Monday, March 8th, 2010


Lancome Color Design Matte Lipstick: Bronze Show, Corset
Lucky Kiss, Pink Preview

Lancome Mix & Matte Collection: Matte Lipsticks

This month, Lancome launches Mix & Matte, a collection of eight matte Lancome Color Design Matte Lipstick ($22 each, available in Bronze Show, Corset, Lucky Kiss, Pink Preview, Plum Show, Posh Pink, Stylista, and Red Haute) and eight Color Design Eye Shadow Matte ($16.50, available in Chic, Daylight, Fashion Label, It List, Successorize, Sultry Mauve, Vintage, and Wear It Well). This collection is available exclusively at Macy’s and Lancome’s website.  Today, I’m reviewing the more interesting part of the launch–the lipsticks.

There’s only one word to sum up how I felt about Lancome’s new matte lipsticks:  SURPRISED BEYOND BELIEF.

Pleasantly, fabulously surprised! Matte lipsticks have a reputation for being chalky, drying, and difficult to work with. Lancome has reinvented the feel and touch and play of a matte lipstick and modernized it in a way that works. I would describe the finish of these new lipsticks as more of a semi-matte or demi-matte. In natural light, they look like a more traditional matte lipstick, but in the sunlight, they have a subtle sheen.

However, regardless of how they look, they feel nothing like matte lipsticks. Nothing. At. All. (That’s where the pleasantly surprised bit comes in!)  Like it was love at first swipe.  My mouth formed an “O” as soon as I applied Bronze Show.  I was like, “What?  No way.”

These matte lipsticks are soft, creamy, and glide on smoothly. There’s no pulling or draggint to get even, opaque coverage. Every single shade in the matte lipstick line-up is consistent in its finish, feel, texture, and pigmentation. These are lightly moisturizing and have a bit of slip, which is so out-of-the-realm of matte lipsticks in my world. Lancome attributes this to “soft waxes and emollients” for “modern glide and slip” as well as a “light-diffusing gel” as a mattifying agent (as opposed to a dull powder).

Though there is some slip, I wouldn’t describe these as slippery. They’re creamy without being all over the place. The color clings to lips well so wear-time is improved (I found myself getting around five hours with these) and fades in a way that doesn’t leave a ring of color on the outskirts of your lips.

  • Bronze Show is an opaque, orange-toned brown.
  • Corset is a richly pigmented, creamy coral-pink.
  • Lucky Kiss is a smooth, softened plummed-down pink.
  • Pink Preview is a creamy, blue-based light pink.

To nitpick, I don’t love the packaging of the Color Design Lipsticks. They’re a glimmering, almost metal-looking plastic, but you can only stand them label-side down. Even though the tops of most Color Design lipsticks has a colored top (to “match” the shade itself), I prefer names (because I remember those more!). The Matte lipsticks have a clear top, though, which makes it a little more annoying when you’re trying to find the shade you want. But that’s really the only part that I didn’t like about these. The price is right, and I’m glad these aren’t Absolu Rouges (they’d be $30 then!).

Kudos, Lancome! This is probably one of the best Lancome products I’ve tried–to date–and an incredibly well-done take on the matte lipstick.

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’ve wanted to get down with matte lipsticks, but you couldn’t get down with the drying texture, give Lancome’s latest take on the matte lipstick a try.

Availability: Macy’s, lancome-usa.com

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Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Shiseido PK 224 Lipstick
Shiseido Sugar Babe PK 224 Lipstick

The Spring Season: Shiseido PK 224 “Sugar Babe” Lipstick

Shiseido PK224 Perfect Rouge Glowing Matte Lip Color ($25.00) is a softened pink with a yellow undertone. It has a very glossy look to it in the light–completely the opposite of matte, despite the product name–and is incredibly creamy. In more natural/darker lighting, it has a semi-matte appearance. It’s moisturizing and fairly long-wearing, too–I get about three to four hours of wear in this particular shade.

Is this the right pink lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Laura Mercier Crystal Pink Lip Shine

Laura Mercier Polished Collection: Crystal Pink Lip Shine

Laura Mercier Crystal Pink Lip Shine ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is designed to be a lightweight “polish” with a glossy finish. It’s limited edition and part of Laura Mercier’s Polished Collection. It’s very much like lipgloss in a pot, to be honest. The texture and feel reminded me a lot of MAC’s Tendertones, actually.

On my lips, it goes on like a slightly bronzed pink shimmer. It gives some color, but it still acts much like a gloss–more shimmer than color–which is fine. It’s very moisturizing, feels nice on lips, and looks pretty for a quick lip. It doesn’t have much staying power (fades in about two hours or so), but I like it as a fancier lip balm, actually. It’s not something I’d reach for if I did heavier eye makeup or anything, but if I was just running out to errands, I’d consider wearing this to give my lips a little more oomph.

Pricing is fair, I’d say, relative to Laura Mercier’s price point. You get a good amount of product for your money, too.

I’m just not a fan of the packaging, because I personally find potted lip products to require lip brushes in order to remain hygienic. As germaphobic as I can be, I still tend to just make sure I wash my hands really well before slicking this on, because I really am too lazy to bother digging out a lip brush just to apply a product like this. Wish it came in tube form!

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: 3/5

Recommendation: If you love smooth, non-sticky gloss in a pot, check out Laura Mercier’s new Lip Shine!

Availability: Nordstrom

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Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Korres Makeup Removing Wipes

Makeup Remover Wipes: Let’s Talk Korres

Korres Pomegranate Cleansing & Make Up Removing Wipes ($12.00 for 25 wipes) are a rosy-floral scented makeup wipe that will remove makeup decently but doesn’t get off every trace of it.

These wipes don’t get the job done when it comes to long-wearing, water-resistant, or otherwise “stubborn” makeup like mascara and eyeliner. I also found that my pack seemed a little dry, so I put a little water in it and turned it upside down (my trick for keeping wipes moist!). The best part about the Korres’ wipes is that it’s a non-greasy, non-oily makeup remover, so it won’t leave you feeling greasy nor do you need to rinse after you use one.

I actually like these more for a post-workout wipe down than removing my makeup (just because I do often wear more long-wearing products). They’re extremely refreshing, and since they’re not at all oily, it takes care of your skin without adding anything to it. Really gives me a clean feeling without the tightness.

Price-wise, the Korres’ wipes work out to be just under $0.50 each, so they’re a little pricier than I’d like. At the end of the day, though, say you used this nearly once per day, it works out to about $12 a month as a cost–not necessarily make-or-break, you know? Less than a MAC Lipglass! I wish they’d have a better closure device on the Korres’ wipes, but it’s just a peel-back sticker/closure that you press close (which just isn’t as secure as something with a “click”).

My favorite wipes for makeup removing are MAC Wipes (available for $26 for 100, works out to be $0.26 each), because they’re effective without being drying. However, they’re not designed to be used around the eyes (no, seriously), and I know that I can’t use them for eye makeup removal, because they’ll burn/sting around the eyes.  Korres’ wipes don’t burn around the eyes, so that is a huge difference between the two for me.

MAC Wipes, though, are one of my beauty blogging staples (along with an awesome camera!), because it’s so easy to remove even stubborn eyeliner that’s been stuck on your arm for hours.  I tried Korres for this task, but it just couldn’t get everything off as cleanly or smoothly as MAC Wipes.

Korres’ Wipes are decent, but they’re not superb.  They work well if you wear more minimal makeup or stick with less long-wearing makeup.  One sheet will remove the majority of my tinted moisturizer.  They smell lovely, too, with that rose-ish scent (I know, it’s supposed to smell like pomegranate, but I get a lot of floral when I sniff it!) and didn’t irritate my skin (always a plus!).

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

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you need something to help refresh you after a workout at the gym or you only wear a little makeup, these are nice to have in your arsenal.

Availability: Beauty.com, Korres, Nordstrom

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

NARS D Gorgeous Eyeshadow

NARS Spring 2010: D. Gorgeous Eyeshadow

NARS D. Gorgeous Eyeshadow ($23.00 for 0.07 oz.) is a new single eyeshadow from NARS’ Spring Collection. It’s a light lilac with a matte finish, and it really looks absolutely stunning in its pan–it’s this lovely pale color against matte black packaging, but the product doesn’t come through on quality.

D. Gorgeous is a chalky matte with very sheer, light color. It’s an almost gray-lilac when swatched, but it has this dusty, chalky look to it that’s not very flattering. It’s also incredible sheer and powdery–the minute I dipped my brush in it, it was like, poof! The only good thing I can say about the texture is at least it isn’t a hard-to-swatch matte that just looks like it drags. D. Gorgeous is smooth and soft to the touch, it’s just much chalkier than other NARS’ eyeshadows.

By the way, NARS also raised the price on their single eyeshadows (from $22 to $23). You’re always better off purchasing a NARS eyeshadow duo over a single, because the price per ounce in singles makes it more expensive than MAC, Smashbox, and Make Up For Ever.

It’s really too bad that this went so powdery on me, because it seemed like such a nice shade for spring. It’s not the worst matte I’ve tried, but with the dustiness and lack of pigmentation, it’s not the best, either. Considering its NARS, I expect pigmentation to never be a problem!

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

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  Pass and opt for an eyeshadow duo!

Availability: Blue Mercury

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Friday, March 5th, 2010

Maybelline Legendary Lilac Eyeshadow Quad

Spring Pastels with Maybelline are a Little Too Light

Maybelline Eye Studio Legendary Lilac Eyeshadow Quad ($9.99) includes an icy silver with very faint, icy lilac shimmer; a lilac-lavender with gold shimmer; a blue-based blue-purple with subtle gold shimmer; and an eggplant purple with red undertones. This is probably my least favorite Eye Studio Eyesahdow Quad I’ve tested–it’s very faint overall. The pigmentation just isn’t there in three of the four shades (all but the eggplant-y one). I like the concept of four different purple shades, but I must say the blue-based purple might have been nicer with another, stronger medium purple with red undertones.

The eyeshadows themselves are soft and smooth, they just lack pigmentation. I’ve been happier with some of the other variations in this product type, like Good with Gold. This is definitely a skip variation to me — if the colors had more pay off, it could be a nice a way to try out purple eyeshadow, but since they’re already so soft, it’s hard to build up the intensity with these.

More Maybelline Eye Studio Eyeshadow Quad Reviews…

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

  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: Skip this one — it’s just too faint — unless you love really soft, subtle color!

Availability: Target

See swatches! Continue reading →