Wednesday, September 28, 2011

theBalm's Meet Matt(e) Palette - Swatches, Photos, Review

Where's Matt? Have you heard about Matt? Do you even know a Matt? (Surely you must; I know at least half dozen!) Is he a relative, a partner, a coworker, a loyal friend, your mechanic or the bartender at your favorite bar? Or maybe a recent ex? If that's the case, sorry to dredge up bad memories but you don't need him, girl! In the infamous words of the great Gloria Gaynor, you will survive!
Whatever your feelings on Matt, I'm here to introduce you to one any gal can safely fall for -- theBalm's Meet Matt(e), a palette of nine--wait for it--matte eyeshadows! 

Not only does Matt(e) have superb taste in color, you can keep him with you and have an eye on him at all times - Matt(e)'s not very mobile (or even bipedal, for that matter), and will depend on you for transport. As long as you don't mind, it could be the beginning of something special! ;D
In case you want a little more info about him before taking the plunge, here's a quick profile:

A closer look -

The color choices remind me of menswear, in the best possible way. I'm taking about elegant, Don Draper-esque '40's waistcoats and silk ties and fedoras and trenches - rich, luxurious, heady. Lovely!

Swatches -

Matt Smith, Matt Gallagher, Matt Ramirez, Matt McDonald

Matt Ramirez, Matt McDonald, Matt Horowitz

Matt Horowitz, Matt Chung, Matt Batali

Matt Batali, Matt Schilling, Matt Patel
I purchased this palette because if there is a void in my makeup collection, it's in the matte shades. Meet Matt(e) quite neatly patches that hole; no buyer's remorse here! theBalm continues to impress me with their high quality eyeshadows, which are faithfully smooth and pigmented. The Matts are no exception; they are all soft and silky, easily blended, without the powdery texture that sometimes plagues eye products of this finish. The colors are rich and easy to get opaque (just one or two swipes!). If there are any problem children here they would be Matt Schilling and Matt Patel, which are just a smidge temperamental and a bit harder to work with. Still, they are decent products and do not take away from this palette in the least. With primer, these shades will last you all day with no budging or creasing, and only minor, minor fading. Awesome! I have come to expect no less from this stellar brand :)

I have no idea when (or if?) this palette came out, where to buy it, or even the regular price. I picked it up at TJ Maxx (which seems to be the land that time forgot, and also my new favorite place for treasure hunting!) for $16.99, which is a good value for nine decent-sized eyeshadows. 

Just for kicks, the entire happy family -

If you have this palette, what do you think? Who is your favorite celebrity Matt? Here's mine...

Yum :9

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wet n Wild Fantasy Makers Glitter Palettes in Stage Beauty, Rising Star - Review, Swatches, Photos

This week has been a bit slow for blogging on my end (renovations!) but, in an attempt to end with a bang, I bring you two of the Wet n Wild Fantasy Makers Glitter Palettes in Stage Beauty and Rising Star!

Truth be told I can't remember how much I paid for these ($3.99? $4.99?), but the palettes contain nine colors of cream eyeshadows each.

Here's Stage Beauty -

I put the same amount of effort into each application and, as you can see, the quality varies greatly.

Unusable, for all practical purposes - 1, 2, 4, 6

Fair - 3

Decent - 5, 7, 8, 9

Note that 7 looks deep blue/purple in the pan, but once you get past the stiff top layer, it goes on as a pretty burgundy!

And now the better of the two, Rising Star -
Sooo puts me in the Halloween mood! Great and festive color combo.

Some beautiful, rusty autumn shades are featured in Rising Star and the quality/pigmentation is, overall, heads and shoulders above Stage Beauty's--the only irredeemable failures were 1 and 2. Otherwise, it's not hard to get even, opaque coverage without the annoying chunkies the other palette couldn't resolve. 

The formula is smooth and slick, a bit like grease paint. It seems that you are using up a good portion of each pan with each application - I already made significant dents with just these swatches! In terms of longevity the Fantasy Makers palettes are so-so: after about eight hours of wear, with primer, I got MAJOR creasing (like, chunks of product were accumulating in the folds of my lids!). Not very suitable for everyday use, BUT these shadows are billed as Halloween makeup and for that the wear time is appropriate; they will last nicely the few hours through a costume party or a night out.

Wet n Wild produced very fun, colorful palettes for this equally fun season! Even if almost half the shadows are throwaways these Fantasy Makers products are a great deal at their low drugstore price. I don't know that I would purchase Stage Beauty again but Rising Star is especially lovely, though also not intended for regular wear.

Have you picked up any of the Fantasy Makers collection?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Givenchy Gloss Interdit Ultra-Shiny Color Plumping Effect in 07 Glamorous Fuchsia - Review, Photos, Swatches

If nothing else this blog has taught me to be more adventurous in my beauty purchases--as long as the vendor has a good return policy--buying product with little to no prior experience or knowledge of the brand/item. I'm usually an impulsive shopper, but not so with makeup; there's just so much that could go wrong, and I already often feel one stray brush stroke away from looking like an 80's drag queen who got done up in the dark using her toes. Plain old 'drag queen' is a fun look I often return to, especially for nights out, but when your coworkers, quite immune to your makeup experiments, give you the side glance, you know it's time to put down the glitter mascara!

Anyway, since lipgloss is fairly foolproof and only dangerous if you're half asleep and really really really distracted (this is how I got gloss in my nose, once), it was a good experimental buy to start with. I picked up Givenchy's Gloss Interdit Ultra-Shiny Color Plumping Effect in 07 Glamorous Fuchsia ($26.50 for 0.21oz) at Sephora.

I'm a fan of doe-foot wands but I must say, I quite like this brush! The stiffness and density of the bristles allows for perfect control and easy application.

Glamorous Fuchsia is a vibrant hot pink with delicate microglitter!

I'm a bit in love with this gloss; the color is opaque, vivid, and very, very nice. A bit tacky but fairly resistant to movement and not sticky. This pink lasts 3-4 hours on me, which is spot on for a lipgloss. Yes, Glamorous Fuchsia is a gem, nailing every trait I look for in a lip product... except scent. Oh, goodness, the scent! Why? D:

So I'm exaggerating a bit, and the smell does fade as time wears on--but I can't help but be disappointed at the strange berry/floral mixture. Because it reminds me of Essence lipgloss (which I adore), I associate it with cheap drugstore cosmetics. [This isn't a bad thing, but not pleasing when you shelled out $26.50 for a cosmetic!] I realize this is totally a matter of personal preference and I happen to prefer unscented, light vanilla, or light rose. It might be right up your alley, though!

Overall, I'm satisfied with my Givenchy purchase and look forward to try more from the brand. Have you tried Givenchy's lipgloss?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Covergirl Lip Perfection Photos + Swatches - Delish, Kiss, Sultry, Eternal

Now that I'm over my Monday Blues, it's time for a few more Covergirl Lip Perfection swatches! I got these only because they were on sale at my local grocery store ;) I am assured from experience that the formula is solid; I can rely on these lipsticks to provide long-lasting coverage and a decent dose of moisture!

For more swatches and a detailed review, click here!

First, Delish -

It's a milky latte neutral, but a little warm for me. Still a nice nude!

Kiss -

Light, frosty peachy-pink. Lovely, subtle, everyday shade.

Sultry -

A muddier, darker, and slightly mauve-ier version of Delish.

I've saved the best for last - Eternal!
I didn't expect to fall for this as hard as I did but it's definitely true love! Ah-ma-a-aaaaazing! This is a color I like to describe as a Moulin Rouge red - vibrant and sensual with a touch of raspberry. Makes me want to put on my black opera gloves, corset and fishnets, and belt out "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" (in the privacy of my own home, of course - not looking to permanently blow out some poor soul's eardrums with my, er, loose interpretation of the melody 8D). 

All together now -

L to R - Delish, Kiss, Sultry, Eternal

Happy Tuesday (almost the middle of the work week)! Thanks for reading, please follow if you enjoy this blog :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Orly Birds of a Feather Nite Owl, Sea Gurl, Fowl Play, Lucky Duck - Review, Swatches, + Photos

I LOVE BIRDS. ...In theory. They are graceful, majestic, beautiful creatures (in theory) who have mastered the one skill man never will - flying. In practice, however, I carefully sidestep the pigeons outside the train station praying that one doesn't brush his dirty, germy self against my leg, and I habitually curse the foul fowl who inconsiderately leave their droppings on my windshield.

What I love in both theory and practice? Orly's new Birds of a Feather collection! The rich coloring of exotic birds is both a popular and effective source of inspiration for all sorts of artists and Orly transformed that vision into a very, very cool, sleek fall collection.

Let's get straight to it, shall we?

The new collection, out now, contains six colors - Peachy Parrot, Fowl Play, Nite Owl, Sea Gurl, Lucky Duck, and Sweet Peacock. I picked up four.

First, Nite Owl!

Don't know was possessed me to get this one. I'm not usually a big fan of nudes/beiges - the ones I've come across have been dull, boring, and simply not my style. I suppose I figured I should round out my collection, but... I'm so pleased I bought it! I love Nite Owl! The shimmer is magnificent, keeping the lacquer exciting and unique and very now. This Bird is definitely no Plain Jane! 

Sea Gurl -

Though I don't have it on hand at the moment, Sea Gurl seems Chanel Graphite's warmer, darker cousin.  A super shimmery brown-gray. This one's pretty ok... If I were to rank all the nail lacquers in the world Sea Gurl would certainly be far above average but considering the awesome quality of this collection, I'm not over the moon about this color (still nice, though!).

Fowl Play -

Ugh, I took sooo many photos of this and I still can't quite capture the absolute eminence of this polish! Glorious! A deep warm purple jelly base with holographic microglitter and larger red glitter chunks. Beautiful! A must-have, in my book.

Lucky Duck -

Really great shade - a dusty felt green. This is the only creme of the collection. Very much a ducky color, and lovely.

The formula on all of these is spectacular, buttery and smooth. Two coats will give complete, streak-free, opaque coverage, though I used three with Fowl Play. I haven't worn these for very long but I usually get about a week of wear from Orly. In case you haven't gotten the hint I positively j'adore this line - Birds of a Feather contains just the right shades for autumn, the formula is fabulous, and the colors are unique and different from what I've seen in many other brands' fall offerings. 

Are you planning to snag any of these? (I'm contemplating adding Sweet Peacock to my stash...)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NOTD - Orly Luxe Photos + Swatches

This has to be the shoddiest, quickest manicure ever! No base or top coat and I did it in about 2.3 seconds. It was necessary, though - I was heading to a party this weekend and I just needed gold nails to go with my outfit :P Despite the bad paint job, I'll share photos with you in case you're curious about Orly Luxe. It's a very pretty, shiny color!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

theBalm's theBalm and the Beautiful (AKA The Muppets Cast Your Shadow) Palette - Photos, Swatches, Review

Are you one of the lucky few gifted with an ungodly supply of patience, straight-faced and calm even in the most tiresome and annoying situations?

That is me, when it comes to anything involving work, personal relationships, school, studies, research, problem-solving, and teaching; patience is kind of required in the field of medicine, where there are so many questions and the path to answers is peppered with roadblocks, potholes, detours, and those mustachioed 18th-century wild-west crazies looking to rob you blind and steal your money. Also, you're traveling in a rickety stagecoach missing a wheel and a stubborn mule who'd much rather be smelling daisies (like Ferdinand the Bull). Yeah, science is exactly like that 8D

What I don't have patience for? Waiting in long lines, bad or slow customer service, shopping with someone who I think I dilly-dallying too much, shopping when I don't know what I want to buy, and sifting through the mess that is TJ Maxx to find a deal. Usually I end up paying full-price elsewhere to keep a shred of my sanity.

However, the other day I decided to do a quick run to the handbag aisle and though I didn't find what I was looking for, I did stumble upon the pretty stellar beauty section! Who knew? TJ has a GREAT selection of Estee Lauder, theBalm, ELF, and Color Club - all at less than half regular price!

I ended up grabbing too too many things, one of which was theBalm's theBalm and the Beautiful set!

You may have heard the buzz about theBalm's limited edition Muppet Cast Your Shadow palette. As far as I can tell, theBalm and the Beautiful's contents are exactly the same but with different names and a packaging design to fit the corny soap opera motif. Personally I prefer this theme over the Muppets - I recognize them of course, but I never watched the show and the puppets were not a part of my childhood. I also prefer tBatB's price - $19.99 at TJ versus $44.50 for CYS :D

The box is held closed magnetically with trifold flaps -

Here are the sixteen eye shadows, two lip/cheek stains (The Drama Queen and The Perfect Man), and one lipgloss (The Evil Twin) -

Can I mention again how much I adore this theme?! The Guy Who Died But Didn't Really Die, The Coma Patient, The Basket Case? Pure cheese, yes, but I think it's fabulous - who doesn't love a good dose of drama every now and again? :D

The shadows up close -

Swatches, first row -
L to R - The Oil Tycoon (lightly reddened brown with shimmer), The Estranged Mom (taupe olive-brown with shimmer), The Supermodel (dirty gold), The Bad Boy (dark, rusty brown with microglitter)

Second Row -
L to R - The Southern Belle (medium, metallic cornflower blue), The Mother-in-Law (frosted browned gray), The Guy Who Died But Didn't Really Die (cool ash brown), The Mistress (cool, silvery gray)

Third Row -
L to R - The Step Brother (deep golden olive), The Coma Patient (soft mauve pink shimmer), The Police Officer (shimmery aqua blue), The Brain Surgeon (browned medium purple shimmer)

Fourth Row -
L to R - The Neighbor (yellowed beige shimmer), The Stock Broker (soft white shimmer), The Basket Case (peachy beige frost), The Older Woman (light pink-peach shimmer)

Lip/cheek stains and lipgloss -
L to R - The Drama Queen, The Perfect Man, The Evil Twin

The Drama Queen

The Perfect Man

The Evil Twin

First, a quick word on the lip pans -- usually the afterthought lipsticks in a larger palette are throwaways for me, but I actually really like all three of these! The texture is light and opaque (though Drama Queen is a little gritty..) and The Evil Twin is a very nice complementary nude for my skin tone. I'm always on the look-out for nude colors that don't look sickly and that don't wash me out, and ET's muddy-putty hue is a perfect match!

As for the shadows.. also perfect! Or, very nearly. All very beautiful, pigmented, and easily blended. I wore a few of these without primer and they lasted all day with zero creasing! Pretty impressive, no? theBalm's color selection here is fantastic, too - tasteful, classic, but with a few great and bold pops of color. I completely love <3 This is my first experience with theBalm's eyeshadow, and I'm a believer!