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Korres Crocus Lip Butter Glaze

Korres Crocus Lip Butter Glaze
Korres Crocus Lip Butter Glaze

Want Color in Your Lip Balm?

Korres Crocus Lip Butter Glaze ($14.00 for 0.34 oz.) is described as a “sheer lavender.” It’s a pink-tinged lavender–almost magenta–with very fine gold shimmer. MAC Flaunting It is darker, more purple. NARS Angelika is lighter. MAC Style Packed is brighter and more opaque. MAC Sassy Lassy is more opaque and pinker. MAC Loud & Lovely is pinker.

The Lip Butter Glaze formula is described as a “line-smoothing, butter lip glaze in a tube” with a “lightweight” texture that yields “vibrant and shiny color.” It has a slick, gel-gloss hybrid-like texture that glides onto the lips easily and remains movable while you wear it. It is non-sticky, yields semi-sheer to semi-opaque color, and smells of sweet vanilla (think MAC lipglosses).

The finish has a high-gloss shine–it’s really a balm-like gloss overall–which lasts for about two hours, while the product itself seems to last right around the three-hour mark. It’s hydrating while worn, and I’ve been using it after a lip-swatching-session, and it’s done a good job restoring hydration and making my lips feel whole again.  The biggest downside is that because of the really slick consistency, it can look uneven and bunch up on itself if you’re wearing too much or press your lips together.

Korres Crocus Lip Butter Glaze

A
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
93%
Total

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Giorgio Armani Moonlight White Palette

Giorgio Armani Moonlight White Palette
Giorgio Armani Moonlight White Palette

Not Enough Smoke in This Smoky Eyed Palette

Giorgio Armani Moonlight White Palette ($88.00 for 0.41 oz.) is a face palette that contains one highlighter, two eyeshadows, and one lip color. The shades are described as, “White shimmer highlighting powder is paired with a gradation of grey eyeshadows to create a wash of color, finish with the red lip wax for a sophisticated winter style.”

The highlighter is a pure snowy white with a silver-white shimmer. This one was a bit more sparkly compared to the Moonlight Beige palette. The texture, while finely-milled and soft to the touch, wasn’t as blendable–perhaps easier to notice given how stark this looked against my skin tone in particular. It will look best on very, very pale complexions. The closest dupe I could think of was Benefit High Beam, which is pinker.

The lip wax is a darkened pink-red with a natural sheen. On lips, it looks more red than pink and yielded semi-opaque color coverage. It has a thin consistency, so it looked a lot like a stain when applied to the lips. MAC Fire Sign is a little brighter, but it has a similar look and feel on. NARS Flamenco is also very similar, perhaps a touch more pigmented.

The first eyeshadow is a light-medium gray with a soft shimmer. It had decent to good pigmentation, and while finely-milled, was just a bit powdery. NARS Self Portrait 2 is darker. NARS Ramatuelle is shimmery and lighter. Guerlain Les Gris is more frosted. MAC Silver Gull is similar. Guerlain Les Ombres de Nuit is frosty.

The second eyeshadow is a medium-dark, faded gray with a mostly matte finish, though it is sprinkled with sparkle–you just don’t see it show up or at a distance. The color payoff here was weak; it had a faded, almost dry quality to the end result. bareMinerals Chateau is more pigmented, more matte. MAC Scene is very similar, just more pigmented. Chanel Gris Exquis is similar but has no sparkle.

My biggest problem with this palette is in the composition, all quality comments aside. There’s simply not enough contrast between the two eyeshadows for a really great smoky eye. I felt like the colors together ended up looking so much like the other–instantly muddied (if mud was gray). I was originally interested to see how Giorgio Armani took a rather bold pairing (smoky eyes and red lips), but I can see now that the grays are subdued enough that the lips are more of a focal point.

The highlighter lasted just over seven hours, and after eight, there was some slight fading.  The lip wax lasted four hours, but it was a little drying to wear. Both eyeshadows were prone to blending out and disappearing (the lighter shade did this in a particularly frustrating fashion!), but once applied, they didn’t seem to fade much more. The eyeshadows appeared a little faded after eight hours without a primer (but no fading with a primer).

Giorgio Armani Moonlight White Palette

C+
7
Product
8
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8
Longevity
3.5
Application
78%
Total

Urban Decay Smoked Eyeliner Set

Urban Decay Smoked Eyeliner Set
Urban Decay Smoked Eyeliner Set

Make Smoky Eyes Pop with Colored Eyeliner

Urban Decay Smoked Eyeliner Set ($38.00 for 6 x 0.03 oz.) contains six travel-sized pencil eyeliners, including two set-exclusive shades: Uzi (gunmetal taupe with silver micro-glitter), Zero (zealous black), Demolition (deep brown matte), Smog (copper), Empire (dark eggplant satin), and Mainline (dark green/blue matte).

  • Uzi is a brown-tinged gray with a silver sparkle. It looks more silver-like when applied, but the sheerer or more smudged it is, the browner it looks. It has so-so color payoff in a single pass.
  • Zero is a medium-dark black with a mostly matte finish. It had good pigmentation in a single stroke, and it’s a good basic black.
  • Demolition is a medium-dark brown with subtle warm undertones and a matte finish. Like Zero, it’s a good basic shade of brown. The color payoff is decent in a single pass, but it layers well. MAC Brownborder is warmer, redder-toned. Milani Brown is similar; a touch cooler-toned.
  • Smog is a coppered-bronze with a pearly sheen. It had decent to good payoff in one go.
  • Empire is a violet purple with very, very fine blue micro-shimmer–the shimmer isn’t noticeable on, and it looks mostly matte when applied. It didn’t have great color payoff in a single pass, but it was buildable. MAC Permaplum is similar but more shimmery.
  • Mainline is a blue-teal with a matte finish. It had decent pigmentation in a single go, and it layered fairly well. Estee Lauder Electric Teal is more turquoise and lighter.

For many years, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencils were my favorite eyeliners, and while they’re not my absolute favorites, I still love them and use them regularly.  They wear eight hours on me without migrating or disappearing, and they come in a variety of colors, making the range versatile and easy to go to.  Urban Decay’s eyeliner sets are an excellent way to get multiple colors for a fraction of the price of them full-sized.  Keep in mind, full-size is 0.04 oz., and these are 0.03 oz. a pop–25% less but each liner costs $6.33 (compared to $19.00).  This set contains $85.50 worth of eyeliner, so it’s a great deal.  Urban Decay eyeliners are buildable, and they’ll look opaque when layered (go back-and-forth once or twice).

Urban Decay Smoked Eyeliner Set

A
9.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
94%
Total

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L’Oreal Sparkle Frenzy Infallible Lipgloss

L'Oreal Sparkle Frenzy Infallible Lipgloss
L’Oreal Sparkle Frenzy Infallible Lipgloss

A Budget-Friendly Sparkling Red Gloss for the Holidays

L’Oreal Sparkle Frenzy Infallible Lipgloss ($9.99 for 0.21 fl. oz.) is a bright red with gold and ruby red shimmer and sparkle. The underlying color is blue-based, but the addition of fiery gold shimmer makes it appear almost orange-toned at times. Dior Ceremony Red is bluer-based. MAC Ready to Roam is redder. MAC Totally Fab is more orange-toned. YSL Golden Red is similar but more orange-toned.

This is a new and limited edition shade for the holidays, which I grabbed at my local CVS a couple of weeks ago. I have a love/hate relationship with L’Oreal’s Infallible Lipglosses, because initially, I love, love them. They’re delightfully sparkly and pretty on, but they’re thin and have a tendency to feel gritty because of the thinness and high sparkle content. I feel like I fuss with my lips a bit more whenever I test one of these. There’s also this medicinal smell that sometimes reads “something sweet and fruity” or like menthol (honestly, it gives me an Icy/Hot kind of vibe, just more muted).

Sparkle Frenzy is semi-opaque and went on fairly evenly.  The tapered applicator holds a lot of product and allows for precision along the edges of the lip and the cupid’s bow.  This shade wore well for six hours, and it was in need of a touch-up after seven hours.  It can handle some drinking, but it won’t make it through a meal.  I love the way it looks, but I’m not keen on how it feels on: gritty, sticky, and a bit drying. While it wears well compared to the average gloss, L’Oreal advertises these as having eight-hour wear.

L'Oreal Infallible 8-HR Le Gloss Sparkle Frenzy
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8
Longevity
4.5
Application
86%
Total

Giorgio Armani #503 Red Fuchsia Lip Maestro

Giorgio Armani #503 Red Fuchsia Lip Maestro
Giorgio Armani #503 Red Fuchsia Lip Maestro

Red Velvet That Won’t Go to Your Hips

Giorgio Armani #503 Red Fuchsia Lip Maestro ($32.00 for 0.22 fl. oz.) is a bright, pinky-red with fuchsia shimmer. It’s more red than anything else, but there’s a definite pink edge and shimmer, which means it is also cool-toned. Guerlain Calligraphy is pinker. Dior Marilyn is also pinker, lighter. MAC Charmed, I’m Sure is cooler-toned and darker. Guerlain Luxure is less cool-toned. MAC Red Racer is very similar but has no shimmer. Guerlain Samsara is darker. Guerlain Vega is similar but has no shimmer.

The Lip Maestro formula is supposed to be “the first lip stain with a comfortable velvet texture and radiant finish” with “intense … color.” It is touted as having a non-sticky texture with “hours of hydration and comfort.” It seems like every brand has rolled out a variation on the matte-lip-in-liquid-form this season, but Giorgio Armani’s is noticeably different from the usual long-wearing, liquid lipstick in its dry down. It doesn’t cling or dry down fully; it’s movable and feels a lot like a really lightweight, thin lipstick. Because it is movable, it will transfer, but it is so pigmented that despite drinking and eating, much of the color lingers on and on. Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait is the most comparable formula that I can think of, but Guerlain’s formula still has more cling to it than this one.

When I tested this shade in particular for wear, it lasted for eight hours and left behind a very slight stain. It’s not at all drying, and it’s incredibly comfortable to wear and easily reapplied, as it doesn’t flake or peel off (fades like a normal lipstick). The texture is smooth and velvety; it’s really as if you put your favorite silicone-based face primer on your lips. That velvety consistency helps to fill in and minimize lip lines, too. It takes awhile for the natural sheen to fade away (an hour or so), so while it does end up with a matte finish, it’s more satin-like initially.

P.S. — Some retailers, like Nordstrom, are listing names for the Lip Maestro range, but neither my box nor the sticker on the tube indicates the name of the color. Giorgio Armani’s site lists this as “503 – red fuchsia.”  I believe this one is called “Code” based on matching up the images on Giorgio Armani’s site and Nordstrom.

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro Red Fuchsia (503)
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
99%
Total

Zoya Blaze Nail Lacquer

Zoya Blaze Nail Lacquer
Zoya Blaze Nail Lacquer

This is a Blazing Red

Zoya Blaze Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “cool-toned medium mulberry red with a high concentration of micro-fine diamond holographic glitter.” It’s a darkened, plum-kissed red with holographic glitter, which tends to pull pink, fuchsia, and purple. Because of the holographic glitter, I don’t know of an exact dupe for the color. Cult Nails Iconic comes the closest, but it is a little darker and has flakes in it. Essie Size matters is redder and has a cream finish. Dior Graphic Berry is close to the base color but is a cream. Illamasqua Charisma is darker and has micro-shimmer but nothing holographic.

The formula on this shade was good overall. I had no trouble getting opaque color with two coats of polish, which is true-to-description, as Zoya lists this as a full coverage color. The consistency wasn’t too thick or too thin, though it leans on the thicker side (but is in line with Zoya’s formula on average). It spread evenly and fluidly, without bubbling, streaking, or pooling along the sides.  I typically get a week of wear out of Zoya’s formula without chipping.

Zoya Nail Lacquer Blaze
Blaze
Blaze
A

Permanent

10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

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