When NARS winter/holiday 2011 collection first debuted my initial impression was of mild or polite disregard. It seemed uneventful and the distastefully named ‘G Spot’ Multiple (albeit a lovely shade) left me feelingly underwhelmed. Yes, NARS, we get it, you think labeling things ‘Orgasm’ and ‘G Spot’ is cheeky and clever, but to be frank, I’m over it. /rant.

But then, multiple posts were popping up showing a delightful denim toned duo named Mandchourie (in English, Manchuria). The post that tipped the scale for me was by lovely blogger Dovey of Cute and Mundane, and you can see that post here.

According to Nars this duo was inspired by that region and the shadows are meant to be yin and yang to each other. It’s not hard to see, when looking at pictures of Manchuria, how they drew this inspiration.

Mongolian Steppe- National Geographic Photo

Beautiful, no?

NARS Mandchourie

Once I saw Dovey’s post, I knew I had to swatch if for myself at Sephora. Once I swatched the gold-flecked shade on the left I knew I was going to enjoy this duo. It is a stunning and unique shade!

NARS Mandchourie Swatches

Both shades are smooth and velvety. NARS seems to be on and off with their matte shadows, and while I think this greyed out navy shade could use a bit of improvement compared to other shades I have tried, it’s not a deal breaker either. The shades compliment each other in the best ways possible and I totally get why Nars said that this was meant to be yin and yang.

But with so many things in makeup, it’s really best to see it in action to determine if you think it’s a good fit for you. I created an EOTD (eye of the day) to illustrate what this duo can do.

NARS Mandchourie Duo on eyes

NARS Mandchourie duo on eyes- slightly different angle & lighting

The only other shadow I used was the light gold shade of the NARS Tzarine duo in the inner corner and to buff out around the lower lashline and above the crease. I used the dark shade as a liner as well.

NARS duos currently retail for $33 at Sephora and Narscosmetics.com. $33 is steep, but I feel like if you enjoy shades that lean denim or navy that this would be a perfect duo for your collection. The gorgeous-ness of the gold-flecked shade is beyond, and even if you don’t buy it, give it a swatch the next time you visit a counter or store.

I have both seen and heard A LOT about Ellis Faas products. I was somewhat skeptical about the whole “click pen” application and never having seen them in person was uncertain of the colors and textures available. I can tell you after my first try of Ellis Faas, I will come back again and again…and again.

Ellis Faas!

For those who haven’t heard about the brand, Ellis Faas Cosmetics was created by makeup artist Ellis Faas and is centered around  what they call “Human Colors”- colors that naturally occur in our bodies and are universal to everyone. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a fantastic approach to a makeup line! All of the products come in travel-friendly pen applicator form in long, bullet-esque tubes. The tubes are not as heavy as I thought they would be; a minor side point really.  They also have this new connector system that holds your products together so you can easily store them in your makeup bag and find them without rummaging around. Love!

Ellis Faas Winter Set

The Ellis Faas Winter Set is a trio of fantastic Ellis Faas products, perfect for newbies to the brand. The colors are super wearable and can be dressed up or dressed down. Did I mention they are holiday party perfect colors?

Ellis Faas Milky Lips L201

 

Ellis Faas Creamy Eyes E103

 

Ellis Faas Milky Eyes E209

 

L-R: E209, E103, L201

The E209 shade is like my skin but better on my eyes, and has the faintest sheen to it when the light hits. E103 is a SUPER pigmented black that can be easily blended to a light grey, or used at full intensity as a liner or base. L201 is what I would call every woman’s universal red shade. It is so easy to wear and feels dreamy on the lips.

Ellis Faas L201 on Lips

 

Ellis Faas Milky Eyes E209 and Creamy Eyes E103

 

Ellis Faas Winter Set FOTD

 

Oh Ellis Faas, how I love thee!

 

Ellis Faas!

Product Breakdown:

Face:

Eyes:

Lips:

I can safely say any doubt I had about Ellis Faas has gone right out the window. I love the smooth, creamy textures and the sleek/chic packaging. They are easy to blend and easy to apply. I already have my eye on the Ellis Faas Lights in E305 and the Creamy Eyes in E107; I’m drooling over them!

Ellis Faas products are available on Sephora.com and on EllisFaas.com

Will you be indulging in Ellis Faas this season? Or perhaps gifting someone special this holiday-perfect trio?

*The items in this post were sent for review or consideration by PR*

My love for Giorgio Armani’s Eyes to Kill Intense shadows is well known. I have a number of them now and they are my absolute go-to cream shadows. You can see some of my previous thoughts on them here and here. When I found out about the new limited edition holiday shades, I knew I was going to be in trouble.

O, hai there!

 

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Holiday shades

#19 is a gorgeous shade with an even mix of gold and silver. #18 is a nice light gold and is the exact shade I searched high and low for last Christmas when I wanted a sparkly gold cream shadow. I purchased Urban Decay’s Greed Primer Potion, which pales in comparison to this shadow. The sparkle factor on these shades is phenomenal and I don’t experience fall out.  There is also a pure silver shade (I believe it’s # 17) that I did not purchase because it just didn’t appeal to me like these two did. But if you are a silver gal, you may just want to check it out.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Instense #19

Do you see this amazingness?!?! This is hands down my favorite of the two. When swatched together it reminds me of a creamy white gold shade verging on pewter, you will see what I mean in a minute. I have layered this under several shadows and it just gives a different life and dimension to them. I also feel like this is extremely eye-catching and eye-brightening.

Feel free to pause here and gaze at this…I know I am! ;)

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense #18

This shadow combined with Chanel’s Triomphal gloss (which you will see here soon, and I posted a photo of me wearing this on Twitter, here) is holiday magic, ladies. This is my favorite kind of gold. I don’t care for golds that are too orange or burnished. I like mine to be yellow and light and full of sparkle.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense 18 and 19 in sunlight

I did a light swatch and then a heavier swatch. I kind of feel like the swatches don’t do these justice. I will have pictures of them on my eyes very very soon!

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense #18 and #19, indirect sunlight

Both of these shades are lovely to work with and can both be worn on their own, sheerly, built up, or layered. The formula is beyond for me, and lasts all day with no primer and no creasing. They can be worn and used wet, though I didn’t show them wet in my swatches because that’s not how I prefer to wear them. If you would like to see swatches with MAC Fix+, I would be happy to do so.

Do I recommend these? Of course. If you are on a budget (these aren’t cheap at $32/each) I would recommend the gold/silver mix- #19. It is such a unique mixture and unique shade. I absolutely adore it. You get a lot of product for the money (4g) which is the same as the Chanel Illusion d’Ombre shadows, more than Bobbi Brown Cream Shadows (3.5 grams) and less then MAC Paint Pots (5g).

These are available from Nordstrom’s website, but I called and ordered mine early from the very wonderful and helpful Kathy Shoreman of Neiman Marcus in Washington D.C., and you can catch her on Twitter here, or call her at 571-533-4972. She twitpic’s product photos and swatches too!

Have you tried the Eyes to Kill Intense shadows?

Hi ladies! I didn’t really intend to post two bigger posts back to back, but such is life. ;)

EDIT: Two new pictures of the paint pots have been added below. One is with Let’s Skate in direct sunlight, no flash and the other is a comparison swatch of Dangerous Cuvee Paint Pot and For Effect.

MAC Glitter & Ice has landed!

MAC Glitter & Ice is coming soon and I just got my order in today! I wanted to share my swatches and thoughts in case you hadn’t decided what to order yet. First, I’m not a huge fan of the white packaging. It looks wintery enough but I neither love nor loathe it. I did however enjoy the silver boxes that everything came. Oooh…something shiny to play with. Or, at least that’s what my mind told me..

MAC Unconditionally Fabulous vs China Glaze Snow Globe

I am not going to swatch these right now because I don’t know if I will be keeping the MAC one. In person they are very similar but you can see the MAC glitter is smaller than in the China Glaze. Bummer. I was hoping for the white polish that looked like a candy shop/ice cream shop for your nails.

MAC Glitter & Ice Paint Pots (without flash)

MAC Glitter & Ice Paint Pots (flash)

 

L-R: Let's Skate, Morning Frost, For Effect

I knew I would love Morning Frost being that it’s in the same vein of shade I tend to go for a lot (think lighter golden taupe). The one that really surprised me was Let’s Skate. It looked ok in swatches but nothing stellar. I ordered it just to see and honestly, I love the shade. It has a golden-pink shimmer in it that makes it look iridescent. A stunner for sure! For Effect is a charcoal grey with plenty of shimmer (think Cham-Pale paint pots in terms of texture and glitter/shimmer). I like them all, but Morning Frost and Let’s Skate are stand outs.

MAC Snow Season MES

 

L-R: Snow Season over Pixie Epoxy, Snow Season Dry, Snow Season over Morning Frost

I am admittedly not the biggest MES fan. For the money, I think the shadows could use significant improvement. Usually. Snow Season is a great one, though and is worth the money in my opinion. It’s lighter on it’s own but over Pixie Epoxy it shines and looks gorgeous over Morning Frost.

MAC Shimmermint MES

 

L-R: Shimmermint over Pixie Epoxy and Shimmermint Dry

I was expecting Shimmermint to be a little more….mint. And maybe for some people it is, being how the colors can vary pretty drastically based on veining. It’s pretty and smooth and one of the better MES I’ve swatched and touched. It’s very winter-like. Icy, without being blue.

MAC Whirls & Twirls Lipstick

 

MAC Seasonally Spicy Technakohl

 

L-R: Whirls & Twirls, Seasonally Spicy

Whirls & Twirls is exactly as I thought it’d be. It’s a glaze so I knew it was sheer and shimmery. It has a lovely iridescent quality to it again and is truly unique to my collection. I love that it’s shimmery without being frosty.

Seasonally Spicy I got just to try the Technakohl formula. Having never tried it before I didn’t know what to expect. It’s a nice shade, and goes opaque fairly easily. It’s not as soft as my Urban Decay 24-7 pencils, but it also dries to a nice firm liner. I tried to smudge it after about 30 seconds and the thing wouldn’t budge. it was like it had formed a layer on my skin and was …adhered? to it. Can’t wait to test the wear time!

MAC Dazzleglass She-Zam

 

MAC She-Zam Swatch

I already had the She-Zam Dazzleglass from a previous release. I couldn’t tell you what one that was because I got mine from a CCO. It’s nice, definitely not an everyday gloss for me and it’s super sparkly. Hate to use the word for the third time this post…but it is  iridescent. Or, a silver-opal.

EDIT: Adding extra swatches:

L-R: MAC For Effect vs Dangerous Cuvee (natural light, no flash)

 

Let's Skate Paint Pot, direct sunlight

Those were the items that stood out in the collection for me. I hemmed and hawed at some of the other items for awhile, but determined that my collection just didn’t have room for the other items in there.

What are you planning to haul? Did this collection do it for you or were you unimpressed? Dish!

Hi ladies! Soo when I started hearing about Wet n Wild’s new holiday collection earlier this week I thought, “here we go again.” The hunt, the endless search…etc. It’s gotten old. BUT. I remember that I was able to easily find the Wet n Wild holiday collection last year at a local Walgreens without much trouble at all. But believe me, I remember how hard they were for so many to track down!

So, I gave said store a call on Tuesday and the sweet lady in cosmetics said, ” Call back tomorrow at this time. Our new displays get delivered on Wednesday and should be out by 3PM.” I didn’t call because I was too busy. But, on my way home I remembered what she had said and stopped in to Walgreens and……

Wet n Wild Baked, Not Fried palette

I guess you could say I was dazed by the fact that the holiday collection was there, completely untouched and ready to be ransacked.

I bought the baked shadow palettes ($4.99/each) and two of the nail polishes. I am only showing 1 palette and 1 polish here because, as usual, I have a little something up my sleeve. Stay tuned…

Baked, Not Fried Swatches

These are dry, over my new favorite primer/shadow setter Pixie Epoxy (not sure it’s really a primer, but it works wonders with shadows!). Gorgeous!

Some more swatches!

L-R: MAC Glamour Check, WnW Baked Not Fried, MAC Carbonized, WnW Baked, Not Fried (bottom most shades in the palette)

Not exact dupes but rather close. Carbonized is closer than Glamour Check is, but on the eyes I bet either would be hard to distinguish. Both of these MAC shades are limited edition. I prefer the formula of Carbonized (smoother, easier to apply) but Glamour Check and the WnW seem very similar in how they apply.

So close!

L-R: MAC Woodwinked vs WnW  shade (middle of the palette)

Extremely close in shade, but Woodwinked does not have the sparkle that the WnW one has. I prefer the MAC formula between the two, but I like the added sparkle from the WnW.

Hmm, not really dupes...

L-R: MAC Naked Lunch, WnW Shade, Stila Kitten

The lovely G of Nouveau Cheap had suggested in her fab-dabulous post here that there might be a Stila Kitten dupe …unfortunately I don’t think it’s close enough. Kitten leans more gold/peach here and the WnW shade leans more pink. Naked Lunch is much less shimmery when compared.

Not here either....

L-R: MAC Creamy Bisque, MAC Nylon, WnW shade (Lightest one at top)

The lightest WnW shade initially reminded me of Nylon, but Nylon has a sheen, not a shimmer and is lighter/more gold. My next try was Creamy Bisque, but again not really close. The formulas on all of these were quite nice.

Last but not least....

L-R: Bobbi Brown Tiger’s Eye, MAC Mythical, WnW Coppery shade

I didn’t have a dupe for this shade. I tend not to reach for coppers too often (especially when they lean too orange) because they make me look tired and well, like I got socked in the face.

Of all the shades, Woodwinked and Carbonized were closest in terms of color alone. Are there any true dupes here? Well, that depends on what your definition. If yours is “close enough” than there probably are. If yours is “exact replica” than I’m afraid I don’t have the shades.

BAM!

This was my favorite of the polishes. BAR GLITTER! OMG. Coppery-Goldy-Glittery goodness. This is a must have! I also picked up Give Me a Price Quote because it was also bar glitter and looked fantastic. This is 2 coats (thicker ones)

And, because I realize these are notoriously difficult to track down. I decided to give away the two things I wanted most from this collection…

Wet n Wild Giveaway!

The Prize:

1 winner will receive:

The Rules:

Thanks, and good luck!

This Giveaway is now closed. Congrats to Gaby for winning and thanks to everyone who entered!