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Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips


Holiday Gift Guide: Must-Have Beauty Products for Lips

One of the things I am most thankful for is that by becoming a beauty blogger and having the opportunity to try so may different products is that it’s opened up my eyes to how many fantastic brands and formulas there are. Not every brand does everything perfectly, and there are a lot of great formulas that are just varying degrees of great. Picking a favorite really comes down to a less quantifiable factor, I think. It might be the color range, packaging, scent, or the overall feel. These are all lip products I personally recommend from brands’ permanent ranges.

Lip Balms/Treatments

  • Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm ($7.00) is nice for those who prefer a thinner balm with no shine. It’s very, very slick and thin on the lips, but it does a good job at moisturizing.
  • Jack Black Lip Therapy Lip Balm ($7.50) is my all-time favorite lip balm, and I have them all over the house–at my desk, purse, pocket, nightstand–and a stock pile of them in reserve. So, so hydrating and comfortable to wear. My favorite flavor is Lemon & Chamomile, with Original as a runner-up.
  • Philosophy Lip Shines ($10.00) are kind of a balm, kind of a lip balm; because they tend to run so sheer and have the thicker feel of a balm, I’m going to go with it as a lip balm! I like that they’re fragranced with Philosophy’s signature scents plus have some shimmer and shine.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50) is a decadent balm that works well but wears away quickly–I like the product, not so much the price tag and how quickly it finishes, though! They do have tinted versions, though, and they’re some of the better lip stains because they’re more hydrating, but they are prone to uneven fading.
  • Sara Happ The Lip Scrub ($24.00) is my favorite lip scrub, because it holds together well, exfoliates lips, and leaves them feeling soft and moisturized.
  • Guerlain Terracotta Baume Au Couer Lip Balm ($30.00) is tinted and feels like butter on lips; it wears for a few hours before disappearing, but it’s moisturizing the entire time.
  • La Mer The Lip Balm ($45.00) is probably the priciest lip balm I’ve ever used, but it really does work well. It hydrates lips while still wearing well (you won’t have to reapply every hour).

Lipsticks

  • CoverGirl Lip Perfection ($6.99) is really rich in color, glides on easily, and wears for hours. The downside is the scent, so if you’re super sensitive to smells, you might look elsewhere, but these perform well overall.
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lipsticks ($8.29) is a good go-to for a more affordable lipstick brand, and of course, like other drugstore brands, you can catch it on sale for much less than $8 a pop. I find the creamier shades are the best!
  • MAC Lipsticks ($14.50) straddle that price point that doesn’t quite break the bank, feels a little more high-end than some drugstore brands, and is an all-around good formula. Their range is one of the most extensive that I know of, and with that, does come some inconsistency–not every single shade is as great as the last, but they do have several favorites. Some of these include Angel, Russian Red, Girl About Town, Crosswires, Sweetie, Cosmo, Plumful, and Media–just to scratch the surface.
  • Korres Mango Butter Lipsticks ($18.00) are lightweight, comfortable to wear, and come with a fairly glossy finish and semi-sheer color. Shades like Natural Pink and Natural Purple are really easy to wear.
  • Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colors ($23.00) are long-wearing, opaque, and comfortable to wear. For cooler skin tones, try Bare Pink, Cosmic Raspberry, and Mod Pink. For warmer skin tones, try Cosmic Raspberry, Soft Coral, and Sweet Nectar.
  • Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipsticks ($30.00) are creamy, moisturizing, and long-wearing while delivering good color coverage in over forty different shades. Shades like #400, 402, 501, and 506 are really easy to wear on most skin tones.
  • Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipsticks ($30.00) are rich in color and long on wear. For cooler complexions, I think shades like Ballet, Edition, and Fresco would work. For warmer complexions, try Edition, Muse, and Whisper.
  • Dior Rouge Dior Lip Colors ($32.00) is long-wearing and moisturizing with a wide range of shades. For warmer complexions, I recommend shades like Pink Songe, Andalouse, and Red Muse. For cooler complexions, I recommend Pink Caprice, Devilish Pink, and Daisy Plum.
  • Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipsticks ($35.00) come really close to the Rouge G formula, but they are slightly less creamy, sometimes less opaque, and a smidgen less hydrating. They are really close but there is a noticeable difference on lips. I still really love the formula, though! For cooler complexions, I recommend Samsara, Cherry Blossom, and Champs Elysees. For warmer complexions, I recommend Violette de Mad, Rouge d’Enfer, and Coque d’Or.
  • Guerlain Rouge G Lipsticks ($47.00) is my all-time favorite lipstick formula, because it’s long-wearing, opaque, moisturizing, and the color range is really nuanced. For cooler complexions, I like Galia, Greta, Gabrielle, and Grenade. For warmer complexions, I like Galante, Gala, Gipsy, and Ginger.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Silky Lipstick ($52.00) feels like glossy silk on the lips; it’s super moisturizing and has a glossy shine. It wears well on me, too, despite how creamy it is. The shade range is really wearable and mostly universal, too.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Extra Rich Lipstick ($60.00) is a decadent formula that’s rich in color, comfortable to wear, long-wearing, and has a formula that helps to plump and fill lip lines giving lips a smoother look. It’s totally over the top, but it’s an excellent formula, so you’re not just paying for brand name/packaging here.

Lipglosses

  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipglosses ($6.99) is a budget-friendly shimmery gloss that’s mostly sheer but delivers a fair amount of sparkle and dazzle. Like other sheer formulas, the range should work across skin tones.
  • Korres Cherry Oil Lipglosses ($17.00) are hydrating and comfortable tow ear, and about half the range delivers richer color, while others are sheerer (and are described as such). My favorites are #52, #52, and #22.
  • Make Up For Ever Lab Shine Lipglosses ($18.00) is a really wide range of glosses with three different finishes. I really like how Make Up For Ever has expansive color options for most of their products, and the lipgloss range is no exception.
  • Illamasqua Intense Lipglosses ($20.00) are a total must if you or someone you know loves opaque lipglosses–these are really rich in pigment, comfortable wear, long-wearing, and have a beautiful glossy shine. I recommend virtually all of them, but a few of my favorites are Belladonna, Hermetic, and Move.
  • Bobbi Brown High Shimmer Lipglosses ($23.00) are a new favorite for me; they’re very reminiscent of Chanel Glossimers but more affordable. Sheerer color with lots of dazzling sparkle! Because they’re on the sheerer side, the shade range is fairly universal.
  • Hourglass Extreme Sheen High Shine Lipglosses ($28.00) are super slick, comfortable to wear, and moisturizing. Some shades are sheer, some are more pigmented. Shades like Siren are beautiful and opaque with a really interesting metallic finish. Fortune is a great shade for everyone because it’s sheer and peachy-pink.
  • Giorgio Armani Gloss d’Armanis ($28.00) may not be as long-wearing as the brand claims, but a gloss that wears six hours without drying lips out while delivering good color coverage is rare. I really love this formula, despite the shortfall in wear (relative to their claim). I love shades like #401, 402, 404, and 505.
  • Chanel Glossimers ($28.50) are a classic gloss for someone who loves lots of shimmer and glossiness. These took me awhile to appreciate, but they really do shine and sparkle. These days, most shades are sheer, so they should flatter the full spectrum of skin tones. I really like shades such as Aurore, Coral Love, Futile, Meteore, Spark, and Sundress.
  • Le Metier de Beaute Lip Cremes ($36.00) are extremely creamy, non-sticky, and hydrating. It was one of my first high-end glosses (and probably high-end purchases in general)–who knew that $36 would become “normal” to me one day–and I absolutely love shades like Fraise Creme, Framboise Creme, and Papaye Creme.
  • Cle de Peau Beaute Lipglosses ($48.00) wear longer than the average gloss, have a great shimmer and shine, and are moisturizing. May I recommend #2? It’s a total staple for me.

What are your favorite permanent lip products?

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The One that Got Away: Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

The One that Got Away: Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow

With Giorgio Armani #14 Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow (€36.50 for 0.14 oz.) in my hot hands, my collection of Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows is now complete. Major thanks to Amira for offering to ship me one from Sephora France. FRANCE. If you haven’t bought anything in Euros lately, let me say I just shelled out $64 for a product that costs $32 here in the states. Talk about you snooze, you lose! This shade came out last holiday season, which was before I discovered the awesomeness in a pot that is Eyes to Kill Intense. I took one look at photos online, and I knew I had to have it. It’s ANTIQUE GOLD. It’s so me!

It looks more like gold in the pot, sprinkled over black, but the black gives it this beautiful antique gold hue, and when it’s used dry, it almost has a slight green tint. It’s super, super sparkly. I spent all day yesterday continually admiring it over and over again, because it really dazzles. Kind of like Chanel Glossimer or MAC Dazzleglass… but on eyes. The best part about this is there’s no residual fall out during the day like more glittery products often are, because this doesn’t feel like a glitter (it’s very soft and smooth) but has that look. It’s pretty opaque when applied dry, but when it’s applied damp, it takes on a much more metallic characteristic with a deeper color.

Out of all these gold eyeshadows, the closest one is actually Giorgio Armani #6, which is darker and much warmer (they’re not dupes). Urban Decay Maui Wowie is much lighter. Bare Escentuals Spectacular is warmer, more olive green.  I think it actually would compare well with MAC Rye, which I have three or four of, because it was so my shade when it came out (it was limited edition, of course).

I’ve reviewed this formula several times (sixteen, to be exact!), and I’m continually impressed by its claims. I’ve worn it up to twenty-four hours with no fading, fall out, or creasing–and that is without a base. Yes, really, twenty-four hours. I had to do it eventually, you know, test their really ridiculous twenty-four hour claim even though I was so, so loathe to wear makeup to bed. I felt like I was going against all that was good in beauty.

What lengths (or prices) have you gone to for that one product you just had to have? Share your stories in the comments! 🙂

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Eyeshadow #14
#14
#14
10
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
99%
Total

Benefit Hervana Boxed Powder

Benefit Hervana Boxed Powder
Benefit Hervana Boxed Powder

Debuting in January, Benefit Hervana Boxed Powder ($28.00 for 0.28 oz.) is described as a “soft orchid-blossom flush.” It’s made of four individual shades in a pinwheel design, though as far as a blusher goes, you really couldn’t use these shades individually as each shade is fairly small. With a small blush brush, you might be able to use two or three shades in concentration, but I recommend swirling and sweeping all the shades taken together.

Lucky Shell is a soft, pale beige with a satiny shimmer. Divine Peach is a warm apricot-peach with soft golden shimmer. Heavenly Rose is a soft rosy peach with a satiny sheen. Berry Delight is a blue-based ppinky-plum with a satiny sheen. Together, they create a soft, warm pink with subtle peach undertones and a satiny shimmer-sheen. It’s not frosty or over-the-top, so the shimmer adds a distinct glow to the skin and doesn’t emphasize pores. The pigmentation here doesn’t impart loads of color–it’s a soft flush, which seems to be the theme of this particular powder. It has a really soft, smooth texture that sits well on the skin. It wore well for seven hours and looked a little faded around the edges after eight hours.

Chanel Pink Cloud is lighter, while MAC Stunner is more intense. Benefit Bella Bamba is much, much darker and has no peachiness. Burberry Peony is very similar but has more of a matte finish. It also reminded me of MAC Oh So Fair, though that has much more frost in its finish. Benefit Sugarbomb is much more golden with a golden sheen and less pink.

It’s not too warm for cooler complexions to wear it, and I actually think it’s one of those shades that will lean a little cooler/warmer depending on the underlying skintone. For instance, my natural yellowy undertones pull out the peachiness in the product, while someone with pinker undertones may find it turns pinker on them. When I applied it to my cheeks, it also appeared peachier because of the coral lip and olive green eyeshadows I paired it with.

Benefit Hervana Boxed Powder

A-
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
10
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4
Application
92%
Total

More photos & swatches!

Leili’s Must-Have Hair Products

By Leili, Hair Care Contributor

Leili is a 19-year old New Yorker who is obsessed with beauty, chocolate, and celebrity of the trashiest kind. Her drawers look like the stockroom of a hair salon! She’s currently enrolled in her second year of college but still trying to decide on her major. When she’s not worrying about that, she’s either at home with a good book, baking scrumptious goodies for her family, or exploring new restaurants with her friends. Check out her blog, Materialistic Musings!


Leili’s Must-Have Hair Products for Oily Hair

Asking me to pick my must-have hair items is a bit like Sophie’s Choice for product junkies like me, but I finally succeeded in narrowing my list down to my absolute Holy Grail products. Just about everything here is tried and true—things that I have been repurchasing for ages and have stood the test of time. In some small way, they’re almost taken for granted because I use them so consistently that I no longer get excited over the results, but without them, my hair would be a mess of epic proportions.

Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo ($7.99) | I, like so many people, have come to be extremely reliant on dry shampoo—no wonder this stuff’s been around since the ‘70s. I don’t think I’ve gone a week without spraying a bit into my roots since I’ve started using this product. As someone with almost unbelievably oily hair, I use a quick blast of this between shampoos to freshen up, or to add some volume when my crown looks particularly flat. These days, with midterms basically robbing me of any showering time, I rely on dry shampoo more than usual so people won’t know I’m not exactly clean. (And let’s fact it, showering is really something you do for other people!) I’ve tried (and am still trying) all sorts of dry shampoos, but this is the one I always come back to. The only other one that might match the Batiste is the famous Klorane with Oat Milk. But although Klorane’s powder is slightly, slightly finer, I prefer how the Batiste ones are scented—Blush is the prettiest almost perfume-like floral. Besides, considering how often I use dry shampoo, Batiste is $10 cheaper.

Alterna Anti-Aging Caviar Working Hair Spray ($28.00) | As much as I love perfectly styled hair, I have bizarre issues with how it feels and hate the stiffness any product with real hold creates. I’ve tried a lot of hairsprays and while I liked the L’Oreal Elnett for a while, even that was crunchy and didn’t quite “disappear at the stroke of a brush.”  A hair stylist used this on me a couple of years ago to set my curly prom up-do, and two days later my curls looked only mildly rumpled and were smooth and soft to the touch. Not only is a can of this absolutely huge, the product itself is a lovely dry mist that never leaves your hair feeling sticky or clumped together—I’ve never used anything like it. The aerosol spray in particular has also been really thoughtfully designed because you get a nice wide range of spray that comes out in a very fine mist. (This might be a bit of a problem for anyone wanting to spray a narrow area, but works fantastically for larger sections or over the entire ‘do). It is very definitely a workable, flexible spray perfect for maintaining a style worn over a few days or just for anyone who doesn’t like stiff hair. Best of all, this hairspray is paraben, gluten, synthetic color, DEA, TEA, mineral oil, PABA, paraffin and animal testing free! What’s not to love?

Check out more of Leili’s must-haves! 

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