12.29.2012

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom Review and Swatches

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom Review and Swatches
Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom ($24) is a bright, loose powder blush dispensed from a built-in grinder. It's an innovative idea, but I have trouble making it work. Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom is a very bright shade so it's difficult to dispense an appropriate amount of product.

On Sephora.com, In Bloom is described simply as "pink." I was hoping for a true hot pink shade, but In Bloom is really more of a coral pink. No problem for me since I love corals, but I think the shade description should be more accurate so that customers can make informed purchases. 

And boy, is it bright! Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom is an extremely pigmented, matte bright coral pink. Very little product was used to create the swatch below. If you're scared of bright blushes, consider using a more muted color along your cheekbones and only dabbing In Bloom onto the apples for a pop of color.

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom Review and Swatches
Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom Swatch

While I think Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom is a lovely and luminous shade, I'm having trouble with application. Even when I twist the grinder just a liiiiitttle bit, it seems like too much product comes up. Sure, I swirl and tap my brush to get rid of as much excess as possible, but it's still difficult and messy. For best results, dab a very small amount on cheeks and blend, blend, blend.

Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom Review and Swatches
Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom

Once applied, I find that Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom looks quite pretty and wears well. I find that it starts to fade after 7 hours but remains present for about 12. This would be a great blush to last you through the work day.

I'm hesitant to recommend Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in In Bloom because of my problems with the grinder. However, if you can manage this packaging issue, the product inside is nice.

Additionally, I think some of the other shades are more sheer (I'm looking at Warm Glow and Peachy Dream) and would thus be easier to manage in larger doses. I'm not a huge fan of loose powder blushes in general, but I could imagine Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush working well for someone else. The pigmentation, appearance, and wear time are all very good!


12.24.2012

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Review and Swatches

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Review and Swatches
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

The new Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette ($27) is a petite palette featuring six versatile neutral eyeshadows. Gone are the glimmer and shimmer that characterize many of Urban Decay's other palettes; instead, the Naked Basics Palette offers demure shades that are must-haves for everyday makeup.

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

The Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette is packaged in a mirrored compact with a rubbery, suede-like finish. I personally think it feels a little strange to the touch, but it's what's inside that counts. Here we have six full-size Urban Decay eyeshadows, four of which are new and exclusive to this palette:
  1. Venus:  pearly vanilla white. This satiny shade has a bit of shimmer and is exclusive to the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.
  2. Foxy:  light pastel yellow matte. This shade is available in the Urban Decay Naked2 Palette or as an eyeshadow single
  3. Walk of Shame (or W.O.S. for short):  very light seashell pink/cream matte. This shade isn't strictly exclusive, but the only other way to get it is by purchasing Urban Decay's Build Your Own Palette.  
  4. Naked2:  medium matte brown. This shade is cool-toned with mocha tones. This shade is exclusive to the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.
  5. Faint: medium-to-dark matte brown that's warm but not overly so. This shade is exclusive to the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.
  6. Crave: inky matte black that is seriously DARK. This shade is exclusive to the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette.

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Review and Swatches
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Swatches

Some cosmetic companies have trouble creating smooth, pigmented eyeshadows that don't generate a lot of fallout. Urban Decay is the exception to that rule, especially since they altered their eyeshadow formula. All of the shades in the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette are very silky and have great color payoff. However, Foxy and Walk of Shame are pretty similar to the color of my inner arm so it was really difficult to get them to show up on camera when swatched. You can see them better on my lids, as evidenced below:

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Foxy, Naked2, Faint, Crave Look Swatches
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette
For this look, I applied Foxy from my lashline to browbone. I then applied Naked2 across my lid and blended it into the crease. I added Faint to the outer third of my eyelids, used Crave to line my upper lashline, and added Venus to the browbone and inner corner of my eye. I also used Faint to fill in my eyebrows a little. I then "completed" the look by accidentally smearing mascara on my lid, ugh!

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette Foxy, Naked2, Faint, Crave Look Swatches
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

This look is pretty darn subtle. I could have ramped it up by using more Faint and Crave, but I was happy with the whisper-soft effect obtained through the light application. My boyfriend complimented me on it, so I guess it must have been flattering enough! I have been getting all day wear out of these shades, but that's due in part to my favorite eyeshadow primers (Too Faced Shadow Insurance and Prestige Primed and Ready).

When it comes to price, this palette is falls right in the middle for Urban Decay products. A single 0.05 oz Urban Decay eyeshadow costs $18, but this palette includes six 0.05 oz shadows for $27. Waaay better deal. On the other hand, larger palettes like Naked and Naked2 include twelve 0.05 oz shadows for $50, which is about the same price per ounce. However, those palettes include added bonuses like mini size primers, glosses, or shadow brushes to sweeten the deal.

Personally, I am pretty happy with the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette. I love matte shades and I'm sure I will never feel "overdone" with this palette. Nevertheless, I think the shade selection should have included one more mid-tone shade. Venus, Foxy, and Walk of Shame are all quite light, and I think swapping one out for a slightly darker shade would have made the palette more balanced.

Still, I'm convinced that the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette will become a core part of my makeup routine. These shades are like lingerie -- the fundamental, pretty basics that you need to build your wardrobe!

Do you think you will be picking up the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette?