Guest Post! Review: Urban Decay Naked 2

Guest post and photos by Chaos!


Since picking up my Naked palette (the original version) after searching for it in at least four Sephoras across two separate continents, I have not left the house without it. While this shows how much I love the thing, and also helps me justify my purchase of a new $50 friend for it, I am bringing it up because one of the things that really bothers me about the original Naked palette is that it is not really designed for carrying around. For a start, the packaging is velvety and so it picks up all the crap that lurks at the bottom of my bag, and the gold lettering across the front started to wear off pretty quickly. Also, it does not stay closed, meaning that the brush I store in it often comes out, and if the palette ends up too close to papers, they end up with a little more color on them than papers really should have. All this has changed with Naked2 – it is packaged in a metal case which clicks shut meaning it, my brush, and my papers will be safe from the horror that is the inside of my work bag.  This is good.

Speaking of brushes, the Naked2 palette comes with a really nice double-ended shadow and crease brush which, unlike many brushes that come with palettes, is actually usable. I did my whole eye with just the one brush when I was playing with this yesterday, so it should eliminate my need to carry three separate brushes with me. (I think I have re-applied my makeup while out about twice, however I feel… naked… without it in my bag just in case I need it, so I do carry it around slightly unnecessarily at all times.)

The colors (which can be seen in the swatches) are as follows:

Foxy: A beige/slightly yellow matte which is almost exactly the color of my skin

Half-Baked: Metallic gold (this one is also in the original Naked)

Bootycall: Shimmery beige, a little lighter than Foxy

Chopper: Glittery metallic bronze

Tease: Matte light brown

Snakebite: Shimmery dark brown (although this goes on more matte than it looks like it will)

Suspect: Shimmery light brown

Pistol: Shimmery dark brown, a little cooler than Snakebite

Verve: Shimmery greyish brown (this one is my favorite)

YDK (I do not know what this stands for, and that bothers me): Shimmery light copper

Busted: Matte dark brown

Blackout: Very black

Only Half-Baked is a repeat from Naked, and I am actually OK with UD putting that one in again – it goes very nicely with most of the other Naked2 shadows, so it makes sense to have it there ready to use without having to pick up another palette. (Yes, yes, I am lazy.) None of the other colors are so similar to the original Naked that you wouldn’t need want to own both. The shades in Naked2 are a lot cooler than Naked, which works better with my skin tone, and there are also more lighter shades in Naked2 which makes it a nicer palette for looks that are work appropriate.

There are not many bad things to say about this palette, but I would like to point out that I personally think they should have included a deeper brown shade instead of Blackout. Busted, the darkest brown in the palette, does not go on *quite* as nicely as the other shades, and Blackout is really too black to be used as anything other than a liner. While I occasionally do use black eyeshadow as a liner, UD itself makes such awesome liners that I am unlikely to do that on a regular basis, so I probably won’t get much use out of Blackout, and I am more likely to use Darkhorse from the original Naked if I want a dark brown instead of Busted. But 10 great shades out of 12 ain’t bad.

Naked2 also comes with a pink lip gloss which is a ‘meh’ shade on me, but tastes awesome, so if you feel like putting something on your lips just to lick it right off again, that gloss is for you.

Overall, Naked2 is really good value for the price, and you’re getting a great selection of shades. I recommend it especially for those of you who found the original Naked shades too warm – you’ll definitely find these shades easier to work with.

More photos and swatches!


Urban Decay Naked 2 eyeshadow palette: $50

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent. It costs $50, which I believe is $6 more than the original Naked. Without taking into account that it comes with a brush, that’s just over $4 per shadow. You won’t find $4 shadows this nice elsewhere.

Purchase again? Yes. Not for a while, because they last a long time, but I would definitely buy it again if it ran out.

Review: Bare Minerals Insider’s Kit (with Cheek Tint and Color-Shift Eyeshadow)

A few months ago, a friend and I sat down at ULTA and had little mini-makeovers, just for fun. This particular friend has a very busy telecommuting job and two small children, so she has had neither the time nor the external motivation to keep up her makeup routine, and I think she misses being girly. Anyhoo, she was fine with getting a little eye makeup done, and a little lip gloss, but when the brave ULTA sales associate advanced on her with a fan brush loaded with a startlingly pink neon blush (Smashbox, I think), she suddenly made a valiant effort to climb out of her skin in order to get away from the brush. Her eyes were as big as saucers! Undaunted, the SA flicked the fan brush over the apples of her cheeks and deposited a sheer flush of color that looked simply AH-MAZE-ING. (Even my friend agreed, after she had calmed down and had a martini to get over the shock.) Although at the time I didn’t end up buying that blush, I kept thinking about how good it looked — so when I saw this kit at Sephora with a super-bright pink cheek tint and a new “color-shift” eyeshadow, I grabbed onto it with my grimy little paws and would not let it go.

Sephora has a couple of Bare Minerals kits on offer right now, two of which contain this mysterious “color-shift eyeshadow.” By the way, the Bare Escentuals store that is about 50 yards away from the Sephora in one of my local malls had never heard of the stuff, which is slightly worrisome. As of right now there are two colors available, and each one is only available with purchase of a kit (in other words, you can’t buy just the eyeshadow, more’s the pity). Fortunately this particular kit had some other stuff I was drawn to, so it worked out.

In this particular Insider’s Kit, you get the following: Cheek Tint (Bare Minerals’ first cheek stain, as they call it) in shade Flirt, a color-shift shadow in Panache (a bright peach, which, upon buffing, acquires a lavender duotone), liner shadow in Twilight Violet (a sort of purple-gray with sparkles), Natural Lipgloss in Cherry Bomb, and a dual-ended brush.

The cheek tint is frighteningly bright in the container. And when I say “frightening,” I mean “sleep with the lights on”, “put a baseball bat under your bed”, “have your teddy bear on speed dial” frightening. Please DO NOT drop this on your carpet, as it will stain. Unless, that is, you already have a hot pink neon carpet, in which case I want to come to your house and see it. I admit that I have not tried applying the cheek tint with the provided brush. This is because I am terrified that I will go from zero to Krazy Klown Face in less time than it takes to say “Krazy Klown Face,” which isn’t really very much time at all. Instead, I’ve been using a fan brush, and this has worked so far. Like the blush the ULTA SA put on my friend, it delivers a sheer pop of bright color. Because it is sheer, it’s wearable for pretty much everyone. If I can pull it off, anyone who has darker skin than me (which is to say, almost everyone) can probably also do so.

The color-shift eyeshadow is the surprise winner here. In general I’m a skeptic about these kinds of things, but Oh My Goodness Gracious Me It Looks Fantastic. There are two things I really like about it: 1. the peach shade by itself is a lovely eye brightener, and 2. when you blend it out into purple, the transition is very nice (it passes through a pinky stage) and the two colors both look good together and are surprisingly easily incorporated into an overall look. Just for grins, I tried it wet to see what would happen, and the peach color turned into a neon sort of pink. In general I think dry application is better than wet here. The swatches below don’t do it justice; I found it hard to capture the purple tones on film. (Well, digital film, but whatev.) I’m surprised by how nice it is on my eyes. There is another shade available in another kit, which goes on a kind of dirty greenish-gold and buffs out to a fairly intense sky blue.

The lipgloss is … meh. It doesn’t do anything for me, but it won’t hurt you. I wouldn’t have bought it on its own. The color in the tube is fantastic, but on lips it doesn’t have much of an effect. Maybe this is just my lips.

The shadow liner is best worked with wet rather than dry. If you use it dry, there is a lot of fallout. Wet, it’s a nice shade of gray with hints of purple, and the glitter stays where it’s supposed to stay. And unlike the color-shift eyeshadow, when you wet this one it stays the same color it was originally. I’m not a huge fan of it, but I don’t hate it either, and I’m sure I’ll use it from time to time.

The brush is nice, but as I said earlier I haven’t tried to use it with the cheek tint. YMMV.

So in the kit, the winners are the cheek tint, the color-shift eyeshadow, and the brush. The gloss and liner shadow are OK but I wouldn’t have bought them separately.


Closeup of the color-shift eyeshadow in Panache.


This is how Panache goes on…


… and this is what happens when you buff it. It was incredibly hard to capture the lavender tone on my camera; this is kind of a fail.


Cheek Tint in Flirt.


Swatch of cheek tint in Flirt, with a sprinkle of powder on the left and a blended-out bit on the right.


Liner shadow closeup


Swatch of liner shadow (left) and lipgloss (right).


Bare Escentuals BareMinerals Insider Introducing Cheek Tint: $36 at Sephora

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good. Would have preferred to purchase products separately.

Purchase again? N/A, but I’d buy other kits if they had what I wanted.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils

I would like to introduce you to one of the spring’s most sophisticated new releases: Urban Decan 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils.

Yes, I did just use the words “sophisticated” and “Urban Decay” in the same sentence.

All right, maybe “sophisticated” is a little over-the-top. But my point is this: many of Urban Decay’s products are so much better than their packaging and product naming would lead you to believe. If you put the same product in different packaging — say, something sleek and black — and instead of calling a color, oh, I don’t know, “Delinquent,” you called it, say, “Deep Amethyst,” you could sell these products to a much broader range of consumers. “Delinquent” is far from the biggest offender; it just happens to be one of the pencils I’m reviewing today. But no one over the age of 19 wants to buy a lip pencil in a shade named “Gash.” Really. We don’t. However, it is not my job to manage Urban Decay’s marketing strategies. In the meanwhile, if you are interested in the products, you could always cover up the outside with black electrical tape. :)

You might have noticed that crayons are back in style. Tarte came out with those indescribably awful lip crayons last year, and this year we are seeing the crayon — which most companies still persist in calling a “pencil,” in spite of its clear crayon-ness — used to deliver more products for lips (Clinique, NARS) and eyes (Urban Decay). Clinique is bucking the trend by calling their lip crayon a “chubby stick,” which probably thrills the UD people, as it shows that someone out there is making worse marketing decisions than they are.

I will admit that I wanted these from the minute I saw the promotional materials, and ordered them within ten minutes of their going live on UD’s website. I only ordered two at that time, but then picked up the other three later via Sephora because the first two were SO AWESOME. They are new for Spring 2011, but fortunately they are part of the line’s permanent collection.

In contrast with UD’s 24/7 liner pencils and their 24/7 lip pencils, both of which are pretty soft in texture, these shadow crayons pencils are surprisingly dry. However, they do glide onto the eyelid remarkably smoothly in spite of that. They are easy to apply (for the most part; caveat below), last all day over primer, and — best of all — can be used to create some unexpectedly subtle and elegant shadings and blendings, which was the most impressive part for me. They fit the UD “Grindhouse” (another terrible product name) sharpener but will also fit most other sharpeners for pencils of this size.

Caveat on application: While they are easy to apply (Step 1: draw on face with crayon; Step 2: you’re done), getting them exactly where you want them, and at the level of intensity you want them, does take a bit more work with the more pigmented shades. I can scribble Sin (light pink) on my eyelid just about anywhere I want and it’ll look fine. The darker shades take a little finesse. I like to use Rehab (the dark brown here) as a crease color, but I suppose my eyes are more deeply-set than UD had in mind — the pencil does not go all the way into my crease. So I have to apply it as close to the crease as I can, and then blend it into the actual crease with a brush. This is OK; I don’t mind. I imagine for lots of other people this wouldn’t even be a problem. I would also advise blending out the edges of any area in which you are going to put one of the more pigmented colors, either with your fingers or with a brush.

The pencils come in varying degrees of sheen/glitter. Of the five I have, the two that have outright glitter are Delinquent (purple with a purply-pink glitter; not nearly as outrageous as it sounds) and Midnight Cowboy, which will surprise no one who knows UD’s product line. Midnight Cowboy is the equivalent of Stila’s Kitten: an over-the-top glittery peachy shade that shows up in every palette and collection they do whether people want to buy it or not. However, this is the least glittery iteration (glitteration?) of the shade I’ve seen. The glitter, which is silver, is not overpowering and amazingly enough it actually stays where it’s put. I can absolutely wear that shade to work as a highlighter shade under the brow. Sin (pale pink), Rehab (brown), and Mercury (gunmetal) have more sheen than glitter. All of the darker shades can be sheered out/blended for very lovely and subtle effects. The Mercury shadow pencil stays in place much better than its corresponding Gunmetal eyeshadow, so if you want to do a smoky eye that stays put and doesn’t drift all over your eye socket, making you look like you’re about to go wander the streets and eat people’s brains, I highly recommend it.


L-R: Sin, Midnight Cowboy, Rehab, Mercury, Delinquent

There are plenty of other shades available!


Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencils: $20 (psst: hey Urban Decay website people — you spelled the shade name “Barracuda” wrong)

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good. It’ll take ages to finish one up.

Purchase again? Yes! I hope they come out with still more colors. These are a lot of fun and have remarkably nice results.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium

Via Wikipedia:

Alluvium (from the Latin, alluvius, from alluere, “to wash against”) is loose, unconsolidated (not cemented together into a solid rock), soil, or sediments, eroded, deposited, and reshaped by water in some form in a non-marine setting… Alluvium is typically made up of a variety of materials, including fine particles of silt and clay and larger particles of sand and gravel.

Not to be confused with illuvium, eluvium, or alluvion.

They must have some pretty ritzy sediment over there in Great Britain, because Illamasqua’s “alluvium” is a lovely, glittery, penetrating blue. I’m pretty sure that if you took some alluvium from where I live, you’d get something with a color that was a cross between goose guano and baby spit-up.

(Sorry. That was, perhaps, unnecessarily vivid.)

Pigments are loose powders most commonly used on the eyes and usually with a more saturated level of color than traditional pressed powder eyeshadows. There are exceptions, but that’s a good basic working definition. If makeup is something that you’re new to or less experienced with, using a loose powder pigment might seem daunting, but it’s really not difficult, and the color payoff is often worth the effort.

Most pigments work best when “foiled” — applied with some sort of wet binding agent. The color is more intense and they adhere better to the eyelid without a lot of fallout all over your face (which is very embarrassing, and don’t ask me how I know). Lots of things can be used as foiling agents: plain old water, Visine, etc. My personal agent of choice is Rimmel makeup remover. I think I like the rationality-defying nature of it. You only need a tiny bit of foiling agent, as in “a drop or two.” I anticipate getting through my Rimmel bottle by 2025.


1. Get yourself something to use as a mixing palette: a clean jar lid, a saucer, what have you. Anything small and flat or gently bowl-shaped will do.

2. Put a drop of foiling agent in the palette.

3. Knock out some of the loose pigment into the pigment container cap. Tap some of that into your palette, but NOT right on top of your foiling agent. I suggest the two-stage pigment-shaking-out process because the one drawback of pigments is that they’re always a pain in the tuchus to get out of the container, and it’s easy to shake out too much.

4. If you are working with loose pigment, then you can either dip your brush into the agent first, then into the powder, or vice versa.) You can also foil pressed eyeshadows, but some of them don’t take well to having a wet brush swirled in them, so for those I suggest loading the brush up with powder first and then dipping it into a drop of foiling agent.)

5. Er, apply. That’s kind of it.

Pigments are often more expensive than pressed shadows, but since you’re not likely to ever completely finish one in your lifetime, it’s sort of a moot point. This one by Illamasqua is quite nice — when foiled, it adheres well to lids and doesn’t fall out or lose its color intensity. The packaging is a minor drawback here; Illamasqua’s trademark stylized square containers are visually attractive but bulkier than I’d like, and the lid of the pigment container is unfortunately all too easy to remove. Not that you’re likely to be carrying around a pigment container in your purse, but for those of us who are natural-born klutzes, this is an accident waiting to happen.


Left: wet/foiled; Right: dry. Same amount of pigment each time, but much more vivid when applied wet.


Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium: $24 at Sephora. Our Foreign Beauty Correspondents can order directly from Illamasqua’s website. (Well, our US Beauty Correspondents can too, but shipping is much more expensive and delivery takes much longer.)

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. Other brands give you more pigment for a comparable price, but you’ll never finish it anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

Purchase again? Not this color, because I’ll never run out, but I just now ordered another one in Ore, which is a scandalously delicious bronze color. It was out of stock at Sephora since well before Christmas, and I’m glad to see it’s available again!

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Shiseido Hydro-Powder Eye Shadow in Violet Visions & Green Exotique

Another from the Great Sephora Haul of 2010 (Part the First). And no, that is not a phallic representation of eyeshadow there in that photo. It’s not. Don’t even think about it.

Again: MUFE Aqua Creams, eat crow. You might argue that it was unfair of me to have compared you to the Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eyeshadows. You might have said, “Yes, but those products come in squeezie tubes. We come in little tubs! Of course we are a different texture! It’s unfair to even compare the two. Apples and oranges! Chalk and cheese! American version of The Office vs. British!”

To which I say: that’s as may be, but now I’m looking at the Shiseido Hydro-Powder eye shadows, which come in the exact same kind of packaging you do (although, if I may point out, quite a bit classier), and they still kick your collective tuchuses out of the park. So I repeat: Pthhhhhhhbt.

Of course all of the neutral colors were sold out on Sephora.com when I was buying, but Voxy is not afraid of a little color, so purple and green it was.

Like the MUFE creams, these come in little jars, except the packaging is sturdier and there aren’t any issues with cheap plastic or poorly threaded tops. (Minor annoyance: the sculptural lid is cool and all, but it pretty much prevents you stacking them on top of each other, so storage is a little inefficient.) The colors apply true to how they look in the jar: that green really is that green. They are both shimmery, almost verging on metallic.

Neither one of these shadows would be a good choice for a whole-eye look. They’re too intense, especially for daytime/work. However — they do a bang-up job acting as bases for other colors. I really like applying the green one over my whole lid (after primer and MAC Painterly paint pot, and on the lid only — not getting into or above the crease) and then doing the innermost corner of the eye with a pale gold, the outer corner with a bronzy brown, and the crease with a chocolate brown, blended just slightly up towards the brow. The green peeps out above the iris of the eye and looks really very cool. Finish with brown, black, or olive green liner and mascara. I’ve been using the lavender color in cool purple and icy blue looks. Let me know if you want photos of these.

I’d definitely consider buying more colors, especially the browns/neutrals. I do wish I could see them in-store first, but they’re online-only in the US.


Left: Violet Visions; Right: Green Exotique


Shiseido Hydro-Powder Eye Shadows in Violet Visions and Green Exotique: $25 each

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. $25 is pricy.

Purchase again? Yes — would love to try the neutrals.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colour (all shades)

Dear MUFE Aqua Creams: Pthhhhhhbbbbbt.

Yeah, that’s right, I said it. You wanna take it outside? Do you? Do you?

Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colors are everything MUFE Aqua Creams should have been but weren’t. I know some of you are fans of the Aqua Creams, but I had terrible luck with them. The LM products apply easily (though see below for brush-related caveat), are well-pigmented, stay in place all day over primer, and are not so frosty that people run to get their hats and mittens when they see you coming.

I probably walked right past these in Sephora countless times. There are not very many shades, so they take up only a teeny-tiny area of shelf space, and the packaging is simple, utilitarian, and un-flashy. The word “metallic” in the title was also a turn-off, since the problem with so many cream eyeshadows is that they are overly metallic and frosty. To wit: Benefit Creaseless Creams, commonly acclaimed as faboo, are so metallic that you might as well spray aluminum on your eyelids. You can get away with that if you’re under 25, but for the rest of us, these are difficult to pull off in a work-appropriate manner unless your work is as a greeter at an alien-abduction-prevention facility in New Mexico.

So I don’t know what prompted me to swatch one of these in-store one day, but I almost bought all five colors right then. LM is known for her sophisticated approach to neutrals, and these are excellent examples. The five colors available are: Burnished Copper (a medium-dark chocolate color that is not at all orange, as the name might suggest), Rose-Gold (pink-tinged gold leaning slightly towards new-penny color), Gold (neutral gold), Alloy (an unusual silver-gold-taupe color), and Platinum (which is a little pinker than its name would imply). Burnished Copper I bought on the spot; I came back a few weeks later for Rose-Gold and Platinum, and I will be picking up Gold and Alloy in the Sephora F&F sale starting on Friday.

Burnished Copper is the most universally flattering shade, I think; it will suit both warm- and cool-toned complexions. I’m cool/pink-toned, and I can carry off all the shades, even the warmer ones; I suspect the only one that might be problematic for warm/yellow-toned complexions might be Alloy. I’d test this one before buying, but remember to walk out of the store and look at it in natural light. In the lighting in Sephora, it looks pretty funky, but when I looked at the swatch in natural light it was gorgeous. These can be used as eye colors in and of themselves, as liners (Burnished Copper in particular makes a beautiful liner), or as bases for the application of other colors.

Caveat: The brush makes all the difference in application. Laura Mercier sells a brush that they say is made specially for these creme shadows. Don’t buy it. It’s basically a flat concealer brush, and the problem is that a brush like this does not do a very good job of applying the product evenly or buffing it out. I use Sephora’s Professionel Platinum Creme Eye Shadow Brush #25 ($18), which has a rounded dome-like brushhead that does an excellent job of blending and buffing. It is much easier to work a brush like that in little circles than it is to try the same thing with a flat-headed concealer brush. The product comes out of the tube through a tiny hole, and you can immediately soften it by swirling the brush a little bit on the flange, much as you would on an artist’s palette, so that you’ve already evened out the color before you even apply it to your eyelid. (A regular angled or straight liner brush works just fine if you want to use these shadows as liners.)

I only wish she offered more shades; Laura Mercier does have some lovely non-neutral colors and I hope that she comes out with some of those shades in this formula.


L-R: Platinum, Rose Gold, Burnished Copper

Top: Gold; Bottom: Alloy. I took these outside the Sephora store in the mall with my iPhone camera, so they’re not as good. Both Gold and Alloy look more cool-toned in real life.


Laura Mercier Metallic Creme Eye Colour: $22

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good.

Purchase again? Yes, but you use so little it’ll be a long time till I’m ready for a replacement.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Bare Escentuals Buxom Stay-There Eyeshadows in Bull Dog, Mutt

Yes, more blue eye photos. Sorry. And there will be probably one more set at least in the next week or two, because I have another blue liner to review.

After my terrible disappointment with Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams, I was hesitant about opening my heart to another non-powder eyeshadow. I’d been so devastated I swore never to date a cream or gel eyeshadow again. Fortunately, right when I was ready to rebound, along came Buxom Stay-There Eye Shadows, which had such an interesting texture and were so nicely pigmented that I yielded to temptation.

Buxom Stay-There shadows are one of the most oddly textured products I’ve seen. They’re … spongy. Spongy and slightly moist. Bizarre. I’ve tried applying with a brush and with fingers and have gotten about the same results. If you want to use them as liners, obviously a liner brush is required.

I picked them up in two shades: Mutt, which Sephora describes as a bronzed taupe, but which I just think of as “beige,” and Bull Dog, which is a brilliant indigo blue. (Is this a tribute to Yale’s bulldog football mascot, or is it just a coincidence?)

Mutt is strangely translucent: if used alone, it makes my eyes shimmer but also makes the lids look a little oily, even over TFSI. They are not actually oily, they just look that way. It’s a good base to build a bronze eye on top of, though; it just doesn’t really hold up on its own as a freestanding color. Bull Dog fares better and gives more opaque coverage, but since I never wear blue eyeshadow by itself, I’m always using other products with it anyway. They are reasonably blendable until dry, and then they do stay put pretty well thereafter. I had only slight creasing when wearing these over TFSI, and the shadows stayed mostly true to color for the whole day. If anything, Bull Dog outperformed Mutt in that regard.

Will they be permanent additions to my eyeshadow armory? Probably not; I do think this is just a rebound relationship for me. Sorry, Buxom. Bull Dog is a fantastic blue, which is great but I don’t wear blue all that often (even though the most recent photos on this blog might seem to imply otherwise). Mutt is a perfectly serviceable shade but I can get the same effect from other products. Voxy says pick up one of the more vibrant colors if you find one you like — you probably won’t be disappointed with its performance — but skip the neutrals.

Close-ups, swatches, and an eye look using Bull Dog (warning, it’s a bright one):

Left: Bull Dog; Right: Mutt

A little bit unnaturally wide-eyed so you can see the colors better.

Other products used: TFSI; MAC Pearlglide eyeliner in Petrol Blue; UD deluxe eyeshadow in Frigid (crease) and regular shadow in Virgin (highlight; from the Naked palette); Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara.


Buxom Stay-There Eye Shadows in Bull Dog, Mutt: $17 each, Sephora exclusive.

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair.

Purchase again? Probably not. Once is, I think, enough.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: LORAC Private Affair Palette

This post is entirely the fault of Chaosbydesign, who seduced me into breaking my low-buy and running to Sephora to pick up this palette. Just so you know.

Here’s a conversation that I doubt actually happened at LORAC product headquarters:

“Hey, Ed?”

“Yeah, Bill?”

“I have a problem with the packaging for the new Private Affair palette.”

“What’s the matter with it?”

“Well, Ed, it … uh … kind of looks like a coffin.”


“No, it doesn’t.”

“Yeah, Ed, it kind of does.”

“Maybe we should put more handles on it.”

“Actually, I think that would make it worse.”

… but like I said, I doubt this conversation took place because they made the damn thing anyway and it DOES look like a coffin. I know that Twilight is still coasting on its (hopefully short-lived) wave of popularity, but come on, people. LORAC is above this. Right? Right?

Anyhoo. Yes, I just did a LORAC palette review the other day, but this one is just out and I want to review it now so you can pick it up for fall if you’re interested.

Purple is very, very hip for fall, which is just fine by me. No blush in this one — it’s six shades of eyeshadow, plus (in the little pull-out drawer) a mini version of LORAC’s Behind the Scenes eye primer and a completely useless double-ended brush which you ought to just throw out immediately because it’s so prickly it’ll poke your eyes out. Had they not bothered with the drawer, the palette 1) would not look like a coffin, and b) would be so much more slim and suitable for travel (as CBD pointed out in her comment on a previous post). I’m going to try to figure out if I can put anything else in that drawer; there’s a divider in it that isn’t meant to be removable, but that divider hasn’t met me yet, so we’ll see who wins on that one.

Like the shadows in the Croc palette, these are a little too loosely pressed, I think. Too much shadow gets kicked up by the brush, and it’s more work to prevent fallout than it ought to be. The texture is generally up to LORAC’s standard, but I wish that some of the colors had been tweaked just a bit. I did an eye look below using only shadows from the palette, but I suspect that in real life I’ll end up mixing them with other shades from other brands.

The colors are listed as follows: creamy beige with pearl (I’d describe this as champagne gold), champagne rose with shimmer (this is the cooler, more silvery version of the first one), soft taupe with pearl, platinum grey with pearl, deep wine with shimmer (this one is the biggest win in the set), and black with sparkle (it’s not really black, and the sparkle is purple and quite noticeable).

Closeup, swatches, and a look done with the palette:

A look done with the LORAC Private Affair palette. This is just a little too dark for work, but I’d definitely wear it for an evening out. From left-to-right in the photo above, shades 1 & 2 used as highlighter, 3 and 5 on the lid, 5 in the crease, and 6 in the outer corner and as eyeliner (applied with a liner brush; not the one that came with the palette, though). Shadows applied over TFSI; mascara is Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! I have some other, less-dramatic looks in mind for this palette, or at least for some of the colors in it.


LORAC Private Affair Palette: $38, exclusively at Sephora

Provenance: Purchased. Under duress. By Chaosbydesign. She made me.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Only a “Fair” on this one, because of the unnecessary inclusion of the scratchy brush and the poor packaging.

Purchase again? Oof! I hope that I hate their holiday palette so that I won’t be running to Sephora or ULTA to pick it up.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: LORAC Croc Palette

Don’t hate me.

I think I found a palette that I like better than the UD Naked Palette.

<ducks to avoid flying pieces of rotten vegetables>

All right, as well as the UD Naked Palette. OK?

I still love my UD, but I picked this one up for travel and ended up using it almost every day I was away, which is really rare for me (I am so fickle!). The colors appealed to me because they lean towards copper rather than bronze, and they make my green eyes pop really well. The Naked palette tends to lean towards yellower shades, and those make me look a little jaundiced if I’m not careful. I purchased some LORAC shadows from HauteLook several months ago and hated them, so I was really dubious about these, but the colors were just too nice to resist.

The LORAC Croc Palette has four eyeshadows: Moonstone (soft champagne), Serenity (peachy champagne bronze), Garnet (copper), and Suede (chocolate). Suede is matte; all the others have shimmer. The palette also includes a powder blush in shade Soul, which is a browned rose that I probably won’t use much until fall really kicks in; it’s a little dark for summer. The eyeshadows are nicely well-pigmented and very smooth; I had a little bit of fallout during application, but nothing that wasn’t easily removed — and that frankly couldn’t have been prevented had I been less hasty in application. They did not crease over TFSI and they stayed vibrant all day. The palette does not come with a brush (yay!!! no extra cost for bad mini-brushes!), so you’ll have to use your own, which is better anyway. The outside of the case is faux croc, and it has a magnetic closure, which is nice to make sure the palette doesn’t open itself up in your purse.

Moonstone and Serenity are not all that different from one another; I used Moonstone as a wash, Serenity on the lid, Garnet in the crease, and Suede in the outer corner. The photos below show the colors applied over TFSI with Neutrogena Spiced Chocolate eyeliner, Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! mascara, and Tarte emphasEYES brow pencil. (Unrelated: New Blogger Lesson #51 — Taking pictures of eye makeup is hard. I just discovered a whole new thing I suck at!)

Swatches and photos:

L-R: Soul blush; Suede, Garnet, Serenity, Moonlight eyeshadows


LORAC Croc Palette: $36

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good.

Purchase again? Yes, and they’ve got a new one out for the fall that’s tempting me.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Make Up For Ever Aqua Essentials Kit (Sephora Beauty in a Box)

Since we are still in the Sweaty Glowy Summer Season and you may be in the market for sweatproof, waterproof, budgeproof cosmetics, I thought I’d review the rest of the products in the Make Up For Ever Aqua Essentials Set, available from Sephora for $69. This turned out to be a very mixed bag for me; some products perform excellently, others … not so much.

First of all you will remember that I am apparently the only person on the planet who didn’t like the long-awaited and much-lemminged Aqua Creams. I’m going to give them another chance, though, and will report back if I get better results.

The kit also comes with a lip pencil, two eye pencils, a waterproof mascara, and a small bottle of eye makeup remover for waterproof makeup. All except the eye makeup remover are full-size products. I can’t comment on the mascara because I’m still finishing up a tube of Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes and so I haven’t even opened it. (Since mascara goes bad so quickly, I really hate to have more than one open at a time.) I also try to stay away from waterproof mascara since my eyes are so sensitive to mascara flakes and it’s harder to remove waterproof mascara cleanly than it is to remove non-waterproof mascara.

Speaking of that, the makeup remover works perfectly well. I wish I could get more excited about it than that, but that’s about all the rah-rah I’ve got. It’s a lotion rather than a liquid; no shaking or mixing required. It works. It’s neither better nor worse than most other makeup removers I’ve tried. It’s no Lancome Bi-Facil, but it does the job.

The lip pencil, sadly, is not as good as I wanted it to be. I compared notes with Marigolds on the subject and she has the same opinion. The shade is nice, and is a neutral terracotta that should be good for a variety of skintones, but it just doesn’t last, even with TFLI underneath it. Sorry, MUFE, but Urban Decay has it all over you in the lip pencil department.

By way of redemption, though, the MUFE eye pencils are quite nice. The two that come in the kit are black and a kind of bluish-gray. Excellent for making smoky eyes, but just as capable (when sharpened) of very satisfactory tightlining. They stay put on the lashline (so long as you’ve got a good primer underneath) and hold their color for most of the day.

Is it worth purchasing? Well, if you like the Aqua Creams, which retail for $22 apiece, and you like the Aqua Eyes eye pencils, which retail for $17 apiece, then buying this kit will save you $9 over purchasing those products separately, and you get a full-size lip pencil, full-size mascara, and small bottle of makeup remover thrown in for good measure.


Left to right: Aqua Creams in #13 Warm Beige and #15 Taupe, Aqua Eyes pencils in Mat Black 0L and Dark Grey 21L, Aqua Lip in Nude Beige 1C (and by the way, “nude beige” absolutely does not describe this color).


MUFE Aqua Essentials Kit: $69 at Sephora

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): For me, since I dislike the Aqua Creams, poor. However, if the products work for you, this could easily turn out to be an Excellent.

Purchase again? Not this one, but that’s not to say I won’t be suckered in by future offerings…

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)