Friday, 21 September 2012

Review: Urban Decay Vice Palette

Here is a fun little fact, the name of my blog "Blog of Shadows" actually takes its inspiration from Urban Decays "Book of Shadows" Palettes - since they used to be my absolute make up staple! I recently took a trip to the states and even though money was tight out, I went a few souvenirs less for this bad boy. You could say it was my vice (lol bad joke) but seriously, this palette is a babe!

Exterior box. 

The Vice palette screams luxurious, with a silky velvety feel to the palette and at the press of a button the lid slowly slides up to reveal all the make up goodness. Encrusted with UD on the front, Urban Decay really got it right packaging wise. It feels sturdy, looks lovely and lasted a flight on a place with minimal protection. Pretty impressive!


The palette comes with a double ended brush, one end a blending brush and the other your basic flat eyeshadow brush. While I haven't had a chance to use them yet, they are very soft and the blending brush looks wonderful. Its a really nice addition and makes a nice change from the primer potion they always seem to throw in there!


But lets get onto the eyeshadows themselves, that is what we are all here for right?



All twenty eyeshadows are brand new, meaning you won't have any in your collection already (debatable though!). They all have the newest eyeshadow formulation which I had not yet tried but am pleased to say it really is an improvement on their older eyeshadows.

I will insert some quick swatches row by row here, and then keep scrolling down for in depth close up swatches and a review on each individual shade. 





Desperation is a cool toned brown, it actually came out a lot more pigmented than I first imagined. It has a very nice buttery soft formula but does kick up a little bit in the pan because it is so soft. Intensely pigmented though.
Muse looked really lovely in the pan, like a very pretty intense bronze, but came out a lot darker than I expected. It was a bit too similar to Desperation for me, and while the forumula was great, I would have really loved a deep amber colour for Autumn.
Jagged was a huge disappointment in my opinion. The base colour hardly translated to my skin and there was a lot of glitter fall out (Think Midnight Cowboy from the other UD Palettes...) This does get better when used with a primer though (my swatches are done unprimed). Disappointing because it looks so lovely in the pan but is way to sheer when used without a base. The biggest dud in the palette. 
Blitz is one of my favourite colours in the palette, it is just GOLD! Like Sugarpill Goldilux gold, but in pan form! The formula is a dream, it is soft, buttery and pigmented, very easy to blend and eye catching! I cannot say enough good things about this.
Penny Lane is a lovely soft peachy colour. Its sheer but buildable and has a really nice formulation - again soft and buttery. The colour is very different to others in my collection, but I can see it being hard for some people to wear with its slight orange tone. 
I really couldn't do Junkie justice in this swatch. If you look at the group swatches on my arm, that is a lot truer to life! It has a gorgeous mermaid like sheen to it, which really does not transfer here. It does have a very deep base colour though, which on the eye gives it a sort of smokiness which you wouldn't expect by just looking at it in the pan.
Chaos really is a stand out shade for this palette, its electric!! Just look at it! How can anyone resist this, I can't wait to do a few looks with it. It has a matte feel to it, but has amazing pigmentation where other mattes fail. I can't complain at all with this shade in terms of pigmentation or blendability. Urban Decay really has done a matte right. 
Occupy is a really nice smokey blue jewel toned shade. Again pigmentation is nice, it does have a little bit of glitter fall out issues but really its nothing that can't be fixed. I didn't find this shade to be very WOW, but that is just me. 
I really love this shade, its a beautifully pigmented jewel mermaid blue. Again the texture is just lovely and smooth, pigmentation is amazing. I can't complain and really can't wait to use this shade! 
I really do find matte black shades a bit annoying in palettes, just because I must have over 100 matte blacks! This one is no different. The colour payoff was nothing to write home about, I have seen black eyeshadows which are far better (Lime Crime has a fantastic black eyeshadow in the Chinadoll Palette which so far cannot be beaten!). It is always handy to have a matte black in a palette though, especially if travelling. 
As you can probably see in the swatch, this shade is very very gritty and chunky. It didn't adhere to the lid very well even with primer. The fall out is insane, it just went all over my face and in my eye. I just really couldn't get it to work at all and cannot see myself using this one. One out of 20 isn't bad though!
If you knew me in real life, you would know one of my favourite shades of eyeshadow is PURPLE. I have such a collection of purple eyeshadows, I simply cannot get enough of them! Rapture did not fail to please me, a deep smokey plum, I can see this looking great in the crease! Pigmentation and quality are again, fantastic. 
Vice looks so incredibly beautiful in the pan, almost glowing! But this didn't seem to transfer to the lid unfortunately. It actually ended up looking very dull (but that's just me!) All in all its a great dark purple with great pigmentation (although it does take a little more building that other shades in the palette) and again great quality.
Noise is a wonderful bright pink. Its really hard to find bright pinks that are pigmented and UD actually seems to be one of the only companies that deliver a bright pink (Junkshow was also a really good pink!) Although not as bright as in the pan, it is buildable and again the same lovely UD quality to be expected that is consistent throughout the palette. 
Armor is a grey taupe kind of colour, with a bit of brown. I found this shade has some chunky glitter in it which caused a little bit of fall out but again nothing that can't be fixed. Nice pigmentation and I think will please neutral lovers by adding a touch of everyday colour to quite a bright palette!
Never Mind is a nice neutral everyday golden peach with a hint of brown. A lovely everyday colour which has excellent payoff, blendability and smoothness. I think the last row of the palette offers some nice everyday neutral shades which make this palette very versatile and offers something for everyone!
Echo Beach is a sheer everyday champagne golden shade. It is very sheer but I don't think it was designed to be super pigmented, and is rather just a sheer wash of colour for everyday wear. This is exactly how I intend to use it and it is just lovely. Again soft and buttery formulation wise. 
Anonymous makes a lovely highlight/inner corner colour. Not enough palettes include a versatile creamy shade that can be used to highlight the brow so well done to UD for including this. While it is sheer, I can see myself using this probably the most out of any of the other colours because of its versatility. It is a matte shade but doesn't suffer from those problems mattes typically suffer from. It is buildable, soft but a little on the powdery side, it does kick up a lot in the pan. 

I was a little unsatisfied with freebird. I always get excited when I see baby pinks, hoping they will be pigmented and good quality and Freebird did not live upto that. It was very sheer with a lot of fall out and chunky glitter. It is pretty, just not the baby pink I hoped for. I will continue to search! 
Laced is a neutral pink toned beige. For lighter skinned pale lovelies, this would be an excellent "blending" colour if you have trouble finding one. It is a very different colour, I can't actually think of a dupe or even a colour similar in my stash. 

Overall I love the Vice palette, out of 20 colours, only 3 were duds for me in terms of quality and formulation, either being too sheer or having too much fall out. 17 of the colours though have EXCELLENT payoff and were a dream to work with. With soft buttery quality, excellent blendability (even the mattes) and pretty much all of them had brilliant pigmentation. I really cannot complain. I got this when I was in the US for $60 but it is not yet out in the UK. I expect it will be released October sometime so keep your eyes peeled in your Debenhams/House of Frasers. It is definitely worth checking out!

I hope you enjoyed this very long and picture heavy review. Will you be getting the Vice palette? Will it be going on the x-mas list perhaps? 

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Lush Retro Review: August 2012

It feels like an age since I posted my last retro review! Lush decided to skip July to make August extra special and they did indeed. This months 5 retro products have excited the lush community greatly... one word people... Bathos! Unfortunately as much as I wanted to get this up before I went on holiday, Lush failed to send one of the products because they had run out and needed to make more. Therefore I actually ended up with the said product the day before I went on holiday, not giving me enough time to test it out and review it. Hence why this is so late :( Luckily all products are still available online! 

If unsure of what Retro Lush is... every month (or two) Lush releases 4-5 products that are making a comeback. For whatever reason Lush discontinued them or they were only available for a limited time and for this month only they make a comeback. Its pretty exciting since it means people can get their hands on products that haven't been available in years. Also Lush UK ships worldwide for a very reasonable price, so no fear if they aren't available in your country.  


I hadn't actually heard of Skinny Dip before and wasn't too excited to be honest because my last Buttercream experience wasn't too great (see Heavenly Bodies review here). I was hoping this one would prove to be a bit better for me! First off, I'm not a huge fan of the smell. My step dad had a tooth ache medicine that smelt exactly like this. It smelt so strong and awful we actually put it in the garage! This has a hint of that, but its quite subtle so I can get past it. I think its the clove oil in it. As for making my skin silky soft, this buttercream actually worked! Afterwards my skin felt lovely and soft but in parts it still felt very dried out and tight. Not good for my eczema. 

I would use with: Vanilla Fountain Bath Bomb, Yuzu and Coco Bubble Bar
Ideal for: Oily skin, since it does no good for dry!
Would I buy again?: Nope
Last seen in: 2006/2007

Demon in the Dark Soap - £3.95 for 100g






Close up of whats inside! Anyone care to take a guess?

This minty soap is indeed an demon to look at. I have never seen anything like it. It just doesn't look like soap and has a slight green glow to it! The name is very appropriate. It smells like my toothpaste, I just cannot put it any other way. However I am a huge fan of mint and don't mind in the slightest! I do find this soap to be drying on my eczema prone hands. 

I would use with: Dirty Springwash Shower Gel, Freeze Shower Gel, 
Ideal for: Uplifting, waking up, super squeaky clean hands.
Would I buy again?: I think so, I really like minty products and this is a nice soap. I just can't use it that often.
Last seen in: 2009/2010





Haagenbath has a gorgeous chocolatey smell that will appeal to probably every chocoholic out there. Its a lovely muted pink colour with pieces of  REAL bath chocolate and cocoa butter. It has a very minty smell to it, kind of like an After Eight or Matchmakers chocolates. This for me, was the slowest fizzing bath bomb I have ever encountered. I don't know if I had a  bad batch, but usually I like to photograph the bath AFTER the bath bomb has fizzed, to show the colour of the water ect... Well if I had waited, my bath would have been cold! And let me tell you this, it was STILL going even when I hopped out! This doesn't really bug me, but was interesting to note! It has a lovely warm scent, perfect for the coming colder months. Pieces of chocolate and cocoa butter scatter throughout the bath making it nice for people with sensitive/dry skin because it is moisturising. The bath turned a completely opaque pink colour, which was great! I love opaque baths!

I would use with: Snow Fairy Shower Gel, Rock Star Soap,
Ideal for: Cold nights and chocolate cravings!
Would I buy again?: Definitely! I think this should be made permanent.
Last seen in: 2009 (I think! Would need confirming!)

Bathos - £3.20 each




The Bathos I received was completely fresh. You can tell because they look kind of moist in the middle when you break them. 




The highly anticipated and long awaited Bathos Bubble Bar is back! I was SO excited to try this I can't even explain! It is probably the most hyped retro product on the forum and I as someone who couldn't wait to try it, got dragged into the hype and ordered myself a bucket load. Oopsie! I am so happy I did though, I totally get the hype now. Its a wonderfully violet scented bubble bar that produces a heck load of bubbles and leaves you smelling gorgeous.  It is utterly relaxing and turns the water a nice violet colour to match. The bubbles are long lasting and the scent stays on your skin. Definite perfection.

I would use with: Waving not Drowning bath bomb, Gratuitous Violets Soap, Sex Bomb Bath Bomb, 
Ideal for: Before bed, troubled sleepers, a little relaxation
Would I buy again?: Yes yes yes. 
Last seen in: 2006/2007

Gumback Express Shower Smoothie - £10.95 







I was a little bit bummed, when I received my Lush order this was missing, and they sent it out just 2 days before I went on holiday (meaning I literally had no time to test/review/get this post up). I can say it was totally worth it though. This smells divine. Think banana, not the manufactured fake banana smell but a real banana smoothie! This smells like real bananas in a pot, and my oh my do I love it! Its quite scrubby, but also very viscous. I like to use it on the backs of my arms or legs for a gentle exfoliator. I have to say its not the best at exfoliating, but it sure does smell fantastic. If you like bananas, you will love this!

I would use with: Snow Fairy Shower Gel (It actually goes really well!)
Ideal for: When you need a fruity injection into your life.
Would I buy again?: Definitely. I've already got a back up on the way!
Last seen in: 2004

Overall: I really enjoyed this months retro. I am so happy to have finally experienced Bathos and I think there is a nice mix of products that the forum lushies have been lusting after for a long time!
Hit: Bathos and Gumback Express!
Miss: Skinny Dip Buttercream. I remain unimpressed with the Lush buttercreams unfortunately. 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: MUA Heaven and Earth Palette

This is a scheduled post whilst I am on holiday. I will be back on the 13th September to reply to comments :)

Hey guys. I'm very late to the MUA party aren't I? I have to admit, when I first heard about MUA, I totally turned my nose up. "Nothing can be THAT good for £1" I would say, but when their sale came around, I actually thought it was a good time to buy their palettes and finally try out the brand. They are so highly talked about in the blogosphere, I was beginning to feel like I was missing out! So today I bring you my thoughts on the Heaven and Earth Palette. 




OK, I'm gonna be brutally honest. The shades are a bit hit and miss, but I feel that way about the Urban Decay Naked Palette and most Urban Decay palettes for that fact. I am yet to find a perfect palette (although Lime Crime ones come very close) and almost every palette I do have has one shade that is a bit blah. For the most part, this palette had a wonderful selection of shades and most were buttery soft, finely milled and pigmented. Only a few applied patchy and had glitter fall out which you will be able to tell from the swatches below. 

Click picture to make bigger.
Taken with flash.
Click picture to make bigger.
Taken in front of window without flash.

The first shade is a lovely brow highlight/inner tear duct shade. Its very brightening and lifting and isn't too pigmented which makes it perfect. 
The next two shades are very pretty neutrals, a lovely pigmented copper and gold. Both presented no problems and blended really really nicely. The shadows are so buttery soft, blending really is easy and hassle free.


I found the 4th shade to be a little sheer, but nice for throwing on everyday. The 5th shade was so pigmented, buttery and again lovely to blend. It really took almost no building up to get the colour I have swatched here. It has lovely coppery red reflects in it and would make a lovely brown smokey eye *runs off to try it*.
The 6th shade and last in the top row was a lovely gold in the pan, resembling MAC Amber Lights which excited me. However it applied more sheer than I would have liked, but still really nice for a sheer wash of colour. 


I have to say I was a bit disappointed with these next colours. The first pictured and 7th in the palette was a really nice cool toned brown. It applied very sheerly and patchy and there was a little bit of glitter fall out. However it was not entirely useless, I found this great for putting in the crease and because it was semi sheer - it was nice to build up and not overdo it. The next two shades, the 8th and 9th shades are so sheer! I did really like the 9th shade for throwing on the lid in a hurry, but I did have higher hopes for the 8th shade since it looked like a nice cool toned brown that could have been a really nice crease shade. 

The last three shades were really nice. I found the 10th to be a bit on the sheer side but still makes a lovely wash of colour. The 11th shade was lovely, I actually enjoyed popping this on the centre of the lid for some dimension as it is a really nice coppery red shade. The last shade in the palette is a glittery brown with purple undertones. The glitter in this shade didn't fall out whatsoever, which is a feat many companies do not grasp! The glitter looks absolutely stunning on the lid - I can't wait to try a look with it. This shade does require a bit of building up though!

Overall this is a nice little palette and was a great first experience of MUA. I can't believe I was so snobby to start with and have since bought every MUA palette available (reviews incoming!) I really like the packaging and the fact there is a clear window to see what palette it is, what colours ect... Compared to the Sleek palettes, these are a lot easier to find in your stash. I do not feel like these are sturdy, if I shake the palette it does rattle and I feel like if dropped on a hard floor, this could end badly. But at the end of the day for £4, its not going to be the same as dropping and destroying a £30 palette. Really I could only find a couple of shades I was unimpressed with and even then I will still use them as everyday washes of colour and again for £4 I really am not complaining in the slightest. You really cannot argue with that price and the fact you are getting 12 eyeshadows (some better quality than MAC and Urban Decay!). I found the eyeshadows long wearing with a primer and some of the best quality in terms of blendability! I am really happy and will definitely be featuring some MUA in my future looks!
MUA can be purchased here and they do ship internationally. Additionally hop down to your local superdrug which stocks MUA.

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