Friday, April 29, 2011

Bargain: $3 Models Prefer eyeshadow palettes

Sorry, but this one is pretty much for the Australian ladies only. I'm sure you can get Models Prefer makeup overseas, but this is a special discount I saw. Yesterday I was in Priceline and I saw a display of Models Prefer eyeshadow palettes all reduced to $2.99! There were about five different palettes on sale (some even had a full-size lipstick in the pack) and I got the one with nine eyeshadows.

Left: indoors. Right: outdoors in the sun. See the sparkle?

These were all swatched over Urban Decay Primer Potion and in the order they appear in the palette. This was taken outside in the sun.

As you can see, only the black is matter, all other colours contain some shimmer. I only needed a couple of swipes of each shadow to get this amount of colour payoff. The pigmentation was surprisingly good. The only ones I had to work a bit harder with were the black (which wasn't very black at all) and the purple. All the others pretty much glided on with one swipe of my eyeshadow brush.

So today I wore four of the colours (I wouldn't normally wear that many all at once) to see if the palette was worth raving about here. It was! As I type this, I've been wearing it for about four hours now and it hasn't budged or faded in the slightest. I wore the golden orange on the inner third of the lid, with the turquoise on the outer two thirds of the lid. I used the blue in my crease and then the purple along the lower lashline.

These were taken in the bathroom under artificial light.

These were taken outside in the shade. (I think these photos look weird with my eyebrows cropped out, although I suppose you guys don't need to see them, just the eyeshadow.)

I think that everyone should get down to Priceline ASAP and see what's there. You may or may not like the colours in this palette (I do - a lot!), but you may find one of the other palettes more to your tastes. I'm sure I saw a neutral palette with lots of browns and a lippie, also for $2.99. Priceline always has truckloads of Models Prefer palettes, so I guess they're discounting these to make room for the new season colours. Who knows? Anyway, let me know if you score anything awesome!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nails: Orly Royal Velvet

Hi guys. Sorry I've been away for a while, but sometimes life just gets in the way, doesn't it? Then there was Easter. So now I'm back. I also haven't worn nail polish got a couple of weeks. My cuticles weren't looking the best, as the cold weather has really dried out my skin. However, they're looking much better so expect to see some new polish pics soon.

Royal Velvet is my first Orly polish. I bought a mini of it on eBay to give it a try and I have to say, it's love at first sight! I had no hope of getting a good photo of this awesome colour in the bottle, as it was hard enough to capture on my nails. It's a shimmery dark blue at one angle and then a shimmery red-based purple from a different angle. Below is the one photo I was able to take that showed both colours at once.

Here it is where you can see both the purple and blue colour shifts.

The nail polish applied quite easily and had a decent drying time. It was a little patchy, but I think that's due to the mini brush applicator in the bottle. I'm sure the brush in the full-size bottle would be fine. I used three coats for full opacity and it was perfectly even and smooth. So, on to the restof the pictures. I tried to take photos as I gradually changed angles to show how different all the colours appear, depending on which angle you're looking at it.

Left: front on, it's blue. Right: slightly angled, it's a more purplish blue.

Left: it's a blueish purple. Right: the final gorgeous purple.

All in all, I love this colour. It's amazing to look at and is interesting no matter what angle you look at it. I'm also impressed with the Orly formula and intend to get more. Anyone have any colour recommendations?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review: Benefit Femme Metale kit

This is another set I bought from Sephora in Hawaii. It consists of three cream eyeshadows and three mini eyeliners. I think it was US$28, but it's not on the Sephora web site anymore, so I don't know if it's still available. The eyeshadows are Taupe-aztic (golden shimmer), Platinum (white shimmer) and Plum-ing For Gold (metallic burgundy), while the eyeliners are Blinged (silver), Steel Her Date (glittery steel blue) and Gem-N-Eye (glittery golden olive). It's great value because the eyeliners are bigger than the Urban Decay mini 24/7 glide-on liners, plus you're getting three full-size cream eyeshadows! Vampy Varnish has some great close-up photos here.

All this for US$28. One regular eyeshadow is US$19. Bargain!

The colours are just gorgeous and although the eyeliners don't really suit all of the eyeshadows (I wouldn't wear any of the liners with Plum-ing For Gold, for example), there's enough variety here for a number of different looks when combined with other eyeshadows and liners. My absolute favourite cream eyeshadow on the face of the planet is Benefit's creaseless cream eyeshadow in Bunny Hop (a metallic flesh-toned colour with an iridescent blueish colour shift) and I've worn all three eyeliners with it.

Bunny Hop. The most amazing cream eyeshadow ever.

This brings me to my next point: the texture and application of the eyeshadows. I have three of the permanent cream eyeshadow shades and they all have the same texture -- these are different. They're not as thick a consistency and therefore don't apply as well. Plum-in For Gold is smooth, but needs to be built up a bit for full opacity. Taupe-aztic is kind of gritty because of the glitter in it, but it's fully opaque with just one swipe. Platinum is in between: there's a hint of grittiness to it, but it also needs to be applied carefully to avoid patchiness; plus, because it's so in-your-face white, I generally only wear it as a base and inner corner highlight. The other two can happily be worn on their own.

Taken outdoors in the shade.

As for being creaseless, I guess it depends on how you wear them. As a base with another eyeshadow on top, they won't budge at all. One their own, they don't crease on me either, just like the permanent colours. However, I've read that the original cream eyeshadows crease on some people anyway, so if that's you, I'd recommend a base. I've found I don't need anything underneath, though.

This was taken in the bathroom. Check out the glitter in the eyeliners and shimmer in the eyeshadows.

A closer view of the eyeshadows. I had a bugger of a time washing them off after swatching them!

On to the eyeliners. I just love them. They're soft and smooth, and apply like a dream, very similar to the Urban Decay liners. They wear really well and didn't fade or smudge all day. They set fairly quickly, so if you like to smudge or smoke out your liner, work fast -- once it's set, it's staying there. I really don't have anything else to say about the liners except they're great.

Overall, despite requiring a little more work than I'm used to with Benefit's regular cream eyeshadows, the colours are so gorgeous that I reckon they're worth the effort. I don't need to wear a base with these, so application is reasonably quick. The eyeliners in this set are beautiful and have great staying power. I'd definitely give this set a thumbs-up. For Benefit cream eyeshadow fans, it's a fantastic buy if you can find it.

Rave: Designer Brands eyeshadow

I know it seems like I'm on the Designer Brands bandwagon at the moment, but I can't help it. The makeup is good and it's really cheap. Who can argue with that? Anyway, today I'm talking about an eyeshadow and lip gloss palette that came free with Take 5 a month or two ago. Yes, it's another freebie from my mum. Take 5 must have some deal with Designer Brands because I have another two nine-colour eyeshadow palettes from last year, which also came free with the magazine.

Notice something? Not a dud colour in there! Everything is wearable.

One of the things I love most about this palette is its colour choice. There are three complementary eyeshadows in there and two lovely lip glosses: one lighter and one darker. It's almost unheard of for a palette to be completely usable! The eyeshadows applied well over my eye primer and were easy to blend. I used all three colours in the images below, along with the mascara I raved about the other day.

The eyeshadows had nice pigmentation and applied very easily. All three colours were used here.

Then there were the lip glosses. What lovely colours! They wore reasonably well, although I find it hard to get decent wear from glosses in a palette, as opposed to a real tube and applicator. Anyone remember the old Urban Decay Face Cases? They were the same: they had Lip Gunks in the palette that were nothing like the actual tube of Lip Gunks in terms of longevity. Anyway, the glosses here gave shine and moisture to my lips, while adding a hint of colour.

Left: the lighter colour doesn't actually have much colour -- it just added shine. Right: you can definitely see the colour in the dark pinkish red gloss, although it's still subtle.

This is a bit of a surprise rave, I know. Designer Brands isn't one of the brands I think of when I think of cheaper good-quality makeup, but there it is. Seriously, when almost all of their stuff is under $10, I'd say give it a go. It's made me a convert.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Magazine freebie: Designer Brands mascara

I just quickly wanted to mention a freebie that Take 5 magazine has this week (or was it That's Life?). It's a Designer Brands Beyond Amplifying mascara in black. It usually retails for $12.99. My mum gets these two magazine regularly (sorry, she can't remember which one had it) and she thought I'd like to try the mascara.

Notice how long the spikes on the wand are? Nice separation and no clumps!

I've been wearing it for a couple of days and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I wouldn't wear it all the time, but if you like very well defined, natural-looking lashes, I can recommend it. I usually hate rubbery mascara wands, but the spikes on this one are quite long, making it really easy to apply. It really gets in between the lashes and separates them like nobody's business.

Left: the wand gets all the way to the base of the lashes. Right: it's pretty black too.

The reason I wouldn't wear this all the time is the fact that you can't really build it up too much. It gives wispy, natural-looking lashes for when you're wearing light eye makeup. If I was wearing something dark, I'd want a thicker, fuller mascara to make my eyelashes stand out more. The mascara itself is a kind of runnier formula, similar to Maybelline Great Lash. It's also kind of glossy.

My bottom lashes look freakishly long here! I wish I had more lashes on the top...

All in all, it wore nicely all day without flaking off or smudging, even after two hours at training last night. It applies like a dream and there's absolutely no clumping whatsoever. It's a surprisingly good mascara and I like it better than the Max Factor False Lash Effect mascara I've been wearing recently - the formula and the wand! You've got to love the cost of entry too (Take 5 is $3 and That's Life is $2.95)!