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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

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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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Giorgio Armani Moonlight Beige Palette

Giorgio Armani Moonlight Beige Palette
Giorgio Armani Moonlight Beige Palette

Let the Moonlight Bathe You in Beige

Giorgio Armani Moonlight Beige Palette ($88.00 for 0.41 oz.) consists of a highlighter, two eyeshadows, and lip wax housed in a glossy black compact with a mirror and two sponge-tipped applicators. Giorgio Armani describes the shades as, “Beige shimmer powder joins taupe eyeshadows that intensify gradually, along with Beige lip wax for sheer, natural elegance.”

The highlighter is a pale white-beige with a silver-ish sparkle. There is definitely an overlay of silver glitter that dusts away within the first use (and likely, for the better, since the glitter particles are large). I removed this overlay before I swatched and applied the product. It has a shimmer-sheen finish where a little bit of shimmer is detectable, but it creates mostly a glow-y sheen on the skin. The texture was soft and finely-milled, so it blended easily and sat well on the skin without emphasizing pores or the natural texture. NARS Albatross has more of a golden sheen. MAC Lightscapade is similar but has a stronger sheen. MAC Truth & Light is a touch warmer. MAC Too Chic is frostier.

The first eyeshadow is a soft taupe that leans gray. It has a satin-like finish, and the color payoff is good. Chane Variation is grayer, darker. NARS Vent Glace is warmer, browner. bareMinerals Suspense is darker, grayer. Estee Lauder Tempting Mocha is darker.

The second eyeshadow is a subdued medium-dark brown with just a hint of gray. It has a mostly matte finish with a touch of satiny sheen. The color payoff seemed so-so, but on the lid, it was better–good overall. MAC Omega is lighter. Chanel Premier Regard is a smidgen darker and grayer. MAC Camo is lighter.

The lip wax is sheer, as described; it is a warm peach-beige with a soft, frosted sheen. When applied, it really just lightened my natural lip color and added a soft, frosted sheen. As far as dupes go, any sheer beige lipstick will get you close, assuming you have a natural lip color similar to mine. It had more color than MAC Tropical Mist. RevlonC reme Brulee is comparable in color, though it is a bit more pigmented.  I didn’t love the formula of this, as it is very unforgiving on the lips, since the texture is on the drier side.

The eyeshadows wore for eight hours without fading or creasing (without a primer).  They were incredibly easy to apply and blended out beautifully.  The highlighter lasted for eight hours with minor fading along the edges.  The lip wax lasted two hours on me from what I could tell–something as sheer as this harder to determine!

Overall, I like the palette, but I’m not in love.  The price point is heart-wrenching, and so I need to be in love with the entire palette to get excited about it.  The eyeshadows performed better when I was applying them, and as they’re finely-milled and very, very soft, they can become sheer if blended out enough (which is what happened when I swatched them).  The whole look this palette creates is soft and natural; very work-friendly and nearly foolproof to create.

Giorgio Armani Moonlight Beige Palette

B+
8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
89%
Total

Color Club Show Time Nail Lacquer

Color Club Show Time Nail Lacquer
Color Club Show Time Nail Lacquer

Baby, It’s Show Time!

Color Club Show Time Nail Lacquer ($8.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “dark gray metallic.” It’s a rich, dark charcoal gray-black with silver-gray and icy teal shimmer. It’s close to being black, but there’s enough lightness in it that when paired with the gray shimmer, makes it look not-quite-black. Chanel Storm is a bit lighter and the shimmer is much more subdued. Nubar Midnight is matte in finish, and it has a lighter gray base color.  Neither is all that similar to Show Time, though.

It’s opaque in two coats, and the formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, so I didn’t have any trouble applying it.  The polish flowed evenly across the nail without streaking or bubbling.  It dried down in about the average time, but it’s forgiving if you start applying the second coat while the first is still drying down.  I typically get a week of wear out of Color Club’s formula with minor tip wear but no chipping.

Color Club Nail Lacquer Show Time
Show Time
Show Time
A

Permanent

9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
96%
Total

philosophy The Cookbook Collection (2012) Review & Photos


philosophy The Cookbook Collection

Cook Up Some Holiday Treats

philosophy The Cookbook Collection ($38.00 for 5 x 6 fl. oz.) includes five holiday-themed scents in philosophy’s 3-in-1 gel, which can be used as shampoo, shower gel, or bubble bath. Each year, they put out The Cookbook, and it’s a great gift to give/receive. I actually like philosophy’s smaller bottles, because they use a softer, frosted plastic, which makes it easier to squeeze out the product, compared to the larger bottles, which use a harder, clear plastic.

  • Old Fashioned Eggnog is sweet and creamy with lots of vanilla and a smidgen of spice.
  • Hot Buttered Rum is warm, buttery, and caramel-like sweetness. It was the sweetest, most powerful scent out of the five.
  • Peppermint Bark sweetened chocolate and mint–it’s exactly as described (well, all of these are!).
  • Cinnamon Buns is creamy with sugar and cinnamon. It’s not quite as potent as the smell when you walk by a Cinnabon, but it’s similar.
  • Spicy Pear Cobbler is all tart, crisp pear.  I didn’t get the cobbler part; it doesn’t smell like a baked good, just fruity with more tartness than sweetness.  It was the scent that I liked the most, actually, out of the five–very refreshing to use in the morning.

These are weakest as shampoos; they cleanse, but I feel like they’re really basic and probably won’t be a go-to shampoo for anyone with picky hair.  They definitely don’t lather as much as a shampoo as they do as a bubble bath or shower gel.  I very rarely take baths, so I tend to use these as shower gels.   It takes two of us a couple of months to get through one 16 fl. oz. bottle–about a month for these smaller ones–so the cost-per-use stretches quite a bit.  The formula lathers up well, rinses cleanly off without drying out the skin, and they really scent up the shower.  The scents do not linger on the skin once washed out, which may be something you want or don’t want.

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