Sunday, December 25, 2016

Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in 99 Pirate

I'm not entirely sure if advent calendars are really supposed to be just 24 days (and there are some that are only 12 days) but the calendar box that I purchased had a special drawer at the top, which I assumed is for Christmas day so I filled it. I thought, what better way to celebrate Christmas in color than with an old favorite red lipstick, the Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate.

The Chanel Rouge Allure in Pirate is a true, rich, deep red with just the right satiny, cream finish. I am told that it is one of the brand's bestsellers and I can totally understand why. In the last couple of weeks, the only other red I've loved was the Burberry Kisses lipstick in Parade Red, a pinky red next to Chanel Pirate. If you're looking for more of a power red, or something for a sensual night out, I think Pirate would be the hotter option. The lip liner in Rouge Profond is not a perfect match (as it seems a better match for the UD Vice lipstick in 714) but it does the job.

The line is supposed to be long-wearing and intense and I find that the pigmentation can vary depending on the shade chosen. The reds are intense and that totally works for this color. You could maneuver around that intensity in color though. Apply one coat and blot for a lighter, more matte-like finish or apply a second coat for intense color with a little shine. I like a well-defined red lip so I go in with pencil after I put on the color. I just crisp up the edges with it but you could also apply the pencil all over the lip before applying the lipstick. That will give you the best staying power.

If the shade Pirate is not your thing, there are over two dozen other shades in the Rouge Allure line for you to choose from, some with matching nail polish shades as Pirate does. I personally don't go around buying red lipstick if not for a special occasion but the brand has really been pushing a lot of red lately. I'm still trying to get used to the style sensibilities that Lucia Pica brings in. Of the latest collections, I simply haven't been a fan. However, change can be difficult and I understand that. It's nice to see things moving forward either way. I'd give it a chance and keep looking until something catches my eye. And if nothing, well, that's money saved, I guess. That's never a bad thing.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème Lipstick in 228 Infamous

Now at Day 24 of my advent calendar feature, we have the Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème Lipstick in Infamous. Sephora's website describes it as a soft peony and I'm not sure that's a very clear description. I think this is something of a pink brown that... applause please... doesn't turn orange on me! After days of orangey lipsticks, I'm so thrilled to finally get something out of my calendar that stays a shade of pink when I put it on. Right now, this has to be one of my favorite lipsticks.

If you were able to get the shade Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in your birthday gift from Sephora, Infamous is definitely a sister color. Just off the top of my head, I recall Kiss Kiss Bang Bang being a little brighter and pinker. Infamous is just a smidgen more beige/brown-based and may even pull slightly rose-mauve. It's definitely the kind of color I'm inclined to leave in my purse makeup kit as it looks good, feels good and suits every attire and every occasion.

The formula of this lipstick is creamy and it is highly pigmented. From the sleek black packaging with the magnetic closure, down to the luxurious texture, it really does feel like a high end product. The $30 price point places it square in that luxury brand category although I've found several other lipsticks sold for more (I'm looking at you Bobbi Brown, with that new Luxe Lip Color) that may or may not perform as well. I am so pleased with this purchase that I am planning to have a closer look at the entire color range the next time I find myself at Sephora.

This does mark the end of my advent calendar feature but I will be posting something extra tomorrow morning, Christmas Day, and then I will be taking a break. I'm so looking forward to spending some quiet days at home with my children. For the opportunity to do that, I am most thankful.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 714

The Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in 714 is a bright red with the mega-matte finish. Of the reds I have on hand right now, I think it's closest to Burberry's Lip Velvet in Military Red. The new Rouge Dior in 999 is also similar but leans a bit warmer. To my eye, 714 is definitely an orangey red. It's not a red I would ordinarily go for but I got this tube as part of a Sephora Favorites set that was such a good value, I could not resist.

This is actually the very first Vice lipstick that I have tried. I can see how the collection is quite overwhelming. So many colors and finishes to choose from! 714 made a pretty good impression on me. I understand that it's supposed to be a very matte shade and it does stand true to that. I don't actually have any issues with it. Application is pretty good that I can even get it to look decent without any help from lip liner or a brush, just straight from the tube. That doesn't always happen with reds. I didn't find it to be drying or overly staining. It lasted a decent amount of time without looking patchy. Overall, for the price point, it has proven a decent value.

I am now actually pretty excited to give my palette a try, so I can sample more colors and finishes from the Vice line. The Junkie Vice Lipstick Palette, by the way, has gone down in price to $25. I purchased mine from Ulta at the initial release price of $35. I don't know if the price drop is temporary, and they will raise it to $35 again after the holidays, or if it's going to remain at $25 until stocks run out. Sephora sells one version of it but I preferred the color selection of the one at Ulta. There are at least a couple of shades common to the two versions, 714 being one of them.

I'm done with my Christmas shopping and I really do have enough new lipstick to last me a few years decades but it is incredibly tempting to grab one or two more of the palettes while Ulta is offering a 20% discount. I believe it applies to everything, including Urban Decay, which is normally excluded from coupons. I'm more about the variety than the number of ounces of product I'll be getting and I really like how sturdy the palette seems. I can see myself refilling the palette, should I ever finish up the lipstick in it. Definitely something to check out, if you haven't yet.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Party Alice

In my personal advent calendar, I had a different lipstick up for today but it was such a disappointment that it hardly seemed worthy of a feature. To keep things relevant, I switched it out for something perfectly nice, that is hopefully still available by the time the post goes up. This is the Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Party Alice.

The lipstick is part of (the) Bobbi's Party Picks Cheek, Lip and Eye Kit which I noticed went down in price to $78.50 on Sephora's website. The set includes the Highlighting Powder in Opal Glow (which is the real reason I bought the set, it seems to be exclusive to it), the lip color in Party Alice, a small Glitter Lip Gloss (clear), the Eye Opening Mascara in Black and a cosmetic bag. I'm not going to be reviewing the entire set as I've only used the lipstick so far. In the background of the picture below, you'll see all the items in the set.

Party Alice is a full-coverage lipstick with great pigmentation. You only need to give your lips one quick pass to get full, creamy color. The finish is supposed to be semi-matte, which sounds about right. It's somewhat moisturizing on and doesn't have a heavy fragrance (unless I'm not able to smell it because I have a cold right now). I find wearing it to be very pleasant and I'm looking forward to being able to wear all the contents of the set one time. If you prefer a glossy finish, I think that's what they included the Glitter Lip Gloss in there for. A little dab right in the center of the bottom lip should be just right.

Party Alice falls right smack in the middle of all the orangey lipsticks I've been wearing during the last few days. It too, turns a bit warm on me. However, I find that it didn't fuss me at all. This is likely because I had no expectations about what the color was going to be like. I simply put it on and enjoyed it. Party Alice is still a neutral, by most respects, and it's the traditional Bobbi Brown lipstick formula. They launched the Luxe Lip Color sometime during the year although I haven't tried that one. I'm still debating if that is worth the extra $7. We'll see.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Shiseido Rouge Rouge Lipstick in Red Queen

Shiseido's new lipstick has been very well-received. I think they're all supposed to be shades of red and I've recently had a new appreciation for the color so I definitely had to get one of these. I went with Red Queen because I liked the name. I was choosing between this and Rose Crush and now I'm not sure I picked the right one.

The previous day's lipstick was the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Creme Lipstick in C106, which I complained was too warm for my taste. Swatching them side by side, I thought that they actually looked pretty similar (which I did not expect) except Red Queen had more of that reddish pigment. So, putting it on in my powder room at home, I discovered that they were not similar except for the fact that they both turn orangey when I put them on!

My powder room lighting is a yellow light so that probably explains why in that room, I do see more of that warmth. But I did not put C106 on in there. I sat facing the window, with sunlight streaming in. I like this natural light as I think it shows most colors at their best. In that light, I still see some orangeness in Red Queen but the heavier red tint and the way it clings to the lips makes it much, much prettier on than C106.

The sleek black tube with the magnetic closure is really nice and the formula of the lipstick itself is top notch. I don't necessarily like it more than a Rouge G, which remains my favorite lipstick formula, but being roughly half the price of a Rouge G, I definitely appreciate what a quality product Shiseido has put out. It isn't moisturizing but I don't find it drying either. The longevity of the pigment is reasonable and the overall opaqueness of the color is great. I think this is one formula that I'm willing to explore some more. Maybe I should have gone with Rose Crush after all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Creme Lipstick in C106

Make Up For Ever's latest lipstick formula is another high pigment delight. I was actually very excited to try out a color of my choosing (having received samples of colors I didn't pick myself). I went to Sephora with a friend and after swatching several of what looked like nude pinks on my hand, I settled on C106.

The formula itself, I can't really complain about. Rich pigment, a buttery glide, the softest sheen and quite the array of shades to choose from, what's not to love? So I was surprised when I put C106 on for the first time because... it did not look like what I expected it to look like when on. It's one of those colors that look perfect when swatched on the hand or arm and then starts to pull orangey when I have it on. I wanted to scream.... NOOOOOOOOO! Because this wasn't a shot in the dark. I took my time picking this color out in the store! AND I used my VIB Rouge gift (you know, the $25 discount?) on this purchase! What am I going to do?!!!!

I used to have this policy where if something doesn't make me 100% happy, I consider returning it. But since I've ended up waiting months to actually use some items that I buy, I now end up keeping things that are just ok. I really like this formula. Maybe the smell, not so much. It's mild though, so not a deal breaker. But as my expectations of the color were not met, I may see what can be done to fix that. Here's another look. You can see, it doesn't even photograph the same. I have several pictures of this lipstick and in some it pulls more pink, in some it looks peach and still others, it looks rosy. The last picture below feels like the most accurate depiction of the color. 

Don't get me wrong. C106 is a perfectly good color. Some people may even love this color. It's just that I find it to be too warm. I wanted a nude pink, maybe even something more mauve but not very brown. This looks more like a nude peach on my lips. My mistake, I guess, was that I went to the store simply to swatch colors. I did not put anything on. I do get wary of testers. I know how much bacteria they can harbor. In the season of the cold and flu virus, the last thing I want is to catch a bug because I was trying on lipstick at the store. Time to test out that return policy, eh?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bite Beauty High Pigment Lip Pencil in Rhubarb

Today I have a Bite Beauty High Pigment Lip Pencil in the shade Rhubarb. Although I have several lipsticks from the brand, this is my first time to try one of these pencils and Rhubarb has made a very good impression on me. Sephora describes the color as a plum rose. Sounds about right.

I confess that the pencil I have is part of a set of two, the other shade being Chablis, but I only got to try Rhubarb so this isn't going to be a double feature. The set is also no longer available online but the pencils can be purchased individually. Here is the swatch of Rhubarb. I made five lines next to each other. Considering how lightly I drew each line, you can see how pigmented each one is.

So, for a first experience, I liked the way the pencil applied. I found it easy to trace the outline of my lips and then lightly fill in with one full coat. It looked very nice that way. I'm always tempted to pile on more color because I'm so used to doing my lipstick that way but seeing that this is supposed to be a high pigment formula, I stopped myself. That was probably a good idea anyway. One coat is really all I needed.

The High Pigment Pencils are twistable so I don't see any need for sharpening. I tend to apply with the pencil on its side and that maintains the pointy end. This one performs well but is highly fragranced, much like all Bite Beauty products. I wish they would dial down the fragrance as I sometimes find it a bit overwhelming.

At the Bite Lip Lab in New York, you have fragrance options but it is disappointing that the custom lipstick experience has gone up to a rather steep price. When I first went there, I was able to get two of the same custom lipstick for $70. One lipstick was maybe $40 or $45. Less than a year later, they changed their pricing scheme. To get the full custom lipstick experience, you now have to shell out $150. You will get 2 custom colors whipped up exactly as you dictate but still. That's quite the mark up. The less expensive option lets you pick from their color library (so it is no longer a custom color), you decide on the finish and the scent and you pay $55 for one lipstick. At that rate, I should be getting a Rouge G and not mixed pigments melted and then reformed and stuffed into a plastic tube in front of me. As one of my friends said, "I'll just melt lipstick at home."

A full-sized High Pigment Lip Pencil costs $24 and there are currently 19 colors to choose from. They occasionally come out with sets, which are usually a better deal. I wait for those. The set I got sold out pretty quickly since the two colors are very popular and are probably most wearable for a majority of buyers. The other set that they had was Quince and Tannin which are a rose berry and a deep poppy red.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

NYX Butter Lipstick

I have several shades of the NYX Butter Lipstick for you today. I'd put the spotlight on BLS17 Root Beer Float, but I may as well show everything I have picked up. For me, it started with BLS02 Fruit Punch, quite a punchy pink, that one. I got it on a whim, because I had wiped off my lipstick after having a cup of coffee and needed a touch up, only to realize that I had left my makeup bag at home.

To say I was surprised at how smoothly this lipstick went on would be inaccurate. It's called Butter Lipstick and that's an appropriate name. It's delectably buttery going on but without any annoying scent or taste. The longevity is average, depending on whether or not you eat and drink while having it on. But it doesn't come off as quickly as I thought it might and my white coffee mug is barely stained. It feels comfortable on. And the thing I love about it, it goes on really opaque. This is no sheer lipstick. You get full-on pigment in one swipe. Very pigmented and yet easy to apply.

A succeeding purchase got me the rest of the four colors. I was trying to take advantage of a buy two, get one free promotion, and they do happen frequently, some promotion or other, that you may never have to buy this lipstick at regular price. On top of that, a GWP which included one more color - BLS16 Sandy Kiss. I picked out Root Beer Float and Beach BBQ myself. Fire Brick was something of an add-on, because I could not figure out what other color to get myself for free. One from every color family, why not?

My favorite of this lot is Root Beer Float. I initially worried that it would be too brown but it really isn't. If anything, it pulls mauve when on. I would suggest Sandy Kiss if you need something that doesn't call attention to your lips, like to put the focus on a gorgeous smoky eye. The rest of the colors are all quite attention-grabbing. I'd wear Fruit Punch in the spring, Beach BBQ in the summer and Fire Brick for the holidays. The only thing missing is a fall color, but Root Beer Float will do until I can get my hands on a beautiful berry. As far as cheap thrills go (or maybe something for the emergency makeup bag), NYX takes the prize.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Burberry Lip Velvet Long Lasting Matte Lip Colour in No. 437 Oxblood

So it is finally the day for Burberry Oxblood. Oxblood is one of those shades that I knew someday I had to try but when Burberry makeup first launched, it was just not on my radar. Several lip formulations later, I finally decide to get the color and no regrets. The Lip Velvet Long Lasting Matte formulation was probably the best pick for such a rich color.

I went a step further and grabbed the Lip Definer, a lip pencil, in the same color Oxblood (in the pencil it's No. 14) which I think was a very good decision. It's a perfect fall to winter shade. More maroon than brown, definitely reddish enough that I don't feel so goth. It's really beautiful. And despite not having a full face of makeup on, I felt like I could wear it. So there's that degree of versatility there. It's not something that requires much to kind of hold it up. You'd want to balance it out, groomed brows maybe, a little tinted moisturizer. But you can dress it up or down, wear it to anything really.

Application: I started by lining the lips completely and filling in. I don't fill in heavily and you don't need to, but it does pay to make sure that when you put on the lipstick, you are spreading the pigment evenly over the lips. It doesn't look quite as good when the color is choppy. You want deep dark burgundy to be on the lips as evenly as possible and this is a good, opaque shade. Personally, I apply straight out of the tube but in the end, I finally had to run a lip brush over the entire thing, just a little obsessive like that. The pencil is a perfect match. The texture truly is velvet. Matte but not flat.

I loved having this on. The only thing that I found a little tricky was having a meal. I tried hard to not wipe off all my lipstick before eating, just to see how much of it would come off. I ended up with lipstick left only on the outer part of both upper and bottom lip. Not exactly a great look but you see where I'm going. If you eat, it will come off somehow. If not for the meal though, the lipstick stayed on perfectly.

It's not particularly moisturizing in my opinion, nor is it drying, as some matte formulations can be. I like the feel of the Burberry Kisses line better but this does last longer. If you're going to put in the effort to apply it flawlessly, then you'd want it to last as long as it could. Overall, this was a good buy, and definitely get the matching pencil. The lip pencil comes with a sharpener, thankfully, as it will need to be sharpened. The price is a bit up there but it's lovely. Really quite lovely.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Laura Mercier Iconic Leading Lady Lip Set in Sophia

Happy Friday! The 25th is fast approaching, and many of those holiday gifts sets we saw out as early as September are already disappearing from the shelves. I remember getting a couple of these Laura Mercier Iconic Leading Lady Lip Sets during Nordstrom's triple points event thinking that they were a good deal for the price. $38 for a full size lipstick and a full size gloss packaged neatly in a box with a mirror too? I say that's a pretty good deal. Also because the stuff is goooooood... I really should have opened this box sooner.

What I'm featuring for day 16 is the set in Sophia. This one is probably going to be the one that goes out of stock ahead of the other two variants. Sophia is pink and the other two sets are a red and a nude peach (at least that's what it looks like to me) so this is going to have the most universal appeal of the three.

The Velour Lovers lipstick in Sophia really is quite nice. It applies smoothly, looks decently opaque in one coat and settles to a matte finish that isn't flat. It doesn't bleed on me and doesn't settle into fine lip lines. It hugs the lips rather well so it lasts a good amount of time but it isn't drying at all. Overall, it's a very well done lipstick formula that's in tune with the current matte trend.

What makes the set a particularly good value isn't even merely the fact that you get two products in full size, but getting two good products and being able to mix and match for three different looks. There's no throwaway sample here. You can go sheer with just the gloss, matte with just the lipstick or get full-on color with a little shine by adding the gloss on top of the lipstick. I didn't even need to add much gloss to get a pretty sheen. I just patted some over the center of the bottom lip very lightly. The two colors are so perfectly coordinated, you can't go wrong.

The lip gloss is the typical Laura Mercier Lip Glacé and I have many of them which I use from time to time. Sheer and shiny, with not too much slip but not really sticky either. As long as you're ok with the somewhat synthetic smell, it's a perfectly fine lip gloss that comes in a couple dozen shades.

The shade Sophia is limited edition. It's a warm medium pink, matte for the lipstick and with silver shimmer in the lip gloss. But as the shade isn't particularly unique in my eye, if you love it, just go to a Laura Mercier counter and see if the associate can help you find a close match among the permanent products. I am sure there will be something. The only thing is, the set will cost you less as the lipstick by itself is $28 and the gloss is $25.

On a final note, this is packaged in a box with a removable lid (magnetic closure) and a hidden mirror. Overall, it's very ready for gifting but I personally don't mind keeping them in the boxes. I found the mirror handy when I needed one. When I get tired of it or find that I no longer want the box for space reasons (it's not like I would carry it in my purse), I'll just give it to my little girl to play with. Mine loves boxes. Put stuff in it, shake, open, flip over, repeat. Something for everyone.