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Eye Shadow x 9: MAC Amber Times Nine Eye Shadow Palette

Published in: Eyes, MAC Makeup, Palettes



Why, makeup gods, WHY?!

I don’t understand… The Eye Shadow x 9: MAC Amber Times Nine eyeshadow palette, one of four $40 MAC Times Nine palettes available now in the permanent collection and released with the Eyes on MAC collection, is soooooo my style. On paper, it has everything I usually want in a neutral eyeshadow palette. It has some matte brown transition shades; it has a sprinkling of sparkle and shimmer, thanks to the inclusion of a few shadows with Frost and Lustre finishes; and it has not one, but two of my favorite MAC eyeshadows of all time in Cork and Ricepaper.


All this for $40, which I considered a steal based on all of the looks I saw myself doing with it.

Then I delved in…

Mac Amber Times Nine Palette

Eye Shadow x 9: MAC Amber Times Nine. Top row from the left: Don’t Tell, Ricepaper and Cozy Grey; middle row from the left: Aromatic, Creative Copper and Kitties; bottom row from the left: Pepper Please, Cork and Georgia Peach

Wearing the Mac Amber Times Nine Palette

Here I’m wearing Ricepaper, Don’t Tell, Cork, Aromatic and Pepper Please on my lids

When the four $40 MAC Eye Shadow x 9: Times Nine palettes launched a while back, it was with the more expensive $85 MAC Cool Neutral and Warm Neutral 15-pan palettes.

In addition to Amber Times Nine, there’s also a Purple Times Nine palette, Navy Times Nine and a Burgundy Times Nine, but yesterday I played with Amber.

The pans in these Times Nine palettes are smaller than regular full-size MAC eyeshadow pans (they’re about the size of my thumb, LOL!) and hold 0.02 ounces of powder, compared to 0.05 ounces in a standard $10 Pro Palette refill pan.

Eye Shadow x 9: MAC Amber Times Nine gave me trouble…

This was my first time using one of MAC’s Times Nines, and while I was hoping to achieve neutral shadow nirvana with Amber, I didn’t. Seriously, what a letdown… I had so much trouble working with this palette.

The hard-packed shadows feel like concrete in their pans, and I have a tough time picking them up with either a brush or my fingers. Even the darker shades, which I expected to be more pigmented, apply disappointingly sheer. I have to layer and layer and layer some more to see them on my lids.

And the colors I know so well and love, like Cork and Ricepaper, are unlike the Cork and Ricepaper I’ve grown to love. I swear they’re sheerer here, and harder, and require more passes with my 217 to blend.

Mac Amber Times Nine Palette

Swatches from the left (for reference, I’m an NC42): MAC Cozy Grey, Kitties, Georgia Peach, Ricepaper and Creative Copper

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With The Blushed Nudes Palette by Maybelline, Imitation Naked 3 Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Maybelline, Palettes, Product Reviews

maybelline blushed nudes

Maybelline’s $10 The Blushed Nudes Palette

On the drive to the NKOTB/TLC/Nelly concert in San Jose last week, my friend and fellow makeup lover Marisol asked if I would mind us making a pit stop at a Walmart down there to see if they had Maybelline’s new $10 The Blushed Nudes Palette.

She said that she’d looked all over for it up in the North Bay where we live to no avail, and that the closest place she could track it down was the Walmart right next to the concert venue.

A $10 dupe for Urban Decay Naked 3?

“Do you mind if we swing by?” she asked.

Uh…do I mind stopping by a store with a huge beauty section to look at makeup?

I said I didn’t.

Marisol said that she heard the palette was a $10 drugstore dupe for the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette.

“Of all the people I know,” she told me, “I thought you would understand.”

I did. :)

maybelline blushed nudes

The Blushed Nudes Palette by Maybelline ($10)

With a $10 dupe for Naked 3 on the line, shirtless Jordan Knight would just have to wait, LOL!

When we got to the Walmart, we made a beeline for the beauty department, where we found two Blushed Nude palettes in stock. I took it as a sign from the makeup gods that I needed to bring one of them home, and Marisol did too. She snagged the other one.

Forget about buying an overpriced New Kids t-shirt at the concert. This would be my souvenir instead. :)

The Blushed Nudes Palette by Maybelline: 12 eyeshadows in rose gold shades

With the rose gold packaging and 12 eyeshadows in rose gold shades, The Blushed Nudes looks a lot like UD’s $54 Naked 3 palette… Right? The resemblance is uncanny! For this one, it’s pretty easy to see where Maybelline got their inspiration.

maybelline blushed nudes

The Blushed Nudes Palette by Maybelline (top) next to the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette (bottom)

Eyeshadow Trickery 101

But while very similar, there are some pretty big differences between the two.

Like first, the price. One is $10 and the other is $54.

That’s huge.

Second and third, the levels of pigment and shimmer. The Urban Decay Naked 3 shadows contain much more pigment and pearl. With them I think you definitely get more intense color and shine on your lids, but you can get there with the Maybelline Blushed Nudes eyeshadows. You just need to resort to a little makeup trickery.

Like you could…

  1. Basically, use more. You can build up the Blushed Nudes shadows in layers, but you’re probably looking at using two or three times as many as you’d need with the Naked3s. Maybe five or six total layers with the lighter shades.
  2. Intensify the colors by applying them with a wet brush.
  3. Use your fingers instead of a brush, so you can really apply some pressure directly on your lids.

Of course, none of this is necessary if you actually want a softer, hazier eye look. Most of The Blushed Nudes shades are fairly sheer, so if that’s your agenda, your regular brushes would do you just fine.

maybelline blushed nudes

Where are my mattes!?

And then there’s the whole matte situation… You get three matte shades — matte beige Strange, light matte pinkish taupe Limit and matte purplish taupe Nooner — in Urban Decay Naked 3, which are very handy as transition shades.

The Maybelline Blushed Nudes palette, on the other hand, has only one matte, a sheer pinkish taupe that looks like UD’s limit (only sheerer). I tried using it as a crease color…but I wasn’t too crazy about it. I had to use hella layers (I’m talking five or six) to have it really register on my medium skin tone, and even then I still couldn’t see it very well.

It may not be an issue for paler princesses, or if mattes just aren’t your thing, but if you’re around my shade (I’m a MAC NC42) or darker, or if you’re just all about that matte crease life, it’s something to consider.

maybelline blushed nudes

Swatches of The Blushed Nudes Palette by Maybelline

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Tarte Precision Longwear Liner Sits Among the All-Time Greats in the Liquid Liner Pantheon

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Product Reviews, Tarte

tarte precision longwear liner

Wearing the Tarte Precision Longwear Liner ($24, new for summer) on my upper lash lines

I’m picky when it comes to liquid liners… Pickier than a crabby reality TV show judge on a singing competition!

Seriously, if there’s even just one thing wrong with them — ONE THING! — I’m like Liam Neeson in the Taken movies when he threatens the kidnappers. “I WILL FIND YOU!!”

That said, Tarte’s Precision Longwear Liner ($24) passes the Liam Neeson Test with flying colors.

This dark chocolate neutral matte brown, which looks like a rich blackish brown in pics, is an absolutely legit alternative to errrrday black liquid liners. Great for when you want a cat-flicked liquid liner look with less contrast than black.

The long and firm, but flexible, felt tip draws precise flicks and lines with smooth edges, and you don’t have to freaking arm wrestle the damn thing to use it (it seems that way sometimes with liquid liner, doesn’t it?).

And — HUGE pro — the liner applies smoothly and filled with pigment. None of that uneven patchy nonsense that plagues lesser liquid liners.

tarte precision longwear liner

Tarte Precision Longwear Liner ($24)

It also layers well, doesn’t flake off my skin and lasts about seven hours. As far as where it sits in the liquid liner pantheon of all-time greats, I think it’s easily comparable to LORAC Front of the Line Pro, Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink and Tom Ford’s Eye Defining Pen.

tarte precision longwear liner

Tarte Precision Longwear Liner ($24)

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The Pacifica Power of Love Palette Is a Curious Thing That Could Make One Woman Weep and Another Woman Sing

Published in: Eyes, Makeup, Pacifica, Palettes, Product Reviews

pacifica power love palette

The Pacifica Power of Love Eyeshadow Palette ($19.99)

Unless, as a child, your ears were fed a steady diet of cheesy ’80s pop music, you probably won’t think of Huey Lewis and the News when you open the new Pacifica Power of Love Eyeshadow Palette ($19.99).

But since I was THAT KID, that song creeps into my mind when I think about this palette.

“Try to think of other things, Karen,” I tell myself, “like how these mineral eyeshadows are cruelty-free, or how they’re infused with coconut water.”

But nooooo, all I can do is think about Back the Future

pacifica power love palette

The Pacifica Power of Love Eyeshadow Palette ($19.99)

So, Pacifica. Remember when they were just about bath products? Over the past few years they’ve moved further into the makeup space with color products for eyes, faces, lips and cheeks. Their focus is natural makeup — products made with vegan ingredients that are also cruelty free.

New for summer, the Power of Love Eyeshadow Palette is available exclusively at Target stores for $19.99. Inside the cardboard packaging, which is recyclable and printed with soy ink, in case you were wondering, are 10 powder eyeshadows, eight of them shimmers of varying levels of shine, and a couple of mattes. The shades are mostly neutrals, but there are a handful of accent colors as well. Most of the shadows are moderately pigmented, but a few are quite sheer.

pacifica power love palette

Wearing the Pacifica Power of Love Eyeshadow Palette on my eyes

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The Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Vol. 2 Colors You Crave: Nine Pigmented Pans Make This a Good Special Event Palette

Published in: Eyes, Make Up For Ever, Palettes, Product Reviews

make up for ever artist palette vol 2

The Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Vol. 2 Colors You Crave ($42)

Current cravings:

  • A Pink Power Smoothie, even though I already had one today for breakfast.

    Is there an unwritten rule I don’t know about against drinking two of the same kind of smoothies in one day?! #deepthoughts.

  • A hug from Tabs, because I haven’t seen him since I fed him gravy this morning.

    He usually “supervises” me in my office during the mornings because he likes the sun in here, but I think he’s afraid of the new pink shelves, so he’s hiding.

  • The poppin’ pigments in Make Up For Ever’s new $42 Artist Palette Vol. 2 Colors You Crave
make up for ever artist palette vol 2

Make Up For Ever Artist Palette Vol. 2 Colors You Crave ($42)

May brings us two new Artist Palettes from MUFE — Vol. 1, Nudes You Need, which I played with yesterday, and this brighter one here, Vol. 2, called Colors You Crave.

Now, if my stomach rumbles through these next few paragraphs in this post, I apologize. You see, I am currently craving lunch, in addition to these colors. :)

The palette houses nine pans, which are arranged into color-coordinating columns of three (or rows, if you turn it sideways), of Make Up For Ever eyeshadow in their incredibly soft, crazy creamy gel-[dash]-powder formula (they reformulated their eyeshadows last year).

So, how soft are they? Well, this morning El Hub stopped by my desk to loiter as he sometimes does and asked what I was doing. Before I could answer, he reached out and touched the palette.

Of course, he gouged a big divot into one of the pans just by brushing his Tarzan hand against it, so you have to be a little careful with these… All of that is just to say that they’re very soft. They almost feel like a cream, but they’re not. They aren’t wet at all. They’re still powders, but they’re squishy powders.
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