Monday, October 11th, 2010


Lipstick Comparisons: $26 to $34 (Part 2)

Though often lumped into high-end, this is a tier made up of designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL. Most higher-end/designer lipsticks are scented, usually with floral or fruit. Rose seems to be the most prevalent scent found in brands across the board; sometimes it’s subtle (Chanel), while other times it’s heavy (Dolce & Gabbana). I find designer range lipsticks to be non-drying to moisturizing with more opaque formulas overall. Packaging is often nicer, but it’s not always the case and is, inevitably, very personal.

Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, semi-opaque to opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours)
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free, somewhat moisturizing
  • CONS: May feather/bleed on slightly dry to dry lips
  • MY REC: I don’t find them super moisturizing, though they don’t dry lips out. Typically, I don’t find lipsticks bleed on me easily, but I did have some issues with this one feathering on me when I tested them originally (my lips were a bit drier than they normally are during those tests). Like Burberry lipsticks, there is a magnetic clasp that keeps the lid on.

Guerlain KissKiss Lipstick ($31.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, glossy finish, moisturizing, smooth, opaque, wears for an average of 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., fruit-scented
  • CONS: Basic shade range of pinks/reds
  • MY REC: After being spoiled by Guerlain’s Rouge G lipstick line, despite being $16 more, I feel like if I’m going to go Guerlain, I better go Rouge G. KissKiss is actually a nice formula on its own; it’s creamy, usually pigmented, and moisturizing enough for normal to dry lips.

Lancome L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick ($29.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, moisturizing, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), minimizes lip lines
  • NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz, rose-scented
  • CONS: Mostly cream/satin finishes
  • MY REC: I love how creamy it is without being slippery; it won’t slide all over the place, so it actually wears well and on the longer side. It is also a bit pricier than other Lancome lipsticks, which makes it it their top tier lipstick, but at least they give you 0.14 oz., while the average lipstick is 0.12 oz.

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick ($34.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, good shade range, moisturizing, wears an average of 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., mango-scented
  • CONS: Slippery, shades can be stark, heavy
  • MY REC: YSL has expanded their Rouge Volupte line quite a bit since I originally reviewed the range, and more importantly, I’ve expanded the range of lipsticks I’ve tested as well. I actually find these don’t wear as well as other lipsticks–they’re just too slippery. It’s moisturizing but not overly so, but it is also one of the heavier lipsticks I’ve worn. If your lips are prone to bleeding, you might experience that with the darker shades, since it has a lot of slip.

YSL Gloss Volupte Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, sheer (supposed to be), glossy finish
  • NEUTRAL: 0.07 oz., mango-scented
  • CONS: Not very moisturizing, requires frequent reapplication
  • MY REC: Apparently, I’ve never done an official review for this, but I distinctly remember being unimpressed by it. It’s a very sheer formula, which is fine, but I didn’t even see any color on my lips, which goes beyond sheer to me. My lips felt drier after wearing this, and I found myself having to reapply every hour or two. Also, did you note how little you get for $30?

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.

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick
YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick

The Sultry Season: YSL Forbidden Burgundy Rouge Volupte Lipstick

YSL Forbidden Burgundy (12) Rouge Volupte Lipstick ($34.00 for 0.12 oz.) is an opaque, reddened plum with a glossy shine.  All Rouge Voluptes have this lightly sweetened mango-y scent (I note it as just generally, but my nose might not be sophisticated enough…), but I don’t notice any taste.  It’s moisturizing and wears four to six hours on me.

When I first tried Rouge Voluptes, they were one of the first high-end lipsticks I had ever tried, and I thought they were the bee’s knees. Over time, I’ve discovered lipsticks that I prefer (formula-wise), but Forbidden Burgundy is still one of my favorite shades of Rouge Voluptes. The Rouge Volupte formula is incredibly creamy, and while some of the lighter shades are almost thick in their creaminess, their darker, almost glossy, shades like Forbidden Burgundy are not.

I do recommend a lip liner on deeper shades like this one if you’re prone to your lip color bleeding, because the creaminess of Rouge Voluptes make it more likely to bleed.

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 13th, 2010

YSL Rock & Baroque Fall 2010 Collection

Ombres Duolumieres ($41.00)

  • Purple Amethyst/Tawny Brown (29)
  • Midnight Blue/Solar Gold (31)

Ombres Solo ($30.00)

  • Aquamarine (13)
  • Satin Silver (14)

Rouge Volupte Perle ($34.00)

  • Beige Caresse (101)
  • Coral Sun (102)
  • Sparkling Pink (103)
  • Stellar Pink (104)
  • Insolent Beige (105)
  • Mesmerizing Purple (106)

Golden Gloss ($30.00)

  • Golden Satin (30)
  • Golden Toffee (31)

Blush Variation ($45.00)

  • Venetian Rose (19)

Touche Eclat ($40.00)

  • Radiant Silk (8)

Singulier Mascara ($30.00)

  • Indigo (5)

Manucure Duo

  • Beautiful Day (01)
  • Rive Gauche (02)
  • Belle de Nuit (03)

L’Eclat

  • Peche (01)

Availability: July/August 2010 — I spotted it online already at Nordstrom, though!

See more photos! Continue reading →

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

YSL #8 Rouge Volupte Lipstick
YSL Fetish Pink Rouge Volupte Lipstick

The Summer Season: YSL Fetish Pink Rouge Volupte Lipstick

YSL Fetish Pink Rouge Volupte Lipstick ($34.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a pretty-in-pink shade with no shimmer but a creamy feel and look.  It’s a cooler, slightly pastel and blue-based pink, so it definitely lends itself as more complementary on cooler skin tones, but with the right pairings, it can be lovely on warmer skin tones.  (I always like a gray or black smoky eye with light cheeks and a pale pink lip!)  It has a lightly sweetened mango scent, but I didn’t notice any taste.  Rouge Volupte is a very, very creamy formula that glides onto lips with ease, and it is very pigmented with just one stroke.

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

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, June 7th, 2010

YSL #26 Tender Peach Rouge Volupte Lipstick
YSL Tender Peach Rouge Volupte Lipstick

The Summer Season: YSL #26 Tender Peach Rouge Volupte Lipstick

Yves Saint Laurent #26 Tender Peach Rouge Volupte Lipstick ($34.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a luxuriously creamy darkened peach. It has virtually no shimmer, but it has a subtle glossy sheen. Rouge Voluptes are very, very creamy and feel slippery on lips, but they do manage to stay on for two to three hours. They’re incredibly moisturizing and opaque, and since they’re so creamy and thick (but don’t feel heavy), they often de-emphasize any minor flaws on the lips, too. They are mango-scented, but I don’t notice any taste myself.

Is this the right coral for you? Would you wear it?

The Summer Season is a series of posts featuring bright, vibrant shades of coral, orange, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for a summer of fun — that runs through July 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

YSL Eyeshadow

YSL Single Eyeshadows:  Fawn, Mogador Blue, Slate Green

YSL Ombre Solo Lasting Radiance Eyeshadows ($30.00 for 0.06 oz.) are a new, recent release from YSL. Accordingt o YSL, they are to deliver “vibrant” and “pure” color for “hours.” Each palette contains both a sponge-tipped and brush applicator.

These single eyeshadows are available in twelve shades: #01 Midnight Black (black), #02 Cashmere Brown (brown), #03 Perian Blue (gray blue), #04 Midnight Purple (dark purple), #05 Slate Green (forest green), #06 Pink Nude (soft pink), #07 Smokey Grey (gray), #08 Fawn (soft brown), #09 Mogador Blue (blue), #10 Lunar Purple (purple), #11 Garden of Eden (light green), and #12 Parisienne Pink (pink).

I’ve tried three shades, and I think now would be the best time to review them, given that I was so disappointed with the spring palette–because I don’t think it’s representative of the entire YSL line. (Their eyeshadow palettes have never wowed me, but they have never entirely disappointed me, either.) The new single eyeshadows are much, much better.

  • #08 Fawn is a softened, peach-toned brown with soft peach-gold sheen. It’s not too warm, so I think it would work on both cooler and warmer skin tones. It would make a good all-over lid color on medium skin tones, too.
  • #09 Mogador Blue is a silver-shimmered sky blue. This shade had the frostiest finish out of the three I tried, but it’s not an over-the-top frost. It was surprisingly pigmented (I feared for the worst on this pastel-ish shade!), and it went on very smoothly.
  • #05 Slate Green is a darkened forest green. This shade of dark forest green is one of my favorite shades, and I didn’t have any eyeshadow in this shade until now, so I’m really enthused over this one on a personal level.

I’m so, so pleased to say that these are soft, smooth, and pigmented. They actually feel a bit different than YSL’s palettes and duos–a little thicker in a sense, not at all powdery, and seem more pigmented. The packaging is traditional YSL with the “gold” case. The two applicators included in the eyeshadow are so-so — nothing ground-breaking, and I’d only use them in an emergency situation, but I like that they had a bristle-based one, too.

I’m not particularly keen on the price/quantity situation here — it’s closer to luxury brands like Cle de Peau than high-end, designer brands like Chanel and Dior. The quality is fantastic, but I could see these better priced at aroun $26 or $27.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Based on the three shades I tried, the new single eyeshadows are silky smooth and richly pigmented. They apply evenly and easily. The price tag is a bit steep, so it may not be for everyone.

Availability: Nordstrom

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →