Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick
Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick

Make Up For Ever #205 Lipstick ($19.00 for 0.13 oz.) is a deep, blue-based red. It’s fairly bright and most definitely noticeable, but it’s deep enough that it doesn’t come off too bright. It has a slightly glossy sheen, and it’s surprisingly hydrating. One of the best parts about Make Up For Ever’s lipsticks is how well they wear and how long they wear for. I find I get no less than four solid hours of amazing wear, but it easily extends into six or more, if I’ve only eaten a light meal or had one or two drinks. #205 is richly pigmented, goes opaque in just one layer, and it hugs lips.

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 24th, 2009

Affordable Skincare: Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing Cleanser ($6.99 for 5.5 fl. oz.) is a foam-based cleanser that feels lightweight, doesn’t dry out skin, and removes most makeup.

This review is one of those short and sweet kind, because the product itself is really simple.  Like many Aveeno products, it’s not about frills, it’s about meeting a need.  If I had to compare this to another high-end brand, I’d consider this similar to Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple (Foaming).  This one comes in a bottle-shaped container with a pump to distribute the foam cleanser.  I find one or two pumps is all I need to feel clean.

It is advertised as a makeup removing cleanser, not just a cleanser, and it’s unfortunate, because it doesn’t quite remove all makeup.  Whenever I have a makeup remover, I test it against the long-lasting power of MAC Fluidline.  This removed some, but it didn’t remove all.  It does remove the majority of my makeup (eyeshadow, non-waterproof mascara, foundation), but it’s not necessarily the best choice for heavier or more long-wearing products.

I do, personally, prefer to remove heavier makeup with an oil-based makeup remover (like Lancome’s Bi-Facil) before I do my nightly cleanser, so it’s not a big deal for me.  It’s just something that does take away from this product’s score, since it doesn’t completely live up to its claims.

It smells like something soft and clean and a little sweet–it reminded me of baby shampoo, to be honest.  When I was trying to describe it, all I could think of was baby shampoo as my descriptor.

Bottom Line: This is an affordable cleanser that works well for daily dirt and grime and light to medium makeup.  If you’re looking for a cleanser to remove heavy eyeliner, you may want to look elsewhere.   I actually really liked it, and I was pleasantly surprised by it overall.  I’ll probably be switching over my boyfriend over to this from Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple when he runs out.  (Well, I’m going to have to see if Aveeno offers a foaming cleanser in this product line that doesn’t have “makeup remover” on it!)

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For an easy, lightweight cleanser that works well on daily dirt and build-up, this one is worth checking out!

Availability: ULTA

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick
Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick

The Scarlet Season: Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick

Chanel Passion Rouge Allure Lipstick ($30.00 for 0.12 oz.) is a richly pigmented, medium bright red that leans only slightly blue, but otherwise reads fairly neutral on my lips. It applies easily and evenly (though it should be worn with a lip liner to keep it inside the lines so-to-speak) and has a glossy sheen. I like how hydrating the Rouge Allure formula is, and I can appreciate the high level of pigmentation that accompanies it, too. It doesn’t compete against Chanel’s Dragon for me, but it’s a very nice, more color and no shimmer kind of red lip color that’s nice on other occasions.

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 23rd, 2009


NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: Pop Life & Toudra

NARS Pop Life & Toudra Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($24.00 for 0.086 oz.) are two new shades from NARS’ Holiday Collection.  These are jumbo-sized lip pencils that are designed to be used more like a lipstick than a lip pencil.  The product is “enriched with Vitamin E” and is designed to last for “hours.”  NARS describes Toudra as a “richly pigmented Barolo wine shade is creamy, long-lasting and matte for strong, seamless color and a perfectly defined pout,” while Pop life is a “bold, bright and modernly matte holly–red hue that slips on with a velvety texture – a new holiday staple.”

Toudra is a bronzy, not quite coppery, brown-based wine.  It’s not really what I’d think of when someone tells me it’s a wine shade, though.  It’s in there, and yet it’s distinctly different.  It has a bit of a frosty/shimmery look, and I didn’t find it applied as easily as some other Velvet Matte Lip Pencils have in the past.  It even felt a little gritty, and dare I say… drying?  (Which these are specifically stated to not be!)  It is reasonably pigmented, though since it doesn’t apply smoothly, you end up using a fair amount of product get an even, full coverage look.

Pop Life looks very holiday-red when you check out the product, but on my lips, it was definitely not the case.  It was more of a brightened up orange-based coral shade.  It was smoother and gave a better look overall compared to Toudra, but even this still felt a little drying to me.  I didn’t get “hydrating” when testing either of these shades out myself.   If you’re looking for a red, you might consider Dragon Girl or Cruella instead–both of which are a lot redder than Pop Life.

These aren’t really your best bang for your buck lip product, considering you only get 0.086 oz. for $24–a NARS lipstick contains 0.12 oz. but also costs $24.00.  NARS has plenty of pigmented lipsticks in their collection (along with sheer shades, of course), so I’d probably start there in a lip color hunt.  I like these, in terms of the actual product (and discounting the price differential), more than NYX’s Jumbo Lip Pencils, because they feel a little more high quality and they do last much longer on me (about four to five hours).

Bottom Line: I don’t love the new shades from holiday.  I don’t own any of the permanent shades, but I’ve tested them in-store and have been more drawn to them there than I was when I swatched these two (and liked them even less when I actually used them!).  Neither color really pops for me, and I’m not sure why these aren’t as hydrating as NARS touts the product line to be.

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

  • Product: 21/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: I’d recommend trying these in-store before purchasing, to see if the texture meets your expectations!

Availability: Beauty.com, NARS Cosmetics, Sephora

See swatchesContinue reading →

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss
Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss

The Scarlet Season: Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss

Cosmoholic Rockstar Red Lip Gloss ($20.00 for 0.15 oz.) is a glossy semi-opaque red with pink tones. I had never heard of Cosmoholic prior to trying out this shade, and I was pleasantly surprised at the pigmentation! After reading up on Cosmoholic’s back story, I learned that their lip glosses are designed to be liquid lipsticks, so they’re supposed to be heavily pigmented. The gloss itself is non-sticky, contains no shimmer, and lasts about four hours on me and leaves a just-bitten stain behind. It has a sweet vanilla scent that doesn’t read synthetic, though a lil’ extra sweet for my personal taste (but it’s not a bad thing). The gloss also contains vitamin E, and this gloss definitely didn’t dry out my lips while I wore it!

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 22nd, 2009

China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer
China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer

Glitter Polish: China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer

China Glaze Cleopatra Nail Lacquer ($3.50 to $6.00) is a warmed-up yellow gold with small-sized gold particle glitter with a little mix of multi-colored shimmer. On my nails, it read more yellow gold and I didn’t notice much of the holographic glitter.

It’s kind of the opposite of Medallion, which is more of a cool-toned antique gold in comparison. Between the two of them, I do prefer Cleopatra with my skin tone — it really just warms me up.

This is also glitter suspended in a clear base, so it can work nicely as a glitter top coat over your favorite nail polish or worn alone for a sheerer look. It took me three coats to achieve the results in the swatches, but I could have waited a little longer in-between coats to get a more opaque look. (I was trying to get it done before my boyfriend came back to the office!)

It’s not as smooth as the average China Glaze lacquer, and it has the same consistency and feel of Medallion–a little gritty, not the easiest to apply, but it’s workable and not bad for a glitter polish.  It removes like the average glitter polish.  If I could improve it, I’d definitely wish for a smoother application–just one that spread the glitter evenly and quickly, and perhaps, a faster drying time.

From the various shades I’ve tried from China Glaze’s fifty new glitter lacquers, Cleopatra is my favorite! It’s just the right shade of gold that I’m automatically drawn to–plus, it complements my skin tone quite well.

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

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Looking for a warm gold, totally blinged out lacquer? Cleopatra might be it.

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

See close-upsContinue reading →