Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

NYX Violet Ray Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Violet Ray Lipstick

NYX Violet Ray Round Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deep raspberry red with fuchsia sheen.  it’s semi-opaque and goes on a touch streaky, but it’s a great affordable option for a sultry lip this season.  It wears about three to four hours, but it’s not drying at all.  I like how there is some glossiness in the finish, which helps to make it look smoother.  This is a versatile shade that works for the vampier fall lip but also as more festive holiday lip color.

Is this the right berry 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.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Friday, October 8th, 2010


Lipstick Comparisons: Under $12

The first part of the Lipstick Comparisons series features lipstick formulas available for less than $12.  (These are all actually less than $8, I believe!)

One of the easily detectable and distinguishing ways that more affordable lipsticks vary from higher end lipsticks is in the scent.  I have yet to find a lipstick in this price range that doesn’t tend to have a synthetic scent, and if not syrupy sweet or floral, often a nauseating mix of plastic and play-doh.  Sometimes they can also have an off-taste, too.  Both scent/taste are highly personal, though, and both dependent on your sensitivity.

Wear time can sometimes differ (noted below), but while I rarely find lipsticks that wear well for six or more hours, there are some that do wear for the average time for me (four hours is my average).

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick (~$8.00)

  • PROS: Decent shade range, wearable shades that tend to be more universally flattering (mass appeal), smooth, opaque, wears for 3-4 hours, color-coded packaging
  • NEUTRAL: Mostly “wearable” colors — nothing really out of the box, synthetic/generic sweet scent on some while others have a more plastic scent
  • CONS: Some shades tend to cling, which make them less suitable for those with drier lips
  • MY REC: The scent can be pretty bothersome for some, but it’ll depend on how adverse you are to certain smells. For a drugstore lipstick, they might feel a little pricey, so it may be prudent to wait for a sale. It doesn’t dry my lips out, but it’s not at all moisturizing, so those with dry lips should take note.

Milani Color Perfect Lipstick ($4.99)

  • PROS: Wide range of shades, creamy, moisturizing, opaque
  • NEUTRAL: Both neutral and brighter shades, synthetic/waxy scent
  • CONS: Frost finish shades are drier and less opaque, dated packaging
  • MY REC: The creamier shades are the best of the line; they’re incredibly pigmented and apply really well. The frostier shades tend to emphasize any dryness on lips.

NYX Round Lipstick ($4.00)

  • PROS: Ridiculous amount of shades, variety in finishes, opaque, creamy, affordable
  • NEUTRAL: Scent-free but strong plastic scent on some
  • CONS: Wears off after 2-3 hours, darker shades bleed
  • MY REC: When it comes to trying out shades, NYX is definitely a go-to brand. The creamy, smooth texture and the huge shade range helps it stand out amongst other budget-friendly options. NYX also occasionally has crazy bundled packages–I remember buying 30 or 40 lipsticks for around $50 one time.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick (~$5.00)

  • PROS: Good shade range, creamy, doesn’t dry lips out, affordable
  • NEUTRAL: Synthetic fruity scent
  • CONS: Wears off within 1-2 hours requiring frequent reapplication
  • MY REC: It’s a decent option if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind reapplication.

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.

(And yes, I recognize that the series photo does not include any of these brands! The image represents the series, not individual posts.)

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

NYX Hero Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Hero Lipstick

NYX Hero Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deepened neutral-cool blue-based red with a creamy, glossy finish and opaque color.  My NYX Round Lipsticks seem to be scent-free overall, but I do have a few that were brand new and smelled a little on the plastic side, while a couple had more of a general perfume-y feel.  I’m not entirely sure why there is so much variation across the board!   I love the texture and feel of their Round Lipsticks, though; incredibly creamy and the darker shades are certainly quite pigmented.  They do have a fair amount of slip, so they may bleed if you’re prone to to that, and I don’t find they last more than two to three hours, with darker shades on the three hour side and some leaving behind a soft stain.

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.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

NYX Nude on Nude Palette
NYX Nude on Nude Palette

Cheap, Tawdry Nudes

For a mere $11, you can grab NYX’s Nude on Nude Palette, which contains nine neutral eyeshadows, plus two complementing lip colors. It contains these eyeshadows: pale nude beige (semi-matte finish), semi-sheer mushroom taupe with warm undertones (light shimmer), cool-toned dark brown (satin finish), peachy copper (frosty/metallic sheen), muted copper (frosty), semi-sheer dark gray brown (light shimmer), brightened copper (frosty), browned gold (frosty), and warmed medium-dark chocolate brown (light shimmer). It also contains a reddish rose with lots of shimmer and sheer, medium bubblegum pink for lip colors.

Overall, the eyeshadow quality is pretty good; some shades kick-up a noticeable amount of powder, so you may experience some fall out when using the shades. Nearly all of the shades were nicely pigmented and had a soft, smooth texture.  I also like the packaging (except the pull out drawer–feels cheap) — on the outside, it looks sleek and classy.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: On a budget and want some neutrals? NYX makes it easy to do so without feeling guilty.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Monday, July 5th, 2010

NYX I Dream of St. Lucia Eyeshadow Palette

Budget Friendly Beauty:  NYX I Dream of St. Lucia Palette

NYX I Dream of St. Lucia Eyeshadow Palette ($8.75 for 0.28 oz.) is a tropical-themed palette with all of the fun, bright shades of the beach. It has a medium grassy green with a semi-matte finish, medium sky blue with a satiny feel, sunny, paled yellow with a frost finish, pop of bubblegum pink with blue undertones and a satin finish, and bright orange with a satin finish.

I love NYX as a brand that provides higher quality products at a very budget-friendly cost. I find NYX eyeshadows to be good but not great–they tend to be a little powdery and fade a bit on the lid. The powderiness can lead to a modest bit of fall out, though a small price to pay to keep within your budget! What’s great about this palette in particular is that I don’t have shades quite like these in some of my higher end brands, so it’s a nice way to complement and supplement my high-end collection, too.

All five shades were pigmented, though the green and blue shades easily faded if you overblended. The yellow and the orange had the best pigmentation, both vibrant with little product, and the yellow shade didn’t fade or sheer out at all (owes to the frost finish, I’d say).

Overall, it’s an excellent palette with good eyeshadows at an even better price. One thing I’d like to see is a reference guide as to what shades the palette actually contains – I couldn’t track down a list of what each was called. I only know that the palette contains some of the original, best selling NYX eyeshadows, but I’d like to know exactly which ones — NYX has so many, and it’s difficult to tell online!

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re on a strict budget or you don’t want to shell  out $15-20 per eyeshadow to get your bright eyeshadow fix, NYX has you covered with their I Dream of St. Lucia palette.  Five brights for under $10–quite the steal.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils
NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils: Pure Gold, Electric Blue, Purple Velvet, Rocky Mountain Green

New Jumbo Eye Pencil Shades for Summer

Just in time for summer, NYX has added four new perfect-for-the-season shades of their Jumbo Eye Pencils ($4.00 for 0.18 oz.). These are oversized eyeliners that can be used as an eyeshadow, eyeshadow base, or eyeliner.

  • Pure Gold is a coppered gold. It has a frost finish, and it’s not exactly “pure gold,” since it looks rather coppery. It’s a beautiful color nonetheless!
  • Electric Blue is a brightened sky blue with silver shimmer and a satin-frost finish.
  • Purple Velvet is a royal purple with a violet shimmer-sheen.
  • Rocky Mountain Green is a lightened emerald green with a silver pearl finish.

I like the Jumbo Eye Pencils as eyeshadow bases the most, because their jumbo-sized points are easier to use in applying it all over the eye. Similarly, the pencil is often a bit unwieldy when trying to use it as an eyeliner, just because it is so much bigger and the point that much less precise for lining. I think it would be cool if these were double-sided with the same color on both, but one side is a normal-sized pencil, while the other is the jumbo-size! Best of both worlds, yeah?

I’m able to wear the Jumbo Eye Pencils alone without any creasing, but I think oilier eyelids will experience at least some, minimal creasing. I think they work really well to layer under eyeshadows, especially to give them more pop.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: These make for great eyeshadow bases, and if you’re in the market for some colored eyeshadow bases for your eyeshadow stash, hard to go wrong with one of these!

AVAILABILITY: NYX

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →