Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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Drugstore Dupe for MAC's All That Glitters

This is actually something that I've posted on before (if you want to see the original, go here), but I posted it back before I really had any subscribers and, since this is such a popular shade, I thought it was worth addressing again. I did take new photos for this, though!

I think that All That Glitters was actually the first MAC eyeshadow shade I ever knew by name - whenever I saw anyones MAC favorites list, this always seemed to come up. I did eventually get it, but I know that there are many people who don't want to pay $11 for an eyeshadow.

So here is All That Glitters (in its pan form) next to its drugstore cousin - CoverGirl's eyeshadow single in Mink. Tell me they don't look the same...

And I know some of you are probably saying, 'well, they look the same in the pan, but there's no way the drugstore shadow has adequate pigmentation'. Au contraire, my friend.

On the left is the MAC and CG is on the right. No primer or base used - just the shadows standing on their own. Pretty good, huh? Same undertones, same finish, almost the same pigmentation (MAC was one swipe, CG took two).

To be fair, I will point out that the CG shadow isn't quite as smooth and creamy as the MAC, but at less than $4 I'm alright with it. I only really know about that difference through making the swatch with my finger. The CG still applies very easily and doesn't require building like some other drugstore shadows.

I've worn both of them for entire days without creasing or fading (using primer).

If you've wanted to try this color but aren't interested in paying for MAC, this is definitely a good buy. This shade has actually been in CoverGirl's line for years and is very easy to find if you're interested in finding it.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Maybelline's NY Fashion Week LE Eyeshadow Trios

I don't know about you, but when the words 'limited edition' get attached to any product, I feel the need to go check it out. I saw the display out for Maybelline's LE collection for Fashion Week at Walgreens a few days ago but was in a hurry so didn't pay it much mind - and I started kicking myself when I got home. Shouldn't I have at least looked? Geez. I tried finding swatches of them online, but didn't have much luck.

So I went on the hunt today to find them again, and yes, it was a hunt.

I went back to the Walgreens I'd originally seen them at - empty display case. Damn!
Went to a CVS - they didn't even have a display for them.
Drove to another Walgreens that's a bit farther away and... Jackpot. They had all three shadow trios left. And I ended up getting all three.

The taupe 'lid' color is pretty, but it's a pretty generic taupe - it wouldn't be difficult to find a similar shade. What makes this one is the 'crease' shade which is somewhere between charcoal and blue - I don't think I have any other shades that are quite like it.

This is my favorite of the three. The 'lid' shade is extremely pigmented. While I had to build most of the colors up a bit, the swatch of this shade is one swipe across my hand - one swipe! I also like the 'crease' shade because it is really nice for pale skin (like I have - so I'm biased in liking this one the most). It's dark enough to easily add depth to the crease or outer corner, but not dark enough to become stark.

This one I think could be done without. The shades are nice, but they all seem a bit generic and require building up. So, if you need some good grays for a smoky eye - go for it. But, if you already have a lot of grays in your collection, I'd go check through them first because there's a good chance you already have something similar.

The 'brown bone' shades

Contrary to how they look in the pictures, the three lightest shades all do have some pigment to them. They're just so close to my skin tone that they disappeared. And, in case you're wondering, they are all slightly different. I reswatched them all on my wrist where my skin is a bit lighter (yes, I get lighter) and could see the difference then, but my camera wouldn't pick it up.

For all intents and purposes, I think they'd all look the same in a look, but in case you're a stickler:
in Charming Cobalt: it's more orange
in Best in Brown: it's more gold
in Glamorous Grey: it's more champagne.

And a helpful hint

If you find the display rack, there should be a pad of tear off coupons for $1 off any Maybelline product - only one coupon per purchase. I grabbed three and, since there was no one else in line behind me, I asked the cashier if she'd run them through as three separate transactions, so I saved $3! If you're at Walgreens, and the main line is long, check if there's someone working the counter closer to the cosmetics - people don't tend to check out there, so there will be less (if any) of a line, and the cashier may be more inclined to do the same favor for you. If all else fails, you can just go through the line a few times!

Have you checked these shadows out? What did you think of them?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wet n Wild's ColorIcon Palette in Vanity

As much as I love finding good quality products at the drugstore, I've always been frustrated at how difficult it is to find well pigmented, matte eyeshadow there. It's pretty simple to find good quality shimmery shades, but matte finishes are few and far between. Finally, I've found some that fit the bill.

The ColorIcon six shadow palettes from Wet n Wild provide a mix with 3 shimmery shades and 3 matte.

This one is called Vanity (nice name, huh?). I know the state of mine is a bit rough, but that's because it's been used quite a bit! This is a really nice little palette if you want one item that can give you a neutral, smokey look at a very affordable price - these only run for about $4.99.

I really like that this includes both matte and shimmery finishes because I think that using a little of both is both more flattering and gives more dimension than using only one or the other. Using all mattes can look a bit flat, while using all shimmer can look like too much, but combining the two gives the best of both worlds and creates balance.

When I first saw this in the store, I didn't have high hopes for the pigmentation of all of these - surely there would be at least one bad one, right?

Nope. They all have nice pigmentation, and most are surprisingly smooth for such an inexpensive product. The only shade I haven't gotten much use out of is the orange/yellow shimmery shade in the middle, but that's only because I don't find it very flattering on my skin tone. I think it could be gorgeous on someone with very dark skin.

I would definitely recommend this palette!

Thanks for reading.

*To see all my posts on the ColorIcon palettes, click here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nail Polish - Knowing What You Have

Along with having an organization system that allows you to see all of your polishes, another really helpful way to really know what you have is nail wheels.

They don't look exciting when they're new, but when used...

Every polish that I own is represented somewhere on these wheels. I've only been using these for a few months, but they've made a world of difference in how I choose which nail color to use. Instead of picking which color looks best in the bottle, I can hold up these swatches and see, not only which looks prettiest, but which is most flattering against my skin/clothes/etc, and I know exactly the shade it will be when it's dried (and there are some polishes that change a lot from how it looks in the bottle).

I have the brand and name of each polish marked on those little white stickers around the perimeter as well as how many coats it took to make the swatch. This helps because I have an idea going in about how many coats it will take to finish my nails with a particular polish.

I have mine grouped by brand since I already have an idea of how well different brands wear, but there are many other ways you could divide them (color family, finish, etc).

In addition to being able to see them all, just going through the process of painting all of them has made me extremely (almost painfully) aware of what I have. There are a few bottles that I don't think had been opened for years - I actually found some colors that are gorgeous that I wasn't really aware that I had. I also realized that there are certain types of shades that I have plenty of already, so I'm able to be much more discriminating about new polishes that I purchase.

I got mine from transdesign.com - $6.75 for a pack of 10 - a very small investment for how helpful they are.
You can also get then in opaque white, but I chose the clear ones because I think that the white ones could make it difficult to judge when light colors get good coverage (and mess up my number of coats system).

Even though I ordered mine, I'd imagine you could find something similar to these in any good nail supply store.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Attempt at Nail Art

Just a little show and tell... the rest of my nail polish stuff came in yesterday, and I had to make some time to play with it. My first ever attempt at nail art!

Not amazing, but I like it! And I don't mind telling you I only did my thumb... This was strictly for playing purposes.

I put a top coat on just to see how it would take. It streaked a tiny bit, but you can only really see if you look extremely closely. Fun stuff.

Now time to go take it off so I don't have one random nail!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Holy Grail Hand Cream - Massive Product Rave

So the other day I was walking around T.J.Maxx (just looking, I swear), and I heard a woman asking a sales associate if they had any more of a certain hand cream that she had found earlier and fallen in love with.  She'd actually made a bit of a trek to the store to find more of this, and while the store had quite a few other items from this particular brand, both she and the associate could find none of the elusive cream. So, after being told to check back in a few days when a new shipment was coming in, the poor woman left empty handed.

I had to go check out what products they did have from this magic brand and, low and behold, I found three of the hand cream she'd been looking for... Apparently it was out in a tube when she'd found it before; they didn't think to check what products were in all of those boxes on the shelf. Always check different packaging!

I almost wanted to take one of them to this poor woman, but had no idea which was her since I'd only heard her voice! Oh well.

So I picked up two - one for myself and one for mom (yes, I'm a nice daughter). If that woman thought it was worth all that hassle, it must be good, right?

Oh, yes it is.

It's the Mineral Hand Cream from AHAVA.

I'd heard of the brand a few times before, but I'd never tried any of their products because I hadn't heard much about it, and it's a tad pricier than what I normally go for.

But now I love it (and mom does, too). You only need two pea-sized dollops, and the results are lovely. It soaks in completely clean in seconds - no traces of a sticky or oily residue left - and my hands are silky smooth.

It does have a faint scent to it - think of anything called 'sea breeze' or 'ocean mist', and you'll be in the right scent family - but it's extremely light and smells very clean. I don't even think it would be enough to bother people who are sensitive to fragrance; I have to actually put my hands to my face to really notice it.

This 3.4 oz tube sells for $20 on AHAVA's site (you can get a 5 oz. bottle for the same price from Ulta); but if you'd like the chance to try it out for less, go look at your T.J. Maxx now. I found mine for $10.

I was so impressed with this that I went back to the store to see if that third one was still there, but someone else had grabbed it. I did pick up a few more items from the company, though, to try. I haven't tested them yet, but they all have the same clean scent.

Love love love this. Before, I would have said I would never  shell out $20 for a hand cream, but I can see myself doing that to replace this once mine runs out.

Do you have a holy grail hand moisturizer or are you still looking?

Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I Feel So Organized! - Nail Polish

If you follow me on twitter, you will have seen a tweet from me saying that I've cut myself off from buying nail polish and all things related to it. This is because over a couple of days I managed to do quite a bit of damage online... But the first of it arrived today, so I am extremely excited!!! Purchaser's guilt is a fickle thing, isn't it?

Although I'm not one to buy large amounts of polish at a time, it does seem to slowly accumulate to a jumbled mass. I've gone the 'gathering them on a pretty glass tray' route in the past but came to hate it because you couldn't really see what was there since they were on the same level. And, they would always overflow from the tray and end up in drawers/other rooms, and I would forget what I had (yes, a few duplicates have accidentally been purchased in the past).

But now I have a solution, so I thought I'd share with you!

I know this box doesn't look exciting, but don't judge a book by its cover, right? If you can't read the label on the side - it's a nail rack. Ok, maybe not that exciting... but it makes a huge difference!

It's only three separate pieces of plastic (very thick and strong), so minimal assembly is required. There are only two screw-nuts on either side, so all you will need is a Phillips head screwdriver (and I used pliars to hold the nuts in place, but you don't have to have these). Anyone can do this, I promise.

Easy, right?

After it's assembled, you'll have this:

Still pretty boring looking, but after you fill it up - you get this!

Is it silly that I get a little kick out of how uniform they look? The description for this says that it will hold 60 polishes (or 12 per row), but that completely depends on what polishes you put on it. I've found that one row will hold exactly 12 OPI polishes, but there is only enough room for 11 China Glaze (there is some room left over, but not enough for another CG). And then, if you have polishes with bottles that are thinner and can be turned sideways - you can get 16-18.

I find this thing to be so incredibly helpful because each row is a tad higher than the one before, so there is no problem seeing what polish is behind another. This is actually my second one of these. I've had the first one for a few months, and I truly love it. It's extremely sturdy, and I've had no sorts of problems with it whatsoever.

I ordered this from the site transdesign.com for $27.50. I know this seems pricey, but after doing a lot of searching, it seemed that I wouldn't be able to get a better deal on one of these racks. I also was drawn to this site over others because they allow you to use Paypal for payment (so I don't have to hand over my credit card info to a company I'm not familiar with).

This was my second time ordering from them, and both times they've provided extremely prompt shipping with very safe packaging. They also sell a lot of other nail supplies and tools (including discounted nail polish - you should check that out). I may do a few posts in the future of other things I've ordered from them.

And a note: on the front page of the site, there are things you can add to your cart for free depending on the total that you spend. Do not forget to do this! They will not remind you of it before you check out!!! I forgot to do it this last time -_- I didn't really want any of the free things, but still.... it was FREE! Lesson learned.

How do you organize your polishes?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How to Smell Like a White Floral Mess

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit of a perfume addict. I may have more makeup, but my serious attitude towards perfume came first and, in a way, I still take it more seriously.

I'll also admit to having a love-hate relationship with celebrity perfumes. There are a few that are nice, but in general they have poor staying power and aren't very innovative (if you've smelled one, you've smelled most of them). But I can appreciate that some people still like these, and I respectfully accept that we won't all be attracted to the same scents.

I can't be respectful this time... Never before have I actively wanted to wave my arms in front of anyone buying a scent because of the celebrity name attached to it and tell them to run to their nearest higher end perfume counter to see what perfumes should be!

A little write up on what this perfume was supposed to smell like according to Sephora:

sultry style with crisp top notes, lush mid notes, and a sexy drydown. Gorgeous, voluptuous florals reflect her allure, while soft jasmine, tuberose, and gardenia mirror her femininity. Tonka bean, jacaranda wood, and sandalwood add a warm, sensual base.

The notes listed are:

Mandarin, Honey Suckle, Orange Blossom, Pink Jasmine, Tuberose, Sensual Spice, Lush Gardenia, Jacaranda Wood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla Orchid, Sexy Musk, Creamy Sandalwood.

Looks lovely on paper, yeah?

Anyone know which perfume I'm referring to yet?

It's Kim Kardashian's namesake fragrance.

I expected this to have sweet citrus top notes with a drydown to a rich vanilla floral. Not so, dear friend.

I sprayed this on my hand in the store and immediately regretted it. There is no sign of those citrus notes that were promised, and you are left with a sickeningly thick white floral scent (gardenia) that is poorly balanced by musk. To make it worse, the notes have an artificial quality to them - especially the floral - which makes it sharp and unpleasant. It also has a powdery undertone to it - this combined with the artificial floral reminded me of the scent of someones grandmother whose olfactory senses may be failing.

In all honesty, it smells extremely cheap. With poorly balanced, poor quality notes, it reminds me of one of those cheap perfume knockoffs. Sorry, Kim.

In the spirit of experimentation, I didn't wash it off just to see how long the scent would last. Three hours later and I still had full-force granny living on my hand. At least it has good lasting power for a celebrity scent. Interestingly, by hour four only a faint hint of powder was left (literally, it smelled as if I'd sprinkled baby powder on myself).

I cannot at all understand how this perfume was released under Kardashian's name. With the image she is portrayed with, I really expected her (or the professionals behind her) to release something sexy and sultry. This is nowhere close to either.

So, if you are one of those people considering purchasing her perfume - here I am standing in front of you waving my arms begging you to just turn around and walk away.

Have you smelled this? What did you think?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Adding a Bit of Shimmer

I know a lot of people swear by bronzers and highlights, but I've never really bothered with either. When I saw this product for the first time the other day, though, I thought I'd give them a chance.

This is the Sun Loving Minerals: Mineral Bronzing Powder from Prestige in Pure Shimmer.

There were 2 other shades as well - both bronzy tans - but this one really drew in my attention.

Rather than being one dominant color with veining of another shade running through it as many other mineralized face products are, this one is more equal parts of a white gold and a light bronzy pink swirled together. Lovely!

When applied opaquely, it seems that most of the pink tones get lost, and it comes across as more of the white gold shade.

What I found interesting was that in places where the light was not directly hitting it, the color almost blended into my skin, but then it has a high sheen wherever the light does hit. If applied with a light touch, it makes a very nice highlight for above the cheekbone. I think it would also be nice if you wanted a bit of shimmer to your brow highlight, but didn't want the color that would come with a shimmery eyeshadow.

It was about $12 - a bit on the high side for a drugstore product, but I like it. The looks of it remind me of the MAC Mineralized Skin Finishes, but I don't have one to compare it to so I can't say with complete certainty that they're comparable. But, if you did want to dabble with a highlight, this will certainly cost you less to play with.

I wouldn't say that this (or any highlighter) is a must-have. I've managed to live 23 years without one! But this one is definitely nice if you want to add a bit of shimmer.

Maybe I'll go back for the other two shades eventually to see what they can do for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quick Review: Palladio Eye Liners

I'd heard quite a few good things about the Palladio brand and have had good experiences with a few of their other products; so when my Ulta had a 3 for 2 special on Palladio products awhile ago, I decided to try out their eye liners.

For most makeup products, I believe that good quality items exist in the drugstore, but I have yet to find a really excellent eye liner (not in liquid form). I didn't really realize how nice liner formulations could be until I tried a few higher end ones, and I am still looking for the more affordable dupe. Would it be from Palladio? For $3 per liner, that'd be a good deal.

Here are the 3 that I'd picked up.

The biggest downside I saw, at first, was that they weren't retractable. I like those types simply because I am lazy and like not having to sharpen them. However, if they turned out to be good quality, I could deal.

So, the verdict?

They are not my dupe...

The two swatches for each shade represent two different things. The thicker, pigmented lines to each left is the color that can be gotten from the liners. The smaller, dinky lines to each right is the color that I can get if applied with the maximum pressure I would be comfortable applying to the eye area. That color that can be gotten requires intense pressure and going back and forth multiple times across the skin. I don't mind doing this on my hand for the sake of a swatch, but never on the eye! Even for the 'dinky' lines, I went across 2 or 3 times.

Another reason I chose to do both is that I can see someone else doing a hand test of these and getting excited about the color they think they are going to get from them - maybe even convicing someone else they should get them based on that experience.

Bottom line - they're nowhere near soft enough for the area they're intended. In addition to the pressure needed for good pigmentation from them, you would also have to pull your lid very tightly in order to apply that pressure - not good.

Pass on these.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Removing Makeup Should Not Be Painful

... at least that's what I think.

For the past few years, I've used cream and gel products to remove my eye makeup. They've always worked pretty well at getting off all the shadow and liner I may have slapped on that day, but they never did much on mascara. So I'd be left with the dreaded raccoon-eye effect after washing my face and have to repeat the removal process to get the remnants off.

I decided that perhaps it was time to broaden my horizon and try out a liquid formulation - surely it would pose more of a threat to my mascara. So I looked around at what the drugstore had to offer and settled on Almay's oil-free formula.

I don't know why, but I've always had the impression that Almay was a more natural brand than many others at the drugstore - perhaps it's the packaging? The front said it contained aloe, cucumber, and green tea; and the back says that it

'nourishes skin as it gently removes eye makeup, even waterproof mascara, without irritation'

Sounds good, yeah? So I picked it up and started using it that night. A few days later, I noticed that my lids and around my eyes were getting extremely sensitive. My skin didn't look red or swollen, but it was so sensitive that even my makeup brushes were painful to use. I know beauty is pain, but that's too much! It was the week that I was doing my Naked palette challenge, so I was a little worried that I might be allergic to something in the shadows, but I hadn't had any issues with those in the Alice palette so I ruled that out.

The only other thing in my routine that had changed was the makeup remover so I went back to my cream formulation. Two days later and the sensitivity was gone. Darn you, Almay! I don't consider myself to have very sensitive skin, so for something to give me an adverse reaction that quickly is a big deal.

I'm not sure which ingredient could be responsible. At first I suspected the sodium trideceth sulfate, but with a quick search, I found that this sulfate is what is often used in baby shampoos - supposedly formulated not to irritate the eyes. So I don't know what did it.

I also did a search on some product review sites and found that I'm not the only one who has a problem with this product - about 1/3 of the reviews I looked through complained about it irritating their skin. A few even said their vision gets blurry after using it - even if they're careful not to get any in their eyes. I could see that happening a little if there was oil in it, but this formula is oil-free. Scary.

Did it remove makeup well? Yes

Will I use it again? There's no way.

So disappointed.

Epic product fail.

Friday, August 6, 2010

NAKED for a Week

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I purchased Urban Decay's Naked palette from Sephora. Even though it figured out to a really good deal when you divide the cost among all the shadows, I still felt a bit guilty so I set myself a challenge to see how far I could stretch this thing.

The challenge: 7 days. 1 palette.

That's right. I wanted to see if I could use nothing but these shadows for 7 days without repeating a look. Did I do it?

(I've bolded everything that came from the palette.)

Day 1

Virgin along the lash line
Toasted on rest of lid and blended into crease
Revlon ColorStay liquid liner in Black Brown
Hustle over the liner and on lower lash line

Day 2

Toasted all over lid, blended into crease, and along lower lash line
Whiskey liner smudged on upper lash line

Day 3

Virgin all over lid
Gunmetal outer 3rd of lid, crease, and lower lash line
Zero liner upper lash line and upper tight line

Day 4

Virgin all over lid
Naked from crease almost to brown bone
Buck in crease and lower lash line
Studio Gear gel liner in Invincible Earth

Day 5

Virgin in inner corner
Half Baked on lid
Smog in crease
Naked used to blend out top of crease
Revlon ColorStay liquid liner in Black Brown
Creep smoked out outer edge of liner

Day 6

Sin inner half of lid
Sidecar outer half
Buck in crease
Hustle outer V
Whiskey liner upper lid, upper tight line, and lower outer edge

Day 7

Sin all over lid
Gumnetal blended over lid (avoiding inner corner) and into crease
Creep outer V
Studio Gear gen liner in Invincible Graphite

Mascara used on all of these days was the Great Lash Mascara in Brownish Black from Maybelline.
Purchase justified? I think so.
If you are a fan of neutral looks, I really do think this is a good investment.
Thanks for reading.

*All of these photos were taken with flash because it was the only way I could get the true color. However, this makes it (obviously) the true color with a bright light; so in real life, most of these looks appeared much more smoky.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

e.l.f.'s Beauty Book: Neutral Eye Edition

Here we are at the end... the last of the 3 e.l.f. books to be swatched. Finally! I've gotten too much glitter on me for my taste while taking swatches of these; but I'm hoping these photos may help some of you out, and I can suffer a bit of glitter for that.

You know the process by now.

Front of the book.

Shot of the shadows.

And the row-by-row breakdown

Row 1

This is definitely our good row. All of them have good texture, fair pigmentaion, and don't seem like they'd create terrible fallout even though they are quite shimmery. The only bad bit is that the darkest shade on the right does have to be built up, but it doesn't become patchy as some of those in previous books have.

Row 2

This row is split: the first two shadows are nice, but the second two had very thin coverage with the darker one going on extremely patchy. I'm also not sure why they chose to include these more purple/pink shades in a neutral palette. I think more of a champagne shade or matte highlights would have been nice to include instead.

Row 3

This one is also split. The first two are, again, very nice (although I know it's difficult to see the first since it blended into my skin), and the second two are chalky with poor, patchy coverage.

Overall Thoughts
I think this book would be alright to pick up if you like the shades. The good ones are very nice, and I don't think that the bad ones are beyond the help of a good primer like those in the previous book I showed.

I hope these last few posts of swatches have helped some of you - maybe even saved you a few dollars. Overall, I'm still not sure what my feelings are of the e.l.f. brand as a whole. As I said before, these special Target items are the only experience I've had with them, and these make the quality of their items seem extremely inconsistent. However, I know that it is not uncommon for the quality of items that come in larger packaging (i.e. large palettes rather than singles or duos) to be poorer in many brands.
I will say that I know that you could go through these shadows more quickly than some other brands' shadows because I noticed that it just simply took more product to build up color. So, you may get less use out of these shadows, but you also paid less for them. There's always a trade off, yea?

If you've tried out other e.l.f. products, leave a comment and let me know what you thought of them - good or bad.

Anyhow, I hope you've enjoyed this jaunt of swatching. I know I'll be glad to get to move onto something new in the next post.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another Day, Another e.l.f. Book: the Eye Brights Edition

Moving right along with our closer look at the e.l.f. Beauty Books - currently available at Targets for back-to-school - here's the 'Eye Brights' version.

First - a look at the front cover. On the inside flap of the book are a few suggestions for shadow placement - it's the exact same as the one in the smoky book which I included a photo of in the previous post if you'd like a look-see.

And here's a shot of the shadows. Some of them look really nice in the pan, yea? Hmm... looks can be so deceiving (know where this is going?)

Row 1

All four of the shadows in this row leave nothing but a chalky, glittery mess. I tried very hard to get some true color to show up and, though you can't see it in the photo, I ended up with almost no color but somehow got glitter going halfway up my arm... not pretty. I think you would need a very good base to work with these, and you'd probably still have some issues with fallout. Fail row.

Row 2

The first shadow in this set is actually quite pretty. It's difficult to see since it almost blends in with my skin, but it catches the light in a lovely way and would make a nice lid shade or even as an inner corner highlight in a darker look. The other 3 are 'eh'. They are pretty but require work and building up to make something out of them.

Row 3

The first shade is very dry; but it, and the black shade as well, can also be built up to be pretty (they are both quite glittery, though). The middle two can also be built, but they both came out quite patchy. I'm really not sure what causes this, but it was very disappointing - especially with the reddish shade because I thought I'd really love that one.

Overall Thoughts
The main theme for this palette seems to be chalky mess. Although a couple of them could be very nice if you worked with them, I really don't think they're worth it. You could easily find other shades that are similar in color but of good quality.

I'm sorry to say that there isn't a redeeming factor in this one. I'd suggest skipping it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

e.l.f.'s Beauty Book: Smoky Eye Edition

After taking a closer look at the 6 shadow palettes in my last post, I was left a bit nervous about the larger shadow books that I'd been so excited to get. So, I decided that I would bring you along with me as I checked out the quality (meaning more organized swatching, rather than random playing on my hand... ha!)

This time we're looking at the 'Smoky Eye' book. Below is a picture of the front cover and the inside flap which has a few tips about shadow placement for beginners (honestly, I haven't bothered to read through it.) But if you'd like to, just click on the picture to enlarge it, and the photo quality is clear enough to read the text.

And here's a look at the shadows.

The books retail for $5 and come with 12 shadows, a short black eyeliner (of fair quality, but not great), and a sponge-tip applicator. I've swatched them by row to make them easier to look at.

Row 1

This is the 'good' row in the palette. All of them do require a bit of building up, but they are very soft in comparison to the glittery shadows from the 6 shadow palettes (in a good way). And they have what I'll call 'good glitter', meaning that I don't see them causing excessive fallout like those others either. These would make a good foundation for a grey/silver smoky eye.

Row 2

This is the 'bad' row. All four are excessively chalky and, even with building, you don't get much out of them. While I do think the one on the far right could be very pretty, it requires a lot of work and would probably need a good primer or base to really use it.

Row 3

And this row is split! The two on the left aren't good at all - very chalky with very little color payoff. The two on the right are beautiful - probably my favorites of the entire palette. They are very pigmented, didn't require building up, and they have that 'good glitter'. The glitter in these two is more finely milled than in the other shadows, creating more of a shimmer effect rather than a glittery one.

Overall Thoughts

So 6 good and 6 bad. For $5, I think that's an alright deal.

I'm still undecided on how I feel about e.l.f. as a brand. So far they seem extremely inconsistent, but then I haven't tried a lot of products yet. I hope that as I work through the other books that I find the good quality shadows to be more commonplace than the bad ones.

I'll be sure to fill you all in as I learn more.

Thanks for reading!
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