Black is Black is Black?
Black Eyeliner Comparisons
Are there shades of black? Indeed there are! Not every black eyeliner is the same. There are soft blacks, medium blacks, and deep blacks (and of course, variations within those categories). To try and make some sense of it all, I’m going to assign numerical ratings based on how black each liner is, with 10 being deep, dark black, 1 meaning so light that it’s almost no longer black, and 5 meaning a medium black.
- Shiseido Black Noir (BK 901) Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil has an amazing creaminess to it, and it is almost a true, deep black. (Review) 9
- MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil some creaminess but has some hardness (but not in a bad way–it’s not rough on eyes at all), and it is a true dark black — leans on the warm side. (Review) 10
- MAC Feline Kohl Power is a rich, deep dark black that’s easy to smudge. It is a limited edition product, so it’s not currently available but is often repromoted. (Review) 10
- Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner is a rich, deep dark black–creamy without being runny. (Review) 10
- Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner is a softened, medium black. It is a slightly warmer black on me. (Review) 4
- MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil is a darkened medium black. 6
- MAC Smolder Eye Kohl is a dark black with cool leanings. 8
- MAC Graphblack Technakohl is a medium black. 5
- Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner is a dark black with a cool pull. (Review) 8
- Stila Stingray Smudge Stick is a dark black with neutral to cool undertones. (Review) 8
- YSL #1 Eye Pencil is a rich black, almost ultra black, with a very matte finish. (Review) 9
- Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner is a rich, glossy black. The glossiness makes it look less inky, though. (Review) 8
- Benefit BADgal Liner is a creamy, dark black with warm leanings. (Review) 8
I included review links when I had them to share, but I had some wear issues with YSL’s #1 Eyeliner, Bobbi Brown’s Black Kohl Eyeliner, and Benefit’s BADgal.
The darkest: MAC Black Black Chromagraphic Pencil, MAC Feline Kohl Power, Urban Decay Perversion 24/7 Liner
Dark: Shiseido Black Noir Smoothing Eyeliner Pencil, YSL #1 Eye Pencil
Medium-dark: MAC Smolder Eye Kohl, Milani Black Liquif’Eye Liner, Stila Stingray Smudge Stick, Bobbi Brown Black Kohl Eye Liner, Benefit BADgal Liner
Medium: MAC Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil, MAC Graphblack Technakohl
The lightest: Urban Decay Zero 24/7 Liner
YSL Metallic Colorama Holiday 2010 Collection
Metallic Colorama Palette ($65.00) (Limited Edition)
A shimmering, pink champagne powder for the face and décolletage.
Ombres Duolumieres ($41.00) (Limited Edition)
- No. 33 Silver grey/golden plum
Golden Gloss ($30.00) (Limited Edition)
- Golden Carat Gold
- Golden Chocolate Bronze
- Golden Red Beige
Rouge Pur Shine ($30.00) (Limited Edition)
- Rose Metallique Soft rose
- Or Metallique Gold
La Laque (Limited Edition)
- Gold (139)
- Bronze (140)
- Silver (141)
Touche d’Or ($40.00) (Limited Edition)
Taking inspiration from the YSL Metallic Colorama Collection, this highlighter is like liquid gold for the face. Offering a lovely, overall illuminating effect for the complexion, Touche D’Or looks lovely by day and seductive by night.
Availability: October 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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)
Touche Eclat ($40.00)
Singulier Mascara ($30.00)
- Beautiful Day (01)
- Rive Gauche (02)
- Belle de Nuit (03)
Availability: July/August 2010 — I spotted it online already at Nordstrom, though!
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.