Natasha Denona’s Star Palette ($169) launches today at Sephora and Beautylish and it’s a stunning beauty with 18 eyeshadows. The shadows are cased in a magnetic flat palette similar to the Eyeshadow 28 Palette (Green Brown reviewed and swatched here). The overall color theme of the Star Palette is warm, bold and glitzy. She’s launched some other basics for eyes over the past few months and today I have a roundup to share with you today.
Up first is the Star Palette which is just breathtaking at first glance. I’ll say up front it probably will most likely not be for everyone just
based on the color options, especially if you’re on the conservative
side for makeup. I rarely ever wear glitter shadow (except for ones by
Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury) as it’s not something I feel comfortable
wearing. I also don’t wear reds or wine colors on my eyes. Still this palette has a mix of colors and textures that is mesmerizing. In general I really like Natasha Denona’s mattes and shimmers – they are really great in quality, smooth in texture and have the prettiest finishes. Her glitters come in a mix of really fine shimmer/glitter and then chunky. Out of all the colors in this palette I would say there are 2 glitters I won’t wear and 2 of the reds that I don’t think I would wear on my eyes.
The left side of the palette has:
Spectrum is an antique gold sparkle with tiny micro glitters
Earth is a dark chocolate matte brown
Bellatrix is a metallic peachy champagne
Flesh is a matte warm peach flesh
Orion is a duo-chrome blue brown shimmer
Gemma is a soft satiny brown plum gold
Atria is a sparkling copper orangey shade with tiny micro sparkles
Titania is a matte warm brown
Cosmo is a sparkling brassy gold
For the right side of the palette:
Diadem is a matte dusty grey-mauve
Vega is a matte pink peach rose
Galaxia is a sparkling glitter icy white with a chunky finish
Phoenix is a bright red satin shimmer
Supernova is a silver taupe shimmer
Electra is a red magenta satin
Polaris is a glitzy pale gold
Atik is a matte brown sand color
Rhea is a gorgeous peach red copper with shimmer
The colors are all very soft in texture. The glitters and crystal shimmer colors are a bit chunky and prone to have more fallout when you apply so it’s best to use with a damp brush or over a super creamy base in a patting motion rather than brushing. Quality-wise her shadows are excellent. When it comes to palettes if there are 2-3 shades I don’t think I will use I try to restrain myself from purchasing so in this case if I had applied my rule I would have probably skipped it (this was kindly gifted by Natasha).
For the Eye Light there are four shades, my best match is Shade #2. These come in a twist up click pen applicator with a brush. #1 for some reason was a dud for me as there was a lot of separation that happened inside the tube and the product came out very watery. The other three shades had no issues. These have what Natasha calls “spherical powders” inside which means they don’t need to be set with powder after application. I always set concealer and foundation with powder, but the formula really is one that sets well and doesn’t need power. Swatch comparisons for reference to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer (review here) and MAC Pro Long Wear Concealer in NC35.
I use these under the eye and they cover my moderately dark circles really well and brighten the area. It goes on smooth, there’s no creasing and they blend to a flawless finish. Many look dry under my eyes (the NARS, MAC and MUFE are among the few I can wear) and the Natasha Denona one joins the club of Beauty Look Book approved undereye concealers. It doesn’t darken which is a huge plus for me in terms of color matching.
Next are the eye bases which are creamy and dry to a soft smooth finish. I feel as though I’m one of the few who does not have oily lids – I usually need a base with some kind of emollient texture and to date the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base has been my favorite. Others like ones from NARS, Urban Decay, Too Faced, etc. dry out my lids and make my skin look wrinkled.
The Natasha Denona Eye Shadow Base is perfect for evening out the lids and has a creamy feel to help powder shadows adhere better, not just with her brand but also other powder shadows. I find it tied in terms of quality and finish with the Edward Bess one.
Last but not least are the Eye Lash Curler and Blackest Black Mascara. I found both to be just ok, but not great. For some reason the Eye Lash Curler just would not curl my lashes, although the shape and size worked well for my eye shape. No pinching and my fingers fit inside the loops just fine. I just found the curling pad didn’t help create a curl like the MAC Eye Lash Curler or Chanel Eye Lash Curler (my two favorites).
The Mascara has an odd shape brush, almost pear-shaped and I had a difficult time getting my lashes coated with the brush. It did add depth and dimension. There was no smudging which many readers know is rare for me with most mascaras. I just need lots of volume and this was lacking in that department for me. For reference two that work for me right now are the Stila Huge Lash and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara.
I think the Star Palette has some amazing colors but palettes can be hard to love if you don’t love all the colors. There are only 4 out of the 18 I don’t see myself wearing on a regular basis and perhaps I’ll experiment more with the glitzy ones in the upcoming weeks. The Eye Light Concealer and Eye Base are both excellent – I hope the swatches help if you’re ordering sight unseen.
You can find select Natasha Denona products now at Sephora and Beautylish. Do note that the Sephora Rouge 20% off sale starts soon and will run from 11/4 to 11/7 so if you have this on your wishlist you may want to wait until the sale to buy this.
Many thanks to Natasha for sending a lovely package of items for me to try out.
Edward Bess has launched quite a few new things including some classic additions in eye makeup along with three new perfumes. Today I’m reviewing the eye makeup – all true to Edward Bess style where makeup is classic to enhance your features in a natural way but make them look better. I got a sneak preview back in September at Neiman Marcus while visiting his counter. He swatched his new Perfect Line Every Time Liner on the back of his hand and once it sets it does not budge. If you are able to visit any of his counters while he’s in store (all locations listed here) I highly recommend you do – you will be in for a treat.
Up first is my favorite item the Earth Tones Naturally Enhancing Eyeshadow Palette. It has five natural shades that are very natural but not invisible. The colors look like they run neutral-cool in the palette but on my skin they have a mix of neutral, cool and warm. Colors have the most beautiful finely milled kind of shimmer and texture is buttery soft for smooth natural application. If you like bold full pigment kinds of shades you may find this too natural. But for the person who wants a very natural look for the eyes and a palette that is easy to wear for everyday this one is a great one.
Colors are a pale cool white shimmer, satiny light pink mauve, medium warm plum shimmer, shimmering grey taupe mauve, deeper cool-toned purple. Swatched below:
Quick eye look with all colors on the eyes:
I couldn’t find anything quite like the colors in this palette from what I own. I pulled the Dior Eye Reviver Palette reviewed here which has a similar effect in the natural finish but runs cooler and has a sheerer finish with some of the shades.
Next are the Perfect Line Every Time Liner in Deep Deep Black and Wish Granted Magic in a Bottle Mascara in Onyx. The Perfect Line liner is a deep true black with a twist up style applicator and smudge brush at the end. It does indeed last a very long time (all day on me) with out smudging or budging once you apply and let it set. It glides on easily without any tugging and gives a rich deep black color. It does set quickly so if you need to smudge or blend with an applicator I recommend you do so quickly.
The Wish Granted Mascara is a true black mascara. It’s described as a long lasting clump free mascara to add volume. I am extremely picky with mascara as I have straight lashes that require curling. Most mascaras smudge, don’t hold the curl, or flake. This one from Edward Bess did not smudge and there was no clumping so on those points it’s a winner. For me I have a serious need for volume and this one can be built in two layers for volume but I found it didn’t give me as much drama as some other formulas.
Perfect Line in action at Edward’s counter:
Last but not least are three brow products called Big Wow Full Brow Pomade . It comes in three colors, Light Taupe, Medium Taupe and Rich. I can use either Medium Taupe or Rich for my coloring and it’s really really good. It is an easy to blend natural looking brow product. It has a whipped formula that is lightweight and has the ability to coat hairs or fill in sparse areas. As one who finds I can’t wear any brow products with red, I really like these color options. He has a Dual Ended Brow Brush for these, but I find you can use any angled brush. I tried with the MAC 266 and Wayne Goss Brush 21 and both worked really well.
These look natural and are easy to use. Thumbs up.
One last quick look from my visit to his counter at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills. Many of you often ask what my natural lip color looks like, here’s a photo of me without anything on the lips – it was after lunch and everything had worn off. To the right is his Big Kiss Lipstick.
Bottom line some solid additions to Edward Bess’s line. I really love his Earth Tones Eyeshadow Palette and the new Brow Pomades and as a natural-neutral makeup lover these are just perfect. I’ll have a dedicated post on his fragrances soon. One briefly reviewed in my Fall Fragrance Loves for Him and Her post if you want a quick peek.
Every once in a while I’ll try a product and wonder what took me so long to try it. Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadows fall into that category (along with some of the blushes reviewed here). For the longest time I’ve avoided many items from the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line simply because of the price points. So many of his products have been widely raved about, and rightly so due to their good quality and solid performance. Kevyn Aucoin recently launched a set exclusive to Space NK called The Making Eyes Kit ($125, a $160 value if you purchase items separately). This kit includes:
The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 (0.04 oz)
The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette (0.03 oz)
The Expert Mascara Black (0.4 oz)
The Eyelash Curler
The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black (0.04 oz)
Space NK kindly sent the set for me to try and part of me was really excited to try things I’ve always been curious about. The other part of me wondered if this would live up to the hype as the items look incredibly basic. I love beauty basics and classics but sometimes there are products that just simply seem a bit too basic to justify the splurge when less expensive options will work just as well. I was really impressed with the Eye Shadow Palette, Brow Pencil and Eye Pencil. More thoughts on each item below.
Quick look at the box. The set comes cased in a large black box with a mirror. I like that everything has it’s own individually molded compartment so if you have this shipped to you, items stay in place. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the box at the moment. I suppose I could use it for travel by taking out the insert. The larger mirror is nice to have when you’re on the go. However the box is made of cardboard so I don’t know how well it will hold up traveling.
First a look at the items swatched:
For me the winner of this set is The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 which has a mix of cool tones. The set comes with a little instruction card on how to apply the colors but I took one look and decided to apply them my own way. I have no crease in the lids so most of the time I need to apply shadows differently from most other women anyways in a gradient. Since I have no fold or crease I don’t usually do the outer corner or v-shape blending.
Colors in this palette include a shimmering soft but pigmented black, lavender purple shimmer, beige satin, white frost, bone satin. All of the colors have some degree of shimmer but it is very soft on the skin. If you’re a no-shimmer kind of person for eyeshadows I think this will still work for you as the finish is VERY very soft.
The pigment is medium but buildable. Texture is very soft and looks natural on the eyes. As one who does not really like cool tones (especially white frosts) because they often look sharp or contrast with my olive skin I was surprised to find this one worked really well with my skintone for a cool-toned smoky eye with a hint of purple. The black looks like it could be chalky if you swatch it on the hand or arm. With a brush it’s intense and very pigmented but not too sharp. It’s a very good one to apply along the lash line and easy to blend and smoke out. Below shows all the items in the kit applied including the mascara, liner and brow pencil.
Next are The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette and The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black. The Precision Brow Pencil is very easy to use and Brunette is a good neutral to cool toned brown that works for my dark hair. For me I like that there is no red undertone which I find some brow pencils have, yet there’s not too much grey which can sometimes cause my brows to look ashy. I like that if you twist product up you can also twist it back down.
The Eye Pencil in Basic Black is one of the deepest black pencils I’ve tried. It has a smooth and super creamy texture. In terms of lasting power it stayed put on my eyes all day without any smudging or budging. I used it along upper lashes and waterline. That being said, I will usually also see how it holds up on the arm. When I test liners, let it sit for about 30 minutes on the arm, then take my finger and swipe it across the arm swatch to see how much it smudges. On the arm it smudged while some other liners set and don’t budge. That being said I tried this on a few different days and on my eyes it lasted all day without any budging so for me it’s a winner.
Last but not least are The Expert Mascara Black and The Eyelash Curler. Both of these have been raved about by many people. To date I have only tried the mascara in mini forms that usually come with the Space NK gwps and had not really been that impressed. The full size does perform better but my heart still belongs to the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascaras for volume, curl-holding and lasting power. The one from Kevyn Aucoin is a deep black, doesn’t clump or smudge. It does a good job at coating each lash but for me it simply does not hold the curl and doesn’t give me the volume the other two do. Do note that I have incredibly skimpy straight lashes so I need a miracle mascara to make it look like I have any.
The eyelash curler works well too. I was relieved to find there was no pinching (for me the Shiseido one everyone raves about just doesn’t work for me at all). It has a very lightweight feel which makes it easy to use but I prefer something with a bit more weight to it. That being said it performs well and I am happy to own it.
Bottom line a solid set of good eye basics. I am already plotting another eyeshadow palette purchase because this one is just so good. If you have any recommendations for the palettes or duos let me know! You can find all the items in this set individually if you prefer to pick and choose items on your own. However the Kevyn Aucoin The Making Eyes Kit as a set is a Space NK exclusive.
Have you tried any of these yet? What did you think?
The Making Eyes Kit was provided courtesy of Space NK for review.
I’ve been playing with quite a few mascaras over the past several months – some from early January. As I’ve worked my way through a few tubes I’ve made notes on thoughts for these and kept them to photograph next to each other so you can see the brush sizes and shapes. I have really straight relatively wimpy lashes that are often barely visible unless I have mascara on. I rarely ever wear anything on the bottom lashes because most brushes are too big to catch the tiny lashes. That combined with the fact that most mascaras smudge on me is another factor for why I don’t wear anything on the lower lashes.
I have tested a few lash growth serums but am still undecided – I suspect that they require months of use to see results. I received a sample tube of Rapidlash earlier this year and as of today I’ve hit the 71 day mark of use. I have started to see some results but they are still on the subtle side. If you have ones you’ve tried that worked let me know.
Onto the mascaras I’ve tested out. Some are repeats of classic staples. I usually like waterproof versions because they are the ones that really don’t smudge on me. However there are quite a few that leave the lashes looking and feeling a bit crunchy or that turn slightly greyish when they dry so I’m really picky with formulas. The image below is interactive so you can click on the icons below to shop the mascaras:
Shown above from bottom to the top:
Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16.50) is one of the mascaras I’ve used for the longest, I discovered it years ago and it’s a great basic mascara to add definition and volume, it’s not the most volumizing formula but the black is a true black color and doesn’t smudge, flake or clump.
By Terry Terrybly Growth Booster Mascara ($48) is one I received as a gift with purchase at a counter a year ago, it’s a formula that is very expensive but gives a really nice lush look to the lashes, it is supposed to have a growth formula inside it, I haven’t noticed any visible growth from this one but it’s not one I use daily, I like this because it doesn’t flake, irritate or clump, it holds the curl and adds nice volume you can layer.
Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara ($29.50) I love Dior mascaras but often times they just don’t hold the curl for me, I gave this a try in hopes of finding one that does and was thrilled to find that it did for me. There were a lot of mixed reviews online – people either love it or hate it. I found it held the curl and did not smudge. I would have liked a bit more noticeable drama for me, you can layer it but on me it was easy to over-layer where you get that slightly cakey look. The fact that it held the curl and didn’t smudge moved this into my thumbs up list.
Burberry Bold Lash ($29) is one I used a few years ago, loved it and repurchased once. I gave it another buy and have no regrets. This is best on me with one good coat. I apply at the base of the lashes and wiggle the tube to apply – it coats lashes evenly without clumping and it does not smudge on me.
Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara ($23) is one I tried in the Birchbox Beauty in Bloom Box (review here and it’s still available). It far exceeded my expectations and I proceeded to search for it in stores. I could not find it anywhere near me so I ordered online. It’s my new favorite formula although it is a bit hard to remove in the evening. I like this for the most drama and definition. It holds the curl and doesn’t smudge and looks like a true black.
Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($26) is one I had high hopes for because I really love the O!Mega Lash Mascara (that one has been my most repurchased formula over the past year). The Velvet Noir has an ultra deep color. It has a unique curved brush that dips in the middle of the wand to match the curve of the eye and get the corners. Application is really easy and it looks incredible. Unfortunately for me it does not hold the curl. Smudging is minimal but still happens a tiny bit on me with this one.
Marc Jacobs Feather Noir Mascara ($24) is an ultra skinny mascara – one of the tiniest wands I’ve ever seen! It’s made mascara application on lower lashes possible for me. I have super sensitive eyes so it does tickle a little when I apply this but it has such a fine wand it will catch tiny lashes without touching the skin. It did not smudge on me when I used on lower lashes. I think this is a winner if you’re one who is looking for a lower lash mascara.
Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara ($32) I love all things Charlotte Tilbury so when this launched I had high hopes. The regular mascara from her line is ok in my experience. This one is like a face lift for the lashes. I rarely notice the smell of mascara but this one smells like it has a tiny bit of perfume and it smells amazingly fresh and pretty. I have mixed feelings on this one. I’ve put this to the test over the last month. It gives that faux mascara look by adding incredible volume and definition – it’s really impressive. It holds the curl, doesn’t flake and is non irritating. However half the time it smudges. The other half of the time it does not. Even when I have an extra powdered under-eye sometimes it still smudges. If this came in a waterproof formula I think it would be 100% flawless for me. Right now it’s 50/50 on the smudge factor.
Chanel Le Volume Mascara ($32) is a classic. I like the regular black version but try to buy the plum shades when they launch because they are often limited-edition. There are two formulas the regular Le Volume and Le Volume Waterproof. I like both but for me waterproof is the way to go especially in humid warmer months. It adds volume and doesn’t smudge.
MustaeV Maxi Lash Volume Mascara ($18) is one of the deepest black mascaras I’ve tried. It has a super skinny wand so it’s easy to grab all the lashes – even the ones around the edges. I was really impressed how well it stayed put – no smudging for me on all testing occasions. It’s not the most volumizing for me because I have such wimpy lashes but it’s a good everyday kind of mascara that never clumps on me and I love the true black color.
Another view of the mascaras, different angle:
So which one is my favorite? Right now it’s a three-way tie between the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara, the By Terry Terrybly Mascara and Chanel Le Volume. The Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes is almost perfect – it smudges on me half the time I wear it.
If you’re looking for a new mascara I hope you found this roundup helpful! As always – I’d love to hear about your recommendations! At this time I don’t use a base/primer or a top coat for the lashes. I know several of you have recommended the Clarins Double Fix as a way to prevent smudging. I still have yet to try it but just ordered it so will let you know how it works. I’ve played with a few false lashes on occasion but find them too time consuming to apply on a daily basis – I know it just takes practice to get used to but it’s something I just haven’t gotten into yet.
If you have any tips, tricks or advice on lash growth serums I’m all ears!
Press samples featured include the Charlotte Tilbury, MustaeV, RapidLash. Gifted item includes the By Terry Mascara.
I picked up four eye makeup items from the Chanel Vamp Attitude Collection. All are listed as limited-edition with the exception of the Illusion D’Ombre. I’ve been such a huge fan of Chanel for years and the holiday collections usually are absolutely stunning so I had high hopes for this release.
I am a lover of the Chanel Illusion D’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadows. I own almost all of the colors and wear them on a regular basis. They offer the prettiest amount of sparkle to the eyes without being over the top and they layer nicely together. I know they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (some feel they are too sheer or too sparkly). I’m a huge huge fan. When I found out there would be a Rouge Noir color launched I knew I would either love or hate it since I rarely like reddish colors for the eyes. I absolutely love this color. It’s dark enough that it doesn’t look red, but at the same time it’s red and plum enough that the color shows up on the eyes. This one does take some layering, it’s not a one-swipe wonder, but I think it’s gorgeous. That being said, after pulling some other deep wine eyeshadows, I do think it’s very similar to Armani Eyes to Kill #2 and NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Subra reviewed here. Both the Armani and NARS have deeper richer pigment with one to two swipes while the Chanel requires some building. The nice thing about the Chanel is you can swipe it over the lids for a softer wash.
I had very high hopes for the Les 4 Ombres in Signe Particulier. The eyeshadow quad releases from past seasons have been phenomenal with beautiful designs, excellent pigment and stunning unique colors. This year’s was one of the first disappointments from Chanel for me. I did swatch in store and saw that the pigment was very sheer and patchy. I thought it was just an over-handled tester that caused such poor application. I tested the brand new one I bought at home multiple times with several different brushes and applicators. The texture is very smooth and silky to touch but application is so sheer I could barely see any color payoff on the skin. I regret buying this. The colors are a soft sheer pale pink, a medium taupe shimmer, a deep plum-red, and a yellow gold shimmer. The packaging and embossed design is so so gorgeous. I wish the color payoff and pigment was better. If you love this – let me know what brushes you use, would love to figure out how to make this work.
Swatched below with a heavy hand, and the colors still are very sheer:
Finally there are two new mascaras in the holiday collection. I’m a fan of the Le Volume de Chanel Mascaras so I knew I had to try the Rouge Noir version. I’m thrilled with it – it thickens, volumizes, defines and doesn’t smudge or flake. I might need a back up of this. In addition to the Rouge Noir, there is a new deep dark black called Le Volume Ultra-Noir de Chanel in Noir Khôl (also limited-edition). I had high hopes for this and a few swipes applied an ultra dark color. It looks amazing and it’s super dark. The formula thickens the lashes evenly for a volumized look. The downside is it smudged terribly on my eyes. I tested it on several occasions (5 different days to be exact) before deciding it was a flop for me. I thought on the first occasion that I might have not powdered my concealer properly, so the next few times I tried the Noir Khôl on one eye and a regular Black Le Volume on the other eye. Each time, I had one side that smudged (the new one) and the other side did not (one with the classic formula/color).
I’m desperate to make the Ultra-Noir mascara work, if you tried it and love it, can you please share what makeup or skincare you use under the eyes?
I did consider purchasing the eyeliners in Rouge Noir and Or Safran, but decided against buying since I tend to wear black, brown or bronze colors. If you picked those up or tested them let me know what you think! Overall the eye makeup products were either hit or miss for me. The Le Volume de Chanel in Rouge Noir was an absolute hit for me. I love the Rouge Noir Illusion D’Ombre but it’s not an absolute must since it’s so close in color to other shades I own. Misses were the Les 4 Ombres and Noir Khôl Mascara.