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.)

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Rimmel Dizzy Lipstick
Rimmel Dizzy Lipstick

Bright-but-Wearable Pink Lips by Rimmel

Rimmel Dizzy Lasting Finish Lipstick ($5.19 for 0.14 oz.) is a beautiful shade of brightened medium pink with a soft blue undertone. It has a subtle frosted sheen, but it doesn’t feel or lean too frosty to me. The color coverage is excellent; it delivers opaque color and nearly covers my lip freckle. Lasting Lipstick has a creamy feel when applied, and while I wouldn’t describe it as moisturizing, it doesn’t dry out my lips either. It has a synthetic, fruity scent that’s a bit sweet but tolerable and doesn’t linger once applied.

From the get-go, this lipstick has all the makings of a great lipstick. My issue with this lipstick has to do with the claims it’s making about how long it wears. Rimmel says that it “locks colour to lips for up to 8 hours of wear.” Try one, maybe two. I typically get four hours of wear out of the average lipstick, but with Rimmel, I find the color has faded substantially by hour two. We don’t even get close to eight.

It’s really disappointing, because I can’t give this product high marks when it falls so short of the claims it makes. I evaluate products based on what they’re supposed to do, not what I want to do or what’s “good enough.” I recognize that this is a remarkably pigmented, smooth, creamy lipstick formula with an affordable price tag, but it’s not enough: it does not do what it’s supposed to do.

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

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re on a budget and looking for more pigmented lipstick, Rimmel’s Lasting Finish seems to have some good options, as long as you don’t mind reapplying every couple hours.  I think this is one of the better budget-friendly lipsticks I’ve tried, but it doesn’t last long on lips at all.

AVAILABILITY: ULTA

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Rimmel Burgundy Lustre (540) Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Rimmel Burgundy Lustre (540) Lipstick

Rimmel Burgundy Lustre (540) Lipstick ($5.99 for 0.14 oz.) is a semi-opaque berry wine with soft raspberry shimmer.  It has a glossy finish and feels lightweight when worn.  It reminds me a bit of MAC’s Odyssey lipstick, though not as shimmery.  The Moisture Renew formula applied smoothly, but the scent reminded me of a synthetic floral that was caught between perfume-y and wax-y–not particularly appealing but doesn’t last beyond the tube.  Wear time is between two and three hours–just a little below average for me.  The color itself is beautiful, and I love that it’s almost opaque without being heavy.

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 →

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Rimmel Eyeful Eye Glistener

Glossy Eyes?  One Slippery Ride…

Rimmel Eyeful Eye Glistener ($7.29) are great in theory, terrible in practice. I don’t usually use the word “terrible” to describe beauty products, because I don’t come across too many that merit such a negative descriptor. These are glossy pencils to give lids “vibrant, yet transparent” colour, and Rimmel says you can use it as an eyeshadow or eyeliner.

  • Stand Out is a sheer, golden-shimmered light olive green.
  • Talk to Me is a soft medium sky blue with a silver sheen.
  • Girls Only! is a peach-shimmered pale petal pink.

May all of the beauty gods and goddesses be at your side should you dare to use these as an eyeshadow! These slip and slide and crease and migrate all over the place. It’s like a waterslide adventure where the produce is in my lashes, glitter is on my cheeks, and my eyelids look more like an oil spill than beautiful and luminous. It looks awesome for the first few minutes, so I think for a photoshoot, they could work, if you were going for a sheer, glossy lid look. If you’re actually planning to wear these out of the house? Not so much!

Even applied over an eyeshadow base and “set” with eyeshadow, these still end up creasing within a couple of hours, and by setting with eyeshadow on top, you lose the glossy effect (so why bother?). They have a sticky texture, so eyeshadows adhere well to them, but I felt like it kind of gunked up my brush at the same time. I couldn’t find a way to make these creaseproof at all, unfortunately.

As an eyeliner, they definitely fair better, but I still found the liner migrated to the corners after two to three hours and some of the glitter fell under my eye. It’s a cool effect, and for a quick trip out, it could be worth trying. Girls Only! is a shade that could be used elsewhere on the face, like the cheeks, for a highlighter effect. It doesn’t seem to ever fully dry, so while you can get glistening cheeks, be wary of touching them. I’m not sold on using it elsewhere, to be honest, because it slips around so easily.

I didn’t get great pigmentation out of the three shades I tried–they were definitely on the sheer side–but according to Rimmel they’re supposed to be “vibrant, yet transparent,” which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

No, I’ll just stick with clear lipgloss if I want a glossy look–lasts about the same and sometimes a little longer.

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

  • Product: 7/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

RECOMMENDATION: For photoshoots or five-minute wear, maybe. As a novelty, maybe. I’d skip.

AVAILABILITY: CVS, Ulta, etc.

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Rimmel Glam'Eyes Mono Eyeshadow

Beauty on a Budget:  Rimmel Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadow

Rimmel Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadow ($3.99) come in several shades, but I recently tested out three shades:

  • Royal Violet (400) is a lightened lavender purple with subtle white shimmer.
  • Sapphire (450) is a nearly matte, periwinkle blue.
  • Posh Peacock (500) is a gorgeous shade of blue with an aqua-teal shimmer-sheen.

These are definitely some of the better textured eyeshadows from mass that I’ve encountered recently. They’re also quite pigmented without having to maneuver in certain ways, like packing it on, using sponge-tip applicators, etc. Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadows work best with brushes, as the eyeshadows are quite silky. I found a sponge-tip felt a little rough on the shadows–like it was causing the shadow to break apart a bit.

Posh Peacock (500) was definitely my favorite, because it was richly pigmented (more so than the other two I tried), and it was just stunning when swatched. It was vibrant and had depth when I’ve come not to expect that from a lot of eyeshadows on the market these days.  The other two shades were decently pigmented, but they were a little more on the powdery side, which is due in part to their more matte texture.

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: They’re not the best eyeshadows I’ve tried, but they’re very good. For $4, they’re a great entry point for those looking to play around with eyeshadows or even just brighter colors in general, without breaking the bank. And for those who get a little thrill out of brilliant drugstore scores, you may want to pick up one of their new Mono shades.

Availability: ULTA

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010


Noir (261), Sable (211), Purple Shock (270), Precious Gold (290), Emerald Sparkle (250)

Rimmel Exaggerate Waterproof Eye Liner ($5.79) is a waterproof, self-sharpening eyeliner that comes in in six different shades (Deep Ocean being the only one not shown).  Each pencil also has a smudging tip on the opposite end.

  • Emerald Sparkle is a greenish teal with silver sparkle.
  • Precious Gold is a true yellow gold with a frosty sheen.
  • Purple Shock is a darkened red-based purple.
  • Sable is a warmed-up coffee brown.
  • Noir is a dark black with subtle sheen.

The formula on these is pretty good, but they could live up their claims of being waterproof and budgeproof just a little bit more.  I found that they stayed pretty well, but on oilier areas (yes, I put eyeliner on my forehead–don’t you?  What, you don’t?  Say it isn’t so!), it doesn’t hold up 100%–more like 90%.  The other downside is that they seem to take a little longer to set/dry, so make sure not to blink too hard or else you might unintentionally smudge!  On the other hand, if you want to smudge it, you have plenty of time to do so.

None of the shades seemed to last on my water line for more than a half hour or so, but they stayed put on my lower lash line when I wore them just fine (for reference, my skin is normal-to-dry).  More watery or oilier lash lines may experience a little bit of migration or budging after several hours, but for a drugstore liner, these worked out well.

The liner itself feels very soft along the lash line, and it doesn’t tug at it either.  The tip is fine enough to get a thin line, but it might too thick to get a really tight line if that’s what you’re after.  I like that they’re self-sharpening (the sharpener is included on the pencil), because it’s something you can keep in your makeup bag and never have to worry about a sharpener.  They also are fairly waterproof–they barely budged after I ran my arm under a faucet.

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

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  If you’re looking for a good eyeliner to use that’s self-sharpening and soft, Rimmel Exaggerate might work for you.

Availability:  Local Drugstores (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, etc.)

See photos & swatches! Continue reading →