Tag Archives: Swatches

Dec. 02.

Tried Tuesday: Max Factor Excess Intensity Eyeliners

tt-excess-intensity-thMax Factor seem to be all about the eyes at the moment, and are all for going to excess, with their recent launch of the Excess Shimmer eyeshadow pots, and this forthcoming launch, scheduled for January 2015, of complimentary eyeliners, which are being added to the Excess Intensity line of eyeliners, making a total of 9 shades. Fortunately, today for Tried Tuesday, I have swatches of the new range, to help you find out if they are excessively intense, or just a korma in a vindaloo world (I have no idea why I’m using that as an analogy).


The three new shades are a green, purple and blue, shades called Excessive Jade, Excessive Violet and Excessive Cobalt. They come in the form of a pencil inside a twistable pen applicator. As you twist the pen it clicks and pushes the pencil up that little bit further. Nothing new there but it works, as long as you remember to not twist too much, as you can’t retract it. It is also handy to have the colour coded lid, as it is the only way at a glance that you can tell which colour is which. The only other difference in the pens is the shade number, but I’m glad the lids match up for when I am rooting around in my collection for them.


Here we see a close up of the tips. Yes, they are squared off in this picture, which is how they were produced, but once you start working with them it will round out nicely. You can also get an idea of the intensity of the colour, but the best way to see that is in a swatch…


And here it is. Intense is right, particularly for the punchy Jade shade, which combines intensity and shine, and would be my pick of the bunch, especially for those with hazel/brown eyes. The other two, while they are intensely coloured, seem to me to be a bit dull in the swatch here, but I definitely see myself using the purple anyway, for one particular reason. They are incredibly soft and glide, once you get across the top layer, which in my swatching them was slightly dry and crumbly. Once I got beyond that though, it was butter soft. That leads me to my one problem and recommendation. As it is such a soft liner, it breaks easily if you have too much of it exposed. This would just lead to wasting it, if the bits are too small to do anything meaningful with. You are better off putting up just enough to get you going, and twisting up more as you need it, which isn’t difficult.

Max Factor Excess Intensity Eyeliners in Excessive Jade, Excessive Violet and Excessive Cobalt will be on Max Factor Stands from January 2015.

What do you think of these? Are they a great way to add colour pops to eyes? Do you prefer pencil style liners, or something different? Please let us know in the comments :-)


Note: Product was provided for review

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(top - bottom) Crime, Rebel With Cause, Depraved)
Nov. 25.

Tried Tuesday: Random Bits from Makeup Revolution

MUR-Swatches-thMakeup revolution is a budget brand that has been making quite a splash since its launch at the end of last year. Pitched in the same price point as brands like MUA, they want to make professional quality makeup affordable by all, and from reading numerous reviews online, they seem to be succeeding in that regard. But, I always prefer to try things out for myself. So, in a case of needing some retail therapy a couple of weeks ago, I placed an order, which arrived last week. That means that for Tried Tuesday today, I have a selection of swatches to share with you.

I bought essentially two categories of product, lips and eyes. We’ll look at the lip products first.


I bought three lipsticks to try out, all of which were £1 each. Two came from their “Scandalous Shades” while the third was a “Vamp Shade”

The first thing I noticed upon opening them was that a couple of the lipsticks appeared to have impacted on the top of the tube at some point. This is especially noticeable on the deep red (vamp) lipstick, a shade called “Rebel With Cause”, and to a lesser extent on the purple (scandalous) lipstick “Depraved”. The pink, “Crime” was unaffected. As they were still in their tamper proof plastic seals, I know they weren’t used, but it does slightly concern me as to the quality if this is allowed to happen. I’ll be honest in saying that I’m less concerned about it in a £1 lipstick, compared to something more expensive, but it does bother me a little.

Though, I said I have swatches, so here are some swatches. The top is the three tubes, the second is swatched on the back of my hand, and the third is on my lips.

(l-r) Crime (Scandalous), Rebel With Cause (Vamp), Depraved (Scandalous)

(l-r) Crime (Scandalous), Rebel With Cause (Vamp), Depraved (Scandalous)

(l-r) Crime, Rebel With Cause, Depraved

(l-r) Crime, Rebel With Cause, Depraved

(top - bottom) Crime, Rebel With Cause, Depraved)

(top – bottom) Crime, Rebel With Cause, Depraved

These were all done after a single application on the lips using a lip brush, and there is fairly good colour payoff. You could of course reapply to bump up the colour.

I’m most intrigued by Depraved. It is a curious colour, that I actually quite like, but I’m trying to figure out how to actually wear it. I’ll have to have a think about that.


I also have three eye products to show you. The first two are a primer and a pigment. I’ll get to the third in a couple of moments.

The primer is one of three in their Focus & Fix range of primers. The one I have here is Brighten, which I’m told is suitable for metallic shades. The other two are original, and matte (for matte shades). These cost £2.50 each. Alongside it, I have a loose pigment Eye Dust shadow (£1) in a shade called “Grandeur”, a metallic bronze/copper. There are 25 shades of pigment available, so you should be able to find one to love!

In the pictures below you can see the primer by itself on the left, the pigment in the middle, and then layered over the primer on the right, both without flash and with.

Witout flash

Without flash

With flash

With flash

I can understand how the primer is designed for metallics, as you can see the metallic sheen from it. The pigment itself is a little lacking on its own. While that can be useful if you want to go subtle, I always think of pigments as being for intensity. That problem is greatly alleviated by layering it over the primer. It really makes the pigment come to life in both pictures. I wouldn’t mind picking up another couple of pigments to see what else they can do.

Awesome Eyeshadow Collection

Awesome Eyeshadow Collection

The third and final eye product I picked up, really deserves its own post, so I will keep it brief. It is the Awesome Eyeshadow Collection, a palette of 100 shadows, covering nudes and smoky shades, in a mix of matte, shimmer and metallic colours. What’s more is that it is only £12! That leads me to why it should get its own post. I have to wonder just how good the quality can be, to offer 100 shades for such a low price. We are talking 12p per shadow. Just out of curiosity though, I chose 10 random shades from the palette to swatch a couple of evenings ago. With no special preparation, and no primers, these were done using a cotton bud on the back of my hand. The shades I chose are outlined in pink below, and correspond to the colours on my hand, reading left to right.

Awesome Eyeshadow Swatches

Awesome Eyeshadow Swatches

For such a quick test, I think there is some promise there. Yes, a couple of the shades do look a little weak by themselves, but I would need to do something more thorough to test this out. I can see it being a quick and easy way to build up a collection of different colours though, as the shades are quite varied.

Now, the good news, for those of you who absolutely must play with your makeup before buying, is that Makeup Revolution are available in Ireland! The bad news at the moment is that they are only available in Superdrug in Omni Park, Santry. But, if you are in the area, it would be a shame to not go in and have a look. My spies tell me that the price differential between the UK and here is only about 35 cent in the pound. If, however, you are unwilling or unable to make that trek, you could always do as I did and order online from Superdrug or the Makeup Revolution Store, and then Parcel Motel the parcel.

Have you tried anything from Makeup Revolution? Is there anything that is tempting you? Or do you believe that the price is just too low to be good quality? The comment line is open!


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wnw box
Nov. 08.

Something Else Saturday: Upcoming Reviews on Robyn Rants & Raves

SES-Upcoming-THI know things have been a bit sparse on the review front here on Robyn Rants and Raves over the past while due to hospitals taking up my time and energy. But that doesn’t mean I am not looking for great things for to share with you. So, today, for Something Else Saturday, I want to show you a selection of what you can expect to see soon!

As you know I try to follow a particular theme each day, be it a manicure, trying out products (new and old), waffling on about something, really testing a product, or showing you a face of makeup, along with what products and tools I used to create it. It has created some amazing opportunities for me, chances to work with awesome brands, learn more about makeup & beauty, and share my experiences. I do, of course, fully intend for that to continue! So, here is what I am looking forward to showing you!

CND Solar Oil

Picture 1 of 21

Of course, in addition to all of this, I will continue ranting, raving, and trying to make use of my massive nail polish collection to see what I can come up with. I already have my eyes on a number of ideas for the upcoming party season, but need to decide which looks to work on first!

But, you, my dear readers, are very important to me. While I write Robyn Rants & Raves, I am led by you! So, tell me, what do you really want to see? I wouldn’t be here without you, so let me know, and consider it done.


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Oct. 06.

Manicure Monday: Pink Ribbon Nails

pinkribbon-thAs I may have mentioned in last Friday’s post, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While Friday was about painting everything pink, today is just about my nails, with this super quick and easy mani, incorporating the symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness, the pink ribbon.

For this mani I needed two colours, one for the pink ribbon, and the other for the background. Wanting the ribbon to be the centre of attention on the hand, I decided to go with a nude pink for the background, opting for one of the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure range in 160 – Shall We Dance, which is in itself a brilliant neutral shade. Then, for the ribbon and the accent thumb, I wanted something glittery and stand out, which came in the form of a polish from Nails Inc, shade 082 – Buckingham Street. As it is a clear base it can be a little tricky to work with, but the glitter is so fine that two coats were enough on the thumb to achieve full coverage, while I used a fine paint brush with copious amounts of polish for the ribbon.



And here is how it turned out. The nude base really does allow the glittery pink to shine through, and it really is glittery, even if the bottom photo, taken with flash, doesn’t really show it. The ribbon also is the first thing you pick up on, which worked out exceptionally well.

And again, to repeat what I said on Friday, please do what you can to support Breast Cancer Awareness month. Wear something pink, paint your nails, buy a pink ribbon, or text pink to 50300 to donate €4. Anything that can be done to raise awareness or funds is always going to be welcome.


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Sep. 30.

Tried Tuesday: NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder

nyx-thWhen it comes to my brows I normally have two things for them, one more often than the other. One is getting them professionally tended to, which happens about once a decade. The other is Maybelline’s Brow Drama. That said though, I am always willing to try something else out, and that brings us to today’s Tried Tuesday. It is a brow product (if you haven’t guessed already) and it is from NYX. Specifically it is the eyebrow cake powder from NYX.


NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder is available in 6 shades, running the gamut from blackest black to ash blonde, covering many stops for brown and one I have here for auburn/red. The packaging is uninspiring but solid. It’s a thick rectangle of black plastic with a frosted lid that has clear sections to see the product. It is easy to open, but still closes with enough of a click for you to feel that it is secure. I can hear it snap closed while I am wearing noise cancelling headphones, so it’s nicely done. I hate getting products that refuse to open, or that you feel will never stay closed. Kudos for that.



Inside the package you get a clear wax, two complimentary shades of powder (you can mix the right shade for you) and tools, in the form of a mini spoolie brush and a mini angled brush. The spoolie brush doesn’t feel too bad run across the back of my hand, but the angled brush is a different story. It feels hard and scratchy, and while it will probably always be in the kit, will not be getting much use beyond today’s swatches. I much prefer using my own proper brushes for these things and would rather not have scratchy brushes on my face. That’s just me though.



Here we have the three products, the clear sealing wax, a matte red brown and a matte brown with slight red undertones. The colours don’t look at all bad, and I like how you can mix them to get the right shade for you. The wax also feels smooth, soft and easy to use.


And finally, now for some swatches. Working left to right you have the wax (it picked up some residual powder from the brush) the red brown and the brown with red. The pigmentation of these is really quite something. There is a lot of colour in there. I’m also liking the look of the brown more so than the red brown, but I am sure with work I can find the right mix to suit.

I think that if you can find a NYX stand these are worth looking at. With a mix of shades you shouldn’t have much difficulty in finding one to suit, and, if you don’t care about the little brushes not being all too useful, you could be on to a little powerhouse brow product.


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Sep. 29.

Manicure Monday: Nicely Nude Nails

nude-thI’ll admit that I am a massive fan of colourful nails. There is a good reason why I own so many colourful nail polishes. However, sometimes a nude nail can look as good as, if not better than their colourful counterparts. There is something so chic about a nicely done nude nail, and I do have several in my collection for when I want something neutral but nice looking adorning my fingers. One such example, that I will show you today is from the Supreme Shine range by 17, and is called mink.


Mink is at the deeper end of the nude spectrum, veering to a milky coffee shade, Its wide brush does allow for easy application, but I found it a little streaky on coat one. On coat two though, it had evened out into a tidy shiny finish. It’s not the best formula in the world, but I have certainly tried to work with far worse!


As for how it looks on my nails. I actually had difficulty trying to photograph this one. It looks deeper in the picture than it actually is. In reality it is a bit milkier than seen here, and while darker than my own skin tone is still quite a pleasant choice to wear when I don’t want to blind someone with bright colours!

Is there a nude shade you regularly turn to? Or are you one of the colours for all brigade? Please do let me know!


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Sep. 22.

Manicure Monday: Sunshine Nails

mm-sunshine-thIt’s another Monday, and as always that means it’s time for another manicure. I wasn’t planning on painted nails for today (until the hospital cancelled on me again) so I was looking for something quick and simple to do. I also wanted to play up the fact that it was late September and still bright and sunny outside, so I went for a simple sunshine manicure.


This one was so unbelievably simple to do. I started off with a bright blue sky, provided in the form of a Spoiled by Wet n Wild polish (S050 – First Class Only) over all nails.Unfortunately the polish isn’t brilliantly pigmented so it took a bit of effort to get it to a good solid colour, but I did manage it eventually. Then, taking another Spoiled by Wet n Wild polish (S036 – Designated Driver) and a fine paint brush I added in the sun as an accent on my ring finger. That way, even if it went cloudy for a while I would have the sun with me.


And this is how it looks. It’s nothing special, but it did what I wanted it to do, as it lifted my mood. I may have to root through my polishes looking for something a bit more pigmented next time, as trying to lay down enough polish to get a good colour makes it more difficult to be exact, but I’m not going to argue too much about it.


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Sep. 09.

Tried Tuesday: Makeup Academy Undressed Palette

tt-mua-thI actually have very little experience of Makeup Academy products. I was given one of their blushes some time ago as part of a gift, but had never tried any of their eye products. So, when I was in Holyhead recently, I picked up some bits, including this, their 12 shadow Undressed Palette, and today I have some thoughts and swatches to share.


The packaging is nothing at all special, but it is a nice compact palette, which stays firmly shut. The clear lid allows you to quickly identify what palette is what, or just look at the colours at a glance, which is handy if you have a number of them all together. The back of the palette has a label with a list of ingredients, a “masterclass” listing which shades to use where (but why have that on the back when you are tryin to use the shadows on the front) and a picture diagram showing shades and the numbers used in the masterclass. Unfortunately though, two of the pans seem to be backwards in the palette as opposed to on the diagram. It seems like a minor thing but these minor things bother me, as it makes me wonder how the rest of the quality is, if a simple task goes wrong? But anyway, as I don’t follow their shade numbers, lets just crack the palette open and get inside.


Here we see the palette sans lid. It’s very simple. There’s a double ended sponge applicator (does anyone with a makeup brush use these) and 12 shadows. The shadows are quite small, at 0.8g each, but they should last a while, depending on how often you see yourself using a particular shade. I have them numbered here to assist you in tracking shadows to swatches, but they don’t follow the shade guide on the back, and will be showing them in groups of 4, both close up in pan and as swatches without primer (left) and over MUA’s own Pro Base primer (right)

Shades 1-4



  • 1: A very pale, milky pink. There’s very little pigment here, either on its own or over primer you will be hard pressed to get much payoff with this, but I use it on my browbone mainly.
  • 2: Somewhere between a copper and a bronze shade, this is more like it. A decently pigmented shadow, and nicely intensified by the primer.
  • 3: A richer pink while still being pale, you can at least see this one.
  • 4: One of the better matte shadows here, which becomes very intense when added to the primer.

Shades 5-8



  • 5: Sure it’s there, but why? A slightly yellowy tan flesh colour, it looks awful both with and without primer.
  • 6: Looks more pinkish in the pan, but comes out to this quite nice rusty red earthy colour.
  • 7: More bronze than shade 2 earlier and with a tempting little sparkle this is one of the more standout shades in the palette.
  • 8: A super deep matte brown, this has pigment in abundance. If you were looking for a not black liner, judging by the swatch over primer, this could be just the job.

Shades 9-12



  • 9: A kind of coffee brown. It is more pigmented than most of the mattes here, and would be perfectly suitable for daytime use.
  • 10: Seems to be somewhere between deep green and black, I’m pleased by how much pigment is in this one.
  • 11: Metallic gold. Looks pretty on its own, but is gorgeous over the primer.
  • 12: Looks more intense swatched as opposed to in the pan, I am not one for blue eyeshadows, but I could get on with this.

So, what do I think, having worked through them all? Well, I’m not entirely convinced. There are some genuinely great shades in there, but the majority of matte shades feel like they’re just wasting space in the palette that could be taken by something beautiful. The other problem, that you might be able to see looking at some of the swatches, is that some are quite powdery, and if you are not careful enough,, you will end up with shadow scattered across you, your eyes and your face.

Would I pay £4 for it? I probably would. I wouldn’t be telling you to run out and get it right now, but it does have a number of shadows that I can see myself using, along with a couple that might see some action at some point. It’s just a pity that some of the shadows are so poor, and that some are quite powdery.

Do you have any of the Makeup Academy Palettes? What do you think of them, and what Makeup Academy products would you recommend?


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luminizer label
Sep. 04.

Tested Thursday: Max Factor Skin Luminizer Foundation

luminizer thI am quite set in my ways with regards foundation. There is a very small selection that I reach for time and time again. It is about time to try something different though, so today for Tested Thursday I am looking at the new Skin Luminizer Foundation from Max Factor.

luminizer bottle

Max Factor’s new Skin Luminizer Foundation comes 100 years after Max Factor invented and released Greasepaint, their first foundation and the first makeup ever designed for motion picture use. It is “specifically created for women who are seeking subtle luminosity and a healthy-looking glow” and I am told it delivers medium coverage, with the added benefit of enhanced skincare properties. For example, it offers hydration through the VitaNiacan complex, including vitamins B3 and E, which replenishes skins natural moisture balance. It also contains elastomers, which “create ‘windows’ in the skin through which light can be reflected back to create a healthy looking glow and a wide awake look.”

This all sounds very interesting, and as they have been producing foundations for 100 years, you would expect Max Factor to know what they are doing, but how does it translate to real life? Of course, as it’s Tested Thursday, this is what I’m trying to find out.

Normally, I would be looking for a higher coverage foundation. I think that lower coverage ones really don’t do enough for me, but I am always willing to try something to see how it fares, and I would love to be able to find a barely there foundation that suits me. Made in Ireland, you would hope that out of the 6 shades available there would be one close match for “good Irish skin” and fortunately, the shade I have here – 40 Light Ivory, is. You can also choose from Warm Almond through to golden and bronze. I am yet to see side by side comparisons of how they look, but there should be an option for most people.

The packaging is nothing special, being a drugstore brand. It is a plastic bottle, with a pump top. The nozzle on the pump is quite narrow, and it doesn’t dispense much product each time, which is a good thing, as you have greater control of how much you are using. You can also see the distinctive swirl pattern in the bottle, containing the pearlised pigments and skin luminizers.

luminizer hand

What you see here is about half a pump of the foundation out onto the back of my hand, which is what I would normally do before applying it with a brush. It is quite a thick formula, which stays put and doesn’t spread out by itself. This is not really an issue, and  I find is quite beneficial, as you are not trying to coat your hand in the foundation, are you? It also means it sticks to my brush quite well, without soaking down the bristles.

luminizer swatch

When you do start moving it about though, it moves really well. It doesn’t sit in one spot, but with light movements of the brush gives even coverage, without looking thick or leaving brush marks. Even then with a light dusting of powder over the top (though It doesn’t really need it) you don’t feel as if you have a heavy coating on your face. Your face does feel as if the makeup is barely there.

luminizer flash

One thing I did notice was that under bright lights you can slightly pick up on the pearlised pigments in it. I have tried to capture them here, using my camera close up with flash, and you can kind of make them out. It isn’t going to make your face look sparkly though. More, like the name of the foundation would suggest, luminous. That you have a glow.

So, the results. I have been wearing this foundation consistently for the past three days, and I think I am a convert. There will still be times where I want something a bit higher coverage, but the Skin Luminizer Foundation has a number of things going for it, namely:

  • It feels really light on the skin, while still providing enough coverage to tidy up blemishes and even out skintone
  • It does provide a barely there or bare skin but better appearance
  • I find myself using less of it than other foundations
  • My foundation brush doesn’t feel clogged up after using this foundation. The foundation is going on to my face, and not my brush

I do honestly think I will be reaching for this more for everyday coverage. It provides quite a lot of power for quite a small price, at €16.39 for a 30ml bottle. If you are looking to save your high end or high coverage foundations for special occasions, this is well worth a look!

Oh, and I am going to be cheeky and say that while I am going to show you this in action on my face, you will have to wait for Face Friday tomorrow!


* Product was provided for review


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Sep. 02.

Tried Tuesday: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm

tt-revlon-thI think I am getting into the swing of autumn colours now (yes, I know it’s only been September two days) as yesterday I put a lovely berry shade on my nails, and today for Tried Tuesday, I have a lovely berry shade for my lips to look at, in the form of one of the Colorburst Matte Balms from Revlon.


I have a number of these now, which started with one of the Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains, but this shade hasn’t seen much love. I liked the shade (otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it) but as it has been summer, I have been avoiding darker shades for a while. But it is time for me to embrace richer darker shades for the next 6-9 months (the typical duration of an Irish winter) and so I am happy to introduce you to shade 225 – Sultry.


In keeping with the rest of the range, it comes in the form of a crayon (thank you Clinque for introducing the world to this idea) which makes it very portable and easy to apply. It is really almost foolproof. I would say totally, but unfortunately someone would manage to prove me wrong. The case for it comes in a colour co-ordinated matte finish, which lets you know at a glance what colour and finish it is, brilliant for when you are rooting around a drawer of these and their sister lacquer balms. Then you just pop off the lid to reveal the product inside, which again tapers off to a rounded point like a crayon. I find the shape to be ideal for working around the curve of the lips without needing extensive time or correction after, a definite plus!


And of course, I need to show you how it looks in use. Isn’t it such a delightful colour? It is the ideal level of richness without being too dark, which would make it great for office to party looks. I can see this getting a lot of wear in the next few months!

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms are €10.99 and are available from Revlon Stands nationwide.


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