Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sephora + Pantone Universe Shades of Nature Palette Summer 2012 Swatches and Review

Have you seen this palette? It's crazy. The thing is massive and it has an entire rainbow of colors in it. It's called the Sephora + Pantone Universe Shades of Nature Palette and it has 35 different eyeshadow colors, all Pantone shades.

Sephora + Pantone Universe Shades of Nature Eyeshadow Palette
Can you tell how big this thing is? It's as big as a laptop. The shadows themselves are small, but there are a lot of them in here. Some features to note:
- Full sized mirror under the lid.
-Clear plastic overlay contains the names of all the shades. Only a portion of them are labeled on the palette.
-Cool, vividly colored beetle-shell design on the front.
-Colors are arranged in coordinating rows.

11-097, 15-1522, 17-1227, 18-1320, 19-0916

13-1107, 12-0812, 14-312, 15-1327, 15-1333

12-1209, 12-1310, 14-2808, 16-2614, 17-2625

12-2903, 13-2802, 17-3725, 19-3619, 19-3713

13-4108, 17-3802, 17-3911, 19-3928, 19-4205

13-6105, 13-5313, 15-4421, 15-4717, 17-4427

12-0712, 12-0736, 13-0645, 17-6219, 18-5606

What I liked:
  • The palette is gorgeous. From the brightly colored design against the white background on the front of the palette, to the rainbow of colored squares on the inside, everything about this appeals to me visually.
  • Huge variety of colors. A lot of really good brights and uncommon shades, like bright pink and orange.
  • The idea of using Pantone shades for eyeshadow is clever.
  • Most of the colors have decent pigmentation and there's some really great ones in here.

What I didn't like:

  • This palette is HUGE. It's very awkward to use because of its size.
  • The shadows are tiny. For such a huge palette, I'd expect there to be a little more product in it.
  • Not all the shades are labelled. You have to save the plastic insert if you want to know the names of all the colors.
  • The colors don't all apply true to pan color.
  • While the texture of the shadows feels silky and they swatch well on my arm, they don't all apply as nicely to the eyelids. It seems like they're too powdery so they have a hard time sticking to my lids. A lot of the colors that swatched well on my arm go on sheer and patchy when applied with a brush to the eyelids.
  • A lot of the colors fade super fast. Within minutes of applying. The greys and greens seem to be the worst for fading.
  • The shadows are also easy to over-blend because they're so light and fluffy.
  • Costs too much. $55. I know that there are a lot of colors in here, but the size and quality of them doesn't match the $55 price tag.

This was an impulse buy. As soon as I saw the email from Sephora announcing its release, I bought it immediately. I had to. Look at it! Look at all those bright colors, and look how many they are! Plus, I've had pretty good luck with the Sephora-brand shadows lately. Now that I've used it a few times, I don't regret buying it, but it's really not as good as I hoped it would be. I'm disappointed that the shadows fade so fast even over a primer, and I wish that they adhered better. The colors are great (17-3725, ooh la la!), the palette is cool looking and it's a cool thing to have if you collect palettes like I do, but don't expect an amazing formula.

The Sephora + Pantone Universe Shades of Nature Palette is limited edition and retails for $55.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Smashbox Shades of Fame Reflection High Shine Lip Gloss Set Summer 2012 Swatches and Review

Smashbox has just added a brand new gloss formula to their lineup: Reflection High Shine Lipgloss. The formula is supposed to be hydrating and plumping (thanks to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid and "plumping spheres") and have and ultra-shiny finish. To allow you to try out several shades of the new formula without making a full-size commitment, they've put together a kit of five minis as part of their Shades of Fame Summer 2012 collection.

Smashbox Shades of Fame Reflection High Shine Lipgloss Set

The set includes five mini (0.19 oz) tubes of the new Reflection High Shine gloss in the following shades:

Sheer, light warm pink with gold and pink pearl sparkle

Sheer golden bronze with gold sparkle

Sheer cool red with gold and red sparkle

Sheer orange-coral with iridescent pink and gold pearl shimmer

Clear with silvery-white, gold and iridescent sparkle

What I liked:
  • Tubes are a good size. 0.19 oz is pretty good for a mini.
  • Nice slant-tip applicator.
  • The formula is thick, smooth and cushy. It feels very balm like and pleasant.
  • Wears for a good long while and stays comfortable, not drying or gritty-feeling.
  • The colors all have a gorgeous sparkle to them.
  • All shades have a light vanilla scent. It smells very good but it's pretty faint.
  • The thick, cushy formula makes my lips look a little fuller.
  • The set is the cheapest way to try these glosses. The full sized tubes are $19, this entire set only costs $29.

What I didn't like:

  • The colors are more sheer than I thought they would be. Despite how bright they look in the tubes, they only add a tint to your lips, they're not full coverage. The sparkle shows up well, but the colors themselves are subtle.
  • The formula is very thick and smooth (which I like), but it does have a gooey-stickiness to it that feels heavy on the lips.
  • I didn't notice any true plumping when using these, just the visual plumping effect from the thick, glossy formula.
  • The formula is very glossy, but I don't think it's really "high shine" or any more shiny than your average gloss.
  • I wish the scent was stronger. I love vanilla scented gloss. I've been known to buy colors I don't even like just because they smell like vanilla.

The new formula is nice. I like it. I do prefer the less-gooey texture of the Lip Enhancing formula, but that one doesn't wear as long as the new Reflection formula. The Reflection High Shine gloss feels more hydrating than the average gloss, and it's also less sticky than a lot of my favorite glosses. It lasts a good amount of time on my lips so I don't have to touch it up every 20 minutes. The colors are all easy to wear and pretty, I like every single one.

The Smashbox Shades of Fame Reflection High Shine Lipgloss set is limited edition and retails for $29 at Sephora.

(This was sent for review.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

China Glaze On Safari Collection Fall 2012 Swatches and Review

All right! First fall collection of the year! This one's from China Glaze and it's called On Safari.

China Glaze Adventure Red-y. A medium-borderline-dark blue-toned red creme. The color itself doesn't look unique, but, as far as reds go, this is one of the densest and most opaque ones I've ever used.

China Glaze Call of the Wild. Very dark burgundy-brown creme. Pretty straightforward.

China Glaze Desert Sun. China Glaze calls this one caramel, but I think it's a little too orange to be caramel. It looks to me like a light dirty orange with pink undertones. It's very strange but very cool. It dries darker than bottle color.

China Glaze Elephant Walk. A shape shifter. In some lights it looks like a cool-toned grey, while in others it looks completely green. China Glaze describes it as cool graphite grey, but I see a strong green/teal tone in it when I wear it. It has a little bit of extremely fine silver shimmer in it, but not enough to make it look frosty.

China Glaze Exotic Encounters. This is a medium teal creme. The finish is slightly dusty, not crisp and clean.

China Glaze I Herd That. This is a mixture of a few different colors of glitter, all the same size. I see mostly gold and copper but there's also a bit of holographic glitter in here as well. It's warm and sparkly and absolutely perfect. Here I'm wearing it with topcoat, but this color actually dries to a matte finish. It looks just as amazing with its natural finish; the glitter still sparkles but it looks grainy, like your nails are coated in golden sugar.

China Glaze I Herd That, no topcoat.

China Glaze I'm Not Lion. Another excellent glitter. This one shifts colors depending on how I look at it. Sometimes it looks like a light gold with a slight green tinge, sometimes it looks like light taupe with champagne and silver accents. When I look closely I can see light neutral gold glitter, silver glitter and hologram glitter, but the way they combine looks very interesting. This one seems to have more holo than I Herd That does.

China Glaze Jungle Queen. A very dusty-looking greyed-out purple with bright pink and purple shimmer. This reminds me a lot of Chanel Paradoxal. This color looks very hazy and smoky, like there's a grey film spread across the surface. But then, when you catch the light just right, you can see this bright purple flash of shimmer break through the smoky base. Very cool color.

China Glaze Kalahari Kiss. Another strange one! Is this going to be this year's Classic Camel? China Glaze calls it a light sand brown, but again, I disagree. This looks yellow to me. Sandy, dirty, a little bit beige-y, but definitely yellow more than brown.

China Glaze Man Hunt. Bright blue creme. More opaque and a bit darker than Ride the Waves.

China Glaze Prey Tell. Dark, vampy brown-tinged red. Kinda looks like dried blood.

China Glaze Purr-fect Plum. Dark berry-purple. Dries darker than bottle color.

The formula on these was good. They were thicker than I'd normally prefer, but they were also more opaque than usual. Most colors were completely opaque in one coat, only the glitters needed two. The darker shades like Call of the Wild and Prey Tell were the thickest and were harder to apply than the lighter shades. Since these are so thick, they're susceptible to bubbling unless you let each coat dry for 2-5 minutes before applying the next one. Dry time is about average.

For once I'm not really excited about the vampy colors in a fall collection. The ones in here aren't bad, but they're not unique. I have a feeling we'll see a lot of the same ones this fall, just as we've seen them every fall. I love the rest of the colors, though, especially the glitters. Very funky and interesting collection!

The China Glaze On Safari collection will be available starting in July.

(This was sent for review.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

LORAC Wild for TANtalizer Collection Summer 2012 Swatches and Review

Tiny little kit from LORAC for summer 2012. Not quite as cool as last year's kit, but still pretty good. It has four shades of shadow, a bronzer/highlighter and a gloss just like the last one, but the colors in this set are more toned-down, soft and earthy.

LORAC Wild for TANtalier Bronzing Powder
A rosy, warm, tan-colored bronzing powder striped with champagne metallic shimmer overspray.

LORAC Wild for TANtalizer Eyeshadow Palette
Fierce (peachy-gold shimmer), Tigris (warm deep copper shimmer), Panthera (warm golden-bronze shimmer) and Saber (dark plum-bronze shimmer).

Shadow and bronzer palette ingredients. Click to enlarge.

LORAC TANtalizer Lips with Benefits Gloss in Raoul
Four different shades swirled in one tube. When mixed together, they create a frosty peach-nude.

LORAC's Lips with Benefits glosses are really cool. They're swirled and tiger-striped with several different colors and finishes of gloss, but when you remove the wand from the tube, it mixes them together into one color. It's really neat. The one downside to this is that the cool swirly design isn't permanent. Within a few uses (pictured above at three), the stripes begin to deform and eventually all blend together.

What I liked:
  • Shadow formula is soft, pigmented, smooth and easy to blend. The colors all go really well with each other. I really like them.
  • The bronzer design is cool looking.
  • Bronzer color isn't too dark for my fair skin.
  • The Lips with Benefits gloss smells amazing. It has a realistic caramelized sugar scent that makes me think of the sugar on top of crème brûlée.
  • The Lips with Benefits formula is smooth and non-sticky. It's very thin but it's not slippery or slimy feeling.
  • Love the swirled design and metallic copper cap on the Lips with Benefits gloss.
  • The palettes each have their own mirror. That comes in handy if you like to carry your makeup with you for touchups.

What I didn't like:

  • The shadow seems to lose some of its shimmer after a few hours of wear. It looks almost metallic when first applied but loses intensity throughout the day. It doesn't fall down onto my cheeks, it just... disappears.
  • The bronzer is quite shimmery. The shimmer can be blended away during application, or removed from the product altogether (wipe it off with a tissue, it's overspray).
  • The Lips with Benefits gloss in Raoul is extremely frosty when applied normally. When I wear it, I apply it like normal, but then blot away a bit of it and that removes some of the frostiness and makes it more wearable.
  • The bag is a little on the ugly side. Plain, boring canvas with a horn-shaped wooden toggle. Not glamorous and flashy like the gold bag from last year. I get what they were going for with the styling, but who wants a plain canvas makeup bag?
  • The palettes are cardboard. They aren't flimsy, but they don't feel like they'll hold up forever.

I like the eyeshadows the best out of anything in here. The texture and payoff are both satisfactory and all the colors blend together beautifully. I've been wearing it a lot this summer because it's so fast and easy to do a two-color look that looks like it took more effort than it really did. I've been wearing Panthera on the lid, Saber in the crease, sometimes with a little Fierce on the inner corners. Two minutes, done. Another thing I really like about the shadow palette is that it goes extremely well with blue mascara and eyeliner. No joke. If you have super dark brown eyes like mine, you need to try copper and bronze shadow with blue-black (or just plain blue) eyeliner and blue mascara. You'll be amazed.

This limited edition set retails for $39 and is available at Sephora.

(This was sent for review.)