Black Box Week | Wrap-up

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Saturday, lovelies! I just wanted to wrap-up our Black Box week & share a few more swatches with you all. Hope you enjoyed the series, and please feel free to leave any additional thoughts you may have in the comments!

To be honest, I kinda liked writing up everything for this week – it was a bit hectic and a bit crazy, seeing as I did most of it in the span of three or four days in addition to writing up posts for those days, but I don’t know. I guess I liked the coherency of it all? I kinda want to do it again, but of course, with a different focus next time ;)

(I’m thinking, maybe, MAC Pigments? Or a week of different makeup looks. Ooh, or perhaps Clinique’s Black Honey seasonal collection…)

Read the reviews

How they stack up

One particularly awesome thing about this collection is that, though they’re all more or less black, there’s no redundancy in the products. They’re all different in shade, application, portability, texture, finish, purpose – I think it’s a bit brilliant, to be honest.

But then again, I’m easily amused.

Annabelle Black Box swatches, L-R: Le BIG Show mascara, Licoriche Smoothie, Metal Daze Smoothliner, Black Spark Liquid Eyeliner, Blast Off Glitterama Eyeliner.

Direct sunlight, no flash.

L-R: Le BIG Show, Licoriche, Metal Daze, Black Spark, Blast Off.

Indirect sunlight, no flash.


Try Le BIG Show if you’re looking for a lot of volume, an intensely black lash, or a glossy finish, but not necessarily lengthening or curling.

Try Licoriche if you’re looking for a super-blendable, super-black base or a really opaque waterline. It layers well, too, so you can get anything from a subtle, hazy shadow around your lashes to a dramatic smokey eye.

Try Metal Daze if you’re looking for a light black/dark gunmetal eyeliner to create a sharp or smokey line. The shimmer in this one adds a bit of interest to what would otherwise be another basic black, and it gives a softer, more ethereal effect.

Try Black Spark if you’re looking for a longwearing, budgeproof, easy-to-use, black-but-better liquid liner.

Try Blast Off if you’re looking to add some shine and glitter to a liner you already have. (Because of the translucent base in Glitterama liners, they’re even prettier when layered over a “regular” liner!)

Just a few more photos »

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


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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