Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Misa Road Warrior

Today is a special day, so today's a day for a special polish. In honor of Leap Day, here's one of my very favorite old duochromes:

Misa Road Warrior. This is one of my favorite polishes of all time, and for good reason. Just look at it. It's awesome. It's a duochrome (yes, yes, multichrome, whatever) that's quite unlike most other duochromes. It starts off with a red/dark pink pearl flash against a greyed-looking taupe base, but then shifts through so many different and unexpected colors. Pink, mauve, grey, gold, a little green, orange, and finally a light beige/taupe putty shade. Beige in a duochrome. Definitely not something I've seen very often.

The formula is a little runny, the polish is pretty sheer and the dry time is long, but the color is really cool. I'm willing to put up with a long dry time and doing four coats if the color is interesting enough, and this one is. Also:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Finger Paints Gumdrops & Lollipops Collection Spring 2012 Swatches and Review

One more Spring 2012 collection... This one is Finger Paints' spring set, called Gumdrops & Lollipops. Isn't that promo picture adorable? The polish colors are mostly your standard spring shades, but there's a few nice surprises thrown in to keep it from being too predictable.

Finger Paints Blue Raspberry Taffy. This is a typical bright blue/slightly deeper sky blue creme shade. There really isn't anything different about this one that sets it apart from the dozens of other bright blue cremes that come out every year. It's a pretty color, but very, very common.

Finger Paints Choco Mint. This is a little more green than most of the turquoise/pastel teal cremes we've seen so far this year. The name Choco Mint is spot on- this looks exactly like mint chocolate chip ice cream without the chocolate chips. Anyone know of a dark brown chunky glitter I can layer over this? I could use Nubar Black Polka Dot, that might work...

Finger Paints Circus Peanuts. The bottle color is deceptive- this dries a whole lot darker on the nail than it appears in the bottle. This one isn't quite the color of real circus peanuts, but it's vaguely similar. I'm sure they weren't going for an exact match, but if this was more orange and less pink/peach/coral toned, it would be perfect. Have you ever had circus peanuts? They're... different.

Finger Paints Grape Gumball. This one is a nice surprise! It's not a creme like the others, it has a speckled-looking finish. The shimmer particles are flat and silvery, but reflect a little blue and green at certain angles. But they're not all that shiny, really more of a 'speckle' than a 'sparkle'. Oh, and this is mostly blue, not pure purple or grape-colored. Perhaps this is Finger Paints' answer to the speckled blues in the OPI spring collection?

Finger Paints Lemon Sour. This is my favorite one. It's a light (not too whitish or washed out) lemon yellow creme. It's soft-looking and easy to wear and has one of the best formulas for a yellow polish I've ever used. It's smooth and opaque, not streaky or lumpy like most yellows tend to be. Perfect in two coats. Dreamy.

Finger Paints Pop Rock Pink. Pop Rocks! I love Pop Rocks! And this is a really good Pop Rocks color- translucent and candy-colored with a little bit of fizz to it. It's a bright coral pink jelly base with duochrome glass fleck shimmer. The glass fleck shimmer particles in this are very small compared to other similar-finished polishes. It's also very shiny and pretty, shifting colors between orange and fuchsia.

The formula on these was good. The cremes were smooth and opaque and applied very easily. The shimmers were just as nice, but a little less opaque. I did two coats of the cremes, three of the shimmers. The application was great, but I did experience some bubbling due to the thickness of the polish. The dry time on these is also a little longer than most. Like other thick/dense/bubble-prone polishes, it's best to apply very thin coats and let them dry for a few minutes before applying the next one.

The colors are cute and the formula was good, but I think I'm a little burned out on spring colors already. The only one from this collection that I really love is Lemon Sour.

This collection will be available both in store and online at Sally Beauty starting in March. Retail price is $4.99 a bottle. Limited edition.

(This was sent for review.)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Color Club Blossoming Collection Spring 2012 Swatches and Review

Color Club's Spring 2012 collection is out now and it's your standard pastel/soft shade spring color palette. This year's spring collection is called Blossoming and it has five floral-themed polishes plus one glitter topcoat designed to give the shades a dewdrop or "morning rain-kissed" effect when layered over them.

Color Club Blue-ming. This one reads more green than blue to me. Turquoise, really. A light but vibrant turquoise creme with a name that gives me this mental image:

Color Club Blushing Rose. This one is a light pink creme. This isn't the type of light pink with a strong white/chalky base (like a "Mod" pink), this one is a a bit softer looking on the hands and not so stark.

Color Club Hydrangea Kiss. This is a medium dusty blue creme. It has a soft, cloudy, antique looking finish to it that I like. And it's not a pure sky blue like most of the ones that are released every spring, it leans more to the steel blue side.

Color Club Lavendarling. Color Club calls this one a dusty purple creme and that's exactly what I was going to say about it. It's a very nice shade of purple, not light and pastel, but also not dark like China Glaze Grape Pop. It has a hazy finish.

Color Club Sweet Pea. This is a dusty/dirty mauve creme. It leans a little more purple in some lights, a little more pink in others. This is one of the few colors named Sweet Pea that actually somewhat resembles the colors of Sweet Pea flowers.

The Blossoming collection also includes a chunky shattered holographic glitter called Diamond Drops that I haven't swatched alone. It's a clear base with random shapes and sizes of silver-based shattered plastic hologram glitter, just like the glitter in Color Club Fame and Fortune. Here it is layered (one coat) over the Blossoming cremes:

Color Club Diamond Drops over Color Club Blue-Ming

Color Club Diamond Drops over Color Club Blushing Rose

Color Club Diamond Drops over Color Club Hydrangea Kiss

Color Club Diamond Drops over Color Club Lavendarling

Color Club Diamond Drops over Color Club Sweet Pea

The formula on these was so-so. It wasn't necessarily hard to apply, but it was thinner and less opaque than previous Color Club creme formulas. The cremes had a slightly runny texture compared to the thicker, slower-flowing cremes Color Club usually does. I had streaking issues on all the colors, so I did three coats of each to even them out a little. Once they were applied, they dried very quickly and had a glossy finish even without topcoat. The Diamond Drops polish was thick and awkward to apply, but you can just dab the glitter onto your nail where you want it instead of trying to do regular coats of polish. It is rough and textured, so multiple coats of topcoat are required if you want it to be completely smooth.

Overall, I'm feeling rather apathetic toward this collection. I don't hate it or dislike it, but I don't feel particularly fond of it, either. None of the colors stand out to me in a good way or a bad way, I don't feel attracted or repulsed; they're nice enough but they don't move me. If I had to pick favorites, my top choices would be Hydrangea Kiss and Lavendarling. Maybe Sweet Pea, too, because it's an unusual looking color. Don't really have much else to say about it!

This collection is available now.

(This was sent for review.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Stila Jewel Eyeshadow for Spring 2012 Swatches and Review

Remember that Stila Jewel Eyeshadow palette that came out in 2010? It had only four shades (Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Black Diamond, Golden Topaz) and it was really tiny, but it packed a huge, sparkly punch. So much of a sparkly punch that I've nearly hit pan on all the shades and ended up buying backups because I loved it so much... that Jewel palette.

Stila's 2010 Jewel Eye Shadow Palette

I loved that palette, hard. So when Stila released their brand new, larger Jewel Eye Shadow singles this season, I didn't even have to think twice about getting all of them. Four of the new shades are re-releases of the original Jewel shades, though this time around, they do look and feel different from the previous versions.

Aquamarine, Black Diamond, Blue Sapphire, Citrine, Golden Topaz.

Each shade is available individually as a 0.08 oz single, but there's also the option of the new Jewel Trio:

This trio contains three full sized Jewel shadows in Opal, Rose Quartz and Black Diamond, but at a significant discount- $38 as opposed to the $60 it would cost to buy each shade alone.

A better view of each shade in the pan:

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Amethyst

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Aquamarine

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Black Diamond

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Blue Sapphire

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Citrine

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Golden Topaz

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Opal

Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Rose Quartz

And swatched (heavily), no base, natural light and flash:

Aquamarine, Black Diamond, Blue Sapphire, Citrine, Golden Topaz.

Opal, Rose Quartz, Amethyst.

Compared to the old Jewel shadows, these have a finer, more delicate, "diamond dust"-type sparkle that's easier to crush into smaller pieces. The old ones were a little flakier and had more glittery sparkle that didn't break apart so easily. But, similar to the originals, these don't have much pigment on their own but can be built up or layered for a little more color and density.

My two favorites so far are Citrine, which is really the most amazing smoky bronze color with a glistening, wet-looking finish, and Black Diamond, which actually has quite a bit of pigment to it and smokes out beautifully. Here's a couple looks I did using these:

This was:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Lemon Drop
Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Rose Quartz on lid
Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Black Diamond in crease and on lower lashline
Stila Jewel Eye Shadow in Opal on browbone
Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash Boosting Eyeliner in Black

I didn't like the way this turned out, but it really shows off that wet-look shiny finish that these can have. The black base of Black Diamond does turn to more of a dark grey when you blend it, but it blends so smoothly and it's really easy to get a smoky look with it. Next time I won't use all the Jewel shades together because I don't like the greasy look it gave my eyes without a matte or low-shimmer shade to balance the sparkle.

This was:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Lemon Drop
Stila All Over Shimmer Eyes #2 (light gold) on lid
Stila Jewel shadow in Citrine in crease
Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow pencil in Clash on lower lashline
Stila Jewel shadow in Aquamarine over Clash on lower lashline
Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Electric on waterline
Physicians Formula Eye Booster Lash Boosting Eyeliner in Black

This turned out a lot better because I balanced the sparkle with a less shimmery shade and it didn't look quite so shiny. This is a look I used to wear a lot back in the day (gold and bronze with blue underneath), and I have to say that I like it better with the new Stila Citrine color in the crease. Citrine also has more pigment than the others and can easily be worn alone.

After testing these out for a couple weeks, here's my impression of them.

What I liked:
  • I like the new larger size. No need to worry about backups.
  • You can buy each shade individually and they each come in a hard plastic compact.
  • One of the only non-cream and non-chrome shadows I can think of that gives a wet looking finish.
  • They are very smooth, not gritty like glitter.
  • The sparkle is delicate and twinkly. Not huge glitter chunks (which I like, but it's good to have different finishes).
  • Black Diamond is great for a subtly sparkly smoky eye.
  • Citrine is also great for a bronze-toned smoky eye when used on the lid and smoked with some black liner.

What I didn't like:

  • They're weird to use. It's hard to pick up the color from the pan. Using a brush doesn't grab enough, but using your fingers seems to pack down the product too tightly into the pan, making it even harder to pick up enough color. The best way I've found is to stab at it with your brush and kick up some dust and then either pat it onto the lid with the brush or a fingertip.
  • Most of the shades have very little pigment. They're basically just a bunch of sparkle on top of a sheer colored base. It's easier to layer these than to use them alone.
  • The color selection is bland and some of the colors are downright ugly on me- Amethyst is a murky, dull, non-purply purple and Golden Topaz is way more warm and peachy than it was in the original Jewel palette.
  • Lots of fallout.
  • Not really as sparkly as I'd hoped they'd be. They have a fine, delicate type of sparkle, not a glittery-flaky sparkle like I expected.
  • They're expensive at $20 each for only 0.08 oz of shadow. Urban Decay Stardust Shadow is a nearly identical product, but it contains 0.12 oz of shadow for the same price.
  • The pans are really loose in the palette and in the compacts, they wiggle too much when I'm trying to pick up color.
  • They can make your eye look shiny and greasy if you use too many at once.
I've found that I get the best results with the sheerer shades when I use multiple layers over sticky base. The more pigmented shades apply easily on their own and the sparkle sticks without any extra help, but the sheer ones don't go on as evenly and don't hold onto their sparkles as well. The directions say that you can use them wet, but I haven't tried that.

Overall, I'm not in love with all of them like I was with the original four Jewel shades, but there are some really good ones in here. Citrine and Black Diamond are the easiest to use and most versatile for me because they're the most pigmented and blendable. Aquamarine is really nice layered over a sticky base, and Opal is gorgeous in the inner corners of the eyes. The rest seem so bland to me, and the fact that they're sheer and tricky to apply just makes me not want to reach for them often. If the application was easier and the colors were more vivid and less dull/bland, I'd feel compelled to use them more. I like them enough to not return them, but not enough that I'd buy them all again if I had the choice.

Stila Jewel Eyeshadows are available at Sephora and Ulta, but the Jewel Trio palette is exclusive to Individual shadows are $20 each, the palette is $36. As far as I'm aware, these are not limited edition.

(Black Diamond was sent for review, the rest were purchased by me.)