Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Palette Swatches and Review

Have you been looking for a cheaper alternative to the oh-so popular Naked (1&2) palettes from Urban Decay? Or you have the latter palettes but you wished they had more matte shades?! If so, Sonia Kashuk heard your neutral palette prayers and created this little gem full of awesome MATTE eyeshadows. Yes, rejoice they are all matte, no more glitterbombs, no more shimmer overload, it's matte velvet-ness galore:)
As you are probably aware Sonia Kashuk's line is only available at Target. This is my first official MU purchase from the line as her line is more famous for the good and affordable (wouldn't call them inexpensive) brushes- I have two-brow and eyeliner and a beauty blender dupe.  I've been on a neutral kick lately, greatly enjoying taupes and my several neutrals from Inglot. It is the perfect MU for work and it's hard to overdo which I usually do when I have time on my hand:)
On the review:

Size and Packaging: For the great price of $19.99 you receive a compact palette with a total of 12 shades. This palette is not new but I've never seen it in stores, I guess the demand is high:) I didn't know exactly what to expect in terms of size but I thought it would be bigger. I don't mind that it isn't, it's a good size, perfect for traveling as it's got all the shades (and more) that you might need to create almost any look. As the back of the palette says: 12 shades, endless possibilities!:)
I have compared it here to a WnW 6pan palette and an Urban Decay Ammo palette. As you can see, it's slightly bigger than the WnW Palette and almost the same size as the Ammo, with the SK shadow pans being bigger than the UD ones. As for the packaging goes, it's a black plastic with a clear lid that is very basic and not particularly stylish:) The palette has a good weight to it but I'd be careful when traveling or even handling this baby as the packaging does not seem very sturdy. 
One thing I forgot to take a picture of is the little pull-out drawer that comes from underneath the palette and contains tutorials on several looks- this is after-all an instructional palette:) I don't think I'd be using those, but it's a good idea for newbies.  
Swatches and shades: This palette offers a balanced mix of warm and cool neutrals, as well as light and dark shades, so you should be able to find shades that work for you as a lid wash, crease shade and blending shadow no matter your skintone. Also there is plenty of warm and cool browns that you can use to fill in your brows. 
1st row contains your highlighting, flesh shades. You have an off-white or a very light beige shade that completely disappears in my skin, then a nice neutral beige  with a definite soft brown undertone and finally a very light peachy pink soft highlighting shade. This row is the most unimpressive of all 12 shades. The shadows, while soft and w/ good pigmentation are a little powdery and just seem to disappear on the skin.  I guess they would be good for blending out harsher looks and darker colours. 
2nd row is probably my favourite as it's got the PEACHES! I love peachy and corally matte shadows. All 3 shadows are very pigmented and velvetty but somewhat powdery. The 1st shade is a true peach, the second is a light salmony colour and it has my heart right now:) The third shadow is a very light cool toned taupey shade that should work great for a transitional shade or as a brow color for a dark blonde, light brunette.
3rd row's got your countouring/crease colours. There is one warm and two cool medium brown shades, all with great pigmentation.  The first shade is a warm medium brown with red undertones. Second shade is a darker version of the taupey shadow from the 2nd row and is perfect crease colour. The 2nd and 3rd shade from the 3rd row are somewhat similar with the 3rd shade being slightly darker and more proudly brown:)
The 4th and final row contains your odd neutral colours that every palette has. It's got my second favourite shadow in the palette- a chocolatey cool toned brown with purple undertones, a very cool toned medium gray and a super pigmented black shadow which is super black (yay!).  All three shadows are pigmented and apply nicely but you have to be careful for fall-out as they are powdery and that black...did I mention it's mega pigmented?!:)

Final Verdict: This palette is awesome! Perfect mix between cool and warm. All matte! Very pigmented! Good for traveling and affordable! What else might your heart desire when it comes to a neutral palette?! I don't have many MAC neutralx but I am sure every shade from this palette is a dupe for a MAC eyeshadow and is probably of a better quality:). I will update as to wear time!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sephora + Pantone Universe Eyeliner Set Swatches

I had to get have got to see the Tango Twist liner from this set- it is absolutely gorgeous. I fell in love with it from the first swatch I saw. And I can always use another brown liner (my favourite) and a good black one besides my gazillion UD 24/7 Zero liners ( well 3 but that's gazillion for me in terms of black liners). 
I had to find a little bit more about the collection since I ordered in such a hurry and on a whim. So I am pretty sure everyone is familiar with the Pantone company and their colour system ( if not check out their wiki here), what I didn't know is that Pantone as the colour masters, is the company that determines the colour of the year. 2012 colour is Tangerine Tango Pantone 17-1463 which they have used as an inspiration and main theme to create this LE line with Sephora. Now this colour is more red than tangerine in my opinion and some of the items of the collection do not exactly match the shade but they are all very vibrant and mood-lifting:)  On to the liners:

Packaging: Same awesome big, heavy box packaging as with the blush but slightly taller and slimmer. Of course the box is totally over the top but I cannot get enough of it, it is so beautiful with all the variations of the tangerine shade. You slide the box open and here they are- three tall handsome liners with the Tango twist proudly in the middle:) They do look beautiful right?!

Review & Swatches: As I said I ordered this for the orange liner and it is rightfully the star of the set. I do not own anything like it so I have nothing to compare it to- it is a vibrant, orange red shade that has some really awesome gold shimmer to it. It will definitely make for a gorgeous lipliner but I can't wait to try it on the eyes! I bet it would be gorgeous and I intend to use it very very very soon:). The pencils are rather tall, definitely more product than UD 24/7s. I've included a comp picture with a MAC Kohl liner which are huge.
The black shade(Meteorite) is a true black - definitely blacker than UD Zero which is the only other decent  black liner I have. 
The brown liner (Chestnut) is a beautiful deep dark brown which is exactly the shade I prefer to use in lieu of black on my waterline.  I've compared it here to an Essence liner which is slightly lighter, UD whiskey more cognacy colour, Milani liquif'eye brown liner- very similar.
All three shades are very very creamy and apply beautifully. They are a tad creamier than UD 24/7 producing more intense colors. I noticed I had trouble cleaning the swatches of my hands so I guess that is a good sign when it comes to liners! I like all three and will give you an update as to how they wear on the eyes! 

I love this set! GET IT- Sephora $22 ( FYI UD 24/7 retail for $18 each and are smaller in size so the set is a bargain)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sephora + Pantone Universe Blush Duo Review (Coral/Desert Flower)

As someone on MUA said RUN do not walk to Sephora to get this item (of course I found out about it on MUA). Saw some swatches that looked very very pretty and lust took over. I've been trying my luck with orangey and peachy blushes for a while but I haven't found anything that quite works for me. I've so far bought and swapped away Nars Gilda and Illamasqua Excite which are both beautiful colours but they pull a shade of  orange that does not really suit me. I've been lusting after Illa Lover for months now but am too afraid to get it since it's another beautiful peachy colour that probably will not work for me.
Onto the Pantone collection- well there are two blushes included in the palette- a matte blush and a shimmery one.  On Sephora's website image  the matte (Desert Flower) looks very peachy and the shimmery (Coral)looks well coral. I searched for swatches online and from what I could tell Coral was a very pigmented blush in the NARS Orgasm family (peachy pink with gold shimmer) and that's my kind of blush- <3 everything peachy pink:) I figured, this gives me the opportunity to try a shade that's similar to Illa Lover and then I'll have another shade that I was sure I'll love and so I clicked Complete purchase on Sunday night! 
Guess what was waiting for me this morning- a Huge Sephora Box ( really, it was humongous, and full of paper as a filler, what a waste!

PACKAGING: The outer packaging/box is a little excessive/gimmicky but soooo beautiful! I will definitely keep the box :) The blush is huge! Like probably twice the size I'd had in mind (should start checking dimensions and weight when I buy stuff). Of course I am not complaining about it! Each blush is as big as a regular size blush so for the price of 1 Nars blush (-$1), you get two blushes that are amazeballs! I've included an image of the Pantone duo next to other relatively big blushes so you can see how huge it is. 

As you can see the blushes are housed in a lightweight plastic palette that has a very clean look. The palette is magnetized and it closes just like the Inglot freedom palettes with the only difference being that the lid is a lot lighter than Inglot's cover. I love the look of Inglot palettes and I also like the Pantone one but I have a big problem with closing and opening magnetized palettes. I am clumsy- I drop stuff, I break stuff, I spill stuff all the time (you already know about my laptop troubles). Those magnetized lids require you to be extra careful when lifting and dropping the lid, since you are not careful you will end up digging into the product which does not look pretty afterwards and it's a waste of product. You have to kind of slide the lid open and then drop it closed. You can see the damage I've done to some of my Inglots e/s:((( .

COLOUR & PIGMENTATION: Excellent shades and great pigmentation on both blushes with Desert Flower (shimmery) being extremely pigmented. These swatches are not layered- those babies are all that jazz and some more!

think Coral will work really well on  most skin tones and because it is so richly pigmented and the colour is deep, it will probably be really awesome on deeper-skinned ladies.  I have plenty of other peachy-pink blushes but nothing really compares to this one. It is a very deep colour with strong shimmer so light-hand aplication is definitely recommended. I've swatched Desert flower next to Nars Orgasm, MAC Mighty Aphrodite, Tarte Glisten, Milani Luminoso which are all in the same family- you can see how much the Pantone offering stands out!!!  It looks almost raspberry in pictures but I can assure you it is a very deep corally pink shade. 

I don't have any other matte peachy shades to compare the Desert Flower blush to since as I mentioned earlier, I swapped them away. I swatched it against Illamasqua Tweak which is another amazingly pigmented matte blush and you can see that even though the shades are different, the intensity of colour and pigment is comparable.

As I said I got those today. I haven't worn them yet and I don't know how long they last. What I do know is that I cannot wait to test them! I am sure that there are plenty of other MU lovers interested in the Sephora plus Pantone collection. I hope this post and pictures were helpful to someone . 
I wholeheartedly approve of the Pantone blush duo- beautiful shades and great value!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wet'n'Wild Megalast Don't Blink Pink

So I picked up one more lippie from the new WnW Megalast Offerings. Of course Don't Blink Pink is just as bright as the other two( check out my review of Purty Parsimmon and Cherry Picking HERE). It is a bright neony pink colour that should work across skintones as its overly cool.  

I have two other similar lippies - Milani Rose Hip which is supposedly a dupe for the infamous Nars Schiap (worn by Kim K in this pic) and Maybelline CS in Fuchsia Fever which should be a dupe MAC Candy Yum Yum LE lippie from the Quite Cute collection( lippie that disappeared in a matter of minutes and is quite sought after- should be repromoted later in the year!). 

Anyway, I've swatched the three lipsticks and while they are not exact dupes for each other they are very similar. Rose Hip is my favourite out of the three but I love the lasting power of the Megalast lippies. As always, make sure your lips are in perfect condition before applying any of the matte WnW Lipsticks, or any bright lippie for that matter:)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pressing Fyrinnae Loose shadows

I have close to 40 Fyrinnae loose shadows in their sample size. Most of them are insanely gorgeous and I am in awe every time I use them...which sadly is about twice a year. So I decided to press them and put them in palettes that I can keep handy coz right now they are in one of the drawers of the plastic unit that I keep items that I never use. 
Pressing shadows is a huge pain in the butt- it is messy and time consuming. It is also a learning curve! I screwed up 3 shadows before I was able to gauge correctly how much mixing agent to use per shadow. To press shadows you need a mixing agent like glycerin ( got mine from TKB trading). You will also need shadow pans and a palette (got one from TKB trading and another one from EBAY that took over 6 weeks to arrive-ugh!). You need a small pot (but bigger than the sample size Fyrinnae pots) to mix the shadow and agent in, something like a small spatula to mix it with and transfer to shadow pan, plus smooth the surface. I then take a piece of tissue paper, put it over the pan, take a quarter (fits perfectly into a 26mm pan) and press:)  Then you let it dry out!
Some came out better than others. The sample Fyrinnae size does not quite fill a 26mm but should be sufficient to cover the pan. I am not sure what they final result will be and whether I will be able to use them like a normal pressed shadow- that's what I am hoping for and I will find out  tomorrow!
The downside is that I have tons more left to press :((( Need to order another palette. 
Palette looks really pretty:)))Take a look:

MU organizer unit rave

I don't have much space so I cannot have a separate vanity table where I can also store MU and brushes. All I have is my super cheap Walmart desk and I hate it when it's covered with MU items. It feels so uninspiring when I have to do something else on that desk that is not MU related plus I get distracted with all the MU around. I have several storage thingies that I have put on the desk in an attempt to organize my most used items. Items that I get some seldom use (WnW palettes, ELF blushes and other mostly DS items) are in the only desk drawer. Items that I don't use as much (or more like ever) are in a separate plastic drawer organizer. 
So my on -desk situation was getting pretty messy so I went on Amazon and started browsing for a new organizer. I wanted something with plenty of compartments that looked nice and THIS ITEM caught my attention. At $17.95 it was really reasonable, had good reviews and looked like it can hold a lot of stuff.

I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived - it just looked really nice, not cheap at all (I have another plastic unit where the plastic has gotten all dirty and dim and just looks awful but I don't think it will happen to this one).  I filled it all out with plenty of products and I honestly wish there was another bigger size for this that can hold even more products coz I love it!!! Here is what mine looks like right now.  As you can see it holds plenty of stuff and it will be ideal with a normal person without make-up obsession who has a normal-sized stash:)

Please check what the rest of my MU organization looks like after the JUMP!

Nars Tinted Moisturizer review and swatches

Nars TM was just a rumor for quite a while but at the end of 2011( I think!) it was oficially announced that Monsieur Francois Nars was venturing in the Tinted moisturizer market. 

I do not own any TMs, I have a tinted sunscreen from MD formulations, and I also have a BB Cream but neither of those is a TM per se although they have similar properties. I have only once purchased a cheapo DS TM and it went in the garbage a week later:) As far as I know one of the more popular tinted moisturizers out there is the Laura Mercier TM  that retails for $42. I almost bought it for my mom but I wasn't sure which shade to get her so I skipped, @$42 it would have been a costly mistake if I had gotten the wrong shade. My problem with TM is with what  they claim to be- a golden mix between moisturizer and foundation that's supposed to hydrate your skin while providing light coverage. So why would I buy  TM when I already have a foundation and a moisturizer that I can mix if I wanted to sheer out my FDTN? Also TMs are a little tricky with oily skin and my skin is rather oily especially in warmer weather. 
Anyway, I was staying away from TMs...until I read all the wonderful and glowing reviews the NARS TM started getting soon after official release. It was a Nordstrom exclusive for quite a while and since there is no Nordies around here I couldn't really see it in person. I was tempted to order blindly but I hate returning stuff and at that price tag ($42 again) I wanted to first be able to try it.
The glowing reviews kept popping up and my eagerness and curiosity were up the roof-  I finally just decided to call Nordies and ask for samples and pay $5 for shipping( thats what nordies online discussion team had suggested doing). I called Nordies and if you didn't know - they have wonderful Customer Service!!! They transferred me to the beauty dept. at the closest store to me -somewhere in NJ. The lady I spoke to asked about my shade in other FDTN-the only other HE fdtn I own is Estee Lauder DW Light in intensity 2 and that colour is slightly off. I had done my homework and I knew I will be between shades 1 and 2 (Finland and Alaska, with Finland suiting NC 15 and Alaska good for NC 25-30) So I asked the SA - Vanessa if I could be sent two samples - for both shades and she was very nice and took my address and didn't say anything about for paying for shipping!!! She just asked that should I decide to buy the product, to call the store directly instead of ordering online! Either way I called on Thursday and got my Nordies package the following Tuesday- with the very generous samples of both shades ( the containers were full of product, thank you Vanessa!)
I digress! So I had enough product for at least a week testing each shade, mixing and doing comparisons. Nars claims that this product hydrates, brightens and perfects, that it's like your bare skin but better. I can't say they are lying.
Application, look & feel: The consistency is watery and it blends on the skin with ease - you can use fingers or brush. It leaves skin with a slight glow but you can't actually see the product on the skin. 
Wear:The best thing about the NARS TM is that it looks better with wear. I can't say if it will withstand the test of OIL (my skin) since it hasn't been that warm yet. I believe it lasted well for the most part of the day- 6-8 hrs. 
Shades: As I said I got the lightest shade - Finland and the second lightest Alaska.  I can't really decide between the two. In swatches they seem quite different with Finland being more neutral (not pink IMO) and light and Alaska looking quite yellow and darker. On my face they look almost identical. I think I liked Finland better on me but I posted pictures wearing both shades (one on each side) on MUA and the overwhelming opinion was that Alaska matches better. The thing with tinted moisturizers is that they are lot more forgiving when it comes to shades- you can get away with a slightly lighter/darker shade so that's why both shades seem to work for me.
Final Verdict: I really like this product but I don't love it. I don't love the price either. I don't think it makes me look exponentially better than any other product I have-say my favourite DS FDTN - Maybelline Dream Smooth mousse (review coming soon). I am also curious to try the new Estee Lauder Invisible Fluid foundation which is also getting excellent reviews and it's slightly cheaper at $35.  I haven't said NO to this product and I do recommend it for people that have relatively good skin (and budget) and want some really nice hydrating foundation alternative. 
BEWARE bare face pictures after the jump! Open at your own risk. I have included bare face pics and then pics with only Nars TM and a lippie. 
Check them out here and sorry for the long post: