February 26, 2015

Clarins Spring 2015 - Garden Escape Palette 6-Color Eye Palette

Press sample.

As tired as I am of winter, I'm almost more tired of complaining about it. So let's focus on spring, yes?

And nothing says "HELLO THERE SPRING" quite like the verdant, pastel confection that is the Clarins Garden Escape Palette. (Well, maybe not in shouty caps, since that wouldn't be the classy Clarins way.)

Clarins Spring 2015 - Garden Escape Palette 6-Color Eye Palette

Clarins Spring 2015 - Garden Escape Palette 6-Color Eye Palette

Clarins Spring 2015 - Garden Escape Palette 6-Color Eye Palette

How freaking gorgeous is that??

I'm not a jaded makeup consumer. I still gasp with delight over the new, pretty, and shiny - but it takes a lot to truly stop me in my tracks. This palette. THIS PALETTE. I was mesmerized upon opening it, and very nearly petted it lovingly before realizing I needed to take un-besmirched pictures.

(Side note - this is also the palette that inspired me to change up my picture backgrounds from the plain white. Let me know if you like that.)

The outside is simple and classic, but the inside is pure magic. The colors themselves are stunning, and so perfectly spring-like that all the other collections can basically pack up and go home. The imprinted sun and botanical design just notches everything up to 11. I really don't know if I could have asked for a more perfect springtime palette.

Clarins Spring 2015 - Garden Escape Palette 6-Color Eye Palette

Clarins Spring 2015 - Garden Escape Palette 6-Color Eye Palette
In this light, the shimmer is more obvious.

Clarins Spring 2015 - Garden Escape Palette 6-Color Eye Palette
In more direct light, the result is more flat and satin, which closer to how they appear on the eye.
Which is why I was a little disappointed in the formula.

To the touch, it feels absolutely amazing. Ultra-smooth, creamy, soft. I was excited, because it reminded me of the texture of the older, discontinued Clarins mono eyeshadows, which I love, and which are nothing like the new wet-dry formulation.

And indeed, it swatches beautifully. Applied to the eye, however, that intensity is lost. The softness of the powder translates into a hazy, watercolour application. The colors are more muted, as if viewed through a soft-focused filter - delicate and pretty, but not what I was expecting from the look of the palette, hence my disappointment. Used dry, it's also very difficult to build up any intensity simply by packing on more powder.

Applied wet, however, the effect is much stronger, closer to to the depth of the swatches here, and with more visible shimmer. I achieved an even better result applying them over a concealer rather than bare lids or a regular eye primer.

Overall, the shade with the best payoff (wet and dry) and the smoothest application is the taupe. Dry, it's the perfect crease color. Wet, it's a stunner on the lid, picking up the light in the way only taupe shadows can. The two pinks are nearly interchangeable once applied, even if they look more distinct in the swatch. The greens are probably the most different when applied wet or dry - hazy shadows and dappled green light when applied dry, more lush and verdant when used wet.

I know several bloggers have loved this palette, and generally I'm not one to pick on an eyeshadow  for going on softer (I deeply dislike the OMG PIGMENTATION IS EVERYTHING standard, as not everyone is looking for eyelids that precede them into a room). This is particularly true of a formula like this, that is specifically designed and marketed to be used dry for a lighter look, and wet for more drama. I appreciate that the claims are pretty clear about that, and that as a consumer you have the options.

I think it comes down to which you'd rather do - sheer down and blend out a more intense formula, or work up a softer one. I don't think there's an objectively better way, as it depends on what you tend to wear on a daily basis. Personally, I think the former method is usually easier/simpler, which is partly why I was left a little bereft.

The Garden Escape Palette is priced at 44$ CAD, and is currently available at Clarins counters.

(Product was provided by the brand to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored or otherwise compensated.)

February 25, 2015

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

Press sample. Contains affiliate link.

Sometimes a product doesn't quite work as intended, but still manages to be all kinds of awesome. Such is the case with the Urban Decay Naked On The Run travel palette.

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

This boxy, beautiful palette contains a wonderfully functional array of products for creating a natural-to-night-out look: a medium toned bronzer, a vivid pink blush that leans a bit blue, five neutral shadows in a mix of finishes, a shimmer powder that can work as both a face highlight and another eyeshadow, a deep brown eyeliner, a muted rose lipgloss and a mascara. Add in your favourite face products, and maybe a lipstick or liner, and all your bases are covered.

The packaging is, as most things UD, gorgeous to look at, and cumbersome to store and carry - and that goes double when the marketing calls this a travel palette. Though smaller than the egregiously overstuffed Book of Shadows of yore, it's still far from streamlined. I don't know how anyone would look at this and think: "why yes, this is exactly what I need to tuck into my carry-on bag". (Then again, I'm a super-light packer, so if your travel motto is There's Always Another Suitcase, then this might not be an issue.) Personally, if I really wanted to tote these items along on a trip, I would take the loose items out into my makeup bag, and depot the actual pans. Which sort of defeats the purpose of the pretty packaging. The only part that is travel-friendly for me is the nice-sized mirror, and the fact that it stays open by itself.

That being said, I do think this is a GREAT option to get yourself or to give someone as a sampler of Urban Decay products. The quality of the products is very representative, and they're almost all full-sized or generously proportioned items - only the eyeliner and mascara are mini versions. For 64$ CAD, you get a lot of good, varied product for the money, and everything works well together.

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

The eyeshadows skew on the cooler side in the pan, though they are warmer on the skin, and offer a  solid neutral range for light to medium skin.

Dive - a metallic rose gold with micro shimmer, this looks like it could be chunky in the pan, but actually applies smoothly, with minimal fallout. I can be packed on for a dense, shimmery look, but I prefer it applied lightly as a wash, with a damp brush, for a sunlight-shimmer-on-water effect.

Fix - a medium taupe matte, this has a silky-smooth texture and the perfect tone for a softly applied lid color or transition shade. Depending on your colouring, it can also work as a contour or even brow shade, making it the most flexible shade out of the palette. I almost wish it was a larger pan, as I know it's the one that will be most used.

Resist - a metallic taupe with the kind of creamy, rich texture that is definitively "UD". It looks more grey in the pan than it does on the lid, and I find myself using it a lot for defining the lower lash line. Something about the shimmer and tone works wonders.

Dare - a neutral medium brown matte. Swatched, it seems a little choppy, but I had no issues using it on the eye. Like most truly neutral shades, it's a bit of a yawner in the pan, but perfectly useful in reality. The silky-smooth - but not buttery - texture makes it perfect for contour work (eye or face, depending on your skin tone) and as a brow powder. It builds up nicely as well.

Stun - a metallic bronze with gold micro-shimmer. Another one that looks like it might be chunky glitter bomb in the pan, and feels drier and more powdery than I'm used to from UD. There's a bit of fall-out during application, but it blended out smoothly on the eye. Also the warmest of the eyeshdows here.

All five of these eyeshadows are 0.04 oz, which is just a bit under the 0.05 oz size of the single eyeshadows. (Which works out to 4 x 19.20$, so a 76.80$ value.)

The second powder row features a bronzer, a blush and an eyeshadow that also works as a face highlighter.

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

Bronzer - a medium, slightly red-leaning bronze. I thought it would be too deep for me at first, but it's actually exactly right. It doesn't turn orange and it doesn't make me look sallow. If you have light, somewhat olive-toned skin, this is perfect. The texture is smooth and silky, and is easy to both apply lightly or build up, as there is no powdery-ness.

Blush - a bright pink with slight shimmer. Intense in the pan, but the perfect in-from-the-cold shade on the cheeks. Beautiful on lighter skin tones, but vivid enough for medium to deep skin as well. It has the same texture as the bronzer, with marginally more shimmer. More glow on the skin than anything else.

5050 - a slightly shimmery champagne beige. As an eyeshadow, it's on the sheerer side, but it provides a nice balance to the medium/deeper shades in the rest of the palette. It can be applied overtop to add some dimension, or in the corner of the eye for a straight-on highlight. With the sheerer texture and relatively subdued shimmer, it also works well as a face highlight. It has a creamier texture than the blush and bronzer, more like the UD eyeshadows, though not as dense.

The blush and bronzer are each 0.3 oz, and while there isn't a direct individual product equivalent in the UD line-up, the Naked Flushed palettes contain blush, bronzer and highlighter, and have 0.59 oz of product for 35$ CAD. Adding in the 5050 highlighter at 0.07 oz, the total value of that row comes out to 39.75$.

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

This is my first experience with the Naked Ultra Nourishing Lipgloss. First, the tube is GORGEOUS. I mean, really, really well done, UD. It fits perfectly alongside the Revolution Lipsticks, kinda funky and modern but with a nice amount of heft and elegance. (As an aside, I really like the grown-up version of Urban Decay. As someone who was introduced to brand in my teens, when both it and I were heavily inspired by the grunge aesthetic, its evolution feels perfectly in tune with mine.)

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

Performance-wise, this is a lovely gloss. Nothing outrageously inventive, but it feels light, comfortable and hydrating on the lips (I've used it instead of balm once or twice, and it worked better than expected), and not sticky at all. There is a slight scent, which I can't place, and it's not noticeable after application. The shade here is in Sesso, which is a nude rose with a slight shimmer, and is also exclusive to this palette. It's right in line with the Naked theme, a MLBB color. These are sheerer glosses, by the way, so not for you if you like something with a lot of pigmentation, but optimal if you're the type of person who applies lipgloss on the fly.

This is a full-sized product, coming in 0.13 oz. (Individually, the glosses retail for 24$ CAD.)

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

The 24/7 eyeliner included in the kit is in the shade Stag, which I don't believe exists independently. It's a cool-toned, grungy dark brown, verging on grey, with a bit of shimmer. The shimmer doesn't really read on the eye, just gives it a bit of depth. I really like this shade - it's softer, smokier and easier to wear than black, without appearing noticeable brown either. Kind of that perfect daytime shade, but also intensifies for a nighttime look. It's actually been my go-to liner for the last few weeks.

Stag is 0.03 oz compared to the full-sized 0.04 oz, so a comparative 18$ value.

Urban Decay Naked On The Run Palette

The mascara is a deluxe sample version of the new(ish) Perversion. I love the look of my lashes with this mascara - sooty-black, fuller and longer, with good separation without any spikiness - but unfortunately it smudges and flakes on me within a few hours. 

The size is 0.13 oz, compared to 0.4 oz of the full-size. The sample size is sold on Sephora for 15$ CAD (compared to 26$ CAD). In terms of actual value, this is 8.45$.

One coat only on the top lashes, on the left.
It's a natural bristle brush, and the casing has a really pretty gunmetal finish. If you're going to replace it in the slot provided by the palette casing, you'll need to do so with another sample mascara - which is one of the other aspects to the packaging that can be less than practical. (Though if you are using it for travel purposes, it can certainly make sense to take a mini mascara.)

Final thoughts? I think this palette is a terrific value (167$ for the 64$ price tag), and works as a fabulous introduction to the brand. It definitely has all your bases covered, even if I do find the packaging too bulky and specific to work well as a travel palette. 

(This item was sent to me by the brand to be considered for review. This post is not sponsored, or otherwise compensated. Contains an affiliate link.)