OPI Ulta Exclusives Holi-Daze Collection - Gift of Gold and Plum Full of Cheer

 Gift of Gold
Happy New Year's Eve everyone!  As the year is coming to end, let's take a look at one of the last holiday collections from this year.

Here are two of the OPI Ulta Exclusives from the Holi-Daze Collection.  I missed out on the third color, as it was sold out, but these two were the ones I was more interested in anyway!  Hehe :)

Gift of Gold is a soft candlelit gold glitter spotted with tiny red micro glitter.  This isn't as Thanksgiving as FingerPaints' gold and red glitter offering Holly Good Time.  The vast majority of glitter is gold with a tiny, little droplet of red.

Plum Full of Cheer

Plum Full of Cheer is a blue red purple with gold shimmer.  It's a little more red/blue than other purples I own, and I think it looks gorgeous on the nail.  If you have an Ulta near you, I would definitely recommend checking them out.

A bottle shot, and a better look at the gold shimmer. 
The gold in this shade gives this color more depth.  Very pretty, not just for holiday. 

OPI Holi-Daze Colleciton is exclusive to Ulta and available in stores.

Do you have NYE plans?  What were some of your favorite OPI's for 2010?  Have a safe and festive New  Year!

Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip and Eye Palette - Review and Swatches

There is something classically elegant about Bobbi Brown's line.  From the universal colors to the sleek but timeless design, I always look forward to Bobbi's holiday offerings. 

With Christmas already passed, it seems a little late to be reviewing Bobbi Brown's Modern Classic Lip and Eye Palette.  But I think that this palette has more going for it than holiday seasonality.  It's a limited edition palette of 10 eyeshadows and 4 glitter lip glosses.  The eyeshadows come in a variety of matte, shimmer and metallics.  The packaging is in that classic Bobbi Brown fashion, packaged in gold and black.

Gorgeous presentation isn't the only expectation that I have with BB products.  The eyeshadows have a great reputation, and they always manage to find their way into staples in my rotation.  So many of Bobbi Brown's past palettes have been my go-to makeup kits for travel, work and just something I like to keep in my purse.
Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip and Eye Palette Shades
Top L - R: Ivory, Oyster Grey Metallic., Antique Pink Shimmer Wash, Quarry Shimmer Wash, Taffeta Metallic.
Bottom L - R: Brich, Heather Rose Shimmer Wash, Navy Charcoal, Gold Thread Metallic, Espresso.
L-R: Grape Glitter, Pink Bouquet Glitter, Golden Topaz Glitter, Paisley Rose Shimmer.

Top L - R: Ivory, Oyster Grey Metallic., Antique Pink Shimmer Wash, Quarry Shimmer Wash, Taffeta Metallic.
Bottom L - R: Brich, Heather Rose Shimmer Wash, Navy Charcoal, Gold Thread Metallic, Espresso.

I have to commend Bobbi Brown for not just doing all neutral beiges and taupes in this palette.  I am happy to see rose, blue, soft violet all in the mix.  These colors are nice in texture and are good quality.  They are subtle enough for work, but with some black eyeliner or a Bobbi Brown gel liner you could definitely work a seriously glamorous look with these shades.  

Top L - R: Ivory, Oyster Grey Metallic., Antique Pink Shimmer Wash, Quarry Shimmer Wash, Taffeta Metallic.
Bottom L - R: Brich, Heather Rose Shimmer Wash, Navy Charcoal, Gold Thread Metallic, Espresso.

L-R: Grape Glitter, Pink Bouquet Glitter, Golden Topaz Glitter, Paisley Rose Shimmer.

Personally, I am always resistant of lip/eye palette combos.  I hate it when the powder from the eyeshadow gets stuck in the stickiness of the glosses.  I would like to thank the GENIUS at Bobbi Brown that actually had the foresight to create this handy divider to keep my lips and eyes separate!  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! 

L-R: Grape Glitter, Pink Bouquet Glitter, Golden Topaz Glitter, Paisley Rose Shimmer.

To Review:
Pro: Quality eyeshadow and lip products all in one handy kit.  Work appropriate, but you can easily create some festive night looks with it.  Smart design separating lips and eyes.
Con: Pricey.  Limited Edition.
Overall Beautyburg Rating: A-
Bobbi Brown Modern Classic Lip and Eye Palette is $75 and available at www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com.

China Glaze Holiday 2010 Part 3 - 'Tis The Season To Be Naughty And Nice

Mistletoe Kisses

Merry Christmas!  I can't believe it's already almost the end of the year.  Where did the year go?  Here is the last part of our China Glaze Holiday collection coverage.  Overall, I really have to applaud China Glaze on making a holiday collection with something for everyone.  Classic reds, super funky glitters, interesting greens and blues, high quality foil metallics!  Keep up the good work! 

Now onto the colors, Mistletoe Kisses is a delicious mint apple jelly glitter.  A few shades lighter than pine but not really a classic holiday green.  A really festive color on the nail that draws a lot of attention, in a good way. 

 Mrs. Claus

Mrs. Claus is a vibrant punch pink jelly with pink glitter.  When did Mrs. Claus get so flirty?  This shade is so playful and fun.  I would wear this to a holiday party and well into the spring.

Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth is a golden olive green metallic.  I think this is such a lovely, grown-up take on Christmas green. 

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, click on the following links:
Here for Part 1.
Here for Part 2.

My picks from this collection:
Jolly Holly
Mistletoe Kisses
Mrs. Claus
Mom Kissing Santa
Party Hearty (stock up)

China Glaze is available at Ulta, Sally Beauty and online at Transdesign.com and Victoria's Nail Supply.

I hope everyone has a really good holiday!  Here is some holiday cheer from me and Marlowe!

"I was a really good elf this year."

"This is one tree I won't pee on... promise."

"I'm Santa's right hand man, dog, elf.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!" 

China Glaze Holiday 2010 'Tis The Season To Be Naughty And Nice - Part 2 Swatches

Jingle Bells

I know most of you are probably done and done with holiday collections by now, but I had been waiting to get a little closer to the actual holidays to post these.  Moving to the West coast recently, I am finding it difficult to deal with the lack of seasonality here!  I keep waiting for snow to fall, but I will probably have to travel to see that.  So... since the weather won't put me in the holiday spirit, I will have to leave it up to holiday collections!

One of my favorite this year has definitely been by China Glaze.  If you've missed Part 1 of this collection, click here.  I love how they've taken classic Christmas palette of red, green, gold and metallics and turned them into just excellent polishes that exemplify the season.

Jingle Bells - is a warm classic gold.  This is the color of brass jingle bells with their jingle-all-the-way shake, shake, shake.  It's the perfect backdrop for Party Hearty, my official glitter of this holiday season!

Jingle Bells + Party Hearty

Cheers to You

Cheers to You - is a cool frostbite silver metallic.  The application on this and the other metallics of this collection is just superb.  Two coats and you have a smooth opaque finish. 

Cheers to You + Party Hearty

Midnight Kiss

Midnight Kiss - is a lighter, paler gold.  It's less warm than Jingle Bells.  It reminds me more of champagne than brass. I could see this as being more universally flattering on most skintones (vs. Jingle Bells). 

Midnight Kiss + Party Hearty

Mom Kissing Santa

Mom Kissing Santa - is a shimmery cool poinsettia red.  Initially, I was confused and from the promo pics thought that this and Sugar Plums were the same color.  Vastly different!  Sugar Plum is different a cool plum tone with glitter where as Mom Kissing Santa is a striking holiday shimmery red.  I didn't think much of it in the bottle, but I loved it on the nail.  If you are someone that loves holiday shades but finds glitter and metallic frosts too much, I highly recommend this. 

Mom Kissing Santa with Party Hearty 

Party Hearty bottle shot.
Do holiday collections put you in a festive mood?  Which are your favorites from this collection?  If you missed Part 1, click here.

Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster Palette - SWATCHED! - Part 5: Pencils, Blushes and Cream Eyeliners! OVERALL REVIEW

Phew!  Can I catch my breath for  second?!  Swatching this entire mother ship of a palette has been exhausting but super fun!  I really wanted to bring you a comprehensive look at this year's Blockbuster offering from Sephora.  These palettes have become somewhat of a holiday tradition and have even started to inspire copycat "blockbusters" from places like Saks and Ulta.

Before I get to my final swatches, I wanted to take a second to review the palette as a whole.

As a product, the value is phenomenal.  You get a lot of makeup, tons of variety and many different kinds of products all for a relatively small price ($48).  But the key words to remember of Sephora Collection Endless Color Blockbuster palette is that it's QUANTITY over quality.

With that in mind, I wouldn't recommend this as a gift or as a purchase for someone who already owns a lot of makeup.  They will be disappointed with the overall quality of products (though I do admit I notice significant improvement from version 1.0 and some earlier models).  However, I was quite impressed with some products, namely the cute iconic tote design, the cream eyeliners, some lip colors, bright cool toned eyeshadows.  While other things, such as the pencils, neutral eyeshadows, applicators and extremely flimsy packaging, were disappointments.  Overall, year of year, serious improvements, though it may not be enough for a makeup junkie like me.

Another positive, that I haven't mentioned before, is that with each purchase comes a lottery ticket for Sephora's Silver Ticket Sweepstakes, a chance to win $1,000 Sephora shopping spree, a one year supply of Sephora Collection products and a $1,000 donation to the Arbor Day Foundation in the winner's name (there are some 2nd prizes too).  However, you don't have to buy a Blockbuster palette to enter.  Click here for details.

What's in the Sephora Collection Endless Color Blockbuster, one last time:

This set contains:
- 98 eyeshadows
- 70 lipglosses
- 6 cream eyeliners
- 2 lip liners
- 3 pencil eyeliners
- 1 mascara
- 3 blushes (one could be used as a bronzer)
- 4 applicators

Limited Edition, $48 at Sephora.

Now, here are the final swatches and see below for a recap of my review:

The pencils - two eyeliners and two lipliners.
These were hard but still somewhat creamy.  Not terrible, but again not great.

3 Blushes - surprisingly pigment, though the texture was chalky and hard.

Cream eyeliners - can also be used as an eyeshadow base color.
These were actually pretty impressive!
Sephora will you make a kit of just these?!

The brown was quite nice.
Links to other swatches:

Summarize the review (the quick and dirty):
Pros: HUGE value. Cute packaging.  Tons of colors. Sweepstakes ticket.  Some pigmented and nice colors.  Better than previous years.
Cons: Flimsy packaging (albeit adorable).  Quantity over quality (some may see this as a PRO).  Mostly soso pigmentation on most colors with hard, chalky texture. 
Overall Rating: B-

Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster Palette - SWATCHED! - Part 4: Warm Lips

Sephora Collection Endless Color Blockbuster Palette - Warm Lips

I have to say... swatching this entire palette is a TON of work!  Oh so many colors to go through.  But I knew that this was the gutbuster of all holiday palettes, which probably explains why it's growing popularity as a holiday gift offering from Sephora.  Each year they just seem to get bigger and better.

UPDATE: for swatches of the palette!
Links to other swatches:
    Again, here is what's inside the Endless Color Blockbuster Palette.  Limited Edition.  $48 at Sephora.
    This set contains:
    - 98 eyeshadows
    - 70 lipglosses
    - 6 cream eyeliners
    - 2 lip liners
    - 3 pencil eyeliners
    - 1 mascara
    - 3 blushes
    - 4 applicators

    Now to the swatches!  There was a nice mix of frost, shimmer, gloss, glitter, metallic, balm and creme finishes.   Many of the lip colors were surprisingly pigmented.  Plenty of room for experimenting.  I liked using some of the colors from Row 1 to give other shades a warm holiday shimmer.  Definitely, feel free to mix up your custom color.  Overall, a good variety, but I wish there had been a few more nude lip shades.

     Row 1

     Row 2

     Row 3

     Row 4

     Row 5

     Row 6

    Row 7

    This palette is all about *quantity* over quality, though the quality isn't terrible.  If you want a show-stopper of a present for someone who likes makeup but doesn't already have a significant stash... this may be the gift to give.

    Are you giving away makeup gifts this season?

    Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster Palette - SWATCHED! - Part 3: Cool Lips

    Cool lip shades from Sephora Collection Endless Color Blockbuster Palette

    It's the palette that doesn't end.  Sephora Collection Endless Color Blockbuster Palette contains 70, they say lip glosses/I say lip colors.  Here is the cool side swatched for you.

    I was pleasantly surprised how pigmented most of these shades were.  Definitely more lipstick than lipgloss.  All of the swatches below were swiped with a q-tip.  The pot itself doesn't allow for much product, but with 70 little pots... that can be a whole lotta lip.

    The textures varied from thick lipstick, satin finish, matte creme, balmy gloss, clear gel-like top coat.  Definitely something for everyone in here.  I loved that there were even some "artist" shades (e.g. the very violet purple and milky white baby pink).

    If you missed the eyeshadow swatches, click here for WARM and click here for COOL.
    Row 1

     Row 2

     Row 3

     Row 4

     Row 5
     Row 6

    Row 7 - mostly clear glosses

    UPDATE: for swatches of the palette!
    Links to other swatches:

    Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster Palette - SWATCHED! - Part 2: Cool Eyeshadows

    If you missed Part 1: Warm Eyeshadows, click here!

    The cool eyeshadows close up.

    So many shades!!

    Sephora's Endless Color Blockbuster Palette is a makeup kit busting at the gut!  For $48, 180 colors seems isn't a bad deal.  Real makeup gurus maybe disappointed with the overall quality (which is okay not good, great, amazing), but those who love makeup but who may not own that many colors will probably love this.  The packaging and design is also hard to turn down.

    When swatching each and every eyeshadow, I really got to test the quality of all 98 colors.  If you want variety, this palette has every shade under the sun.  Mathematically, you could have millions of eyeshadow combinations!  I was actually impressed that some of them had such good color pay-off (especially on the cool side) from the bright shades, but overall, I would say that I wouldn't jump to this palette to be impressive on quality.  The texture of the shadows were hard and sometimes chalky.  The lighter shades were disappointing in texture and

    This is about quantity, not quality, people.  So just keep that in mind.

    Review (Eyeshadows only):
    Pros: A lot of colors and makeup for yo' money.  Bright colors had good color pay-off. 
    Cons: Hard texture.  Washed out neutral shades.

    These two rows were surprisingly pigmented!

    This is where the color started to get more washed-out.



    UPDATE: for swatches of rest of the palette!
    Links to other swatches:

    Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster Palette - SWATCHED! - Part 1: Warm Eyeshadows

    Sephora Endless Color Blockbuster Palette 2010

    As part of our Holiday Gift Guide, I had done a First Look at this year's Blockbuster Palette offering by Sephora.  For the past few years, this set has become somewhat of staple in the array of beauty holiday gifts.  Year over year the design, colors, packaging and, in my experience, quality has greatly improved.  I'm head over heels for this year's iconic tote bag design, and the cream eyeliners.

    To help with your holiday shopping decisions, I will be swatching this entire palette, all 180 colors!  A reminder of what's in this jumbo palette:

    This set contains:
    - 98 eyeshadows
    - 70 lipglosses
    - 6 cream eyeliners
    - 2 lip liners
    - 3 pencil eyeliners
    - 1 mascara
    - 3 blushes
    - 4 applicators

    Sephora Collection Endless Color Blockbuster Palette, $48 at Sephora stores and Sephora.com

    Cool and Warm Eyeshadows.  98 total!

    I will review these eyeshadows when I post the swatches of the cool shades.
    The palette is designed to look like the iconic Sephora shopping bag.

    Would you like this as a gift?  Have you ever given it as one?  What do you think about this year's version?

    UPDATE: for swatches of rest of the palette!
    Links to other swatches:

    Did You Bring It?! Nicole by OPI - Bring On The Tinsel

    Did you bring it?  Oh it's been broughten!
    Nicole by OPI Bring on the Tinsel.

     This reminds me of classic Christmas lights!

    After being so impressed by the Burlesques collection glitters from OPI, I thought I would give Bring on the Tinsel from their Nicole by OPI line a try.  I have always steered away from this brand, mostly because of their bottle and price, but this shade really caught my eye.  Bring on the Tinsel is a fine glitter composed of silver, gold, red, green and BLUE glitter.  I love that it has blue in it.  In a season overwhelmed with red/green/red/gold/silver/red/silver/green combinations, it was refreshing to see some blue thrown into the mix.  This reminds me of classic primary Christmas lights, that have blue!

    Three coats and you had full glitter application.  I wanted to try it as a glitter top coat, but I was disappointed with the result.  On top of China Glaze Frosty, Bring on the Tinsel sunk into the base color.  It looked like a cake with sprinkles sinking into the warming frosting.  Not a look I'm going for.  I may have to try it other colors because I do like the overall effect.

    1 coat on top of China Glaze Frosty.
    I didn't LOVE how this turned out.  I do like it in theory, but the actual application is what I don't like.  I don't like how the glitter has melted into base color and how it looks like the white is eating the glitter.  I would rather find a base color where it sits on top vs. sinks in.  Does anyone know why this happens?  I know there are many of you more versed than me on these issues!

    Nicole by OPI is available at Target stores.

    Do you like the blue too?  What color Christmas lights do you prefer?

    Hey so... What's Your Point-Settia? from Sephora by OPI - Holiday 2010

    Sephora by OPI - What's Your Point-settia?   

     Here is another limited edition nail polish from Sephora by OPI's Holiday Gem Collection. What's Your Point-settia is a juicy cranberry red with gold and red duochrome shimmer.  Sephora's site describes it as an opaque metallic burgundy, but I found the formula rather thin.  This shade could definitely be worn after the holidays, but if you want something more festive, I would try Merry Me! also from this collection.  Click here to see swatches.

    This was 2 coats, but I think 3 would be better.

    Pretty in the bottle.

    What's Your Point-settia is available Sephora, $9.

    Which do you prefer What's Your Point-settia or Merry Me?  Do you still think Sephora by OPI is too expensive?

    Benefit Triple the Glossy! Swatches and Review - Holiday Gift Guide

    $18, an Ulta exclusive (a $54 dollar value)

    Continuing with our Holiday Gift Guide Series (see the tab up top!), we're taking a look at Triple the Glossy! set by Benefit.  A set of three full sized lipglosses priced at $18 (the price of 1!), an Ulta Exclusive.  I love Benefit's blushes, creaseless cream eyeshadows, so I thought I would give this a try.  The value was definitely an incentive; it's like buy 1 get TWO free.

    I picked up two different versions of the kit to test the range of colors and applications.  I believe that there were three different varieties, but I cannot confirm that on Ulta's site.
     I picked up two of these packs.
    I plan to break these up and give away to friends!

    Both had easy to wear shades.
    Doe-foot applicator.
    Kit 1: contained left to right: Fresh Squeezed, Almost Famous, Friends in High Places
    Fresh Squeezed: a soft, pearly pink
    Almost Famous: a sheer golden nude bronze

    Friends in High Places: soft dusty shimmery rose
    The texture of these were more balm than gloss.   There is a high shine finish, but the product doesn't have a gooey, tacky, sticky texture like MAC Lipglass.  These lipglosses felt more like Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Colors, which are stick form.  Those who hate sticky glosses like Lancome Juicy Tubes might find these as a nice alternative.

    These colors aren't super pigmented, but I don't think that it's their intention.  These glosses are just a yours-lips-but-better type of thing.
    All very wearable for most skintones.

     The second kit:  Kiss You, Zone Out, Who Are You Wearing?

    These kits are perfect for giving as a gift, splitting up for stocking stuffers or keeping one for yourself and giving the others away.

     Kiss you: soft shimmering fuchsia with micro gold shimmer

     Zone Out: extremely sheer beige gold gloss. 
    This one would be great on top of holiday reds!

     Who Are You Wearing? A bright party pink, very sheer, just adds a little juiciness to your lips.

     This set was much more sheer, with less shimmer, than the other kit.  These colors would probably suit someone who wanted to use them on top of lipstick or by themselves more as a balm.

    The texture of these is brilliant.  You have to try them on.

    To Review: 
    Pros: GREAT value!  $18 for 3 glosses (3 for the price of 1) not bad!  Easy for breaking up and distributing as gifts or trying several colors of this range.  Soft, smooth, non-sticky, moisturizing texture.  Very wearable colors.
    Cons: Not for those who want extreme color payoff.  Avoid if you don't like their "apricot-lychee" scent (I didn't mind).
    Overall Rating: A

    Giorgio Armani Beauty - Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow - Holiday 2010

     Eyes to Kill eyeshadow in #15 (left) and #16 (right).

    Here are two new eyeshadows which are a part of Giorgio Armani Beauty's Gold Rush Holiday Collection.  Not only are they new shades, but these are completely new formula's to Giorgio Armani's repertoire of gorgeous makeup products (Face Fabric foundation is my go-to-tube for when I need a quickie look).  The website writes that the formula is composed of "an unprecedented association between binder elements and pearls that creates an exceptional luminosity depth and intensity of the eye color." 

    I found the texture to be similar to Bare Escentuals' Buxom Stay-There Eye Shadow (see my review here).  It had that spongy, slightly wet to powder feel.  But there was definitely more pigmentation and better buildability than the Buxom, which is saying a lot considering that those were pretty pigmented.  Perhaps it's because the Giorgio Armani boasts about a high-resistance bi-polymer or the association between binder elements and pearls that creates an exceptional luminosity depth and intensity.  Whatever it may be, these eyeshadows do "kill."  Only negative is that they kill the wallet too.  $32 per eyeshadow is steep!

    Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow #15 and#16 are a part of the Gold Rush Holiday Collection.  $32 each and available in three shades at http://www.giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com

    Eyes to Kill - 4g 0.14oz each.

     #15 and #16.
    A third shade #13 is also available (not purchased) which is a black.

     Keep a lid on those Eyes to Kill.

     #15 - A pewter and copper gold.  Looks more copper in the pot with flecks of black.  See the swatch below.

     #16 - Silver flecked with black.  Pretty in the pot, but straight up silver swatched.

     Swatched dry with finger.

     #16 applied wet on the left (with brush and MAC Mixing Medium), dry on the right.

      #15 applied wet on the left (with brush and MAC Mixing Medium), dry on the right.

    What do you think of these shadows?  Are you interested in trying this texture?  Is $32 too much for an eyeshadow even if it is long-wearing?

    FingerPaints - Winter Dreams Collection - Holiday 2010

     Merry Mittens, Winter Wishes, Holly Good Time.
    FingerPaints selection from Winter Dreams Collection.

     Merry Mittens, Winter Wishes, Holly Good Time bottle shots.

    More holiday collections!  Here is a sampling of colors from FingerPaints' Winter Dreams collection.  The three colors that I picked up from my local Sally's Beaut Supply were Merry Mittens, Winter Wishes and Holly Good Time.  See my swatches and reviews below.  I was surprised as to which one was my favorite.

     Merry Mittens

    Merry Mittens is a cool, frosty poinsettia red with red, gold and silver glitter. From the bottle, I really thought I was going to like this color.  It was unusual enough to have both silver and gold in a red base.  But boy, on the nail this was just a mess.  Above is a photo without topcoat.  Notice how bumpy and uneven the application is on the nail?  The finish was slightly matte, somewhat satin (if you don't mind all the tiny pockets of bumps).  Admittedly, I am no pro when it comes to nail polish application, but as someone who does their nails 5x+ a week, I had a lot of trouble getting a smooth application with this.  The polish itself was thick and goopy.  I also think that the base shade of red just really didn't compliment the glitters.  The glitters were too warm toned while the base was really cool. 

    There are tons of really nice variations on a red this season (e.g. China Glaze Sugar Plums), and this was just not a winner for me. 

     Merry Mittens with 2 coats top coat.
     Still not smooth enough.

     Winter Wishes without top coat.
    I am just not a fan of this texture.  It's kind of matte but has a slight satin finish.  The part that bothers me is that it remains chunky and not smooth.   I really wanted to LOVE this.  Winter Wishes is a champagne warm frosty white with micro gold and silver glitter.  Again, gorgeous color concept, but hideous execution.  The quality of the polish just plain stunk.

    Even with top coat added, you still get a sense of the texture, which to me is undesired.
    Dear Santa, please bring me this color in a GOOD formula.  
    I've been good this year.

     Holly Good Time
    Pumpkin clear base with rust orange, red, gold glitter.  

    The first time I saw this in the bottle, I was really unsure about it.  I that it looked like a Thanksgiving Day pageant gone to Vegas.  But on, I felt completely differently about it.  It wasn't gaudy, like cornucopia barf but it was rather glowy and festive.  The application was excellent.  Two coats and almost opaque.  This was my favorite pick of the three.

    Holly Good Time.
    My surprise favorite of the bunch. :)

     Merry Mittens with Holly Good Time.
    This doesn't really work for me.   What do you think?
    I kind of hate this, but I did wear this to see the new Harry Potter movie.

     Merry Mittens with Holly Good Time.
    Not a match made in FingerPaints heaven.
    What do you think of these colors?  Are you sick of these "surprise I'm matte" formulations?  Would you wear Holly Good Time this Thanksgiving?  I think I will.

    Urban Decay Book of Shadows Volume III - UD Hearts NYC - Swatches and Review - Holiday Gift Guide

     Urban Decay Loves NYC as much as me!

    Another product to consider for our Holiday Gift Guide is Urban Decay's third rendition of highly popular, limited edition Book of Shadows series.  Last year's Alice BOS (Book of Shadows), still shows up on Ebay for x3+ it's original retail price.  This year's version is still readily available, though probably not forever.

    I was really impressed with the quality of these shadows.  Not a gritty or dry shadow in the bunch.  All applied very smoothly with great pigmentation (yes, even the ones with chunky glitter).  The pencils and PP (Primer Potion) are classics and will be used up probably before you get close to hitting the pan on any of these shadows.

    This would be a great kit for someone who loves vibrant colors.  Not for someone looking for a "neutral" kit, obviously. 

    My only complaint about this palette is that I wish they had altered some of the shadow names to be more about NYC (as they did with Alice).  I just think it adds to the theme... but that's no biggie.

    This set contains:
    16 x 0.03 oz uber pigmented eyeshadows (see swatches below, 7 shades are new)
    2 x 0.03 oz 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils
    0.13 oz Mini Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Original

    $54 available at Sephora, Ulta, UrbanDecay.com

    Zero and Ransom

    What combinations would you put together?
    Any colors that strike out at you?

    To Review:
    Pros: Excellent pigmentation.  The standard of texture has be up'ed a few levels. Go-to pencils and eyeshadow primer. Super cute illustrations and packaging design.
    Cons: No NYC-themed names.

    Overall Rating: A

    Review and Swatches: LORAC - Box Office Sensation Holiday 2010 - Gift Guide Series

    Continuing with our Holiday Gift Guide series, here are some swatches of LORAC'S Box Office Sensation set.  In case you missed it, here is our First Look review.  Box Office Sensation is described as a "full face train case," which I think is a more applicable description than "palette."

     This set contains:
    - 36 x 0.05 eyeshadow (mix of matte and shimmer)
    - 9 x 0.04 lip colors
    - 3 x 0.15 blush
    - 1 x 0.15 bronzer
    Retails for $56 ($660 Value according to the box).
    Available at Sephora (exclusive and limited edition).

    This is a great gift for someone who loves makeup and maybe wants to expand their collection.  I could see a college student taking this to their dorm.  It's a small kit, but there are tons of options for creating color combinations.  The packaging is very tough and sturdy (unlike Sephora's Blockbuster or the Tarte Jewelry Box, see the Holiday Gift Guide tab for more details). 

    My girl Jbrobeck reviewed this palette on her blog Polish Insomniac as well.  Check out her post for more photos and her thoughts!

     Palette opened.
    Top layer has two sides of warm shadows.  Middle layer contains cool shades of eyeshadows.  Bottom layer has lip and cheek colors.

     Warm side 1
    Remember to click on image to see them in closer detail.

     Warm side 2
    I love how there are more than just neutrals here.  Blue, green, yellow.  I love the variety.

     Cool side 1

    Cool side 2
    Overall, the eyeshadows in this palette are so far the best quality I've seen in a holiday kit (see our Holiday Gift Guide tab for other reviews).   The mattes and satins are very smooth and buildable.  The more glittery and shimmery shades are slightly grittier, less silky.  There are colors that would work well for day, as well as some fun shades for going out or if you're just in the mood for a more colorful look. 

     3 blushes and a bronzer. 
    The bronzer was a little too red to work all over the face for most skintones.  But the pigmentation on these were amazing.  I also like how the blushes were both cool and warm.  All three blushes are slightly shimmery.  Texture and application were very good.  Colors were very blendable.

    9 lip colors
    I was actually really impressed with how pigmented these were.  They are definitely all more like lipsticks vs lipgloss.  I would have liked to see a "nude" taupe, flesh color.  The eyeshadows in this kit just scream "do a smoky look!" to me, and I would probably rather pair that with a nude lip vs a peach, pink, red lip. 

     Similar eyeshadows shadows
    36 eyeshadows is a lot.  But.... there were a few too many colors for my liking that were too similar.  Above are four separate shades swatched (one from each side) that are all relatively similar.  There are tiny variations in the amount of shimmer vs matte etc, but I think I could have lived with two of them... and maybe have a bonus of two other fun shades.

    To Review:
    Pros:  Great value.  Sturdy packaging.  Good for travel or for someone who wants a lot of color options and not a lot of bulk.  Eyeshadows have good pigmentation and texture, good variety of matte and shimmer.  Blushes and lip colors are pigmented. 
    Cons:  4 very similar eyeshadow colors.  Bronzer has a reddish tone (may not work all over face for most).  Would like to have seen a "nude" color for lips.

    Overall Rating: A-

    China Glaze Holiday 2010 'Tis The Season To Be Naughty And Nice - Part 1 Swatches

    I love the idea of being Naughty and Nice.  Why can't we have it all?  China Glaze has done a great job playing up the idea of holiday without making it boring.  There are some twists on traditional shades and some surprising new colors that I'm sure will be classics (Party Hearty I'm talking about you).  Overall, a really fun collection.  I would definitely grab these colors for stocking stuffers or look into one of the gift sets as a present (for you or someone else).

    A semi-sheer pearly shimmery pure white.  If Snow, the pure white creme offered in this collection, is too whitewhite for you... then Frosty is your answer.  Such a pretty and soft pearly pure white.  It was a great base for Party Hearty, the 3-color/multi-shape glitter top coat that is a part of this collection.  Below are photos with Party Hearty applied to complimentary shades from this collection.

     Frosty with Party Hearty

    A pure creme white. Great application and pigmentation.  Got excellent, opaque coverage with two coats.  Works great as a base for Party Hearty or any other holiday top coat you may want to try.  The only other pure white I have is actually tinged slightly yellow, so I was happy to add this to my collection.
    Snow with Party Hearty in 4 different applications.
    Index 2 coats, Middle 1 coat, Ring tip gradient, Pinkie tip.

     Snow with Party Hearty in 4 different applications.
    Index 2 coats, Middle 1 coat, Ring tip gradient, Pinkie tip.
     Ruby Deer
    The brighter/lighter of the two reds. Creme but has that glow of a jelly. I loved this shade.  This one is especially festive with Party Hearty on top!

     Phat Santa
    To me Ruby Deer is the color of Santa's suit and Phat Santa is the color of pointsetias.  (But that's just my opinion).  A bright, red's red creme.  This is the darker shade of the two.

    Party Hearty over Ruby Deer
    Isn't this fun?

    Party Hearty over Ruby Deer 
    Who is ready for a holiday party?
     Naughty and Nice
    Love this burgundy, wine, vampy dark purple jelly.  Definitely a darker side of the holiday collection. 

      Naughty and Nice
    I loved this color on my skin (NC35).  I would wear this for the holidays, Valentine's and well into spring and summer.

     Sugar Plums
    Now this is something I really have to apologize for.  I try to do my best to always bring the best photo to my abilities to you... but here is an epic fail.  Sugar Plums is a gorgeous shimmery wine color with tiny multi-colored holographic glitter.  

    Sugar Plums
    Again, I am not doing this color justice. It's really gorgeous.  My photo is not.  An extra coat of top coat probably wouldn't have hurt either.

    Jolly Holly
    Gorgeous evergreen forest green with shimmer. I am absolutely in love with this green.  The application was excellent (probably could have done 1 coat), and the pigmentation was superb. Beware of staining upon removal.  I didn't really like this or it's sister, Little Drummer Boy, with Party Hearty on top.  It was a little too busy and took away from the beauty of these colors.  Definitely pretty enough to wear alone.

     Little Drummer Boy
    This makes my heart beat.  A beautiful prussian blue shimmer.  This nail color should be on hands in a white fur muff a la Dr. Zhivago.  Not technically Christmas, but I think that's why I like it.  Again, like Jolly Holly, you may get staining upon removal, but don't let that deter you from this awesome color.

    The rest of the collection is be posted shortly!  What do you think of this collection so far?   I didn't want to take off Jolly Holly.  What color is drawing you in?

    REVIEW and EOTD: Eyes Lips Face ELF's The Beauty Encyclopedia Smoky Edition Palette - Holiday Gift Guide Series

    ELF's The Beauty Encyclopedia seemed like a really good deal when I saw it in Target a couple weeks back.  In part with our Holiday Gift Guide series, I posted a first look about this budget-friendly palette, and it drew a few interested parties!  So here is my review with swatches and an application example. 

    This set contains:
    12 eyeshadows
    1 eyeliner pencil in black
    1 mirror
    1 applicator
    $5 at Target stores
    Different versions of the The Beauty Encyclopedia are available on Elf's site.

    The palette opened.

    First row: matte and shimmer.

     Second row: The blue was built up a lot to show that much pay-off.
    Sadly, the purple was built up as many times, but the efforts were futile.
    No color pay-off from that purple.

     Very weak last row.


     Eye diagram.

    I didn't follow the Encyclopedia's instructions.
    See below for which colors I used (you may find it surprising!).

    Diagram of the colors applied.
    No, that's not a mistake.  I *did* apply that bright robin's egg blue.  
    Color pay-off?  Zilch.
    D, the navy shade, was oh-so disappointingly hard and didn't show up at all.
    Nars eye primer and MAC Haute and Naughty mascara were used on both eyes.

    An eyebase to help bring out color from these weak shadows.
    This is Cyber, a Metal-X shadow from MAC (discontinued).
    If you missed Metal-X shadows the first or second time, more on on their way.

    Base applied.
    A metallic silver cream-to-powder shadow base.  
    Now let's try this again.

    What a difference a base makes.
    Pow... now THAT'S blue.
    This is C, patted on.

    The base made all the difference.  
    See the colors actually showed up!

     Side by side, the eyeshadow base really brings out the colors.
    Sadly, these shadows are just not that pigmented, but it's $5...
    Seriously, what do you expect?

     Another edition of the Beauty Encyclopedia.

     The quality was very similar to the Smoky palette.

    To Review:

    Pros: Good gift that's very wallet friendly.  Would make a good stocking stuffer or a nice Secret Santa/office present. 
    Cons: Hard, dry, mediocre quality shadows.  Dry eyeliner pencil.  Not a gift for someone who is really into makeup.  They will be disappointed with the quality.... but then again, it's $5 (pro).

    Overall Rating: C+ (only because it really is such a good value)

    Tarte The Jewelry Box Palette - Swatches and Review - Holiday Gift Guide Series

    In part with our Holiday Gift Guide series, here is Tarte's The Jewelry Box palette. You may have seen our first look here, but now here are swatches and our review.

    Price: $52
    Available at Sephora (exclusive)
    This set contains:

    - 16 x 0.06 oz full-sized shimmering eyeshadow
    - 16 x 0.06 oz full-sized matte eyeshadow
    - 8 x 0.03 oz lip gloss
    - 0.21 oz Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess
    - 0.25 oz highlighting powder in soft pink
    - 5 x 0.02 oz long-wearing eyeliners

    This palette also comes with 1 detachable chain necklace for festive holiday wear.

    The palette opened.

    (Matte eyeshadows are below shimmering ones that wing out). There isn't a button, clasp, anything to keep this palette closed, which is one complaint I had about this palette. There is a magnet, but it's not strong enough to keep everything in place in case your palette should go any direction but flat. I would not take this out of my bedroom/bathroom (wherever you apply your makeup).

    The eyeshadows

    Overall, I was really excited about this palette! I loved how the palette split the shadows into shimmer and mattes. Some of Tarte's previous palettes have tended to lean to cooler tones. This palette was a nice mix of cool and warm shades. Lots of everyday shadows (1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26) and some fun vibrants for party looks (28, 31, 32). The texture of these shadows was good but not superb. Tarte's Eye Couture palette, which came out a couple years ago and is still available at Sephora, had a smoother, silkier quality to their eyeshadows. Not to say that The Jewelry Box's shadows are poor quality, but let's just say it went from being a 9 to about an 8. And if we are talking dollars and cents, Tarte's Eye Couture palette is 10 eyeshadows for $44 vs The Jewelry box that has a whooping 32 shadows for $52 (not to mention the bronzer, the highlighter, the eyeliners, the lipglosses and the necklace).

    Level 1: Shimmers, left side.

    Level 1: Shimmers, right side.

    Level 2: Mattes

    Level 2: Mattes

    The mattes were definitely less saturated than the shimmers, but still overall a good shadow. The quality of all these shadows wasn't butter-smooth (like Shiseido, Inglot), but it was definitely on par with some other high-end brands. The colors are buildable and have decent color pay-off.

    The value of 32 eyeshadows for $52 is great. The pan size (0.06 oz) is larger than that of a MAC single eyeshadow (0.05 oz for $14.50 each).

    Now onto the rest of the palette.

    Soft Pink Highlighting Powder and Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess

    The highlighting powder is definitely a great universal shade. Some darker skin tones (maybe anyone above the MAC 40's range) may not be able to use this palette's bronzer for blush or bronzer, but the shimmer in it would be great for highlight, contour.

    Again a note on the value of this palette, $52 for all those eyeshadows + 0.21 oz of Bronzer? A single Mineral Powder Bronzer retails for $29 for 0.32oz. So if you do the math, you are getting $19.03 worth of Bronzer in the Jewelry Box.

    Here are the lipglosses. I was impressed by how pigmented they were. I love the festive holiday red!

    I *love* these pencils. Very very smooth. But most of all I love the colors selected. A shimmering black, military shimmering green, bronze, deep purple and matte black.

    Pros: Good value! You can create a complete look with this 1 palette: eyes, lip, cheeks. Eyeshadows had a good mix of matte and shimmer/cool and warm. Lipglosses are highly pigmented. Pencils are smooth.
    Cons: Shadows are okay but not uber pigmented. Previous Tarte palettes had better shadow quality. Packaging is pretty, but there isn't a way to keep it closed or keep layers from sliding out unless lying flat.

    Overall grade: A-

    FIRST LOOK: Eyes Lips Face ELF's The Beauty Encyclopedia Smoky Edition Palette - Holiday Gift Guide Series

    e.l.f.'s The Beauty Encyclopedia - Smoky Edition

    $5 for a book of 12 eyeshadows and an eyeliner? Seriously? Yes, $5.

    Well that's exactly what e.l.f.'s The Beauty Encyclopedia - Smoky Edition. These are available at Target stores, but other Beauty Encyclopedias in other "editions" are available at e.l.f.'s website


    The Encyclopedia's cover

    The Encyclopedia's back

    The Encyclopedia open - mix of shimmer and matte shades.

    Want to see this purple on.

    Already have a look in mind with the silver and purple!

    Love the top neutrals.

    I will be swatching this palette and others as part of our Holiday Gift Guide Series. Keep checking back for swatches, comparisons and reviews! If there is anything here that you would like to see, please write us at beautyburg@gmail.com.