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7.30.2013

Beauty Bargain: The Essie Copycats - MUA Nail Polishes

Oh Essie... How I've admired you from afar for a long time. I have a long list of shades I want to get my manicured talons on but for £7.99/ 12.99 euro a bottle, you don't exactly come cheap. Mint Candy Apple, Fiji and Tart Deco are just some of the shades included in my if only I had the money beauty wish list. So imagine how I felt when I discovered that the MUA fairy Godmother  repackaged their entire nail polish range and transformed the black lid, cheap looking bottles into a more aesthetically pleasing version, in the form of an Essie copycat. White lid? Check. Signature square bottles? Check. Logo etched onto bottle? Yup it's there but this time it spells out MUA instead of Essie. The resemblance of these to their much expensive counterparts is striking. They're so similar and provided you aren't holding these close in your hands, one can easily mistaken these for Essie polishes.  Now I don't know how the people over at the Essie HQ reacted to this blatant copying of their design. But I can imagine it was far from pretty.


 
Swatches
 Swatches from left to right, starting from the thumb: Bright Pink, Natural Days, Lush Lilac, Pistachio Ice Cream and All Nude
 
The Shades
Bright Pink: a warm fuchsia pink (it's just a tad darker in real life compared to the swatches provided)
Natural Days: milky baby pink
Lush Lilac: pale lilac with a white undertone
Pistachio Ice Cream: pastel mint surf green
All Nude: true white

Seeing as these polishes retail for only £1 each, I initially had my concerns about the formula and the brush. When it comes to cheap nail polishes, I'm always worried that they'll apply 1) very streaky and 2) will require a gazillion of coats to achieve an opaque and even finish. Considering 3 out of the 5 shades I picked up belong to the pastel family, I worried about the streakiness during application. I was really expecting them to be a nightmare to work with and it didn't help that the short brush was unlike anything I've used before. But it turns out, I shouldn't have worried so much.

Granted for their cheap price tag, we shouldn't expect a top notch formula but for what it is, the application of each polish is relatively easy to carry out. The formula and the consistency is quite on the thin side and for the lighter shades (Natural Days, Lush Lilac and All Nude) I find them to be slightly watery and you can really see this if you choose to apply thin coats. And it is for that very reason why they can apply quite uneven and streaky at first. That said, the short brush proves to be beneficial as it helps with the ease of application. Because while it is on the short side, it's quite dense and always manages to deposit just the right amount of the polish. And due to the size of the brush handle, I actually find that I have a better control on just how much pressure to apply, to achieve a smooth finish.

I normally prefer to layer thin coats as opposed to thick coats because I find that it helps to prevent chipping down the line but because of the formulation of these polishes, layering on 2-3 thick coats is the only way to go. The first coat is far from being neat but apply a second coat and you'll achieve a smooth and opaque coverage. However, while 2 coats will suffice for some people because they've reached opacity by then, I'm a perfectionist and it's why I'll always choose to add on a third coat as I personally prefer the finish especially with the lighter shades. They look more polished and smoother compared to wearing just 2 coats. But if time is an issue, as previously mentioned, you can get away with 2 coats especially with the shade: Bright Pink as it's by far the most pigmented shade and the easiest to apply.

Speaking of time, the drying time for the 1st coat is usually within 5 mins with the 2nd and 3rd coat taking 10 to 15 mins to completely dry and set. Colour is true to the bottle, what you see is exactly what you get on your nails. They dry to a semi-glossy finish but not overly so which is why I'd highly recommend using a top coat to add some more shine, especially if you're the type of gal who likes her glossy talons. :) But that said, I'd like to point out that in the above swatches I wasn't wearing any top coat and I found the formula to be surprisingly long wearing. By the time I removed the swatches from the last photo above, it was Day 3 and I had yet to see any chips. Very impressive for a £1 nail polish non?

Final note? Clean, crisp pretty Essie replica packaging, 18 pretty shades to choose from here ,impressive longevity and a cheap price tag makes these polishes worthy owners of the beauty bargain title. They're even a better bargain if you happen to catch the 3 for 2 offer in Superdrug. (like I did. Thanks momma and aunt Beth for picking these up for me. Much love :) )

7.23.2013

The Summer Lipgloss: Revlon Colorburst - Sizzle


For a colour that packs a punch, Revlon Colorburst Lipgloss in Sizzle (£7.99/ 11.20 euro) brings it. And it brings it in spades. A straight up dark orange shade but applies a little less intense on the lips. On my lips, it's a light orangey red with a slight pink undertone. It's got that slight coral vibe going on. Right from the very first coat, the doe foot applicator generously offer a semi opaque coverage. 2 coats and it nearly has the pigmentation of a lipstick. Unlike many lipglosses, Sizzle doesn't disappoint in the pigmentation department. As a matter of fact, it excels exceptionally well and I'm very impressed with it. It serves up a pop of rich saturated colour and a high shine glossy finish in equal measures. As far as lipglosses go, Sizzle is definitely a bright and bold hue but the ultra glossy finish makes it a very wearable and playful shade. No need to be afraid ;)

The doe foot applicator is quite standard but it's a little wider and longer than your average applicator and it's flexible too. It distributes the semi opaque coverage in 2 swipes. On some occasions, I find that it can apply quite uneven and patchy due to the relatively thick consistency and the rich saturation of the gloss but applying the colour and layering it slowly is a helpful trick to overcoming this minor problem. As for the formula itself, it's non sticky and  it's really comfortable to wear as it's formulated with Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E. It feels very moisturising, a nice refreshing change from the usual stickiness that came during my past affairs with other glosses. Sizzle contains the tiniest  iridescent golden shimmers but they're barely noticeable as the highly saturated pigmentation somehow conceals them. It lasts just under 2 hours on me. When the vibrancy and intensity of Sizzle starts to fade away, I'm usually left with a light orangey red tint with a subtle shine. It does fade away evenly.

Glossy, moisturising, really pigmented, non sticky and very comfortable to wear? Is it any wonder why I've chosen it as my Summer go to lipgloss this year? I'm a fan. :)

7.18.2013

6 Shades of Summer: Lips Edition

Summer to me is all about lightening up our beauty arsenals, swapping our heavy duty foundations for something a little bit more skin friendly and lightweight- BB Creams and tinted moisturisers. Allowing our pouts and nails to take the lead by choosing bold and bright shades, to make the sun proud. Let your tips and pout do all the scene stealing and be brave with your beauty bag this season. I already shared my Top 6 Summer Nail polishes here so now it's time to reveal my Top 6 Summer appropriate lip products. And we all know just how much I love talking about lippies right? Get comfortable. It's quite a meaty read. :)


Lipsticks
Swatches left to right: Dating Coral, Flirty Fuchsia, Peace

L'Oreal Rouge Caresse in Dating Coral £7.99/11.99 euro: because let's face it, nothing says summer quite like a coral shade. A beautiful soft pale coral pink (in person, on my lips it leans more towards being a light peachy pink shade). Its sheer, lightweight and moisturising formula means you need to pack on the colour to achieve a medium colour pay off. But if you're looking for a subtle sheer wash of colour that feels moisturising to team up with bronzed cheeks, look no further as it also delivers a luminous shine.

Avon Colordisiac in Flirty Fuchsia (no longer available from Avon but I spotted it on eBay here for £4.50 ) To perk up my complexion with a pop of vibrant colour, I enlist the help of Flirty Fuchsia - a shade I can only describe as upbeat because just like I've said before in my Top 5 Avon lipsticks post , I don't think I'll ever come across another pink lipstick as beautiful as this bright daring blue toned fuchsia pink.  The beautiful shade aside, I'm also loving the formula. Creamy and moisturising. It delivers a moist full colour coverage, that typically lasts for 4 to 5 hours.

Seventeen Mirrorshine in Peace £4.79/6.89 euro: A slick of Peace and you'll be ready for the beach or the pool in no time. It's a vibrant orangey coral inside the tube but translates to a more muted warm coral pink on my lips. Due to its balmy texture, upon application it's a more subtle hue. I've already hailed the Mirrorshines as my favourite drugstore lipstick formula. It glides onto the lips with ease, offers a subtle veil of lightweight colour and it feels really comfortable and moisturising. Not at all sticky.  It brightens my complexion and makes my lips look plumper. I rest my case. It may not be long lasting (lasts for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 mins max) but it's pretty alright. Warning: Because of its soft, balm like texture DO NOT leave it on  hot surfaces, exposed to the sun because it will melt. Been there. Done that. Never again. Silly Billy.

Lip Stains/Lipgloss
Swatches left to right: Sizzle, Lovesick, Stellar


Revlon Colourburst Lipgloss in Sizzle £7.99/11.20 euro To add freshness on my face, a flash of Sizzle on the lips does the trick. A super warm orange-coral inside the tube that gives a semi-opaque coverage on the lips. It applies less vibrant than it does in the actual tube but that said, for a lipgloss, Sizzle is very pigmented. It's a very wearable colour and you can easily mute it down by just layering on a thin coat and pat it on. Non sticky texture. As it is formulated with sweet almond oil and Vitamin E, it feels moisturising. Lasts just under 2 hours. Bottom line: The rich saturated colour pay off, top off with a high shine finish whilst still feeling comfortable and lightweight, makes this a summer must have for me.


Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Lovesick  £7.99 currently £5.99/11.20 euro but currently 8.20 euro With the arrival of the lip crayon phenomenon, rocking a wearable everyday bright lip has never been easier. This chubby lip crayon makes a bold lip a cinch. Simply glide it on and voila. There's even no need for a mirror with this one. Lovesick is my go to colour when I want to create a quick bold statement. It's a dark fuchsia pink whilst inside the packaging but upon application, it's a lighter fuchsia which eventually transforms into a deep reddish pink on my lips. I LOVE this shade as time goes by, when it leaves a beautiful longwearing  stain on my pout. The bright, deep shade of pink it turns to really suits my olive/tan complexion. As a stain, it gets top marks from me. But as a balm- while it initially feels moisturising  upon each application, unfortunately it often feels quite drying when all you have left with is the gorgeous stain. However, a slick of lipbalm on top like EOS will sort it out. :)


Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Stellar £5.99/7.95 euro is my first dabble into the world of liquid lipsticks. Pigmentation of a lipstick but applies like a gloss. This my lady friends is a high maintenance choice in that, you can never apply this without a mirror. The doe foot applicator tends to deposit quite a lot of the product and as it doesn't take much to achieve a full opaque coverage (1 tiny swipe is sufficient), you need to get rid of the excess product by simply wiping the flexible applicator against the tube. Do this and you'll avoid overloading your lips with the product. It feels moisturising and while I can't say it's glossy, I can't say it has a matte finish either. There's definitely a hint of shine within it which you can definitely see above. Overtime, I find that it has the tendency to gather around in the corners of my mouth, not only that but it also  doesn't take much to smear the product all over my face because it just never seems to set on the lips. BUT Stellar is such a gorgeous vivid coral pink -so summery, I can overlook its flaws. It's definitely not for everybody but as long as I keep a mirror nearby, I'll be alright.

7.13.2013

6 Shades of Summer: Nails Edition

Normally when  the sun decides to come out and play aka summer has finally descended upon us, most people would reach for  ice creams (tubs and tubs of it), sun blocks for those of us who easily turn 50 shades of red after an exposure to a bit of sunlight/vitamin D and good ol' reliable gladiator sandals or just any pair of pretty sandals for that matter. Adios boots/runners, Hola flip flops. But me? What do I immediately grab a hold of as soon as I see the sun beaming down? Beauty bits that scream summer of course.  :) Shades that go hand in hand with our summer attire. And that's why today I find myself sharing my top 6 nail polishes that epitomise the summer vibe.


Swatches from left to right, starting from the thumb: Mistress, Pistachio Ice Cream, You're A Peach, Raspberry Crush and Viva Pink

Ciate Paint Pot in Mistress £9: is described as a classic pillar box red but I see it more of an orangey based red. It's the polish that narrowly missed out on winning the perfect red polish title, which I wrote about here .Nevertheless, the ease of application (all thanks to the thin, wide brush) and the wonderful formula deserves my praise. It applies smoothly and 2 coats in, you're done. No need for a top coat as it leaves a high shine finish.

MUA Nail Polish in Pistachio Ice Cream £1: Oh hai there Mint Candy Apple. Oh no wait. It's Pistachio Ice Cream but it looks like a pretty good dupe right? I still have to get my hands on a bottle of Mint Candy Apple ( it's 2013 Diane, get a move on and join the Essie lovin' bandwagon) but from the swatches I've seen online, they look pretty identical. It's a lovely fusion of cool toned baby blue and mint green. Combine the two and you'll get this pastel surf green. The streakiness during application doesn't come as a surprise, considering this polish will only set you back a mere £1. Add to that, the fact that it's a pastel shade. However, with patience, a steady hand and 3 perfectly applied coats, you'll achieve the perfect even finish.

Nails Inc in You're A Peach £11: I scream. You scream. We all scream for You're A Peach because this light peach number reminds me of an orange sherbet. And in this summer heat we're currently experiencing in Ireland, I wouldn't mind a countless supply of it to cool me down. But because I have yet to stumble upon an orange sherbet here, I'll settle for the polish. This shade is actually a limited edition. Nails Inc exclusively designed the shade as part of their collaboration with In Style magazine UK. But if this shade tickles your fancy, Wellington Square , another offering from Nails Inc looks like a great alternative. Application wise, it's a bit of an arse. It's not the easiest to apply due to its relatively thick consistency. It applies quite streaky but 3 coats in, the mess is covered.

Models Own Raspberry Crush £5: is a lovely blend of pink and red. This raspberry reddish pink is my polish of choice if I want to play matchy-matchy with my nails and lips. I personally love pairing it with Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Stellar as the shades are pretty similar to each other. Due to the rich formula of Raspberry Crush, it only takes 2 coats ( 2 strokes each) to reach opacity. It dries within minutes and leaves a lovely shine. A fail safe option when you're about to head for the beach and your boyfriend/ husband/ brother *insert any other companion here* is nagging you to hurry up.

Avon Nailwear Pro in Viva Pink £3- £6: You say summer, I say Viva Pink. This beautiful bright pink will always remain one of my all time favourite nail polish all year round but especially  during the summer. I hailed it, the perfect summer nail polish last year but my love is here to stay folks. Why do I love it so much? It's not your average pink. It's slightly lighter than your average fuchsia and it's darker than your sweet bubblegum pink. It's bang in the middle. With the wide brush that spans out  really well to cover the nail, you're done with 2 quick strokes. With 2 layers layered on, it's the perfect shade to team up with a tan. It's a suitable colour for fingers and toes. The excellent fuss free formula + semi glossy finish makes this a no brainer choice.

Nails Inc St James £11 : made a recent appearance on Slave to Vanity here hence why I decided not to include a swatch. A true classic pillar box red, it's not the most exciting choice of nail polish out there but due to its easy 1 coat wonder application and glossy creme finish, it made the cut.


So those are my top 6 summer ready nail polishes. Do any of them tickle your fancy? What's your favourite summer nail polish ?

7.09.2013

Beauty Haul from the US of A

The problem with being an avid reader of beauty blogs (ditto for magazines) and having an unstoppable, enormous appetite for beauty treats is this: I'll forever have a long beauty list as long as a giraffe's neck. The sequence of events goes something like this: I click on a blog post. I read. I'm persuaded. I add it on. I buy. I fall hard. It's a dangerous, highly addictive never ending cycle, hardcore beauty addicts are all too familiar with.

But see that's not even the worse part. What's worse is wanting a product you can't easily purchase because there are thousands of miles, standing in the way. Of course, you can turn to online shopping in sheer desperation because most brands now ship worldwide but for me, nothing beats a first person contact with the actual product or 10 ;) . Swatching the shades available, picking up the product, handing your hard earned cash to the sales assistant (not the best bit obvs). Carrying your latest buy like a baby on the way home in a new shiny paper bag while you have the biggest smug on your mug. Resisting the urge to do a happy dance. Hey, it happens :)

So the next best thing? Have someone you know/ a relative purchase the products for you. Momma goes to Florida, daughter gives her a drugstore beauty list , containing all the beauty bits, I can't get a hold of in Ireland. Sounds about right. Because I've wanted all these American beauty goodies , a whole century ago. Now let's get on with the good stuff.



Eyes wise, I was only interested in mascaras because lately, I've been noticing how overpriced mascaras are over here in Ireland. Cosmetics are generally overpriced here because a majority of brands seem to think that , they can charge us ladies (about 30 to 40%  more than our US friends. grr) and we'll still purchase it. Most mascaras now retail for 15-16 euro each in Boots. For a drugstore brand, that ain't cheap. So I purchased 3.  Covergirl Lash Blast Mega Volume Mascara (800 Very Black) ($7.64/ less than 6 euro) is one of those highly hyped about product amongst beauty bloggers. I think it's one of those mascaras, every blogger would've given a try at some point and now it's my turn. With a promise that it'll give me an ultimate big-lash look and instant volume and fullness? Give me some of that.

Covergirl Clump Crusher (800 Very Black) ($8.99/ less than 7 euro) claims to give 200% more volume and zero clumps. No clumps, really? Count me in. I can't wait to put it to the test.

Amelia is one of my favourite beauty blogger and so when she recommended L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara  ($6.79/ less than 6 euro) for achieving that extra oomph of volume ,once combined with another mascara , I had to test it out.  Now all I need is Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill . Rumour has it that Kim Kardashian's make-up artist uses this a lot. Surely that's the only reason I needed to give Carbon Black a whirl? Kim K's luscious, full lashes? Yes please :)


Need I go on? Can we all admire the cuteness? The adorable, egg shaped cuties that are the EOS Lip Balms  ($2.97 each/ less than 2 euro) caught my eye from the very first time I saw Whitney Port slathering it on her puckers. I chose Strawberry Sorbet and Honeysuckle Honeydew . The strawberry sorbet because who hates strawberries? And honeysuckle honeydew because I love me some juicy melons. I love the packaging. Finally a hygienic option. No more dipping in fingers into a pot. Just roll and smooth it on. It's also formulated with shea butter and jojoba oil to lend a helping hand in conditioning my lips. And no parabens? LOVE.


American beauty bloggers, I blame the whole lot of 'em for these purchases. The much loved/ highly praised Milani Baked Blushes ($7.05/ less than 7 euro) are no strangers to the beauty community. They've been raved about countless of times for their amazing pigmentation, ability to add a beautiful luminosity on the cheeks and their overall, lovely smooth texture. I've been crushing on Luminoso for over 2 years now, ever since Tiffany (one of my all time favourite beauty blogger) raved about it. A light peachy pink with beautiful tiny gold shimmers? Glowy cheeks be mine :) And as a lover of all things coral, I couldn't ignore the beautiful bright Corallina  now could I? Momma just couldn't stay away. Tried it on today and this girl's in lurve. ;)



And finally the most exciting part of the haul (who am I kidding? I was hella excited to finally get my mitts on all the products mentioned in this post) Maybelline Color Whispers in Orange Attitude, Cherry On Top, Coral Ambition and lastly, Who Wore It Red-er . When I found out that Maybelline were releasing their very own lipstick/lipgloss/lipbalm hybrid I couldn't wait to find out how they compare to the Revlon Lip Butters and L'Oreal Rouge Caresse lipsticks (I only have 1 shade from each brand) and without knowing if I'd like them or not, I went ahead and purchased 4 shades from Maybelline. Just like any other sane person would do, if they were in my place. I don't know when these babies will eventually find their way into Boots/Superdrug over this side of the world. Plus I know these are bound to be more expensive here (I presume they'll be 10-11 euro a pop) so why not be greedy eh? For $6.34 each/less than 6 euro - I just had to.

As always, I'll be writing a review on all of these products in due course. To bring you the lowdown on what's hot and what's not about them. So keep your peepers open for that. In the meantime, I'm off to put them under the beauty microscope and trust me, I ain't missing even the tiniest detail. :)

7.07.2013

Nails Inc St James - The Perfect Red Polish?


Forget Essie nail polishes. Nails Inc  is where it's at. My stash currently stands at 9 but I think it's only a matter of time before I see a rise in the number. Some of the consistency of their polishes are a hit or a miss (just like with other brands) but sometimes it just takes a shade. 1 perfect shade to make me fall in love with a brand. Take St James for example.

I've been on the look out for the perfect red nail polish, for what seemed like forever. I've encountered a few that came pretty close to being hailed as my perfect red but something about them just didn't measure up. Ciate Mistress was probably the closest to snatching the title and winning me over and while I can't deny that it is a beaut of a shade, the strong orange undertone ruled it out as a true classic red. The ease of application of the Ciate nail polishes (all thanks to the wonderful flat, wide brush) is worthy of holy grail status though. Tate , an offering from Nail Inc is another beautiful shade but it's a bit too dark for my liking. It's a burgundy red wine with raspberry like undertone. And it's for that reason why it lost out on the title too. Then out of nowhere, St James stole the title from the very first second I lacquered it onto my nails.

Described as a pillar box red shade , I couldn't agree more with the accurate description from Nail Inc.'s official website. It's a straight up Hollywood classic red shade ( but somehow, it also reminds me a little bit of red Skittles. No just me?) There's no fooling around here. No sneaky orange/berry undertones. Just the 100% real deal and it's hot, hot, hot. As if the shade wasn't enough, I've gone into loving the formula and consistency of the polish too. Why? St James is a 1 coat wonder. It only takes one coat to reach opacity. But because I have this weird thing about odd numbers (even numbers all the way :) ), I layered on a second coat. I didn't feel the need to layer on a top coat to seal the look together because of the semi-glossy creme finish. The formula is quite on the thick side but isn't gloopy in the slightest. It applies evenly and smoothly.

The brush is wide enough to cover the entire nail bed in 2 quick strokes. But there's just a teeny tiny glitch to report: the brush always manages to get covered with a lot of the nail polish. In this case, it's quite easy to flood the nail bed with excess polish but to solve this, I always ensure that after dipping the nail brush inside, I swipe the brush against the side of bottle to remove the excess polish that I don't need. After this minor set back, it's pretty much a love affair.

Like with most Nails Inc formulas, I find it to be chip resistant because 6 days in (without any top coat), I have barely any chips. I only have 2 tiny chips on both thumbs. Quite impressive no? :) Nails Inc? I heart to the highest degree.  With the summer heat finally here, St James is a great choice for adding a touch of glamour ,sophistication and an edge to a casual summer outfit.

Next on the list? Nails Inc super famous once loved by Beyoncé bright royal blue Baker Street. What a blue nail polish? Never imagined it myself but first time for everything and all that. ;)

Priced at £11 for 10 mls here the Nails Inc offerings aren't cheap but the quality of  the polishes reflects the price.

7.06.2013

Beauty Bargain: Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad (Mocha Latte) Dupe for Naked shades?

Nothing warms my heart quite like a new beauty find. Even more so, when the product in question happens to be a beauty bargain. I'm currently a nursing student and I happen to be a bona fide beauty junkie. Admittedly, those 2 facts don't go very well together in the same sentence now do they? Because a constantly broke student due to her inability to say no to pretty things, is as fun as hearing someone run their fingers down a blackboard. *shudder*

Sustaining my need for the latest beauty fix is becoming a bit of a nightmare in the sense that, no matter what I do, I'll never feel like I have enough. But my ever growing stash is the  cold hard evidence staring back at me in the face.

While I have certain high end beauty buys under my belt, I'm a drugstore girl through and through which is why I decided to start a new feature on Slave to Vanity entitled ''Beauty Bargain''. What an exciting title. NOT. But it is one that certainly fits the bill so it'll do. As the name suggests, it's a feature where I share my latest favourite beauty find. For a product to make an appearance under this new feature it only has to meet 2 simple criteria:
 
1.) It has to be less than 15 euro (I originally went for 10 euro but since most cosmetics are way overpriced here in Ireland , a less than 15 euro find is still a bargain.)
2.) It just has to blow me away, in terms of its performance, which goes far and beyond its inexpensive price tag.
 

 
First up in line? Avon True Colour Eyeshadow Quad (Mocha Latte) which featured in my Avon: Top 5 Products of All Time post but this beauty deserves an entire post of its own. It's actually not a 'latest' find as such. I've been loving this a long time (over 2 years now). Before the Naked palettes, this served me incredibly well and continue to do so.
 
Housed in a sleek sophisticated black compact (reminiscent of the beautiful Chanel packaging)  are 4 beautiful shades (2 matte, 2 satin) which together as a whole, create a lovely everyday smoky eye. Whoever decided on what shades to  include in this palette deserves a huge pat on the back because once combined, they work so beautifully together. In perfect harmony shall I say?

2 years ago, the shades in this palette had no names. But I recently discovered that Avon had christened them and they now have names as follows from the top row - Left shade: Latte. Right shade: Beige. And then the bottom row: Left shade: Iced Coffee. Right shade: Espresso. Not the catchiest and most creative names out there but an effort all the same.
 
 
Swatches
 Swatches from left to right: Latte, Beige, Iced Coffee and Espresso
 
For powder eye shadows, I find that these are non chalky nor are they powdery. The 4 shades are incredibly silky soft because of their finely milled texture. Are they as soft and smooth as the Urban Decay Naked shades? No, but they aren't far behind. And for a fraction of the price, you can't really expect them to. However, they apply so seamlessly on my eyelids, only requiring minimal effort to blend the eye shadows together with my beloved and trusted No 7 Eyeshadow Blend and Contour brush .  The shades are very pigmented and long lasting. Without any primer on, I find the shades to last for a good 7 to 8 hours before I see any signs of fading. But once applied on my primed non oily  eyelids ( I like to use my Avon Eyeshadow Primer in Light Beige for the job) , these last forever and a day. I find that the intensity of the eye shadows is preserved for 10- 12 hours max with little to no creasing to report. If you happen to have oily lids, these may not last as long so an eyeshadow primer wouldn't go amiss. Unlike with some Naked shades, fallouts are extremely rare with these eye shadows. Iced Coffee is the only shade with tiny shimmers running all the way through it, but fallouts are rare.
 
  A simple look

 This look is what I consider my simple everyday eye. I simply apply Iced Coffee on the entire lid, followed quickly by Espresso as my crease and outer v shade. Espresso is a great shade for creating that subtle smoky effect. I carefully blend the two together to avoid harsh lines and voila. That's it. On the rare occasions, I'd take Latte and apply it as a highlight on my brow bone for a more polished finish but for everyday eyes, this look suits me just fine.
 
 
Comparison Time
 

 During the process of writing this post and swatching the shades from the palette, I couldn't help but notice just how similar the shades are to some shade offerings from the Urban Decay Naked 1 and 2 Palette. Let's start comparing now shall we?
 
 
1st Dupe
 
 Swatches left to right: Latte, Virgin, Bootycall
 
Latte - a pale soft satin white beige is pretty much Virgin from the Naked palette but with less fine shimmers. It's also similar to Bootycall from the Naked 2 palette but it's slightly lighter. Bootycall is just a tad darker thanks to its yellow, peach undertones.
 
 
2nd Dupe
 
  Swatches left to right: Beige, Buck

Beige a matte medium beige brown looked like a great dupe for Naked from the Naked Palette but when swatched and upon closer inspection , it's actually more like Buck but just cooler and lighter. I'd say Beige is Buck's younger sister.

 
3rd Dupe
Swatches left to right: Iced Coffee, Chopper

Iced Coffee is my favourite shade out of the palette and the most used simply because, just this swiped all over the lid and I'm usually set for the road. It's a beautiful medium bronzy brown with tiny almost invisible shimmers running through it. It doesn't feel gritty nor do you get any fall out (ahem Sidecar). Instead it brightens up the eye. At first glance, it looks like a dupe for Sidecar from the Naked Palette but a second look revealed that it is in actual fact, a pretty close dupe for Chopper from Naked 2. Minus the heavy fallout and mess that is Chopper. I personally blame the what seems like thousands of shimmer, golden flecks running through it. Chopper is more of an oranged-toned brown while Iced Coffee is more of a true brown with a lovely sheen.
 
4th Dupe

 Swatches left to right: Espresso, Snakebite
Espresso a warm dark matte brown blends and creates that smoky effect we're all after, perfectly. Amongst the Naked shades, I think it's a close enough dupe for Snakebite from the Naked 2 palette. Snakebite just happens to be a shimmery dark bronze. Basically, if you just mix some golden shimmer into Espresso, you'll pretty much end up with Snakebite. Under some lighting, I swear they look very identical.
 
So are the Avon shades exact dupes for some Naked shades? Nope. But they come pretty close. So if you're on a tight budget but you've always wanted to try the Naked Palettes, Mocha Latte is a great beauty bargain find. 
 
If you fancy trying it for yourself, you can purchase it online here . It's currently retailing for only £5 (normal price: £8.50) . Alternatively, you can visit your country's Avon website, to get in touch with a local Avon rep, serving your area. When I purchased this, 2 years ago I paid 5 euro and let's just say, it's the best 5 euro I've ever spent. Never tried eye shadows before? These 4 shades blends so easily, it's truly hard to make a mistake. Easy everyday brown sultry eye? I likey. :)
 
How about you? Any fab beauty bargain finds lately?