Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Dolce & Gabbana Midnight Bloom Collection
Dolce & Gabbana Shine Lipstick: Emotion (56) & Delicate (53)

Summer Preview: Dolce & Gabbana Midnight Bloom — Shine Lipsticks & Lipgloss

To finish off our Dolce & Gabbana summer preview of the Midnight Bloom Collection, today we’ll look at two new shades of Shine Lipstick (Delicate and Emotion) and one new shade of Lipgloss (Delicious). Shine Lipsticks retail for $30, while Lipglosses retail for $29. Dolce & Gabbana (the makeup!) is only available at Saks.

Shine Lipstick ($30.00)

  • Emotion (53) is a pinked mauve with a champagne-pink-gold shimmer. It’s like a champagne bronze kissed with fairytale plum. It really does deserve such a whimsical description. These two shades of Shine Lipsticks are particularly lovely–it’s almost like a duochrome eyeshadow, but you know, *lipstick*!
  • Delicate (56) is a softened coral-peach color base with golden peach and gold shimmer and a champagne sheen. Like Delicate, it has that mix of sheen, frost, shimmer, and color. I’d say this wasn’t quite as opaque as Delicate, but it is still a medium coverage lipstick.

I tried Gold Shine Lipstick last December, and even though the color was totally fun and funky (and definitely not similar to anything I already owned, which is kind of a big deal for me!), it didn’t sell me on the Shine formula like these do. Gold showed me lots of shimmer–borderline glitter–but these are softer, smoother. They wear well (four to six hours on me) without drying out lips. Both shades applied evenly and gave nearly opaque color (you can always tell by my lip “freckle”), even though “shine” makes me think sheerer coverage.

If you’re sensitive to scent, you may not like the rosy scent that accompanies Dolce & Gabbana’s lipsticks, though. Packaging is in line with the rest of Dolce & Gabbana: gold metal that looks and feels luxe (nice weight to the lipsticks) but still holds fingerprints. (Seriously, isn’t it about time sometime invented fingerprint-proof metal for cosmetics?)

Lipgloss ($29.00)

  • Delicious (73) is a medium coral-orange cream finish gloss. It is nearly opaque (again, my lip “freckle” is nearly hidden). Dolce & Gabbana described the shade as “candy pink,” but I really don’t think it fits. I just don’t see any pink whatsoever in this. I even have a slightly naturally rosy pucker, so you’d think it would emphasize the pink, but this reads coral on my lips. Not that that’s an issue, though, because it’s a very fun, summer-appropriate shade. It’s creamy enough to give you that no-shimmer, high-gloss look and doesn’t settle into lip lines much (less noticeable from a normal viewing distance than upclose!).

Dolce & Gabbana’s Lipgloss is slightly tacky, though I wouldn’t describe it as sticky–just not non-sticky entirely. I typically get about three hours of wear with the gloss alone, which is about average to a little above average for a gloss on me. Like the Shine Lipsticks, it is rose-scented, so sensitive-sniffers beware! Packaging is a clear base with a “gold” metal cap, and of course, pricing is that of a high-end, more luxe brand (think Chanel, Guerlain, etc.).

Dolce & Gabbana is always an indulgence, but in the past few months, I’ve found more products to love than ones that disappoint. I remember being a little wary in the beginning, but their products have really worked well for me so far!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of shimmer and sheen in your lipstick and don’t mind paying for it, the two new shades of Shine Lipstick are beautiful. Delicate will work beautifully on both cool and warm skin tones, while Emotion will work better on warmer skin tones but is still wearable for those with cooler skin tones (but you may want to pair it with cooler eyes!). Delicious Lipgloss is fun but it’s a warmer coral, so it is better suited for warmer skin tones and would look nice over Emotion.

Availability: May 2010 at Saks

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Lime Crime Lipstick

Lime Crime: Lipsticks Reviews, Photos, Swatches

Over the months, I have been hemming and hawing over whether or not to do this review.  Doe sent me these just around the time they were available to pre-order.  Recently, Dusty, a long-time reader, asked me if I had tried them and what my opinion was. I’ve decided that it’s time to review these, despite the controversy over the brand itself, for my readers–for good or bad. I only ask that you leave me out of the drama! (In fact, Dusty said I could blame him, so I’m going to!)

Lipsticks ($16.00)

  • Airborne Unicorn is a pinky-purple lilac with a mostly opaque look. On me, it’s similar to MAC’s Lavender Whip and Lady Gaga.
  • Centrifuchsia is a brightened medium-dark pink. This is one of the more wearable shades of the ten released. I felt like this shade had the best feel/texture out of the entire line.
  • Cosmopop is a lightened peachy-orange. This one looks a little chalky on my lips, and it was a bit on the drier side for application, which ended up with a streakier application.
  • Countessa Fluorescent is a brightened blue-based pink with a little smidgen of purple. It’s like a slightly more neon version of Pepto Bismal. (No, seriously!)
  • D’Lilac is a very cool-toned lilac, almost more like a light purple than a lilac. I had trouble getting this one to apply evenly–it was very streaky, a bit dry, and it required some effort to apply opaquely. One of my least favorites in terms of feel/texture.
  • Great Pink Planet is like a more toned version of Countessa Fluorescent–a milky pink with a smidgen of lilac. Like D’Lilac, I had a lot of trouble applying this one evenly.
  • My Beautiful Rocket is a medium-darkened orange. This applied decently, much like Centrifuchsia, and it went opaque without much trouble. I thought this one’s color differed quite a bit from the brand’s swatch on their website (which almost shows a duo-tone of orange and gold).
  • No She Didn’t is a medium aqua blue that applies mostly opaque, but it can be a little on the streaky side so it looks a bit dry and chalky. Though it’s pigmented, for an unusual color like this, I’d probably opt for an OCC Lip Tar instead.
  • Retrofuturist is a blue-based red that applies nearly opaque and does so in about two layers.
  • Styletto is a slightly glossy black. It applies opaque, but it’s really a pain. I suppose most black lipsticks are a pain, so this one is no exception. It bleeds more than any of the other shades, and it requires a few layers to build solid, even color. I think it needs to be a little creamier in order to apply more evenly and crisply.

The good: The lipsticks are quite pigmented overall, and I didn’t have to layer them a zillion times to get solid, opaque color–this is really the standout feature of these lipsticks. They have a light vanilla scent to them when you first open, so I think most people will be pleased with the scent. The darker shades leave a stain behind, which may or may not be what you want (you may not want slightly blue-tinged lips for a day later, but you might enjoy a pink stain!).

I also really liked and appreciated that the lipsticks had a customized design and look to them.  They weren’t just stock tubes, so I can see that time and care went into them.  It also seems particularly unusual for a more “indie” brand, so definite kudos for that!

The bad: With all of the shades, I found I needed to wear a lip liner if I was actually going to wear them out, because they had a tendency to bleed around the edges, particularly with the darker shades (and of course, less so with lighter shades). After wearing these for a few hours, several shades are particularly drying–the only shades I found that didn’t feel drying were Centrifuchsia, My Beautiful Rocket, and Retrofuturist.I think this is because the formula itself is so full of pigments that the formula itself is drier and clings to lips and doesn’t provide any added moisture or a barrier to lock moisture in.

Some of the chalkier shades like Cosmopop, D’Lilac, and Great Pink Planet applied unevenly and these shades left a color-ring around the edges of my lips as they faded.  To cover up the streakiness, I found applying a semi-opaque lipgloss on top helped out quite a bit.

The packaging is not for everyone–it’s kind of a fuchsia-purple tube decorated with holographic unicorns–but I personally found the case itself to feel a little cheap. It’s just not as heavy or as solid as I’d expect (or prefer). Not quite as light as one of the worst lipsticks (in terms of packaging) I’ve tried, but it’s just not as high quality as I’d expect.

Something curious I found was the vanilla scent seemed to disappear significantly once I used these. While they have a pleasing vanilla scent, they have a waxy feel and taste. It’s not terrible, but it’s not exactly delicious!

Overall:  These lipsticks are just okay.  If I’m going to shell out $16 a pop, I expect it to rival other mid- to high-end lipsticks, but it really doesn’t, overall.  Centrifuchsia had the best texture–it was pigmented, didn’t dry lips out, felt lightweight, and it left a stain behind.  Many of the other shades, though, felt too thick, which is something that can emphasize dryness on the lips and settle into lip lines.  The biggest reason these lost so many points is they don’t live up to the claims — most colors require at least two layers for smooth, even, opaque coverage, and I wouldn’t describe these as creamy, either.

It seemed like the closer you got to “normal” color, the better the formula was, but the further you got from “normal” color, the worse it was!  For better results, make sure you moisturize and hydrate lips well in advance, apply lip liner to keep color from bleeding and migrating, and then apply with a lip brush to ensure more even coverage.

My picks: Centrifuchsia, Countessa Flurorescent

Skip: D’Lilac, Great Pink Planet

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

  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been on the hunt for a really off-the-wall color and see it here, it may be worth getting to satisfy that need. These just don’t stack up to most mid- to high-end lipstick formulas, so I’d opt for another brand instead, if you were just looking for a new shade of lipstick.

Availability: Lime Crime

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Friday, March 19th, 2010

Guerlain Brit Rouge G Le Brilliant Lipstick
Guerlain Brit Rouge G de Brilliant Lipstick

The Spring Season: Guerlain Brit Rouge G de Brilliant Lipstick

Guerlain Brit (B40) Rouge G Le Brillant Lipstick ($46.00) is a softened coral-orange with a rich, glossy sheen and subtle gold shimmer. As I mentioned in my review of a few shades of Rouge G Le Brilliant, the formula is smooth, glossy, lightweight, and moisturizing. It feels almost like a lipstick-gloss hybrid on lips, and the color is sheer but not ultra sheer.

You get enough color pay off, but it’s sheer enough that those with more pigmented lips will find more variation in how these shades look on their lips. Brit lasts around three or four hours on me, as compared to the original Rouge G line-up that lasts an average of five hours.

I love this kind of color for spring, though. It’s a pop of color without being bright or overwhelming and can be worn alone with just mascara or paired with a heavier eye look.

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

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Guerlain Rouge G de Brilliant
Blondie, Betsy, Bianca

Guerlain Rouge G de Brilliant Lipstick: Betsy, Bianca, Blondie

Rouge G de Brilliant ($46.00 each) launched earlier this spring with ten shades (all permanent). Like the original Rouge G line-up, there is a theme–all of the names begin with a B. Brilliants different from the traditional Rouge G formula, because they are sheerer with more shimmer and a glossier finish. These are touted as a more natural lipstick. It feels lighter than Rouge Gs, but it looks considerably lighter on lips as well. These have a kind of “wet” look to them, so you may not need a gloss to give you that glossy sheen.

While the formula itself feels amazing on lips, without the wear (I only get about three to four hours as compared to four to six on regular Rouge Gs) and the rich pigmentation of the traditional Rouge Gs, I still prefer the original Rouge Gs over these, if I’m shelling out $46 a shade. But keep in mind that these were designed to be sheerer and glossier, so Guerlain hit the mark there. But for me, since I like my lipsticks pigmented, they’re not my favorite when I know the pigmented Rouge Gs exist!  These are, however, not ultra sheer–they do pack some color and change-up my natural lip color.

  • Betsy is a softened berry plum with subtle gold shimmer. Applied, it has this wet, shimmering look–very pretty and a color I’d slick on in a rush during the fall.
  • Bianca is a semi-sheer pink-coral with barely-there shimmer. This is one of the more pigmented shades of Brilliant that I’ve tried–this is more semi-opaque than semi-sheer–and it imparts a healthy color to my natural lip color.
  • Blondie is a subtle nude beige with champagne shimmer. On my lips, it actually does a fair job of giving my lips enough color, but it’s still sheer enough where your natural lip color can greatly affect how the color shows up on your lips. I see this turning much pinker and less nude on those with more naturally red lips.

Packaging wise, these have the same fancy-pants packaging as Guerlain’s Rouge Gs, which is luxe, heavy metal. It’s a very solid piece of makeup, but I’ve always felt that a lot of the price tag of Rouge Gs goes towards that indulgent packaging (which is nice, but I’d happily pay less for regular packaging!).

Much of the value gets eaten up by this packaging, because this is a formula that I’d pay $30-35 for (which is typical for high-end lipsticks), while at $45-46, it’s more about finding those perfect shades you’ll wear over and over again.

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like softer, sheerer lipstick color that goes on and feels almost like a thin yet creamy gloss, Rouge G de Brilliant hits the nail on the head. Colors are easy to wear, the formula feels fantastic on lips, and it is all housed in space-age packaging.

Availability: Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue

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Monday, March 15th, 2010

YSL Golden Gloss

YSL Spring 2010 Collection:  New Golden Glosses

For Spring, YSL released two new shades of Golden Gloss ($29.00 for 0.20 oz.)! #20 Golden Macademia is is a peachy-beige with a champagne-pink sparkle. #19 Golden Petal is a medium pink with a yellow undertone and gold shimmer. Both shades are on the sheerer side, but they both give/change my lips color.

  • Golden Macademia mutes the natural pink in my lips and makes it look like a softened pink-nude. This is is the kind of gloss that works well layered over your favorite nude lipstick or worn alone for a more minimal look. It’s nice paired with a smoky eye or even with neutrals for a more every day kind of look.
  • Golden Petal is a soft, milky pink that goes on semi-opaque. It was surprisingly pigmented, as I rarely find a milky pink that still has the soft, milkiness without severe settling into lip lines. The golden shimmer really makes this a nice, warmer pink gloss–an excellent color for those with warmer skin tones in particular.

I was quite impressed by the pigmentation of both of these new Golden Glosses, as they’re often more on the sheer side. I’ve always liked the sparkle-factor of Golden Glosses, and these still have that beautiful, shimmering sparkle that Golden Glosses are known for, but with a little more amped up color pay off. YSL Golden Glosses are non-sticky, moisturizing with a soft, mango-y scent that last about average (two to three hours on me).

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

  • Product: 29/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for some new spring gloss shades, you might like YSL’s latest.

Availability: Nordstrom, Sephora

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Monday, March 15th, 2010

Lancome Rich Cashmere Lipstick

The Spring Season: Lancome Rich Cashmere Lipstick

Lancome Rich Cashmere L’Absolu Rouge Lipstick ($29.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a softened peachy nude with subtle gold shimmer. It has a very creamy, almost milky look when applied to lips. It’s nearly opaque in color, and the shade itself is definitely a nude for me. Paired with my warmer skin tone, it doesn’t make me look corpse-ish, which is something I definitely like. I find cooler nudes can often wash out my face, but shades like Rich Cashmere give me that sexy nude lip without making me look pale.

Is this the right nude lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →