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, July 28th, 2010

Korres Liquid Lipstick
Korres Liquid Lipstick: 25, 28, 30, 54, 56

Fall Makeup Trend: Opaque Lipgloss

Korres Liquid Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a new, water-based liquid lipstick that should appeal to lipgloss and lipstick lovers alike. It’s a very thin formula, and it is incredibly easy to apply. The color is absolutely opaque in a single layer–this is not something you need to layer or use much of at all. The formula also contains “natural raspberry and pomegranate extracts” as the included antioxidants to “protect against free-radical damage and smooth lip lines.”

My lip lines were certainly less noticeable, but I couldn’t say if it was ingredient based for sure–I think the richness of the color and the glossiness of the formula both contributed to the fuller, smoother lip look I had when I wore these. Given that the swatches are taken within seconds of application, I think I’d attribute those immediate results to the pigmentation and finish.

  • #25 Natural is a medium coral that leans neither pink nor orange. It’s opaque, and it has a nice glossiness to it. It has an almost imperciptible touch of white shimmer underneath it.
  • #28 Berry is a brightened fuchsia-red with warm white micro-shimmer. This is incredibly opaque, and though it is bright, it is also a darker shade.
  • #30 Nude Beige is a browned nude with subtle white micro-shimmer and nearly opaque color. It feels almost cool, but it has significant brown, and perhaps even peach, undertones, so it should work well for both cool and warm skin tones.
  • #54 Fuchsia is a bright fuchsia pink with the same imperceptible shimmer that was in #25. It is a pinker version of #28 Berry–they look surprisingly similar, though this shade is obviously brighter and lighter.  It reminded me of a pinker version of Illamasqua Follow.
  • #56 Red is a bold and bright tomato red with subtle white micro-shimmer. This is the most opaque shade of the five, though they’re all rather opaque. This has a stronger orange undertone, so those who prefer more blue-based reds may not find this to their liking.

These have a vanilla mint kind of scent to them; not exactly the most appealing scent to my nose, but it doesn’t linger. The Liquid Lipsticks also have a slight cooling/tingling sensation–it’s not a burning or stinging feeling. It’s just that minty tingling you’d get with any mint-based product (gum, toothpaste, lip gloss…). I found the cooling sensation dissipated within five to ten minutes, and it really wasn’t strong to begin with (which I think is a good thing, personally!).

It’s a thin formula that’s very lightweight, and it wears for a solid four hours or so.  I didn’t notice too much staining, despite the richness of colors, which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your tastes!

It definitely seems like opaque gloss may be a major trend for the fall season. MAC’s Dare to Wear Lipglasses are supposed to be intensely pigmented, while Guerlain and Chanel appear to be launching similarly opaque, richly colored glosses during fall/winter.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like rich, opaque lip color and love the feel of lip gloss over lipstick, this is a great product for you. The shade range is-overall–a little bold, but there are still two everyday shades available (#25 and #30).

AVAILABILITY: Korres, Sephora

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Korres #15 Natural Blush

Luminous Beauty in 3 Seconds

Korres #15 Natural Blush ($24.00 for 0.21 oz.) is OH-MY-GOODNESS gorgeousness on skin.  Ahh!  I fell in love.

If you have warm skin, you have to try it on–not just a mere swatch, but try it on cheeks.  Though, I do think it would be lovely on cooler skin tones, too — it is rather natural and neutral; not orange at all, but having warm skin myself, I immediately fell in love with once I tried it on my cheeks.  It is gives that perfect glow of natural, inner warmth that radiates from inside out in just one swipe.

The blush has a soft, smooth texture–very buttery, almost creamy despite its powder finish–and applies evenly in just a single stroke.  Cheeks are lightly flushed and sunkissed with a beautiful luminous sheen.  It’s not heavy, shimmery, or glittery in the least.  My pores aren’t emphasized, but I felt like my face just lit up the minute I applied this.

AMAZING. Korres makes a very fine, impressive blush!

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

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: High-quality, pigmented, and ridiculously smooth textured, Korres blush is really a winner.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Korres #47 Orange Brown Lipstick
>Korres #47 Orange Brown Lipstick

The Summer Season: Korres #47 Orange Brown Lipstick

Korres #47 Orange Brown Mango Butter Lipstick ($18.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a semi-opaque, muted orange. It has very subtle shimmer, but it gives off more of a slight gloss finish than it does a shimmery one. It’s surprisingly pigmented–the swatch makes it look rather sheer, but on, it delivers beautiful coverage. It also makes lips look fuller without emphasizing lip lines. It’s a very moisturizing and smooth-feeling lipstick that lasts about three to four hours on me. It also has SPF 10, which is always a nice bonus!

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

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Korres Orange Blush

Korres #44 Orange Blush ($24.00 for 0.21 oz.) is a beautiful shade of rich coral-orange with a soft golden shimmer-sheen.  This is one wickedly pigmented blush, and it’s perfect for a pop of color on the cheeks during the summer.  It’s truly a stunning shade — I see this working better on warmer skin tones, particularly on deeper and tanner skin tones.  The powder is smooth, silky, and it wears well (no issues with surprise! no more blush mid-day).  I love the luminosity this shade of blush lends to cheeks–it’s glowy and healthy and lovely.  I can’t think of a single thing I don’t like about this blush, to be honest!  Korres even gives you plenty o’ product for your buck, too — around 0.05 oz. or so more than your average blusher.

Psst, you can see it in a look here!

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

  • Product: 30/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you love coral or orange blushes, I definitely consider this a must-have!

AvailabilityKorres

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Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Korres Eyeshadow

Korres Eyeshadows ($16.00 for 0.06 oz.) are smooth, blendable, and pigmented.  I’m actually surprised at how well-rounded Korres’ line is, just because I came to know them as a skincare brand first, rather than a makeup brand, but they can do both well.

  • #42S Green White is a sky blue with a silver-white frost sheen.
  • #44S Golden Green is a light, springy chartreuse green with yellow gold sheen.
  • #46S Olive Green is a smoked out gray-brown with a taupe sheen.  I really don’t see much green in it, but it’s a lovely cool-toned brown with maybe a smidgen of khaki olive in it.
  • #84S Sky Blue is a darkened periwinkle blue with violet and a bright, nearly metallic sheen.  This one is more like a stormy blue sky, maybe.  Not at all sky blue (in fact, they could have named #42S Sky Blue without missing a beat).

I’ll definitely put together a look using some of these shades, but after playing around with some combos on my eyes (nothing finished!), I like the way these blend together.  They’re very smooth and apply evenly. The packaging is simple and functional–plastic square flip-top compacts.  The back of the compact has a colored label and labeling information, so while I could see clear lids being more functional, the backs do give you a good idea as to what’s inside.  I would, though, like to find out who names the colors, because they never seem to quite work…

At the moment, Korres has their eyeshadows marked down to $7–so, I’d say at that price, these are most certainly a steal!

Also available in:  #12 Base, #22 Orange, #34 Golden Brown, #74 Light Purple, #27 Golden Bronze, #82 Light Blue

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you like softer, more muted variations on color, Korres Eyeshadows seem to offer a selection of shades that will give you color without being bright or too bold.

AvailabilityKorres

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →