I've been a long-time fan of Armani ever since I first saw it at the London Heathrow Airport back in 2001 for their natural looking elegant makeup line. These days their collections seem to have more pizazz with brighter colors that are anything but natural. I still love what they release. This Holiday, the Armani Gold Rush Collection has some beautiful options. My local Neimans didn't have any testers for the new items but these days I feel familiar enough with the line I didn't need to test anything to make my purchasing decisions. Also thanks to Karla Sugar (see her Gold Rush Swatches Part 1) I knew I had to have the black and gold shadows.
The items I picked out: Gold Rush Highlighting Shimmer Powder ($55), Eyes to Kill Shadows #13 Black and #15 Copper ($32 each)
The Gold Rush Highlighting Powder is a soft sparkly gold. It's softer in texture making the shimmer powder pigmented and easy to pick up with a brush. (Some shimmer powders are harder in texture making the finish sheerer.) If you are familiar with the Spring Nude Contrasts Shadows (reviewed here), the texture and finish of the Holiday Shimmer Powder is similar. It's somewhere in between finely milled shimmer and chunky shimmer with uber-tiny micro sparkles.
* the above photo shows the upper 1/2 with the mirror reflection so you can see the shimmer in different light, the powder is one color, not duo-colored
I don't have large visible pores on my cheeks (just had foundation/powder on), but when I applied this over my cheeks - I suddenly had visible pores. I tried it again over a foundation/powder/cream highlighter, it had a much better result. It's not SUPER sparkly but the sparkle is definitely visible. As beautiful as it is, I think this would be better suited for the eyes or décolleté - but that's only my personal opinion.
Here it is compared to NARS Albatross and MAC New Vegas. From the swatches it's hard to see the sparkle - I recommend clicking to enlarge for better viewing. The NARS is more finely milled but can go on frosty if applied to heavily. The Armani has no frosty finish, but has visible microsparkles.
The Eyes to Kill Shadows are AMAZING. The Copper Shade #15 is more of a golden-bronze rather than copper but I love it. This is a high sparkle color but blends out beautifully. The Black Shade #13 is a soft cool-toned black. They come with a little black cover inside. I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of these are - they don't really seal the shadow since there is space around the cover once inside the pot. I'll have to ask my makeup artist the next time I go. I completely forgot to check the silver shade.
The shimmer is very subtle but this is one of the few cream black shadows that give a soft smokey eye without looking too harsh. I found both blended better with the fingers than a brush. They have an interesting texture - not quite a cream, not a powder, not quite a mousse. It's like a blend of all three types of shadow formulas. I recommend reading the description on Armani's Website for a better description.
Left = #15 Copper, Right = #13 Black
* Numbers on the shadows have been updated and corrected, #15 is the Copper Shade, #13 is the Black Shade
Swatch comparisons to the other brands and colors:
Since they didn't have testers of anything I passed on the lip items since I knew they would be bright. I did pick up a few more Rouge d'Armani Lipsticks (not part of the holiday collection) and the new Eyes to Kill Excess Mascara (all which will be reviewed in the near future).
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