Friday, May 31, 2013

Tom Ford Platinum Eyeshadow dupe

(L - Hard Candy Quick Sand; R - Tom Ford Platinum)

The Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes in Platinum is one of those products that got a ton of hype and a cult following.  I'm not sure where exactly it started.  I know that  Pixiwoo talked about the color and I think Wayne Goss did a video about it as well.  It launched with the Tom Ford Summer 2012 collection and was limited edition.

I managed to pick up a pot of Platinum and the first thing I have to say is that it's not platinum.  It's not even kind of platinum.  There is absolutely nothing platinum colored about this shade.  Which isn't to say it isn't stunning.  It is, but it's certainly not platinum colored.  FYI.

The texture of platinum is very light and mousse-like.  It goes on easily and sheers out beautifully.  When you do a stronger swatch, it looks grayer and more of a metallic taupe color.  Sheered out it is a light pink leaning  brown.  It has a fair bit of microglitter in it that is more obvious the more you sheer it out.  It seems to be the glitter that gives Platinum its metallic look because I don't think the shadow base itself is metallic at all.

So, on to the dupe.

Last week I picked up the Hard Candy All Lid Up Creme Shadow in #571, Quick Sand.  Swatched, Quick Sand is really, really close to Platinum.  (I believe the All Lid Up shadows are new this spring).


(natural, indirect light)

(direct sunlight)

The textures of the 2 shadows are quite different.  Hard Candy is a thicker formula, much closer to the Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams in many respects.  The Tom Ford, as I said before, is very mousse-like.  Platinum contains a lot of glitter, Quick Sand has no glitter, but does have a metallic finish.  Platinum is warmer, pinker, especially as it fades.  Quick Sand is a bit cooler.

In heavy applications, the two shadows are fairly indistinguishable.  Sheerer, the differences are much more pronounced.  The Hard Candy shadow wore way better than the Tom Ford.  The Tom Ford wasn't awful, but it wasn't great.  It didn't crease on my non-oily lids, even without a primer, but it did fade noticeably after three hours.  Whereas the Hard Candy shadow looked pretty much exactly the way it had when I initially applied it, the Tom Ford really changed as it wore.  Platinum started out looking much the way it does in the swatches above, but after a couple of hours on the lid, it had really sheered out, had become much pinker and much more obviously glittery.  It almost changed from looking like a shadow, to almost looking like the lid was wet.  I don't know if this is your thing or not.  It's not really mine.  But I know a lot of people like 'lived in' eye looks.  You'll definitely get that from Platinum.

Platinum is much, much easier to remove - I'm pretty sure I could have rubbed most of it off with a tissue.  The Hard Candy shadow, in contrast, stays where you put it and requires an oil cleanser to remove completely.

Packaging, obviously, is very different.  Platinum comes in some seriously luxurious packaging.  It is a heavy, glass jar.  It feels substantial.  Everything about it lets you know it's a $40 eyeshadow.  Hard Candy comes in cheap plastic packaging and is available exclusively at Wal-Mart.

They are both beautiful shadows.  Personally, I think the Hard Candy shadow has a better formula.  It definitely wears better.  Also, it's $6.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Highlighting Powder in Sweet to Touch

As I mentioned a while ago, this spring I went on a bit of a kick and picked up several Rouge Bunny Rouge products.  I got them from BeautyHabit, which is still a far better deal for people living in the US than buying direct from the RBR web boutique (FWIW).

Overall, the haul was pretty hit or miss.  I absolutely love the eyeshadows and lipsticks.  The blush and this highlighting powder and rather underwhelming.

I know that people seem to rave about the RBR liquid highlighters, but I already have several liquid highlighters, so I opted for their powder highlighter in Sweet To Touch.  They do have another, darker, shade, called Goddess.

As with a lot of highlighters, it's really difficult to swatch.  The product doesn't provide much color on my skintone, but it does add sheen.  I would be concerned that this product could look ashy on darker skintones.

The effect of this powder is similar to the Kevyn Aucoin celestial veil highlighter in candlelight (review forthcoming), but it's not as good.  And really, at this price point and with this much hype, I want it to be great.  It's not great.  In fact, I think it's very middle of the road.

It's a subtle highlighter.  It's finely milled without being overly powdery.  It's not glittery at all.  It's ... lovely.  But the thing is, at this price point, RBR is competing with lines like Kevyn Aucoin, Tom Ford, Guerlain and Armani.  

And while RBR is nice, it's not on par with those brands.

If you buy direct from the RBR site, this product will cost you 39 euros, which as of today, is just over $50 - before shipping.  (If you buy it from BeautyHabit, it's $39).  That puts this product in Meteorites territory and while it's nice, it's certainly not Meteorites nice.

The packaging is cute.  It's high gloss black with a floral design and a nicely sized mirror.  But again, at this price point, it is competing with brands who can put out some seriously substantial and luxurious packaging.  This packaging reminds me of MAC.  It's good, sturdy, aesthetically pleasing, but not great.

The Rouge Bunny Rouge highlighting powder in Sweet To Touch contains a substantial 12 grams of product.  As I said earlier, if you buy it from BeautyHabit, it's $39 (which puts it in the range of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders and I do think it compares well to some of those shades and textures).  If you buy it from the RBR web boutique, you're looking at around $50 plus shipping.

Overall: 5/10

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural

I don't really have much in the way of Physician's Formula.  I feel like they have a weird price point that's just slightly higher than most drug store items without having a marked quality increase that really puts me off.  But, they were 50% off at CVS the other day, so I picked up a few items.

The first up is the Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Blush in Natural.  Ugh.  The name.  Seriously.  And the product, equally ugh.  I am so pale I swear, I almost glow in the dark and I had to fight to get this to show up on me.  The pigmentation is abysmal.  If you concentrate on the darker, redder hearts, you end up with something that's a medium neutral pink.

It does have a sheen.  I don't know that I'd call it a "glow".  The packaging is cute, I'll give it that.  Physicians Formula tends to have some really fun designs on their powder products.  But I don't think it makes up for the terrible performance.

This blush contains 7 grams of products and generally retails for around $12.

Overall:  0/10

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sugarpill Burning Heart Palette

Okay, so I am in no way Sugarpill's target customer base.  I wear a dramatic range of shadows from light beige to dark brown on a daily basis.  However, just look at this palette.  I mean ... just ... look.  This thing is gorgeous.

(Clockwise from top left: Flamepoint, Buttercupcake, Poison Plum, Love +)

The Burning Heart palette from Sugarpill contains a whopping 16 grams of product.  Each shade contains 4 grams each.

  • Flamepoint - Bright, burnt orange with a matte finish.
  • Buttercupcake - Bright primary yellow with a matte finish.
  • Poison Plum -Vibrant purple with blue microglitter.  This was the only shade that stained.
  • Love + - Dark red with a matte finish.

All of the shades were on the drier, stiffer side, but the color payoff was excellent, especially considering these are matte shadows.  I was blown away with the quality of both the shadows and the packaging.

Sugarpill eyeshadow palettes generally retail for $34.  I purchased mine direct from Sugarpill when they were running their 20% off birthday special.  You can also get them from MakeupGeek, Beautylish and several other online retailers.

Overall: 10/10

Monday, May 20, 2013

MAC Extra Dimension MSF in Double Definition

I am a total sucker for the MAC Extra Dimension Mineralize Skin Finishes, so when this year's collection came out, I picked up all three of them.  The first I'm reviewing is the Extra Dimension MSF in Double Definition.

(natural light)

Unlike last year's Extra Dimension MSF collection, this year, the MSFs are split into two separate colors.  I absolutely love this.  While I really, really like last year's inaugural collection of Extra Dimension MSFs, I just think that having two colors per pan makes them so much more versatile.

(day bulbs)

The top half of the Double Definition MSF compact is a very metallic frosty warm gold color which I think is exactly the same color as last year's Whisper of Gilt (there are side by side swatches below).  The bottom half of the Double Definition MSF compact is a much darker, bronzy color.  The texture is quite different from the top half.  While the bottom half isn't matte, it is certainly not frosty either.  It does have a lovely metallic sheen, but much more muted than the top half.  

When you mix the top half and the bottom half, you get a more metallic, frosty finish, but the color is still very bronzy.

The lighting isn't great here, but I assure you that the top half of Double Definition is the same color as Whisper of Gilt.  Below are swatches of the top half of Double Definition next to Whisper of Gilt in both natural light and under day bulbs.  They are the same color.

MAC Extra Dimension Mineralize Skinfinish in Double Definition contains 9 grams of product and retails for $30.  MAC online is sold out, but some counters still have product available as do some online retailers.  Nordstrom still has some of the MSFs.

On the whole, I love this product, but it is a bit of a niche product.  As highlighters, the Extra Dimension MSFs are certainly not subtle.  You can sheer them out, but even then these pack a punch.  But they are gorgeous.  Personally, I get more mileage out of them as eyeshadows.

Overall: 10/10

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm

I have been really diving into skincare lately and I've been really curious about cleansing balms.  I love cleansing oils, but it seems like cleansing balms simply by their texture would force you to take more time, to be more diligent with facial massage.  Anyway, I was curious.

Not a lot of brand carry cleansing balms.  The ones who do tend to be really pricey.  Clinique has one, but even at that, it's close to $30.  So, when I was at Target last week and I saw the Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm, I thought why not.

The cleansing balm is solid at room temperature and really rather stiff.  I really had to work this between my hands a lot to get it soft enough to be able to work it into the skin.

With the consistency being so stiff, even after I warmed it up in my hands, it was so stiff that I felt like I really had to tug in order to move it around and massage it into the skin - not exactly something you want to do with your face.  Especially if you're using this to remove eye makeup, it can be super hard on your eye area.  

It came with a little cloth that you're supposed to wet with warm water and "use as a compress to draw out impurities".  I just ... are you kidding me?  How exactly could that possibly work?  You want to give this a try at home?  Take some olive oil, slather it over your face and then press a warm, damp washcloth over it.  Now, do you feel the impurities being drawn out?  No?  Of course not.  Because it's completely ridiculous.

SIGH.  More than likely, you'll use the coarse cloth to try and scrap the product off your face (which has to be fabulous for your skin, right?  Wrong.).  Mostly, you will fail in your attempt to remove the product.  Because this cleansing balm is nearly impossible to remove, even using warm-bordering-on-hot water and a washcloth.

It took me forever to get this stuff off my skin.  And I ended up having to use a foaming cleanser to get rid of it, which completely defeats the purpose of using the cleansing balm as far as I'm concerned.

Olea europaea (Olive) fruit oil, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Cera alba (Beeswax), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea) butter, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (Sweet almond) oil, Cetearyl alcohol, Rosa canina seed oil, Limonene, Citronellol, Pelargonium graveolens flower oil, Citrus aurantium dulcis peel extract, Linalool, Citrus aurantium bergamia (Bergamot) fruit oil, Citrus medica limonum (Lemon) peel oil, Geraniol, Parfum (Fragrance), Citral
All in all, this was a total fail.  After two uses, I just chucked it in the trash.

The Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm contains 350mL and retails for $8.49 in the US.

Overall: 0/10 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Embryolisse Protective Repair Stick

So I am, perhaps, a little obsessed with lip care.  This actually has very little to do with vanity or with enjoyment of lip products.  It's because my lips are so dry all the time and it's really painful.

For years I've used Chapstick and Blistex, but that really isn't cutting it anymore.  Last year I picked up a couple tubes of the Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm and I like it fairly well. I know tons of people love it.  I don't love it.  But it's okay.  It does seem to moisturize better than the waxy, petroleum based lip products.  

So in my search for something that will actually fix my lip problems, I've been looking far and wide.  The aforementioned Jack Black Lip Balm is okay.  I tried the Sugar Lip Treatment from Fresh.  Again, it's okay, but it doesn't wow me (and the packaging irritates me).  I've tried the Clarins Lip and Contour Balm (review to come) and I like it fairly well.

So a couple of weeks ago when Embryolisse was on HauteLook, I picked up a couple tubes of the Lait Cream Concentre, but I also picked up a tube of the Protective Repair Stick for lips.  I know that just about every skincare line has something similar.

As for how it works ... it's okay.  I like the packaging.  I'm not crazy about the shape of the product in the tube, but I can live with it and it annoys me less than the Fresh lip balms.

The product is very oily on the lips.  I don't mind this, but if you do, buyer beware.

It does a good job of moisturizing my lips.  I can't say that I feel like I've experienced great results from it, but it's not bad.

Here is the ingredient list:
Paraffinum Liquidum. Hydrogenated Coconut Oil. Petrolatum Album. Ozokerite. Cera Alba. Triticum Vulgare Germ Oil. Ethyl Hexyl Methoxycinnamate. Titanium Dioxide. Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane. Tocopheryl Acetate. Allantoin. Alumina. Dimethicone. Bha. Mica. Bht.

The Embryolisse Lip Repair Stick is paraben free and contains 4 grams of product.  It retails for $12 and you can get it at

Overall:  8/10

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Revlon ColorStay Smoky Shadow Stick in 201 Torch

I love cream shadows, but I really love cream shadows for summer.  They're just super quick and easy to throw on and you can apply and/or blend with fingers so you don't need to dirty up any extra brushes.  

I love the Urban Decay shadow pencils and the Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams, but I'm always looking for something more budget friendly (other than the Milani ShadowEyez which are fantastic).  So, I picked up the Revlon ColorStay Smoky Shadow Stick in #201, Torch.

This is a dual ended cream shadow pencil.  The lighter color has a rounded end and is a really light, iridescent champagne pink color.  It doesn't pack a big color punch, but it definitely brightens things up.

The darker end is pointed, I guess for more precision application.  It's really not pointed enough to use as a liner.  The darker color swatches fantastically well.  It is a gorgeous dark bronzy chocolate color.  I have to say that on the eye once blended out, it's considerably less impressive.  You just get a generic dark smudgy brown.

The first time I tried these shadows, I applied them directly on the lid and I ended up with creasing.  They didn't crease immediately, but it did happen.  The second time, I applied them over Too Faced Shadow Insurance and they didn't budge at all.

The Revlon ColorStay Smoky Shadow Sticks contain .07oz of product and retail for between $7 and $10 wherever Revlon is sold.  I got mine at Target.

Overall: 5/10

Monday, May 13, 2013

Rimmel Wake Me Up Instant Radiance Shimmer Touch

I don't know if it's just in my area, or everywhere in the US, but up until last week, I hadn't seen any of the Rimmel Wake Me Up line at all.  Then last week, I saw the Instant Radiance Shimmer Touches and some of the Wake Me Up concealer colors.

I went ahead and picked up the Instant Radiance Shimmer Touch in the colors 001 Flush of Pearl, 002 Radiant Rose and 003 Peach Glow.

(L-R: Flush of Pearl, Radiant Rose, Peach Glow)

  • 001 Flush of Pearl: champagne beige
  • 002 Radiant Rose: warm rosy pink
  • 003 Peach Glow: peachy shimmer
All of the colors contain quite a bit of glitter.  The swatches above are very heavy swatches and as with a lot of drugstore highlighters, if you sheer it out, you lose almost all of the color and are left with nothing but glitter.

If you sheer it out, it does dry down fairly quickly without being sticky.  But again, glitter.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Instant Radiance Shimmer touch contains 14mL of product and retails for around $5.

Overall: 5/10

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sleek Blush By 3 in Lace #367

Sleek is one of those brands that I think always looks fantastic (like Bourjois).  I'm sure that my curiosity is driven mostly by the fact that Sleek isn't readily available in the US.  I've been lucky enough to have a couple of swaps with lovely ladies from the UK, so I do have several Sleek eyeshadow palettes (which I LOVE) and a pressed powder (also LOVE).

I hesitate to say that I have a problem with blush.  Because I feel like that implies that I do think it's actually a problem (it's not!) or that I plan to stop or cut back or restrain myself in some way (I do NOT).  I love blush.  I love everything about blush.  I love cream blush and powder blush and liquid blush.

I. Love.  Blush.

So when I saw the Sleek Blush By 3s in several YouTube tutorials from my favorite UK beauty gurus, I was green with envy.  They looked awesome and affordable.

I finally sucked it up and decided to place an online order with Sleek.  I picked up several things, but the first of which was the Sleek Blush By 3 in #367, Lace.

(L-R Crochet, Guipure, Chantilly)

Crochet is a light orange with a matte finish.  It was very soft and blendable with excellent color payoff.

Guipure is a neutral pink satin base with gold glitter.  Sheered out, you lose most of the pink and end up with mostly glitter.  It's not peachy enough to be a dupe for NARS Orgasm, but it's very much in that vein.

Chantilly is an orange/red with a matte finish.  Like Crochet, it was very soft and blendable with excellent color payoff.  I don't have NARS Taj Mahal, but the online swatches look pretty similar.

The Sleek Blush By 3 palette contains a whopping 20 grams of product and retails for $12.49 from

Overall: 10/10

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cover FX Total Cover Cream Foundation in N10 and Cream Foundation Brush

I watch Lisasz09's YouTube channel a lot.  I love how thorough her reviews are and I love the broad range of items and price points she reviews.

I will admit that I'm not very familiar with the CoverFX line.  I do like their philosophy, that makeup should actually improve your skin over time.  Their cosmetics are free of many irritants commonly found in cosmetics and they are supposed to be great for people with sensitive skin.

Now, I don't have particularly sensitive skin, but I like the philosophy behind the brand.

As for the Total Cover Cream Foundation specifically, Cover FX describes the product as a rich emollient based cream foundation with SPF 30 offering flexible coverage. For All Skin types.

A couple of weeks ago someone started a YouTube tag about foundations that people use.  The idea behind the tag is that if you, as a consumer, can find someone on YouTube with your specific skin shade, then you'd have a better idea of how certain products would look on you.  I LOVE the idea behind this.  And I'd like to add another component to it, skin type.

I have dry skin.  Really, I cannot stress enough just how dry my skin is.  It is always tight and often flaky, especially around my nose.  I wear the most emollient night creams that I can find - usually over the top of straight up argan oil and rosehip oil.  I use hydrating masks regularly.  I drink lots of water every day.  None of it makes any difference.  My skin is dry.  Dry, dry, dry.

I promise you, that wasn't a total digression.  Back to the foundation.  I already know that Lisa and I do not have the same skin shade and I know that she tends to have combination/oily skin. But, she was so impressed with the product and I trust her integrity, so I wanted to check it out.

I went to the counter and got shade matched to N10.  As a reference point, I am usually a MAC NW15ish.  MAC Face and Body in N1 is too dark for me.  I am almost always the lightest shade in a foundation range, unless the lightest shade leans too yellow (NARS, Bourjois), in which case, I usually just can't wear that line at all.  Let it be known that CoverFX's N10 is not the lightest shade in the range.  They have N0 (boggles).

As it turns out, N10 is too light for me (this never happens).  It was a great match for my neck.  But since my face is probably 2 shades darker than my neck, I usually try to split the difference.  The N10 made me look like Casper the friendly ghost - well, moreso than usual.

Now, I certainly could have gone back and picked up a better shade match, but I didn't.  And I'll tell you why.  

This foundation sat terribly on my skin.  It was awful.  Like I said, I know that Lisa's skin is a lot oilier than mine, but since the PR materials specifically used the word "emollient" and it says its suitable for all skin types - and when I tested it in store, it didn't feel drying - I thought it would be okay.  

It wasn't okay.

This stuff just clung to my skin.  It would not move.  And it just went on so unevenly.  It would be really sheer in places and then pool in my pores and grab onto patches of dry skin.  It looked terrible.  (In addition to being the wrong color).

Now, I know that I probably could have improved things if I'd worn a primer under the foundation.  But I generally don't wear primers because my skin is so dry.  And really, at this price point, I am not willing to go out of my way and add extra products into my routine to make something work. 

For $42, you work or you go back.

So ... it went back.

When I bought the foundation I also picked up CoverFX's Cream Foundation Brush ($38) since Lisa and several other reviews I read said that this brush really did a fantastic job of applying the product.

The brush is okay.  I kept it.  Mostly because I have a brush problem.

It is really, really similar to one of the brushes in the Sephora Advanced Airbrush set, which I already have and which retails for $65 for 5 brushes. Both the CoverFX and Sephora brushes are synthetic brushes.  

(And fwiw, I'm pretty sure this set from Crown Brush is the same thing as the Sephora set and it's only $30.  Moral of this story is if you're really curious about the CoverFX brush, you could pick up one just like it from Crown for $8 cheaper and then get 6 more brushes to boot).

The CoverFX Total Cover Cream Foundation contains 10g of product and retails for $42 wherever CoverFX is sold.  The Cream Foundation Brush retails for $38.

I picked up both of my products at Sephora at JC Penney.
Foundation:  0/10

Brush: 7/10