Monday, August 31, 2015

Atelier des Ors- Aube Rubis & Larmes du Désert

The last week of August is the summer equivalent of February. Is there such a thing as summer ennui? If not, I'm declaring it now. I'm kind of done. Both back and front yards are looking tired and shriveled at the edges, tomato season is over, all the cute clothes have been worn to death, the golden goddess makeup is boring (not to mention that fall collections have been out for a month now), and I can't look at another beach novel. And perfume? I'm not big on traditional summer perfumes to begin with, so let me just say: meh.

It's either the ennui or the heat, but I couldn't even gather the energy to shrug at the launch of yet another "niche" perfume brand. And that was actually a good thing, because otherwise I would have missed a very good thing. Atelier des Ors is a French line that emerged this year with five perfumes (only five, imagine that!) that have a romanticized Orientalist vibe that fits nicely with the end of summer, even if it's only in my head. I've got a quick sniff of all five Atelier des Ors fragrances and was impressed with the rich tapestry they create. Even Rose Omeyyade, a rose soliflore, didn't bore me, and had I been big into roses I'd probably be all over this one (you can read March's impression on the Posse). There was also the spectacularly named Lune Feline (Mark of Colognoisseur reviewed it). But my heart was immediately captured by Aube Rubis and Larmes du Désert, so these are the ones I chose and spent  a few days of quality time testing  (there's also a leather one, Cuir Sacré, though I can't remember a thing about it).

Aube Rubis ("ruby dawn") is a warm iris-patchouli blend, grounded and fired up by vetiver. On my skin the vetiver is more pronounced, and even though the husband didn't seem excited, I think Aube Rubis smelled lovely on him. I'm a sucker for all things iris, and this one has a quality that reminds me that in ancient Greece Iris was the goddess of the rainbow, as well as the sea and sky. Patchouli can be very earthy and grounding, but this perfume actually soars and has an expansive outdoorsy feel (in the best possible way). It's just sweet enough, but don't fear the official notes that also include blackcurrant and praline. This is no Angel and Aube Rubis is not a real gourmand. The reddish notes are just one part of said rainbow and add warmth, not candy. In the makeup world it's become a boring cliche to describe a look or a product as "lit from within", but if I'm allowed to say so here just once, this is the perfume that achieves it.

 Larmes du Désert ("tears of the desert") belongs to one of my favorite perfume categories, the sweet and dry balsamic incense carried on the wings of an imaginary eastern wind. I've been to a desert or two, and to be honest they're not my thing, and neither is the punishing dry sandy wind that comes from their direction. But for a fantasy perfume, just like Andy Tauer, Victoire Gaubin Daude, and Serge Lutens before her, perfumer Marie Salmagne, has found the sweet spot. It's mostly dry and almost harsh incense that dries down into a softer and more ambery texture, with the golden light of myrrh shining on it. Larmes du Désert expands on my skin like a n imaginary veil of sand. I know we're drowning in corny metaphors here, but I love this perfume and enjoy its magic.

Atelier des Ors perfumes ($295, 100ml eau de parfum each) are available at Osswald NYC, which also supplied the samples for review. Please note that the link above is here for your convenience because of an issue with the store's website. It's not affiliated or sponsored in any way. But you knew that already.

Art: a detail from The Procession of the Bull Apis by Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1879

Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush In Water Poppy

Cushion-style packaging for makeup has been making its way from Korea to Western makeup brands (Lancome has a very intriguing foundation in cushion form). Now Stila is bringing us a couple of Korean color products; the  Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush, as well as an eyeliner which is already on my to-buy list (I'm tempted to get four out of the six colors). Which should tell you that I'm quite enamored with this blush.

The color in the little Stila jar looks scary, but we're all veterans of cream and liquid blushes, not to mention the name "Watercolor" tells most of the story. You shake the (tightly closed, please) blush, open the lid, transfer a tiny bit to the back of your hand (I use a synthetic brush to avoid bacteria), and apply to your cheeks, blending as you go. Even the seemingly intense red coral of Water Poppy becomes a sheer and flattering tint that sets quickly (setting time varies by what you've piled underneath) and stays on for the entire day. I've worn it during a long hot day of mostly outdoorsy activities, including the zoo, and this stuff doesn't budge. The high quality of this little thing caught me by surprise, probably because the packaging itself is a bit high maintenance (you can see above how much color goes above the cushion surface after  you shake it).But this Stila blush is excellent and is worth the very quick learning curve involved.

There are currently five colors in Stila's  Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush range, and I can tell you that Water Lily and Rosewater are in my future. I hope they come up with more shades. A wintery mauve would be nice, don't you think?

Bottom Line: I'm a convert.

Stila Aqua Glow Watercolor Blush In Water Poppy ($26, made in Korea) is available from Sephora and Ulta.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Paul & Joe Fall 2015

It looks like while I was taking my time testing these Paul& Joe Fall 2015 items, the limited edition packaging with the cats has sold out in the US. Yes. Fall collection that gets sold out in August. An online search shows that it's still easy to find in the UK, but us Americans seem to get more and more cat-crazy. And who can blame us? These Paul & Joe cats are adorable. The blush color I picked for the refillable case is Cinnamon Roast 001, and it's part of the aforementioned fall collection. It's a satin finish neutral spice-colored blush with a golden peachy high shimmer highlighter. I like to swirl them together for a nice healthy glow that's perfect for this traditional time of the year. I also wear the blush part by itself as an effortless yet trendy color. The highlighter is the weakest link here, though. It's a bit too yellow and intense to stand on its own. Maybe as an eye shadow, but I haven't tried it this way.

The lipstick refill you see here is actually not part of the fall collection. Only the cat case is. I seem to do that with most Paul & Joe limited items- get the case but go for another lip color. The color I chose, Rosebud 086,  was another limited edition, I think from the spring lineup. It looks intense in the bullet, but it's actually very sheer and gel-like. The color gives the lips just a little boost of a pink-based red. It's easy to wear, goes with almost everything, and the formula is moisturizing and comfortable. It's not long lasting and fades within a couple of hours, but the whole point here is getting the case out and reapplying, while the adorable cats wink at you.

The makeup bag was a GWP back when I bought the makeup from Beauty Habit. It's since sold out, but I can tell you that if you've missed the opportunity it's not a big deal. while the bag is beyond adorable and of a great size, the fabric is dirt, gunk, and debris magnet. I managed to stain it with lipstick while I was taking the photos and it took me a couple of hours of effort to remove the mark (using cleansing wipes that I let sit on the spot). every speckle of dust, makeup, and general dirt attaches itself to this material, and even the most pristine handbag will cause the bag to look grubby in a day or two. I decided to keep it in one of my dresser drawers to hold perfume decants. It's safer this way.

Bottom Line: there's no bottom line. Paul & Joe fans tend to buy their stuff for the packaging, while the actual product quality varies greatly. In the case of Fall 2015 collection the stars were lips and cheeks, which are probably the brand's better formulas, so that's why I was happy to get them (I usually skip their eye shadows and base products). If you know of a place that still has the cat cases in the US please let all of us know. Otherwise, the refills are available from and b-Glowing, and various sources overseas.

Paul & Joe Cheek Color refill ($18) and case ($10), and Sheer Lipstick ($20) and case ($7) are all made in Japan. For availability see above and do an online search. Leftovers from seasonal collection tend to reappear at various discounters after the fact.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Josie Maran Timeless Coral Argan Infinity Lip And Cheek Creamy Oil

I can tell you that I was worried. I made the PR rep who sent me this Josie Maran product double check that it didn't contain coconut oil or any of its derivatives. When the tube arrived I verified it myself, and then had a friend go over the ingredient list again, just so I can be sure that it was not going to awaken the dragon within my skin, the one that reacts to coconut in various unsavory ways. I'm glad to report that my face and I survived, and Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip And Cheek Creamy Oil in Timeless Coral is an adorable moisturizing lip and cheek tint.

Here's what's good about it: it smells nice, kind of citrusy, all from natural ingredients. It's hydrating and nourishing, the texture is very easy to blend and mix with other products (more on that in a second), the coral shade is gorgeous and lively, and it has a radiant effect. The driest of skin will relish Argan Infinity and feel restored by it. This natural product is also gluten-free, for those who require it, and rich in natural oils.

Which means that if you're oily or even normal-skinned this is most likely not the product for you. There's also a longevity issue: Argan Infinity is more of a tinted skincare than a full-on color product, and sinks into the skin without leaving more than the faintest stain. While it's perfectly acceptable for a lip balm, a cheek stain/cream blush is supposed to remain put for the length of your work day. This isn't the case, and you have to either set the glowing stain with a powder blush (and a finishing powder), which kind of misses the point, or, and here's an interesting solution, mix and blend a good amount of this Josie Maran color into your foundation, BB cream, or other base product (Cover FX drops?) and apply with a rush to the apples of your cheeks. I can tell you that this works and keep the color more stable for around four to five hours. still not ideal, but good for a quick outing. Do take note that some of the natural ingredients might be irritants for those who are sensitive to them (citrus oils are notorious for that). I'm just happy there's no coconut.

Bottom Line: nice to have. I prefer it as a lip balm than a cheek color for longevity reasons.

Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil**, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Beeswax**, Jojoba Esters**, Brassica Campestris (Grapeseed)/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer**, Acacia Decurrens (Mimosa) Flower Wax**, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax**, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil**, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil**, Glyceryl Behenate**, Sorbitan Oleate**, Tocopherol, Polyglycerin-3**, Phenethyl Alcohol**, Water**, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane. May Contain: Mica**, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891)**, Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 33 (Ci 17200), Red 7 (Ci 15850), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499). *Organic **Natural.

Josie Maran Timeless Coral Argan Infinity Lip And Cheek Creamy Oil ($18, made in USA) is available from Sephora. The product for this review was sent by PR.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dior Rouge Continental 753 Fall 2015

I've shown an incredible restraint so far by only picking one item from the Dior Cosmopolite Fall 2015 Collection. I could have easily gone for about half the color products, since so many of them are exactly what I love. But I decided to stick with just one, and it had to be this Dior Rouge lipstick in #753 Continental.

HAD TO. And several of my friends made me do it.

This limited edition color is a perfect berry-rose (or plummy rose?), that goes from day to night and is always just right. The formula is creamy, opaque, and incredibly comfortable (contains hyaluronic acid), and the finish is my favorite kind of satin: no shine, but decidedly not matte, either. It's a classic, and this particular shade is the kind I can wear day in and day out, making it my default color for the season.

Wear-time is as you might expect from a creamy lip color. Once set transferring is minimal, but it won't survive a full meal beyond a stain (a very nice one, actually), but who doesn't like to grab a Dior lipstick and reapply? It's lovely, and when applied with a liner and brush the lipstick creates the most perfectly polished look. You can also blot it to a minimal stain, if that's your thing, but I'm dreaming of a Parisian fall, so I love going all the way with it. Dior Rouge is lightly scented (the typical vague violetty Dior makeup scent) but has no discernible flavor.

Bottom Line: La vie en rose.

Dior Rouge Continental 753 ($35, made in France)  for Fall 2015 is a limited edition lipstick, part of the Cosmopolite collection. It's available at the counters and from

Monday, August 24, 2015

Guerlain Terracotta Bayadére Face & Eye Palette Fall 2015

I meant to post this last week, but got distracted by two little ones, my niece and nephew, who're visiting and filling the house with some serious cheer, Nick Jr., and craft projects. Bob wants the world to know that he'll be taking a nap (he's actually great with the kids. Endlessly patient and always ready for more cuddles. Most of the younger cats are also happy to join the fun and maximize the belly- rub quota). The kids are out with their parents right now (there was no chance I was going to join a tour of Liberty Island in the middle of the summer), so we can talk Guerlain.

The Terracotta Bayadére Face & Eye Limited Edition Palette came out along the other Guerlain Fall 2015 collection but it's not officially a part of it. It's more of end-of-summer item, if you ask me, but it is adorable. From the packaging, the pink coral pouch, the little brush: everything about it is tempting  I saw somewhere that it was labeled "a contour palette", but it's not, and I don't think that Guerlain has claimed so. This is mostly a face color palette, with products that can double up as eye shadows. As you can see below on the card that comes with the palette, the two darkest shades are from Guerlain's range of Terracotta bronzers: No.03 and No. 05. They're very warm-toned, quite intense and have a light touch of the finest shimmer. They'd be too much as a contour for most skin tones, and their glow doesn't create the shaded effect needed for a true contour. What they do, instead, is create that much-coveted sun-kissed warmth, and as Guerlain bronzer fans already know, they only needed the lightest hand when applying (and the right brush. I prefer fan brushes: a large one for the hairline and the cheeks, and a small one for the nose and chin).

The other two items in the Bayedere palette are a gorgeous coral blush/eye shadow that looks incredibly similar to the one in Guerlain Coup de Foudre palette for fall 2013, and a champagne highlighter that's very high in shimmer. As you can see, the pans for these two are extremely narrow, which requires the use of a small brush (not necessarily a bad thing), and a steady hand (which I don't have). I find it to be quite a pain aiming only to touch one of the colors at a time, so at least for now that it's still summer I can get away with swiping the aforementioned large and fluffy fan brush (Louise Young LY20, available at Nordstrom, if you didn't know) and carefully doing that all-over glow thing. It works for me and ends up looking like I actually have a healthy color to my face without overdoing it. And it's fun.

The little pouch that holds the palette includes the pink brush and a pointy eye applicator. It has two additional slots where you can add your own mini brushes as you see fit, which is a nice (and kind of necessary) touch. I did also tried applying the colors with my fingers, and it works well, but finger-painting lacks the Guerlain refinement, doesn't it?

If I were to go for a more precise application (or if I were fair and cool-toned), I don't think this palette would have suited my needs. Yes, I did manage to use small highlighter brushes (Hakuhodo have several fantastic options) and eye shadow ones and enjoyed experimenting with placement, and it's a great item for collectors, Guerlain fans, and bronzer addicts. But between the awkward release timing and the structure of the palette I'm not sure if this is the one face product to buy this season.

Bottom Line: gorgeous, but definitely not a must-have.

Guerlain Terracotta Bayadére Face & Eye Palette Fall 2015 ($70, made in France) is available at select department stores.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bobbi Brown Intense Pigment Liner in Black Plum - Fall 2015 Greige Collection

The Greige collection by Bobbi Brown for fall 2015 is quite extensive. There's an eight color eye palette, two lipsticks, two shadow sticks, and a completely new product in three color versions: Intense Pigment Liner. I can tell you that I skipped all the other items. Frankly, at this point it'll take Bobbi Brown herself to do my makeup and prove to me that she fixed all that was wrong in her eye shadows from the last five years . Until then I cannot be bothered. But a completely new eyeliner concept in interesting colors? Yes, please.

I picked Black Plum because my eyeliner collection doesn't need another blue or forest green. And Black Plum looked quite enticing. It's a cake liner in a compact that holds three different shades. In this case a dark gray, a rich aubergine, and an off-black. Cake liner often require a damp brush and/or an activator, but not here. Bobbi Brown's Intense Pigment Liner is meant to be used dry, as the powder is very dense and highly saturated. I did try using various liquids (above), but the result was a big mess that didn't do anything for the makeup. So, no. Go with a tiny eye detail brush, dip it carefully into the cake liner and draw your line. It's quick, easy to control, and looks precise and pretty without crumbling and smudging all over creation. An incredible surprise.

Bobbi Brown has released a limited edition brush to go with the Intense Pigment Liner, the Dual-Ended Eyeliner/Smoky Eyeliner brush. It's a great shape and I would have bought it on the spot were it not for its cost: $40 is too steep for a tiny synthetic brush when I have several others that can do the job just as well (everything from tightlining brushes to Bobbi's own older eyeliner brushes). I think that even Real Techniques has an adequate one.

The colors of Black Plum were not exactly what I expected, though I'm not complaining. The middle purple aubergine reads more brown on my skin (if you're very fair and decidedly cool toned you might see more of the purple), while the other two are so pigmented that there's little difference between the very dark gray and the not-quite-dark black, until you smoke and smudge the line as you apply it (it sets quickly, so work fast). I prefer using the Intense Pigment for a crisp(ish) line that's easy do even when I'm in a hurry and there's a cat on the dresser trying to help. Longevity is excellent, and unless you get caught in the tropical torrential rains of late august you can count on it to stay put throughout a work day.

Bottom Line: Best new Bobbi Brown product in ages.

Bobbi Brown Intense Pigment Liner in Black Plum ($36, made in USA) is a limited edition for Fall 2015 Greige Collection. Available at the counters and from

P.S. At a reader's request- here are the ingredients. Do note that it contains carmine.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Perfume- My Current Summer Rotation

It's time for a current perfume rotation check-in, AKA stuff I reach out for on instinct, without much deliberation or pre-mediation.

Balmain-Ivoire (vintage). I haven't tried the re-issue, but I doubt it can thrill me as much as this classic summer staple.

Parfumerie Generale- Bois Naufrage I always overdose on fig scents in the summer, and this one has somehow become the husband's favorite, so there's always a good chance that at least one of us smells like a salty fig-laced driftwood.

Armani Prive- Bois d'Encens. I've been craving stark incense, perhaps as the answer to the opressing heat. I usually go for Heeley's Cardinal, but lately it's the even denser Armani. And all of a sudden I have a strong desire to get a bottle of CdG Black.

Speaking of strong desires, I drained all the samples I've had of Talco Delicato (I Profumi di Firenze), and I'm yearning for an actual bottle. I thought I didn't like it, but I guess my recent heavy use of an Italian talcum powder (a summer staple) has flipped out a switch in my fickle brain.

Ines de la Fressange (1999 version). It's a summer bedtime staple. I've come a long way from shrugging at it as too delicate to deep appreciation  and then true love.

Stephane Humbert Lucas 777- Soleil de Jeddah. A good reminder that summer can be sexy.

Bois 1920- Sutra Ylang. Speaking of sexy.

Etat Libre d'Orange- Fils de Dieu. Another summertime before bed ritual, just like Fin du Monde is a winter comfort thing, the lemony steamed rice is lighthearted and easy to wear.

Guerlain- vintage L'Heure Bleue eau de cologne. I picked an old bottle (the one with the cone-shaped glass stopper) at a Connecticut antique store. It's lighter than my other LHB edc and helps me start the morning when I'm really not into being fully awake (that describes most days, really).

Estee Lauder- Sensuous Nude. After being on the fence for a long time I decided that the 15ml bottle (eBay is your friend) would be a cheap and dirty little treat. since I can't really eat coconut (allergies), this is the next best thing.

Image: Olivia da Costa for Please Magazine, styled by Julie Nivert.

Guerlain Beaugrenelle Fall 2015 Écrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette

You know I had to.

It's been a while since Guerlain added a new palette to their Écrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow line. Just to remind you, these are the super luxurious six color sets in the most beautiful packaging on the market. They were first released for Fall 2010 (see my old reviews of  2 Place Vendome and 93 Rue de Passy), and I still regard them as some of the jewels of my makeup collection. Five years later Guerlain has finally added another one, Beaugrenelle, in a somewhat surprising color combination that happens to be my absolute favorite: blue & taupe.

In a way, this is an upgraded version of 2 Place Vendome, though it's not identical. As a matter of fact, I've played with using colors from both as a companion palettes and it's a lot of fun to combine them and see what comes out. But Guerlain Beaugrenelle stands (and stand out) on its own. The eye shadows speak for themselves. They have a good texture (the typical newer Guerlain one) a good mix of satin, high satin, and matte, and excellent color payoff (the swatches above are one light swipe on non-prepped skin).

Beaugrenelle, Paris

Beaugrenelle is a new shopping center in Paris ( a mall, really), but when I saw the photos I understood that this is not the Garden State Plaza, and also understood the color scheme of the palette. Here's what we get: a classic buttery matte beige that evens out the lid, a silvered taupe (looks cooler in the pan, but gains warmth and dimension on olive skin), a matte medium gray that will look cooler or warmer according to your natural skin tone, a delicious silky blue that's somewhere between cadet and navy, and the middle shade: a proper cadet blue with the high shine of a super-fine micro shimmer.

The sixth color is the liner, which unlike the older palette is a dense cream. Those who hate sets that include cream and powder products next to each other will get annoyed with it (I've used the palette three times and already managed to get some powder into the cream). The cream liner has a very dense texture. Neither a thin liner brush (MAC 210 type) nor a delicate tightlining one (Hakuhodo K005, why oh why oh why oh why is it no longer available? Neither is the Kokutan SL and I need three more). In any case, it's not a coincidence that the tiny brush that comes with Beaugrenelle is the stiff straight push eyeliner. That's what you need to apply this texture. I use a classic Smashbox and Laura Mercier flat push eyeliner brushes (most brands have them), but I admit that I was surprised by the eyeliner's texture. It's a beautiful navy color, very smooth and good for tightlining as well as for creating various looks from a little flick to a full-on smoky eye, but I still think it's the weakest link in an otherwise spectacular palette.

Longevity is as good as it gets. I use a primer, obviously, and good brushes, so the whole experience is marvelous. If you like the color story, this is the one palette for the season.

Bottom Line: as a friend told me, this was created for me.

Guerlain Beaugrenelle Fall 2015 Écrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette ($93, made in France) is already at Saks and arriving at most counters as we speak.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Makeup Storage Idea: Vintage Letter Racks & Toast Racks

I know that many of you keep your larger palettes in various document organizers you can buy in office supply stores (and Amazon). It's very efficient for items such as the Naked palettes or those massive MAC ones. But what about smallish/narrow width items?  Here's an idea: vintage toast racks or dainty paper holders like the one above. I picked it at a local antique mall because I loved the unusual form and the patina the old silver-plated rack has gained over the years. This one is fairly small and thin. The thickest compact that fits it is a MAC quad. Since I took the photo I added a single NARS eye shadow in the smallest slot at the front (it was a good reminder to use Lhasa more often). I'll be searching other antique stores for more (eBay is also a good source).

Do you use any vintage or antique bits and pieces to store your makeup?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Currently- August 2015

C.J. Sansom- Dissolution. A Tudor mystery. And it's not as cheesy as it sounds, I promise. I couldn't bring myself to read Wolf Hall because having read (and still do) countless of Tudor history books I thought I was all Boleyned out, but this one is different. Mainly because it's not about court life at all.

Cowboy Junkies- Sweet Jane.

Yes, that old thing. The funny thing is that after hearing it yesterday on the radio in my car I went on iTune to get it, only to realize that I've had it forever. What my playlist was missing apparently, was the Velvet Underground original (how did that happen?). All fixed now.

Project Runway. I've missed Tim Gunn.

Neela Vermeire- Pichola. A sexy tuberose if there ever was one.

Light colors on the lid and minimal eyeliner. Not my typical thing, but it's fun.

Frequently Worn Outfit/Item
It's the dog days of summer dressing. I'm starting to bore myself with my dresses and hats.

Guilty Pleasure
Not for the first time, reading until all hours and then sleeping in. I'm having an easier time concentrating at night with no distractions.

The husband took a cooking class at the Natural Gourmet Institute, which inspired him to experiment with his recipes. I'm enjoying it greatly.

Insects. All of the creepy crawlers in the Tri-State area have conspired to suck my blood and give me allergic skin reactions. I'm not amused.

Home. It's where everything I love is.

spending time with my niece and nephew (They're seven and three).

A calico kitten.

Random Thought
That hair stylist who criticized Duchess Kate for showing gray roots should be locked up in the Tower. And not where the crown jewels are kept.

How are you doing? Please share your recommendations, ideas, and thoughts.

Art: Will Barnet- The Reader, 1979

Kiko Milano Eye Shadows 111, 122, 172

This was the less successful part of my Kiko Milano order last month. My previous experience with Kiko single eye shadows was beyond fabulous. The limited edition Cool Touch line (why didn't I buy every single color?) as well as the luxurious Infinity Eye Shadow were a smashing success. But for $1.90 a pop (regular price $6.00) I had to check these out.

Kiko's basic  eye shadow formula seems to be harder and less pigmented than their other ranges. They're workable, but not exactly a joy, and the finish of the pearly ones is a bit uneven. The colors I bought were 111 Dark Pearly Emerald (not as dark or rich as I expected), 122 Matte Beaver Brown (medium, kind of taupy brown that should have been much more intense), and 172 Macropearly Gray, an unconvincing and somewhat gritty sheer pewter. The eye shadow cases look cheap and very drugstore-like (compare to the beautiful Infinity Eye Shadow), and the whole experience was rather meh.

Bottom Line: I paid $5.70 so you don't have to.

 Kiko Milano Eye Shadows ($6, currently on sale for $1,90, made in Italy) are available from and at  the brand's fast-spreading retail locations.