Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


NARS Club Mix Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.09 oz.) was a new product, released for spring, as a twist on NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. It’s a glossy, moisturizing jumbo-sized pencil available in six “glazed” shades. The range includes: Baroque (raspberry sorbet), Club Mix (sheer grape), Frivolous (iridescent seashell pink), Happy Days (pink coral infused with gold shimmer), abd Hopi (honey beige), and New Lover (gold infused strawberry pink).

  • Baroque is a dark, pink-tinged red with silver and pink shimmer. It’s nearly opaque on lips.
  • Club Mix is a berry plum with soft pink and burgundy with a slight metallic finish. It’s semi-sheer to semi-opaque on lips with a glossy shine.
  • Frivolous is a sheer pink nude with soft gold shimmer that applies semi-sheer to semi-opaque. For me, it’s a rather my-lips-but-better shade.
  • Happy Days is a sheer coral-red with coppery gold shimmer that gives medium color coverage.
  • Hopi is a darkened, coppered tan with gold and copper shimmer. It is almost semi-opaque on lips, but you can still see my lip freckle.
  • New Lover is a dark, cool-toned pink with iridescent pink-peach shimmer. Like Hopi, it is almost semi-opaque in color coverage.

It’s hard to determine just what kind of color coverage to expect from these, because it seems to range from semi-sheer to semi-opaque overall, with Baroque being the most opaque and Frivolous being the sheerest. Given NARS’ gloss range and lipgloss in general, they are typically not opaque, so I think the pigmentation level in these is good and above average.

The finishes of each is a glossy enough to be a gloss but the thin texture of the pencil won’t give lips as full of a look as thicker lip gloss does. These are a great alternative to those who want the shine of the gloss but the texture of a lip balm.

These are smooth and glide on effortlessly, and the coverage is fairly even without having to work at it. They also deposit color well without requiring lots of layers to achieve the results seen in swatches. I get about three hours of wear with these, which is about average. I detected no scent or taste, and the texture of these is not at all tacky.

My concern with these lip pencils is how soft the pencil is–though it lends to easier application, these are so soft that they don’t do well if the temperature is 70 degrees or higher and end up rather melty. Jumbo-sized pencils like these can waste product when sharpened, and the softness of the pencil seems to exacerbate that problem.

Iwish NARS had gone with twist-up packaging, like Clinique, which would make these more convenient (no sharpening required) and eliminate the waste. The amount of waste does seem to vary from sharpener to sharpener, and I usually reach for Urban Decay’s Grindhouse, which gives me minimized waste, but there is still some.

The Glossover

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NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

B+
If the packaging didn't waste product every time you sharpened it (or conversely, if they gave you a lot more product!), I'd love these more (they'd be rated a B+ if packaging was fine!). The color range is really workable and wearable across skin tones, and I can see New Lover being a favorite.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4/5

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Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick
Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick (Right)

Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick

Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick ($22.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a semi-opaque, darkened beige with a little peachiness and marigold shimmer. The texture is really smooth, soft, and delicate; these remind me a lot of Guerlain’s Rouge G finishes–just the way the shimmer plays with the lip color and how it sinks into lips (in a good way, such that the color looks one with your lips).

Laura Mercier’s Shimmer Lipsticks have a rather strong floral scent to them, while several of her other lip products are heavily vanilla scented (not sure why these are different). I get three to four hours of wear (about average), and I find these neither drying nor particularly moisturizing, but they are comfortable to wear. Sandcastle applied evenly and easily without having to layer on a lot to get opaque color.

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Laura Mercier St. Tropez Lipstick Review, Photos, Swatches

A
It applies and wears so beautifully while looking natural on lips, despite the darker hue, and the way the shimmer warms up the color is very fine and subtle.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Saturday, April 30th, 2011


MAC Packed to Go: 4 Lips & Pressed Powder

MAC Packed to Go: 4 Lips & Pressed Powder

MAC Packed to Go was originally a duty free launch, but it’s landed online at maccosmetics.com now. It features several sets of products, and I’m reviewing three of the offerings. The reason I am not reviewing the rest is because they contain products I’ve reviewed in the past or are permanent shades. 4 Lips & Pressed Powder ($38.00) contains four lipglasses: Riviera Ready (warm light nude), Poetic License (pale apricot), Rosehips (mid-tone rosy pink), and Quick Change (mid-tone cool blue rose) along with one powder:  Belightful (gilded peach bronze). Poetic License, Rosehips, and Belightful are repromotes.

  • Riviera Ready is a warm, yellow-based nude with soft gold shimmer. It is semi-sheer on lips. C-Thru is the closest permanent gloss, but it is less warm and creamier.
  • Poetic License is a milky peach-pink with subtle pink and gold micro-shimmer. It is semi-sheer on lips. It seems closest to Florabundance.
  • Rosehips is a rosy plum with a creamy finish. It is semi-opaque on lips. It is lighter than Lust.
  • Quick Change is a rpasberry pink with lots of golden shimmer. It is semi-sheer on lips. I can’t think of a permanent dupe in MAC’s line for this, but it is similar to Korres #18 Peach lipstick.
  • Belightful is a champagne bronze with flecks of bronze glitter. The glitter is noticeable on skin but not chunky. I did feel it emphasized the texture of my skin, though. Try theBalm’s Mary Lou-manizer as a dupe.

If you’re familiar with MAC’s holiday palettes from last year, the packaging is very similar–this palette is just all black and has no special design on the outside. Each lipglass well contains 0.049 oz. of product (total of 0.196 oz.), while the powder is 0.17 oz. In the palette, you’re getting $16.72 worth of lipglass and $13.96 worth of powder (I believe the Iridescent Powder retailed for $23 for 0.28 oz.). The palette is actually more expensive than the amount of product you actually get, though you do get to try five different products for $38.

The Glossover

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MAC Packed to Go 4 Lips & Pressed Powder Review, Photos, Swatches

C+
The lipglasses are always sheerer in the palettes than they are in tubes, which makes application frustrating. Belightful was sheer and difficult to apply evenly.

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, April 29th, 2011

NARS Bolero Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
NARS Bolero Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Summer 2011: Bolero Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Bolero Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as a “pink cantaloupe,” while the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil formula is all about “rich pigment” delivered via a “jumbo-sized crayon” that imparts a “velvet matte finish.” It’s supposed to be long-wearing without being drying, while still being creamy. This shade has been added to NARS’ permanent range.

I thought the color was closer to that of grapefruit, but I guess if cantaloupe was pink, it might look something like this (and then kind of like grapefruit, ha!). It’s a lightened pink with just a hint of coral. It looked more coral swatched than it did once I applied it to my lips, though.  It actually bears a lot of similarity to MAC Ever Hip, though ever-so-slightly paler and, obviously, the finish is different as Bolero is matte.

The finish is completely matte, and with the lightness of the color, there is a touch of settling into lip lines and emphasis on any imperfections of the natural lip but really quite little overall and not noticeable from a normal viewing distance (you know, not close-up!). It does have enough creaminess in the texture to easily apply it, smooth it out, and get a nice layer of even color, and the pigmentation is excellent–really dense, opaque color without having to wear the pencil down to a nub.

With some of the really deep shades of the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil line-up, I can see six to eight hours of wear, but with a lighter shade like Bolero, it wore just over four hours (which is slightly above average for a light color like this, where I normally see three to four). The length of wear was good and above average, but it’s not excellent. I did find Bolero a little drying by the fourth hour.

These aren’t your best bang for your buck lip product, considering you only get 0.086 oz. for $24–a NARS lipstick contains 0.12 oz. but also costs $24.00. They do apply color more precisely than a lipstick, because it has a more chiseled tip, but the cap is not as secure on this jumbo-sized lip pencil than it is on a lipstick–such a game of trade-offs! I didn’t find that the cap was easy to come off, but I do acknowledge it is less secure by its nature than lipstick.

The Glossover

LE
product

Bolero

B
If the wear was more on par with long-wearing lipsticks (including other shades within this range, which tend to be six to eight hours), the product would have rated higher. I think the color is one that will appeal to many, and it should work well on both cool and warmer skin tones, as the pink dominates over the coral, making it flattering on both.

Product

8/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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Friday, April 29th, 2011

NARS Wonder Lipgloss
NARS Wonder Lipgloss

NARS Summer 2011: Wonder Lipgloss

NARS Wonder Lipgloss ($24.00 for 0.28 oz.) is described as a “shiny, sheer mandarin orange laced with pink and gold shimmer.” It was a very reddened orange with flecks of gold and pink shimmer but less distinctly orange when worn.

Funny enough, this is a product described as sheer but actually is rather semi-sheer to semi-opaque! It’s a very buildable gloss, so it can go from a sheerer wash of color to more medium coverage  (though you can still clearly see my natural lip color through the gloss–it has a lot of color but still a lot of translucence) without feeling like you have to apply half the tube to do so.  One pull of gloss gets you sheer, a second pull gets you to what you see here.

NARS Lipglosses have a thinner consistency that’s mostly non-sticky (though sometimes, there is the odd gloss out), and the past several shades I’ve tried, are also scent- and taste-free. (In the past, some NARS glosses had a plasticky scent.) Wonder applies smoothly and evenly, and it gives lips a really plump, juicy look with the high-shine finish. I typically get three to four hours of wear out of NARS glosses.

The Glossover

LE
product

Wonder

A

Surprisingly buildable, it is easy to wear at sheerer levels as well as more opaque levels. It wears well, evenly, and leaves lips looking really lush.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

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Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

MAC Summer Shower Lipstick
MAC Summer Shower Lipstick

MAC Fashion Flower: Lipsticks

The collection features four shades of Lipstick (each $14.50 for 0.10 oz.) — Ever Hip (bright creamy coral), Growing Trend (mid-tone taupe nude), Mlle (light white pink), and Summer Shower (light aqua).

  • Ever Hip is a pink-based coral with a creamy, slightly glossy finish.  It’s semi-opaque to opaque on lips, depending on how much you layer it. It has a cremesheen finish.  MAC doesn’t have a comparable permanent dupe to it, unfortunately.
  • Growing Trend is a medium dark beige nude with a creamy finish.  It has an amplified finish.  It’s a shade or two darker than Viva Glam Gaga 2 and has less peach (this almost looks a touch pink next to it).
  • Mlle is a pale, blue-based light pink. It looks a little dry on lips (perhaps more like a frost finish, except it lacks the shimmer part of a frost), but it didn’t feel drying. It has a glaze finish, and it is a repromote–but from many, many years ago. It seems like a paler version of Pink Plaid, cooler version of Creme Cup. This would work best on cooler skin tones.
  • Summer Shower is very much a near-to-clear base with teal, fuchsia-purple, and white shimmer and sparkle. It’s more of layering lip product than one you’d wear on its own (in general). I can’t think of a permanent dupe for it. It has a glaze finish. This would work across skin tones.

my thoughts on the formula: MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. I typically get four hours of wear, but some of the lighter lustre and glaze finishes tend to disappear by hour three. Amplified cremes and amplified finishes, however, tend to go beyond four. I find the formula comfortable to wear and not drying (but not moisturizing–a couple of the matte shades can be drying).

The Glossover

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MAC Fashion Flower Lipstick Swatches, Photos, Reviews

B
Mlle doesn't look as flattering as worn as one would like--it has a drier look, even though the texture itself was smooth and applied evenly. Summer Shower looks fun in the tube but keep in mind it is more about the multi-colored reflective shimmer than the actual color!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

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