Saturday, December 28, 2013

Rosy Rumble: Naked 3 versus Lorac Unzipped

With the release of the newest Urban Decay Naked palette, I've seen numerous posts with swatches and reviews. However, the first thing I thought when I got the Naked 3 in my hands was how it closely resembled one of my other favorite palettes, the Lorac Unzipped. So, I thought I could do a comparison of the two in case you already own one and are considering the other, or are trying to figure out what might be the best value for you personally based on shade selection and price point.

Let's start off with the Naked 3. The palette retails for $52 and contains 12 eyeshadows inside with a variety of finishes including matte, glitter, satin and frost. There's 0.05 oz of each eyeshadow (for a total of 0.6 oz), and the palette comes with a dual sided brush (flat shader, stiff blender) as well as generous sized samples of UD's four primer potions. The packaging is some sort of metal which snaps into place when closed, and includes a mirror inside as well as a slot for a brush or eyeliner.

As you can see from the picture, there's a good range of light and dark colors which means you can really do just about anything from super natural to super smokey. There are three matte colors which are Strange (cream/yellow highlight), Limit (light pinky taupe) and Nooner (darker mauve taupe) which are perfect for putting in the crease. There's 2 shades with glitter, the first of which is Dust (light pink with silver/gold micro glitter) which in my opinion is one of the weaker shades in the palette. There's a significant amount of fall out if you try to use this dry so I prefer to either put down a tacky cream eyeshadow as a base or spritz my brush with some Fix +. Blackheart is the other shade with glitter (light black with red micro glitter) and I find this one much easier to manage. My personal favorite shades include Limit, Nooner, Trick, Factory and Darkside. While the palette is overall rosy, I think that there's a good incorporation of gold and gray in some of these shades. The eyeshadows are easy to blend and last well over a primer.

Moving onto the Lorac Unzipped. This palette retails for $40 and includes 10 eyeshadows (total of 0.39 oz) as well as a deluxe sized sample of the Lorac Behind the Scenes eye primer. It is housed in a very slim cardboard packaging with a large mirror.

The finishes of the eyeshadow include matte, satin, frost and glitter. One key point is that the highlight shade, Undercover is not matte, but a very subtle satin with a lovely sheen. If you are strict about a matte highlight, this could potentially be a deal breaker. The matte shades in this palette are Unconditional (mauve taupe), Unbridled (rich cranberry burgundy) and Unspoken (medium brown). The only glitter shade in the palette is Untamed (frosty brown with red micro glitter) but it's really a subtle glitter and very easy to use. The rest of the colors vary between a satin and frost finish. My personal favorite shades are Undercover, Unbelievable, Unattainable, Unbridled and Uncensored.

So, the comparison. Price point wise, if you're afraid to splurge $52, the Lorac Unzipped at $40 may be more do-able. That being said, price per oz the Naked 3 is actually cheaper than the Lorac Unzipped. From the packaging point of view, I will not lie, I'm sort of afraid of what could happen to my Naked 3 if I put it in a suitcase. I think the metal could easily be crushed, and the hinge is a plastic material which I worry will wear out over time (in fact, many people have had the Naked 2 hinge break which has the same packaging design). The Lorac Unzipped is simple and lies flat well, making it ideal for packing. Texture wise, the Lorac shadows are definitely more buttery and creamy compared to the Urban Decay but both have good pigmentation and blend-ability. As for the color selection, let's take a look at the swatches:

Left: Lorac Unzipped (top row to bottom row) and Right: Naked 3 (light to dark)

When swatched I think there are a few shades which are VERY similar. While the Unzipped highlight has a satin finish, I dare say on the eye both highlight shades have a similar look. Additionally, the light pink taupe shades (Limit and Unconditional) are pretty much dead on. The pinky rose gold color in the Lorac Unzipped is very similar to the one in the Naked 3 but has much better pigmentation (Unbelievable and Trick). The unique options in the Lorac palette are that you get some lovely brown-y shades as well as a burgundy. The Naked 3 however gives you unique options of gray as well as a truly dark color (Blackheart). 

Overall I would say that I love both of these palettes. However, depending on your personal preferences, you may want one over the other. But, the good news is you can't really go wrong either way! :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Deal Alert: ULTA Get Ready for the Party

I stumbled across this boxed set on a display in ULTA and was truly intrigued. I wasn't even aware that ULTA created little packaged sets like Sephora's popular lash stash and fragrance sets, so when I saw it and noticed some great products, I had to pick it up. This normally retails for $30 (while the boxes value is $95) but when it rung up at the cashier, it was only $19! Pretty awesome if you ask me. So, what's inside?

You get 3 full size products and 3 deluxe sized samples. The full sized products include a Butter London glitter nail polish in Rosie Lee (a gorgeous red/pink sparkle), a Laura Gellar City Lights lip gloss (clear with beautiful golden glitter) and a Napoleon Perdis Loose Eyeshadow Dust in Pink Champagne (beautiful metallic pink). I've actually never tried anything from Napoleon Perdis, or the lip gloss formula from Laura Gellar. I own only one other Butter London polish which is a metallic finish, so it's nice to get to try a glitter.

The 3 deluxe sized products included in the set are a Tarte Lights Camera Action mascara, a Pur Minerals bronzer, and a Lorac Behind The Scenes eye shadow primer. I've used a sample of the primer before and love it, so I wasn't unhappy about getting a repeat product. I have never tried the Tarte mascara, but am really excited to since it has so many rave reviews and touts some big claims (400% increase in lash volume). As for Pur Minerals, this is yet another brand which I have never tried, though if you read my blog you know I am a big fan of mineral makeup (Bare Minerals <3).

Below, I've swatched the bronzer, lipgloss and eye dust. Overall, I think this is a great sampling of some good products at an excellent price point. If you're interested in trying some new items, this is a set you should definitely consider picking up.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Best Bargain Blush: La Femme Cosmetics

I don't know where I've been that I didn't know about these blushes until now, but they are seriously amazing. There's an extensive color range to cater to the fairest and darkest of beauties and the price seriously cannot be beat. The blushes are extremely pigmented so it's best to use a light hand. I ordered mine from Camera Ready Cosmetics and they were delivered promptly in a tiny little box (way to go Camera Ready Cosmetics for selecting boxes that aren't ridiculously huge compared to what's inside!). For reference, the size of the blushes is slightly smaller than the average MAC blush, but given the pigmentation I am pretty sure these will last just as long.

Excuse my dirty Z Palette

I am so tempted to get some more, but I already have enough blushes so I'll need to sit tight for now. If you haven't tried them you definitely should!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Review: Smashbox Wondervision Mega Palette

I picked up the Smashbox Wondervision palette during Ulta's black Friday sale (it was on sale for $39 instead of $49), and it's one of the most versatile palettes I own. Normally I dislike giant palettes; I've never been a fan of the 88 or 120 color palettes, not because of quality or anything like that but simply because I'm the type of person who gets overwhelmed by too many choices. It's so much easier for me to look at 20 shadows at once and figure out what to do. I've never purchased a Smashbox palette before because they often have gel liners (cream products) mixed in with their eyeshadows and cheek products. This palette has no liners but contains 2 blushes, 1 highlight, 1 bronzer and 30 eyeshadows with a variety of finishes.

There's a lovely mix of neutrals and colors in the palette, along with every essential matte (all your classic highlight and blending colors) you might need to create a completely neutral everyday look or to make your colored shadows wearable on a day to day basis. The shadows are incredibly pigmented, soft and creamy and housed inside of a thick black case which has a metallic closure and a large mirror. The palette stays propped up similar to the Urban Decay Vice 2 palette which is quite convenient since you don't need to use one hand to keep the mirror up while doing your makeup. It comes with a number of cards to help you build looks, which I don't use, but do value since I certainly understand how a beginner could feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.

The bronzer is matte, making it use-able for contour as well as overall warming up the complexion. The highlighter, which perhaps could be a light pink shimmery blush for those with very fair skin tones, is finely milled and the sparkle is not chunky. There is one pink and one peach blush, which is perfect for going with any look you might create using the eyeshadows.

At the price I picked it up for, I seriously think it was a steal. I would still recommend it at the original price point, and can see this being in my regular rotation through out all seasons due to the different colors in it.

One of my recent looks: Fawn in the crease, Umber all over the lid,  Maize as the brow highlight, Chocolate as the outer v color, Mint as the inner corner highlight, Green on the lower lash line and Black as my liner.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

First Impressions: Japonesque


About the Brand: They've been around for quite a while and are known for their makeup tools like brushes and lipstick pan palettes, but have just recently launched a full cosmetics line.

Where to Buy It: ULTA

Price Point: High End, similar to MAC, Smashbox, Urban Decay, etc.

Why did I try the brand: Honestly, this was a total surprise to me. I was wandering my local ULTA and out of no where I noticed a new display for Japonesque set up next to the Laura Gellar stuff. On a whim, I picked out a product to try blindly without knowing anything about the line.

Packaging: The compacts and foundations have a lovely acrylic packaging with the main color being black. The eyeshadow compacts however have a pretty blue case and come in your standard white and black cardboard packaging similar to the boxes that Japonesque makeup brushes and tools come in.

Pros/Cons of First Purchase: The eyeshadow quad has a lot of product (6g) and I love all of the colors in it. There's not many choices in quads at the moment, there's only three, but hopefully they will be expanded upon as the line develops. The shadows are buttery smooth and are not powdery at all. The lip lacquer texture is a little thick in my opinion and for that reason you can see some of the brush strokes if you aren't careful. It isn't drying or uncomfortable to wear on the lips.The color I have is a peachy nude which is not something I would have necessarily selected for myself, but when you get a full size product for free, you don't complain!

Unique Items/Qualities of the brand: There's actually two ranges of foundations, which I find surprising for a brand new cosmetics line. There's an enormous range of eyeshadows (many many duos) but only four blushes all of which seemed to cater towards lighter skin tones. I have an olive/tan complexion and only one of the blushes seemed like it could maybe be worth trying on my face.

Other Items that caught my eye: Velvet Touch Foundation, $36

Overall First Impression Grade: I'm going to rate Japonesque at a B+. The main reason I didn't give this an A rating is because I think the line is a bit limited in what it has to offer at the moment. The eyeshadow quad I purchased I love, but I'm still undecided on the lip lacquer. I think the pricing is reasonable given the price points for their tools and the packaging is simple but beautiful.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Finally December!

In honor of the wonderful month of December, I had to break out the lovely Christmas green and some glitter for my manicure this week.

Pomengranate nail polish in Palace Gardens and Deborah Lippmann nail polish in Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tanaya: 22nd Birthday Look

I just wanted to share another look I was able to do for a friend on her 22nd birthday. Although her birthday was in the summer time, I still think it would be a fantastic holiday look to rock with a black or red dress :) Tanaya is one of my best friends and has a phenomenal tan skin tone and amazing cheekbones. Hope you all enjoy!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Empties: November 2013

I've managed to accumulate a good number of empties (used up products) so I figured I would share my thoughts before I send them to their respective recycling, trash and Back to MAC futures.

Let's start off with skincare items:

I used up a travel size bottle of the Bioderma (though I have used up a large size before as well) and a Kiehl's creamy eye treatment with avocado. The verdict on both of these is that I won't be repurchasing them. Say what?! How can I not want to repurchase a cult favorite like Bioderma? The problem is that while I find it removes my face makeup extremely well, it irritates my eyes like CRAZY if I try to use it to remove my mascara and eyeliner. I've given this a truly thorough test because I suffered the same experience all the way through my large size and travel size. As for the Kiehl's eye treatment, there's nothing wrong with it, but I also don't feel like it did anything special. I don't think it particularly hydrated my under eyes and there are other eye creams I prefer to it. If you don't have an eye cream you like, it wouldn't hurt to give this a try to see how it works for you.

Moving onto haircare:

Am I the only person who takes forever and a day to use up hair products? One of the only things I actually go through semi-frequently is dry shampoo because I only wash my hair 2-3 times a week. All the other days, I use dry shampoo. I received the New York Streets dry shampoo in a Beauty Army box a while back and was thrilled when I got it. I won't be repurchasing this, but it is a decent dry shampoo. I didn't find it to leave a white cast in my black hair (upon initial spray yes, but a little massaging and there's no trace of it). The reason I won't be buying it again is that I found that if I tried to use it on third day hair, it did absolutely nothing. If you wash your hair every other day, this could still be a great option for you.

And now onto the makeup! Let's start with the face:

I know, that's a lot of MAC. But, let me explain why. Over the summer I always end up interning in the hottest and most humid places. And what I have found over time is that there is really only one foundation and primer combination that truly withstands 100F+ heat and 40% humidity, and that is the MAC Prep and Prime Face Protect  and MAC Studio Fix Fluid. I LOVE the primer, it's incredible and controls oil while packing a 50 SPF punch. Studio Fix isn't my favorite foundation, but it is the only one that can survive long days in the heat and for that reason alone it will be a go-to for the summer for years to come. As for the MAC Matchmaster foundation, I despise it and certainly won't be repurchasing. The color is much too orange (odd since it's supposed to be a neutral foundation) and completely breaks down in my t-zone even in the winter time. Fix + is MAC's setting spray and I like having this around because it can eliminate any extra powder you dust on and save you from looking too cakey. So, yes to repurchasing MAC Prep and Prime Face Protect, Studio Fix Fluid and Fix+. No to MAC Matchmaster foundation.

And lastly, the eye makeup products!

Mascaras and eyeliners, the eye products I go through the most. I know mascaras are kind of boring as an empty, but I do have some strong opinions about the ones I tested. Starting from the left with Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear mascara. This mascara has a teeny tiny brush and is great for the bottom lashes. I enjoyed it because it was smudge-proof and truly long wearing, however I am undecided about whether I would buy this with my own money (the one I have I got as a sample). Moving on over, we have the Chanel Imitable Intense mascara which I also received as a sample. This mascara is pretty much complete garbage and does nothing special for your lashes. If you are looking for a very subtle "I barely applied anything" eyelash look, then maybe you will like it. I personally really like my mascaras to be volumizing and this just did not make the cut. Lastly, we come to the amazing YSL Babydoll mascara. Oh my goodness, what this does to your lashes. This is probably the very best mascara I have ever tried, which pains me because the price tag on it is sort of insane. I got this sample for free and am unsure whether I will take the splurge and purchase...maybe when Sephora has a 20% sale again in the future. If you want perfectly lengthened and volumized lashes that look out of this world, this is the mascara to pick up. Lastly, my wonderful Jordana liquid eyeliner in brown. This is actually the first liquid eyeliner I have had in brown, and I was so sad when I finished it. At a crazy amazing price point, this liner lasts a long time and is inky dark. The pen point felt tip makes it a breeze to apply. I will definitely be repurchasing this in the future. 

All right, well that ended up being kind of long. I might end up doing more frequent empties posts rather than waiting to accumulate so many since I want to share my thoughts on each product. What do you think?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Haul: Tarina Tarantino

Every now and then Hautelook has flash sales on higher-end makeup and I always seem to miss the Tarina Tarantino sales. But, for once, I actually checked the site on a day when her items were on sale! I only picked up two things from the sale, both of which are palettes.

The first thing I selected was the Dollskin Cheek Palette (3.5g, $45 but I bought it for $24). The palette contains 4 blushes, two pink and two peach. Both of the peach colors are quite satin, while one of the pinks is a demi-matte and the other pink is a shimmer with silver micro glitter. The blushes are quite smooth with good color payoff. I think even beginners could do well with this because you don't have to use a feather light touch in fear of looking like a clown.

The other item I purchased was the Jewel Shadow Palette in Magical (9g, $32 but I bought it for $15). It contains 5 eyeshadows, all of which have a satin finish and follow a purple theme. The website describes the five colors as pearl ash pink, pearl beige, pearl eggplant purple, creamy white shimmer, and pearl soft pink. I'm not normally a fan of palettes which have no mattes in them, but all of these shadows have a very subtle sheen which doesn't look over the top. If you love purple, this could be a great quint to own (I personally wear purples like they are neutrals).

Both palettes are housed in gunmetal reflective packaging and contain generously sized mirrors.

I definitely recommend keeping an eye out for sales on Tarina Tarantino because it's a great way to try them out without paying the normally high price tag.

Photos of Products and Swatches!