buy again, though.
I purchased this to replace MAC's discontinued Brow Shader in Charcoal/Maple. I have to say I'm surprised this is so highly rated - it's nowhere near as good as the equivalent MAC product. Firstly I should explain that though my brows are dark, they are sparse, and I have to do some serious filling-in. I like the full and soft look rather than pencil-thin, so I use Shu Uemura's indispensable Hard Brow Pencil in Seal first, and then finish with brow powder to soften and fill gaps. MAC Brown Shader in Charcoal/Maple was a staple for me. The Maple was useless (a honey-coloured shimmer for highlighting the brow bone, but way to dark to use for that purpose - makeup companies need to release that sometimes pale people have dark brows!) but the Charcoal was the perfect dark, cool brown. It was highly pigmented, so you only needed a tiny amount of product on your brush, and I often swiped it on my wrist to remove the excess powder before application. Nevertheless, it worked for me. By contrast, Clinique's Brow Shaper in Charcoaled LOOKS the same colour, but is nowhere near as pigmented. That means you need to get a lot of product on your brush, and apply a lot more product on the brow, which to me looks artificial. The powder in the compact is quite hard, so I have to swirl the brush around a lot to pick up enough product. This is the quality I expect from a dirt-cheap drugstore eyeshadow, not a Clinique brow powder. The shadow also goes quite hard and shiny in the pan, and the surface needs to be scraped regularly to get rid of the hard, waxy surface that builds up. It doesn't apply quite as smoothly as other products either, so it can look a bit rough and flaky, rather than the smooth and soft effect you want to emulate the effect of actual brow hairs. The brush of course is useless, but I didn't expect much of it. I use Bobbi Brown's Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush. I'm not likely to repurchase this. It obviously works for some, but it makes filling brows a laborious process, and I don't like the finish. I may try a Bobbi Brown eye shadow in a cool medium brown shade instead.
I bought this because so many users recommended it as a contouring shade for pale skin. I don't know what everyone else's definition of pale is, but it's obviously not the same as mine, because this stuff looks seriously muddy on me. It's BROWN. Not taupe. It's a pigmented medium brown. I've tried it as an eyeshadow, cheek contour and nose contour with various brushes over various bases, and the result is always the same: a dark, muddy smudge that's impossible to blend. I could use it as part of a trio of eyeshadow shades, but as a contouring shade it absolutely does not work. Even if I tap and brush off most of the colour before applying, it's too dark. On my cheeks I look like Lindsay Lohan (whose disastrous bruise-like contouring made headlines when she appeared in court) and on my nose I look just dirty. For the record, I am extremely pale, but so are a lot of others who recommend this as a contouring shade.
Eyeliner -MAC - Fluidline Eye-Liner Gel in Blacktrack
sadiemonster 7/5/2011 10:00:00 AM
I've been aiming to try this for ages, but the price was prohibitive (in Australia it's AUD$32.00 - I can get Bobbi Brown cheaper online). I finally bought my first jar a couple of weeks ago, and I'm pretty disappointed given that this product has cult status. No matter how I prep the eyelid (moisturiser, no moisturiser, foundation, no foundation, powder, no powder, eyeshadow, no eyeshadow, even swiping the lid with alcohol to make sure it's totally oil-free) this stuff will not draw a solid black line. I'm using a MAC 209 brush, which is ideal, but the line is always streaky and greyish rather than dense and black. I ALWAYS have to apply two coats. Paint one stripe on, allow it to dry, then paint over. The effect ultimately is a dense black line, but it's very matte and the effect is more waxy-pencil than liquid/gel. It does smudge. Tightlining is hopeless, it just doesn't stick. I get a greyish wash under the lash line, rather than a fine black line. Because I have to do two coats, I end up using quite a lot of product. I don't think a jar will last me long. I think I'll stick with Bobbi Brown's Gel Liner, though I'll continue to use the MAC 209 brush, which works beautifully with both products. EDIT: I've found using a dark eyeshadow as a liner (I used MAC brow shader in Charcoal) makes an excellent base for Fluidline. I use Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation as a base on my eyelids because of serious discolouration, then draw a very thick line of dark brown shadow with a Bobbi Brown Eye Definer Brush, then apply the MAC Fluidline eyeliner as normal. I've found that following these steps does create a very dense black line that lasts and lasts, which is exactly what I want. I still think I'm using more product than I'd like and will probably get through a jar pretty quickly, and that it isn't great for tight-lining, but it's pretty good stuff. I'll try Bobbi Brown again next to decide which is ultimately better.
I'm surprised at the poor reviews so far - I'm pretty sure this my HG blush. Due to a combination of illness and genetics, I'm an extremely pale PPP. Sometimes I build up colour to add warmth to my complexion (Clarins Tanning Gel, Nars Orgasm and/or Penny Lane), but most of the time I prefer to go with the flow and subtly enhance my natural skintone. Think ballet dancer or blushing bride. To combat ashiness, I use pale pink tones in blush and shadow with a hint of luminescence (not frost), clear lip gloss, black eyeliner on the top lashes for that 50's style eye-brightening definition and black mascara. Subtle brow definition is a must for me, too. I love all-purpose pink-toned brightening products that are hard to overdo, like Benefit High Beam and High Brow. They have a colour-correcting effect on a dull complexion. With this approach I can get away with looking pale, but not ghoulishly so - just elegant with a hint of radiance. Alima Luminous Shimmer Blush in Primrose is ideal for this look. It's a very pale pink on the cooler side of the colour spectrum, and it is literally luminous as opposed to frosty/glittery. It gives shape to my cheekbones and deposits just enough colour to light up the face. You can always use a pop of brighter colour over the top if it's too sheer. Like most mineral makeup, the finish is smoothing and reflective. My 7 yr old niece looked at me the other day and said "wow, you're skin is so smooth!" which is pretty much exactly what I'm aiming for anytime I put ANYTHING on my face! ;) A little goes a long way, and the best way to apply is to tip the container upside down (lid ON), then remove the lid and swirl a soft kabuki brush around IN THE LID. That way you get the tiniest amount of product spread evenly throughout the brush. I don't 'buff' too much when applying - it tends to push all the pigment to the outside of the circle. Just sweep it on and blend lightly. For darker skintones this would probably be great as a highlighter, but on my skin this is a perfect shade for cheeks and a little TOO pink for eye shadow. For those days when I want to look fresh, natural, radiant and healthy, this is likely to be my HG blush for a long time to come.
Mascara -Estee Lauder - Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening Mascara
sadiemonster 6/24/2011 5:04:00 AM
I purchased a sample of this online recently, and when I first tried it, I LOVED it. For some weeks previously I had been using Maybelline Great Lash (an impulse buy in a moment of desperation) which is universally recognised as The Most Appalling Goo Known to Man. Subsequently, the Estee Lauder Double Wear Mascara seemed magical by comparison. A rich glossy black, it went on smoothly, lengthened and curled the lashes, and felt dry to the touch (not gooey and moist). It didn't appear to smudge throughout the day, and made my eyes look bright and wide open. I even started wearing mascara on my lower lashes again, which I gave up a few years ago due to chronic smudgery (it's a word! Okay, it's not a word). Unfortunately by the next day I realised it was hurting my eyes quite a lot. I persisted anyway, in the hope that the stinging sensation would resolve itself, or that I would get used to it. Then my 7 year old niece looked at my face and said "wow, you're eyes are really red". I realised that my eyes do look red, bloodshot and teary, and that is NOT A GOOD LOOK. Shortly after application, I experience a stinging, then a burning sensation, and throughout the day I feel like I have sand in my eyes. Ouch. Finally by the second and third day of use I had to concede that the mascara isn't even as easy to apply as it first appeared, and that it FLAKES. The consistency is gloopy and the brush seems to bring out an awful lot of product (this could easily be fixed with a smaller opening on the tube, Estee Lauder!) I tried scraping the extra goo off on the edge of the tube, but that got messy fast, and it wouldn't go back into the tube anyway. The only way I can apply this effectively is to wipe a generous amount of product off the brush with a tissue before applying. This works very well - in fact, I find it very easy to apply after removing the excess - but you're wasting 2/3 of the product. The flaking wasn't immediately apparent, but I soon realised I had tiny black flecks under my eyes at the end of each day. Not pretty. In the US, this stuff costs US$21, but to purchase a full-sized Double Wear Mascara from the Estee Lauder website in Australia costs $48.00 + $10.00 shipping, a total of AUD$58.00 or USD$61.26 (as of June 24 2011), which is obscene. This probably isn't the place to rant about the outrageous discrepancy in cosmetic prices between the US, UK and Australia (IS there a place to rant? Some sort of city square? Because I'm willing to go there and testify), but $50 is too much money for a product that you're expected to dispose of after 3 months anyway. Even if I find my HG mascara among the top end brands, I'm likely to return to drugstore favourites like Maybelline Full N' Soft anyway, that do a pretty decent job for a fraction of the price. Not Great Lash, though. I'm not THAT desperate. EDIT: After abandoning this mascara for a couple of weeks and then retrying, I didn't have trouble with stinging and watery eyes. I think it must have been me, not the product. I'm still deducting a star for the flakiness and the gloopy wand that needs to be wiped before application (note: I'm using a sample size, so the full size may be better designed), but otherwise this stuff is pretty good and I'm bumping it up to 4 stars.
I give up. I've tried this liner three times, purchased from three different stores, and it's been different every time. The first time, it worked beautifully. The finely pointed sponge tip applicator is easy to use, perfectly shaped for creating a fine or a thick line and getting as close as possible to the lashes. I often line under the top lashes too, not actually on the waterline, but as close as possible to the lashes, even between them, to make sure I get a really solid, dense line. It suits me. The first tube (tube?) of this stuff was excellent. It was easy to apply, very black and highly pigmented. It dried quickly, was virtually smudgeproof and lasted all day. It didn't irritate my eyes, and for the price I decided it was probably my HG liner; a cheaper alternative to Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner (which I love) or MAC Fluidline (which I've never tried due to MAC being ridiculously overpriced in Australia, with a prohibitive return policy). Unfortunately, the second tube was awful. It was a weird consistency, watery, as though it had separated. I tried shaking it up, mixing it with the applicator, warming it up, refrigerating it, nothing helped. I persisted in using it for a while, but the line was a mix of watery black and light grey, impossible to apply with accuracy, and non-drying. I tried doubling it with a dark eyeshadow, which worked okay but still wasn't liquid-liner-black, and what's the point? Why not JUST use eyeshadow? I used it for a few weeks then discarded it. Given that my first experience with the product was so good, I decided I'd bought from a bad batch and gave it another go. With the third tube I have a whole different set of problems. It's almost as though I purchased three completely different products. This one is very black, not watery but still will not apply a solid black line. No matter what base I use (foundation, moisturiser, no foundation, no moisturiser, powder, eyeshadow, etc.) the liquid will not 'stick', so I end up with some patches of very black liner and some areas with no eyeliner at all. If I reapply without waiting for it to dry, it wipes the existing eyeliner OFF so I have even more invisible patches, as you might if you swiped water-based paint over oil-based paint on a piece of furniture. If I let the eyeliner dry before reapplying, it just won't stick over the top of the first layer, even over the invisible patches. Again, I end up using dark powder eyeshadow with an angled brush to even out and fill in the line. Needless to say, it takes me about 10 minutes to finish the job. Additionally, the third tube makes my eyes sting and water, even if I don't apply underneath the top lashes (which I gave up doing weeks ago). It also smudges criminally, especially if my eyes are watering. If I'm not vigilant, I end up with black splotches around my eye area, and somehow it smudges not only under my eyes (that dreadful swathe of greyish residue that makes you look like you're dying) but on my BROWBONE, near the crease. Finally, although it's cheaper and easier to get that Bobbi Brown's, it runs out quickly and feels less hygienic, so you change it as often as you change your mascara. It's a false economy. Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner lasts for months, and you can clean your brush. In conclusion, while this product obviously has potential, the quality control sucks. I won't be buying again. FYI: Full priced, Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner is about AU$25.95 currently (US$27.50), MAC Fluidline is $32.00 (US$33.95) and Bobbi Brown Gel is AU$45.00 (US$47.75). Revlon is ridiculously overpriced, at almost three times the US price of around $7 - $8.00. Bobbi Brown and MAC are WAY cheaper in the US, but MAC is hard to find if you want it shipped to Australia.
I REALLY wanted this to work! Due to illness I have to colour my hair at home. I've been using L'Oreal Excellence in Light Ash Brown for the past few years, as it's the closest to a natural cool brown I can find, but it's still a little brassy, especially as the product begins to wash out. I've had no more success with other brands, and for some unexplicable reason ash brown tones are hard to find in Australia (for example, we don't have L'Oreal Preference in Light Ash Brown - I called L'Oreal once to ask why not and the woman, who was eating something, said "why do you WANT an ash brown?). Like most "light" ash browns, Excellence is really more of a medium brown, so I recently started mixing half a box of Excellence Light Ash Brown with half a box of Dark Ash Blonde to create a true light brown. Mixing the two products does work - I now have true light-to-medium brown hair - but I think it lightens a little TOO much, which contributes to the brassiness. Enter Ardell Unred! I've been wanting to try Unred for ages, especially as it's garnered such great reviews online. It's not widely available in Australia, so I had to purchase online and have it shipped from the US, which was costly, but (I figured) totally worth it if the product worked. Sadly, it didn't. Initially I added 30 drops to a single box of Excellence Creme Hair Colour. It seemed like a lot, but the box said 10 drops per ounce of colour and there are 4oz of liquid in a standard box, so I actually should have used 40 drops. I left the colour on for the standard time, but after I washed my hair it was as brassy as ever. The Unred seemed to have made no difference at all. I proceeded to blow dry my hair, and it looked fine, but a natural light brown (rather than ash brown) with distinct brassy gold/red tones under artificial light. I thought it might work better in my conditioner, so the next time I washed my hair I added 20 drops (yes, twenty!) to a slightly-larger-than-normal dollop of conditioner, smothered it on root to tip and left it on my hair for half an hour. Once again, no difference whatsoever. Finally I suspected that if this stuff was going to work, it would need to be left on overnight. Other reviewers have said that your hair will go grey if you leave this stuff on for too long, and I didn't want to risk that, so I did a strand test. I cut three 1/4 inch strands, about 2 inches long each, two to colour and one as a control. I took them from the same part of my hair and taped the ends. Then I mixed two drops of Unred with just under 1/4 teaspoon of conditioner and painted it generously on two of the strands. The next morning I rinsed the test strands under warm water and dried them with my hair dryer, then compared them to the control strand. There is absolutely no difference whatsoever between the three strands, and believe me, I stared at them for ages under different lights. In daylight all three strands look identical, a warmish light-to-medium brown. It's possible that the Unred has had a very subtle effect in making the brassy gold tones more of a true reddish hue, but I may be imagining even that. It certainly hasn't had a drabbing effect, or left any discernible ash tone at all. I'm so disappointed, as I really thought this was going to give me a true ash tone, or at least cool down the brassy tones in my hair. I can't believe some people have had success adding a single drop of this to hair colour or conditioner/shampoo - does the placebo effect apply to beauty products? I think I'll have to go back to Excellence Light Ash Brown and resign myself to a darker tone with more warmth than I would like.
I bought this in Light Ash Brown, and while the product is good, the colour is most certainly NOT light ash brown. I would describe it as a medium chocolate brown. I tried this because I wanted a no-ammonia colour that wouldn't lighten my naturally cool light brown hair, but would cover greys and maintain a rich tone. I've tried Clairol Nice 'n' 'Easy and L'Oreal Excellence, both in Light Ash Brown, numerous times. The colour of the Nice 'n' Easy is good, but makes my hair feel like straw, and does a lot of damage over time. Plus I think they recently changed the formula, and it no longer has the violet tone that counteracts brassiness. Excellence is better, but because it lightens the hair a shade or two, the colour becomes brassier over time (ie., as the dye washes out) and I don't want to have to use a permanent colour every few weeks. Garnier Light Ash Brown is not as good at colouring greys, but it does a good enough job, and sort of blends them in so they're not obvious. Because it's ammonia-free, the payoff would be worth it, IF it delivered the colour it promised. The colour is easy to apply and only takes 10 minutes to develop, so it's quick and easy and doesn't stain your skin. I do wish they'd give you proper latex gloves though, and not those awful crunchy plastic ones. There was just enough in a single box for my long thick hair, so that's a plus. It covered well without streaking, and left my hair soft and shiny. Sadly, the colour is a flat, dense, one-tone mid-brown. It's not ashy in the sense I had hoped - just dark and dull, which is not the same thing. An ash tone should be cool but still lively and flattering to the complexion. Fortunately it will wash out eventually and I can start again, but it's so difficult to find a combination of the best shade and the right product. Permanent colour leaves my hair brassy and semi-permanent is too dark. I might try Garnier Nutrisse or Clairol Natural Instincts, although I don't think they're available in Australia. Ugh!
I think I'm in the minority here, but I couldn't be more disappointed with this product. I am extremely pale (I use Estee Lauder's fairest shade of Double Wear Foundation: Shell), but as others said the colours were neutral and not at all muddy, I thought I might get away with it. I did not get away with it. I look like Edward Scissorhands after a spray tan. As soon as I opened the palette, I thought "whoa - way too dark", but I gave it a try anyway. The dark shade is a warm mid-toned brown. I used it to contour my eye shadow first, and it was already darker and warmer than the muted browns I usually use for this. It's also highly pigmented, so you get a lot of colour on the brush. This is usually a good thing, but because the colour was so dark on me, I found it frustrating that I couldn't use it more sparingly. Needless to say I used a very light hand contouring the cheeks and nose, but the dark shade was still too dark and very muddy and orangey on me. My nose honestly looks ridiculous, and I have contoured successfully before, but with a softer, cooler shade. The light shade is fine, but I think it's slightly darker and warmer than my loose powder (NARS in Snow), so I don't see the point. The 'flash' shade didn't seem to show up at all when I swiped it on, but I guess that's what the LED lights are for, because when I looked in the mirror, I could see distinct trails of glitter which would show up at night under lights. There are better products out there for shimmery highlighting. The packaging isn't impressive. The compact is unnecessarily bulky and cheap-looking, made from heavyweight cardboard covered in silver paper which looks clunky and lumpy. The LED lights are a gimmick. I don't really know why a compact needs lights when you're usually putting your makeup on under a light anyway. Unless you're out in the evening and suddenly need to touch up your cheekbones, but when does that EVER happen? I think this would be fantastic for people with darker or warmer toned skin, but it makes me look dirty and overdone, and it actually aged me. The finished look reminded me of the appearance of actresses who have been artificially aged in movies. Maybe PPP's just need to skip the contouring and stick to subtle cheek colours and gentle highlighting to create shape and radiance. I do like the concept of contouring though, just to give my face some dimension and bring out the cheekbones, so if anyone has suggestions for alternative products, I'd love to hear them!! Apparently there used to be warm and cool Stila Contouring Trios available, but I've never seen separate products - I just have the palette currently available on the Stila website. I'm really sorry that I'm bringing the rating down when everyone else seems to like this product so much. Honestly, am I doing something wrong?
When I fist swept this angel dust on my ghostly pale complexion, I could hear the Hallelujah chorus in the background. Okay, so I've only used it once. Having a long history of disasters with clownish blush, I'm writing this review in the first flush of success, as it were. I'm so pale I barely qualify as a pale porcelain princess. I'm more of a waxen white wraith, which is hard to say, but the best alliteration I can come up with at the moment. Needless to say, a burst of peony blush on each cheek can make me look like a porcelain doll in the worst sense, accentuating my pallor and dark circles under my eyes. Nars blush in Orgasm is the perfect antidote. It adds a subtle, convincing flush to my complexion without overwhelming it. I can still carry off a pale and polished look with this blush, but I can imagine layering it on a warmer skin-tone could create a bronzed babe effect. It's exactly the colour of a natural flush, and blends beautifully, so it's not difficult to apply naturally. People seem to be divided over the amount of shimmer. Perhaps you can't please everyone with quantity of sparkle. For me it's just right. Certainly not too shimmery for day in my opinion, but easily luminous enough for evening. Both powder and shimmer are very finely milled, and for me the combination adds a little dimension to my face, creating shapely cheeks after concealer and powder leave me looking like like a sheet of blank paper. I won't attempt to define the colour - peach? pink? It's just the colour cheeks should be. I'm always drawn to beigey-pinks in blush, because whatever the makeup artists say, lolly-coloured blushes always look artificial on me. But whatever this colour is, it's just right. Maybe I need to try it a few more times before I pronounce it best blush ever, but if I died today I would die happy with my a rose petal complexion, so: If ever a product deserved the term Holy Grail, this is it. EDIT: I've actually removed two stars, because I hardly ever use this any more. The glitter is really noticeable! If you happen to look in a mirror in broad daylight, you can see tiny SQUARES of glitter. Nowhere near finely milled enough for a blush. In artificial light it can look lovely, but the sheen is still on the metallic side of shimmery. I still love the colour, although some days I feel it's more tangerine than rose, which doesn't really suit me.
The legends are true. I only bought this today but it's already achieved HG status in my book. Having been persuaded by all the media hype about brow powders (they make your brows look more natural, blah blah blah) I ditched all my pencils which, let's face it, sucked anyway, and have been exclusively using MAC brow shader in Charcoal/Maple for the last six months. As brow powders go, MAC is great, but my brows are chronically sparse and thin and a powder alone leaves them looking a little rough and sketchy. I wanted something a little more polished. They look over-plucked but they're not, they've just thinned prematurely due to illness (I'm 29). I really needed to be able to create the effect of having hair-strokes where there are none, without looking like I'd drawn my brows on with a magic marker. I want to be Hilary Rhoda, not Edith Piaf. Like everyone, I've found most brow pencils to be too soft, too reddish, too heavy, too hard to control, unnatural. The Shu Uemura pencil, by contrast, is very firm, but also soft, so you can create featherlike strokes without having to press too hard. Other pencils tend to melt and squash on application creating a crayony line and requiring frequent resharpening. One application with the Shu Uemura brow pencil barely makes a dent on its perfect point, and I suspect it will last for an eternity, given that it's also a very long pencil compared to the rest. Totally worth the cost. I'm using Seal Brown, which I thought would be too light for me, but bought based on its excellent reviews. P.S., don't be guided by the awful colour swatches on the Shu website - they're way off. Although my brows are sparse and very fine, the hairs themselves are very dark. However seal brown is a perfect tone and should match many eyebrows. It's so cool toned that it enhances darker brows without overwhelming them or clashing, but not so cool that it looks grey. I imagine it would beautifully enhance every brow from taupey-ash-blondes to dark charcoal greys to natural browns and darker ethnic shades. Looking in the mirror 8 hours after application, I can't believe the staying power and the natural, polished effect. With this pencil I can make my brows look convincingly fuller, longer and more delicately arched. Even close up my pencil strokes look like soft-focus, feathery hair strokes. I still fill in some areas with a light swipe of MAC brow shader for some depth and to deepen the colour, but yes, if I was on a desert island, etc., I would ditch the powder in favour of the pencil. EDIT: It's three years later almost to the day, and I still haven't finished this pencil. I expect it will last me another 6 months. Love it - HG.