October 31, 2013

Make Up For Ever Brushes - Artisan Collection

One of the coolest moments of my makeup-loving life was getting to chat with Dany Sanz at The Makeup Show NYC in 2011. It was an impromptu chat during break between workshops, and couldn't have lasted more than five minutes - yet it left me awestruck and tongue-tied like few other encounters have. Dany is a makeup legend after all, both as a pro artist and as the creative and visionary force behind one of the premier makeup brands in the world. So when I heard that Make Up For Ever was coming out with its Artisan Brush Collection, I knew it would be extraordinary.

And so it is.

Five years in the making, the brushes was perfected by Dany herself. Each one was hand-crafted by no less than 30 people, with the fibbers specifically selected to mimic natural hair as closely as possible. What differentiates these from a lot of other synthetic brushes on the market is the two types of hair used - one straight, for greater intensity, and one wavy, for more diffused application. The mix of these hairs means that each brush can be calibrated for a particular effect.

I have to say that the brushes feel incredible. The fibers are incredibly soft and silky, the ferrule solid, and the beech wood handle is beautiful and graceful, with an organic yet ergonomic design. As soon as I had a chance to ogle inspect them at the MUFE boutique, I had to pick up a few to try out. I was also fortunate enough to receive a few more for testing, which has given me a fair indication of their performance.

Overall? I think these are excellent.

The 75 brushes (!!) in this collection are numbered according to general function: 100s are for the complexion, 200s are for the eyes, 300s are for the lips, and 400s are for specialty/professional purposes.

These are the 100 series I tried out:

Make Up For Ever brushes Artisan Brush Collection 160 Blush Brush, 152 Medium Highlighter Brush, 106 Medium Foundation Brush
Top to bottom: 160 Blush Brush, 152 Medium Highlighter Brush, 106 Medium Foundation Brush

Make Up For Ever brushes Artisan Brush Collection 160 Blush Brush, 152 Medium Highlighter Brush, 106 Medium Foundation Brush
Top to bottom: 160 Blush Brush, 152 Medium Highlighter Brush, 106 Medium Foundation Brush
160 Blush Brush (51$ CAD) - This one seems a little odd for blush application, with its elongated shape. I initially used it more for applying bronzer and contour powder and it's fantastic for loose or finishing powder, particularly in the recessed areas of the face like around the nose and under the eyes. I eventually tried it with blush and it actually works beautifully when used to gently sweep the blush up along the cheekbones, rather than using it to buff out a more rounded application.

This has a mix of wavy and straight fibres, and I was able to vary the application from very subtle to medium intensity quite easily. It worked well for picking up both loose and pressed powders, and was terrific for applying deeply pigmented blush that require a softer hand.

It's a finer, more precise and infinitely softer version of the 138 Tapered Face Brush from MAC, which - until recently - was one of my favourite multi-tasking powder brushes.

Make Up For Ever 160 Blush Brush MAC 138 Tapered Face Brush
MUFE 160 Blush Brush
MAC 138 Tapered Face Brush
152 Medium Highlighter Brush (43$ CAD) - This is marketed as a highlighter brush, but I think it works really well for a variety of products. The wavy fibres mean it tends to give a softer application, which is nice for both highlighting powders and intensely pigmented blushes, but amazing for cream-based blushes, bronzers and foundations. It makes blending easy as pie, and gives cream foundations in particular a nice, airbrushed finish.

In terms of shape and size, it's similar to the smaller blush/buffer brushes I currently own from OCC and Real Techniques. The shape is more domed, so it's a little easier to create depth under the cheekbone.

OCC #011 Small Powder/Blush Brush, Make Up For Ever 152 Medium Highlighter Brush,  Real Techniques Buffer Brush
Top to bottom: OCC #011 Small Powder/Blush Brush, MUFE 152 Medium Highlighter Brush,
Real Techniques Buffer Brush
 106 Medium Foundation Brush (41$ CAD) - This a slightly paddle-shaped foundation brush, a touch wider and shorter than other foundation brushes I've owned. It's a little bit softer, thicker and fluffier as well, which allows it to provide a smoother application of foundation. Some flat foundation brushes can leave streak marks behind that then need to be blended away, but that's not the case here at all. The blend was easy and seamless, even with full coverage foundations. Because of its wider profile, it also applies the product more quickly. I tend to prefer buffing-style brushes for foundation, but I found myself reaching for this just as often - perhaps because of the way it delivered on the flawless finish, while still giving me a lot of control.

This is a comparison with the Cover FX Liquid Foundation Brush (which appears to have been discontinued *sadface*), where the wider, shorter and fluffier profile is obvious. The Cover FX brush, by the way, was probably my favourite flat foundation brush, as it has a very smooth profile and the exact right amount of give. The 106 nudges ahead, mainly because of how quickly it allows me to slap the foundation on.

Make Up For Ever 106 Medium Foundation Brush Cover FX Foundation Brush
MUFE 106 Medium Foundation Brush
Cover FX Foundation Brush
And now onto the 200 series eye brushes!

Make Up For Ever Artisan Brush Collection 216 Medium Precision Eye Blender Brush, 214 Small Precision Crease Brush
Top to bottom: 216 Medium Precision Eye Blender Brush, 214 Small Precision Crease Brush
216 Medium Precision Eye Blender Brush (29$ CAD) - This brush has a rounded bullet head, with straight fibres for more intense application. I liked this for applying powder eyeshadow to the crease or outer corner of the eye, and I also had good results using it to smudge out pencil or cream liner (though the 212 is my HG smudger, see below) The brush is dense but still very soft, so it didn't irritate my lash line.

The closest comparison brush I have is the Inglot 80 HP (which has been discontinued). It's a natural-hair brush, and as such the fibres are a little more rigid and not as silky soft as the MUFE 216.

Inglot 80 HP Make Up For Ever 216 Precision Eye Blender Brush
Inglot 80 HP
MUFE 216 Precision Eye Blender Brush
214 Small Precision Crease Brush (29$ CAD) - SUCH an awesome brush! I've been looking for a very small crease brush to achieve ultimate control, but something that would also give me enough flexibility for good blending. The brush fits the bill perfectly. The straight fibres and pointed tip can create the most defined crease, and work equally well for shading the outer corner. I even use this to apply soft shading under the lower lash line. It does all the work when it comes to blending in whatever line you've applied (though if you want to blend over a larger area this would not be your guy). In general I find myself leaning towards smaller brushes now for more precise work.

The most comparable brush I own is the Cozette S175 Eye Contour Brush, which is still a fair bit larger, and works a little bit better as a blender for me.

Cozette S175 Eye Contour Brush Make Up For Ever 214 Small Precision Crease Brush
Cozette S175 Eye Contour Brush
MUFE 214 Small Precision Crease Brush
 212 Medium Precision Smudger Brush (29$ CAD) - This is my Holy Grail brush for smudging eyeliner. It is precise, ultra-soft in terms of how it feels against my lash line, but still firm enough to offer a controlled smudge. It's almost too soft to smudge some powder eyeshadows effectively, as it can encourage fall-out, but it's a dream for powder eyeshadows that have that "creamy" texture. It's really fantastic for blending cream eyeliner up on the lid for an easy smoky look, and the fine tapered head gives great control for work around the corners of the eye.

The Mini Contour brush from Glamcor is the closest equivalent, though it's bigger and a little stiffer - which can make all the difference when it comes to working around the lashline. (For reference, I actually ADORE the Glamcor Mini Contour as a lip brush.)

Glamcor Mini Contour Make Up For Ever 212 Medium Precision Smudger Brush
Glamcor Mini Contour
MUFE 212 Medium Precision Smudger Brush
 258 Large Precision Eyeliner Brush (28$ CAD) - I have to admit this one stumped me for a bit. I tend to favour extremely fine eyeliner brushes for better control. Using the tip I was able to draw a fairly fine line, though I wasn't sure it was any better than what I could achieve with my ultra-fine liners. I don't generally do thicker liner, which is certainly what's achievable using this brush flat against the lid.

Then I recently did a makeup on someone who was a little uneasy about tight lining with a pencil directly, so I tried using this brush instead. I applied the liner to the lash line, and used the 258 to both smudge it into and beneath the lash line. I then brushed it over the tip of the pencil to load it, and then gently pushed it on the edge of the inner rim of the eye. The result was a beautifully lined eye, and a super gentle, non-scary application method.

The MAC 231 Small Shader Brush is my closest equivalent, though it is wider and thicker, with more rounded tapering.

MAC 231 Small Shader Brush Make Up For Ever 258 Large Precision Eyeliner Brush
MAC 231 Small Shader Brush
MUFE 258 Large Precision Eyeliner Brush
Overall, I am incredibly pleased with these brushes. I think the design and construction is top-notch, and the array of choices is faultless. If you're looking for a particular brush type - whatever size or shape - I daresay you will find it in this collection. The price point is not cheap, but for the quality of the product, I do think it's worth the investment.

I initially had some confusion about the cleaning process for these. I was told in the MUFE boutique to NEVER use an alcohol-based cleaner on these, as it would irrevocably damage the bristles within one or two uses. I haven't had a problem using alcohol on my other synthetic brushes (alcohol in a spray bottle is my preferred spot cleaner, actually), so I was a little taken aback. My contact at MUFE Canada confirmed that alcohol will damage any synthetic brushes over time. They do sell an alcohol-free Instant Brush Cleanser to go along with the brushes, which is an oil-based cleanser. For the moment I am using my Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils to clean these, until I can try the MUFE version.

So what about you guys? Have you given these new brushes a try? Are you coveting any in particular?

(Some of the items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. I purchased the others. This post is not sponsored or compensated. All opinions are my own.)

October 23, 2013

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box - 3 month overview

I've never really gotten the point of the subscription boxes. The contents seem to be inconsistent from month to month, and aside from the occasional full-size product, they seem to heavily rely on deluxe samples - which are easy enough to get from counters and Sephora.

The Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP sub box seemed like a completely different animal, however. This subscription service was promoted as the luxury version, with at least one full-sized product coming each month, and early access to yet-to-be-released products. It was also more expensive than the average service (29$ a month, plus tax), with full payment required up front and a limited sign-up list. They also would not ship to Canada.

I only had one item from LMdB at the time (an AWESOME Kaleidoscope), so for 29$ a month, I decided to take the plunge and have them shipped to my cousin in the States. I figured I could wait and collect a bunch at a time.

Three months in, this is what I have received so far:

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box
August box (bigger) and September box (little one)
The August box was RIDICULOUSLY impressive. Aside from the handwritten note welcoming me to the "club", everything was nicely packaged and wrapped.

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box

This box included the Bauhaus Lip Kaleidoscope (95$ USD), a lipstick in a yet-to-be-released formula (32$), a Noir Precision Liquid Pen Liner (42$) and a Kabuki Brush (85$).

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box

Some subscribers received eyeshadow Kaleidoscopes, which, if I'm going to be picky I probably would have preferred. That said, this box was still an absolutely incredible value considered the monthly breakdown of the yearly subscription. This isn't a review of the products, just the service, but I wanted to show you guys the lipstick at least, as it is STUNNING.

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box

This may be one of my all-time favourite reds. It's richly, deeply pigmented, creamy going on but with a matte finish once it settles in.

Needless to say, I was extremely happy with Agust's offerings. While I knew the bounty was due to it being the introductory box, I was very hopeful about September's items.

The value was still pretty good - the True Colour Creme Eyeshadows retail for 28$ each, and I received two. Value is relative however, and while I would have spent twice as much to purchase these at the counter than I did to get them as part of this service, the hard truth is that I wouldn't have bought these in the first place.

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box
Champagne Shimmer (left) and Starry Night (right)

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box

The formula is...particular. It feels like most cream eyeshadows - except it doesn't set. Like, at all. It stays looking creamy on the lids, or anywhere else you apply it, and it creases and fades off easily. Champagne Shimmer does a little better, but Starry Night wound up in my crease within a couple of hours. Champagne shimmer also does better as both a base for eyeshadows and dabbed on the cheekbones or the browbone. 

I know that one of the members of the MakeupTalk forums sent an email to the company expressing similar concerns, and was told that this was a specialty, "fashion" item meant to be dabbed lightly over for a glossy, lived-in look. And you know what? If that's the purpose, then cool. It's not a product I would purchase for myself, but that's less an issue of performance than intent.

That is NOT, however, the way it's marketed on the Saks website where it is sold, or on the little info card that came in the box.

It specifically says it's supposed to be long-wearing and resist settling into lines. Somebody had their wires crossed on this one and the miscommunication, deliberate or otherwise, is disappointing.

They did rebound with the October box. First of all, they actually shipped it me here, in Canada! I don't know if that was a mistake or not, but I really, really appreciate it. :) And again, the handwritten note is super sweet.

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box

This is the Peau Vierge Dark Spot Corrector, which retails for 125$ USD. It promises to tackle hyperpigmentation and acne scarring, as well as generally improving the tone and texture of skin. I'm currently working through another treatment, but I can't wait to give this a go!

Le Métier de Beauté Beauty Vault VIP Subscription Box

Overall I'm really happy that I splurged on this subscription service. I have "spent" 87$ and have received 435$ worth of product. Aside from the True Colour Creme Eyeshadows, I think everything is top-notch.

I also appreciate that there is a mix of products: skincare, makeup and tools, classic best-sellers and unreleased formulas. I think it's an incredible way to get to know a brand and build up a small collection. (And with luxury products like this, the potential for swapping them away if you get something you dislike or can't use is probably better than average.)

So far so good, and I can't wait to see what comes next!

NOTE: The subscription service is closed until next year.

(I purchased all of these items.)

October 21, 2013

Shu Uemura Eye-conic 30th Anniversary Fall Collection - Triple Color Eyeshadow in Allure Mauve and Gypsy Brown

To celebrate their 30th Anniversary, Shu Uemura recently released the Eye-conic collection, inspired by the creative liberation of the 60s and Shu Uemura's own standard-breaking artistry.

The Shu Uemura Triple Color Eyeshadows pick up on the lines and movement of 60s psychedelic prints, with the flowing design of three complementary shades in each palette. Like the Duocolor Blushes, these come as pans that need to be placed into a palette.

Shu Uemura Eye-conic 30th Anniversary Fall Collection Triple Color Eyeshadow in Allure Mauve and Gypsy Brown

Gypsy Brown - this features a golden yellow shimmer with medium pigmentation, a soft bronze shimmer with great pigmentation, and a sheer gold glitter. Both the yellow and the bronze have a soft, slightly creamy texture that applies evenly, and both the intensity and wear is best when applied over a primer. (Without a primer, I noticed a bit of fading at about the sixth hour of wear.)

The sparkly shade is quite sheer by itself, but it's so pretty applied over other eyeshadows - it just renders any look more ethereal. It also has an opalescent effect that was really hard to capture on camera, but the individual sparkles are both gold and pink, which creates a really dimensional effect under evening lighting conditions. I had fallout when I applied with a brush, but barely any when I used my finger to lightly dab in, so that is the application technique I would recommend. I didn't find that the glitter wandered down during the day.

Allure Mauve - this features a sheer, pale lilac shimmer, a soft, plummy violet shimmer with medium pigmentation, and sheer silvered-lilac glitter. The textures and finishes are similar to those of the Gypsy Brown palette, but with sheerer payoff overall. The glitter shade has a mix of silver, pink and blue iridescence, and is gorgeous when it catches the light.

I found this palette is best used for a more delicate look. You can build it up to some degree, but the the nicest results come from layering the shades for a soft-focus, fey effect. If you want something intense in terms of colour-depth, this is not going to satisfy. If you want an airy-fairy look, however, this might be right up your alley.

Shu Uemura Eye-conic 30th Anniversary Fall Collection Triple Color Eyeshadow in Allure Mauve and Gypsy BrownShu Uemura Eye-conic 30th Anniversary Fall Collection Triple Color Eyeshadow in Allure Mauve and Gypsy Brown

Availability: At Shu Uemura counters, as well as www.shuuemura.ca. Price per palette is 42$ CAD.

Pros: Soft, creamy textures on the shimmer shades that apply smoothly. Complimentary composition. Can create a sheer and natural, or more sparkly fey look. Glitter shade is particularly beautiful and dimensional in the evening light.

Cons: Allure Mauve has sheerer pigmentation overall. How much of a con this is depends on your preferences, as application remains smooth, not patchy. Some fallout on the glitter shade, which can be avoided by dabbing on with a finger instead of a brush. Pans require a palette to place them into.

(These items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated. All opinions are my own.)

October 15, 2013

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Matte Palette

I keep most of my makeup in my vanity, but some of it winds up in my bathroom organizer. Those items are the ones I'll reach for time and again, especially when I have 5 minutes to slap a face together at 4am. Within days of getting the Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Matte palette, it found its way to that organizer.

It's THE no-fuss everyday palette. 

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Matte Palette

It's not tremendously exciting to look at, I'll admit. The packaging is simple and practical - clean, plastic, lightweight. The colours are basic, everyday colours.

And that's the point. These are all the shades you would need to create a natural eye, a contoured, professional eye, a smoky eye. For the average woman, this is exactly the kind of palette that ends up being a staple in the makeup repertoire. And for a beauty junkie like me, it's that sleeper palette that I end up reaching for again and again. It's practical, reliable and surprisingly versatile. In a beauty industry dominated by flash-in-the-pan trends and gimmicks, a makeup item that does exactly what you need it to is a rare bird indeed.

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Matte Palette

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Matte Palette

I have to admit, when I first started playing around with this palette, I was hesitant. Most of the eyeshadows that I consider to be good quality and well-performing share a similarly dense, smooth, buttery texture. I know I can get great payoff, adherence and blendability from that kind of texture. These feel firmer, finer, drier. I got into them expecting lacklustre results.

I could not have been more wrong. These have good to excellent pigmentation, apply super smoothly and blend like a dream! They are not powdery, with the exception of the two lightest shades, which aren't as smooth as the rest. They are also the sheerest and the most given to blending out. I found that the shadows in this palette had minimal fallout, and lasted through an average workday (and then some) without a problem when I wore them over a primer.

The colour range is very good as well, with solid mid-tones and deeper tones, and both cooler and warmer leaning shades. If anything, it skews slightly more warm.

Compared to something like the Lorac Pro Palette, you're getting less versatility since there are no shimmer tones, and slightly less payoff, though the softer texture of the Pro palette also creates more debris. I do think a good shimmer is easier to find than a good matte, however. If you're choosing between the two, this one is definitely the more affordable option.

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Matte Palette

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Matte Palette

Availability: Exclusively at Target. Price is 19.99$ CAD and USD.

Pros: Good to great pigmentation, blends and builds very well. Great wear and smooth application with minimal fallout. Range of warm to cool leaning shades, variety of depth of tones. Packaging is slim, light and practical.

Cons: Two lighter shades have more powdery texture, are somewhat sheerer and prone to blending out. Packaging may feel a little too basic and lightweight.

(This item was provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated. All opinions are my own.)

October 14, 2013

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book

I saw the new Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book on Sephora a few weeks ago, and it was an object that inspired such immediate and overwhelming coveting that I was checking out within two minutes. It's a rare makeup item that provokes that kind of reaction from me - especially these days.

Part of it has to do KVD's track record - I have yet to try anything from this brand that isn't good, if not great. Maybe not my particular taste, but I can't fault anything for lack of quality. (I'm sure there have been clunkers - no brand is free of them - but in terms of my experience, it's been really solid.)

The other part....well, I'll admit it, I fell in love with the design. I mean, just look at this external packaging. Isn't it beautiful?

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

Thankfully, the actual palette has the same design repeated. It is a paper-and-cardboard type of palette, so not as sturdy as the rubberized plastic casing of the usual palettes. Ultimately it doesn't matter to me too much because....pretty! *pets palette*

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

It also comes with a little guide on the back that lists all the shade names, with an asterisk next to the ones that are band new. The others have appeared in other palettes. (If you're avid collector, this might be something to consider, as 11 out of 24 shades are repeats.)

They also suggest a particular application technique that is reminiscent of the Le Métier de Beauté "couches de couleur". Not just pairing the two shades that are placed together, but actually layering them one over the other for different effects.

I will do a separate post showing the layered effects. it was too much to add to this one!

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

The inner top flap also has some suggested applications for different looks, which is a nice use of usually blank space, and more practical than the loose cards that are sometimes included in bigger palettes - and which inevitably get lost.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

The palette itself is protected by a clear plastic sheet that also lists the names of each shade, as it rests over them. It's nice for keeping the interior surfaces clean. I was actually a little surprised that a palette of this size didn't come with a mirror, but since it's not likely one that I would use outside of a location that would have a mirror available (home or hotel room), it's a negligible point.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

The range of colours is really excellent, with a mix of neutrals and vivid shades. It is, however, heavily skewed towards the shimmers and glitters, with only two mattes. For that reason I would say it's not an all-around palette, unless you generally abhor using matte shades for your eye looks.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

The top left quadrant contains the following:

Dark Throne (new) - satin-finish charcoal black that mostly reads as matte when applies. Soft but dense texture and great pigmentation. Blends, builds and diffuses well, no fallout on application, but can drop down a bit if not worn with a primer.

Precious (repeat) - champagne-pink with a strong shimmer. Soft, creamy texture, and good pigmentation. Blends beautifully, builds up to a point.

Sunset Blvd (repeat) - yellow gold, a mix of shimmer and very fine microglitter (which doesn't really read in the swatch). Generally soft, creamy texture, though you can feel the microglitter. Okay pigmentation when swatched, but did not adhere as well when applied, and had fallout. Does best when layered over another shadow, or cream product.

8 Bit (new) - muted teal shimmer with subtle golden iridescence. Soft, creamy texture. Great pigmentation, easy to blend.

Holy Bible (repeat) - light silver shimmer. Soft texture, very slightly powdery. Good pigmentation, buildable.

Oddfellow (repeat) - matte black with teal microglitter. Drier texture that applies a little more patchy, making it more difficult to blend out. Glitter falls out with blending, best when patted over a sticky primer. (Overall, Oddfellow does MUCH better when blended over Holy Bible, as per the suggested pairing. The combo ends up looking steel blue and quite stunning, and effectively nullifies the powderiness.)

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches
Dark Throne and Precious
Sunset Blvd and 8 Bit
Holy Bible and Oddfellow
Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

The lower left quadrant contains the following:

Instaglam (new) - silvery-pink shimmer. Soft, very slightly powdery texture, good pigmentation that builds up well.

Stupid Autocorrect (new) - soft burgundy shimmer with subtle pink iridescence. Creamy texture, excellent pigmentation, blends beautifully. (And awesome name.)

Smile Now (new) - pale peach satin with subtle pink duochrome. Soft, slightly powdery texture and sheerer pigmentation that builds to medium.

Cry Later (new) - warm medium brown with a satin finish and bronze microglitter. Soft texture, slightly powdery, with great pigmentation. Blends well. Glitter adheres better than in Oddfellow.

Queen (new) - reddish brown shimmer with teal duochrome (same style as MAC Club and UD Roach). Soft and creamy, with excellent pigmentation and blendability.

Bukowski (repeat) - vibrant turquoise shimmer. Dense, slightly drier texture, which has no effect on the great pigmentation. Applies and blends well.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches
Instaglam and Stupid Autocorrect
Smile Now and Cry Later
Queen and Bukowski
Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

The top right quadrant contains the following:

Babe (repeat) - red-violet satin with a touch of blue shimmer. Slightly drier texture and sheerer pigmentation, buildable to medium. A little stiffer to blend out.

Piaf (new) - gunmetal grey shimmer. Soft, creamy and dense, with excellent pigmentation. Blends easily.

Geek (new) - satin-to-matte pale peach with a beige undertone. Soft and very smooth, with great pigmentation. Blends beautifully, and makes for an excellent base shade.

Fallen (repeat) - intense bronze shimmer. Butter-smooth and intensely pigmented. By far the most pigmented and dense application in the palette.

Birdcage (repeat)  - chartreuse shimmer. Smooth and soft texture, okay pigmentation.  Blends and builds well.

Gunner (repeat) - forest green matte base with green microglitter. Drier texture, with sheer, patchy application, and glitter fallout when applied alone. Best over primer or blended over Birdcage.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches
Babe and Piaf
Geek and Fallen
Birdcage and Gunner
Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

The lower right quadrant contains the following:

Galore (repeat) - golden-champagne shimmer. Soft and creamy texture, with good pigmentation. Applies and blends smoothly.

Hexagram (new) - olive shimmer with faint copper duochrome. Soft and creamy, great pigmentation. Blends very well. This is a beautiful shade, a more subtle variation on the Queen/Club/Roach duochrome.

Arcadia (new) - silvery-lilac shimmer. Very soft and creamy, with great pigmentation and a bit of fallout upon application because of that softness. Very easy to blend, sheers out almost too easily.

Wonderland (repeat) - matte eggplant purple with dark pink micro glitter. Drier texture, though ok pigmentation and doesn't apply patchy. Glitter falls out a bit, and blending is a little stiff, but not problematic.

Countess (new) - matte warm beige. Very smooth, fine texture, a touch dry. Sheer to medium pigmentation. Blends easily. On me, this is the perfect nude shade to use on the brow, or as a base on the eyelid for a natural look.

WTF (repeat) - rust red shimmer. Slightly dry, soft texture. Ok pigmentation, but buildable. Blends well, not patchy.

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches
Galore and Hexagram
Arcadia and Wonderland
Countess and WTF

Kat Von D Spellbinding Eye Shadow Book review swatches

Availability: Exclusive to Sephora and www.sephora.com. Price is 66$ CAD and 55$ USD.

Pros: Gorgeous packaging, beautiful shade range, generally blendable textures and good to intense pigmentation for the shimmers and satin/mattes. Excellent value. The suggested blending pairs are usually quite gorgeous. (Separate post coming to show those combinations.)

Cons: The matte+microglitter shades have spotty application - sheer, fallout, patchy blending. Lack of matte shades decreases versatility. Nearly half of the shades are repeats.

(I purchased this item. Post is not sponsored or compensated. Opinions are my own.)

October 10, 2013

Shu Uemura Eye-conic 30th Anniversary Fall Collection - Duocolor Cheek Blush in Sweet Pink and Fresh Apricot

To celebrate their 30th Anniversary, Shu Uemura recently released the Eye-conic collection, inspired by the creative liberation of the 60s and Shu Uemura's own standard-breaking artistry.

Much like the Matte lipsticks in vibrant shades of pink and coral, the Duocolor Cheek Blushes in Sweet Pink and Fresh Apricot are unusual choices for a fall collection. Then again, perhaps that's why they feel so fresh, and so characteristic of the youth culture and whimsy that inspired the collection?

The blushes are sold individually, and the Retro Sensation Custom Palette can be purchased separately to house them. (If you prefer to place them in something like a Z-palette, you will need to attach a magnetized disk to the bottom, as the pans are made of a non-magnetic metal.) Both feature a - pardon the word, I CANNOT HELP MYSELF - groovaliscious design. The palette, at the very least, owes a nod in Pucci's direction. :P

The blushes have a deeper shade with a matte-to-satin finish, and a lighter shade with a fair amount of micro glitter. Sweet Pink has a bright tulip pink and an pale pink with a white undertone, while Fresh Apricot has a pastel tangerine and a pale yellow-peach with a beige undertone.

Blended, both duos come out more pastel and pale, and pick up the microglitter from the lighter shades. I don't find that the glitter transferred all that much once applied to the face, however. The pink is easier to wear on my skin tone, but I was surprised at how nice the Fresh Apricot looked, since orange shades tend to make me look more sallow. (If you want to see a picture of how Sweet Pink looks, I'm wearing it in my review of the Lancome Teint Visionnaire foundation.)

Both powders are soft, silky and fine, and pick up quite easily on a brush. It's tricky to parse out just the deeper shade on a blush brush, so the colour defaults to a blend and therefore goes on lighter than you'd expect considering how much is picked up by the brush. It makes for a very fresh, delicate effect that is best left as is rather than built up in an attempt to get a deeper colour. I found that if I applied more, the white pigment started to look chalky on my skin. EDIT: I was told that one technique to using the colours separately is to swipe the brush horizontally through the pan, and apply to the cheek in a similar manner. This creates a highlight over the cheekbone while placing the deeper colour just below.

The wear on these was 5 hours until I started noticing some fading, which is about average for more pastel-toned blushes on me.

Individual swatches.
Left to right: Sweet Pink and Fresh Apricot
Blended swatches.
Top to bottom: Fresh Apricot  and Sweet Pink
Availability: Currently on the www.shuuemura.ca website, as well as select Sephora and Hudson's Bay locations. Blushes are 42$ CAD, palette is 21$ CAD.

Pros: Whimsically retro design, soft, smooth texture, good pigmentation and wear. Easy to create a delicately flushed cheek. Microglitter doesn't really transfer when applied (which could be a con, depending on your expectations and preferences).

Cons: More difficult to parse out the separate shades when using a normal-sized blush brush. Can create a chalky look if applied more robustly. Blushes only available as pans, require a palette.

(These items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or compensated. Opinions are my own.)