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 →

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass

MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass

The Scarlet Season: MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass

MAC Cult of Cherry Lipglass ($14.00 for 0.17 oz.) is a semi-opaque ruby red with gold shimmer laced throughout. When worn alone (on my lips), it actually brings out the natural pink in my lips while adding some redness to it. It isn’t a bright, true red, though, even though it may look so in the tube. I love to layer Cult of Cherry over other red lipsticks, though, because it really makes the lipstick pop. For instance, one pairing I like a lot is Queen’s Sin + Cult of Cherry!  This was a limited edition shade available from the Cult of Cherry launch back in 2008, but you may be able to find it at a CCO or eBay.

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 →

Monday, November 16th, 2009


China Glaze Ruby Pumps Nail Lacquer

China Glaze Wizard of Ohh Ahz Collection

China Glaze Wizard of Ohh Ahz Collection debuts this November, for the holiday season. The collection consists of six shades: Ruby Pumps (an all time red glitter favorite), The Ten Man (silver frost with specks of micro silver glitter), Cowardly Lyin’ (gold frost with specks of gold micro glitter), Good Witch (pink frost with specks of pink micro glitter), C-C-Courage (purple frost with specks of purple micro glitter), and Dorothy Who? (blue polish with massive amounts of silver and blue glitter).

It’s a re-release of a collection by the same name from 2001. I never owned the original set, so I couldn’t tell you if there’s any variance between the two. The materials I received said it was “very similar to the original version that was released in 2001,” so I imagine they may have revamped or improved their formula in the past eight years and that’s why they’re not identical.

  • Ruby Pumps is a gorgeous shade of ruby red with lots of deeper red shimmer particles laced throughout. It’s a shade that catches light well and just sparkles. Ruby Pumps has always been one of my favorite shades by China Glaze; it’s also included in the Love You Snow Much set for holiday. This applies opaquely with two medium-thick coats and goes on smoothly.
  • The Ten Man is a semi-sheer slightly silvered clear base with silver sparkle. I found this one was hard to make opaque, even with three medium-thick coats. The shimmer didn’t seem to apply as uniformly as the other five in this launch, but I like the shade itself. I’d probably wait longer between coats and do thicker coats as well, perhaps even use a silver or grayish base for a more opaque look.
  • Cowardly Lyin’ is a bright, yellow-based metallic gold base with gold shimmer. Like The Ten Man, I found this one was harder to get to be completely opaque (you can see the tip of my nail). It’s more opaque than The Ten Man, but I’d, personally, prefer a more opaque base. I really like the color, though – it’s a very true gold; it reminds me of lions, for sure, and it’s perfect for the holidays.
  • Good Witch is a slightly cool paled down rosy pink with pink sparkle. The pink sparkle in this one seemed a little chunkier than some of the others, which isn’t a problem for me, but just something I noted. This one went opaque in three medium-thick coats.
  • C-C-Courage is a deep, rich purple with a cool undertone. It’s a dark purple base with lighter icy purple and silver sparkle. This one only needed two medium-thick coats to look opaque (even one gets you close).
  • Dorothy Who? is an oceanic blue with lighter and deeper blue sparkle. I actually thought this one was particularly stunning in person! I wasn’t so sure at first, when I saw the bottle, but it really is lovely. It sparkles quite nicely when the light hits it. It takes at least three medium-thick coats to get an opaque look, perhaps even three thicker coats.

Overall, I really liked the formula, texture, and look of the shades included in this collection. I absolutely loved Ruby Pumps, Cowardly Lyin’, and Dorothy Who? — those would be my top three picks out of the six. While I normally love, love China Glaze and its formula, I do feel that a lot of these run on the sheerer side.  Ruby Pumps and C-C-Courage are the biggest exceptions to this, as they meet my expectations from China Glaze!

I have to say this, though: why is there no Emerald City? I know China Glaze has Emerald Sparkle, which would have certainly been fitting to this launch. I don’t know; I really expected to see a green in a collection about the Wizard of Oz, you know? Kind of left me hanging in that respect.

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

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

Recommendation:  If you’re looking to add some sparkle–but not glitter–China Glaze’s Wizard of Ohh Ahz Collection has you covered!

Availability:  November 2009

See close-ups and swatches of the other five shadesContinue reading →

Monday, November 16th, 2009


NYX Goddess of the Night Lip Gloss in Deep Bronze

Lipgloss on a Budget: NYX Deep Bronze Lip Gloss

NYX Goddess of the Night Lip Gloss in Deep Bronze ($5.00 for 0.53 fl. oz.) is just one of sixty shades (from what I counted on NYX‘s website) available in the Lipgloss with Mega Shine collection. Deep Bronze is part of the “Goddess of the Night” collection. It’s a deep plum burgundy with burnt burgundy and copper shimmer through it.

The formula has a very glossy, almost frosty look, and it goes on semi-opaque–it’s not completely opaque, but it certainly is noticeable.  I consider it pretty pigmented for a lip gloss, so that was a pleasant and happy surprise!  The gloss itself is non-sticky, thick without being gooey, and it doesn’t feel drying when you wear it.  The shade range is incredible, and you’re sure to find at least one or two that catches your eye.  I wish NYX represented their colors with more true-to-life photos (rather than flat, graphical color swatches), because it would make purchasing online easier.

I did notice that it didn’t last as long as the average gloss does on me; it went about two hours before I felt I needed to reapply, as opposed to my typical gloss wear-time of four hours. I also found that, at least in this deeper shade, the color did have a tendency to settle into the lines of my lips. I like these glosses, and I think that aside from the wearing time, the formula and product are certainly well worth the five dollar price tag.  It’s not a big deal to reapply, because it does fade evenly and doesn’t leave any rings behind, so reapply and be on your way.  (However, if you need long-wearing lip color, these won’t meet that need.)

For me, the only part I really had trouble with was the very synthetic, almost plastic scent of sweetened cherries. I know that they were going for a cherry scent, but it just read synthetic and almost as if it went bad.  The scent doesn’t linger, thankfully, though so just breathe through your mouth while applying! :) I have also noticed that my NYX glosses and lipsticks don’t last as long on the shelf as my other lipsticks (they noticeably change in smell/texture after a year or so)–I had some NYX glosses from a year or so ago, but Deep Bronze is new. I also wish the applicator grabbed more product, because I felt like I had to get a few swipes to get the amount I needed for the best coverage.

Bottom Line: These are good glosses and worth checking out, partially because they are so affordable.  The formula itself (aside from wear-time and the scent) wears well, feels nice on lips, and packs some pigmentation. If they only last a year, it’s not a big deal to chuck it and replace it the next (if you find yourself wanting it again), since they’re so inexpensive. It’s also a nice way to play and experiment with colors without blowing your budget–not to mention there’s an extensive selection of shades to choose from!

NYX is one of my favorite brands if you’re on a tight budget (and certainly worth looking into even if you aren’t on a tight budget!). NYX also regularly has these ridiculous blowout sales where you can nab a ton of product for 50-80% off the original price. For example, right now they’re offering a bundle of sixty lipsticks for a mere $48. Seriously. $48!  The sales change regularly, so you never know what they might offer next!

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

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

Recommendation: For an affordable non-sticky, high gloss lip gloss, NYX has enough shades to keep you busy!

Availability: NYX

See swatchesContinue reading →

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Clinique Parisian Red Lipstick
Clinique Parisian Red Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Clinique Parisian Red Lipstick

Clinique Parisian Red Lipstick ($14.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a glossy, just-bitten red with pinky tones. Parisian Red is part of Clinique’s Butter Shine Lipstick line-up, which is described as “wearable color” with sheer to moderate coverage. Parisian Red was a limited edition shade from Clinique’s holiday collection last year, but you can still find Parisian Red at Nordstrom! :) The formula itself is creamy, smooth, and incredibly moisturizing. It does feel like a very glossy lipstick, actually. The color itself is opaque enough to give lips plenty of pop, but they’re not completely opaque. I really love this particular shade of red for the formula itself, because it’s so easy and comfortable to wear.

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 →

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

For Normal-to-Dry Skin: Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer

Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer ($32.50 for 1.40 fl. oz.) is designed for normal-to-dry skin types and contains SPF 6. It’s supposed to give skin “24-hour intensive moisturiz[ation].” According to Korres, this moisturizer also contains Wild Rose oil, which “diminishes fine lines, hyper- pigmentation and resurfaces skin, revealing a soft and radiant complexion” along with vitiamin C to “inhibit free radical damage and brighten skin” and Phytic Acid, “a natural skin lightener.” Two other ingredients Korres calls out specifically are Grape Seed extract (rich in VItamin E) and olive oil. (You can see a full ingredient list at Korres’ website.)

Korres is a brand that considers themselves natural, and this product (based on Korres‘ website) has 85.1% natural content, and it does not contain petrochemicals, mineral oil, silicones, parabens, sulphates, or synthetic dyes. It does contain fragrance, alcohol, and nuts. It is suitable for vegans and contains no animal by-products or undergone animal testing. Also, even though it talks about diminishing fine lines, it doesn’t contain any retinol or AHAs (it’s purely from the vitamin C).

I started using Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer immediately after I finished testing their Thyme & Honey Cream, which I liked but didn’t love. I definitely liked the feel, scent, and results of Wild Rose better than the Thyme & Honey Cream. I felt like this had a very subtle scent of rose, but it was much less cloying (even when you sniff directly from the jar) than the honey scent from the other moisturizer.  I didn’t mind the honey scent since it didn’t linger, but it wasn’t exactly my favorite.

My favorite part about this moisturizer it is it applies very quickly, feels lightweight, and it does provide good hydration throughout the day. I don’t typically feel dry with this moisturizer at all, which is a great thing. However, I’ve noticed as I’ve concluded my testing phase (five weeks), I do have some drier spots–in the same places where I typically get them–so I think it’s about time for me to switch to a more moisturizing night-time moisturizer. While I was using this, I also felt like I wasn’t as oily at the end of the day, either.

I was using this AM and PM (I’ve been too lazy to come up with a dual regimen, I fail!), and it lasted me approximately five weeks. With the SPF (even though it’s minimal) in this product, I would consider it more of a morning moisturizer, and if it’s used strictly during the morning, you’ll find a jar lasts you two to three months, which is typical of a 1 oz. jar (from my experience). As far as pricing and value go, I think it’s about on par with mid-range skin care, and I get enough usage out of one jar to merit the $32.50 price tag.

I really like the Korres’ brand, and I like their mission and how they identify certain products. They also have a great labeling system and make it easier to understand what you’re getting (or not getting!) in your skincare. I do wish they’d use an airless pump (or perhaps a tube) for their moisturizer to keep it more hygienic, but I’ve personally been able to change my behavior and be sure to use open-jars more hygienically with a clean spatula.

I had a good experience with this moisturizer, and it kept and made my skin look smooth and like it had a glow from within. I’m not sure if I’ll repurchase this in the future, even though I liked it, because it didn’t do anything for my acne (it didn’t make it worse–it just didn’t eliminate it). It’s not technically supposed to, but it’s definitely something I’d love to find in a daily moisturizer so the hunt continues!

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you have normal-to-dry skin and are looking for a fast-absorbing, lightweight daily morning moisturizer, you may find Korres Wild Rose Moisturizer to be right up your alley.

Availability: Beauty.com, KorresUSA.com, Sephora