Friday, March 15, 2013

The Epic Emerald Review

Are you ready for this? Are you ready for the fruits of a Sephora shopping spree and two days of makeup testing? Because here it is... My review of a significant chunk of the items in the Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year Emerald Collection. The only item in that pic that didn't make it into the review is the green glitter eyelashes because I am saving them for a special occasion.

First let's look at some of the items from the big Color of the Year box set. You can buy all of these individually, but if you want most of the items it's probably worth buying the whole box. 
 Here's the color grid block in Bionic. I love how it's packaged! Those are little magnets in each corner, so you can have it all stacked up, or flip the lid and mirror out. Clever! There are two other color grids available and this was actually the least-interesting one to me, but it came in the box and I wanted everything else in the box, so there you have it.
And this is Color Code Prismatic Shadow Block, with a bonus mirror picture of me and my sparkly phone. I actually didn't use this on my first day of testing for reasons that will become obvious when we get down to the swatch.
Here's the Graphic Sculpt Waterproof Jumbo Liner, a big fat liner pencil. This is one of the few items I wasn't going to buy separately, because I wasn't sure what I'd do with it.
 Lightspeed Glitter Dust. Aw yeah! This is one of the things I was most excited about. Green. Glitter. Microglitter! Shown here with Medusa's Makeup glitter base, which I will totally review another day because it is also awesome.
 Color Cube Lid Stain. I don't know what "lid stain" means but as far as I can tell it's a gel liner, and I love gel liner and I love this color. I guess you can also use it as a shadow, so this will require future experimentation.
 Hand swatch, hand swatch! I swear I rotated this picture, but Blogger rotated it back, so whatever. We'll go top to bottom instead of left to right.

As you can see, the silver color in the Bionic block is almost invisible on my hand (but it's actually pretty nice in real life, a shimmery white/silver that really brightened the corners of my eyes), the blue is really "meh" and the emerald green is a spot-on match for the Pantone color.

Then there's the Prismatic shadow block. Ok, this is NOT emerald. It's a nice color, and I like it, but it has way too much of a yellow tone compared to the very blue emeralds in this collection. I had to save it for Day 2.

Graphic Sculpt liner looks pretty good! It's like coloring with a crayon. I decided it would probably be good for under-eye, so that's how I ended up using it, as you'll see soon.

Lid Stain. Oh wow, look at that yummy metallic green. This is one of my new favorite things.

Lightspeed Glitter. Kind of like a mineral eye shadow. Will require future experimentation. Lots of experimentation.

 And here's the look I made with those items (minus that not-emerald eye shadow). Looks pretty good with my eyes open! I threw on a little black mascara to complete the look.
Eyes closed, you can really see how weak that blue is. Yuck! This was applied over my usual Urban Decay primer, which was just not enough to make that color stick. But also look at that lid stain liner. So pretty!

And how did it hold up? Well, I wore it for about 6 hours, which included going to dinner and then two hours of dance class. By the time I got home, my emerald and blue eyeshadows had become one and I had naked patches on my eyes. Not pleased. Not pleased at all. I have received a lot of advice on Facebook on how to possibly get the colors to be more intense and last longer, but you know what? That Bionic block retails for $26. At that price, I expect it to be comparable with my Urban Decay and MAC shadows, not some department store cheapy.
 Hey! Let's take a break and talk nails! I bought the three pack of Mini Graphic Effect Lacquers. There's a shimmer, which is pretty nice and simple and looks great. There's a glitter, which is more of a shamrock than emerald green and has a slight green tint to the base. I want to try it over other colors for sure. And then there's what they labeled as a metallic, which is more like a semi-matte opaque with lots of glitter. I like how that one looks but it feels kind of chunky. I applied them over a base coat, but since I was in a hurry I didn't use a top coat and I used the quick-dry drops. My left hand (with all three colors) is holding up fine, but my right hand (with just the "metallic") is already chipping a lot.
 Please take a moment to admire the awkwardness of this picture where I tried to show all three bottles and all three colors on my nails.
 Heyo! Back to the big box! Here is the Graphic Lift Liquid Eyeliner. It is a pretty metallic emerald green but you won't be able to tell until you get down to the swatches because this is a bad picture.
 Oh, you like eyeliners, you say? Well how about we also take a look at the Glitter Strobe Eyeliner Set, which contains four different mini-tubes of emerald liquid liner with different effects, similar to the nail polish. I am super-excited about this!

By the way, this release is heavy on the eyeliner. Look, I bought 7 liners and there's still one more I didn't get. And that's not counting the liner pencils that were already available in emeraldish colors. So basically what I am saying is that if you want emerald green eyeliner, they have you covered and then some.
 Hey look, swatches! Yep, all those liners are different. There's a nice plain opaque and a few different metallics and glitters, for whatever sort of look you want to do. I also swatched that eyeshadow again so you can see how it doesn't really go with any of these but I'm using it for this look anyway.
 Lastly, here's some Color Watt Highlighting Mascara which I did not swatch on my hand, because I don't want to know how many tiny, tiny little hairs grow on the back of my hand, OK?
 So what's a girl to do when she has five different eyeliners to test in one go? SWIRLY LINER! Ha ha. I'm like a green Goth. Actually, this was kind of fun and I could see doing it for an over-the-top faerie or mermaid look. The brushes that come with them are a little soft, so you'd probably want to use your own prefered liner brush for drawing the swirly lines a bit more precisely. I also went back to that gel liner and used it to do more water line.

As for the mascara, I put it on over black. It doesn't show well in the pictures but it is an obvious green accent in real life. Probably more ideal for situations where you'll be right up in the audience's face instead of a stage production, which pretty much seems to be the case with colored mascaras. Stick with colored false lashes if you want to be seen from a distance!
LOOOOOOOOK at the SWIIIIIIRLS! Also notice that the green eyeshadow is weak-sauce. I noticed myself losing color already when I started applying the liner. What the heck? I hadn't even started dancing yet. And in fact, I had sprayed my face with setting spray in hopes of gluing that stuff in place. I am pretty disappointed because it's a nice, shimmery, sparkly shade of green that isn't really represented in my collection yet, but I am obviously going to have to work hard with this and with the emerald in the Bionic block if I want to actually make use of them.

Anyway, I did a bit of dance practice in my house and built up a bit of a sweat, and I found that my liquid liners had transferred a bit to my crease, which seems to happen to me a lot. I should probably set them with powder in the future. The other liners all stayed in place and the shadow didn't fade too much more. Also when I tried to remove the swatches from my hand with a little lid wash on a cotton square, they lingered! I removed the top layer but there are still five distinctly green lines on my hand and some green smudging, even though I've also since washed my hands. So I think they'll hold up to a little sweat. They might even hold up if the fire sprinklers come on in the middle of your palm flame performance.

Over-all impressions? The liners are probably all good buys. The shadows are NOT. As a wise friend said, with emerald being the color of the year, most lines will be releasing their own versions if they don't have them already, so go buy from a brand that is more reliable. The polishes and mascara also seem like fine investments. I only used the glitter sparingly, but I didn't get any fall-out even from all the dancing I did on Wednesday night, so it's probably a good choice, too. I'll likely revisit it in the future.

What do you think? Will you be rocking any of these new products for St. Patrick's Day and May birthday parties? Or do you think that the Pantone collections are just an excuse to sucker us into buying shoddy eyeshadow and more eyeliner than we really need?

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