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!