Monday, December 27, 2010

Kat Von D - Rock 'N' Roll Palette

 Eyeshadow colours included (I think each colour is listed behind the corresponding pan, which is how it was done with other KVD palettes, so that is how I've done it here):
Believer - White w/glitter | Confessional - Nude pearl | Groupie - Irridescent purple | Motorhead - Black w/glitter

I actually got this palette for free as a Sephora 500-point bonus, which was an excellent deal! I actually really love the nude highlighter colour, which I think is called Confessional. It's got a lovely sheen to it and shows up really well. I don't use Believer or Motorhead much because of the glitter (I tend to think that sparkles past the teenage years are nearly always a bad idea, and it also often irritates my eyes), but Groupie is a lovely shae of purple that's great for shading when paired with a lighter shade.

I'm not sure if this is actually sold anywhere, but if you don't mind the glitter it's worth picking up. I love the case - not only the cool designs but the sturdy packaging and proper mirror - and you get a decent amount of each shadow. The downfall, as with any KVD palettes, is of course the brushes. I haven't found them to be useful and generally just toss them and use my own. Other than that, a great little kit!

Packaging: 5/5
Product quality: 4/5
Worth the price? Since mine was free I'm gonna go with hell yeah!
Would I purchase again? I don't think I would, just because I use it relatively infrequently and don't think it's likely I'll use it up.

Cruelty-Free? Not sure. I'm still looking into it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Smashbox - Ultimate Beauty Palette

This was the first palette I got from Smashbox - indeed it was one of the first things I bought. I somehow stumbled across it and couldn't believe what a good deal it was. Even for the 70 shadows alone, the price would have been worth it. But it also includes cream liners - one of the Smashbox products I love - along with brow powders that I use on a daily  basis and Soft Lights, which is one of my all-time favourite face highlighters. 

The eyeshadows are all quite neutral, though there is a great range of colours included. All of them can be worked into a daytime look, and it was great for me because I gravitate towards understated makeup. This could be a down side for anyone who goes in for lots of colour, however. Their 2009 Wish for the Perfect Palette had a much broader range of colours, so between the two palettes I have pretty much any colour I could want.

Products included:  
70 Eyeshadows - Mainly neutral shades  
1 Brow Tech Wax  
6 Brow Tech Powder  
8 Cream Eye Liners  
1 Bronze Lights  
1 Blush  
1 Soft Lights  
4 Lip Colour  
8 Lip Gloss 

There is very little to complain about with this palette. The brushes are completely useless (much worse than the ones included in subsequent years), but as long as you have a good brush collection that doesn't reduce the overall value of the palette. The major thing that does bother me, however, is the quite strong scent of the palette. It smells like the type of scented talcum powder favoured by grandmothers, and has a lingering, nose-irritating scent. Fortunately I've never smelled this on any of their products before or since, and their palette in 2009 didn't have any scent at all whatsoever, so this seems to be a unique issue.

Product quality:
Worth the price?
Would I purchase again?
No. Though it's a great deal and I do use it from time to time, I am quite sensitive to smells and the scent of this palette is quite unpleasant for me.
Cruelty-Free? Yes - appears on PETA's Cruelty-Free list.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

MAC - Colour 3 Quad

I love how all of these colours look in the pan and bought the palette thinking it would be excellent to accent the green in my hazel eyes. I ended up being quite disappointed with it. Mink Pink barely shows up at all and is only really useful as a blending colour. Bruised Plum I like, it is a nice shade to wear on days when I don't want to look like I'm wearing much makeup and brightens up my eyes, so this one I like. Black Tulip is very bright and though I've tried using it a few times, I usually pass it over for slightly less vibrant shades. I do like the colour, however, and think it would be a lot of fun for more dramatic looks. Jungle Moon is a bit too dry for my liking and I've had little success using it apart from lining the lashline. Overall out of this palette only Bruised Plum sees much use.

Eyeshadow colours included (top left to bottom right):
Mink Pink - Pale muted mauve (VX)
Bruised Plum - Mauved pink (VP)
Black Tulip - Bright irridescent purple (F)
Jungle Moon - Dark plum purple (M) 

As mentioned in my review of the Colour 4 Quad, I am not a huge fan of the new packaging from the standpoint of de-potting shadows. Though they look a lot nicer and are more sturdy than the old quads, they are also impossible to de-pot without melting the plastic casing and as such leave the palette completely destroyed. I liked popping the shadows out of the old quads but still storing them in their original configuration and only popping them out to carry with me for touch-ups. With the new packaging this isn't possible, which is quite disappointing. Please, please, MAC, start making easy lift-out shadow packaging!!!

Packaging: 4/5
Product quality: 3.5/5
Worth the price? If you think you'll use the colours more than I do, then yes. The quads are always a good deal as compared to buying individual shadows depending on how you like the colours included.
Would I purchase again? No.

Cruelty-Free? Yes - appears on PETA's Cruelty-Free list.
Where to find it: Limited Edition, so unfortunately you can't!

Friday, December 10, 2010

MAC - Colour 4 Quad

I love this quad. I got it at the beginning of the summer, mainly because the colours are so evocative of warmth, sand and sun-kissed skin. The colours are all bright, gold and/or orange-toned and look great on skin that has caught a bit of those gorgeous rays. Funny that I'm reviewing this quad on the coldest day of the year so far with snow on the ground! Perhaps it's wishful thinking!

Colours included (top left to bottom right):
Manila Paper - Pale yellowed highlighter (VP)
Flip - Gold orange (F)
Aztec Brick - Orange pink (VP)
Creole Beauty - Orange bronze (F)

 This quad was limited edition, so it's no longer available, but if it were I'd recommend it for summer makeup looks or for anyone who misses those warm nights on the beach! I love each and every shadow in this quad and found that they can create some stunning looks when used together or with other shadows. This and the Colour 3 quad were the first two I purchased with the new MAC quad packaging and as much as I like how they look in the quad - they're much sleeker and look great - it's near impossible to de-pot the shadows in these quads, which is a bit frustrating. If you don't de-pot your shadows, however, I'd say that the new packaging is a step up.

Packaging: 4/5 (for difficulty de-potting)
Product quality: 5/5
Worth the price? Definitely. Quads are a great way to try out new shadows cheaper than buying them individually.
Would I purchase again? If it weren't limited edition I'd definitely re-purchase once I've used this one up.

Cruelty-Free? Yes - appears on PETA's Cruelty-Free list.
Where to find it: Limited Edition, so unfortunately you can't.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

MAC Paint Pot - Coral Crepe

At first I didn't think this colour would work for me. I have hazel eyes, but with my skin's pink undertones anything coral just looks a weird orange colour on me. But I discovered that this paint pot used as a base under the coral shade from "In the Groove" mineralized eyeshadow trio and worn with smolder at the lashline and on the waterline is actually really flattering. It's not too orange, not too natural, but also not garish. I fell in love with it and it became one of my favourite looks for awhile! It can also be worn under Paradisco or alone. Love, love, love this paint pot!!

Packaging: 4.5/5
Product quality: 5/5
Worth the price? Definitely.
Would I purchase again? Yes.

Cruelty-Free? Yes - appears on PETA's Cruelty-Free list.
Where to find it: Limited Edition, so unfortunately you can't.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

MAC Venomous Villains

Colours included (L-R - order reversed in swatches):
Vainglorious - Deep burgundy purple (F)
De-Vil - Reddened copper (VP)
Sweetjoy - Light lemon gold (F)

Unfortunately I was so busy that I didn't have a chance to make it in to a MAC store until most of the items in this collection were already sold out! I did manage to snag some gorgeous eyeshadows though, which I am very thrilled with. Both Vainglorious and De-Vil are great colours for hazel or green eyes, and Sweetjoy, though it doesn't look like much in the photo, is a long-lasting highlight colour that applies really easily and blends very well. If you're in your local MAC in the near future and any of these shades are still available, I'd highly recommend picking them up!


Packaging: 4.5/5
Product quality: 5/5
Worth the price? Definitely.
Would I purchase again? Yes.

Urban Decay - UD Hearts NYC Palette

Eyeshadow colours included (top left to bottom right):
Perversion - Matte Black | Uzi - Silver with glitter | Loaded - Dark forest green | Kush - Grass green with glitter | Midnight Cowboy Rides Again - Beige with glitter | Last Call - Burgundy | Rockstar - Dark purple | Money - Silvered green with glitter | Haight - Teal | Mauie Wowie - Muted gold with glitter | Smog - Bronze | Bordello - Dusty rose with glitter | Radium - Vibrant blue | Snatch - Peachy pink with glitter | Suspect - Light bronze | Psychedelic Sister - Grape

24/7 Liner included:
Zero - black | Ransom - Irridescent purple

Urban Decay Primer Potion: Original mini

I, like most makeup addicts, look forward to Urban Decay's palette creations and am always excited to see what they'll come up with next. I think that of the three "Book of Shadows" Urban Decay palettes I have (Book of Shadows Vol. II and Alice in Wonderland), this is my favourite. There are more new shadows in this one that aren't in any of their other palettes or sold individually, and the colours are more varied. There are a few lovely shades that are easy to wear day or night, including Bordello and Suspect, while more dramatic shades like Radium and Psychedelic Sister are really fun to play with. There are a couple of new shades that I particularly love, as well. Rockstar is a gorgeous dark purple that I cannot get enough of. I also really love Loaded which is a rich, dark green. These are two of the new shades that I've never seen before and I think it was worth buying the palette just for them - though of course there's much more to it!

As far as I know this one is still available at Sephora, so if I were you I'd scoop one up for yourself and any makeup lovers on your Christmas list while you still can, because it's sure to be gone in the blink of an artistically made-up eye!

Swatches (with primer):

Packaging: 4.5/5 (The packaging is cool and eyecatching, but the mirror isn't useful, neither is the lighted background, and because of how bulky the palette is it's not at all portable)
Product Quality: 4.5/5 (minus half a point for glitter)
Worth the price? Always.
Would I purchase again? If it were available for more than a couple of weeks before selling out, sure!

Smashbox Eye Wish Palette 2010

Eyeshadow colours included (top three rows, top left to bottom right): 
1 - Gold | 2 - Mauved pewter | 3 - Light beige nude | 4 - Pale Pink | 5 - Bronze | 6 - Dusty  rose | 7 - Bluish green | 8 - Slate grey | 9 - Gold bronze | 10 - Dark purple | 11 - Dark teal | 12 - Dark grey

Cream liner colours included (bottom row, L-R): 
13 - Dirty golden bronze | 14 - Purple | 15 - Dark bluish green | 16 - Dark grey

Mini Lash DNA

Mini Photo Finish Lid Primer

I've been a fan of Smashbox for years. I love their primer, their tinted moisturizer, eyeshadows, brow powders and cream eyeliner. So I always particularly look forward to their palettes and kits because they are always great quality and great value. This palette is no exception - and it's even better than last year. The individual eyeshadows and liners are larger and it includes a mascara sample as well as the primer.

I didn't notice until I swatched them side by side (see below), but the cream liners match the last row of eyeshado
w shades nearly exactly, which I like, particularly because one of my favourite tricks is to set cream liner with the same colour of shadow on top. This helps the colour to settle right into the lash line, blends it evenly so that any small wavering or mistakes are masked, and also ensures that it will last all day long.

One of the unique features of the Smashbox Eye Wish palettes is that they each come with an attached booklet of looks with paint-by-number, foolproof instructions. This year they have gone one better and made the guides a set of flashcards that fit into a windowed pouch to make following them even easier. The guide makes this a great gift for those who are still learning to apply makeup, and will lend some inspiration to everyone else.

I'd recommend picking this o
ne up for yourself or as a Christmas gift while it's still available, it'll be really fun to play with to create lots of fun, dramatic holiday looks!

Packaging: 4/5 (I'm not crazy about the gold crepey material they put on it this year, and it's too bulky to be portable)
Product quality: 4/5 (a few of the shadows are a bit too sheer and I've found that even layering doesn't make them show up as intensely as I would like, but there are only one or two of these, so overall the quality is great)
Worth the price? Definitely, these are a great deal and a wonderful way to try out some of Smashbox's best products in one go.
Would I purchase again? I think so, though since the size of each shadow/liner is so much larger this year I think it will last for quite awhile!

Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette - True Love

Eyeshadow colours included (L-R):
Peanut - Bright highlighter | Benji - Bright orange gold (cream shadow) | Rebakah - Warm midtone brown with gold sparkles | Lucifer - Matte black | Cholita - Dirty plum | Shiba - Mauve | Babe - Bright irridescent purple | Missy - Bright white with purple reflects 

This is the third Kat Von D palette that I purchased, and to be honest I only bought it because it was on sale on the Sephora website! I'm glad I got it though, and here's why.

I love purple shadows since my eyes have a hazel tinge to them, and there are three different shades of purple in this palette (Cholita, Shiba and Babe), and a unique shade that looks white in the pan, but actually goes on as a purple irridescence. I absolutely love this one! Lucifer is always a great basic colour that c
an be used for shading the lashline. Peanut is a gorgeous highlighter colour with intense frost. It reminds me a little of MAC's Shroom, but more frost. Benji is interesting, it's very intense, but I've had trouble with it because it has already dried out a lot in my palette and is hard to work with. I'm not sure if this is common to all or if I've just had bad luck, but either way it's a problem shade for me.

As mentioned in the Ludwig palette review, though the palettes themselves are awesome and contain REAL mirrors, the brushes are absolutely useless (which is why you generally won't see them in my photos - I take them out within the first day or two of owning the palette because all they do is fall out and get in the way). So make sure that if you decide to purchase a Kat Von D palette you have decent brushes to apply it with! Overall I'm glad that I bought the palette. Even for full price I still think it would be a pretty sweet deal, but having got it on sale I'm extra pleased with it.

Packaging: 4/5 (minus one for brushes)
Product quality: 4.5/5
Worth the price? Bought on sale, so definitely!
Would I purchase again? I don't think I'll use the colours in this often enough that it'll become a staple and get used up quickly, so it's doubtful.

Cruelty-Free? Not sure. I'm still looking into it.

Urban Decay Naked Palette

Eyeshadow colours included (L-R):
Virgin - Muted satin fleshtone | Sin - Frost pale neutral pink | Naked - Matte light brown | Sidecar - Mauved beige with glitter | Buck - Matte medium brown | Half Baked - Metallic gold | Smog - Metallic bronze | Darkhorse - Dark brown | Toasted - Mauve/brown | Hustle - Plum | Creep - Black with fine silver glitter | Gunmetal - Metallic slate grey with glitter

Double-Ended 24/7 Liner:
Zero - Black | Whiskey - Medium brown

I'm a huge fan of all the Urban Decay palettes, but I'm also a fan of neutral daytime makeup, so this palette was one that I couldn't wait to try out! I've often wished that Urban Decay had more colours that I could easily wear on pale skin for understated looks and it seems that they were listening. 

This palette has everything from pale and highlighting colours to matte light browns for just a hint of shadow to gunmetal grey and black glitter for dramatic smokey eyes. There's really no end to the creative looks you could create with this palette, and it's a fantastic place to start if you're an Urban Decay newbie! Though it's currently sold out, I've heard rumours that this palette will be returning to Sephora, so keep your eyes and ears open and pick one up ASAP! It's one of the best palettes I have, and on top of the fantastic shadow and liner colours, it also comes in a lovely-to-touch brown velvet covered palette.

Packaging: 4.5/5 (I love it. It's sleek, narrow enough to carry with you if you're a fan of the large purses like I am, nice and soft to the touch and sturdy enough that I don't worry that it's going to bend or spill shadow everywhere)
Product quality: 4.5/5 (still not a fan of the glitter in a few of these shadows, but so much better than Midnight Cowboy and Maui Wowie!)
Worth the price? For sure.
Would I purchase again? This is one that I could see needing another of at some point, because the shades are all so wearable that I might actually hit the pan!)

Urban Decay - Vegan Palette

Eyeshadow colours included (top left to bottom right):

Minx - Light greenish blue with glitter | Urb - Light olive (yellowed green) with glitter | Gunmetal - Dark slivery grey with glitter | Twice Baked - Chocolate brown with sparkles | Smog - Bronze | Half Baked - Gold

24/7 Eyeliner:
Zero - Black

First of all, I have to say that I am very impressed with Urban Decay for addressing the use of animals in the cosmetics industry - not only animal testing, but ingredients derived from animal products. Many people aren't aware that some of their favourite products might contain ingredients derived from animals until they encounter a product like this one that isn't. The message behind the palette ("We don't do animal testing, how could anyone?") is, if I'm honest, the main reason I purchased it. I have most of these colours in other palettes - some of them multiple times over. But this palette represents such an important issue that I wanted to support their message.

If you don't have as many other UD palettes as I do, however, and you don't have these shades, definitely pick it up for the shadows as much as for the idea behind the palette. All of these colours are very wearable and are great for everyone - whether you like dramatic or understated looks.

Packaging: 4/5
Product quality: 4/5
Worth the price? Yes, if you don't have these colours already.
Would I purchase again? No - I have most of these colours in other UD palettes.

MAC Liberty of London Eyeshadows

Colours included:

Bough Grey - Greenish grey
Give Me Liberty of London - Pale pink

I only have a few of the eyeshadow colours included in this collection, but I have to say that the packaging on this limited edition collection is one of my favourites so far. I almost bought things I knew I'd never use just for the pretty designs!

I love Bough Grey, it's a great mossy grey/green colour that isn't too overstated and blends well. It goes with either green or grey shades for a lovely smokey eye. So f
ar I haven't found much use for Give Me Liberty of London - it's really pale pastel pink and I find it doesn't show up well even with a base and is a bit chalky. This one may end up relegated to blending duty.

Neither swatch showed up very well in, even though I put it over UDPP and applied several layers. I did my best!

Packaging: 5/5 (So pretty!)
Product quality: Bough Grey 5/5, Give Me...3/5
Worth the price? Bough Grey, definitely. Give Me...not really.
Would I purchase again? Both are limited edition, so I likely won't have the opportunity. I might re-purchase Bough Grey, but definitely not Give Me...

Urban Decay - Alice in Wonderland Palette

Eyeshadow colours included (top left to bottom right):
Underland - Vibrant purple | Alice - Bright sky blue | Oraculum - Gold | Queen - Burgundy | Chessur - Bronze w/ glitter | White Rabbit - Frosted white w/ glitter | Wonderland - Muted green-gold w/ glitter | Curiouser - Mauve w/ glitter | Muchness - Peach w/ golden sheen | Mushroom - Brownish grey | Midnight Tea Party - Metallic dark beige w/ glitter | Vorpal - Dark silver | Absolem - Grass green | Drink Me, Eat Me - Soft light neutral pink | Mad Hatter - Nearly matte dark brown w/ gold microglitter | Jabberwocky - Nearly matte black w/ silver microglitter

24/7 Liner:
Zero - Black
Flipside - Bright blue

Urban Decay Primer Potion:
Original Mini

Urban Decay does it again - another fantastic palette with gorgeous colours and a great concept! The colours are incredible - bright, vibrant, and a great range. As always the palette is great value for money, and if you're a fan of the movie, you will have tons of fun re-creating some of the looks with the help of this palette! The bright blue eyeliner, Flipside, matches their blue eyeshadow of the same name, but like many of their 24/7 liners is an unusually bright shade for a liner. It is excellent for adding
just a pop of colour at the lash line if you want to stand out but don't want to go overboard.

Because of the diverse and intense colours in this palette, I think it would be great for anyone who enjoys creating really dramatic, over-the-top looks - particularly stage makeup. If you're a belly dancer or love doing it up when you go out on the town, this palette is a must-have.

Packaging: 4.5/5 (pretty but not portable)
Product quality: 4/5 (damn UD and that glitter)
Worth the price? Without question.
Would I purchase again? If I could!

MAC - Digi-Pops Green Quad

Eyeshadow colours include (top left to bottom right):
Shroom - Light goldy beige highlight colour (S) 
Sunny Spot - Bright greenish yellow (M)
Steamy - Turquoise (F)
Club - Brown with dark green shimmer (S)

This quad is fantastic. Shroom is one of the most popular MAC eyeshadows and is often used to highlight the browbone. Sunny Spot, though not a shade I'll use often, is great for a hint of colour, especially for spring or summertime looks. Steamy is a gorgeous shimmery turquoise colour while Club is one of my all-time favourite shades that can be worn for a more interesting daytime look or dressed up for drama. The colours complement one another nicely and the quad is very visually appealing.

Packaging: 4/5
Product quality: 5/5
Worth the price? Definitely.
Would I purchase again? Yep.

Tarte - Treasure Chest Palette

Products included:
16 Frost Eyeshadows
16 Matte Eyeshadows
16 Lipglosses
1 Bronzer
1 Luminizer
4 Blushes

This palette was the first time I tried any Tarte products. The eyeshadows are gorgeous, but honestly after trying them a few times, this palette ended up in the back of my cupboard and rarely gets pulled out.

The main reason for this is the packaging. It's cute, and I guess it would appeal to younger girls, but for me I just find it to be a pain. The top layer of frost shadows opens outwards in such a way that it's awkward to get to the outside layer of the top rows of matte shadows underneath. The lip glosses slide out in a drawer form underneath the matte eyeshadows, and the layer with bronzer, blushes and luminizer slide out in turn from inside the gloss drawer. This means that to get to the bottom layer you have to slide out double layers. I've got very limited counterspace in the bathroom, so getting to the drawers or opening out the top to get to the matte shadows is awkward and risks knocking over the entire thing.

Also the top has a flap that folds down around the front where the drawers slide out of, but the magnet that holds it in place isn't very strong and nothing holds the sliding top layer in place. It's really easy to lose your grip on it and have the side sections pull out or the drawers slide forward, sometimes at the same time, making accidents inevitable. Which is precisely what happened to the bronzer in mine - the drawers slid out suddenly, causing me to lose my grip on the entire thing, and not only that, but the bottom drawer then fell out of the palette completely and the bronzer smashed on the floor. That wasn't fun to clean up! Because of the beads stitched onto the top it's also impossible to stack properly for storage purposes.

All of this combined overshadows (no pun intended) the products for me and I just got so frustrated that I shoved it into the back of the cupboard rarely to be touched. If you have enough counterspace to store this one on a countertop and open it fully to use it, these issues probably won't be an issue - just be careful with the drawers and pull-out sides when you're moving it!

I do like that the palette has both frost and matte finish eyeshadows in equal quantities, whereas a lot of palettes only have one or the other. The matte shadows are very smooth to apply and blend well. Some of the frost shadows are a bit too glittery for my taste and harder to work with, but it also has a fair number that are highly pigmented, rich colours. Overall if you have suitable storage options, it's a great deal.

Packaging: 2/5

Product quality: 4/5
Worth the price? Yes.
Would I purchase again? No.
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