Friday, August 14th, 2009


Aquarouge Liquid Lipstick

Kevyn Aucoin: Aquarouge Liquid Lipstick

Kevyn Aucoin The Liquid Lipstick ($27.00) is an intense, semi-opaque lipgloss that packs a lot of color and gives a creamy, glossy look on lips. Aquarouge was a nice, browned-down red shade that held up well on lips. It was creamy, and it wore for hours with no issues or funny fading. Sephora is showing only five shades available, and I’d definitely consider trying the others in the future.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: For glossy lip color that delivers real color to lips, consider the Liquid Lipstick. It’s creamy, easy to use, and it lasts for hours (assuming you’re not kissing, drinking often, eating, etc.!). It’s not the best bang for your buck at only 0.12 oz. of gloss for $27, though.

Availability: Sephora, KevynAucoinDirect.com

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Friday, August 14th, 2009


Jupitesse Liquid Patent Lip

Kevyn Aucoin: The Liquid Patent Lip

Kevyn Aucoin The Liquid Patent Lip ($27.00) is a liquid lip color designed to give you lips that look like glossy, patent leather. It comes in a twist-up container with a white bristled brush applicator. I’ve never been a huge fan of this gloss/color delivery system, just because so much product gets stuck in the brush, and if you don’t wash the brush (which I get concerned over any water/soap getting back into the product), it can get pretty gross. I usually take a makeup remover wipe and then I brush this back and forth to remove the majority of the product without contaminating the product itself. From my HauteLook order, I purchased three shades:

  • Jupitesse is a dark purple-black with fine multicolored shimmer running through it. This one is particularly difficult to apply evenly and opaquely on lips. I had the most trouble with this shade, and I would not recommend it.
  • Infernelle is a semi-opaque deep red that went on much better than Jupitesse. It was smooth, left a lovely glossy finish, and gave my lips plenty of color without being completely opaque. A bonus was Infernelle turned out to be a very wearable red, because it wasn’t bright or overly bold.
  • Nyalia is a pretty pink with just a little bit of coral to it and nearly no shimmer. I felt this one had the best application–look and feel–compared to the other two I tried. It was smooth, opaque, and just glossy enough (though I wouldn’t say it had a patent lip look). This shade was very wearable and perfect for summer.

I think Kevyn Aucoin may have discontinued the Liquid Patent Lip colors, though they’re still available via the brand’s website. I don’t love these, just because I’m not a fan of this type of gloss applicator. Of the three I tried, Nyalia had the best overall application and look, but I feel these may be a bit too hit or miss, since Jupitesse left much to be desired, and Infernelle needed to be smoothed out with my lips since the applicator left streaks.

  • Product: 6/10
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 6/10
  • Packaging: 5/10

Recommendation: If you like ultra glossy lip color that goes on semi-opaque, Kevyn Aucoin’s Liquid Patent Lip might be for you. If you like brush-type glosses like these, you may find this more to your liking than I did. Personally, I don’t recommend these products unless you’ve gotten a chance to play with them in-store.

Availability: KevynAucoinDirect.com

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Friday, August 14th, 2009


Poppia

Kevyn Aucoin: The Expect Lip Tint Lipstick

Kevyn Aucoin’s The Expert Lip Tint ($23.00) is a bit of a misleading product name, considering it’s an opaque, lightly frosted/full sheen lipstick. These lipsticks wear extremely well (four hours or longer), and they’re not at all drying. They’re creamy, richly pigmented, and go on smoothly. Sephora currently stocks eleven different shade variations, and I picked up two from when the brand was on sale at HauteLook (so everything was 50% off).

  • Poppia is an orange-based red with medium frostiness and good color pay off. It’s a bold red, and the orange-base makes it pop a lot.
  • Talula is an opaque, poppy-orange shade with less frost in its finish as Poppia, but it has a nice sheen to it.

The packaging is elegant and fun without being too impractical. I love the mix of black and red and soft shimmery look all of the products have. I think if I were to try any other shades, I’d be most interested in checking out Bloodroses, Faith, Falon, and ThelmaDora. Any of these shades catch your eye?

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you love yourself some pigmented lipsticks that feel creamy and wear well throughout the day, Kevyn Aucoin’s The Expert Lip Tints are one way to go.

Availability: Sephora.com

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Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Everyday Makeup:  Neutral, Natural Eyes with Too Faced

Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection ($34.00) is a new eyeshadow palette from Too Faced’s Naturally Naughty Collection for the fall season.

The palette contains nine different shades of eyeshadow crafted by Too Faced’s Creative Director, Jerrod Blandino, for easy, effortless looks that work for everyone. It contains: Heaven, a matte cream; Velvet Revolver, a matte, cool-toned taupe; Sexspresso, a matte dark brown; Silk Teddy, a shimmery pink-beige; Push-Up, a shimmery neutral medium brown; Erotica, a lightly shimmered dark charcoal taupe; Nude Beach, a glittery pink champagne; Honey Pot, a shimmery softly muted gold; and Cocoa Puff, a warm-toned chocolate brown with gold shimmer. Each of the three larger eyeshadows are 0.07 oz., while the six smaller shadows are 0.03 oz.

Included with the palette are three how-to cards, detailing the three looks — Day, Classic, and Fashion. For those more eyeshadow savvy, there are definitely many more than three possible looks to create from this palette of nine. I like that the palette contains a mix of mattes, shimmers, and high shimmer/glitters, because it allows you to maximize your looks by adding different dimensions and layers of textures. Also included is a small, pull-out drawer with a double-sided brush (sponge-tip applicator on one side, angled brush on the other side)–not a highlight or a brush I’d personally use unless it was an emergency.

All of the eyeshadows swatched smoothly and went on with a good amount of pigmentation, including the matte shades, which were also smooth and buttery–not chalky at all. I didn’t see any of these colors “drag.” My favorite shades were Honey Pot and Cocoa Puff. Cocoa Puff is especially stunning with the mix of gold shimmer layered into the chocolate brown. While Nude Beach is pretty, it is extremely frosty/glittery, so it has to be worn with a bit more care, particularly for those with deeper skin tones.

The packaging was cute, but I could have done without the pull-out drawer that only contained the brush (which I didn’t like or find particularly useful). By omitting the drawer, the palette would be slimmer and more streamlined. If you’re bothered by cardboard/paper packaging, this palette might not be for you, as well. I like the earth-friendly-ness of paper packaging (at least, compared to plastic), so it wasn’t an issue for me. I thought the packaging was cute, functional, and worked well overall.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a go-to neutral eye palette, consider Too Faced’s Natural Eye. Nine great shades of neutral tone eyeshadows that all work well and go on smoothly (hey, it’s hard to find a palette with *all* winning shades!). If you prefer even softer neutrals or only like matte or semi-matte shades, this isn’t a good match for you. For $34, this product is well-worth a peek.

Availability: Sephora

What do you think of Too Faced’s new Natural Eye palette?

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Thursday, August 13th, 2009

It’s a Toner, Not a Lotion: Clarins’ Super Restorative Wake-Up Lotion

Clarins Super Restorative Wake-Up Lotion ($40.00 for 4.2 oz.) is indeed a toner. I must admit that I had to read the product’s tip sheet before realizing it was a toner and not a moisturizer. (Hey, I associate the term “lotion” with moisturizer, what can I say?) I will even go so far as to admit that I used this a few times as a lotion, but I am happy to report it did not cause any ill effects (e.g. breakouts). Funny enough, my skin didn’t feel like it even missed a moisturizer!

Which leads me to tell you that this is an excellent, non-drying, non-irritating toner that works well to re-energize the skin with the slight cooling nature of the product. The toner is a gel-based toner, rather than a liquid toner. Clarins recommends applying it with a cotton ball with “light, tapping movements,” and I’d say that’s a fair technique. You can substitute cotton balls with cotton pads or sheets as well.

Whenever I’m reviewing a product, I like to see what a company says about their products and what ingredients they tout as amazing, just because it helps keep me aware of what the product is supposed to do. Clarins lists the primary ingredients in the product as well as what they’re designed to do–something I like. Perhaps not always entirely believable, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

  • Pueraria Lobata – helps boost cell activity and collagen production, while soothing the skin.
  • Green coffee extract – rich in caffeine, energizes skin, helping it look more vital and radiant.
  • Ginseng root – reinforces energizing action of caffeine, adds vitality.
  • Oat Sugars, extracted from the plant’s seeds, work as a natural skin-tightening agent, and help smooth appearance of imperfections on skin’s surface.
  • Hibiscus extract – remove excess dry skin cells and brightens skin.
  • Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus) – helps eliminates toxins and reduce puffiness.

When applied, the product does feel a bit sticky, but it absorbs/fades within a few minutes, so it’s not a major concern for me, but it is a mild annoyance. My skin does feel clean and refreshed after using this product, and this toner is more about tapping it on than wiping away anything. I think this product is suitable for those with sensitive skin, but those with extremely sensitive skin may not find this suitable. It’s lightweight, goes on easily, and doesn’t leave skin feeling dry or tight.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: Easy to use and effective are two great ways to describe Clarin’s Wake-Up Lotion (aka Toner!). It doesn’t strip skin of its natural oils or leave behind tightness (often confused with “clean”), which is something I consider a must-have in any toning or skincare product. The value is so-so, with $40 being a steep investment for a toner, but the bottle is large enough to give you approximately two months’ of use, perhaps more. It’s a good, solid toner, and Clarins’ fans will enjoy it.

Availability: Clarins, Nordstrom.com, Sephora.com

Anyone else try out this Clarins’ toner? Thoughts?

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Gel Cleansing with Darphin

Darphin Cleansing Foam Gel with Water Lily ($38.00 for 4.2 oz.) is a soft, gentle gel-based cleanser with an incredibly light floral scent. It looks nearly colorless when squeezed out of the tube and applied to face. It’s easy to use–just dampen face with a bit of water, then massage the cleanser all of your face to cleanse. It is a water-based cleanser designed to work even on the most sensitive skin without adding redness.

I’ve actually stuck with this cleanser for a few weeks now, because I find it so effective at cleansing, but also because it doesn’t irritate my skin or cause any breakouts. It seems to lift and remove the majority of makeup and dirt build-up from my day without much fuss, and my skin never feels tight or stripped after using. Even when I follow-up with my toner, very little residue is left behind–mostly around my hairline, which is where I always miss cleansing (I fear getting it in my hair) anyway.

Although it is a bit pricey, it doesn’t hold decent value, as a tube should last you between two and three months. (I’m into my second month now, and I haven’t even used close to half — maybe a third or so.) I imagine if you use this twice daily you should see about two months’ worth out of each tube. This cleanser is also easy to travel with, because you can squeeze what you need into a travel bottle, too.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you have sensitive or easily irritated skin, consider Darphin’s new gel cleanser. Soft, mild, and gentle are all perfect descriptors of this daily cleansing product.

Availability: Beauty.com, Darphin.com

Have you tried Darphin’s latest Cleansing Foam Gel? Yay or nay?