Monday, November 23rd, 2009


NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Pop Life & Toudra

NARS Pop Life & Toudra Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($24.00 for 0.086 oz.) are two new shades from NARS’ Holiday Collection.  These are jumbo-sized lip pencils that are designed to be used more like a lipstick than a lip pencil.  The product is “enriched with Vitamin E” and is designed to last for “hours.”  NARS describes Toudra as a “richly pigmented Barolo wine shade is creamy, long-lasting and matte for strong, seamless color and a perfectly defined pout,” while Pop life is a “bold, bright and modernly matte holly–red hue that slips on with a velvety texture – a new holiday staple.”

Toudra is a bronzy, not quite coppery, brown-based wine.  It’s not really what I’d think of when someone tells me it’s a wine shade, though.  It’s in there, and yet it’s distinctly different.  It has a bit of a frosty/shimmery look, and I didn’t find it applied as easily as some other Velvet Matte Lip Pencils have in the past.  It even felt a little gritty, and dare I say… drying?  (Which these are specifically stated to not be!)  It is reasonably pigmented, though since it doesn’t apply smoothly, you end up using a fair amount of product get an even, full coverage look.

Pop Life looks very holiday-red when you check out the product, but on my lips, it was definitely not the case.  It was more of a brightened up orange-based coral shade.  It was smoother and gave a better look overall compared to Toudra, but even this still felt a little drying to me.  I didn’t get “hydrating” when testing either of these shades out myself.   If you’re looking for a red, you might consider Dragon Girl or Cruella instead–both of which are a lot redder than Pop Life.

These aren’t really 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.  NARS has plenty of pigmented lipsticks in their collection (along with sheer shades, of course), so I’d probably start there in a lip color hunt.  I like these, in terms of the actual product (and discounting the price differential), more than NYX’s Jumbo Lip Pencils, because they feel a little more high quality and they do last much longer on me (about four to five hours).

Bottom Line: I don’t love the new shades from holiday.  I don’t own any of the permanent shades, but I’ve tested them in-store and have been more drawn to them there than I was when I swatched these two (and liked them even less when I actually used them!).  Neither color really pops for me, and I’m not sure why these aren’t as hydrating as NARS touts the product line to be.

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

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I’d recommend trying these in-store before purchasing, to see if the texture meets your expectations!

Availability: Beauty.com, NARS Cosmetics, Sephora

See swatchesContinue reading →

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss
Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss

The Scarlet Season: Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss

Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss ($20.00 for 0.15 oz.) is a glossy semi-opaque red with pink tones. I had never heard of Cosmoholic prior to trying out this shade, and I was pleasantly surprised at the pigmentation! After reading up on Cosmoholic’s back story, I learned that their lip glosses are designed to be liquid lipsticks, so they’re supposed to be heavily pigmented. The gloss itself is non-sticky, contains no shimmer, and lasts about four hours on me and leaves a just-bitten stain behind. It has a sweet vanilla scent that doesn’t read synthetic, though a lil’ extra sweet for my personal taste (but it’s not a bad thing). The gloss also contains vitamin E, and this gloss definitely didn’t dry out my lips while I wore it!

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

Smashbox Starlet Lip Enhancing Lip Gloss
Smashbox Starlet Lip Enhancing Lip Gloss

The Scarlet Season: Smashbox Starlet Lip Enhancing Lip Gloss

Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss Siren ($18.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a semi-opaque shade of pinky-red with subtle golden shimmer and a high gloss sheen. Like previously mentioned Siren, the formula is all about high-shine without being sticky. It’s a moisturizing gloss that looks good and fades well, though it lasts about four hours on my lips. The scent is a lightly sweetened vanilla that’s pleasing without being cloying or synthetic. I do like Starlit over Siren, just because this has better coverage and doesn’t sink into lip lines much at all.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme Lip Creme Lip Gloss
Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme Lip Creme Lip Gloss

The Scarlet Season: Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme Lip Creme Lip Gloss

Le Metier de Beaute Framboise Creme Lip Creme Lip Gloss ($36.00 for 0.22 oz.) is a stunning shade of subdued ruby red with ruby and gold shimmer and the most amazing pigmentation. I remember when I first purchased this shade, which was also the first time I ever heard of or saw Le Metier de Beaute, back in February 2009 when I was in New York for fashion week. I completely fell head-over-heels in love with the shade; it was love at first swatch, as they’d say! The formula is out of this world; it’s moisturizing, glossy, ridiculously well-pigmented (it still feels more like a gloss than a lipstick or liquid lipstick), and it lasts for a good four to six hours on me. I’m still as pleased with it today as I was when I first purchased it.

I’m also pleased to note that Le Metier de Beaute has greatly improved their accessibility, available at many Neiman Marcus around the United States. (When I purchased this, they were only available at two stores or online at NeimanMarcus.com!)

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

MAC Port Red Lipstick
MAC Port Red Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: MAC Port Red Lipstick

MAC Port Red Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.10 oz.) is a gorgeous ruby red with gold sheen. I really love this shade, and it’s neck-and-neck with Queen’s Sin as one of MAC’s better red lipsticks. They aren’t identical, as Queen’s Sin is a little deeper, with more berry as an undertone and doesn’t have the same gold shimmer. I love the gold flecks that you see in this lipstick. Port Red isn’t too orange or too blue, it’s just that right shade of true red. Surprisingly, it was launched in May of 2008 (so you may have to do some hunting to find it, e.g. on eBay), but it’s an amazing shade of red for the holiday season as well.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick
Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick

Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a matte, bright true-red with a slight touch of orange in its base. While some of Illamasqua’s lipsticks can be drying, Encounter is about as dry as I’d expect for something this matte–but I noticed it didn’t really dry my lips out after wearing it, which is something I do find can happen with some of the drier mattes I’ve tried (e.g. MAC’s Ruby Woo). It also applies very evenly, despite being a matte texture, and it goes opaque in just one layer. I’m personally not a big fan of matte lips, so I tend to gloss things up. This works really well with Illamasqua’s Lily Rose Sheer Lipgloss, as seen here.

What about you? Would you wear this red?

The Scarlet Season is a series of posts showcasing and featuring my favorite shades of red lips–from glosses to lipsticks that runs through December 2009. You can sure expect to see a lot of red this holiday season!

See more swatches and comparison photosContinue reading →

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