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making faces :: apple of my eye

this should also be known as the "see? i can review things that aren't nars audacious lipsticks!" post. embarrassingly, this is a product that i've had for a month and it's even been documented on the blog that i've had it [in one of my nars lipstick reviews]. so i should have done this earlier. i guess i could claim that i was doing testing, but, as i'll get to shortly, the testing was pretty consistent and there's no reason that i couldn't have just said something earlier. but i'm going to talk about it today. any minute now. are you excited?

well, you should be excited. everyone should be excited. because this winter [which many cosmetic companies call "spring"] sees the release of a brand new eye shadow formula from giorgio armani. they're dubbed "eye tints", which made me think that they would be more of a sheer wash of colour, but the signature image for the collection says different:


she does indeed seem to be sporting some serious colour.

the inclusion of water in that image is important because, as it turns out, this formula is watery. not in a bad, thin way. consider it like holy water for makeup addicts. i'm not a huge fan of eye shadows that come in any form other than powder, but armani is one of those brands that i'll experiment with, because i've had such luck in the past. [ironically, their regular pressed powder shadows, reformulated and relaunched last year, were a bit of a disappointment.] i happened to be at my armani counter the day that their product and testers arrived, and after swatching the half a dozen shades they'd received [there are twelve in total, but the others hadn't arrived yet], i settled on purchasing just one to start: shade #11, "rose ashes".



the formula is kind of fascinating just to play with. it's a thin liquid- not cream or gel-like at all- that applies very smoothly using the doe-foot applicator [the packaging is very similar to that of their glosses or the armani maestro liquid lipsticks]. i'd say that the colour is medium with one swipe- you can definitely see it and it's fairly opaque, but you can build it up if you want to see more of the colour. [alternately, you can sheer it out for a shimmery wash. that's your business.] applied over my usual mac "painterly" paint pot, i got coverage that was remarkably even for such a thin formula and i found it easy to smooth out any unevenness with a brush or with my finger.

rose ashes layered [l] and blended [r]
now, i'm not normally a believer in magic or the supernatural, but there is definitely something not of this world at work here. once applied, the formula seems to take about half a minute to dry down. sort of. it stays cool [no matter what temperature it is in your makeup storage, it feels cool on application] for 20-30 seconds. except i don't think that it actually stays wet all that time. in fact, it seems to set fairly quickly. i have very hooded lids, which means that creasing is a huge issue for me with cream or liquid products and the longer they take to set, the more likely it is that i'm going to see creases. i didn't get them here, even when i wasn't super careful about keeping my eyes downcast for more than ten seconds or so. they seem to stay cool after they've achieved a dry enough consistency that they don't crease anymore. i don't know what makes them feel cool. armani know, but they're not telling.

rose ashes with a little oblique sunlight
the finish once they dry is remarkably like a powder and- here's the weird bit- like a very blend-able powder. it's easiest to move the shadow around when it's still a bit wet, but even when it's completely dry, i was able to get it to mix very easily with powder shadows. when i first noticed this, it made me nervous. how could something that moved around so easily possibly last, especially given that my lids are oilier than sardines in a barrel of texas crude? but last it does. and last. i've worn "rose ashes" several times, mostly for ten hours or more at a stretch and not once have i seen any significant fading. not once. the colour is tenacious as hell and it find that it increases the staying powder of the shades you blend with it. [this is something that i observed about the armani potted eyes to kill shadows, like the formula challenges others to get on its level.]

now, there is a bit of a caution that i think i should mention. this is the only shade i've tried thus far, but i've since swatched the shades at two different counters and observed a strange phenomenon: occasionally, the formula seems to come out almost "separated" with thicker pigmented bits and a more watery base [watery in a bad way this time]. the first time i swatched them, i only observed this in one shade [#3 "jade"]. all the others were smooth and even. at another counter, i noticed it on a couple of shades, including one that i'd previously observed was fine. so it seems that sometimes there is a tendency to separate, but it's not isolated to one particular colour [although i observed this with jade at both counters]. i did find that it helped if i "primed" [fancy word for pumped or wiggled] the applicator a little and it would probably help to shake, rattle and roll the tube, but i can't absolutely guarantee that it'll fix the issue. i think it will. probably.

trying to capture the elusive shimmer
each of the shades is shimmery to some extent. i'd say that "rose ashes" occupies the middle ground between the sparklier colours and the smoother, more subtle ones [generally the darkest shades]. the finish is like a more refined version of the eyes to kill potted shadows. there's incredible dimension at work, which is very, very, very hard to capture in photos. this goes across the board and, what's truly awesome, you really do get the multi-tonal effect on the eyes. shifts in light will make the colour look slightly different.

"rose ashes" is certainly one of the most universal shades in the line. it's a golden peach base with pink and white shimmer- enough to give it a pink "veil". the pink isn't as obvious when the application is quite light, but the more you build up the colour, the more you're going to see it. layered to opacity [doesn't take too much], it's bright, but still very wearable. applied lightly, it's a neutral with a seductive twist.

shimma shimma ya
if you're looking for a starting point for the line, i think that this one would be an excellent choice. then again, there are a lot of excellent choices. [i specifically wanted to mention that shade #8, "flannel", is a dead ringer for the limited edition "rose popilla", so if you missed out on that one, you have a new lease on life.] i shall definitely be adding more shades to the collection, so expect to see reviews of others in the near future.

i thought i'd show you a couple of different ways in which "rose ashes" could be used [although technically, i've already shown you one...] first up, here's a light application over the lid, blended with shades from dior's "cuir cannage" eye shadow palette [hey, another thing i have to review here...] with a touch of burberry "pale barley" and stila "lionfish" lightly applied along the upper lash lines. i've applied it on the centre of the lids, which i find adds dimension, but nothing over the top, to the goldtaupeplum proceedings.




i've also used guerlain rouge g lipstick "gracy", a stunning warm pink, and with nars "outlaw" and guerlain "terra inca" on my cheeks. [to be clear, "gracy" is on my lips, not my cheeks. i cannot make that sentence work properly. when i was about ten, i applied lipstick to my cheeks once when i was playing with my mother's cosmetics and i got a rash over my entire face for a week, so i don't do that anymore.]

second up, here's a look with "rose ashes" layered for more impact. you can see how it's definitely brighter and less neutral. in this case, it's all over the lid and surrounded by a purple halo made up of a couple of limited edition mac purples, "dame's desire" [which was brought back as part of a pre-made 4 colour palette that was supposed to be permanent but now appears to be gone from the mac web site, although i saw it at a counter earlier today] and "vile violet" [which is a dusty indigo kind of shade]. i used mac "creamy bisque" as a brow bone highlight and yves st. laurent "sea black" gel liner.

 


also featured are nars "torrid" blush and rouge bunny rouge "sea of tranquility" highlighter. [funny but true: in person, "torrid" was horrid with this look. i adore the shade, but combined with the purple-ness, it looked sort of muddy and too warm, which it absolutely never has before. of course, i didn't need to tell you that, because it doesn't look bad in the photos, but if you want to recreate this and not have your cheeks look quite literally like a hot mess, i'd recommend going with a cool pink blush.] the lipstick is "play time" by mac, which is a lovely easter candy purple and should not be confused with "playtime" by mac, which is a shimmery gold colour that came out last year. mac cosmetics names: because you need to fend off age-related memory loss somehow.

the one thing that i cannot tell you about these shadows [other than the secrets of their magic, which only the armani elves possess] is whether or not they are a permanent part of the armani range. i am going to venture a guess and say that they are, because armani isn't in the habit of launching a dozen shades of anything and then dropping them. of course, armani are also fiendish in their tendency to be non-specific about how long anything will last and letting market reaction guide their decisions post launch. so i'm not going to tell you that you should stampede down to your armani counter and break people's bones in order to get your hands on every last shade you might want. if you feel that's the best way to secure the colours that appeal to you, that's your decision.

i do, however, recommend that you do try at least one of these. it's not that often that you find something that is truly remarkable [although it seems that when you do find them, they often come from either armani or yves st. laurent.] these aren't just another pretty face, they are something special.

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