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making faces :: odds and sods

just tidying up!
i did say in my last mf post [um, that's making faces, not that other "mf" i sometimes use] that i had a few reviews of products from 2015 that i wanted to do in order to feel a sense of closure before posting this year's shrunken head awards. ladies and gentlemen, this is that post.

it's a sort of buckshot post, lots of little hits over a wide area, where the wide area is my face and possibly yours. many of these are things i've been meaning to review for a while, but just didn't get around to, although i'm happy to say that only one is limited and that it does still appear to be available [for now] online and in stores.

so please follow me over here, folks, and let me direct your attention to exhibit number one...

ardency inn modster manuka honey enriched pigment :: rose gold

in the age of twitter, i really think that it behooves us all to agree to a character limit on product names.

these eye shadows are indeed made with manuka honey [which is like the single malt of honeys], which the brand claims makes them more blendable, smoother and creamier. although they don't make any claims about it, honey is also one of the best things on the planet for skin care, having moisturising, calming and antibacterial properties. the amount of honey included in the pigments may not allow for any real benefits, but i'm willing to wager that they are likely easier on the skin than most other powder shadows.

unfortunately, the pressed pigments are also very fragile. mine arrived smashed to bits [i feel like makeup lovers might need a trigger warning for this photo.

the horror. the horror.
i bought it online and was going to exchange it, but decided against doing so when i found out that my local sephora no longer carries the brand in store. it was one thing to do the exchange when i could inspect the replacement i was being given, but doing so through the mail just seemed to be courting the possibility that i could end up with another smashed shadow and i didn't think that i could handle that without developing some kind of ptsd type response. there's only so much violence one makeup junkie can witness...

[be warned! the associates at my sephora told me that this was far from the first time they've seen such a tragedy.]

i decided to hang on to my shattered soldier and try to allow it to have a normal life as a loose pigment. i have a feeling that that means i'm not experiencing the product at its best; i do find that it could be a little smoother and more even in application, but i haven't read any other complaints from people who've used "whole" versions.

it is very richly pigmented. if anything, i find myself having to sheer it out more often than build it up. while there were a number of bright, matte shades when the formula launched, those seem to have been discontinued, leaving a range of mostly neutral, highly frosted shades as the permanent collection.

if you're the sort of person who is a little nervous around frost-finish shadows, you might as well just skip right ahead to the next review. all ur frost is belong 2 ardency. i find that i have to be a little careful about where and how heavily i apply "rose gold", or else it can start to look heavy and can emphasize the perpetually rough skin on my eyelids. happily, the formula does blend out with relative ease [or can be applied more delicately], so it's workable even for those of us who are normally told to stick to matte formulations.

rose gold
there is a little visible fallout in the swatch photo and i did get a little upon application, but i am certain that this is because of the "unpressed" condition of my shadow. once applied to the lid, the shadow adhered well and lasted without significant fading or "migration" for the rest of the day.

the colour is, indeed, a perfect rose gold, a warm plummy pink suffused with gold shimmer. the "rose" part of the "rose gold" balance is more evident here than it is in some other shades. mac "gold mode" pigment for instance, is in the same galaxy, but definitely orbits a warmer, browner star.  

if i could still find these babies in store, i'd grab a bunch of them as fast as i could, but because of my unfortunate experience, i'm a little hesitant. yes, sephora are very helpful in such cases, but it seems like setting myself up for more work than i want to do for a single eyeshadow. plus, i just don't know if i can handle seeing that sort of violence up close again.

here's a look at "rose gold" used as the "star" of an eye look.

i've used nars "mekong" to darken the outer corners and mac "dazzlelight" as a browbone highlight, but the major player here is clearly "rose gold. the lipstick i'm wearing is armani "608", which is sadly discontinued. i'm not quite sure what to suggest as a replacement, which is frustrating for both of us. you're wondering what the use is of me showing you such a lovely lipstick when you can't buy it, and i'm reminded that every time i used this colour, i'm that much closer to using it up. armani is relaunching its rouge d'armani colour range this spring and i'm hoping that there's a twin to be found in there...

but look at the eyeshadow! isn't it pretty? yes it is. and that you can still get from sephora.

burberry kisses lipstick :: garnet

see? now that's a much more reasonable product name.

burberry kisses lipsticks launched last year as a replacement for their previous lightweight/ semi-sheer lipstick formula. they are meant to be layerable: a single pass enhances the lips and provides a bit of colour, while each subsequent pass deepens and/ or brightens the shade. when layered, the colour is supposed to retain its intensity and its satin finish [as opposed to other semi-sheer lipsticks that can be layered as well, but which tend to lose intensity faster and get shinier as they're built up].

"garnet" is one of the deeper colours, but a single pass of the lipstick yields very little colour, which makes me wonder if the light shades are visible at all. certainly on anyone with a medium to dark skin tone, i think that wearing these would require layering.

the colour does build fairly well, although it never gets opaque. i'm not sure why, but i found it impossible to get it to cooperate while swatching, so what you see isn't indicative of what you get. the application is more even and can be built up more than what you see here, but it's like the lipstick deeply resented any attempt on my part to apply it to my arm. you can practically hear it screaming omygod, you're screwing it all up, this is not where i go at all you idiot, why do you think i'm called a lipstick and not an armstick? somebody please stop this woman before she sticks mascara up her nose!!!

l to r :: garnet 3 swipes, garnet 1 swipe
the formula feels a bit like the armani rouge ecstasy lipsticks. it feels very nice on the lips, soft and moderately moisturizing, which is nice during the winter. the rouge ecstasy formula is more pigmented, but it's pigmented more or less from the start, so burberry's version is more versatile in terms of colour payoff. unfortunately, the wear time for burberry kisses is significantly less. while layering does leave more colour for more time, the lipstick fades a lot within a few hours. more irritatingly, it has a tendency to feather when it's layered. the fading and the feathering are noticeably worse if your lips are in less than ideal condition, or if they aren't properly dried when the lipstick is first applied. i usually prep my lips with balm and if you do the same, you're going to want to make sure that all of it is well and truly gone before applying burberry kisses, else you will have colour sliding around everywhere. fortunately, the formula is hydrating enough that it doesn't require much in the way of prep.

"garnet" is a good description of this shade, which does resemble a translucent version of the semi-precious stone. applied lightly, it makes my lips look deeper, redder and warmer. at its most intense, it's what i'd call a medium-to-deep warm red. rouge bunny rouge "murmurings" [original version] is brighter and glossier. mac "après chic" is pinker and lighter.

l to r :: rbr murmurings, garnet [heavy/ light], mac apres chic [l.e.]

i think that these lipsticks are a nice option for those of us who look sick in most nude colours, but still need something understated to balance a more dramatic eye.

and speaking of balancing a dramatic eye, here is "garnet" doing just that.

now, clearly, the eye is the best thing about this look and if you click on the photos to see them full-size, you can see a bit of feathering along my top lip. the super-metallic eye look is done with two shades from nars: the gold side of "kauai" and "pasiphae". recall that "garnet" is one of the deepest colours in the burberry kisses range and you'll see why i think these make nice "my lips but better/ deeper/ pinker/ lighter/ cooler/ warmer/ whateverer" choices.

although the formula isn't perfect and isn't as nice as its close cousin, the rouge ecstasy, i am tempted to pick up a couple of other shades from the range, because the things that i like about it are things i really like. the satiny finish, the plush feel on the lips, the ability to layer colour without the formula becoming too slick, these are all things that i enjoy and they can be hard to come across in a semi-sheer lipstick.

there's an excellent range of shades, so if you want to give it a try, you shouldn't have any problem finding one that suits your needs.

kat von d metal crush eyeshadow :: thrasher

this is my first experience with kat von d's rock-inspired line, although i've heard much about it. these ultra-rich, pigmented, metallic powders ultimately made me decide that it was time to give the lady a try, especially when i saw the dirty gold wonder that is "thrasher".

the formula on these actually isn't dissimilar to the ardency inn pigments. it's a bit harder [and hardier] but the colour applies well: even, opaque [but blendable] and without scattering around the area. the precision and hold of the metal crush shadows borders on that of a cream, actually. once it's on, it stays. and as you might expect, that means that it has an excellent wear time as well.

you can see from the swatch that while "thrasher" is metallic in finish, it is not frosted the way that "rose gold" is. so for all its glammy glory, it's possible to tamp this one down enough for daily use, if for some reason you wanted to do so. but the shades in this range do generally cry out to be noticed. there are so many neutrals in the world, surely it wouldn't hurt to go a little colour crazy once in a while?

"thrasher" is a tarnished brass sort of shade, still within the gold range, but dirtier, more muted and aged. it's the sort of colour that stops you in your tracks because, even though gold colours are common enough, you just don't see ones like this very often.

i used it below in combination with some of the neutral shades from makeup forever's holiday palette, which i think set the gold off nicely. i also used the purple blush from the palette as an actual blush [along with hourglass "diffused light" as a highlighter]. what do you know? it's a really nice blush. i'm still going to wear it on my eyes from time to time, though. don't tell anyone.

just before moving on, i thought i'd mention that the gloss i'm wearing is urban decay "bittersweet", one of the brand's still more or less new high-colour revolution glosses. since i'm not as much of a gloss girl, such launches can occasionally pass me by. i'd also heard that these were mint-scented, which was enough to scare me off trying them entirely. then i got a sample of "bittersweet" from sephora and now i'm kicking myself for not getting my hands on one sooner. this is a really good gloss. it's a bit heavier/ stickier than the yves st. laurent gloss volupté formula, which is my current favourite, but it lasts extremely well, feels great and has nice pigmentation. looking at "bittersweet" in these photos, i can see that the colour is a bit uneven, but that wasn't something that i noticed in person so much. [nor did i notice a scent!] note to self: check these out.

and finally...

nars steven klein collection eyeshadow :: stud

nars collaborated with photographer steven klein for their holiday collection, creating a whole range of unique items in beautiful, unsettling packaging [an image from which is used above]. i had to restrain myself from buying gift sets i didn't need, just so that i could get my hands on the boxes. [i calmly explained to myself that the boxes were cool because they had pictures and that pictures can be found all over this thing called the internet.]

i did, however, spring for one item, an eye-catching little gem called "stud".

the formula here is quite remarkable, incredibly sparkly, so that it looks almost wet. "stud" is a cool taupe with silver and white shimmer that gets everywhere, so if that's going to bother you, there's no point even trying. it gets everywhere when you're applying it. it gets everywhere as you wear it. but it is a sort of "champagne" shade, not in the sense that it's champagne-coloured, but because it's the perfect companion to a bold red or berry lip and a little black dress for a party. this is something for a night out, not your day in court after your last night out.

when it comes to stepping out, a few [dozen] flecks of glitter do not cause me much worry, so this is exactly the kind of stud i like to have around when i feel like looking like i'm bringing the party with me. and this guy does have the stamina to party all night, or at least most of it, without looking too much the worse for wear [stray sparkles aside].

here he is bringing some scintillating shine to a standard neutral eye/ red lip look...

i've used nars "night clubbing" [seemed appropriate] to darken the outer corners of my eyes, but most of what you're seeing is pure "stud". the blush is nars "boys don't cry" and the lipstick is guerlain "genna".

whether this is a shade you're going to love or not is a function of whether its tendency to spread itself around is going to be an issue. but don't take too long to think about it, because while it is still around, it won't remain so for long.

so now i am, indeed, fully caught up on beauty posts! [no, you actually aren't -ed.] my final word on 2015 will follow shortly and then *poof* we'll be back to living in the present. 


I love grab-bag posts like this one! It might have something to do with my millennial (lack of) attention span...

Haha, I've also noticed the bizarre length of Ardency Inn product names. It's a little off-putting, as is THE HORROR of that crumbled eyeshadow!! I admire your fortitude in continuing to use it instead of just sending it back, because it really is a lovely color. It's rare to encounter such a cool-toned rose gold--most of them seem to be peachier.
Kate MacDonald said…
If it hadn't been such a unique colour, I probably would have just exchanged it for another product. But it is so very pretty...

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