Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit
NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit

More Purple Than You’ll Know What to Do With

NYX Purple Smokey Look Kit ($11.00 for 0.32 oz.) is an eye and lip palette; it contains nine eyeshadows and two lip colors. If you’re a fan of cool-toned, purple eyeshadows, this is a palette with your name on it! The palette includes: a smoked, blackened purple with violet sheen; brightened navy blue with a subtle sheen; softened fuchsia lilac with a satin sheen; light fuchsia pink with satin sheen; gray-tinged brown with cool undertones; pinked brown with sheen; softened violet with sheen; red-toned, medium purple with violet shimmer-sheen; and dusty brown. The lip shades included a pinky nude cream and a metallic bronze.

The majority of the eyeshadow shades were nicely pigmented, but three were on the sheerer side — the pink brown, softened violet, and dusty brown. The dusty brown was pretty pitiful for me; extremely sheer, almost chalky, and wasn’t working for me whatsoever. The other eight shades were much more workable, though, so it’s easy to forgive a palette of nine shades for only one bad apple. I liked that only a couple of the shades had a frostier finish, while the rest had a low satin sheen. Shimmers/satins are easier to blend but sometimes you can get too much of a good thing!

I didn’t like the lip colors very much–they’re a little sticky and the shades themselves don’t seem to fit with the palette. A metallic bronze lip is lovely, but I’m not so sure about pairing it with such cool purples. I wouldn’t grab this for the lip colors, but I do like that they’re in a separate pull-out drawer, which means they won’t get any cross-contamination from the powder eyeshadows. The included double-ended applicators aren’t anything to write home about; the bristled one is sparse and a little scratchy, while the sponge-tip is thin and a little scratchy.

The palette itself is housed in a square black palette, so it manages to look sleek and compact, and it would work really well for traveling. It’s a good palette overall, and for $11, it’s obviously a real gem!

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: The quality is good overall with just a couple of misses but enough hits to make it well worth the price.

AVAILABILITY: NYX

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

NYX Very Berry Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Very Berry Lipstick

NYX Very Berry Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a darkened red-brown with a glossy finish.  It’s opaque, and it has a very creamy texture, so it applies beautifully.  It does fade away within three to four hours, but it’s a lovely color while it lasts.  There’s a slightly synthetic sweet scent in the tube, but I don’t notice it lingering once I’ve applied it.

Is this the right brown 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 →

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Maybelline Plum Paradise Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Maybelline Plum Paradise Lipstick

Maybelline Plum Paradise ColorSensational Lipcolor ($8.29 for 0.15 oz.) is a reddened raspberry with a soft frost sheen.  It’s nearly opaque, and the strength of the color helps this shade last a solid three hours, almost four, on my lips.  There’s just enough berry in this shade to make it feel like an autumn hue rather than a holiday one.

This is one of the clingier shades (as noted in my lipstick comparison post), because it has a frostier finish, which is drier than a creamy or satin finish shade.  It’s not drying, though, but if you have flaky or peeling lips, this one might not work out so well.   If you’re particularly sensitive to scent, ColorSensational does have a rather synthetic, syrupy sweet scent, but it seems to fade as many of mine just smell waxy.

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 →

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

NYX Violet Ray Lipstick

The Sultry Season: NYX Violet Ray Lipstick

NYX Violet Ray Round Lipstick ($4.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a deep raspberry red with fuchsia sheen.  it’s semi-opaque and goes on a touch streaky, but it’s a great affordable option for a sultry lip this season.  It wears about three to four hours, but it’s not drying at all.  I like how there is some glossiness in the finish, which helps to make it look smoother.  This is a versatile shade that works for the vampier fall lip but also as more festive holiday lip color.

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 →

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Maybelline Bit of Berry Lipstick

The Sultry Season: Maybelline Bit of Berry Lipstick

Maybelline Bit of Berry Lipstick ($8.29 for 0.15 oz.) is a beautiful plummy pink cream with rich, opaque color and a slightly glossy sheen.  This is what I consider a drugstore gem, and it’s definitely one of the best Color Sensational lipsticks I’ve come across in texture and consistency, as well.  It’s very creamy, which makes application a cinch, but it’s also incredibly pigmented and completely covers my lip freckle!  I love that the color isn’t too cool, either.  It lasts three to four hours on me, which is about average.  I wish the lipstick smelled less synthetic and sweet, but otherwise, this one’s a keeper.

(You should be able to pick one up for less than $8, which is full retail price–drugstore.com has it for $6.22 at the moment.)

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 →

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.)