8.25.2012

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose Review and Swatches

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose
Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose

Hourglass claims that its newly released Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose($28) will deliver intense, matte lip color that will last up to 14 hours. Sounds fabulous, but I'm pretty sure we've all learned to be skeptical of lipsticks that promise all day wear! Does this one actually work?

The short answer is no. After test driving Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose, I found that it lasts about 4-5 hours rather than 14 as advertised. Sure, this is longer than most lipsticks but you're not going to achieve the 14 hour promise unless you opt not to eat or drink anything all day. That ain't gonna happen over here, I'll tell you that much.

Still, Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose has a lot going for it. The color is a beautiful rosy pink neutral that looks classy, chic and perfect for professional settings and daily wear. The shade pulls a little warm on me but I think it would look great on a variety of skin tones.

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose Swatch
Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose Swatch

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose has a highly pigmented, opaque formula that lends itself well to a wonderfully defined mouth. However, the formula sets to a very dry finish that feels uncomfortable and accentuates lip lines. As Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose wears off, you will likely see some minor flaking and/or transfer. The effect is similar to Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro, although Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick is more dry and prone to flaking.

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose Swatch
Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Rose

Ultimately, I'm a little torn about this product. The color and pigmentation are great but the formula leaves something to be desired. At this point, I believe lip stains are a more reliable option if I'm looking for long-lasting color.

Do you think you'll give Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick a shot, or have you given up trying long-wear lipsticks?

8.24.2012

Neutrogena Shine Control Powder Review

Neutrogena Shine Control Powder
Neutrogena Shine Control Powder

I've been looking for an invisible powder to set my makeup and use for touch ups throughout the day. Many of the most popular translucent powder options are pretty expensive, so I was very excited when I saw Neutrogena Shine Control Powder for $9 at the Walgreen's.

Neutrogena Shine Control Powder is a translucent, lightweight powder designed to absorb excess oil and create a matte, flawless makeup look. This product is delivered in a mirrored pressed powder compact with a sponge applicator. At 0.37 oz, Neutrogena Shine Control Powder is of equal size or slightly larger than more expensive translucent powders like Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder ($32).

Neutrogena Shine Control Powder is very finely-milled and easy to apply evenly over your face. I recommend using a brush to apply this powder rather than the included sponge applicator for a more natural (and hygienic!) look. Neutrogena Shine Control Powder is neaaaarly imperceptible if applied lightly over makeup, though I swear I can see a slight change in color when I apply it over my blush.

I've found that I don't really like to use this product to set my makeup because it looks a little flat and cakey. I prefer to wait until later in the day when my face gets shiny and use this powder for touch ups. It does a wonderful job absorbing excess oil and creating a smooth, airbrushed finish.

I'm pleased overall with Neutrogena Shine Control Powder. I love having this affordable product in my bag to keep my makeup looking fresh all day. Plus, the large mirror makes it my go-to compact for any and all makeup reapplication tasks!


NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette Review and Swatches

NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette
NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette

With its gorgeous mix of soft and romantic shades, the recently-released NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette ($55) conjures up images of golden fields, blue skies, and fluffy white clouds. I love gazing at this palette and was so excited to try it.

Unfortunately, though NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette is wonderful to look at, the formula of the shadows is only good instead of great. And for $55, I think this palette should come closer to greatness.

NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette contains three warm-toned shades and three cool-toned shades. The shadows include Bellissima, a pale cream with gold glitter, Alhambra, a shimmering yellow gold, Silk Road, a golden rose with gold glitter, Galapagos, a chocolate brown with gold glitter, Bali, a cool taupe-y brown, and Tzarine, a denim blue with silver shimmer. The colors in NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette are not exclusive, so you can buy them individually as eyeshadow singles or duos.

NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette Bellissima Alhambra Silk Road Galapagos Bali Tzarine
NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette Swatches
L to R:  Bellissima, Alhambra, Silk Road, Galapagos, Bali, Tzarine

The quality of these shadows is hit and miss. Bellissima is a pretty, snowflake-esque shade with good pigmentation, but it has some glitter fallout. Alhambra, on the other hand, is a great quality shadow with dense pigmentation and smooth application. Silk Road is not super pigmented (although it's adequate) and has TONS of fallout. Galapagos, Bali, and Tzarine all have good pigmentation and minimal fallout. I did not find any of these shadows particularly easy to blend.

Though not all of the shadows have impressive application, they are all very long-lasting. I created multiple different looks with the NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette and each lasted all day with primer.

I'm generally a big NARS fan but this palette did not live up to my expectations. While the color selection and lasting power are great, the quality of the shadows in the NARS American Dream Eyeshadow Palette is not good enough to merit the $55 price tag.

Have you tried the NARS American Dream Palette or other NARS eyeshadow products? What do you think?


NARS Illuminators

8.23.2012

Inova Professional Silk Keratin Hair Care Collection Review


Inova Professional Silk Keratin Sheer Magic Smoothing Balm Pure Shine Luminous Finishing Gloss
Inova Professional Silk Keratin Products

I am smiling wide over here. I actually have exciting news about my boring tresses for a change!

But first things first: I have naturally bad hair.

I am not being unreasonably critical, it's just the hard truth. My hair is thin, lifeless, and clings flat to the top of my head. Despite my hair's lack of body, the frizzy texture causes my strands to stick together like cotton candy when I pull them apart for styling. UGH.

That's why I'm so excited about today's news: I don't feel frustrated with my hair anymore. I tried Inova Professional Silk Keratin Hair Care products, and my locks are now smooth, soft, and manageable. This is the closest I've been to having "normal," pretty hair in my life.

Inova Professional was founded by Daniel Babishov and Simon Aminov, two salon owners and hair stylists in NYC. After seeing how damaged clients' hair became from color processing and other chemical treatments, they decided to create a product line to restore and condition hair to keep it smooth, healthy and manageable. They developed a salon keratin treatment called Pure Keratin and an accompanying line of retail products called Silk Keratin. Inova Professional's Silk Keratin products are ideal for preserving keratin-treated hair, but they work well to increase the health, silkiness and manageability of all hair types. I tried five different Inova Professional Products, including daily hair care and styling products and an intense weekly treatment.

Let's take a look at each of these hair-smoothing products:

Hair Care

Silk Keratin Smooth Protection Sulfate-Free Shampoo ($24): This luxurious shampoo contains keratin and coconut oil to strengthen and nourish your hair. I noticed increased silkiness immediately after trying this shampoo. It's sulfate-free too, so it won't break, damage, or frizz-ify your hair with harsh sulfate ingredients. However, this shampoo contains silicone so it is not appropriate for people using the sulfate and silicone-free Curly Girl method. 

Silk Keratin Smooth Hydration Conditioner ($26): Smooth Hydration Conditioner is a rich, moisturizing conditioner that won't weigh your hair down. I love to leave this in for a few minutes in the shower to let the keratin and silk proteins sink in. I've been using Inova Profession products for about a week and the smoothing benefits of the conditioner continue to increase daily.

Silk Keratin The Miracle Mask Repair and Rejuvenate Deep Conditioning Mask ($48): The Miracle Mask is fantastic for reducing damage and nourishing your hair. Containing keratin, silk protein, and avocado oil, this weekly treatment reduces the appearance of split ends and makes hair more manageable. You only need a small amount to coat your hair, then you can relax for 20-30 minutes while it does its magic. The result is healthy, manageable, and silky tresses.

Hair Styling

Silk Keratin Sheer Magic Smoothing Balm ($26): This is my absolute favorite product of the bunch. Sheer Magic has formidable kink-erasing and frizz-killing power that won't leave your hair greasy or weighed down. It's like a more effective version of Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Relaxing Balm. Sheer Magic seals your strands and acts as a heat protectant for styling. Using this product with heat tools results in a defined, professional look. 

Silk Keratin Pure Shine Luminous Finishing Gloss ($32): Pure Shine is the perfect finishing touch for your style. This product adds beautiful high-gloss shine and definition to your hair while simultaneously protecting it from environmental damage. A little bit goes a long way!


Inova Professional products have made styling so much easier for me. I bought a Conair Infiniti You Curl Tourmaline Ceramic Curling Wanda few weeks ago, and I've been struggling to make it work with my difficult hair. Since using Inova Professional products, my hair separates and wraps easily around the curling wand. The resulting curls are smooth, glossy and defined. My hair has never acted like this before! Plus, using Inova Professional products has cut down on the time needed to curl each section of hair, so the whole process is less damaging.  

I am so happy with how silky and well-behaved my hair has become from Inova Professional products. I never used to think that smooth, manageable (yet grease-free) hair was within my reach. Inova Professional proved me wrong, and I'm excited to continue using these products to keep my hair healthy and shiny.

The lovely people at Inova Professional are currently offering a big 30% discount for my readers! The discount is available starting today, August 23rd and is active until September 23rd. The promo code is: INOVALOVESNICOLE

I'm also currently giving away one full-size Inova Professional Silk Keratin Sheer Magic Smoothing Balm here:
http://www.nicolereviewsbeauty.com/2012/09/inova-professional-silk-keratin-giveaway.html

Let me know if you give these fab products a try!

               

Disclaimer: I received a sample of these products from the company for consideration. My review is based on an honest assessment of the products. 

8.21.2012

Lancome Fall 2012 Midnight Roses: L'Absolu Nu Replenishing and Enhancing Lipcolor in 313 Rouge Resille Review and Swatches


Lancome Fall 2012 Midnight Roses: L'Absolu Nu Replenishing and Enhancing Lipcolor in 313 Rouge Resille Review and Swatches
Lancome L'Absolu Nu Replenishing and Enhancing Lipcolor in 313 Rouge Resille

Time for another delightful lip color from Lancome's limited edition Fall 2012 Midnight Roses collection. I previously posted about Lancome L'Absolu Creme de Mat in 300 Magic Pourpre, which is a light and creamy long wear liquid lip color. Next up is Lancome L'Absolu Nu Replenishing and Enhancing Lipcolor in 313 Rouge Resille ($29.50), a sheer glossy lipstick with just enough drama for a sexy fall look. 

Lancome Fall 2012 Midnight Roses: L'Absolu Nu Replenishing and Enhancing Lipcolor in 313 Rouge Resille Review and Swatches
Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor Rouge Resille Swatch

Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor in Rouge Resille has a moisturizing formula that applies evenly and feels pleasantly smooth. The formula has a bit of sheen, but it is less shiny than some of the other glossy lipsticks on the market. Though Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor in Rouge Resille is sheer, it certainly packs plenty of pigment!

Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor in Rouge Resille is a deep, gorgeous shade that's perfect for fall. In indirect lighting like the lip photo above, it pulls toward a berry wine. In direct lighting like the swatch below, Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor in Rouge Resille looks like a plummy berry shade. The color layers well for increased drama.

Lancome Fall 2012 Midnight Roses: L'Absolu Nu Replenishing and Enhancing Lipcolor in 313 Rouge Resille swatch
Lancome L'Absolu Nu  in 313 Rouge Resille Swatch

Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor in Rouge Resille has really good wear time. The shine wears off pretty quickly but a beautiful, even stain lingers for hours. Like Lancome L'Absolu Creme de Mat in 300 Magic Pourpre, I have trouble with some smearing outside the lip line with this product.  However, that's the only flaw I find with Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor in Rouge Resille. 

The tube is magnetized so that it snaps shut easily as well. I just adore those extra details.

Lancome L'Absolu Nu Lipcolor in Rouge Resille is a lovely, high-quality lipstick. I think this product is a great option for fans of berry and wine lip colors. Keep in mind that those shades are going to be a must-have this fall!

8.20.2012

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin Review and Swatches

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin
Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin($32) makes the attractive promise of four lash benefits in one tube: length, volume, curl, and care. Sounds good, huh? In reality, Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara falls short of being a multitasking master and instead ends up as a Jack of all trades, Ace of none.

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin
Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin has a unique hourglass brush that looks like a trio of connected orbs. The brush makes it pretty easy to coat all of your lashes without smearing.

True to its name, Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin is an inky black shade with some sheen. The mascara does a good job of lengthening, adding volume, and curling your lashes, but it also clumps very easily. I was unable to satisfactorily separate my lashes with a lash comb after applying this mascara. The resulting look is a little spidery. 

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin Swatch
Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin

Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin has decent wear time. I didn't experience any smudging or flaking with this mascara. However, it does fade after a few hours so I reapplied midday to maintain a dramatic look.

The final benefit supposedly offered by Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin is lash care. I honestly don't know how to evaluate this. My lashes don't suddenly feel amazing, but they didn't fall out either, so I guess that's good enough? I wonder if the benefits of the lash care ingredients become apparent over time. I don't think it would be fair to evaluate Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin on lash care at this point.

Overall, I think Givenchy Noir Couture 4 in 1 Mascara in Black Satin is pretty good mascara that falls short of being great. It gives lash length, volume, and curl, but clumps too easily for my taste.

What's your favorite mascara?


8.19.2012

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in Shade 2.0 Review and Swatches

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in Shade 2.0
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
Shade 2.0

You know those girls that are smart, pretty AND so nice that you can't hate them? Urban Decay is the cosmetic equivalent of one of those girls.

The cruelty-free brand has been around 1996 but they've only just now released their first liquid foundation, Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup($38). And of course, their first effort is nothing short of stellar. Everything seems to come so easy for them!

Joking aside, I'm really quite impressed: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup is a wonderful foundation with good coverage and a beautiful finish that feels like you're not wearing any makeup at all. To top it all off, it's VEGAN.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup is available in 18 different colors. Shades that end in "0" are for warmed-tone skin and shades that end in ".5" are for cool-tones. I tried Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in Shade 2.0, designed for fair skin with slight yellow undertones. It's a pale, golden beige color that's a touch too light for me (sad!).

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in Shade 2.0 has a thin, liquidy consistency that spreads easily. A little bit goes a long way.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in Shade 2.0 Swatch
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in Shade 2.0 Swatch

Once it sets, Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup feels virtually invisible on skin. This new product is a great option for people who don't typically enjoy wearing foundation, as Urban Decay Naked Skin is anything but cakey.

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup has a gorgeous, matte yet luminous finish. The finish works to control oil, but it will also highlight dry patches on your skin. Be sure to moisturize!

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup in Shade 2.0
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
Shade 2.0; No Primer

Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup gives medium coverage that leaves your skin looking like you, only better. Some blemishes and imperfections are likely to show through under one layer of foundation, particularly if you don't use primer. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup has buildable coverage so you can layer for more of an airbrushed look. However, the thin liquid consistency makes it difficult to spot cover imperfections. You'll likely still want to use a concealer for blemishes.

Bottom Line:  I'm really impressed with the luminous, matte finish and light-as-air wear provided by Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup. This foundation is not the best option if you want full coverage, but Urban Decay Naked Skin is an ideal choice if you prefer a naturally beautiful, medium coverage look.

Have you tried Naked Skin? How do you think it compares to other medium-coverage foundations?