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, September 29th, 2010

Illamasqua Hermetic Intense Lipgloss
Illamasqua Hermetic Intense Lipgloss

An Alternative to Red for the Holidays

If you’ve been reading Temptalia for a few months, you probably know I have an obsession with Illamasqua’s Intense Lipglosses (see reviews of ten other shades here). They’re ultra pigmented with a high glossy shine in bold, bright colors. They last awhile and never feel uncomfortable on lips.

Illamasqua Hermetic Intense Lipgloss ($20.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a new shade launched with the Art of Darkness collection for autumn/winter. It is unique in its finish, from my experience with the Intense Lipglosses, because it has a high shimmer, nearly metallic finish (all Intense Lipglosses I’ve tried are creamier, very subtle if not zero shimmer). It’s a welcome addition, since I do enjoy shimmery glosses, too. The gloss comes in a thin, squeeze-tube with a slanted applicator.

Hermetic is a bold burgundy brown with lighter burgundy shimmer. It’s very deep and takes very little color to get opaque results. It feels very holiday to me, which I think owes to the slight metallic-ness of the finish. It’s holiday without being a full-on red. I see subtle red-brown undertones, but it’s definitely not your typical holiday red. It seems a little on the cooler side to me, though it worked well on my warmer skin tone, so don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out.

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Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Illamasqua False Eyelashes
Illamasqua #023 False Eyelashes

Illamasqua #023 False Eyelashes ($16.00) look fun, yeah? Not sure what I’m going to wear them with, but I figure with Halloween in a few weeks, maybe I can find a way. I make no guarantees, though! I thought I’d share photos of them, so you can see them in all their glory. Dramatic, wispy black lashes interspersed with shorter emerald green lashes.

What would you wear these with?

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment

Illamasqua Art of Darkness: Alluvium

Illamasqua Alluvium Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is just like Ore: beyond gorgeous when you see it in person, but it just doesn’t photograph quite the same way. It’s a metallic medium-blue with a violet-blue tinge and flecks of multicolored shimmer.

I actually did a look with Ore on the lid and Alluvium in the crease, and it was such a lovely combo, but the photos make it look like garbage. I’ll have to see what I can do about the lighting situation and find a way to capture the brilliance of both of these shades in a photo. Hopefully it stays sunny for the rest of the week!

If these were a better value, I’d try making a nail polish with Alluvium–seems like it be a gorgeous shade for nails. (You can read my quantity/price ratio and packaging griping here.)

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment
Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment

You’ll Need to See This to Believe It

Illamasqua Ore Pure Pigment ($24.00 for 0.04 oz.) is one of those products that shocks and awes the minute you swatch it.  Ore is a medium-dark metallic bronze with soft red undertones, multicolored shimmer, and a dazzling sheen.  It’s like a metallic bronze base with Christmas (green, pink, gold shimmer flecks) strewn through it.  The frustrating part about this particular shade is it really needs to be seen to be believed.  It’s so luxe and full of depth, but it looks better in person than it does in photos.

I loved it patted atop a shimmery primer and blended up with nothing else, but it also works well to layer with or use alongside your favorite coordinating eyeshadows.  I had several people stop me when I went out with this look on to ask what I had on my lids (which is not the norm).  Over a stickier base, Pure Pigments can easily be used dry, but I do prefer using them wet, as they hold together and apply smoothly and vibrantly.

There are, however, two things about Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments that I don’t particularly like:  quantity and packaging.  As far as similar products, Illamasqua weighs in with a rather tiny amount (Make Up For Ever wavers between 0.07 and 0.09 oz., while MAC tops in at 0.15 oz.).   You don’t need much, so you won’t be finishing a Pure Pigment any time soon, but it’s still worth noting.

The other thing is the packaging, which I find cumbersome and a pain to open.  If you’re not careful, it’s easy to loose hold of it and see your precious 0.04 oz. pigment soar across the air.  (There is actually a bunch of Ore embedded in my carpet, because it happened yet again to me while photographing.)  My best advice for opening these is to wedge your nail between the lid and base and run it around the perimeter a bit, then pull it open.  This seemed to alleviate a lot of the fumbling.  When it comes to a loose product, I think a screw-top lid might be a lot safer for us clumsy folk.

So why not an A product? Because the quantity is well below average of other comparable, high-end brands and the packaging could be less prone to slipping out of your hands and losing half the product to your carpet, sink, or bathroom floor.  This is one of my favorite shades for fall, and I will be purchasing a back-up because it is that stunning.

P.S. — Sephora has it listed as a new shade, but it shows as “out of stock,” though I believe it just isn’t in stock yet.  If you can’t wait, you can get it directly from Illamasqua.

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Monday, September 27th, 2010

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish

Illamasqua’s Art of Darkness: Viridian

Illamasqua Viridian Nail Varnish (£13.00 for 0.5 fl. oz.) is a darkened teal base with lighter teal micro-shimmer; the teal leans towards the blue side, making it a cooler-toned teal. Funny enough, when the flash fired, it pulled out more of the green in the teal, but overall, it still pulls bluer-teal.

The formula and application was just like Scarab: smooth, even, intensely pigmented–one coat would likely be enough, though I did two in the swatches.

Viridian is also new for fall, but it looks to be permanent from what I can tell.

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

RECOMMENDATION: A very lovely shade and particularly flattering on cooler, paler skin tones as it leans blue.

AVAILABILITY: Illamasqua

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