Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #44 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick
Make Up For Ever #44 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick

More Scarlet Hues by Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever #44 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a rich shade of neutral-cool red–a shade that’s just a hint blue but so close to neutral. This is a shimmer-free red that still has a slight sheen, so it’s not matte either. There is plenty of color pay off in a single layer, and between the formula and the richness of the hue, it stays on my lips for six hours with ease.

The Rouge Artist Intense formula is typically opaque, and while it’s not a moisturizing lipstick, it’s not a drying one either, though it does not feel creamy against the lips (it may take a little more pressure to apply than your average lipstick). With lighter shades, I see four hours of wear, but with richer or darker shades like #44, I get as much as six.

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

RECOMMENDATION: For cooler and warmer skin tone, this is a nice shade of red that’s bright without being traffic-stopping.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, October 11th, 2010

Make Up For Ever Moulin Rouge
Make Up For Ever #43 Moulin Rouge Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick

Lips That’ll Sing for You!

Make Up For Ever #43 Moulin Rouge Rouge Artist Intense ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a rich, bright orange-based creamy red with a satin smooth finish. There’s a slight sheen but no shimmer or glossiness. The color itself is opaque in one layer, and it holds on and on and on. As such a vibrant shade of red, I get six hours of really good wear and then a slight staining as it fades off for the next two or three hours. Some of the Rouge Artists can be on the drier side (especially the frosts), but this one was particularly creamy and easy to apply.

Mine had no scent whatsoever, but I have heard others say they’ve found them rose-scented. In fact, none of the ten or so Rouge Artist Intenses I’ve tried have any scent!

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

RECOMMENDATION: This is one of the best Rouge Artists I’ve tried; it’s very opaque and pigmented, but it is also creamy and applies smoothly.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Saturday, October 9th, 2010


Lipstick Comparisons: $13 to $25 (Part 2)

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!

MAC Lipstick ($14.50)

  • PROS: Ridiculously large shade range, variety of finishes, wears from 3 to 6 hours (depends on finish/shade)
  • NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., Depending on finish, shades range from sheer to opaque; similarly, more matte shades are drier while lustre shades are more moisturizing, vanilla-scented
  • CONS: If you’re not familiar with the MAC range and finishes, it can be overwhelming and difficult to choose the right shade; not all shades are great or consistent against other shades within a finish family
  • MY REC: I like MAC lipsticks quite a bit. I think they have some incredibly flattering shades as well as fun colors in their permanent line, but without having some MAC product knowledge, I can imagine it being daunting trying to figure out which shade is opaque, which is sheer, what finish might be best, and so on. There is a lot of variance between shades and even within finishes. Lustres and glazes tend to be sheerer, while amplified cremes and satins are creamier and more opaque. Mattes are on the drier side with some being exceptionally so (Ruby Woo, I’m talking to you).

Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick ($19.00)

  • PROS: Long-wearing (5 to 6 hours on average), pigmented, wide range of shades
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., range includes wearable shades as well as out of the box shades, scent0free
  • CONS: Shades are a bit one-note, texture is a little dry (but it’s not drying)
  • MY REC: If you have pigmented lips and struggle to find true-to-tube color translate onto your lips, Rouge Artist Intense is a good line to try out, because the colors really are opaque.

NARS Lipstick ($24.00)

  • PROS: Long-wearing (4 to 6 hours on average), moisturizing, creamy, good shade range
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., scent-free, some really sheer shades while others are opaque
  • CONS: Can smell waxy, lighter/sheerer shades fade in 1 to 3 hours
  • MY REC: Though NARS’ lipsticks are unscented, sometimes the waxiness of the lipstick itself comes through, and it’s not so pleasant. It’s a more moisturizing lipstick than your average lipstick, though if you have ultra dry lips, you may still want to prep lips with some balm. I’ve also found that their sheerer or lighter shades don’t last nearly as long as their medium to dark shades.

Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick ($25.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, glossy, semi-sheer to opaque, wears 2 to 4 hours, good shade range
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
  • CONS: Numbering system can make it difficult to determine colors
  • MY REC: I feel like I rarely see mentions for Shiseido’s Perfect Rouge lipstick line, and it’s really a top notch line. They’re creamy, smooth, and richly pigmented.

Smashbox Photo Finish Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, glossy, moisturizing, semi-opaque to opaque colors, wears 3 to 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., vanilla-scented
  • CONS: Limited shade range
  • MY REC: It’s a shame that Smashbox doesn’t expand their lipstick range, because I’ve liked several of the ones I’ve tried from it–but there just aren’t many colors available. These are moisturizing with a glossy finish and creamy texture. Similar to Laura Mercier Stick Gloss and Korres Mango Butters.

Urban Decay Lipstick ($22.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, wears 3 to 5 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., burnt sugar scent (“caramel” or “creme brulee”)
  • CONS: Sheer to opaque variances make it difficult to buy online or sight unseen, sometimes has an off-taste
  • MY REC: I know that one of the biggest drawbacks to Urban Decay is inconsistency in the scent and taste of their lipsticks. The more shimmery shades seem to have a stronger averse taste than creamier shades. I don’t notice the scent when I wear them, so it’s not a deal breaker for me.

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.

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #1C Lip Liner
Make Up For Ever #1C Aqua Lip Liner

Long-wearing, Waterproof Lip Liner

Make Up For Ever #1C Aqua Lip Liner ($17.00 for 0.04 oz.) is a long-wearing lip liner that really does not budge until you take your best makeup remover to it. This is the area it most excels in–the wear is phenomenal, and the liner itself stayed on through drinking water and coffee with no problems at all. It can be layered underneath lipstick/gloss or used to define the lips. It’s soft enough that it’s easy to apply the liner on the lips, but it’s not so creamy that it becomes more like a lipstick pencil than a liner. It doesn’t impart much moisture, but it doesn’t leave lips feeling dry nor dry them out as it wears.

#1C is an interesting shade, because it’s described as a “light neutral beige,” but it almost looks a bit orange when you first swatch it, and then on lips, the natural rosiness of lips (even if you have lesser pigmented lips) seems to bring it down a notch. I like this shade underneath sheerer lipglosses and nude lipsticks best. I think for those with more pigmented lips, it can also help to mute the natural pigmentation of your lips in a more savory way than using concealer/foundation.

The only downside–for some, not all–is that it is a pencil liner, so it may need to be sharpened more frequently in order to get a precise edge. I didn’t have issues using the edge, and I don’t, personally, sharpen every use, to get a precise outline on my lips, but I use the slant more so than the tip itself. I don’t see it as a downside myself, but I could see those who prefer the thinner point of automatic lip liners finding fault here.

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

RECOMMENDATION: Maybe not this color, but Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Lip Liners are certainly worth a peek if you’re in the market for a long-wearing lip liner.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Sunday, September 5th, 2010


Make Up For Ever #10 Fascinating Lipgloss

Sheer and Pearly by Make Up For Ever

Make Up For Ever #10 Lip Gloss ($18.00 for 0.20 oz.) is designed to be a moisturizing, vitamin E and shea butter enriched gloss with “pearly extracts” for “truly sexy shimmer.” #10 is a sheer, shimmery nude beige. It’s virtually colorless on my lips, but it does have noticeable shimmer, which does have more of a pearly look than a glittery feel.

The consistency of this gloss is incredibly thin, which is great for those on the hunt for non-sticky glosses (as this one is), but it takes several applications to get enough gloss to cover my lips. It’s not as moisturizing as lip balm, but it doesn’t dry out lips and keeps them decently hydrated during the hour or two the gloss wears. The wear-time is on the shorter end for me, as I typically get two to three hours out of a gloss, and I’m lucky if I get two. There’s a fruity kind of scent, but I didn’t detect any taste, and the scent is on the subtler side.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like thin, non-sticky glosses, you may like Make Up For Ever’s Fascinating Lip Gloss–as long as you don’t mind frequent applications.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Make Up For Ever #13 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Make Up For Ever #13 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick

Make Up For Ever #13 Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a gorgeous berried red with ruby and raspberry shimmer.  It has rich, nearly opaque color, and it wears phenomenally.  This is a color that you can put on and forget about for hours–I get five hours of really nice wear out of this shade.   It has nice pigmentation without being heavy or thick, and though it’s not drying, it clings to lips a bit (but in a good way, I swear!).   #13 is a fitting shade for both fall and winter making it one multi-tasking lipstick!

Is this the right red 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.

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