Saturday, October 9th, 2010


Lipstick Comparisons: $13 to $25 (Part 1)

In this price range, lipsticks tend to be more pigmented, have less synthetic scents, and wear an average of four hours. I’m not typically disappointed beyond belief with a lipstick formula in this price range. Brands from MAC to NARS to Smashbox fall into this price tier, while designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL are in the next tier. There are really SO many brands and formulas to choose from in this category that I had to split this post into two parts!

Benefit Full Finish Lipstick ($18.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, glossy, wears for 3 to 4 hours, moisturizing
  • NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., slight sweet scent
  • CONS: Very limited shade range
  • MY REC: These aren’t quite as glossy or as creamy as the Silky Finish line, but they’re more opaque. I still find them rather creamy and moisturizing, though. Some of mine seem to have a very subtle sweetened scent while others have none.

Benefit Silky Finish Lipstick ($18.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, glossy, wears for 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., shades range from sheer to semi-opaque, slight sweet scent
  • CONS: Short shade range centered around pinks
  • MY REC: The Silky Finish is a much glossier, often shimmered lipstick compared to Benefit’s Full Finish range. These actually remind me quite a bit of Laura Mercier’s Stick Gloss. They’re more moisturizing than the average lipstick and have a slicker texture, too. Some of mine seem to have a very subtle sweetened scent while others have none.

Bobbi Brown Lip Color Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, slightly glossy, wears 4-6 hours, opaque
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., scent-free, more neutral/pink based shade range
  • CONS: One finish (semi-matte)
  • MY REC: I like the pigmentation and creaminess in the texture of Bobbi Brown’s Lip Color. Sometimes I get caught in thinking that Bobbi Brown is all about sheers, but then the Lip Color line always reminds me that it’s not always the case. Despite their creaminess, they’re not moisturizing; not drying either, but not particularly moisturizing.

Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick ($14.00)

  • PROS: Wearable shade range, creamy, moisturizing, semi-opaque
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., more neutral/pink based shade range, scent-free
  • CONS: Wears 2 to 3 hours (despite being touted as long-wearing)
  • MY REC: I think Clinique makeup often gets overlooked, but I like how much of their makeup is scent-free. I also think they’re worth more than just a glance given the price tag.

Illamasqua Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Opaque, true-to-tube color, wears 5 to 7 hours, lots of fun shades
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
  • CONS: Mostly matte finishes, dry
  • MY REC: It’s important to note that while the texture itself seems a little dry, these lipsticks don’t suck the moisture out of your lips, but they definitely don’t impart any either. With an abundance of matte shades with drier finishes, these are not ideal for those with dry to ultra dry lips.

Korres Guava Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, moisturizing, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL:  Guava-scented
  • CONS: 0.06 oz., limited shade range
  • MY REC: My biggest issue with these is how little you get; they’re half the size of Korres’ Mango Butter Lipsticks and $4 more. The Guava lipsticks are more opaque and not as glossy in the finish, but they’re a little less moisturizing than the Mango Butters.

Korres Mango Butter Lipstick ($18.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, semi-sheer, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., mango-scented
  • CONS: Name/numbering system doesn’t always match tube color, limited shade range
  • MY REC: I find these very moisturizing, and I love the glossiness of the finish, because it almost looks like you’re just wearing a gloss. If you have dry lips and haven’t tried these, you might want to give ‘em a shot.

Laura Mercier Creme Lip Colour ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, semi-opaque, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
  • CONS: Limited shade range
  • MY REC: I’ve found these to be very creamy, and they’re often more on the opaque side of color. They impart some moisture but I wouldn’t consider it a moisturizing lipstick.

Laura Mercier Stick Gloss ($20.00)

  • PROS: Moisturizing, glossy, semi-sheer, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., Berry-scented
  • CONS: Very limited shade range
  • MY REC: It’s very comfortable to wear and feels incredibly moisturizing–it’s just a shame that there are so few shades available.

The Lipstick Comparisons series is designed to provide a quick reference summary sheet for some of the many available lipstick formulas. It seems like most brands have at least a couple of formulas, if not half a dozen, and it can be difficult to find the formulas that will work best for your budget, coloring, style, or taste.

This is not necessarily a best of list, and it’s not exhaustive–it is based on actual lipsticks that I’ve tried; they are all, however, decent to excellent lipsticks. (And perhaps, some day, it will be an exhaustive list.) I have summarized my experience based on pros and cons, but also some “neutral” factors that may be pros or cons, depending on your preferences. I will update this series as I try new lipstick formulas.


Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Benefit Holiday 2010

Benefit for Holiday 2010

Some Beauty to Love ($29.00) (Limited Edition) (Sephora Exclusive)

This kit is the perfect gift for the beauty obsessed and includes an array of face-brightening products including: one full-size Coralista coral-pink cheek powder, one full-size Eye Bright instant eye brightener, and deluxe minis of “That Gal” brightening face primer and BADgal Lash mascara.

All You Need is Gloss ($26.00) (Limited Edition)

This glitzy gloss set includes three double-ended wands for a total of six shimmering shades. Glide them on with the soft cushion paddle for the ultimate luscious-lip look. Includes 0.1 oz. sizes of I’m with the Band (golden pink shimmer), Almost Famous (copper penny), Life on the A List (bubble gum pink), Who Are You Wearing (passion fruit pink), Back to the Fuchsia (sparkling fuchsia), 24k (sexy gold).

Her Name was Glowla ($36.00) (Limited Edition)

This complete kit will help you achieve an amazingly radiant glow. It features an ultra-flattering CORALista pink cheek powder, Benefit’s best-selling High Beam luminescent complexion enhancer, BADgal lash mascara, life on the A list lip gloss, and a step-by-step lesson on creating the hottest look for the holidays.

Check out more sets and photos! Continue reading →

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Benefit Ms. Behavin' Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Benefit Ms. Behavin’ Lipstick Lipstick

Benefit Ms. Behavin’ Lipstick ($18.00 for oz.) is creamy mulberry in their Silky Finish line-up.  It’s a reddened berry with dark fuchsia micro-shimmer.  It has a very glaze-like finish–it’s got that look of a sheer lipstick, but it’s not that sheer (though it’s not opaque!).  There’s a nice natural glossiness to the lipstick as well, so it can be worn alone without looking dry.  I find Benefit’s Silky Finish lipsticks are moisturizing, lightweight, and comfortable to wear.

Is this the right berry for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Benefit Lala Land Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Benefit La La Land Lipstick

Benefit La La Land Lipstick ($18.00 for oz.) is a pinky-brown nude with full-color coverage and a light, glossy sheen and no perceptible shimmer.  I love this with a lighter smoky eye or paired with greens. It’s dark enough to be worn on its own for a pop of color on lips, but it’s light enough to complement heavier eye looks, too.  Benefit’s lipsticks are very moisturizing and creamy, so they’re comfortable to wear, and they last about three to four hours on my lips.

Is this the right deep nude for you? Would you wear it?

The Sultry Season is a series of posts featuring deep, rich shades of brown, berry, plum, and wine lipsticks and lipglosses — just right for autumn — that runs through October 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette

Sunday Funday… on Thursday!

Benefit Sunday Funday Palette ($38.00) features Hoola (0.1 oz., mining bronzing powder), Benetint (0.09 oz. rose-tinted lip & cheek stain), Shimmering Rose (0.18 oz., lip shine), Toasty (0.01 oz., eyeliner), four eyeshadows (0.10 oz. each), and two double-sided miniature-sized brushes. This is a companion palette to Scene Queen. Sunday Funday was created by Maggie Ford Danielson–the daughter of Jean Ford, one of Benefit’s co-founders–who is also one of Benefit’s makeup trend artists.

“Sunday Fun Day is all about pulling together a fresh, fabulous look after a late night. Whether you were up watching movies or dancing ’til dawn, this kit has the prettiest eyeshadows and complexion essentials to make you look beautifully revived…just in time for brunch. Waiter, coffee and mimosas, please!” —Maggie Ford Danielson, Benefit Makeup Trend Artist

  • Hoola is a neutral-toned medium-dark bronzer with a nearly matte finish.
  • Benetint is a very natural stain and one of Benefit’s iconic products. It leaves just the tiniest flush behind.
  • Shimmering Rose is a semi-sheer pinky gloss with gold shimmer. It looks rather melon-y in the tube, but it brought out a lot of the pink in my lips.
  • Shimmering Bronze is a softened bronze with a low warmth to it; for a bronze, it’s really not overly warm. Slight sheen, not too frosty, and nicely pigmented.
  • Pink Satin is a light pink with subtle peach tones–not a true pink, but not really peach, either. I could see this as a nice all-over lid color.
  • Light Champagne is a light yellow gold with a frosty sheen.
  • Pretty in Plum is a red-toned, medium plum purple with a satin sheen.
  • Toasty is a medium-dark brown with just a hint of warmth.

These palettes are an excellent way to try out Benefit products without blowing your budget. Sunday Funday gives you plenty of product, and it’s definitely a nice, all-in-one palette. I love that the lipgloss is packaged in a tube–you can tote it around with you later on, but you also don’t have to worry about it getting dust or eyeshadow in it, either. The eyeshadows were very smooth, buttery, and pigmented–they felt just like Benefit’s single eyeshadows. I think this particular mix of colors also works really well together; nothing feels out of place here.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re a palette kind of beauty buff, Sunday Funday is a new favorite for me.  It makes sense, so you can travel with it and not worry about combining it with other products for a complete look.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Benefit Tweezerman Tweezers

Benefit + Tweezerman = Cute AND Practical

Tweezerman for Benefit Slant Tweezer ($25.00) are cute white slant-tipped tweezers with a light pink and coral-pink design on the outside. I LOVE Tweezerman tweezers. I absolutely love their slant-tipped ones in particular. I think I have five of them scattered around my house–I never want to be without one.

They just feel so maneuverable in hands, and they grip incredibly well. They’re sharp without being painful, but you can get at stubborn hairs that need a pluckin’. I also like them for applying false lashes: use the tweezers to grip them and set them on the lash line, then flip it and use the end (the flat side–opposite of the opening) to press the false lashes into your lash line.

I will also say that they stay sharp and as good as when you first buy them for ages. I know that you can mail them to Tweezerman and get them sharpened, but I’ve never done it–because I’ve never felt like my tweezers needed it, and I’ve had some of them for years. (It reminds me that, someday, I should!) These tweezers are worth every penny. They’re the only tweezers I keep stashed away the entire six years I’ve been playing with makeup!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you pluck stray hairs around the brow/upper lip, these do an excellent job grabbing even the shortest, thinnest hairs.

AVAILABILITY: Benefit, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s

See more photos! Continue reading →