Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Holiday Sparkle with Prescriptives

Prescriptives Cool Lustre Shimmer Cheek Color ($24.00 for 0.17 oz.) is a gorgeous plummy pink with gold sparkle. It instantly reminded me of MAC’s Stark Naked Blush (swatch. They are very similar, though not exactly the same — but if you’ve always wanted Stark Naked (one of my favorite blushes!), this one is a nice substitute, even if it is also limited edition.

The texture of Cool Lustre is smooth, soft, and the color is noticeable. It’s not ultra pigmented like NARS’ blushes, but it has just the right amount of pigmentation to add plenty of pop to your cheeks–plus, you can always layer for deeper color.

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’ve been looking for a dupe for MAC’s Stark Naked Blush or enjoy yourself a cool-toned plum… you might like this!

Availability: Nordstrom, Prescriptives

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Sally Hansen Garnet Lipstick
Sally Hansen Garnet Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Sally Hansen Garnet Lipstick

Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Garnet Lipstick ($4.99) is a glossy, bright raspberry red — it’s not even what I’d really think of when I think raspberry, because it seems so much redder, but it’s clear that there are some strong signs of pinkness to this shade. Sally Hansen’s Color Comfort Lip Color is one of my favorite drugstore lipstick brands to turn to; they’re moisturizing, beautiful, and easy to apply. The color is rich and lasts a good four hours on me.

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 photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009


Laura Mercier Mocha Rouge Lip Velvet

Long-Lasting Lip Color: Laura Mercier Lip Velvet

Laura Mercier Mocha Rouge Lip Velvet ($22.00) is a brightened up adobe brown–there may be a little redness to it, but not too much warmth–it’s not the easiest color to describe. It’s very neutral, despite its richness in pigmentation.

Lip Velvets are long-wearing liquid lipsticks. If you’ve been around the beauty-sphere for a bit, MAC’s Lac Lusters, which have been long discontinued. I know some of you are wondering how it compares to my beloved Chanel Rouge Allure Laques, and I don’t think they’re the same product. Oh, they’re most certainly similar–but they have different qualities that may appeal to you.

Lip Velvet is lightly creamy, very smooth, and intensely pigmented. It comes with a doe-foot wand applicator that’s fairly easy to use, but with the color richness, it’s best to apply with a mirror. The formula is also much more matte (I’d call it semi-matte, though) with some of the dryness associated with mattes. The product feels fairly dry on the lips, but it’s not actually drying. It’s not particularly hydrating, but it seems to retain whatever moisture you already had in your lips before applying it–making it no better or worse.

The color hugs and clings to lips and gives me around six hours of wear, plus a residual stain that lingers thereafter. This really is a long-wearing product that doesn’t dry your lips out (but just be prepared for it to feel a little… well, matte and dry!), which is a huge plus and often a failing of long-wear products. It goes on opaque in just one swipe, so you don’t need much product at all to get full-coverage color. The finish isn’t quite matte, as it does have a slightly glossy sheen, but it’s mostly matte.

Chanel Rouge Allure Laques are more moisturizing and not quite as thick, plus they’re very much glossy. There’s no “matte” in Rouge Allure Laque; it’s shimmery, glossy color. I think just the difference in finish really makes them two different products, or at the very least, products to consider together rather than trying to pick one over the other.

Lip Velvet’s do beat Chanel on wearing time, though – they certainly last longer, and even the lighter shades tend to persist for hours. I hope Laura Mercier will add some more shades that *pop* during 2010–the existing shade range is a bit everyday, neutral, and work-safe. (Not bad things, but I’d love to see more variation!)

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: For long-wearing lip color that doesn’t dry out lips but lasts for hours, Laura Mercier’s Lip Velvets are a good place to start.

Availability: Blue Mercury

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Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

MAC Dare You Lipstick
MAC Dare You Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: MAC Dare You Lipstick

MAC Dare You Lipstick ($14.00) is a gorgeous shade of shimmering ruby red. It’s a deep ruby red with brighter ruby red shimmer laced throughout. It’s incredibly pigmented, and it looks opaque with just one layer. Dare You feels creamy, moisturizing, and it lasts a good four to six hours on my lips. It’s really a stunning red from MAC’s permanent line-up, and if I may–also an overlooked shade!

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 photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Lipstick
Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Lipstick

Dolce & Gabbana Ruby Shine Lipstick ($30.00) is a beautiful, shimmery raspberry red lip color. It’s a semi-sheer lipstick formula, but I actually found it to be quite opaque. I mean, if this is semi-sheer, I wish all semi-sheer lipsticks were gave me this kind of coverage! :) It has lovely pinky-raspberry shimmer that’s subtle but still sparkles in the light. The feeling, texture, and payoff of this lipstick reminds me a bit of Guerlain’s Rouge G formula (and it’s $15 less!)–smooth, moisturizing, and even.

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 photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Essie Sweet Time of the Year Collection

Essie Sweet Time of the Year Collection for Winter 2009

For winter, Essie put out a trio of shades: Mint Candy Apple, Rock Candy, and Lollipop. A sweet lil’ treat–something I’d consider putting in someone’s stocking this year. Two of the three are distinct creme finishes, while one is more of a sheer, though still creamy looking. The only shade I really liked was Mint Candy Apple; it’s unique enough to merit a purchase, and it’s fun and wearable as well. The other two just seem like shades I’ve seen before, so they’re must-haves.

All swatches shown are two-coats with a China Glaze base coat and Zoya top coat.

  • Mint Candy Apple is a creamy aqua. I know there’s supposed to be green in it, but it’s quite faint. It really just reads aqua to me–maybe a smidgen of green at best. I applied one thin (streaky!) coat as my first coat, and then I layered on a medium-thick second coat and away we went. I just didn’t really have any trouble with the application like I had heard from others. This is much paler, lighter, and more aqua than For Audrey (which is much bluer), nor is it remotely close to MAC’s Peppermint Patti (which is much greener). Against China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint, it’s also not a dupe — it’s significantly bluer, actually — though they have the same lightness/paleness, just one runs more aqua and the other more of a minty green.
  • Rock Candy is a sheer, lightly creamy pink. It’s not opaque, and it has a milky pink look to it. This is definitely what comes to mind when I think of Essie–it’s nice, and it’s certainly flattering (even my Dad would like it, probably–because he wouldn’t even notice it!, just not terribly unique to me.
  • Lollipop is a bright red creme. It’s incredibly bright and bold! It’s more of an orange-based red than a blue-based red, which is nice to see, as many holiday reds run cooler (or bluer, if you’d like). It also has this nice kind of punchy sheen/glow to it that’s interesting.

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:  Three sweet treats from Essie for winter — if any of these shades grab you, they’re all worthy of a peek–it’s just a matter of your color tastes!

Availability: 8ty8beauty.com, Head2ToeBeauty.com, Transdesign.com

See more photos and swatches! Continue reading →