Monday, November 30, 2009

MJ Holiday 2008: BR799 Leather Rose

Nope, there is no typo in the title; I am indeed reviewing a palette released a year ago. It's almost sad that this is actually the most recently released out of all Asian eyeshadow palettes I've reviewed =P Anyway, this eyeshadow palette is part of Majolica Majorca's holiday 2008 collection, but because it is not limited edition, I just recently asked my mom to get it for me from Taiwan since. I've been hesistant about getting this palette since I got BR751 of the Trick On collection, and lots of reviewers have mentioned that this palette and BR751 are very similar. Thankfully, BR751 is not similar to BR799 in my eyes, so I'm very happy that I decided to get this anyway.

As usual, the MJ packaging is absolutely adorable, nothing really surprising there. I think the pearl-colored case may be my favorite out of all makeup items that I own ^^ It's too bad that MJ went overboard with their new line of palettes and added a string of little pearl-like decorations around the case. In my opinion, the fake pearls make the new case look cheap and ugly =P Also, even though I've talked about this before, but I would just like to rave some more about the MJ applicators. I usually use my fingers to apply eyeshadows, but MJ applicators are awesome because they are smoother than all other sponge-tip applicators that I've used. The smoothness means that it's easy on my eyelids (it doesn't tug) and it picks up and applies eyeshadows easily (the shadow doesn't go into the pores of the sponge and hide there instead of applying properly). The applicator is also great since I rarely ever see it make a powdery mess inside the eyeshadow case even if I don't clean it very well.

This line of eyeshadow palettes contains a cream base (top decorated band) and three powder shadows. I haven't used and don't plan on using the cream base since I don't want to destroy the pretty decoration. Plus, I've heard it's really horrible anyway, and I have already had several bad experiences with cream bases due to my oily lids. The powder shadows, though, have an amazing texture. Like most Asian shadows, MJ shadows are slightly soft to the touch and are very silky. They also last all day on me without creasing. So for me, the excellence of the powder shadows is definitely enough to make up for the mediocrity of the cream base ^_^

The three colors of the powder eyeshadows in this palette are a shimmery slightly warm pink highlight (A), a metallic warm-toned taupe (B), and a dark brown plum with pink shimmer (C). The palette is an interesting mixture of cool and warm since all of the colors seem cool at first glance, but they apply slightly warm (neutral-warm?) on eyelids. The pigmentation of A and B are fairly sheer, while C has medium high pigmentation. To make up for the low pigmentation level, all shades are very finely shimmery with some larger sparkles in A so that the overall effect is a light makeup look with natural radiance. Since the colors are very warm pink-based, the finished look is also very feminine though understated. A number of bloggers have mentioned that they like this palette better than its sister BR751, and I have to agree even though I don't think the two palettes are that similar. I think BR799 is easier to apply and looks flattering with most clothes, whereas BR751 is a bit more picky.

All product pictures in this post were taken under white light; the swatch picture was taken in natural light.

In short: MJ has me hooked yet again! This palette is definitely worth checking out if you like understated feminine looks or if you're a beginner looking for a basic palette. I hope MJ would come out with more palettes like this for their 2010 releases since their 2009 releases have been pretty disappointing for me...

P.S. By the way, if you wonder why I have positive reviews for most things that I get, it's not because I never have anything negative to say but because I always read a number of reviews before I purchase anything. That plus the fact that I have good friends who are also into makeup who let's me play with their makeup stuff means that I can usually weed out the things I know I won't like from my wish/shopping list.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


For those of you who don't know, Fyrinnae is a cosmetics e-tailer who makes their own makeup from scratch. They are perhaps most famous for their loose eyeshadows which some have touted as a budget-friendly version of MAC pigments. (I'm not sure whether Fyrinnae is cheaper than MAC on a per gram basis, but I would never want to buy such a big jar of loose eyeshadow anyway, so I've never considered MAC.) The range of colors for loose eyeshadows on Fyrinnae's site is absolutely amazing, it's like a color-lover's heaven! I love browsing through the eyeshadow colors on their site since it's almost like owning a Pantone color swatch ^^

Another reason why I love Fyrinnae is the way they name their shadows. They are usually whimsical or have some Japanese or Celtic influence, and the reasoning behind the name is usually provided for each eyeshadow along with a description of the color. Both dry and wet swatches of each eyeshadow are provided as well to make it easier for you to decide on a color. However, if you are still not sure of whether you will want a color based on the color description and the swatches, there is the option of buying 1/4-1/2 teaspoon samples of the shadows instead of the full 3 grams. The samples are around $1.50, while the full size eyeshadows are around $5.25 each, which is just absolutely amazing for the quality of the shadows that you get. I bought the below batch of samples from Fyrinnae for a measly $21 (free shipping worldwide for orders over $20), and they even included an extra smaller sample that was on my wishlist(Shinigami) along with a couple of stickers! The people at Fyrinnae are so nice ^^ I definitely didn't expect anything what with such a small order.

All samples and full size eyeshadows are packaged in small clear screw-top jars with the name of the shadow labeled on the bottom. Although the packaging is not the prettiest thing ever, I actually like it for its simplicity and practicality (you can see the eyeshadow very easily). In regards to the quality of the eyeshadows, the lasting power of the shadows I've tried are good with UDPP, and the pigmentation is great for all of them, as you will see in the below swatch pictures. The textures varies with each finish/color, but in general they are all finely milled and not gritty. However, maybe because these are finely milled loose shadows, the powder for certain shades tend to gather into little balls in the jar. The clumping doesn't pose any major problems, but you will want to be careful when applying since when you crush the balls, more color/powder may come out than you expected.

Alright, let's start on the top left. Black Plum is a (surprise!) plum color with fine multicolored shimmer and medium silver shimmer. If you look at the product picture above, you can see how much shimmer is in this color. This color is great for using as a liner to give some definition to your eyes without looking too sharp.

Next, we have Fyre & Ice, a black shadow with medium multicolored shimmer that is predominantly pink/magenta. It's definitely an interesting color since I usually see black with red/maroon/burgundy shimmer rather than with pink/magenta shimmer. I don't really remember what it looks like on my eyes, but it's also great as a liner.

Moving on, Shinigami is a blue-toned royal purple with some blue and purple shimmer. The name means the God of Death in Japanese, and it is named thus because it was part of the Halloween 2009 collection. This is the free sample I received from Fyrinnae in the order.

The last in the top line is Karasu, a black with fine dark blue shimmer. Karasu means crow in Japanese, and the color is reminiscent of the color of a crow's feathery coat, black with a midnight blue sheen. I love this color since it definitely looks blue, but it's still dark enough to really make your eyes pop when used as a liner.

In the next line, we have Kurisumasu!, a metallic warm pink shadow that contains some medium silver shimmer. FYI, Kurisumasu is the Japanese way of saying Christmas, and there really is no logical correlation between the name and the color of the eyeshadow (even the staff at Fyrinnae admits this themselves). It's a really pretty color, regardless, but for some reason it also tends to clump up in the jar more than the other shades.

To Kurisumasu!'s right is Nijiiro, which means rainbow color. I believe the name refers to the shimmer in this ivory shade, which is multicolored. This color is actually what I would have named Kurisumasu! because the ivory and shimmer reminds me snow and winter. This color also clumps up a bit.

Next, we have Monarch Butterfly, a black brown with fine burgundy and gold shimmer. Like the other black-ish shades I purchased, this color is beautiful as a liner. It is also part of the Endangered Species collection so part of the proceeds is donated to help save endangered species around the world.

Even though you can kind of see Snow Leopard in the first swatch picture, the above picture is more accurate in color. Snow Leopard is sort of halfway between champagne and rose gold with a metallic finish and very fine shimmers (I actually can't really tell what is the color of the shimmer). The color is really beautiful as a wash over the lids, and this shade also clumps up a bit in the jar.

Next, we have Polar Bear, a yellow gold with lots of fine gold and green-ish looking shimmers. I was expecting a paler gold based on the description and swatch pictures on Fyrinnae's site, but this is actually the color of yellow gold jewelry on me.

Following Polar Bear is Equality, the most shimmery/sparkly eyeshadow of this bunch. It is a slightly taupey silver with medium to fine multicolored shimmers that are predominantly silver or other cool-toned shades.

Next is Dokkalfar, a dark sage green with medium green and gold shimmers. I don't know what the name means, but it reminds of forest elves in fantasy stories ^^

Lastly, we have Mystic, an Arcane Magic shade which is said to be kind of holographic. The color of the shadow is supposed to look different depending on the angle of light to the shadow, but I don't really see any shift in color in Mystic. I don't really mind the lack of obvious holographic-ness since it's still absolutely gorgeous. Mystic is a metallic dark gray with fine multicolored shimmers that are predominantly blue and green, making it look like a gray-ed teal.

All colors in the post are taken under white light.

In short: The highly pigmented, finely-milled, economically priced, and whimsically named loose eyeshadows from Fyrinnae are definitely worth checking out. The great customer service at the e-tailer is also a plus!

Friday, November 13, 2009

MAC Holiday: Magic, Mirth, and Mischief's Sorceress Palette

Finally, a normal title that says exactly what I'm about to review =P Being a purple/lavender-obsessed makeup lover, I've been waiting for the release of MAC's Sorceress palette from the holiday Magic, Mirth, and Mischief collection since news of the collection came out on Temptalia. I was further convinced that I had to get this palette when I read in reviews that the middle-top grey-green color is very unique and interesting. Since I don't have a green and purple palette yet, the devil successfully won the inner struggle in my head, and I walked out of Nordstrom with this palette in hand a couple of weeks ago.

The packaging of this palette is very cute and reminds me of Christmas baubles on Christmas trees. The surface of the lid beside the baubles is mirror-like and very bright, as you can see in the below picture. At one point I was contemplating acting like an Asian guy, i.e., not taking off the plastic covering on the lid so the lid would not become scratched and/or covered in fingerprints. But then I decided that the plastic cover was just too ugly so I took it off anyway.

Before I start talking about the eyeshadows in Sorceress, I just want to mention that I have had very limited experience with MAC. I only own one other MAC eyeshadow palette and I certainly don't know MAC speak with the different eyeshadow textures. So I will be describing everything in my own words.

Sorceress contains six eyeshadows in varying shades of green, grey, and lavender/purple. The texture of the eyeshadows is typical of good Western cosmetic lines like NARS, very smooth but noticeably more packed down than Asian eyeshadows. The pigmentation is decent, and the lasting power is great as long as you have UDPP (haven't tried without UDPP and not planning on trying). The palette contains a small eyeshadow brush, which I believe is unusual for MAC. The quality of the brush is fine, but not anything particularly great.

The different eyeshadows in Sorceress corresponding to the swatch picture below are:

A - White Rabbit - a shimmery and sheer ivory
B - Hold My Gaze - beautiful unique grey-green, has some gold shimmer
C - Edge of Dark - a dark metallic gray
D - Magnetized - a pale shimmery lavender, reminds me of the light lavender in Maquillage's Eye Creator VI367
E - Hypnotizing - a shimmery mauve
F - Altered State - a dark shimmery reddish purple

As you can see, all of the shadows are shimmery to some extent, though none are really loud. My favorite color out of the bunch is (not surprisingly) Hold My Gaze or the grey-green because it is just absolutely gorgeous. The other colors are also nice, but nothing really outstanding or unique. In addition, the different colors in the palette sort of just mesh together when applied on the eyes so the none of the individual colors really stand out, especially Hold My Gaze. Instead of looking like the beautiful grey-green on my arm, Hold My Gaze just looks dirty and gray on my lids ^^"' Maybe it's my lack of skills or something, but the palette really doesn't look as interesting on my lids as it does on my arm even with UDPP, which is rather disappointing.

All pictures in this post were taken under white light (...should've taken pictures while it was still sunny last week!! ><)

In short: A decent palette that looks exciting on page and in swatch pictures, but not exactly mind-blowing when applied on eyelids.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Inspiration - Ueno Juri for Maquillage Holiday 2009

I really like the makeup look on Ueno Juri in the promo pic for Maquillage holiday 2009. The contrast between the bluish silver gray eyeshadow and the Barbie pink lips is very mod, and it's definitely more daring and vibrant than what I remember usually seeing from Maquillage. Yes, the expression on Juri's face is kind of funny, but she is still really pretty ^^ And those are really cool earrings, very space age-esque.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Barbie Hearts Stila: I'm Not Shallow!

Hahah, the title doesn't make any sense unless you read the actual post =P I'm on my continuous streak of firsts, and as my first Stila purchase, I got the limited edition All Doll'd Up eyeshadow palette from the Barbie collection. The reason why this purchase proves that I'm not shallow is because I decided to get this palette after reading a rave review on Temptalia, and I actually would never have gotten this palette just based on the packaging. In fact, originally I thought I might be scared by the Barbie face on the cover every time I open my makeup drawer, but after seeing the product in person, it's not as bad as I thought it would be so I don't think I'll be forced to redecorate the palette ^^

On to the main show. As I've mentioned, I'm not a big fan of the hologram image on the packaging, but the case feels pretty sturdy and seems to be of good quality. My friends and I agree that the best part of the packaging is the big mirror on the inside of the lid that's great for traveling. Surprisingly, there is no plastic covering for the eyeshadows, which is a first in all the mirrored palettes I've ever seen. There's not much fall out with these eyeshadows though, so the mirror has stayed shadow-free with minimal cleaning. Still, I haven't traveled with the palette yet, so perhaps it will be disaster once I do...

The powder in the Stila eyeshadows I've seen in person are probably the silkiest out of everything that I own or have tried, and this palette is no exception. Some of the high end shadows I've seen like Dior's and Guerlain's can be finely milled, but they're packed down so tight that the shadows are kind of hard to pick up. That is not the case with Stila shadows. These eyeshadows are extremely pigmented and easy to pick up (e.g., I just used my liner brush on a shade this morning, and I dented the shadow when I pressed too hard ^^"'). I would actually consider this palette to have the most pigmented non-liner shades out of everything that I currently own. In addition, the lasting power of the shadows are great with UDPP underneath, so no complaint there either. Still, my favorite part of this palette is the number of colors it contains. Following is a swatch of all the colors with flash.

The palette contains 12 shades laid out like you are buying four trios in one packaging, as you can see above. This layout gives those of us who are bad at pairing colors together an idea for how to wear the different shadows, but still allows the creative or adventurous bunch to mix and match from different trios. For the purposes of swatching, I will be introducing the different shadows by the trio they are grouped in. Before we move on to the individual trios, just a note that all shades in the palette have a metallic or shimmery finish to some extent.

First, the shades in the top left trio of the palette are a sheer beige (A1), a warm medium-dark bronze (A2), and a bright pink (A3). The pink looks quite sheer here, but it can be layered on for a more intense effect. Overall, this is a very spring-like trio.

Next, the top right trio contains a vibrant peacock-y turquoise (B1), a medium-dark gunmetal gray (B2), and an intense purple with blue reflect (B3). This trio is very interesting, and when using all three together, one can create a very colorful and vibrant look that's reminiscent of everything MAC. Once again, the purple shade looks quite sheer here, but it can also be layered on for a more intense effect.

The bottom left trio contains a periwinkle blue (C1), a dark midnight blue (C2), and a medium silvery-gray (C3). This is probably my least favorite trio out of the four because the middle shade is a bit chalky and hard to blend, and also because blues and grays are somewhat of a challenge for my complexion. The periwinkle blue serves as a great middle color between the turquoise and purple from previous trio, though.

Finally, the last trio on the bottom right contains a sheer peach (D1), a cool olivey brown (D2), and a light green (D3) that reminds of ferns or geckos (in a good way). The look of this trio is very nature-themed and also somewhat spring-like.

All in all, there are a variety of looks you can create with just this one palette, from natural and understated to loud and colorful. For me, this palette is definitely something I would use more during the summer.

All pictures in this post were taken under natural light unless otherwise noted.

In short: You are going to love this palette if you like pigmented vibrant colors. The price is amazing for the number of colors, the quality of the shadows is great, and you get a huge mirror, what more can you want? ^.~

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Lavshuca~~ Eye Color Select BR-1

I finally caved. After months of convincing myself that I'm not missing out, that I already have many brown/neutral themed eyeshadow palettes, I still ended up getting the very popular Lavshuca Eye Color Select in BR-1. To be fair, though, I don't own any orange/coppery brown palettes that seem to be popular with Asians so I have to get one if I even want to consider myself an Asian-makeup lover ^_^ (I believe that's a pretty solid excuse...) Plus, it was either this or something from Lunasol, so really, I'm saving a lot of money by getting the Lavshuca...

As with the BU-1, PK-1, and PU-2 that I already own from the same line, the packaging is super cute, the texture is great (except the top right sparkly shade is a bit gritty), and the lasting power is the best I've seen yet (at least out of the things that I use often), so let's move straight on to the colors.

The colors in this palette are an ivory base/highlight (A), a orangey copper (B), a medium warm brown (C), and a sparkly peach (D). I have to admit that even though I'm not big on huge sparkles that tend to migrate, my favorite shade in the palette is the sparkly peach color 'cause it's absolutely beautiful. I seriously would not have bought this palette if it weren't for this shade. The other shades are also gorgeous, but the ivory is nothing really unique or special. This palette is my current favorite because of its amazing ability to brighten up my whole face without much work.

For more details on Eye Color Select line, please see my previous review for the other three colors I own. The official application directions are also there. Also, note that all photos in this post were again taken in natural light.

In short: Love!! A reasonably priced palette compared to Lunasol with smooth texture and great lasting power in beautiful but practical colors.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inspiration - Chanel Fall Image Ad

This is long overdue, but I love this picture from Chanel's fall campaign! The eyegloss looks absolutely amazing, though I would never actually use it in real life since I'm sure it would crease on me in 10 minutes. Not to mention my complexion probably would not work as well with the red color. I find that I'm usually drawn to ads that have models wearing neutral colors, so this is really one of very few boldly colored looks that I like and I think would be wearble for people with pale skin for evening events.

Inspiration - Ueno Juri for Maquillage Fall/Winter 2009 Base Makeup

I've been tempted to try a number of Asian base makeup items ever since my obsession with makeup started. Eventually, I kind of gave up on the idea since Asian base makeup tend to be more powdery and matte than what I like to use and I don't like buying base makeup online for fear of getting the wrong shade. This new ad campaign from Maquillage may just change my mind, though. I know the power of photoshop, but Ueno Juri's complexion just looks so radiant and fresh in this picture! Does that mean I'm going to go online and buy the new Maquillage base makeup Ueno Juri is using the first chance I get? Not necessarily, but I would definitely check out the new items if I get a chance to see them in person ^_^

Monday, September 21, 2009

Guerlain Mysterious Butterfly: Pretty and Pretty Useless

I have been lemming Guerlain's Mysterious Butterfly palette since it came out during the holiday seasons last year. However, I did not have a full time job then, so I definitely could not afford it. Finally, last week I gave in to the lemming and ordered the palette online when I saw that this limited edition palette was still available on I guess it's not really surprising that the palette hasn't sold out since I read several slightly negative reviews on Sephora. I still decided to get it despite the warning of the low pigmentation level, though, because I was blinded by its outer beauty =P

Just looking at the case makes me happy! I love the color and the butterfly imprint. I was considering getting a regular Guerlain quad instead, but I don't like the gold color of the case for the regular collection. That is a very shallow reason, but a reason nonetheless =P Like Dior's eyeshadow palettes, Guerlain's also come with protective velvet pouches, as befits such a high end brand.

Inside the palette are two applicators and four eyeshadows with a beautiful buttefly-motif overlay of silver shimmer. I haven't touched the silver shimmer since I don't want to destroy the butterfly motif, but I've read that it's very shimmery and it makes the eyeshadow colors too shimmery if you actually mix them up. I don't like the applicators since I don't think they pick up color very well (in comparison to using fingers), but they're not horrible, per se. Plus, the design of the applicators is quite cute, so I'll forgive Guerlain for giving me poor applicators =P

The colors of the eyeshadows are an off-white, a very pale cool lilac, a medium warm pink, and a medium cool purple. With the exception of the off-white shade, all the shades are only very slightly shimmery if you don't touch the silver shimmers; the off-white is a bit more shimmery, but still nothing really loud. I feel like the off-white is also the most pigmented of the bunch, the rest take quite a few layers to show up properly on my rather pale skin. This low pigmentation level is the main reason for the negative reviews on Sephora, and also the reason why I didn't do a swatch for this product. In addition, because I'm obsessed with not touching the butterfly, I only have a very tiny area to work with, which makes the palette even harder to swatch. So for anyone who is looking to see a swatch, please refer to this post on KarlaSugar's site.

Following is the official Guerlain instructions for where to apply which color in case anyone is interested.

All pictures in this post were taken under white light.

In short: Amazingly beautiful packaging, but more of a collector's item than something you would use everyday. I'm definitely going to keep this palette so I can take it out every once in a while to admire it, but I don't foresee myself actually using this palette, ever.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Giorgio Armani & Shu Uemura: My Nordies Lipstick Experience

I discovered the beauty section of Nordstrom Rack several months ago. At first I was enraged at finding my Shu Uemura Ninagawa Mika Secret Luscious Rose palette on sale for almost 50% off the original price when I just bought it at full price a few months prior. However, I was also ecstatic at finding a variety of department store makeup items on sale, including a fair selection of Trish McEvoy, Stila, Giorgio Armani, Too Faced, and Shu Uemura items. I was able to ward off any temptation of buying makeup items from Nordstrom Rack for a while, but eventually ended up buying a Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick and a Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited not too long ago. I will be briefly reviewing these two items in this post.

I love the sleek black packaging with Giorgio Armani lipsticks. Even though it is plastic, the matte surface makes it look modern and chic, not cheap-looking like some drugstore lipstick packaging. I also like the embossed Giorgio Armani logo on the lipstick itself =) The color that I got is 02.

The creamy consistency of the lipstick is excellent, but it is unfortunately too sheer for my semi-pigmented lips. I'm not a big fan of opaque lipsticks so I thought the Sheer Lipstick line would fit my needs better, but I didn't expect it to be this sheer. Also, at the Nordstrom Rack I visited, only this Sheer Lipstick in 02 was a color I would consider putting on my lips in public. I rather like the light peachy color, so it's just too bad that it doesn't show up on my lips.

Moving on...

I've really wanted to buy a Shu Uemura lipstick for a while now since I love the futuristic packaging (I'm shallow =P) and I've heard some good things about them. The color I picked is PK302, again because it was the only color in the batch available that I would consider putting on my lips.

Unfortunately, perhaps because the Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited in PK302 I got was on sale, the texture was drier than I expected and not really what I consider good quality. In addition, I don't like the obvious silver shimmer particles in the lipstick, and the light pink color was also too sheer for my lips. I was too lazy to take a swatch photo for this since it looks very similar to the Giorgio Armani Sheer in 02, except the Shu Uemura is a little cooler.

The Giorgio Armani pictures in this post were taken under natural light, whereas the Shu Uemura pictures were taken under white light.

In short: A big disappointment for both purchases; both the Giorgio Armani Sheer Lipstick in 02 and the Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited in PK302 were too sheer for me and the texture of the Shu Uemura lipstick was too dry. Definitely will not be repurchasing either of these. My lesson learned is that even though it's great to buy department store makeup at prices lower than retail, the outlet still has a more limited selection and the quality may be questionable such as with the Shu lipstick.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MAC Mineralize Eyeshadow in Girlish Romp

This purchase marks two firsts for me: my first mineral makeup purchase as well as my first MAC purchase. For those of you who don't follow MAC, Girlish Romp is a limited edition quad from the Colour Craft collection of summer '09. Originally, I was drawn to Eccentricity (the purple/bronze palette), but then I decided that it looked too much like a combination of Lavsuca Eye Color Select in PU-2 plus the Lunasol palette I just bought. Plus, I read a Chinese review on Girlish Romp with pictures of EOTD with Girlish Romp that convinced me this would be a good addition to my collection since I am liking sheer colors more than intense pigmented colors right now.

The packaging of this quad is the same as the ones for the regular Mineralize shadow duos, which means that there is very little of each color. The size might be an issue with some people, but I actually like the small size since I never use up my eyeshadows anyway. The small size is also very convenient for traveling, though I wish there is a divider between the different colors so the powder for the different colors don't travel onto other colors.

The texture of the shadows are pretty smooth, but they may be a bit too powdery since the packaging gets dirty with a lot of loosened shadow particles very quickly. The color payoff is very good in my opinion, though all the colors are light so they may be too sheer for people with darker complexions. The lasting power of these shadows are also pretty good for me when I have UDPP on underneath.

The colors in the quad are a pale ivory gold (A), a pale peach (B), a medium cool pink (C), and a pale lavender that almost looks silver (D). Despite the mix of warm and cool colors, all four actually work very well together for one eye look. Also, all of the shadows are shimmery, though the way they shimmer are a little different. Color A looks like an ivory with gold shimmer, whereas the other shades appear as the actual colors with a metallic-y finish. For the overall look, I think this quad is perfect for spring and with sun dresses since the shadows give a sheer but noticeable wash of color. Too bad it is already late summer now, but I foresee me getting a lot of use out of this palette next spring (that is, if I don't fall in love with something else before then ^.~).

All photos in this post were taken under natural light.

In short: A really beautiful quad for those who are not looking for intense colors. If you only use neutral shadows, this quad may be a good first step towards using more colorful shadows. Plus, four colors (albeit small) for $19.50 is a great deal.

Bobbi Brown Nude Eye Palette: Amazing-ness!

I have always been a bit weary of matte eyeshadows. They are not pretty in the traditional sense, and they are much harder to blend well for a makeup novice like me. Plus, very few makeup marques actually make nice matte shadows, so the quest for a fine, smooth matte shadow is much more difficult than the quest for a top quality shimmery shadow. Well, if you are looking for good matte shadows, look no further, Bobbi Brown (BB) is your answer. BB is seriously the only brand I have ever encountered that makes matte shadows appear so amazing, I actually want to buy them. This reason is (partly) why I ended up purchasing the latest Nude Eye Palette from BB's Nude Collection for summer '09.

The casing for this limited edition (LE) eyeshadow palette is very basic and modern. Nothing to complain about, but nothing to be excited about either. One good thing about the packaging of this new palette is that when the shadows run out, I can go out and buy regular BB shadows to stick into the palette. Not that these shadows will run out any time soon since they are pretty big for my standards. Too bad this LE palette doesn't come with a BB brush like in previous LE palettes; it would have been nice to have a "free" brush when purchasing the palette.

Moving on to the shadows themselves, all of which are absolutely gorgeous. All three matte shadows are smooth, finely milled, and very pigmented. The three shimmer shadows are equally amazing, with the exception of the light silver shade which is just a tad less smooth. I have no problems with these shadows creasing on me as long as I apply UDPP underneath.

The color of the shadows in this palette are a matte off-white (Navajo), a shimmery pale silver, a matte khaki, a shimmery pale gold, a shimmery bronze, and a matte brown-black. Navajo is great for subtly highlighting the outer corner of the lower eye area for a more wide-awake look. The matte khaki works well for adding subtle contours in the crease, and the matte brown-black makes for an awesome eyeliner, especially wet. I also love using the silver on my lower lashline for a more doe eye look. Overall, the entire palette works well to create a very pulled-together look that is understated but still accents the eyes well.

All photos in this post were taken under natural light.

In short:
Although a bit expensive, the Bobbi Brown Nude Eye Palette is worth every penny. From the silky smooth matte shadows to the gorgeously shimmery metallic shadows, this palette is the quintessential Bobbi Brown palette in that it provides an understated look of natural beauty.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lunasol Sheer Contrast Eyes in Lavender Coral

I've been lemming this palette ever since my obsession with Asian makeup started last year. I first read about this palette at A Touch of Blusher, which also happens to be the blog that introduced me to Asian makeup. Subsequently, I read about it at a number of different blogs and decided that it's probably worth checking out since I love lavenders/purples and shimmer. I'm very glad to say that it was a good decision to get this palette as I'm really loving it so far.

The casing for the Lunasol palettes is a very classy bronze with Lunasol written on the front in elegant lettering. This palette was very well packaged with a layer of styrofoam protecting the palette between the palette and box. The brush and applicators that come along with the palette are also of fairly good quality, though nothing to really write home about. The texture of the shadows are in general very fine and smooth, but the dark purple shade can be a little rough and dry when using fingers, and the gold shade is a bit gritty. I have had no problems with the shadow creasing on me when I apply UDPP underneath, though the shimmer/sparkles do migrate like crazy. The color payoff of the palette is pretty good for me, which makes me wonder why Lunasol decided to call this line Sheer Contrast Eyes (based on the reviews I've read, Lunasol has had some sheerer offerings).

The shades in the palette include a blue-toned lavender (A), a pale cool pink (B), an intense purple-black (C), and a pale gold (D). All of the shades are, to some extent, sparkly and shimmery. The shade with the most obvious sparkles are the gold shade, followed by the lavender and pink shades, with the dark purple shade taking up the rear. Although the shadows are very obviously shimmery, the shimmers don't make the shadows look like cheap adolescent stuff. The overall look achieved with the palette is a young, lively look that reminds me of spring. Unfortunately, the sparkliness of the shadows do make it less office-appropriate, so don't buy this palette if you're an OL with every intention of wearing these shadows to work. That is, unless your office encourages a more creative or less uptight environment.

The official directions are in the picture below. This method of application works fine for me, but my own way of application (obviously) suits me better. I will discuss the details in another post.

All photos in this post are taken under natural light.

In short: A great palette to own for its elegant casing and wearable and vibrant shadows. This is definitely something one can wear on weekends and dates, though it is not typically office-appropriate. Also, stay away if you don't like major shimmer/sparkles.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Inspiration - Retro Anna Tsuchiya

For its Fall 2009 campaign, Maquillage paired up with Alexander Wang to release some limited edition eyeshadow palettes as well as some new lipcolors. For this season, the lipcolors are catching my eyes more than the eyeshadow palettes, especially because the eyeshadows are mostly boring neutrals. To better express the retro theme of Maquillage's Fall 2009 collaboration with Wang, spokesmodels Anna Tsuchiya and Ueno Juri were given what I like to call ugly bowl haircuts in the ads. I was actually really impressed by how Anna Tsuchiya pulled this hairstyle off. It is a hairstyle I would never get, yet Tsuchiya was able to make it seem fashion-forward instead of just ugly. Unfortunately, Ueno Juri did not pull off the hairstyle as well ^^"'

Monday, July 20, 2009

Inspiration - Hamasaki Ayumi in Days PV

It's been a while since Hamasaki Ayumi came out with Days, but I remember the first time I saw the PV, I immediately fell in love with Hamasaki Ayumi's nail polish color. I admit that that is pretty random, especially since her nails only appear for like 2 seconds in the entire video. Of course, other than her nails, her outfits were also amazingly cute, though I don't think I would ever wear anything like that on the streets. For one thing, the Japanese/Asian fashion seen in this case is too different from American fashion, which means that if I were to wear Hamasaki Ayumi's outfit in the video on the streets, people would probably think I'm weird.

Anyhow, back to the subject. Ever since I watched the Days PV, I've been looking for an off-white nail polish with silver/pink shimmer/glitter a la Ms. Hamasaki. Then, a week or so ago, I saw this post on Taiwanese blogger Yuki's site about Chanel's fall collection and fell in love with the new Chanel polish 501 Intermezzo. (Please click on the above link to the post to take a look at the beautiful color.) However, now that I've re-watched the Days video, I realized that Hamasaki Ayumi's polish color is not really like that of Intermezzo, though I actually like Intermezzo better Hamasaki's polish color. So I dedicate this new lemming to Ms. Hamasaki. It is highly unlikely that I'll actually go out and buy the color though, since I rarely put nail polish on my fingernails since I'm lazy, and the Chanel polish is just too expensive for me to justify my purchase.

Here's is the PV for Days. If you're interested, the nail polish color I liked appears at 2:04.

EDIT: Because AVEX is iffy and removes any and all videos (or at least the audio tracks) of Hamasaki Ayumi, the originally linked video is no longer available on YouTube. If you're interested, you can still search for the video on a search engine and another video of Days may have been uploaded (but not yet removed). I guess Hamasaki Ayumi doesn't need to rely on YouTube for publicity since she's already very famous, but I cannot understand for the life of me what the problem is with having her PV on YouTube. Is AVEX being paid for high viewership ratings when Ayu's videos play on TV? Do they realize it's very annoying for people who don't live in Japan or want to watch old videos for them to remove everything? Grrr....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Inspiration - Shibasaki Kou II

I recently encountered this picture from Coffret D'or's Fall 2009 and was seriously blown away. How did they make Shibasaki Kou look so doe-eyed and adorable? I've always thought she had a tougher and more fiery image rather than the sweet, cute type of image this picture conveys. In any case, the ad tempted me into checking out what eye products she used, but I will most likely refrain from buying anything since I'm not big on buying eyeliners or mascaras and I don't want to buy any more single eyeshadows since I like sticking to palettes. Still, if Shibasaki-san is truly not wearing any false lashes in the picture as the Coffret D'or website implies, I would definitely consider checking out this miracle mascara, which, by the way, has been receiving good reviews on a couple of the blogs I read.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Random Thoughts & Current Favorites

Lately, I've been wondering why I ever bothered to purchase any single eyeshadows or any non-neutral eyeshadow palettes. Actually, I know why I bought the shadows, but I've just been beating myself over the head for falling for them when I knew I was not going to use them very often. I've never been the most creative or daring person when it comes to makeup, but ever since I started working and applying makeup daily, I've finally realized the extent of my laziness + lack of creativity. Even though I love most of my single eyeshadows, as well as my gorgeous Shu and Dior palettes, all of those items require some thought to pull together a nice eye look that's still office appropriate. Similarly, I absolutely adore my Lavshuca palettes, particularly for the sparkle shades, but sadly, sparkle is definitely not office-appropriate. If I went out clubbing often, then perhaps I could justify my purchases by using them then, but I'm not a big party person ^^"' I suppose I'll just need to come to terms with the fact that some of my eyeshadow palettes will just sit in my drawer so I can take them out and admire them every once in a while. Plus, I can still comfort myself with the fact that at least I'm only obsessed with eyeshadows and nothing else =P

Speaking of how often I use my eyeshadow palettes, I'd like to mention that I'm really loving my two MJ Majolooks. They are truly the perfect medium between plain neutral palettes (Kate Deep Trap Eyes) and sparkly party palettes (Lavshuca Eye Color Select). Both of the Majolooks I own are BR (brown) palettes, but they each have a non-neutral color to nicely break up the monotony while still keeping things office-appropriate. Plus, the pigmentation is strong enough so that you can see the colors, but not so strong that I look really made-up, and the silky texture is really department store-worthy. Anyhow, consider this a commemorative post for my current favorites.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Inspiration - Will I ever get sick of Ms. Chiling?

As you can deduce from the title, here is yet another cute picture of Chiling Lin (The repetitive-ness of her name doesn't really start to annoy me until I have to type it up in English ^^"') since I rather like her take here on what I'd call the classic Audrey Hepburn look. Sometimes, just eyeliner and fake eyelashes with no apparent eyeshadow color can make for a very elegant but fresh-faced look ^_^

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Inspiration - More Anna Tsuchiya

I suppose I'm a little late in making this post since Maquillage is about ready to release their fall collection =P Anyhow, even though I was not really tempted by any products released by Maquillage for their summer 2009 collection, the promotional images of Anna Tsuchiya modeling the different products are absolute perfection. I really like all of the looks she models here, though especially the first on the left and the second from the right. I also really like her manicure in most of the pictures, which added to the attraction of Maquillage's nail polish, though I would never consider spending that much for a bottle of nail polish.