Black Box Week | Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara review, photos, swatches

Friday, August 26, 2011

The product: Annabelle Le BIG Show mascara

The lash: When there’s a caps-lock B-I-G in the name, you have to go in expecting wonders from a mascara. This one definitely delivers on the claims of lashy grandeur, but it’s not without its faults. I’ll start with the good stuff, though! Le Big Show is deliciously black, and it dries to a gorgeous, glossy finish. Because it’s fairly wet, it does feel a bit heavy going on, but it’s once dry, it’s both lightweight and (semi-)soft to the touch. (Crispier than Marcelle Ultimate Lash, Fresh mascaras, and 100% Pure; softer than Imju Fiberwig or L’Oreal Beauty Tubes.)

If you’re looking for a lot of volume, this is one mascara you won’t want to miss out on – but if you’re looking for a lengthening or curling mascara, it might not be for you.

The tube: Le BIG Show is packaged in a pretty standard tube; a no-frills wand and fairly thick tube. It’s easy to open, easy to close, and easy to apply – not too finicky at all.

If I want a almost-bare, really natural lash, I do find that I either have to wipe off the wand first or comb through my lashes with a lash comb, but it’s not a huge deal. The brush does its job, and it is great for creating a lot of volume!

Annabelle Le BIG Show mascara – one coat

The wear: It’s very rare that I find a mascara that wears for more than 3-4 hours on me (unless it’s a tubing mascara), but the products in the Black Box collection have surprised me thus far – and really, why should this one be any different?

I find that I can get about five hours of flawless wear from Le BIG Show, and ten hours with extremely minimal flaking and smudging. (Erm, and then I had to go to sleep. But still, ten hours; that’s pretty darn impressive!) This has the best wear I’ve found so far in a non-tubing mascara, so even if it wasn’t deliciously glossy and gorgeously black, it would have my attention.

But it is. So I guess the wear time’s just the cherry on top :P

The ingredients:

Water, beeswax, glyceryl stearate, acacia senegal gum, carnauba wax, acrylates copolymer, c18-36 acid triglyceride, stearic acid, triethanolamine, palmitic acid, butylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, hydroxyethylcellulose, methylparaben, propylparaben, potassium sorbate edta. +/- iron oxides

Annabelle Le BIG Show mascara – two coats

The verdict?

I really like how well this mascara wears, and I love how glossy and black it is, but I wish it held a curl better. I honestly do think it’s a great mascara, but it’s not really “for me,” you know? I look for four things in a mascara (glossiness, a super-black formula, the ability to hold a curl, and awesome wear time), and this hits three of those things right on the nose – but I still find myself frustrated at the way it takes the curl out of my lash.

For under $10, though, Le BIG Show is definitely worth paying attention to if you’re looking for a super-black, voluminous, glossy lash. And I’m definitely keeping it around – it may not be my holy grail of mascaras, but I still really, really like it!

Before and after shots »

Black Box Week | Annabelle “Black Spark” Liquid Eyeliner review, photos, swatches

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The product: Annabelle Liquid Eyeliner in Black Spark

The shade: Black Spark is an inky black with a ton of super-finely-milled silver microshimmer. It has a non-sticky finish, but I *think* it’s got a bit of a vinyl sheen to it – I say think, because I’m not totally certain! Perhaps that’s just the shimmer being sneaky and tricky.

The wear: I know that I bitch about it all the time, but the fact is, 98% of the liners out there are going to migrate on my lids. Like an Ellis Faas or Lancome liquid liner, though Black Spark holds up like a dream come true – and at just a fraction of the cost. I get zero smudging, flaking, or bleeding throughout the entire day, no priming or powdering necessary.

Annabelle “Black Spark” Liquid Liner in indirect sunlight; no flash.

Also similar to the Ellis and Lancome liners (and for that matter, similarly to almost all the liquid products which wear well in my eye area), Annabelle’s liquid liners rinse off in “bits.” So, if you give this a go, don’t be frightened! :P (Photo under the cut.)

The applicator: Annabelle’s liquid liners feature a short, stiff foam applicator. I’m really quite fond of it; the length and sturdiness give a lot of control, and it’s easy to get your line just right. If I’m doing a particularly large wing or a graphic sort of liner, though, I do find that I have to re-dip part way (because the applicator’s so small). I don’t think this is an issue for “normal” eye makeup, but I figured I may as well mention it!

The ingredients:

C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, water, butylparaben, cellulose, glyceryl stearate, hectorite, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, magnesium aluminum silicate, oleyl alcohol, propylene glycol, stearic acid, triethanolamine, xanthan gum. +/- colourants.

The verdict?

Black Out, a liquid liner from Annabelle’s regular line, was my first-ever drugstore eyeliner purchase – and I while I liked it alright, I love this one. It’s not just that the shimmer of Black Spark is spot-on (though it is), or that it’s got a vinyl finish (which it does), but I’m almost 100% certain that the formula has changed.

(For the better. Just in case that wasn’t obvious.)

See, the last Annabelle Liquid Eyeliner I tried was “pretty good,” but this one is is actually awesome. I’ve got it on the back of my hand right now, and I can quite literally scrub away at it with my other palm without incurring any damage to the liner. I can even go at it with a sopping wet cotton pad & come away with zero transfer – it’s that waterproof. But, soak it with a little bit of makeup remover, and it’ll rinse right off!

In short: this is amazing. The amazingest kind of amazing in all of amazingland, and unlike the other two budge-proof liners I’ve found so far, this one’ll run you less than (!) $10.

Even if Annabelle’s liquid liners have let you down in the past, I’d still encourage you to give Black Spark a try. At the very least, give it an in-store swtach – it’s worth your time.

Keep reading »

Interlude | I demand that you love me or I will steal all of your acorns

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(Because I’m a chipmunk; get it?)

the swelling – I can’t decide if it’s more “chipmunk” or more “froggy” :P

& just in case you forgot what my face actually looks like (from this FOTD)

Hope you’re all enjoying Black Box week! I’m healing up as well as could be expected (thank you all for the well-wishes!) and hope to be in proper form again soon.

And by proper form, I may perhaps just mean not looking like an oversized five-year-old… but, really, what kind of hope is that? We both know that I look like one (not to mention, act like one) anyways :D

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Black Box Week | Annabelle “Licoriche” Smoothie review, photos, swatches

(Note: I had taken photos of the four neutral Smoothies all together, before planning the Black Box week, and then used Licoriche – which is why it’s accompanied by three other shades here! The review, however, is just for the one pencil, and I’ll try to do the other three soon.)

The product: Annabelle Smoothie eyeshadow pencil in Licoriche

The colour: Licoriche is, in short, a very black sort of black. It’s deliciously intense and dries to a satiny matte finish, and makes a gorgeous smokey eye, whether it’s just subtle shading around the lashline or the base colour for a dramatic, super-dark look.

The wear: Unfortunately, I don’t get all-day wear out of this, much less “waterproof, crease-free, and mess-free” wear. Within just two hours of application (no primer, no powder), it had migrated, faded, and creased – but, then, I didn’t really expect much else from my lids! I know that readers & fellow bloggers Tracy (Beauty Reflections) and Arianne (Glitter Geek) love them, so I’d definitely recommend checking out their reviews if you’re interested in the pencils.

Annabelle Smoothie in Licoriche, smoked out very lightly around the eye & applied to the upper lashline. It makes a gorgeous thirty-second eye, emphasizing but still looking incredibly natural!

The application: Right off the bat, I was taken with how smoothly Licoriche took to both the waterline and lashline. The über-creamy formula slid right on to deliver really intense, opaque colour with zero patchiness – quite literally the easiest, most comfortable, and most perfect black I’ve evertried on my waterline, and the most blendable black eyeshadow/liner/base that I’ve tried, as well.

The ingredients:

Isododecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG/PPG-19/19 Dimethicone, Synthetic Wax, Hydrogenated Polydicyclopentadiene, Nylon-12, C20-40 Alcohols, Perfluorononyl Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhyroxystearate/Sebacate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polyethylene, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Silica, Isoceteth-10, Tocopherol, Iron Oxide.

How these compare

I looked into the ingredient lists to compare these against other “big name” eyeshadow pencils, and found…

  • Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils ($24) feature the exact same formula, and
  • Sephora’s Jumbo Liner 12H Wear Waterproof Pencils ($12) feature a very similar formula, but
  • NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencils ($28) and NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils ($6)? Totally different!

In conclusion…

If you’re looking to try an eyeshadow pencil (or, specifically, you’re a fan of Urban Decay’s) and you don’t often have problems with your eyeshadow creasing, give these a go. Because so many other bloggers and makeup jonkies are crazy about them, I’m pretty sure they’re not a bad product – just, perhaps, not for me :P

I’m hesitant to offer a verdict on these without trying some of the other shades (particularly because this one is a matte, and most are shimmers), but I hope to have a complete review for you soon! In the meantime, I’ll be ferreting this one away to join my hoards of black liners. Okay, so maybe I already have an unreasonable number of them, but this one is just so photo-perfect on my waterline! You can’t make me give it up! *flails*

Annabelle “Licoriche” Smoothie Extreme Longwear Eyeshadow Pencil, swtached; direct sunlight

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Black Box Week | Annabelle “Blast Off” Glitterama Liquid Liner review, photos, swatches

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The product: Annabelle Glitterama liquid eyeliner in Blast Off

Blast Off is my fourth Glitterama eyeliner, which speaks for itself – I also have Plutonium (permanent), Dark Angel and Night Light (LE from Fall/Winter 2010), and Marcelle LUX Diamond Liquid Eyeliners in Silver and Pure Gold (which feature the same formula). So I suppose you could say I’m “sort of” a fan, in the way that I’m “sort of” a TSCC fan, or “sort of” a Who fan, or “sort of” a Sherlock fan.

(I am also “sort of” a fan of Alias, Buffy, Veronica Mars, Supernatural, Fringe, and White Collar. You know, just sort of. Generally.)

(Oh. Also, you can check out swatches of those other three liners here!)

Annabelle Glitterama Liquid Eyeliner in Blast Off, no flash, indirect sunlight

Annabelle Blast Off, no flash, indirect sunlight

The shade: Blast Off is a mixture of silver and black particles – the same silver bits from Plutonium (the larger size, not the smaller size), and the same black bits from Dark Angel. Needless to say, it’s quite pretty!

The good: Like the other Glitterama liners, Blast Off features a paraben-free ingredient list, a long-wearing formula, and an easy-to-use applicator (it’s fine, thin, & just the right length to deliver both control and a quick application). I don’t get any glitter fallout or transfer, and they’re well-priced – I want to say about $7 regular price, but they’re on sale quite often.

The bad: These take forever to dry – but it’s worth it for the wear time!

Also worth noting is that these get gloopy with time due to the packaging (my LUX Diamond liners are totally fine), but it’s not a huge deal. You’ve got about a year with zero issues, and because of the simple ingredient list, I’m willing to bet you could re-hydrate them with just a bit of distilled water and/or glycerine, easy-peasy.

The ingredients:

Water, Glycerine, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Polyethelene Terephtalate

The verdict?

Blast Off isn’t one of my favourite Glitterama liners (it’s a little more subtle than I usually go for), but it’s still a great way to add some oomph to your usual eye looks. I love what a little bit of glitter can do, and these liners are as hassle-free as it gets: zero fallout, no finicky application tricks, and all-day wear.

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Black Box Week | Annabelle “Metal Daze” Smoothliner review, photos, swatches

Monday, August 22, 2011

The product: Annabelle Smoothliner in Metal Daze

The shade: Metal Daze is an intense, sparkly gunmetal. It’s the least black of the liners in the Black Box collection; on it’s own, I’d call it a metallic black, but with the rest of the collection, I’m definitely going with “dark gunmetal grey.”

Something about the way the shimmer sits in the formula means that this is one of the few eyeliners I have that actually has fallout, which is weird – but kind of pretty, if we’re being honest. Inside of two hours, I’ll have fine shimmer under my lower lashlines, and by six hours, it’s spread to about a half-inch below my eyes. However, it’s only the shimmer (and a very delicate smattering thereof) that migrates, not the colour itself!

Annabelle Metal Daze swatches, (bright) indirect sunlight

Annabelle Metal Daze swatches, direct sunlight

The application: The Smoothliner formula is a huge hit from Annabelle, and I’m actually stunned that I haven’t tried it yet – it’s quite often the first product people try from the line. (Psst, did you know that Annabelle makes the best-selling liners in Canadian drugstores? True fact.)

Anyhow, Metal Daze is a dream to work with. It applies with zero skipping or tugging, smudges flawlessly, and dries at just the right rate – quickly enough that you’re not left waiting, but slowly enough that you have ample time to smoke out the line if you’d like to.

On the waterline, I can get about three hours of wear, but it fades fairly delicately. (Which is a good thing!) It doesn’t flake off or end up halfway down my face; instead, it just kind of “melts” into my lower lashline, no panda eyes or harsh lines involved.

Annabelle Metal Daze, applied to the upper lashline and smudged very lightly through the lower lashline

The wear: Unfortunately, I can’t even make it to two hours with Metal Daze on my lashline before it’s migrating  toward my crease. Perhaps I just have too-high expectations out of eyeliners, but like 90% of the ones I try, I just can’t wear this the way I’d like to – that is, smudged around and in my lashlines without primer or powder.

You can definitely increase the wear time by layering it (ie. with a powder eyeshadow, or with a primer), but I wish it wore longer on its own!

The verdict?

I love the way this Smoothliner applies & blends, and I love this shade, but it just doesn’t work with my finicky monolids. I may be alone on this one, though – as I mentioned, these pencils are generally really well-received! (Check out the MUA Smoothliner review page, for instance, where they have a 4.5/5 rating, the lowest review is a 3/5, and 90% “buy again” rate.)

Despite my own difficulties with this pencil, I’d definitely recommend trying these out if you don’t have the same struggles as I do with smudging eyeliner.

How it stacks up

For fans of: Urban Decay 24/7 liners, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes – they all have that gorgeous, smudgeable, super-smooth formula in common. (Out of the three different liners, though, I like Annabelle’s the most!)

Similar to: MAC Powerpoints, GOSH Velvet Touch, Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner (which all wear a lot longer than Metal Daze, on my lids, but won’t apply to the waterline and don’t smudge out as easily.)

Ingredients and additional photos »

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