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Best Lipsticks | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

Best Lipsticks | Holiday 2016 Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again:  holiday gift guides aplenty!  This year, I’ve broken out my gift guides into best of selections for blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, lipstick, lipgloss, palettes, and brushes.  These guides feature permanent formulas so that they can be useful anytime during the holiday season or even into next year.  For limited edition holiday products, you can check out our list of the top 50 highest-rated holiday products, which updates as I post more reviews for holiday products. Here’s a look at the best lipstick formulas I’ve tried:

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick ($26.00 for 0.15 oz.) is supposed to have “bold, creamy color” with “extreme moisture, soft texture, and creamy wear.” The majority of the range is very pigmented–typically opaque with one pass–with a few shades being semi-opaque but usually buildable. The majority of the shades I’ve tested have been lightly hydrating to non-drying and fairly comfortable to wear for the long-haul. They wear longer than average, from four to eight hours, depending on the intensity and propensity of the shade to stain. The range is rather extensive with over 30 shades, so you may find our top 15 best Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipsticks list useful. Some of my favorite shades are: Pickled Ginger, Kale, Sour Cherry, and Spritzer.

Availability

Sephora

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NARS Look Closer Eyeshadow Palette

NARS Look Closer Eyeshadow Palette
NARS Look Closer Eyeshadow Palette

NARS Look Closer Eyeshadow Palette ($49.00 for 0.21 oz.) includes four eyeshadows and a miniature sized eyeliner. The eyeshadows actually felt much, much denser and more like a hybrid between cream and powder than NARS’ typical eyeshadow (which is often thin and either powdery or dusty). It’s an okay palette, but I think there are better versions of these types of shades.

Value

  • Eyeshadow: $25.00 for 0.07 oz. or $357.14/oz.
  • Eyeliner: $25.00 for 0.04 oz. or $625.00/oz.
  • Set Value: $71.43 worth of eyeshadow, $6.25 worth of eyeliner
  • Total Value: $77.68

Look Closer I is a light-medium beige with warm, yellow undertones and a matte finish. The consistency was denser, but it appeared a little chalky when swatched, even though it was mostly opaque in coverage. It was harder to blend out evenly or to sheer out as it seemed to stick where it initially applied best. The color started to fade after seven hours of wear. Sephora Whitewashed (P, $12.00)(100% similar). Too Faced Banana Date (LE, $16.00) is darker (95% similar). Divergent Altruistic Almond (LE) is warmer (95% similar). MAC Real Fantasy (LE, $16.00) is lighter (95% similar). IT Cosmetics Hope (P) is lighter, brighter, warmer (95% similar). Tarte Big Baby (LE) is cooler (95% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Hard Being the It Girl #3 (LE, $2.29) is more muted (95% similar). Tarte Breakfast in Bed (LE) is warmer (95% similar). bareMinerals Daydream (LE) is darker (95% similar). Kat Von D Entomology (P) is warmer (95% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Naked Truth #2 (P, $2.29) is lighter (95% similar). NARS Shade I (2015) (LE, $25.00) is lighter (95% similar). Tarte Free Spirit (LE) is brighter (95% similar). LORAC Undressed (P, $19.00) is warmer (95% similar). Marc Jacobs Beauty The Dreamer #1 (P) is lighter (95% similar). Buxom Mix & Mingle (P, $12.00) is lighter (95% similar). LORAC Buff (P, $19.00) is darker, warmer (95% similar). Tarte Nudes (LE) is darker (90% similar). MAC Tabby (LE, $22.00) is darker (90% similar). Kat Von D Moulder (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Look Closer II is a light-medium brown with warm, golden undertones and a slightly grayer, more muted overtone paired with a frosted sheen. It had good pigmentation, but it tended to lift away with a few chunks from the denser, thicker consistency. These chunks would fall out during application but did not seem to impede to overall evenness and look of the eyeshadow on the lid. It wore well for eight hours before fading. Tarte Dancer & Prancer (LE) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Urban Decay Spotlight (LE, $19.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Tarte Color Vibes (LE) is warmer (90% similar). Laura Mercier Topaz (P)(90% similar). NARS Himalia (P, $29.00) is more shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Make Up For Ever I538 Pearly Gray Beige (P, $21.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Cle de Peau Stardust #3 (P) is warmer (85% similar). Tarina Tarantino Agate (P) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Dior Parisian Sky #1 (LE) is less shimmery, warmer (85% similar). CoverGirl Melted Caramel Flame (350) (P, $7.99) is warmer (85% similar). theBalm Stand-offish (P, $16.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). MAC Sweet Satisfaction (DC, $21.00) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Clarins Nude #3 (P) is lighter, cooler (80% similar). Anastasia Belize (P, $12.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (80% similar). Giorgio Armani Rose Ashes (11) (P, $39.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (80% similar). bareMinerals Schmooze (LE) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (80% similar). Laura Mercier Bamboo (P) is warmer (80% similar). Rouge Bunny Rouge Bohemian Waxwing (P, $19.00) is more shimmery, lighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Look Closer III is a soft, dark brown with warm, reddish undertones and a matte finish. It had semi-opaque color payoff, which was buildable to opaque coverage with two layers. The consistency was smooth, dense but blendable and easy to work with. This shade started to fade after eight hours of wear. Anastasia Fudge (P, $12.00) is warmer (95% similar). MAC Choco Cake (LE, $16.00) is darker (95% similar). Tarte One Too Manet (LE) is more shimmery (95% similar). Tarte A Beautiful Degas (LE) is darker (95% similar). Laura Mercier Ganache (LE, $23.00) is cooler (95% similar). MAC Corduroy (P, $16.00) is darker (95% similar). Tarte Edgy (P) is darker (95% similar). Makeup Geek Cabin Fever (P, $6.00) is cooler (95% similar). Anastasia Violeta (LE, $12.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). Natasha Denona Arizona (88V) (P, $29.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Inglot #360 (P, $6.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). LORAC Walnut (LE, $19.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Viseart Minx #2 (P) is warmer (90% similar). Viseart Taupe (P) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Too Faced Toffee Crunch (LE, $16.00) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). MAC Saddle (P, $16.00) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). Make Up For Ever M630 Sweet Chestnut (P, $21.00) is lighter (85% similar). Tarte Rebel (P) is lighter, warmer (80% similar). Urban Decay Beware (P, $19.00) is lighter, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Look Closer IV is a deep black with warm, brown undertones and multi-colored pearl. It was richly pigmented with a more cream-like–dense, smooth–texture that applied well to bare skin and lasted for eight hours before creasing. Dior Smoky Sequins #5 (LE) is cooler (95% similar). Cle de Peau Silver Eclipse #4 (P) is lighter (95% similar). Viseart Chroma #6 (P) is more shimmery (95% similar). theBalm Fierce (P, $16.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Via Veneto is a dark black with a semi-matte finish. It had semi-opaque color in a single pass, which was buildable to more opaque coverage in two to three passes. The texture was firmer and had a tendency to tug on my lash line. It wore well for eight hours on me, which was short of the 12-hour wear time claimed. It is consistent with the color and texture of the last time I reviewed it (here).

NARS Eyeshadow Palette (Holiday 2016) Look Closer
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NARS Non-Fiction Touch-Up Kit

NARS Non-Fiction Touch-Up Kit
NARS Non-Fiction Touch-Up Kit

NARS Non-Fiction Touch-Up Kit ($65.00 for 0.52 oz.) includes a palette with two blushes and a pressed setting powder, plus a miniature-sized lipgloss and mascara. I wish they had opted for a third blush rather than the pressed powder, because the texture of the powder felt like cardboard–it was stiff, dry, and did absolutely nothing on the skin because next to no product came off of the pan to begin with. The blushes were decent, and if you aren’t too concerned about intensity levels dry vs. damp, they’re pretty easy to use and work together well. The gloss had good coverage and didn’t appear streaky, but it pulled into lip lines quite a bit. This was definitely one of the less impressive offerings from NARS for this holiday season.

Formula Overview

  • Dual-Intensity Blush: $45.00 for 0.21 oz. or $214.29/oz.
  • Pressed Powder: $37.00 for 0.24 oz. or $154.17/oz.
  • Lipgloss: $26.00 for 0.18 oz. or $144.44/oz.
  • Mascara: $26.00 for 0.32 oz. or $81.25/oz.
  • Set Value: $43.86 worth of blush, $12.33 worth of pressed powder, $17.33 worth of lipgloss, $9.75 worth of mascara
  • Total Value: $83.27

Noctum is a light-medium gold with warm, yellow undertones and a pearly sheen. The consistency was soft, smooth, and blendable and did not emphasize my skin’s natural texture or the look of my pores. It had semi-sheer, buildable coverage applied dry, which wore for seven hours before fading, and it had more visible shimmer particles. When I used it damp, the finish had more of a smooth sheen than visible bits of shimmer, and it had more medium to full coverage that wore for eight hours on me. Tarte Champagne (LE) is lighter (95% similar). Smashbox Glow (LE) is less shimmery (95% similar). MAC Bare End (LE) is less shimmery (95% similar). Tarte Authentic (LE, $28.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Glow (Original) (P) is darker (95% similar). Colour Pop School is Fun (LE, $8.00) is lighter (90% similar). Urban Decay Angel (LE, $26.00) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Becca Champagne Pop (P, $41.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Looxi Beauty Bombshell (P, $7.50) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Anastasia Moonstone (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Wet 'n' Wild Sun Ceremony (LE, $2.99) is brighter, cooler (90% similar). Becca Champagne Pop (P, $38.00) is more shimmery, darker, warmer (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Vu is a light-medium coral with warm, peach undertones and a metallic sheen. It was less shimmery and a bit more subdued when applied dry, whereas damp application was more metallic and brighter on the skin. The dry application was more semi-sheer to semi-opaque with seven hour wear, while the damp application was mostly opaque and lasted for closer to eight hours. The damp application did emphasize my skin’s natural texture slightly. bareMinerals The Magic Moment (LE, $26.00) is warmer (95% similar). MAC New Romance (P, $27.00) is more shimmery, lighter (95% similar). NYX Menage a Trois (P, $15.00) is more shimmery, darker, warmer (90% similar). Stila Peach Shimmer (LE) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). MAC Shell Pearl (LE, $22.00) is cooler (90% similar). Becca Lychee/Opal (P, $27.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Too Faced Who's Your Poppy (LE) is more shimmery, cooler (90% similar). NYX Rose Gold (P, $6.50) is warmer (90% similar). MAC Miss Cupcake (LE) is less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Stereo Rose (LE, $32.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Chelsea Girls is a muted, medium pink-coral with a milkier, creamier finish. It had semi-opaque color coverage that went on evenly and didn’t look streaky, but the color pulled into lip lines immediately. The gloss lasted for three hours on me and was a touch hydrating. MAC Artful (LE, $15.00) is warmer (95% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Sweet Stiletto (P, $22.00) is darker, more muted (90% similar). NARS Vida Loca (LE, $26.00) is lighter (90% similar). Chanel Mystery (P, $30.00) is cooler (90% similar). Chanel Super Nude (137) (LE, $34.00) is more muted (90% similar). MAC Pure Delight (LE, $20.00) is cooler (90% similar). Tarte Visionary (LE) is cooler (90% similar). Urban Decay Nooner (P, $20.00) is lighter (90% similar). Maybelline Nude Illusion (060) (P, $8.99) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). MAC Calypso Beat (LE, $20.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Tarte Goals (P, $20.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). MAC Persistent Peach (P, $19.50) is lighter, cooler (90% similar). NYX Tres Leches (P, $5.99) is lighter (85% similar). Bobbi Brown Nude Pink (LE, $24.00) is more shimmery, lighter, more muted (85% similar). NARS Chihuahua (P, $26.00) is cooler (85% similar). NARS Giza (P, $26.00) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). MAC Everlasting Nude (LE, $19.50) is darker (85% similar). Charlotte Tilbury Bardot Beige (P, $22.00) is lighter (85% similar). MAC Anything But Demure (LE, $20.00) is darker, cooler (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Light-Reflecting Setting Powder Pressed is a translucent pressed setting powder, and by itranslucent, it actually ended up being invisible–there was just no product that would come off the pan’s surface, as it was so firm and stiff. It felt incredibly dry, smooth, but noisy as I ran my brush or finger across the surface… yet no product transferred. I tried to swatch it, even jabbing at it to loosen product, and nothing appeared on my skin. This doesn’t function at all, not even remotely. This is one of the very few, possibly only, instances where I couldn’t even manipulate the product to make it work (scraping off product and so forth). I haven’t tried this in years, but when it first launched, I didn’t have an issue getting it onto the skin, though the standalone version was very finnicky with respect to hardening/darkening if any oils/liquid touched it.

NARS Touch Up Kit (Holiday 2016) Non-Fiction
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Also In This Review

B+

Noctum

Limited Edition
Read Review
B

Vu

Limited Edition
Read Review
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NARS Shadow Side Velvet Shadow Stick Set

NARS Shadow Side Velvet Shadow Stick Set
NARS Shadow Side Velvet Shadow Stick Set

NARS Shadow Side Velvet Shadow Stick Set ($39.00 for 0.21 oz.) contains three miniature sized twist-up cream eyeshadows and a miniature sized mascara. I haven’t had great luck with the Velvet Shadow Stick formula, as they are harder to blend and work with on the lid and have shorter-wear (five to six hours). They tend to work best for me as an eyeshadow base rather than as a standalone eyeshadow, though the shades that are closer to the skin tone and have some pearl are the easiest to use as-is. My experience with these three was consistent with past experience–shorter wear and harder to blend and even out on the skin.

Formula Overview

  • Velvet Shadow Stick: $28.00 for 0.05 oz. or $560.00/oz.
  • Mascara: $26.00 for 0.32 oz. or $81.25/oz.
  • Set Value: $50.40 worth of cream eyeshadow, $9.75 worth of mascara
  • Total Value: $60.15

Lucid Dream is a light-medium, golden brown with warm, golden shimmer. It had semi-sheer coverage that was buildable to medium coverage. The consistency was somewhat creamy with slight drag across the skin. It was blendable for a few seconds initially but then became harder to diffuse and even out. It started to crease after six hours of wear. Burberry Nude (No. 002) (P, $29.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Kat Von D 3AM (LE) is more shimmery (90% similar). Urban Decay Spotlight (LE, $19.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Dior Cosmopolite (P, $29.50) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). CoverGirl Melted Caramel Flame (350) (P, $7.99) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Laura Mercier Topaz (P) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Dior Infinity (751) (LE, $31.00) is warmer (90% similar). Urban Decay Suspect (P, $19.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Dior Smoky Sequins #3 (LE) is more shimmery (85% similar). MAC Crushed Clove (P, $16.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Smashbox Doe (P) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). bareMinerals Santorini (LE) is more shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Giorgio Armani Cold Copper (09) (P, $39.00) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (85% similar). Hourglass Exposure #3 (P) is more shimmery, lighter, warmer (80% similar). Viseart Gitte (P) is lighter, warmer (80% similar). NARS Dione (P, $29.00) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (80% similar). Laura Mercier Moonlight (P, $28.00) is lighter, warmer (80% similar). Too Faced Jingle All the Way Eyeshadow #4 (LE, $16.00) is more shimmery, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Real Surreal is a muted, medium-dark plum with warm, brownish undertones and a pearly sheen. It had semi-sheer pigmentation in one pass, but it was creamy enough that it layered to opaque coverage in two to three passes. The consistency was fairly easy to maneuver around the curve of the lid, but it was hard to get soft, diffused edges, even when I used fingertips to blend. It lasted for five and a half hours before creasing on me. Make Up For Ever S832 Ash Plum (P, $21.00) is brighter (95% similar). Stila Garnet (P) is less shimmery (95% similar). Tarte Show Plum Love (LE) is brighter (95% similar). MAC Higher Power (LE, $22.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Makeup Geek Sensuous (P, $6.00) is more shimmery, brighter, cooler (90% similar). Hello Kitty Celebrate (LE) is warmer (90% similar). Laura Mercier Plumifique (LE) is warmer (90% similar). MAC Frock Talk (LE, $16.00) is warmer (90% similar). Lancome Colour du Jour (P, $19.00) is warmer (90% similar). NARS China Seas #2 (P, $25.00) is lighter (90% similar). Chantecaille Starfish (P, $34.00) is more shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Laura Mercier Cherrywood (LE) is warmer (90% similar). Kat Von D Love Letter (P, $16.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Tarte Scarlet (LE, $14.00) is darker (85% similar). MAC Circa Plum (LE, $21.00) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (80% similar). Makeup Geek Twilight (P, $6.00) is more shimmery, lighter (80% similar). bareMinerals Catch Me If (P) is more shimmery, lighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Nunavut is a rich, deep purple with cooler undertones and a satin shimmer. It had semi-sheer to semi-opaque coverage in one stroke, but the consistency was so creamy that the color tended to move around as I applied it, so it was hard to get an even layer of coverage. I had the best luck applying one layer, trying to even it out with my fingertip, and then applying another layer on top, but it still looked patchy in places. The color started to crease after five hours on me and migrated towards the corners of my eyes. Inglot #377 (P, $6.00) is cooler, less glossy (90% similar). bareMinerals In Vogue (LE) is warmer (90% similar). Tarte Le Cordon Bleu (LE) is darker, less glossy (90% similar). MAC Ron Ron Run (LE, $16.00) is darker, less glossy (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

NARS Velvet Shadow Stick Set Shadow Side
6.5
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
6
Longevity
4
Application
70%
Total
See All Glossovers

Also In This Review

C-

Lucid Dream

Limited Edition
Read Review
C

Real Surreal

Limited Edition
Read Review
D-

Nunavut

Limited Edition
Read Review

NARS Give In Take Dual-Intensity Eye & Cheek Palette

NARS Give In Take Dual-Intensity Eye & Cheek Palette
NARS Give In Take Dual-Intensity Eye & Cheek Palette

NARS Give In Take Dual-Intensity Eye & Cheek Palette ($69.00 for 0.78 oz.) includes six eyeshadows and three blushes in the Dual-Intensity formula. The Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow formula is supposed to be sheerer when applied dry and more opaque with a “high-impact finish” when used damp. The Dual-Intensity Blush formula is supposed to have a “high-impact” flush when used damp and a “natural-looking glow” when used dry. In general, regardless of whether it’s an eyeshadow or blush, they are sheer to semi-opaque with more of a frosted, shimmery finish when used dry, and then more opaque and more metallic when used damp. The blushes can be more difficult to blend and diffuse when used damp, but I don’t have that issue (or at least, not as often) with the eyeshadows applied with a damp brush–I expect this is partially due to how blush is often applied at sheerer coverage levels than eyesahdow, so it is more obvious when it is not diffusing as readily. Both formulas wear between six and nine hours for me.

The value of the set is ridiculously good, period, but it’s particularly high for NARS, which doesn’t typically do truly value-packed palettes or sets. I think, perhaps, it’s the result of the Dual-Intensity range being rather pricey individually that they could only go so high before the palette reached a price point they did not feel their customer base would pay. Each eyeshadow in the palette is larger than a full-sized Dual Intensity Eyeshadow! If you like the colors, it’s worth checking out. I’m not in love with the shade range or how the blushes and eyeshadows coordinate with each other–the blushes seem like they’re too warm and could be more in a pink/plum/mauve family–I just felt like it looked a bit disjointed together. The quality is fairly consistent with my experience with the formula in full-sized shades, so if the color combination appeals to you, I’d definitely keep an eye out for it.

Minor quibble: why didn’t they give these individual shade names?! They did it for several other palettes this year!

Value

  • Dual-Intensity Eyeshadow: $29.00 for 0.05 oz. or $580.00/oz.
  • Dual-Intensity Blush: $45.00 for 0.21 oz. or $214.29/oz.
  • Set Value: $243.60 worth of eyeshadow, $77.14 worth of blush
  • Total Value: $320.74

Give In Take I is a dirty beige with neutral-to-cool undertones and a frosted shimmer. It had semi-opaque pigmentation both dry and damp, but the damp application made it apply more smoothly and amplified the sheen. The texture was soft, firmer in the pan but not stiff to work with, and applied well to bare skin. It lasted for seven hours (both dry and damp) on me before fading. Make Up For Ever S502 White Sand (P, $21.00) is lighter (95% similar). Natasha Denona Cream (21S) (P, $29.00) is warmer (95% similar). MAC Vex (P, $16.00) is darker (95% similar). Chanel Tisse Ombre de Lune #1 (P) is more shimmery (95% similar). Chanel Tisse Beverly Hills #2 (P) is darker (90% similar). theBalm High Tide (LE, $16.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Disney by Sephora Sea Shells (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Chanel Poesie #2 (LE) is warmer (90% similar). Make Up For Ever I542 Pinky Clay (P, $21.00) is darker (90% similar). NARS Abyssinia (P, $25.00) is lighter (90% similar). Tarte Pearl Earring (LE) is lighter (90% similar). Tarina Tarantino Fantastical #3 (P) is warmer (90% similar). Too Faced Indulge (LE, $16.00) is more shimmery, brighter (85% similar). Kat Von D Telepathy (P) is more shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Viseart Bijoux Royal #2 (LE) is more shimmery, brighter, warmer (85% similar). Clarins Silver Ivory (04) (P, $24.00) is darker (85% similar). bareMinerals Air (P) is darker, warmer (80% similar). MAC Mother's Milk (LE, $16.00) is darker (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take II is a muted, medium-dark gray with cool, bluish tones and a pearly sheen. Applied dry, it was semi-sheer, while damp yielded nearly opaque coverage. It was easier to diffuse and blend around the edges when I used it dry, but the coverage was hard to build up, so I had the best luck applying it damp initially and then using it dry to diffuse and soften the edges. It lasted for seven hours dry, seven and a half hours damp. Urban Decay Ace (LE, $19.00) is darker (95% similar). Giorgio Armani Moonlight White #3 (LE) is less shimmery (95% similar). NARS Indes Galantes (Left) (LE, $25.00) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). Anastasia Denim Smokey (P, $12.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Urban Decay Redemption (LE, $19.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). theBalm #5 (P, $6.50) is brighter (90% similar). MAC Retrograde (LE, $22.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Disney by Sephora Flotsam (LE) is brighter, cooler (90% similar). Laura Mercier Gunmetal (LE, $23.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Chanel Fleur de Pierre (106) (P, $32.00) is warmer (90% similar). LORAC Slate (P, $19.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Tarina Tarantino Lovely #3 (P) is more shimmery, lighter, cooler (90% similar). Giorgio Armani #21 (LE, $33.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Milani Bella Gray (10) (P, $4.49) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (85% similar). Kat Von D Santeria (LE) is more shimmery (85% similar). MAC Graphic Style (LE, $16.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). MAC Showgirl (LE, $21.00) is lighter, cooler (80% similar). Estee Lauder Modern Mercury #2 (LE, $21.00) is lighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take III is a blackened teal with subtle, cool undertones and a satin finish. It appeared more muted in color but had semi-opaque coverage when I applied it dry, and it lasted for eight hours. When I tried it damp, it was more intense and fully opaque, but it took extra effort to diffuse the edges, though it lasted for almost nine hours on me. Natasha Denona Deep Pacific (03V) (P, $29.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Guerlain Les Aquas #1 (P) is less shimmery (95% similar). Sephora Midnight Swim (16) (P, $12.00) is more shimmery, brighter (90% similar). Colour Pop Rhinestone (LE, $5.00) is lighter (90% similar). bareMinerals Deep Sea (LE, $14.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). bareMinerals Dazzle (P) is warmer (90% similar). Marc Jacobs Beauty The Siren #7 (LE) is lighter, warmer (85% similar). The Estee Edit Wavy (LE) is more shimmery, lighter, brighter (85% similar). Anastasia Mermaid (P, $12.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Makeup Geek Houdini (P, $9.99) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Urban Decay Hijack (LE, $19.00) is more shimmery, lighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take IV is a bright beige with subtle, cooler undertones and a satin finish (even though it looked warmer in the pan). It was more muted and a lot less bright–looked almost faded–when I applied it dry, though it was still semi-opaque in coverage. When I applied it with a damp brush, it was brighter and looked starker against my skin tone with semi-opaque coverage. It was easier to use this one damp, though, as the texture was a bit firmer to work with in the pan, so having the dampness on the brush stretched the color out more. It lasted for seven and a half hours both dry and damp on me. Too Faced Frosty Nog (LE, $16.00)(100% similar). Anastasia Blanc (P, $12.00) is darker (95% similar). Kat Von D Bone (LE) is darker, warmer (95% similar). Too Faced Glaze (LE, $16.00) is more muted (95% similar). Marc Jacobs Beauty The Parisienne #5 (LE) is more shimmery (95% similar). L'Oreal Paris Beach (P, $5.99) is brighter (95% similar). Sephora Put a Bow On It (LE) is darker (95% similar). Viseart Cashmere #1 (P) is warmer (95% similar). Make Up For Ever M530 Eggshell (P, $21.00) is darker, warmer (95% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take V is a light-medium taupe with warmer, brown undertones and a gray overtone paired with a satin finish. It had semi-sheer coverage when applied dry, and the color itself was much warmer and lacked the gray overtone. If I used it with a damp brush, the color was more intense, grayer, and more opaque. I noticed fading after seven hours when I used it dry, and then after eight hours when I used it damp. Sephora Cashmere Coat (P, $12.00) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). Guerlain Les Cendres #1 (LE) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). theBalm Dig It (LE, $16.00) is less shimmery, warmer (85% similar). bareMinerals Head Over Heels (LE) is less shimmery, darker (85% similar). Too Faced Pecan Praline (P, $16.00) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). NARS L'Amour, Toujours L'Amour #7 (LE, $25.00) is less shimmery, lighter (85% similar). Urban Decay DTF (LE, $19.00) is less shimmery, warmer (85% similar). Guerlain Two VIP #2 (LE) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). MAC Brains & Brawn (LE, $16.00) is less shimmery, lighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take VI is a deep, blackened brown with subtle, warmer, olive undertones and a satin finish. It had sheer coverage applied dry, which looked more like a dark brown than a blackened brown, while damp application yielded rich, opaque color that was much deeper and darker. The consistency was soft, firm without being stiff, and blended out fairly well on the lid. It lasted for seven hours dry and eight hours damp. Too Faced Cup of Joe (LE, $16.00) is cooler (95% similar). Disney by Sephora Cinders (LE) is less shimmery (95% similar). Bobbi Brown Black Chocolate (LE, $22.00) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). Too Faced Lava Cake (LE, $16.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). MAC Beluga (LE, $16.00) is lighter (95% similar). Zoeva Infusion (P) is lighter (95% similar). Guerlain Calligraphy #4 (LE) is less shimmery, darker (95% similar). Kat Von D Vox (LE) is less shimmery (90% similar). MAC Black Magique (LE, $16.00) is less shimmery, more muted (90% similar). MAC Earthy Scent (LE, $16.00) is less shimmery, darker, more muted (90% similar). Tarina Tarantino Saw Dust Heart (LE) is less shimmery, darker (90% similar). NARS Mekong (P, $25.00) is warmer (90% similar). Anastasia Deep Brown (P, $12.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Make Up For Ever M618 Espresso (P, $21.00) is less shimmery, lighter, warmer (90% similar). Kat Von D Ankh (LE) is less shimmery (90% similar). Chanel Topkapi #3 (LE) is darker (90% similar). Zoeva Beans are White (P) is less shimmery, lighter (90% similar). NARS Mesopotamia (P, $25.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Clarins Nude #4 (P) is lighter (90% similar). Viseart Cool Matte #12 (P) is lighter (90% similar). Top 20 dupes listed, see the rest. See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take Blush I is a light, white gold with warm undertones and a metallic finish. It had similar, medium, buildable coverage both dry and damp, but the damp application was definitely more intense with a smoother, but stronger, sheen. The consistency was smooth, a touch dry in a way, but it was blendable and did not appear dry on the skin. It lasted for eight hours both dry and damp on me. Sleek MakeUP Subsolar (P) is less shimmery (95% similar). Colour Pop Perilune (LE, $8.00) is more shimmery, darker, more muted (90% similar). Makeup Revolution Golden Lights (P, $6.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). Makeup Geek Electrify (P, $20.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Sephora Stardust (01) (P, $14.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). Zoeva Glowing Still (P) is more shimmery (90% similar). Makeup Geek Lit (P, $20.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). Tarte Sunlight (P) is darker (85% similar). Anastasia Moonstone (LE) is darker, warmer (85% similar). Anastasia Summer (LE) is more shimmery, darker (85% similar). Anastasia Sunburst (LE) is more shimmery, darker (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take Blush II is a light-medium peach with warm, orange undertones and a satin sheen. The coverage with medium, buildable dry and then semi-opaque, buildable damp. It had a more obviously, pearlescent sheen when applied damp, but it was never flat even when applied dry. The texture was soft, smooth, and blendable on the skin, and it did not emphasize my pores or skin’s natural texture. It wore well for seven hours dry and eight hours damp. MAC Highlighter (LE, $32.00) is more shimmery (95% similar). Clinique Nude Glow (P, $27.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Suqqu Yawakouki (05) (P, $34.00) is less shimmery (95% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Warm (Winter 2016) Highlighter (LE, $55.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). bareMinerals The Premiere (LE, $26.00) is darker (90% similar). Colour Pop Highly Waisted (P, $8.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). MAC Glow Rida (LE, $22.00) is less shimmery (90% similar). NYX Nectar (P, $5.00) is lighter (85% similar). By Terry Light & Tan Vibes #3 (LE) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Give In Take Blush III is a bright pop of peony pink with subtle, warm, yellow undertones and a pearly sheen. The texture was soft, firm but blendable on the skin, and it was flattering on the skin and did not enhance pores or the skin’s natural texture. It had semi-sheer coverage dry and semi-opaque coverage damp, and it was buildable regardless of application method. On me, it lasted for eight hours both dry and damp. Colour Pop Boba (DC, $8.00) is more shimmery (90% similar). NARS 413 BLKR (Blush) (P, $30.00) is darker, brighter (90% similar). Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Blush (LE) is darker (90% similar). Guerlain Smile (Right) (LE, $52.00) is less shimmery, warmer (90% similar). Becca Camellia (P, $34.00) is more shimmery, darker (85% similar). Laura Geller Rosewater (P, $26.00) is darker (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

NARS Dual-Intensity Eye & Cheek Palette (Holiday 2016) Give In Take
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NARS Mind Game Mini Velvet Lip Glide Coffret

NARS Mind Game Mini Velvet Lip Glide Coffret
NARS Mind Game Mini Velvet Lip Glide Coffret

NARS Mind Game Mini Velvet Lip Glide Coffret ($45.00 for 0.72 oz.) is a new, limited edition set that features six miniature sized Velvet Lip Glides with three exclusive shades and three from the permanent range. The set will be exclusive to Sephora and available November 1st (but it might go up earlier based on my experience). Since the Velvet Lip Glide formula just released, I only tested the wear of the new shades (and I did not re-swatch the existing shades, but I did check them against the permanent line and did not notice any differences in color or texture), so the ratings for the three shades from the permanent range are based on my previous testing of them. Overall, the set is nice; I think it’s well-worth checking out if this is the type of formula that tickles your fancy. The only downside is that they’re all darker shades, which seems to suit the feel of the collection but may not be enough variety for a set.

Bound is a muted, medium-dark rosy mauve with neutral-to-cool undertones and a cream finish. It had good color payoff, though it was not fully opaque, with a smooth, lightweight texture that was comfortable to wear and non-tacky. The only issue I had with this one was how the color gathered in lip lines noticeably. This shade wore well for four hours and was hydrating over time. MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande 2 (LE, $15.00) is more shimmery, lighter (90% similar). MAC Sweet Tooth (LE, $20.00) is lighter (80% similar). Anastasia Raisin (-, $16.00) is darker (80% similar). MAC Lots of Laughs (P, $10.00) is lighter (80% similar). Anastasia Vintage (-, $16.00) is lighter, warmer (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

No. 675 is a muted, medium-dark red with warm, brown undertones and a cream finish. It had nearly opaque color coverage that applied very smoothly and evenly, and the color seemed to stay out of my lip lines, too. The consistency had a smooth, almost gel-cream feel and was comfortable to wear. On me, it wore for just over five hours and was hydrating. Anastasia Bordeaux (-, $16.00) is lighter, brighter (95% similar). Anastasia Vamp (-, $16.00) is cooler (90% similar). Anastasia Fudge (-, $16.00) is more muted, warmer (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Chez Claude is a muted, medium-dark reddish plum with subtle, warm undertones and very light, fine pearl. It had good color payoff, where just a hint of my lip freckle still came through, which went on evenly and smoothly. I loved how smooth and cream-like it felt on the lips, but it had enough plushness that it didn’t pull into lip lines or appear streaky. It wore well for five hours on me and was moisturizing over time. NARS Plato's (LE, $26.00) is cooler (90% similar). MAC Preserving Passion (P, $24.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). MAC Peer Pressure (LE, $20.00) is lighter, brighter (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Orchid Fatale (P, $52.00) is darker, brighter (85% similar). MAC Spare Me (LE, $20.00) is lighter, cooler (85% similar). Chanel Distinction (21) (P, $34.00) is lighter, brighter (85% similar). Maybelline Caviar Couture (050) (P, $8.99) is lighter, brighter (80% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Exposed (P, $52.00) is lighter, brighter (80% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Unspeakable is a muted, medium-dark red-plum with warm undertones and a creamy finish. It had nearly opaque color payoff that went on evenly and smoothly. The consistency had the plushness of a gloss with the creaminess of a satin lipstick, so it didn’t feel heavy or tacky, but it still had noticeable shine. This shade wore well for five hours on me, and it was moisturizing as well. NARS Plato's (LE, $26.00) is lighter, warmer (90% similar). Anastasia Berry (-, $16.00) is warmer (95% similar). Urban Decay Apocalypse (P, $26.00) is warmer (85% similar). MAC Modern Drama (LE, $20.00) is warmer (85% similar). NARS Provoke (LE, $28.00) is more shimmery, lighter (85% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Plato’s is a muted, dark plum with subtle, cool undertones and a cream finish. The pigmentation was mostly opaque, while the gloss itself spread easily across the lips and left an even layer of color. This shade seemed a little more prone to gathering in my lip lines compared to some of the others, though it wasn’t noticeable from a normal viewing distance (it’s even quite subtle in the closeup photo). On me, it lasted for five hours and was lightly hydrating. Tarte WCW (P, $20.00) is lighter (95% similar). NARS Unspeakable (P, $26.00) is darker, cooler (90% similar). MAC Perpetual Holiday (P, $24.00) is cooler (95% similar). Anastasia Berry (-, $16.00) is more muted (95% similar). Colour Pop Sookie (LE) is cooler (90% similar). Colour Pop Furry (LE) is more shimmery, darker (90% similar). Tom Ford Beauty Orchid Fatale (P, $52.00) is brighter, warmer (90% similar). NARS Chez Claude (LE, $26.00) is warmer (90% similar). MAC Spare Me (LE, $20.00) is lighter (90% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Toy is a deep, purpled burgundy with subtle, warm undertones and a smattering of fine pearl. It had semi-opaque pigmentation, which was even for the most part with minor color pulling into lip lines (this was a case where the color was so dark that it was hard to tell from afar). The consistency was lightweight, smooth, a little gel-like and comfortable to wear over the five hours it lasted for. The formula felt hydrating to me while worn. Anastasia Potion (-, $16.00) is cooler (95% similar). MAC Dark as Night (P, $19.50) is darker, warmer (90% similar). MAC With Gusto (LE, $20.00) is lighter (95% similar). See comparison swatches / view dupes side-by-side.

Formula Overview

NARS Velvet Lip Glide ($26.00 for 0.20 fl. oz.) is supposed to be a hybrid between lipstick and lipgloss that is hydrating, richly pigmented, and comfortable to wear. They have stronger color payoff, a non-tacky consistency, and a smoothness to their consistency that is a lot like a good lipstick, while they have a plusher, thicker texture that gives lips a plumper, fuller look along with a glossy sheen that is more like a gloss. Some of the lighter shades settled into lip lines, but it varied from shade to shade. The wear varied between three and five hours for me, which is more like a gloss than a lipstick. They develop a more “velvety” finish, which is code for “less shine” after two to three hours, and at that point, they tend to look more like a natural finish lipstick than a gloss. I would classify the formula more as a pigmented gloss than a glossy lipstick, if I had to put it firmly in one box. The formula has a vanilla scent but had no discernible taste to me.

NARS Mini Velvet Lip Glide Coffret (Holiday 2016) Mind Game
Mind Game
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Also In This Review

B

Bound

Permanent
Read Review
A

No. 675

Limited Edition
Read Review
A

Chez Claude

Limited Edition
Read Review
A-

Plato's

Limited Edition
Read Review
B+

Toy

Permanent
Read Review

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