Monday, October 11th, 2010


Lipstick Comparisons: $26 to $34 (Part 2)

Though often lumped into high-end, this is a tier made up of designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL. Most higher-end/designer lipsticks are scented, usually with floral or fruit. Rose seems to be the most prevalent scent found in brands across the board; sometimes it’s subtle (Chanel), while other times it’s heavy (Dolce & Gabbana). I find designer range lipsticks to be non-drying to moisturizing with more opaque formulas overall. Packaging is often nicer, but it’s not always the case and is, inevitably, very personal.

Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, semi-opaque to opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours)
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free, somewhat moisturizing
  • CONS: May feather/bleed on slightly dry to dry lips
  • MY REC: I don’t find them super moisturizing, though they don’t dry lips out. Typically, I don’t find lipsticks bleed on me easily, but I did have some issues with this one feathering on me when I tested them originally (my lips were a bit drier than they normally are during those tests). Like Burberry lipsticks, there is a magnetic clasp that keeps the lid on.

Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick ($31.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, glossy finish, moisturizing, smooth, opaque, wears for an average of 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., fruit-scented
  • CONS: Basic shade range of pinks/reds
  • MY REC: After being spoiled by Guerlain’s Rouge G lipstick line, despite being $16 more, I feel like if I’m going to go Guerlain, I better go Rouge G. KissKiss is actually a nice formula on its own; it’s creamy, usually pigmented, and moisturizing enough for normal to dry lips.

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick ($29.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, moisturizing, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), minimizes lip lines
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz, rose-scented
  • CONS: Mostly cream/satin finishes
  • MY REC: I love how creamy it is without being slippery; it won’t slide all over the place, so it actually wears well and on the longer side. It is also a bit pricier than other Lancome lipsticks, which makes it it their top tier lipstick, but at least they give you 0.14 oz., while the average lipstick is 0.12 oz.

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick ($34.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, good shade range, moisturizing, wears an average of 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., mango-scented
  • CONS: Slippery, shades can be stark, heavy
  • MY REC: YSL has expanded their Rouge Volupte line quite a bit since I originally reviewed the range, and more importantly, I’ve expanded the range of lipsticks I’ve tested as well. I actually find these don’t wear as well as other lipsticks–they’re just too slippery. It’s moisturizing but not overly so, but it is also one of the heavier lipsticks I’ve worn. If your lips are prone to bleeding, you might experience that with the darker shades, since it has a lot of slip.

YSL Gloss Volupte Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, sheer (supposed to be), glossy finish
  • NEUTRAL: 0.07 oz., mango-scented
  • CONS: Not very moisturizing, requires frequent reapplication
  • MY REC: Apparently, I’ve never done an official review for this, but I distinctly remember being unimpressed by it. It’s a very sheer formula, which is fine, but I didn’t even see any color on my lips, which goes beyond sheer to me. My lips felt drier after wearing this, and I found myself having to reapply every hour or two. Also, did you note how little you get for $30?

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.

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Giorgio Armani Night Shades Collection for Fall 2010

The new fall dress code for Giorgio Armani is “nocturnal”.

Inspired by the deep blue tones of the night, Giorgio Armani explores for fall a new landscape of night shades.

From cold blue to sophisticated pink tones and warm crimson berry.

The new nocturnal chic.

Night Shades Eyeshadow Palette

Star product of the season, the quad palette shades continue the narrative of Armani elegance with shimmering colors of the night. The palette offers a beautiful selection of color harmonies inspired by the dark shades of a nocturnal landscape delicately lit by moonlight.

Eyes to Kill Palette

  • Palette 10 — Twilight Hues (Pure Mauve — Satin; Ink Black — Satin; Aubergine Purple — Metallic)

Eyes to Kill Mascara

  • No. 5 Blue grey

Rouge d’Armani

  • No. 604 Deep ruby
  • No. 602 Soft pink
  • No. 603 Black purple

Lip Skin

  • No. 1 Black purple
  • No. 2 Lavish red
  • No. 3 Sharp pink
  • No. 4 Nude Rose

Blush Duo

Extremely light and soft Microfil™ duo sheer blush in two special shades of shimmering pale and dark raspberry, in perfect harmony with the collection, adds shadow and a light touch of color to the cheeks.

Availability: Now

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Wednesday, December 9th, 2009


Giorgio Armani #600 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick

Venturing Into Plums:  Giorgio Armani #600

Giorgio Armani #600 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($30.00) is a fuchsia-plum shade in Giorgio Armani’s new long-wearing lipstick formula. The formula is supposed to deliver up to eight hours of wear-time without fading or feathering while feeling moisturizing.

Previously, I reviewed #401, which is more of an orange-based red (more orange than red, I’d say, though) — and the shade didn’t suit me personally, so it was onto the next… #600 is certainly a shade much more up my alley! It’s a bright plummy shade (which is why I’d describe it as a fuchsia-plum) that’s not so bright it’s hard to wear, but bright enough that it can be worn alone or as the star feature of a look.

On my lips, it certainly hugs and adheres to them – looks like it’s natural and yet obviously not (since it’s clearly a brightened up pucker!). It has a very glossy sheen and full color coverage. I initially thought it might be a little sheer, since the swatch wasn’t quite as opaque as it was with #401, but it proved me wrong once I applied it to my lips.

It’s definitely hydrating and wears well — I don’t know about a full eight hours, but I get around five or six, which is good enough for me. It’ll hold on decently through some drinking and a bit of eating, but I didn’t get stellar results through a full meal myself.

I found myself liking this shade much more than #401, and I was happy to see that it wears very similar to #401 as well (reds tend to wear the longest and best, because they’re so deep and richly pigmented!). I’m also still digging the packaging – there’s a magnetic clasp that keeps it locked into place.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Looking for a plum with a lil’ kick? #600 might be it!

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue

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Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Giorgio Armani #401 Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($30.00) is the newest long-wear lipstick formula from Armani, only recently released last month. The new formula is available in eighteen shades, ranging from beiges to pinks to reds to browns. According to Giorgio Armani, Rouge d’Armani is designed to be a hydrating, long-wearing lipstick that lasts for “up to eight hours without fading or feathering,” as well as give lips “continuous hydration” for up to six hours.

I tested out #401, which is an orange-based red and made famous by songstress Rihanna. The lipstick feels like a dream when you first apply it – it’s lightweight, creamy, and the color is fairly opaque. I did find that it feathered/bled a bit when my lips were more on the drier side (a terrible side-effect of getting over a flu!) and less so when my lips were more naturally hydrated. I’d basically say if you have drier lips, you’ll still need a liner to keep your red looking pristine, but if you have lips less prone to feathering, you may be able to skip that step with this formula.

The color does wear well and begins to fade after about five or six hours, or faster if I’m eating/drinking. It’s a long-wearing lipstick formula for sure, but I didn’t find it made it through a meal intact. I was able to drink a bit with minimal fading, though. Like most reds, when it does fade away, it leaves a slight reddish stain behind, which is always nice, because you don’t have to feel like you have to reapply right that very second.

The packaging is sleek and classy – all black with a magnetic clasp (so you’ll hear a “click” when it closes) and a slightly raised logo where the cap and lipstick meet. The price is a bit steeper than other Armani lipsticks (like ArmaniSilk, which is $25), but it does offer stellar color and wear-time.

Bottom Line: I’m definitely going to stop by my Giorgio Armani counter next time I’m at Nordstrom, so I can see if any of the other colors appeal to me. #401 is a bit too orange for my personal preference, so the first shade I want to see in person is #400!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like creamy, hydrating lipsticks with full-color pigmentation, Rouge d’Armani may be the one for you!

Availability: Nordstrom

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

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Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Giorgio Armani Beauty Manta Ray Collection for Fall 2009

The new fall dress code for Giorgio Armani is “Greige.” Subtle but distinct tones accentuate a deep smoky eye contrasted with a fresh, luminous complexion and a muted, but intense lip color.

Manta Ray Eye Duo Palettes ($38.00)

The star product of the season is the eye duo palette, which is dressed with an exotic Manta Ray pattern. Inspired by the precious and luxurious materials used in Giorgio Armani fashion accessories, the palettes offer a beautiful selection of color harmonies inspired by nature. The collection features subtle hues that offer a new take on the timeless color “Greige,” create by Giorgio Armani. The rich filtered eye tones, presented in a matte Greige compact, give depth and mystery to the eyes with subtle contours and highlights.

  • N° 1 – charcoal and Greige: the ultimate eye shadow combination for this season’s smoky eye
  • N° 2 – deep ocean blue and intense ocean green
  • N° 3 – pale lilac grey and luminous fuchsia
  • N° 4 – light blue stone and sandy beige
  • N° 5 – shimmering lilac pearl and pale green pearl

Liquid Silk Eye Liner ($30.00)

Armani Liquid Silk Eye Liners in matte charcoal grey or midnight metallic blue contrast the softer Greige tones with a smooth high precision stroke. The formula, which contains microdispersed waxes and micro-fil™ polymer, boosts the deep intense color and ensures a long-lasting, quick-drying application.

  • N° 1
  • N° 2

Armani Silk Lipstick ($25.00)

This season’s must-have Armani lipstick accentuates the natural lip color, keeping the focus on the eyes. The grey-blue tones in this soft plum lipstick add intensity to the lip without giving a dark contrast, the new alternative to beige. The Armani Silk lipstick formula dresses the lips with a hydrating and silky veil. Specific oils allow the shade to reveal intense and radiant color, resulting in a luminous blush on the lips.

  • N° 92

The “Greige” Eye Look by Linda Cantello

“Eye shadow is about shading. Rather than adding shadows, these muted tones contour and define, accentuating the eye and the pupil; the focus is actually on the eye itself. My favorite is the Greige and charcoal duo shade palette, but the pale lilac grey and fuchsia offer a really beautiful pop of color.”

Application Tips:

Use the Greige shade to contour the eye by sweeping the shadow along the crease of the eye. Follow by sweeping the shade under the lower lash line and over the upper lash line. Use charcoal to add intensity. A second option is to sweep the charcoal shadow over the whole lid and use the Greige to blend. For added intensity, apply midnight blue eyeliner along the upper lid lash line.

Availability: The Fall 2009 Collection is available for a limited time online at www.giorgioarmanibeauty.com and at selected fine department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales.

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Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

Giorgio Armani Beauty Bronze Mania Collection for Summer 2009

Sienna Minerals Palette ($65.00)

Giorgio Armani captures the vivid earth shades of the sienna landscape in an explosion of vibrant mineral colors. Melted together into a fine Microfil™ texture, this palette is a unique tapestry of sun-splashed colors. Like a picture taken from the sky, the sun-infused palette earth tones present an all-over blush to bronze and sculpt the face for a golden bronze/deep reddish-brown glow.

Mediterranean Palette ($85.00)

Limited Edition eye palette, features cool colors of the Mediterranean sea: shimmering turquoise, and deep aquamarine, as well as warm shades of iridescent golden sand and copper mahogany. Also features our most popular bronzer shade.

Body Tints Bronzer ($75.00)

Giorgio Armani’s unique weightless pigment free formula blends onto skin. The universal natural bronze shade leaves your skin with a subtle sun-kissed effect. The water-soluble formula features a pleasant gel texture.

Bronze Sparkling Top Coat Mascara ($26.00)

Leaves your lashes with a subtle and luminous glow. A touch of sparkling bronze top coat adds golden hues to the tips of your lashes. Features a professional comb applicator that achieves perfect lash separation and definition.

Smooth Silk Eye Pencil ($26.00)

  • Shade 14 Deep navy
  • Shade 15 Muted aqua

Lip Wax ($26.00)

  • Shade 8 Sandy brown

Lip Shimmer ($26.00)

  • Shade 56 Bronzy orange
  • Shade 57 See through beige
  • Shade 58 Reddish brown

Availability: Now at Nordstrom.com

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