Tuesday, October 20th, 2009


Guerlain Gemma Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick

Guerlain Gemma Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a dazzling confection of medium pink with a golden glimmer. It applies opaque in one to two layers, and it looks natural yet still more color pop than a my-lips-but-better (MLBB) shade. I’m really a big fan of how smoothly and evenly the Rouge Gs apply, and Gemma is no exception. I think this color is universally flattering, because it’s a nice, neutral medium pink. The gold shimmer adds a little oomph to the color, too. This is a shade you could wear year-round, so this is definitely going to make its way into my everyday lip color stash.

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: This is one of my favorite shades that I’ve seen from the Rouge G lineup — it’s a very pretty in pink shade with just the right amount of shimmer.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009


Chanel Aqualumiere Gloss: Canari, Colibri, Hirondelle

Chanel Aqualumiere Gloss ($27.00) will see an addition of three new, limited edition shades as part of Chanel’s Holiday Collection. The shades include Canari, which is a peachy-melon with golden-peach shimmer; Colibri, which is a shimmery champagne with iridescent shimmer; and Hirondelle, which is a medium pink with pink and gold shimmer.

All three Aqualumiere Glosses appearing with the holiday collection are very sheer shades. They pack pretty shimmer, but they don’t add much in the way of color. Canari goes on as a golden shimmer, which is pretty and definitely holiday-esque–I’d probably layer it over a red for a little extra glitz. Colibri makes my lips appear cooler and paler with iridescent silvery white shimmer. It actually reminds me a bit of MAC’s She-Zam Dazzleglass, but with a little more of a pinkish tone to it. Surprisingly, Hirondelle adds the most color to lips, and it appears as a soft, slightly milky pink with pink shimmer.

Aqualumiere Glosses are sheer, ultra glossy, and non-sticky. It comes with a brush-tipped applicator which makes for fairly easy application. I’m easygoing when it comes to gloss applicators – doe foot or brush, it’s all good! They’re not the most long-lasting lipgloss (I certainly wouldn’t dub them long-wearing) – I get about three hours of wear when I layer one on by itself. Over a lipstick, I do get better results (four to five hours overall for the average pairing). I still prefer some of the earlier released shades of Aqualumiere Glosses–I remember being really jazzed over them initially–but these new shades for holiday are a little too sheer for my liking. I’d suggest checking out permanent shades like Candy Glow and Ginger Shimmer instead.

Bottom Line: Aqualumiere Glosses are, by their nature, sheer, so I’m not going to knock a bunch of points off on that account.  These shades just aren’t to my particular taste, but if you like non-sticky, ultra glossy lipgloss, then Aqualumiere Glosses are always a good bet–just as long as you’re in the market for something on the sheerer side.

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of the feel and texture of Chanel’s Aqualumiere Glosses, you might want to peep the new shades. They’re very much on the sheer side, though!

Availability: October 2009 at CHANEL counters

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Monday, October 19th, 2009


Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Eye Liner in Indigo and Cocoa

Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Eye Liner ($8.99) is SK’s answer for longwearing, smudge-proof, budge-proof gel liner. It’s available in three shades: Cocoa (deep brown), Ebony (deep black), and Indigo (deep blue). I haven’t seen Ebony yet, but I did get a chance to play with Cocoa and Indigo.

Indigo is a rich, vibrant dark navy blue (I wouldn’t describe it as Indigo, personally) with slight shimmer but not a lot of shininess. It applies evenly and opaquely with an angled eyeliner brush (I like MAC’s 208). Cocoa is a dark, slightly warm-toned chocolate brown. It has a very creamy texture, and it has a slightly wet look to it, though it does dry down and has an overall matte finish. I’d say that Cocoa is comparable to MAC’s Rich Ground fluidline, but it has a more matte appearance and probably a touch warmer, too.

Both of these gel liners wear incredibly well throughout the day with no budging, smudging, or fading. They stay in place and last all day long on the lower and upper lash lines. They’re also thick and creamy and pack plenty of color, so you can easily create defined eyes with a flick of the wrist. The quality of these is most definitely comparable to Bobbi Brown’s Gel Liner and MAC’s Fluidlines. The packaging isn’t as nice (just feels a little cheap) as either of the high-end brands mentioned, but ultimately, it’s the product that counts.

Bottom Line: If you’re on a tight budget, or if you’ve merely wanted to try your hand at gel liners, Sonia Kashuk provides a solid option. The only real drawback to the line is that it is an extremely limited shade range and may be difficult to find, as it’s only available at some Targets and not currently available for purchase online.

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: For those who’ve eyed MAC’s Fluidlines or Bobbi Brown’s Gel Liners, Sonia Kashuk’s DDLGELs are awesome, affordable options.

Availability: Target (Local)

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Monday, October 19th, 2009


NYX Jumbo Lipstick Pencils: Hot Red, Hera

NYX Jumbo Lipstick Pencil ($3.50 each) is available in thirty different shades, as listed on the brand’s website, from browns to pinks to reds. I recently tested out two shades: Hot Red and Hera. Hot Red is a vibrant shade of orange-based tomato red, while Hera is a shimmery pink raspberry color.

I found Hot Red to apply quite opaque and has a very solid look to it. Hera, on the other hand, was sheerer and applied unevenly when used as an all-over lip color. Ironically, I didn’t find that the Jumbo Lip Pencils were stellar as lip liners, but they did make for quick and easy lip color. I’m not entirely sure what their official purpose is – is it to line lips and make them look defined? I want to say no, it can’t be, because they’re just too jumbo to work well for that purpose. The size alone makes them more suited for filling in lips entirely than actually providing definition. Plus, it is a Lipstick Pencil, so I think the idea is more of a two-in-one lipstick and liner combination, but it works better as a lipstick.

I found this to be true through trial as well, because neither shade I tested gave me clear, crisp definition. In fact, Hot Red feathered quite a bit, and I’d definitely use a lip liner before applying the pencil itself in the future. Hera didn’t feather as much, but it was decidedly uneven compared to Hot Red as well. I think the shimmer/frost of it makes for a less opaque product. The product itself feels fairly soft and creamy, with Hot Red definitely creamy and Hera only mildly creamy. I do, personally, detect a bit of “plasticness” to the taste/feel of the products, but it’s not really noticeable.

I really wish NYX’s website had a better showcase of color swatches, because the majority of the lip pencils actually look unappealing (seems like a lot of browns/mustards almost!), so I’m not sure if I’ll try additional shades or not. I also didn’t like how messy the pencil itself got when you use it directly – lip color kind of smudges and smears on the pencil edge, so it looks fairly dirty.

Bottom Line: For the price, I don’t think you could go wrong if you were looking for a product to use to create layered lip color. Alone, they didn’t have that precise application needed to really pull it off, but they could certainly be layered or used in conjunction with a lip liner for better definition.

  • Product: 24/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 3/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been curious about more opaque lip color, NYX Jumbo Lipstick Pencils are an affordable way to try out different shades. For those with naturally defined lips, these are an excellent choice for lip color. Others may want to double-up and use a lip liner for more intense shades like Hot Red.

Availability: NYXCosmetics.com

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Sunday, October 18th, 2009


Guerlain Gipsy Le Rouge G de Guerlain Lipstick ($45.00 for 0.12 oz.) is like a summer orange-based coral. It has just the slightest hint of pinkness to it to keep it from being overwhelmingly orange, but it still packs quite an orange punch. When I saw it in the tube, I wasn’t sure it would work, since it seems so orange-tastic, but on lips, it’s more subdued and wearable.

It’s like an orange-coral base color with orange-copper shimmer. It applies opaque in about one layer or so, and it wears well through the day (about four or five hours of wear-time). Like all Rouge Gs, the shimmer is fantastic — subtle, soft, but utterly dazzling. I think it’s ruby dust or something fancy like that, but it’s lovely. Personally, I’d love it if there was more pinkk to it, to make it more of a true coral, since orange and I don’t always get along well!

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Not my first choice in the Rouge G shade line-up, but if you like orange-based lipsticks, this shade may be more up your alley than mine.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection: The Round-Up

MAC Holiday is always a bit of an overwhelming event, just because of the sheer size of the offerings. Each year, MAC puts out a holiday colour collection, but they also have several separate, yet related, launches of more giftable items. From eyeshadow and lip palettes to mini-sized sets (which are due out November 5th), MAC has you covered. There are also some store exclusive sets, too.  To help make sure you haven’t missed anything, here’s a compilation of all of the reviews for holiday:

Colour Collection

Kits & Palettes

MAC also released lip, eye, and brush gift sets, which I won’t be reviewing in detail (if you’re looking for a review, this is all you’re going to get–sorry!), because it includes mostly repromoted or permanent products. Each lip bag does feature one new, limited edition lipstick. They’re all good bang for your buck — you’re probably getting more than you would if you purchased the items separately, so they make good gifts or opportunities to pick up permanent items you may have skipped over in lieu of something limited edition.

On MAC Holiday Brush Sets: The holiday brush sets are machine-made rather than man-made (or handmade) as the full size brushes are. This is primarily what accounts for the difference in quality between brush sets and full size brushes. I do recommend the brush sets inasmuch as you’re on a budget and you think you’ll use the majority of the brushes included in the set. I started off just owning a holiday brush set, but I’ve since gone on to replace all my brushes with full sized versions. I’m disappointed that the eye brush set doesn’t contain the 239, which I think is one of the most vital, must-have eye brushes ever. The brushes themselves are sleek handled and look really nice, though they do feel a little scratchier/rougher than the full size versions do.