Friday, August 22, 2014

Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics

In case you haven't heard, Urban Decay just launched Naked 2 Basics.  I have and love Naked Basics, a palette with all matte neutrals.  Naked 2 Basics is supposed to be the same concept with cooler tones, so of course I had to have this right away.

Naked 2 Basics colors--Skimp, Stark, Frisk, Cover, Primal, Undone

Here are swatches on me.  I am very fair with neutral to slightly warm undtones.  I have to say that I don't agree that all of the colors are cooler toned.  In fact, some are quite warm.

Skimp is a pale peach.  Stark is a medium peachy orange.  Frisk is a cool, mid-toned brown.  Cover is a warm mid-toned red brown.  Primal is a cool, dark brown.  Undone is a gray black.

Overall, I am happy with my purchase.  I think I will use the heck out of Frisk and Primal.  But I am surprised how warm some of the shades like Stark and Cover are.

Many of you are probably wondering how this compares with Naked Basics, so here's my comparison.

Overall, they are very close. The biggest difference is that the lightest color in Naked 2 Basics is near equivalent to the third lightest shade in Naked Basics and Naked 2 Basics has two extra mid-tones that Naked Basics doesn't have.

For swatches, I tried to line the colors up with the color they match in the other palette.  They're all still in order, but I left space to make it easier to compare the dupes.

As I said, the biggest difference is that the lightest color in Naked 2 Basics is near equivalent to the third lightest shade in Naked Basics. Naked Basics has Venus (near white) and Foxy (pale yellow) that Naked 2 Basics does not have an equivalent or alternative to. WOS (Naked Basics) and Skimp (Naked 2 Basics) are pretty much dupes of each other. Even right up next to each other, I can't see much difference. They're both peach. I guess if I had to say something Skimp is a bit pinker, but still peach.

Naked 2 Basics has two colors that Naked Basics doesn't have an equivalent of as well. They are Stark (second color in Naked 2 Basics, a peachy orange) and Cover (fourth color in Naked 2 Basics, a reddish brown). Stark is much more peachy orange than I expected from the pink description on the UD site. It is NOT pink at all. Cover reminds me of a darker, browner version of Tease from Naked 2 but some of that same tone comes through.

Naked 2 (the color from Naked Basics not the palette, geez that's confusing) and Frisk (Naked 2 Basics) were the two I was most interested in comparing because I use Naked 2 almost daily. Frisk is slightly lighter and a bit more cool-toned than Naked 2. I also feel Faint (Naked Basics) and Primal (Naked 2 Basics) are pretty comparable. They are pretty close in intensity but Primal is cooler-toned. Crave (Naked Basics) and Undone (Naked 2 Basics) are interchangeable on someone as pale as me. Crave is slightly blacker and Undone is slightly grayer, but they're both just going to look black on my eyes and even swatched next to each other they are hard to tell apart.

Do you need both? No. They are pretty close. Am I glad I have both? Yes. I love the colors Naked 2 and Faint from Naked Basics and know I'm going to love having the color-toned options of Frisk and Primal from Naked 2 Basics. If you're going to get only one, which one should you get? If you want more light colors, get Naked Basics. If you want more mid-tones, get Naked 2 Basics. Although Frisk and Primal are cooler than Naked 2 and Faint, the rest of the colors in Naked 2 Basics are not really cool-toned. Stark and Cover have a lot of warmth to them on me.

SirenPrincess Beauty Rating: A- Great pigmentation but not all the colors are cool-toned as advertised

Naked 2 Basics from Urban Decay $29

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Divergent Palette--First Impressions

If you've seen this palette and weren't sure if you wanted it, YOU NEED THIS.  It's rare for me to be this excited about something, but it's seriously that good.  If you like the books or movie, you are going to love this.  If you've never heard of the books or movie, go check it out, but you're still going to love the make-up.  Plus, it's actually a really good deal when you consider all you're getting.  I am blown away with the quality of this product and how well they've tied in things from the film/books.

You get 3 eyeshadow palettes, 1 cheek palette, 4 lip glosses, and a dual-ended brush for $59.  The set is exclusive to Sephora and is currently sold out online and at a lot of stores.  If it's sold out in your area, try Sephora inside JCPenney.  They still had several in my area.

The box is HUGE, but even the big container box has lots of elements to show that a lot of attention to detail went into this product.  The ferris wheel from the movie is on the box.  The ferris wheel has raised spokes so you can feel them as you run your hand along the box. 

The box opening is at an angle, and there is just enough room to show a rainbow/holographic type pattern in the slant for the opening.

The eyeshadow palettes themselves are SO neat.  This may well be the most fun and playful make-up I own.  There are three eyeshadow palettes, and each one is themed after one of the factions from the movie/books.  Each faction has their own style, and the palettes match those styles beautifully.  But the coolest part is that each one also has a unique divergent color that's a glitter transformation shade.  The names are things like 'choose', 'diverge', 'transform'.  The packaging says that they're meant to represent the mirror themes from the movie in their colors and they do different things wet and dry.  They're meant to go over the tops of the other colors to change them, and I can say they do amazing, magical things when you use them in combination with the other colors.  Each transform color snaps off (at an angle too!) so that you can choose which faction it belongs with (how cool is that?!) and also mix and match the palettes that way.  I'd seen the snap off feature before, but I didn't realize how well made they are.  The angle movement for the diverging is cool, and there's a raised piece of metal at the split-off point.  The packaging just feels luxe and not cheap in your hand.  The best part is there are so many things that you can do with the transform shades.  If you consider you can pair all three transform colors with all 12 other shadows and do them all wet and dry for different effects, well, you could play with this palettes for weeks and still never do the same thing twice!

The colors in the palettes are all very nice and themed in well with the movie/books too.

I love lip gloss, so I am also loving that this set comes with 4 glosses.  And I also really love the brush.  I was worried about the quality of the brush, certain it would shed.  I was wrong.  It's a very high quality brush and I am so happy to have it in my collection.

This is one set that I don't think really shows across in pictures how nice it really is.  If you get the opportunity to buy one, you should.

I also really loved the movie too, if anyone was curious.

SirenPrincessBeauty Rating: A+
Disclaimer: I bought this with my own money

Divergent Multi-Piece Collector's Kit $59.50, Sephora Exclusive. Sephora is currently recommending calling customer service to find a store that has the palette.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Brow Gels

I prefer brow gels over pencils and powders.  They come in a tube with a wand, a bit like mascara. They're one of the easier brow products to use and can be applied quickly.  I've been looking for the perfect match for my blonde brows.  Here's a swatch of some colors I've been evaluating.

Top row (left to right): Blinc Brow Mousse in Dark Blonde, Blinc Brow Mousse in Medium Blonde, Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper and Hair Touch-up in Blonde
Bottom row (left to right): Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel in Blonde and Caramel

I find it interesting the Anastasia ones are very sparkly. But my actual brows do have a sparkle to the hairs, so maybe it's trying to replicate that?  The Bobbi blonde has a warmth to it that actually looks pretty good on me. The Blinc dark blonde was VERY dark on me. Husband asked me if I'd put black in my eyebrows. The Blinc medium blonde was pretty close but has an odd cool tone to it.

Disclaimer: The Anastasia Beverly Hills were swatched in store. The Blinc and Bobbi Brown I purchased.

SirenPrincessBeauty Ratings: Blinc B+ (colors run dark, cool toned), Bobbi Brown A- (color is a warm, dark blonde), Anastasia Beverly Hills A- (colors have an interesting sparkle to them)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shiro Cosmetics

Do you love make-up? Do you love geeky fandoms?  Then you have to check out Shiro Cosmetics.  They sell eyeshadows, blushes, and lippies in geeky fandom themes.  There's an AMAZING Game of Thrones collection with the most beautiful artwork I've ever seen.  You don't want to miss the Zelda collection or the Hunger Games collection.

I moved all of my Shiro samples to mini jars today. For reference, the samples (1/4 teaspoon) come in little baggies for $1. You can buy a mini jar (1 Gram) there for ~$3.50 and a big jar (2 Gram) there for ~$6. If you like the eyeshadow for the fandom component, you definitely want to buy the large jars. Only the large jars come with artwork. Look at the beautiful artwork too! But if you just want the eyeshadow color, the $1 samples are an amazing deal!

I bought these mini jars from Amazon for about $10. Then I could easily peel the sticker off the baggie and stick it to the bottom of the mini jar. The stickers stayed sticky and just needed transferred. Open up the baggie and directly pour into the mini jar, snap on a filter and lid, and I have what looks to me nearly identical to the mini jars they sell on the site. You really do get a good amount of eyeshadow for that dollar. It wasn't even all that messy. That paper towel is before I cleaned up anything.

The three in line with the hunger games one are the Shiro mini jars. The one on the far right and all the rest in the second photo are the ones I did.

 Disclaimer: I bought this with my own money.

SirenPrincessBeauty Rating: A Very fun! So very pretty colors and amazing artwork.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bobbi Brown GWP Mini Eyeshadow Palette

I swear Bobbi Brown has the BEST GWPs.  I am addicted to these little things.  They are usually with a $125-$150 purchase on the Bobbi Brown or department store websites.  They are tiny, and I LOVE that.  I've photographed them next to my Sephora VIB rouge card so you can get an idea of size.  These little things are no bigger than a credit card in width and length and maybe the size of two or three together for depth.  But you get a decent amount of product in them.  They are perfect for tossing in your purse for make-up on the go or for taking for travel.  If you could just buy these, I would buy a ton of them.
Here's a photo of the inside:

The one on the left is all eyeshadows.  I got it at the Bobbi Brown website recently with a $150 min purchase.  That sale is over, but you can currently get one at Neiman Marcus with a $150 Bobbi Brown purchase.  This is an incredible deal because you get 8 Bobbi Brown eyeshadows for free!  The GWPs also usually include a free mini mascara and small eye cream (not photographed).  For me, it doesn't matter that you only get a small amount of eyeshadow.  I hardly ever hit pan on anything and this lets me try all of these colors I would normally spend $22 a piece to try each color. I also prefer mini mascaras over full size because even with daily use I won't run out before the 3 month expiration date on open mascara is up.

Colors in the all eyeshadow one are Ivory, Shell, Stone shimmer, Antique Rose, Mica sparkle (note the sparkle shadows are not Bobbi's best formula), Saddle, Petal, and Rich Caviar.  The Stone shimmer and Saddle (a cool brown) are ones I am going to have to buy the full size of because they are really nice.

The GWP on the right contains a blush too.  It contains all of my favorite every day Bobbi eyeshadows in one tiny compact and the blush, perfect for travel.  It's Ivory, Velvet Plum (metallic), Cement (my favorite light every day lid color), and Rich Caviar.  The blush is Desert Pink.  Desert pink is an intensely pigmented blush so a lot goes a loooong way.  Use a stippling brush or a fan brush and only get a tiny bit and it will look good. I use Ivory for all over color, Cement on the lid, and Rich Caviar wet as a liner for a great day look then pat Velvet Plum over the top to convert to evening.

Here's a look I did with Ivory, Stone shimmer, and Saddle:

I personally think these things are amazing.  Bobbi Brown, please consider making them available for individual sale!  The all eyeshadow GWP was my first palette I used in week 1 of my palette parade.  I used it every day for week and you can hardly tell it's been used, so you can get a lot of use out of these.  I also didn't get tired of it at all in that week, so there's a good variety of pretty colors in there.

SirenPrincessBeauty Ranking: A+
Disclaimer: These were GWPs but I did purchase the $150 minimum to receive them with my own money.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Balm Lou Manizer

Looking for a new highlighter?  My absolute favorite is The Balm Mary Lou Manizer.

First, I love the adorable packaging and theme.  All of The Balm products have cute names and packaging.  The Lou Manizer series show cute girls in their mug shots with crimes like highlighting and looking too cute.

Mary Lou is the palest and is a pure highlighter.  It has a soft golden color and is pure shimmer.  It is the first powder highlighter I've found that has high shimmer but no glitter.  I don't know why, but Laura Mercier shimmer block and Bobbi Brown's shimmer brick and brightening brick are all glitter, glitter, glitter on me and just don't look flattering on me.  You only need a tiny bit with Mary Lou, so I use a fan brush to pick up a tiny bit of product and brush it very lightly across the top of my cheek bones where I want a highlight. This gives me that Hollywood highlight/contour look I want without looking glittery and out of place in my everyday life.  Mary Lou is perfect for pale girls because the golden color really adds no color and just adds the shimmer highlight.  It's perfect.

Now the one I'm disappointed in.  Cindy Lou Manizer is new, and I was very excited about it.  It's supposed to be a peachy highlighter that isn't quite as shimmery as Mary Lou. I was hoping it would be good for a more general highlighter I could use in more places without looking like a light bulb.  Bad news, pale girls--it looks like a blush on me.  It's a pretty dark peach and would make a good shimmery blush, but it definitely would not work as a highlighter.  I also did not find it any less shimmery than Mary Lou.

Finally there is a Betty Lou Manizer that I do not have for pictures but did purchase for my mother.  It's a very warm, dark, shimmery bronzer.  I do not think this would work at all for us pale girls.  It's for darker skin tones that want a warm, glowing look and would not work for contouring.  Still, the packaging is adorable and I think it's a great product for darker skin tones.

Here's the pictures of Mary Lou Manizer (on the left) and Cindy Lou Manizer (in the middle).  To try to give an idea of the color and darkness of Cindy Lou, I tried putting it next to some products you might be familiar with.  I've included The Balm Frat Boy blush, Benefit Rockateur Blush, and a Pixi bronzer.

And here they are swatched on my arm:

1. Mary Lou Manizer, 2 Benefit Rockateur Blush, 3. Cindy Lou Manizer, 4. Frat Boy Blush, 5 Pixi Bronzer

You'll notice that my Cindy Lou swatch looks nothing at all like the swatch on the Balm site.  I adore the Balm products, but I have found their swatches somewhat inaccurate.  They must be taken with a very bright flash.

Disclaimer: I bought all of the products discussed in this review.

SirenPrincessBeauty Rating:
Mary Lou Manizer: A+, one of my favorite products, great for pale girls!
Cindy Lou Manizer: C, can only be used as a blush on paler girls

Mary Lou Manizer, available at the and select Kohl's stores, $24
Cindy Lou Manizer, available at the and select Kohl's stores, $24

Monday, February 10, 2014

Bobbi Brown Midtone Brown Eyeshadows

I have quite a lot of Bobbi Brown, so I thought I would take the opportunity swatch a bunch of her midtone brown eyeshadows from different palettes and singles all together so that they would be easier for people to compare.  Her palettes usually contain at least one cream or white shade, some midtone browns, and then a really dark brown that I only ever use as a liner.  So here is a comparison of the midtone browns I own swatched on my pale skin.  I'll do a separate post of some of the lighter shimmer colors another time.  Most of these are the matte browns.

1. Pale Rose 2. Stormy Grey 3. Barely There 4. Heather Brown 5. Saddle 6. Taupe 7. Stone 8. Cocoa 9. Frappe 10. Antique Rose 11. Cement 12. Naked 13. Slate 14. Downtown

A little closer:

1. Pale Rose 2. Stormy Grey 3. Barely There 4. Heather Brown 5. Saddle 6. Taupe 7. Stone 8. Cocoa 9. Frappe

7. Stone 8. Cocoa 9. Frappe 10. Antique Rose 11. Cement 12. Naked 13. Slate 14. Downtown

My favorites are Cement and Stone.  Cocoa is extremely close to Stone, so the Rich Chocolate palette is almost like getting double the Stone (which is fine by me since I love that color).  My least favorite color is Taupe, which oddly is the least taupey to me.

Also, I think I've finally figured out how to tell if a Bobbi palette will have good payout or not.  All of the mattes are the best, great payout.  The shimmers are all pretty good too.  The metalics are usually okay but starting to get to not so great.  It's the ones labeled sparkle that are horrible, crumbly, and no color payout.  So if a palette is mostly mattes and shimmers, it's going to be a good one.  If the palette has a lot of sparkles, I'd stay away.

What's your favorite matte brown eyeshadow?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

SirenPrincessBeauty Rating: Varies by shade, but in general Bobbi Brown mattes get an A from me.

Disclaimer--I bought these.  Saddle is from a GWP.  Taupe was sort of free because messed up my order and let me keep it.  Otherwise I paid for them all with my own money.