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.


Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Laura Mercier Sequin Eyeshadow
Laura Mercier Peacock Sequin Eyeshadow

How Much Shimmer Can You Handle?

Laura Mercier Sequin Eyeshadow ($22.00 for 0.09 oz.) are a shimmering, glittering formula of eyeshadow. It’s similar to Stila’s Jewel Palette, Urban Decay’s Stardusts, and Bobbi Brown’s Sparkle Eyeshadows. They all have this nearly creamy, slightly tacky, texture that’s chocked full of shimmer and glitter. It’s this new breed of glitter eyeshadow with a base that seems to hold the glittery bits together, so they don’t end up all over your face instead.

Laura Mercier’s Sequin Eyeshadows feel a little smoother, less glittery, but still incredibly shimmery. I found both shades I tried sheerer than Bobbi Brown’s (which are the most pigmented that I’ve tried), but infinitely more opaque than Urban Decay’s. Bobbi Brown’s are better bang-for-your-buck at $24/0.13 oz. but they’re both considerably more shadow than your average powder shade (I imagine this new glitter formula is heavier). However, neither of these shades are represented in Bobbi Brown’s line, so it’s more about what shade tickles your fancy.

  • Peacock is a darkened teal with a silver sheen and a gray base. It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Teal pigment, except more of a glittery finish than a frost.
  • Sterling is a silvery-white with a lilac sheen. Very icy and cool-toned–think MAC Vellum Eyeshadow. This one was sheerer than Peacock.

I was able wear these alone without any noticeable fallout throughout the day, but more importantly, they did not crease during the six hours I wore them.   I do prefer them over a base, just because it feels so bizarre not to use one!

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: The color range for the Sequin Eyeshadow line is still quite limited, with the brand seeming to release one or two shades with each seasonal collection.

AVAILABILITY: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Laura Mercier Courtisane Lipstick

Part Lipstick, Part Gloss — Laura Mercier Stick Gloss

Laura Mercier Courtisane Stick Gloss ($20.00 for 0.12 oz.) is one of four shades of Stick Gloss, which is described as “part lip balm, part lip color, and part lip glace.” Courtisane is a deepened rose color base with gold and copper shimmer. On me, it’s semi-sheer but delivers enough shimmer that it almost looks like it’s opaque from afar. It actually reminded me of a sheerer, bronzier version of La Prairie’s Rose Bronze Lipstick (oh, and you know, half the price!).

Stick Gloss is an incredibly moisturizing lipstick that feels lightweight, balm-like, and doesn’t emphasize lip lines. It’s very comfortable to wear, and despite its moisturizing properties, it lasts a solid three to four hours on me. It has a pleasant berry-ish scent that’s not too sweet nor synthetic, and it’s not a scent that lingers after you’ve applied. I really enjoyed this shade, and Sephora carries three others–I would love to see more shades added in the future.

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 find most lipsticks too drying, I’d encourage you to test out Laura Mercier’s Stick Gloss!

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Laura Mercier Tangerine Lipstick
Laura Mercier Tangerine Lipstick

The Summer Season: Laura Mercier Tangerine Lipstick

Laura Mercier Tangerine Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a creamy shade of coral-pink with a glossy sheen and full-color coverage. It’s beautiful and bright without being overwhelming and in-your-face. The lipstick is moisturizing while it wears for three to four hours with ease. It has a nice lightweight feel though it still packs plenty of color and doesn’t have a lot of slip, even though it applies smoothly without trouble.  I can definitely see this shade becoming a new favorite!  It also reminds me a bit of Chanel Genial, but not as bright and a little more coral.

Is this the right coral 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 →

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Laura Mercier Hydrangea Lipstick
Laura Mercier Hydrangea Lipstick

The Summer Season: Laura Mercier Hydrangea Lipstick

Laura Mercier Hydrangea Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is glistening shade of vibrant raspberry pink. It’s creamy, moisturizing, and it has absolutely no shimmer. It does, however, have a slight, glossy sheen that brightens it. It’s glossy enough that you could easily skip gloss if you’re a lipstick with lipgloss kind of person. The color is phenomenal, and the pigmentation is amazing. I truly did not expect such a vibrant, pigmented shade from Laura Mercier!

Is this the right pink lipstick 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 →

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Laura Mercier Zen Palette

Going Zen with Laura Mercier for Spring

Laura Mercier Zen Face Palette ($60.00) is a new-for-spring (into summer!) palette that includes one blush, four eyeshadows, and four lip glazes housed in a metal-rimmed palette with a cushy, dusty blue cover.

I was surprised at how much I liked the palette packaging, but I thought it was cute without being cheesy. It’s definitely apropos for spring! The palette also feels sturdy, weighty, but it doesn’t feel bulky, so I like the slimness and overall shape of it. I also LOVED! that they included a little plastic sheet with the names printed on top so you knew what product was what. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out in a palette!

Eyeshadows

  • Willow is a soft, pastel green with yellow undertones and a silvery shimmer. It has a bit of a frostier finish. It almost seemed un-Laura Mercier-like to me, just because it was such a nice pop of color, though it is a light pop of color!
  • Haze is a powder blue with silver shimmer. It’s more of a satin finish, less frost, in comparison to Willow.
  • Wisteria is a browned plum with a frosty sheen. It’s quite pigmented and smooth.
  • Midnight Jade is a darkened, grayed teal with a pearly sheen and just a light dusting of shimmer. I found this shade to be the least pigmented out of the four, but it still had decent pigmentation.

Blush

  • Plum is a very rosy plum shade. It’s less purple plum as it is red-plum. It has a low-level pearly sheen that’s very, very subtle. There’s no obvious shimmer here!

Lip Glazes

  • Black Currant is a brownish red that goes on very sheerly and has a glossy sheen.
  • Lotus Bloom is a sheer tinge of pinky-red with flecks of red shimmer.
  • Stone Beige is a creamier, semi-sheer nude beige with subtle gold shimmer.
  • Peach Blossom is an orange-y peach cream with a high gloss finish.

The good: It’s a fun palette with a good range of eye colors to give you a few new looks for spring. The pigmentation is pretty good (Midnight Jade needs to be layered for better pigmentation, though), and the texture is smooth, soft, and applies evenly. I like that there’s a good variety of colors in the lip glazes as well, because it gives you a lot of ways you can mix and match. I also think the packaging is fun, travel-friendly, and classy.

The bad: Palettes that mix powders and creams (or glazes, in this particular case) are not my favorite, because sometimes the powder finds its way into the creams, which is kind of gross. For most, it’s probably not a deal-breaker, but it’s something I thought I should mention. I don’t think the Plum blush is the most suitable for the palette–it almost seems too dark for this palette. I think it could work, but I’m not totally sold on it being the best match here.

There’s one thing I noticed right at end: there are no brushes!  It’s almost curious and yet I’m not displeased that they didn’t include them.  I know some think for the price that they should have, but I never find myself using those brushes that are included in palettes.  I always find them so inferior to my normal brushes and much prefer to take my brushes with me when I travel (even if it’s just a few), so it’s more of a neutral to me.  It just depends on your preference!

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

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like Laura Mercier’s eyeshadows and have always wanted a little more color, you might enjoy the way she’s played with color in this spring palette. I think cooler skin tones will find this especially flattering, as most of the shades tend to be on the cooler end of the spectrum.

Availability: Nordstrom

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