Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner

Another item I snagged overseas (from the airport this time: I couldn't find any Bobbi Brown in the department stores I went to and it's an online-only thing for Sephora), the Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner is a cult favourite. Bobbi Brown is one of those brands that's ridiculously expensive to buy here in Australia. I paid US$21 for this, although I believe the RRP in Myer and David Jones is $45. Crazy.

Anyway, I bought Violet Ink instead of the black I'd normally get. I got a black L'Oreal HiP cream eyeliner on the same trip, so I thought I'd go for something different. As you can see, it's a pretty dark purple, yet still obviously purple. I'm not a fan of purple eyeliners that are so dark, you can't tell they're purple.

Nice and dark, but definitely purple.

The consistency of the liner is excellent. It's smooth, creamy and thick (hehe, it sounds like I'm describing yoghurt), but not gluggy. It's opaque with one stroke of an eyeliner brush, so it didn't take me very long to apply. I still think I need a finer brush for this, but the one I have did the job. Once applied, it took a couple of minutes to set and then it didn't budge all day. It came off easily with eye makeup remover, but when I tried to just wipe off the swatch on my hand, I had trouble with it! So it's got great staying power.

It was really easy to apply a nice, smooth line.

The pot the eyeliner comes in is glass, which is apparently better for preventing gel liners from drying out. I hope it work because it makes it bulkier than I'd like. Still, the lid screws on tightly, preventing other crud from getting in there when it's thrown into a makeup bag.

I believe it's available in 14 different colours, some of them shimmer. I thought about getting the shimmer purple, but decided I'd wear the plain one more often. Now that I've tried (and loved) it, however, I think my next one will be a shimmer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III

I'm sorry it's taken so long, but here is my review of the Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol. III, which is one of my recent acquisitions in Hawaii. I think it's a crime that no one stocks Urban Decay here in Australia because the makeup is just amazing. I remember David Jones had it a few years back and then they got rid of it. What a shame.

First of all, I'm not going to post swatches or detailed pictures of the palette. Other blogs have done it ad nauseum and much better than I'm able to, so please check out Temptalia's swatches here. That post is very picture-heavy, so don't say I didn't warn you. Here's just one pic so you know what I'm talking about: 16 eyeshadows, two eyeliners and a mini Primer Potion. It was US$54, which may sound expensive, but if you take a look at Temptalia's review, she breaks down the cost of buying each of the items separately. Trust me, this baby is worth every penny.

The selection of colours is great. There are some more neutral colours, as well as bright colours and glitter-infused shadows. All of the shadows are shimmery, apart from one matte: the black colour, Perversion. I've given this palette a really good workout, except for the black eyeliner (Zero) and primer. I'm currently using a mini version of Zero and I have a full-size Primer Potion that I use every day. I also already own Last Call as a standalone eyeshadow and Uzi is in another Urban Decay palette that I have. However, that didn't stop me from buying this palette because there are no dud colours here. There's almost always one mediocre shadow in every palette, but not this one.

So I've played around with the palette a lot to the neglect of my shimmery loose shadows, which I prefer to pressed shadows. However, there's enough colour variety in here that I haven't worn anything else for the last couple of weeks! That's really saying something, since I'm a glitter whore. Some of my favourite colours in the palette include Loaded, Rockstar, Haight and Psychedelic Sister.

I've already got favourite combinations that I've been wearing repeatedly, but I haven't been taking photos. For example, I love Haight on the inner 2/3 of the lid, with Loaded on the outer 1/3, in the crease and on the lower lashline. Or a similar combination with Money and Loaded, or Kush and Loaded (yeah, Loaded rocks). This is a new look for me: it's more subtle and it uses the warmer colours in the palette.

This is Bordello on the inner 2/3 of the lid and lower lashline, Last Call in the crease, Rockstar on the outer 2/3 of the lid and lower lashline, and finally Snatch on the inner tear duct area.

Different angle and lighting to show the awesome shimmer.

The thing I love about Urban Decay eyeshadows is how easily they apply. They're really pigmented, blend really well and are never chalky. It's also really easy to build up the intensity of the colour. The only ones I ever have trouble with are the glitter-based shadows like Uzi, Midnight Cowboy Ride Again and Maui Wowie. However, I only really get fallout if I wear them as a highlight, which is what I do with Uzi. They're otherwise fine when worn on the lid with the Primer Potion as a base. (I know some people put eyeshadow primer from the lashline to the brow, but I'm not a fan: I just keep it on the lid and a little above the crease.)

Now the eyeliners. I really think these are some of the most awesome eyeliners ever made. I even bought a mini eyeliner set, but that's another review. The pencils are soft and easy to apply, plus I've never had them wear away or move where they're not supposed to. They kind of set after you apply them, so they stay put really well. If you're a fan of smudged liner, make sure you do it fast! Ransom, the blue-purple liner, is the most incredible colour. I just love it.

And finally, the eye primer. As I said, I use this every day under all of my eyeshadows (except for my Benefit creaseless cream shadows and Make Up For Ever aqua cream - they don't need it). The bottle is looks cute, but it's a stupid shape and means you waste a lot of product where the wand can't reach. I had to cut open my original bottle and put the remains in a pot, there was so much left behind. I managed to get three months of use out of the remnants. All of that would have gone in the bin if I hadn't cut it open.

As always, no product is perfect, so here's what I don't like about the palette. The packaging. This is sooo big and heavy, there's no way I'd travel with it. If you look at the tray with the products in it, it's quite light and a decent size. However, it's a drawer that slides out of the oversized box. When you open the lid, although the New York cityscape is cute, there's really no point to it. There's so much going on there that the mirror is obscured and therefore useless. The LED lights and also tinted blue, which means that even if you could get to the mirror, it would be difficult to get an accurate idea of what your makeup looks like.

Overall, I love the Book of Shadows. The products in it are fantastic, although I'm resigned to the fact that it will permanently live at home. There's a great variety of colours and finishes to the eyeshadows, and I think the eyeliners and eye primer are second to none. For those who love colour, this is a great buy and you'll definitely get your money's worth. If you're more into neutral shades, try to hunt down a Naked palette (I had no luck - I'm really sad about that, but I'm not quite ready to look on eBay).

P.S. If anyone who counts is reading this, bring Urban Decay back to Australia! Please, please, please, someone stock this awesome brand.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nails: OPI Sparkle-icious

This is one of the many polishes I bought in the US recently. Sparkle-icious is part of OPI's Burlesque collection, which I thought was pretty awesome. I also got Tease-y Does It, but I haven't had a chance to wear it yet. Sparkle-icious is also the first glitter-only nail polish I've bought from OPI, but it probably won't be the last!

It's made up of just three glitter colours: gold, blue and magenta. It's such a pretty combination. It's kind of hard to see all the colours in the bottle pic below, but you can see how much glitter is in there. It made it really easy to build up opaque coverage.

I actually did my nails over two days because I ran out of time. The polish dried surprisingly fast, so I guess I could have done it all in one day after all. I ended up applying three coats and it was completely opaque. Two coats would have looked really lovely over a darker colour, so I might try that next time. Anyway, I think it's still spectacular on its own. I put a coat of Seche Vite topcoat over the top to smooth it out, as the glitter felt a little chunky.

Top left: outdoors in the shade. Top right: outdoors in the sun. Below: indoors.

As you can see from the pics, it doesn't appear as a super-yellow gold outdoors, but it's more golden indoors. The sparkle in this is blinding! It's such a fun polish. As with all glitter nail polishes, my only concern is how much work it's going to be when it comes time to removing it, but I'll worry about that later. Regardless, I think it's gorgeous.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Update: insane heatwave = no makeup reviews

Hi guys. I have fully planned to get some reviews up on the blog this week, but that hasn't happened. For those who don't know, Sydney has been in the midst of a ridiculous heatwave this week. Tuesday was 42 degrees (almost 108 in Fahrenheit) and yesterday was 40 (104). Hopefully, today's forecast is for rain, so let's hope that cools things down.

Basically, anything I've whacked on my face has melted off within an hour or two, which obviously isn't something I can base a review on. I've got so much makeup to review from my trip to Hawaii it's not funny. I've got lots of standalone products as well as some palettes, plus a bunch of nail polishes.

I'm hoping to have a nail polish post up this week at least. I've been super busy with work and the heat has totally zapped my energy, but it's on the cards. Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here and planning to post ASAP.