Madswan Style

My Beauty, My Style

Category: Reviews

Review: Skin by Alison Raffaele Soft Gloss

This is almost the last of my Alison Raffaele purchase from Hautelook from a bit ago. Skin by Alison Raffaele Soft Glosses ($19.50 on, I got mine for ~$5 on Hautelook; 0.21 oz.) are meant to be a moisturising, long-lasting, non-sticky gloss according to the Alison Raffaele website. It comes in six colors; the two shades I purchased are Demure (light pink) and Elegant (a dark rosy brown).


The packaging these come is is pretty standard. They are long, thin, clear plastic tubes with purple caps (the color consistant with the rest of the line). The tops of the lids have the Alison Raffaele flower motif stamped on the lid. There are no ingredients or even shade names on this packaging (it was on the exterior packaging; the box it came in), which is mildly irritating. These have a standard doe foot applicator.



These glosses were surprising to me in many ways. First of all, when I received them, I thought to myself, why in the world did I order these colors? Demure seemed to cool and bright for me, and Elegant was just so brown! They redeemed themselves upon trying, though, because while they look scary in the tube, their colors are somewhat sheer on the lips. In fact, they look rather nice! Demure cooled down my lip color to a lovely baby pink and gave a nice shine. Elegant darkened my lip color to a medium browned rose.  So — these are sheer, which is good to keep in mind! I consider this a neutral point in relation to the product because the official product website doesn’t claim any kind of coverage about them.

The formula is surprisingly as claimed! It goes on a bit thin, is completely non-sticky, and stays that way. It lasts a good few hours on me, and it is non-drying — even a bit moisturizing. It has a light vanilla scent that is almost unnoticeable, and that disappears quickly. A little bit goes a long way with these; too much product will goop up your lips. They are a bit on the extra-slip side, too, but I haven’t had a problem with them not staying put.

The gloss line itself is a bit limited. Only six shades are listed on the Alison Raffaele website. For this kind of gloss, though, I think this is acceptable — sheer glosses can look the same if they aren’t different enough from each other.

Image from

I was very pleasantly surprised with these glosses, since I wasn’t really expecting much after the other products. These live up to their claims, and I enjoyed them besides. The price is a bit high when full-price (more than MAC tinted lipglass), but you do get a good bit of product (0.21 oz compared to MAC’s lipglass at 0.17 oz.).


Elegant, Demure




I gave them a 4/5. I wouldn’t consider them the BEST glosses I’ve ever tried, but they are pretty good, especially for a non-sticky gloss. I wear these often, and I liked them enough that I MAY purchase them at full price, if I purchase them again, though I’m glad for the price I got them for ($19.50 puts these between MAC and Chanel pricewise)!


Review: Urban Decay Naked Palette

So I’m a little late to the party on this one. I actually received my palette a week before the wedding, but didn’t have time to give it a proper review. I took it on my honeymoon, so it really got a good test run. So this review may be late, but here it is!

The Urban Decay Naked Palette ($44) was released earlier this summer, and contains 12 full size (.05 oz!) “neutral” shadows, five of which are new shades. It also comes with a double-ended 24/7 liner (.02 oz/each end), and a mini primer potion bottle (.13 fl. oz).


The packaging is quite hefty, chocolate, velvet-textured, and has a magnetic closure. It has gold foil lettering on the top, and inside. The inside also includes a small mirror, long shadow pans, and a slot for the eye liner.

Taking this traveling with me, I had a few concerns: that the velvety outside would attract dust and lint like a magnet; that the case, while hefty, wouldn’t be up to being banged around in my luggage; and that the magnet may not hold well.

None of these concerns were necessary. This palette traveled beautifully. It did attract a minute bit of stuff on the velvet, but it came off with a light brush of the hand. There were no dents or dings, and the magnet held through two 9 hour flights, a being dragged around in my luggage for more time than that.


This palette comes with 12 shades: Virgin (new), Sin, Naked, Sidecar (BoS1), Buck (new), Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse (new), Toasted, Hustle (new), Creep (new), and Gunmetal. They are in different finishes, but mostly matte, frost, and shimmer. They are surprisingly modest shades coming from Urban Decay, and have great textures and blend well with little fallout. Pigmentation is also excellent, as is expected from UD.

I really love these colors! My favorites so far have been Virgin, Toasted, and Hustle. Virgin, while frosty, can be used as a highlighter in many capacities — cheekbones, tear duct, etc., though it may be too much for the brow bone for some. Toasted and Hustle I love together, they both have a shimmery finish and look great together. I’m a sucker for mauve-y browns, and here they are! Hustle is an exceptionally beautiful crease color.

While not my favorite of the bunch, Naked has probably gotten the most use so far, just because it is so neutral and easy to use alone or with any of the other colors. Easy was the name of the game on vacation!

I cannot even express how much value is in this palette — a regular full-sized Urban Decay Shadow sells for $17! I was worried that maybe these shadows may not be up to par, or too glittery for me (as some UD shadows are), but I was pleasantly surprised. A few of the colors  aren’t as “neutral” as the rest, but for the most part, this entire palette is perfect for work-appropriate looks, while also being able to take your look to evening.

The liners are the same as any 24/7 liner — buttery smooth and long-lasting.

Swatches (natural light with flash; as always, click to enlarge):

L-R: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep, Gunmetal


5/5. The best palette (factory palette, not ones I’ve put together) I’ve ever owned hands down. I will (and have) use every color. The value is exceptional — 12 full size, high quality shadows, 2 mini liners, and a mini primer. If this wasn’t sold out EVERYWHERE, I’d probably buy another for my sister, and another for myself as a backup. LOVE IT! So if you get the chance to grab this — DO IT! You won’t regret it!

Disclaimer: All products in this post were bought by me.

Review: Skin by Alison Raffaele Tinted Moisturizer

This is another of the things I purchased from the Hautelook Alison Raffaele sale ages ago. I paid $8.75 for this, but it sells for $35 at; it is 1.76 oz. It comes in three colors: light, light-medium, and medium. I purchased it in light-medium.


This comes in a squishy flat plastic tube in the signature shiny lilac color that the Alison Raffaele “Skin” Collection uses, and is consistent with the brand image. I don’t necessarily like the tube shape or the lid, though, because it is harder to store since the lid is rounded, and it can’t be stored on end. Though it looks sleek, the packaging actually takes up a lot of space.

The nozzle I also don’t really enjoy because it doesn’t hold the product in when it is open with the nozzle facing even a little downwards; you don’t have to squeeze the tube at all for product to come out. I’ve made a mess and gotten way too much product on the few occasions I’ve worn this!

There is a list of ingredients on the back, as well as more information on the moisturizer.

Click to enlarge


The consistency of the tinted moisturizer is quite thin, a bit more so than the average liquid foundation. It goes on smooth and feels very light and moisturizing. It is sheer in one layer, which is the way that I wore it because the color was a bit off for me, so it required a lot of blending and smoothing to look natural. The product desription says  it is meant to be medium coverage, and I would say it is somewhere between medium and sheer, depending on how it is applied and blended.

This tinted moisturizer has a rating of SPF 15, and uses physical ingredients (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) as opposed to chemical for the active sun blocking ingredients.

The color range is very limited, which is a negative. The color I purchased was also not right for me, and I am unsure whether any of the other colors would work either. It ended up being about the right color saturation for my skin tone, but ran way to orange on my face straight from the tube. I would be afraid that the light shade would just be a lighter version of the same color and don’t want to spend $35 on another, so haven’t purchased another color to test it out.



I gave it a 3/5. While I didn’t like the packaging and the color was wrong for me, I did really like the formula of the moisturizer itself. I’m not sure if I would rate this as high if I had paid full price for it, though.

Review: Alison Raffaele Soft Shadows

I’ve had these shadows for quite some time, but hadn’t gotten around to reviewing them, yet!

I bought these from a sale on Hautelook a few months ago for $4.88 each, but they sell for $19.50 on These are 0.11 oz. The colors I own are Moonlight (shimmer), Warm Grey (matte), and Taupe (matte).


These come in cute, lightweight, lilac purple plastic round compacts with a flower design on the top. The compact itself has a moderately good clasp; it holds the shadow shut well, but can be difficult to open. There is a mirror on the inside. The back has a sticker with the shadow name and some information (no ingredients, though).


I was very surprised with this product when I received it after reading the rave reviews on Makeup Alley. With the shadows themselves, on me, the mattes were chalky and not very pigmented. Moonlight was okay formula-wise, but the color doesn’t really show up on my skin tone. Maybe I got some rejects or am missing something?

I was also surprised that being called “Soft Shadow”, the product wasn’t softer. The texture of it is silky to the touch, but is hard in the sense that I feel like I have to really swipe my brush or sponge hard to get enough product to show up.

The colors themselves aren’t bad if unoriginal (though I feel that Taupe isn’t really taupe), they just aren’t pigmented enough to warrant using them for me. They are layer-able, but why layer when I have other products that don’t require that. Moonlight is the only one I’ve used more than once or twice because it does work nicely as a highlighter. I really wanted these shadows to work as I love some of the other products in the Alison Raffaele line, but for me, they were really a miss.

Swatches (these are as dark as I could swatch these colors with sponges, brushes didn’t work; there are probably ~5 heavy layers of each shadow. Click to enlarge):

L-R: Moonlight, Warm Grey, Taupe


I gave them a 1.5/5. The packaging is nice, and I only paid $4.88 for these. Moonlight I do somewhat like, but the matte shades I really do not. I would probably rate these less if I had paid full price as they would likely have been returned.

Review: Aromaleigh – Part 1: Matte Shadows

So I decided it would be best to break down the Aromaleigh review into different parts, I’ll do this one on mattes, then probably work by collection, or other weird logic. We’ll see. For now, on to the mattes!

Aromaleigh has a few different collections containing matte shadows: Pure Eyes Mattes ($7.00 full size), the Carolina Summer Collection (all matte, $7.25 full size), the Retro Hi-Fi Matte Collection ($8.00 full size), and formerly, the Rocks! Sonic Collection had a few matte shades in it’s lineup (this line is not available at the moment as it is being reformulated).

I have shades from all the matte collections except Retro Hi-Fi, and writing this gives me the itch to go get some, now that I realize that I don’t have any from that collection. Most of the mattes I have are from the Carolina Summer Collection, which contains shades that are subdued and lovely; I would consider most of the colors to be almost neutrals, even if they are a color. I also have a few of the Pure Eyes Mattes, but most of them are samples. The Pure Eyes Matte collection is a good place to start color-wise because it has a good range of colors. The Retro Hi-Fi Matte Collection contains all bright, fun shades, and I don’t know why I don’t own some of them! I also own two mattes from the Rocks! Sonic Collection.

Swatches of the shades I own over Too Faced Shadow Insurace, natural light (click to enlarge):

L-R: Bluemonday, Blueorchid; Peach, Latte, Grape, Eros; Starfish, Dune, Catteleya, Willow, Bouganvillea

I divided the swatches by collection: the first two are Rocks! Sonic shades; the next four are Pure Eyes Mattes, and the rest are Carolina Summer shades. My personal favorites are Catteleya, Bouganvillea, and Blueorchid.


Old  logo – New logo

These are all packaged in Aromaleigh’s normal clear plastic 5 gram sifter jars. They have the Aromaleigh logo sticker on top, and a label with the color name, collection (though this doesn’t always match up), and ingredients on the bottom. They come with a sticker seal over the sifter, so they don’t arrive messy. The packaging is pretty standard, in my opinion, though the Aromaleigh stickers do make it look nice and cute, while still professional. I thought the inclusion of the ingredients on the bottom was very nice, as well.

The brand imaging of Aromaleigh has taken big steps just this year with the new logo, new stickers, and even logo-printed tissue paper (so cute!) that orders come wrapped in.

The Product:

The product itself across the shadows is pretty consistent, even across collections (with the exclusion of bluemonday). They are smooth and pigmented, and best of all, NOT chalky! They can be a bit difficult to blend if you aren’t used to working with mattes, but I felt they performed quite well in blend-ability.

They also LAST! These things stay on my lids like no other. I always use an eye primer, but that is true with any brand of shadow I use, and these hold up much better than even my MAC mattes. I can go all day, even sweating, and this stuff stays put and has never creased on me (which is something that happens for me with most shadows, even with a base). This is why for a while I was only using Aromaleigh.

The color selection is also impressive. There are lovely work-appropriate shades in the Carolina Summer Collection, a wide variety of very wearable shades in the Pure Eyes Matte Collection, and super-fun brights in the Retro Hi-Fi Matte Collection. There’s certainly a wide selection, and it can be overwhelming for first-time buyers, so if you are looking into any shadows at Aromaleigh, I would suggest starting with samples ($1), and a lot of them!

The only matte that I own that I don’t love is bluemonday. Compared to every single other matte I’ve tried from Aromaleigh it is the only fail. It is a bit chalky and doesn’t adhere well, though the color is great. Since the Rocks! Sonic line is discontinued for reformulation, though, this product is no longer available, so problem solved (but neither is blueorchid *tear*)! I may look into getting a couple Retro Hi-Fi mattes to indulge my love for a good blue shadow!


I gave Aromaleigh’s mattes a 5/5. Mattes are hard to get right, and these are done perfectly! They are the best mattes I’ve tried in general (except for bluemonday), and for the price and selection, you just can’t beat it.

Edit to add: Forgot to mention — all shadows in this post are either bought by me or were free samples.

Also, for today, the Carolina Summer Collection is 50% off at Aromaleigh (link is not an affiliate)!

Dior Creme de Rose Review

Dior Creme de Rose ($25, 0.25 oz.) is an SPF 10 lip balm by Dior. I purchased it a month or so ago in one of my Sephora hauls.

This is what Dior says of the product:

Crème de Rose is an essential nourishing and smoothing lip balm with a delicate rose fragrance. It is enriched with a rare and precious Damask Rose essential oil extract, an anti-aging complex, energizing vitamins (A and E) and Shea Butter for a long-lasting, smoothing effect. It leaves the lips soothed, moisturized and nourished. Soft and beautifully plump, the lips are more radiant than ever!


This comes in a substantial white plastic  balm container with the Dior logo on the top. It is a screw lid, but the lid and base never touch when it is screwed all the way down, which is odd to me because I never feel like it’s really closed. It also comes with a clear plastic disc that keeps the balm inside the base (you can sort of see it in the photo above in the lid, where I keep it). The packaging is nice, but it doesn’t seem to “go” with the rest of the makeup or skincare line (FYI, this is listed under makeup on the Dior website, not skincare). I do think it looks nice and is quite sturdy for plastic.


Well, first things first — it’s called Creme de Rose, so it comes as no surprise that that is precisely what it smells like. I personally love it, but not all will. The scent is not too overpowering and doesn’t really have a taste (which I’m glad for). The scent wears off after about 10-15 minutes after application for me.

The balm itself is quite hard in the pot, but once it is warmed up it is easier to work with. It has a nice texture; it is very creamy and smooth and not too thick (I actually found it a bit thinner than I expected!).  It has a lot of slip, but stays on the lips. It is not sticky in the least. A little bit goes a long way with this one. It feels very hydrating on and last a while (2-3 hours) on my lips unless I’m eating or drinking.

The color of this is a light warm pink in the pot, but on I don’t notice much color once it is on the lips, it just makes mine a touch lighter. It’s a sheer one! I bought it for the balm aspect, though, not the color, so this wasn’t a negative for me.

As for plumper looking lips mentioned in the product description; I haven’t noticed that at all, so if you are looking to purchase this balm, I wouldn’t count on that aspect necessarily.


I gave this a 4/5 because while I do really like it (the smell! the moisture!), it does cost a pretty penny. Will I repurchase this? Maybe, but we’ll see how long it lasts. I feel like I’ve had it a while and still have a lot of product to go through. I’ll probably try something else after I’m through with this, though, to find something more affordable.

Have you tried Dior’s Creme de Rose Balm? What do you think?

Disclaimer: All products in this review were purchased by me.

Chanel Rouge Coco Review + Swatches (finally!)

Chanel’s Rouge Coco Lipstick line came out a bit ago (Feb. 2010), and I’ve been meaning to do this review since then! I’m just glad I have a good camera now to share swatches (at bottom of post)!

Here is the description from the Chanel website:

CHANEL introduces a modern interpretation of classic creme lip colour as an homage to the rich life and legacy of ‘Coco’ Chanel. New lightweight lip colour glides on for easy application, and features a Hydratendre complex to help soften, soothe and condition lips – even boosting their ability to hold in moisture – for a plumper, smoother and healthier-looking appearance. A range of wearable shades with full-coverage finishes, from matte to pearl to soft shimmer.

These replaced the Rouge Hydrabase lipsticks and run $30 per tube. The colors I purchased were 19 Gabrielle, 20 Rose Comete, and 56 Teheran (LE from the Chanel website).

Gabrielle is a lovely bright satiny red with a subtle shimmer. Rose Comete is a cool light pink with some shimmer. Teheran is a pink-y coral that even runs a bit orange-y in some lighting on me; this one also has that subtle shimmer that makes it look pearly.


The packaging is metal; solid and heavy, just how I would expect a luxury lipstick to be. I was very pleased with the heft and the aesthetics of the case. The new “click” that people have been talking about when you close the lipstick is also very satisfying. Overall, the packaging is excellent — well made, elegant, and functional.


The lipstick itself is harder to review because each shade is a bit different to me. First, what they all share is a nice smooth texture with nice slip, but not too much. It is a very light lipstick, and doesn’t feel like you are wearing much even with a heavy handed application on these. They are very easy to apply; I don’t even need a lip brush if I don’t feel like bothering, and have no problems with feathering or anything.

As for the hydrating bit, I wouldn’t say they are necessarily hydrating, but I also wouldn’t say they are drying.

They are all scented, which can be a plus or a minus for some; I personally like the rose-y floral scent they have, though it is a bit strong.

Wear time is where I think the largest difference in shades is. Gabrielle lasts a solid 4-6 hours on my lips (depending on what I’m doing), and even leaves a nice color after eating and drinking. Teheran is almost as long lasting, if not the same, and Rose Comete lasts a little less time on me and is also a bit sheerer than the other two.

It is a little pricey, but it is also a luxury brand, so I feel like it comes with the territory. Are they worth $30 for one tube? Well, I bought three, so it was a “yes” for me, and I still feel that way. I get a lot of wear out of these colors and love the formula.


I gave it 4.5 out of 5. Not Holy Grail in general, though I do feel like Gabrielle is HG in the red department for me; it is the only red I’ve ever felt comfortable in formula and color-wise. Great lipstick overall, though.

Lip Swatches (indoors with flash):


Rose Comete

Teheran – I can’t believe how pink it looks in this picture! Also – whoa coloring outside the lines!

How do you feel about the Rouge Coco lipstick line?

Disclaimer: All products in this review were purchased by me.