Monday, November 29, 2010

A Tartan Tale Smoky Thrillseekers Glitter/Pigment Set Review and Swatches

The A Tartan Tale Smoky Thrillseekers tin (Gah! Fingerprints, sorry!)
How much do I love this set from MAC's A Tartan Tale holiday collection? I love this holiday collection to pieces (it's the combination of make-up, rock & roll and Scotland) and I don't think I've ever spent this much time and money on a single collection before!

This is the Smoky Thrillseekers Pigments/Glitter set, part of my latest (will it be my last?) haul, one of three pigment/glitter sets available in the A Tartan Tale collection. I was drawn to it immediately since most of the pigments it contains I've had my eye on for a long time but have never purchased.

Each pigment/glitter set contains one glitter and four pigments in tiny glass vials with screw-off lids. They're housed in adorable tartan metal tins emblazoned with a gold MAC crest.

A look inside.
The pigments and glitter are sent into a plastic display container that can be kept inside the tin or removed. The tin can be reused for whatever you like, and believe me, this little baby is going to be be used by me! I'm a sucker for tartan!

Included in Smoky Thrillseekers are the pigments Naked (Permanent), Jigs & Jives (Limited Edition), Black Brown (Permanent), Dark Soul (Permanent) and the glitter Reflects Blackened Red (Permanent).

Pretty little vials, all in a row!

L-R: Naked, Jigs & Jives, Black-Brown, Dark Soul and Blackened Red
And then I jumbled up the order to take this photo, oops.
L-R: Reflects Blackened Red, Naked, Black Brown, Jigs & Jives and Dark Soul
See these glorious colours? Tones of dark red, blues, blacks, metallic taupe and warm fleshtones. Loads of shimmer too! Let's look at them one by one.

Reflects Blackened Red (Glitter)
Reflects Blackened Red Reflects (Limited Edition): Cranberry Glitter says MAC. To me it looks more like an orangey dark red/maroon, and pardon the mental image but it makes me think of dried blood. Very pretty and sparkly dried blood from a vampire, of course. It’s tiny micro-glitter and gives a whole bunch of different tones depending on how you look at it -

I tipped over the vial with my finger over the opening to get some of the glitter on my fingertip. I swatched my inside arm and took a photo of my fingertip with the product still on it for these photos as well as the swatch photos.

Swatched on my arm (NC15 skintone)
I admit that I'm not 100% sure how I will be using this, but it's glitter and glitter doesn't come into my day-to-day beauty looks. I'll have to do some research into how I could use this. Anyone have any tips?

Dark Soul (pigment)
Dark Soul (Permanent): Charcoal black smoked with gold according to MAC. I see dark blue and silver and grey. This is GORGEOUS and I've wanted it for awhile. Pigments are a tough purchase for me since I know I will never finish a bottle. They give you such dramatic effect but you use so little of these it's unreal. That's why I love these holiday pigment sets so much. The vials are teeny and seem so much more usable than the regular sizes.

Dark Soul on my finger
See, it's a glimmery silvery black-grey with hints of blackened navy and gold. This would look smashing in a smoky eye look. It's like the night sky.

L-R: Blackened Red Reflects glitter and Dark Soul pigment

Blue-Brown Pigment

Blue-Brown Pigment (Permanent): Brown with blue-green pearl. This is the pigment version of Club eyeshadow, which I'm currently in love with. This pigment reminds me of gasoline and the wings of insects. It's stunning.

Blue-Brown on my finger
This shade is red with blue-green iridescence and will pop on any skintone and with any eye colour. I love the iridescence of Blue-Brown; it looks red-brown at some angles and then flashes green at other angles.

L-R: Dark Soul pigment and Blue-Brown pigment

Jigs & Jives Pigment

Jigs & Jives (Limited Edition): Naked taupe. Named especially for this collection, this is a gorgeous metallic neutral that could be easily used as a highlighter on medium skintones. Jill's lusting after this shade, she's a sucker for metallic neutrals.

Jigs & Jives on my finger

L-R: Blue-Brown pigment and Jigs & Jives pigment
Naked (permanent): Fleshtone shimmer. A soft golden fleshtone pigment that makes a great highlight colour or a soft and lovely natural colour to wear all over your eye. 

Naked Pigment
This shade is wearable on every skintone, that's how soft and natural it is. I own this in the original size packaging and I wear it a lot. Dust it all over your cheekbones for a touch of shimmer and on your browbone for a natural glow.

Naked on my finger

L-R: Jigs & Jives and Naked

I love, love, love this set!!! (can you tell?)


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bare Escentuals High Shine Eye Colour in Glisten Review and Swatches

I was on vacation in San Francisco recently and although the shopping was surprisingly kept at a minimum, I did find a Bare Escentuals Boutique at the Macy's near Union Square. It just so happened they were launching a new product the following day, their new High Shine Eyecolour, so I made a point of returning. 

Their High Shine Eyecolours are glistening loose powder eyeshadows that unlike the regular Bare Escentuals  eyeshadows come in a tube with a spongetip applicator similar to many cream or liquid eyeshadows on the market. There are six shades - Electric (Deep Teal), Glisten (Golden Sand), Patina (Golden Khaki), Moonshine (Deep Plum), Frost (Silver) and Bronzed (Bronze Brown). 

I picked up Glisten.

Bare Escentuals High Shine Eyecolour in Glisten

The back of the box says: "Get high-intensity sheen from the naturally vibrant pigments of 100% pure bareMinerals High Shine Eyecolours. Free of preservatives and chemical irritants, the ultra-smooth formula glides on effortlessly for an extra creamy, opaque finish full of glistening, foiled effect."

Glisten is a soft, silvery taupe shade, very pretty and of the six, the most neutral and wearable. A safe choice, perhaps but you'll see how insanely shiny it is if you scroll down! It takes some chutzpah to pull off this much shine. 

Sponge-tip applicator
The packaging is very good. Loose powders can be very messy and by including the applicator as part of the package, it minimizes the mess and ensures the applicator will be ready to use as soon as you open the tube. Also, with the lid of the tube as the handle of the brush, it's easier to use than the standard tiny applicator that tend to come with products. 

Close-up of the applicator
Are you ready for the shine? This stuff is seriously, seriously high shine. They're not lying. This is hardcore metallic shine for your eyes. It can be blended down with a brush or your finger if you like and would look amazing on a nighttime eye look.

Glisten swatched on NC15 skintone
See? Crazy metallic foil shine. It's glorious, isn't it? I love it! It's almost like it's liquid.

It goes on very smoothly and the texture is silky and creamy. The spongetip applicator doesn't get right down to the lashline, so you'll want to use a brush to blend it down if that's the look you're going for. There can be quite a bit of fallout from these as well, so beware of product landing along the top of your cheekbone. This can be remedied by waiting until after to apply your foundation or by patting a line of loose powder along the top of your cheekbones to catch any fallout.  You can also start with a little product and build it up and apply gently to minimize the fallout.

Another angle

Buffed down with my finger
As I said, it can be blended with a brush or a finger so that it's less metallic and harsh. The above photo is after I've buffed it right down with my finger and you can see it's still got the shine and colour, but it's more like a normally shiny eyeshadow.
My verdict? I'm drawn to shine like a magpie but it can be difficult to wear. Shine picks up every little bump and crevice as you can see in the swatches above. You can see all the little lines and crevices on the skin on my hand. It will do the same on your lids, so be aware. Many make-up artists will recommend that older women should stay away from this much shine, simply because it picks up on wrinkles and lines that normally should be minimized, so this is a look for someone with smooth eyelids.

For me, I'll wear this in moderation and pair it with other shadows such as in a brown smoky eye.

What do you think? Has anyone picked up one of Bare Escentuals High Shine Eyecolours? Love it? Hate it? How do you wear it?


Friday, November 26, 2010

Red Lips - Not Scary!

Red lipstick is one of the hallmarks of classic femininity and glamour. It's a look that screams "Look at me!" and makes you feel like a movie star. Think Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop and any classic pin-up girl. Think Dita von Teese, Madonna, Marlene Dietrich.

I get asked a lot about eyebrows, liquid eyeliner and false eyelashes but most of all I get asked about red lips. It can seem intimidating, particularly for those of us who wear lipgloss or naturally-toned lipstick or lip balm exclusively. These lips are the high maintenance divas of the beauty world (kinda).

It can be high maintenance to wear as it does need to look perfect but there are ways to wear red lips that doesn't require precise lines and numerous applications throughout the evening.

Sophia Loren
I've collected a bunch of photos to illustrate how red lips can be worn by pretty much every skintone and hair colour. It's perhaps most dramatic worn on someone with fair skin but it's a myth that redheads can't wear red lips and a red lip on a woman with olive skin or very dark skin can look extremely sultry. Just look at Sophia Loren in the above photo.

Tone: Tone is key when you're looking for a red lip. If you scroll through the photos below, you'll notice there are variations in the shades of reds being worn. Some are true blue-reds (see the photos of Scarlett Johansson as a brunette, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna and Alek Wek) and are best for skin with cool undertones. Others are red with warm tones - orange-red and brown-reds (see the photos of Scarlett Johannsson as a blonde, Julianne Moore, Penelope Cruz and Gabielle Union). A tamer version of the red lip can be seen in the photos of Oprah Winfrey and Chanel Iman - they're both wearing berry-toned reds.

True reds can look harsh on older women, so it's a good idea to look for warmer-toned reds or berry-reds for a more softening, flattering look. 

Redheads need to be extra cautious when choosing a red lipstick. There's a reason why it's said (falsely) that redheads shouldn't wear red lips. Use these ladies as your inspiration and make sure your lips don't clash with your hair.

Texture: In most of the photos below, the red lips are created with lipsticks, either matte or with a bit of sheen to them. On the ladies with darker skin, there's more sheen and some appear to be red glosses. On the ladies with pale skin, the lips are matte.

The easiest way to wear a red lip is as a stain and it's also a good way to start, if you're scared by the drama of the red lip. You can buy stains ready made - Benefit and Tarte make good ones - or make your own using a red lipstick. Simply exfoliate your lips using a dry, clean toothbrush and apply a good lip balm. When you're ready to apply your colour, blot any excess balm off your lips with a tissue and using your finger, tap lipstick onto your lips. The balm on your lips will ensure not too much colour will adhere to your skin. When you've finished applying, blot your lips gently with a tissue. Apply another layer of colour and blot again. The layering of colour will ensure a "stained" effect and will help it last.

A red gloss is another way to wear a less scary red lip. You could even use a stain and then top it with gloss for a light, glossy, sheer red lip (see the photo of Beyonce below). Some good ones are: 

MAC, of course has a fantastic selection of lipsticks and they've got a good variety of reds:
  • Cockney (sheer yellow-red)
  • MAC Red (true blue-red)
  • Chili (brown red)
  • Russian Red (blue-red)
  • Ruby Woo (blue-red)
  • Lady Danger (orange-red)
 Some other reds to keep an eye out for are:
  • Dolce & Gabbana's Iconic (orange-red)
  • NARS' Jungle Red (pink-red)
  • Maybelline Colour Sensational Lisptick in Red Revival (blue red)
  • Clinique High Impact Lip Colour in Red-y To Wear (true red)
  • Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red (blue red)
  • NARS Matte Velvet Pencil in Cruella (scarlet red)
And here's some inspiration for you - loads of photos of gorgeous women with all kinds of hair and skin colour. Enjoy and be inspired!

Light skintone:

Angelina Jolie

Anne Hathaway

Dita von Teese

Gwen Stefani

Scarlett Johansson as a blonde

Scarlett Johansson as a brunette

Eva Green
Mischa Barton
Christina Aguilera

Michelle Williams

Julianne Moore
Camilla Belle

Medium and olive skintone:

Jennifer Lopez

Eva Longoria

Rosario Dawson

Leona Lewis

Victoria Beckham
Jessica Alba

Penelope Cruz

Thandie Newton

Monica Bellucci

Dark skintone:

Trya Banks

Grace Jones

Gabrielle Union

Naomi Campbell

Taraji P. Henson

Kelly Rowland

Sanaa Lathan

Chanel Iman

Oprah Winfrey

Alek Wek

There you have it! Will you be rocking a red lip this holiday season or will you be leaving it the rest of us?

Any questions? Please feel free to ask!