Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Givenchy Le Prisme Blush in Orange In Vogue

I've been very lax about getting around to reviewing the Givenchy products I picked up a few weeks ago.  That's because for the most part, I was really disappointed.  Of the four products I purchased from the Givenchy line (bronzer, eyeshadow quad, blush and lipstick), two of them went back (bronzer, which wasn't, post is here and lipstick, post coming soon).

I still haven't swatched the eye quad because I'm not sure if I'm going to take it back or not.

But the one item that I knew I was keeping is the blush.  Officially it is the Givenchy Le Prisme Blush in Orange in Vogue.

It is a beautiful blusher.  The texture of the powders are fantastic.  Each individual shade was buttery soft with good payoff and swirled together it has a lovely bronzy apricot glow.

(clockwise from top left)

(swirled together)

The only downside of this blush is the size.  I apologize for not taking a picture of me holding the blush, but it is tiny.  The packaging is a cute little square with a drawer for the (mostly useless) blush brush.  But again, it's tiny.

The amount of actual product contained in the packaging is fairly standard - 6.8 oz.  But the way it's packaged, it looks absolutely minuscule   And it's good that the colors swirled together work because despite seeming like you could use the shades individually, they're too small to really try that.

Of all the Givenchy items I picked up, this blush is definitely my favorite.  But I do feel like my reaction to it is colored by how disappointed I was overall with the Givenchy line.

The Givenchy Le Prisme powder blushes contain 6.8 oz of product and retail for $44 exclusively at Sephora.

Overall:  8/10

Monday, April 29, 2013

Zoya Nail Polish in Kimber

This review is long overdue.  I received my first Zoya nail polish in last year's inaugural Glossybox.  The polish is Kimber and it is a bright watermelon pink with gold shimmer.

I love this polish.  It applies smoothly and is mostly opaque in one coat.  I applied two coats just to amp up the color a bit.  I think the color is perfect for spring and summer.

The polish wore really well on me, which of course means we're grading on a curve.  After two days I had significant wear on the tips, but no actual chipping until the third day.

Zoya polishes contain .5 oz and retail for $9.

Overall:  9/10

Friday, April 26, 2013

Maybelline Limited Edition Blush in Golden Fuse

I already mentioned the Maybelline blush in Golden Fuse when I did my review of MAC's Warm Soul blush.  Golden Fuse is a Limited Edition blush with Maybelline's Summer 2013 collection, So Electric.

This baked blush is a warm golden bronzy pink with lots of gold shimmer.  I don't think it swatches anywhere near as orange as it looks in the pan.  It has a surprising amount of pink.

This blush is a solid performer.  It had a nice texture and blended out easily.  It had good staying power - 6 hours before it started to fade, 8 hours before it faded significantly.  It's a beautiful warm color, perfect for summer.  It does have a lot of shimmer, so if you don't like that, you may want to steer clear.

This blush is not an exact dupe for MAC's Warm Soul, but I think it's probably as close as you're going to get at the drugstore in terms of both color and texture.

Maybelline's Golden Fuse blush contains 2.5 grams of product and retails for around $5 wherever Maybelline is sold.

Overall:  10/10

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Nude and Taupe

In the last couple of months due to a whole host of random and annoying vision problems, my eye doctor switched me out of hard contacts - rigid gas permeable lenses to be exact.  (I know, you didn't even know they made hard contacts anymore, did you?)

So, several takeaways for me from now wearing soft contact lenses are:
  • Wow, these aren't excruciatingly painful.
  • I can actually see now that random particles aren't constantly attaching themselves to my lenses.
  • I could really consider wearing something in my waterline - this was NOT an option for me with hard contacts.  It led to nothing other than extremely painful watery eyes.
Not wanting to plunk down a lot of money in this new stuff-on-the-waterline experiment, I decided to check out the ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal (say that three times fast) liners from Rimmel.  I picked up two colors, Taupe and Nude.

As you can see from the swatches, they both lean rather orange, which I'm not crazy about, especially on the waterline, but for less than $10 for 2 pencils, you sort of get what you get.

005 Nude is a very warm orange leaning beige.  I'm not exactly sure who this would be nude for, especially on the waterline.  I really wish this product would have been much cooler toned and blue/pink leaning.

004 Taupe is a warm gray brown.  Again, it leans a bit orange.

The pencils are extremely creamy and they are opaque in one swipe.  They stay sticky, not ever really drying down.  This means that they do have pretty good staying power on the waterline.  

I think that overall staying power is probably going to be dictated by things other than the product.  Namely, how dry was your waterline when you applied and how watery overall are your eyes.

The quality of the product is impressive, especially at this price point.  But my complaint is that for a product designed to be used so close to the eyes, they're too warm/orange.  I think they're going to make your eyes look more red and tired.  Especially for the nude, I would have liked to see a color that would brighten and this one doesn't.

The Rummel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal pencils contain 1.2 grams of product and retail for around $4.49 wherever Rimmel is sold.

Overall:  7/10.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Illamasqua Speckled Nail Varnish in Scarce

Several weeks ago, I picked up the Illamasqua Speckled Nail Varnish in Freckle and I absolutely loved it.  That was my first Illamasqua polish and I thought the formula was fantastic.  So, I really wanted to try more in the line.  Unfortunately, the Speckled line was sold out at Sephora online.


Luckily, in store at my local Sephora, they did have the line in stock and I went ahead and picked up another one, this time with a pink base called Scarce.

Like Freckle, Scarce was nearly opaque in one coat but fully opaque in two coats.  The glitter was distributed well without having to fuss with it.

What really impresses me about this polish is its wear time.  As a point of reference, nail polish chips on me.  It always chips on me.  Every manufacturer, every finish.  Metallic polishes chip on me, glitter polishes chip on me.  I'm lucky to make it through an hour or two with a cream finish.

My nails are not very strong.  They flex a lot, so, like I said, everything chips on me.

This polish didn't chip on me.  I wore it for a week and I did have some wear on the tips, though not bad, but it did not chip at all.  I am in love.  Freckle wore really well for me as well, though I did swap it out more quickly than I did Scarce (though not because it was chipped - because I needed to swatch another polish).

I don't know if this quality is limited to the Speckled line or if all Illamasqua polishes are this awesome, but I will find out.  I can't wait to check out more.

Overall:  10/10

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

MAC Warm Soul Mineralize Blush

Warm Soul is one of those blushes that everyone seems to love.  I have been hearing people rave about it forever.  I do love me some blush and despite being rather cool toned, I am not crazy about wearing cool toned blushes.  So, obviously, I needed to pick up Warm Soul.

Look at it.  It's beautiful.  This is one of those cases of the hype being true.  This is a gorgeous warm coppery pink color with gold shimmer.  It could be used as a blush or a bronzer.  I am in LOVE with this blush.  It is fantastic and it is an absolute staple for me.

It's a Mineralize baked blush with great payoff and a lovely texture.  I found it blended out easily, but it also has great staying power.  I got a solid 9 hours out of it before it started to fade noticeably.

The MAC Mineralize blushes all contain 3.5 grams of product and retail (currently) for $25.

Overall:  10/10

Oh, and for what it's worth, I also happened to pick up a Maybelline LE baked blush the same week that is pretty similar (review forthcoming).  

The Maybelline blush is called Golden Fuse and it's part of their Summer 2013 So Electric collection.  It's a tad bit more golden and shimmery, but it's really pretty close and it's 2.5 grams of product for around $5.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Avon True Color Eyeshadow Quad in Mocha Latte

Here is another Avon item I picked up recently.   I picked up the True Color Eyeshadow Quad in Mocha Latte.

(swatches clockwise from lower left)

The colors and textures in the quad are as follows:
  • light peach - Satin finish with underwhelming payoff.  It tended to be powdery.  True to pan.
  • Medium dark brown - Matte finish.  Super soft and buttery.  Great payoff.  Cool medium brown.  True to pan.
  • Dark Brown - Matte.  Super soft and buttery.  Great payoff.  Cool dark brown.  True to pan.
  • Taupe - Metallic finish.  Coppery pinky brown, not at all taupe.  Not true to pan.

I picked the quad up on sale for $5.99, which is cheaper than a lot of drugstore palettes.  Avon's distribution is a bit of a pain in this day and age.  I don't have an "Avon Lady".  I used their website and ended up having to pay shipping, which I hate.  

For the price, this is a really nice palette.  The shadows aren't fantastic, but they're good.  And the packaging is sturdy, especially at this price point.

Overall:  8/10

Friday, April 19, 2013

Guerlain Calligraphy Eye & Lip Palette

Guerlain's Calligraphy Eye & Lip Palette launched with their holiday 2012 Liu collection.  As soon as I saw the promo pics for this palette, it went on my wish list.  Just look at it.  It's gorgeous.  I was even more excited when Temptalia did a review of the palette and gave it an A+ rating.  In fact, every review I have ever seen for this palette gave it a top rating.  It seems like everyone loves this palette.

This palette has it all, beautiful, luxurious packaging, rich holiday colors and phenomenal quality.  At at Guerlain's price point, it definitely should.  The Calligraphy palette had a price tag of $79.

I COULD NOT WAIT to get my hands on it.  

Lucky me, I did receive this as a Christmas present last year.  I was thrilled!

Look at those shadows, they are gorgeous!

At least in the pan.


Well, only in the pan, as it turns out.

This palette is hands down the biggest disappointment of 2012 for me.  Possibly my biggest beauty disappointment ever.  As I said, it is gorgeous.  This palette definitely is a thing of beauty - to look at, not to use.  

But the quality?  The shadows were described as buttery soft with great payoff.  Um ... I have no idea what to think of this.   All of the shadows are stiff and dry with very lackluster pigmentation.  I had to fight with the shadows to get any color at all.

The lipsticks are definitely the standouts of the palette in that they go on fantastically well and have great pigmentation.  They look really similar in the pans, one orange red and one primary red.

The primary red looking shade actually goes on a very bright raspberry pink.  The orangey looking red actually swatched much more of a true red.

Overall, looking at this palette just makes me want to cry.  I had such high expectations for it and it totally failed to live up to them.  If someone just handed me this palette on the street, I would probably think it was okay.  The shadows are disappointing, but not the worst you could find.  But given the expectations I had for the palette combined with the price point, it just breaks my heart.

Overall:  0/10

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hourglass Illume Creme-to-Powder Bronzer Duo in Sunset

Hourglass cosmetics describes their new Illume Creme-to-Powder Bronzer Duo as:
A multi-purpose crème-to-powder duo featuring a bronzer paired with a blush or highlighter. The bronze shade imparts a natural golden glow, subtly defining and contouring the face. Accent colors of sheer rose (Sunset duo) or champagne beige (Bronze Light duo) warm and illuminate the complexion. Illume’s luxurious vitamin-enriched formula blends seamlessly onto skin without blotching or streaking.

So, the bronzer duo comes in two shades, Sunset, which I have, is a duo of bronzer and a warm pink blush.  The Bronze Light duo contains the bronzer (same shade as the Sunset duo) and a champagne beige highlighter.

Originally I picked up the Bronze Light duo because those were the product reviews (and raves) I'd seen.  I glanced at the Sunset duo, but I mistakenly thought it was just a deeper version of the Bronze Light.  When I got home and realized that the Sunset duo actually contained a blush as opposed to the Bronze Light's highlighter, I immediately exchanged Bronze Light for Sunset.

Let's face it, I'm going to get way more use out of a blush than a highlighter. Sunset is it. ;)

I will admit up front that my expectations for this product were high.  I had seen several YouTube gurus whose opinions I respect and generally agree with, rave about this product.  (Though both of them did review the Bronze Light duo.  You can see GossMakeupArtist's review here and Josh Collier's review here.)

I also felt like I had a good handle on how this product should perform.  I already have the Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel gel bronzer, which I love.  Like the Hourglass creme-to-powder bronzer, the Chanel bronzer isn't great for contouring.  I think it leans too orange on my skintone for that.  But for that summer, sun-kissed glow without the sun damage, it's great, even on my pasty pale skin.



As for the cream blush, I feel like I've seen a hundred different cream blush formulations and I was curious to see Hourglass's take.  I really like the formula a lot.  It is incredibly pigmented and while it goes on smooth and creamy, it dries down to a powder finish very quickly and has fantastic staying time.  I got a solid 8 hours out of it before it started to fade at all.



Overall, I really, really like this product.  As usual, the hourglass packaging is so sleek and luxurious feeling.  There is a lot of product.  The product performs fantastically well and it's paraben and cruelty free.  It's a total win, even at this price point.

Hourglass also touts the following benefits for the Illume line:
• Shades illuminate the skin while delivering year-round bronze color
• Stays fresh on skin all day without blotching or streaking
• Vitamins A and E provide moisturizing and antioxidant benefits
• Compact features a mirror that swivels 360°
• Free of oil, wax, parabens, phthalates, sulfates and fragrance

The Illume Creme-to-Powder Bronzer Duo contains 11 grams of product and retails for $40 wherever Hourglass Cosmetics are sold.  (I got mine at Sephora).

Overall: 10/10

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Avon Ideal Luminous Blush in Earthen Rose

Avon is one of those brands that my mom used when I was little (still does, actually).  I have very fond memories as a child of the "Avon Lady" ringing the doorbell, coming inside and setting out her basket of goodies.

But Avon was also one of those brands that I outgrew once I realized there were better alternatives on the market.  However, it seems in the last 5- 10 years, Avon has really stepped up their cosmetics game.  I think they always had a pretty strong skincare line, but their cosmetics were very sad for quite a while.

Avon has also made an effort at going international and seem to have gained quite a bit of ground, particularly in the UK.  For quite a while, I believe Avon sponsored Pixiwoo, which is how I became reacquainted with their cosmetics line.

One of the Avon Ideal Luminous Blushes in Earthen Rose, in particular, was mentioned fairly regularly in Pixiwoo videos, which is why I decided to check it out.

E04 Earthen Rose is a soft, warm beige with a satin finish. The blush has a soft, buttery texture and decent pigmentation.  On fair skins like mine it can be used for a bit of a contour as it doesn't have any shimmer.  I could definitely use it as a bronzer as well.

It has a decent wear time.  I got a good 6 hours out of it before it started to fade.

Avon Ideal Luminous blushes contain 6.23 grams of product and are available at Avon.com (or through your local Avon rep - I don't have one) for $8.

Overall: 7/10