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NARS Flamenco Lipstick

NARS Flamenco Lipstick
NARS Flamenco Lipstick

NARS Flamenco Lipstick

NARS Flamenco Lipstick ($24.00 for 0.12 oz.) is described as a “sheer candy apple red.” It’s a faded watermelon red. Milani Bing Cherry is a bit more vibrant and redder but similar. It is very close to Guerlain Grenade with less of a creamy finish.

It’s not really sheer–you can see my lip freckle peeking through, but it’s still hidden a fair amount. This lipstick’s color coverage is closer to semi-opaque, so it’s not the sheer it’s described as. It’s part of the Sheer Lipstick formula, which is designed to be sheer and long-wearing with a healthy shine in the finish. This is my only issue with the product; it’s great in every other way, and ultimately, whether it’s not sheer enough or just pigmented enough for you, is just part of your rationalization process.

For me, however, I have to look at what the product is supposed to do, because personally, I love more opaque lipstick, but this just shouldn’t be, since it should be sheer as described. While we often have pigmented products that are sheer, this is a sheer product that’s too pigmented! It’s not totally opaque, and there is some translucency to the finish, but if you’re wondering why the pigmentation score is low, now you’ll understand. Thankfully, the extended wear of this shade helps this shade bounce back.

The formula is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and surprisingly long-wearing for as sheer as some of the shades can be. The wear with Flamenco was six hours, which is great wear, though not entirely unexpected with the redness of the shade. While it’s not very moisturizing (and it does claim to be), it’s also not drying, and you can always tell just how bad a lipstick is if you only wear that for six hours! It stains ever-so-slightly after wearing for more than a couple of hours. I did not notice any scent or taste, which is such an improvement from NARS’ lipsticks a couple of years ago that had a very waxy scent. Flamenco should be flattering across skin tones; the pinkness will make it workable on cooler complexions while the red will be workable on warmer complexions.

NARS Sheer Lipstick Flamenco
Flamenco

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Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator
Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

Several readers asked me how this compares to Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, in terms of the overall grade/rating. This product is available, but you won’t find it online; you’ll have to track it down in stores. Saks seems to be the only distributor (at least in the U.S.) that has some stock left. If you click the link above, it’ll take you to the defunct product page on Saks, but it will allow you to “find in store.”

Generally, if a product is hard to find or sold out, I don’t review it (my order for this arrived only two days before it sold out everywhere). There are always exceptions, but it’s definitely something I try to avoid doing–same with discontinued or really old limited shades. This is an exception and not a change in the rule! 🙂

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator ($42.00 for 0.20 oz.) is a gilded bronze with a champagne-bronze shimmer. MAC Rose Ole is a bit more peach but looks similar when applied. It’s also a bit like MAC Crystal Pink, depending on how you combine the two shades.

The texture is soft but firm, and the frosted metallic sheen goes all the way through. It’s not as frosted on as it appears in the pan or in a heavier swatch. It’s more than just a subtle glow, but it’s less than a full-on frost. I call it a shimmer-sheen, because there is noticeable shimmer within the overall glowy sheen. It doesn’t emphasize pores, though.

For me, the major difference between the two formulas is in the wear–with Rose Rendezvous, it wears great for around six hours, but it’s faded by eight.  When I bought the product, I was initially really hopeful about it, because it seemed to be getting great reviews, but the way it looked at the end of the day wasn’t ideal.  Guerlain Cruel Gardenia wore for a shocking ten hours without fading, which was far more than I expected and longer than average. I wore them both over the same foundation (Guerlain Lingerie de Peau). On a very minute scale, Guerlain’s is a little more refined–a smidgen more finely milled, softer, finer shimmer–but it’s such a close call.

They are really different shades (Cruel Garenia is pink, this shade is warmer, more champagne-bronze), even though the products are similar in formula, so it’s more about the kind of shade you prefer and would find more flattering against your skin tone. The price for Guerlain’s Cruel Gardenia is $67, but you’ll get 0.31 oz. worth of product (50% more than Laura Mercier’s), so on an ounce-by-ounce comparison, Guerlain’s costs $216/oz. and Laura Mercier’s is $210/oz. I would expect this shade to flatter warmer skin tones more, while Cruel Gardenia will work well on both skin tones (as it is more neutral in undertone).

Laura Mercier Rose Rendezvous Face Illuminator

B+
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
7
Longevity
4
Application
88%
Total

Morning Must-Haves for Teens

By Makeup Morsels, Teen Contributor

Makeup Morsels is a pseudonym, and if that seems a little bulky, just call her MM! She resides in California and on her last year of high school. She has black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin (think NC15), and often has people tell her she looks like a corpse! She’s guilty of having a slight obsession for both sunscreen and lipstick (both of which she says she needs to stop hoarding). You’ll typically find her stalking drugstore aisles for bargains or lurking around high-end makeup counters to window shop. MM also enjoys cooking (and eating), food photography, reading, and exploring the world of makeup. Check out her blog, Makeup Morsels!


While my youthful days may seem like the perfect time to experiment with crazy, colorful makeup, the fact of the matter is that I rarely have more than five minutes to get ready for school. I’m out the door by 7:00 AM (still woozy from the paper I cranked out the night before), so I need my routine to be as streamlined as possible. I’ve spent many mornings throughout high school trying to find the perfect, low-effort system, and the products I’ve settled on are some of my favorites.

My first weapon of choice is Liz Earle’s Skin Repair Moisturizer ($31.00), which sports a light texture and a ton of hydration. I then apply my sunscreen, Bioré Aqua Rich Water Base ($19.99). Sun exposure can do a lot of damage to your skin over time, so SPF is something I wear all year round. Bioré’s version has a whipped, lighter-than-air texture that dries quicker than you can say, “poof.” As for that giant bottle of yellow stuff? Well, there are days when I don’t even have time to brush my hair. To smooth out any frizz, I run a pump of Lierac Sensorielle ($34.00) through my hair as I race out the door. It also doubles as perfume, which saves me a whole 5 seconds of spritzing time. Score!

Post-skincare, I start tackling the color cosmetics. I begin by banishing my panda eyes with Skin Food’s Salmon Concealer ($12.99). If you’re like me, and have lovely purple shadows under your eyes, concealers with salmon undertones work well to balance those out. The second pot of concealer is Maybelline Dream Mousse ($6.48), which I use for spot coverage on days when my skin is acting up.

Have you ever heard people throw around the phrase, “Brows frame your face?” Well, they say it because it’s true. Taking a minute to fill in your brows can make you look much more put-together. I have black hair, so I look for neutral browns that will define my eyebrows without making them look drawn-on. I use MAC Brun Eyeshadow ($14.50) from the beginning of my brow to the arch, and Milani Easybrow ($5.99) in Natural Taupe for the rest.

Assuming I have the time, I’ll curl my lashes and add some mascara. As far as curlers go, my advice is to find one with a soft, rounded pad. My favorite is the Koji No.73 ($6.51), since it fits my lash line like a glove. I’m actually out of my Holy Grail mascara (d.j.v. Volume Lash) at the moment, but I’ve been getting on well with Urban Decay’s Supercurl Curling Mascara ($20.00).

Finally, I like to swipe on a coat of lipstick. I’ve noticed that many of my classmates prefer to wear lipgloss, but I actually find lipstick to be much more low-maintenance than gloss (for one, your hair won’t get stuck in it unless you have 10 coats on). Lately, I’ve been favoring my Dior Addict Lipstick ($28.00) in Diorkiss (a bright pink with a dewy finish), but you don’t have to go high-end to get a good lipstick. One of my favorite drugstore lipstick brands is Revlon, which stocks a huge color range.

And that wraps it up for my early morning must-haves! What are your favorite products to use when you’re short on time?

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Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush

Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush
Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush

Illamasqua Rude Cream Blush

Illamasqua Cream Blusher Rude ($24.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “warm peach pink” with a dewy finish. I didn’t detect any pink in the pan, and on my skin, it seemed more orange than anything else. When blended out, it looks more peach-orange (and not to worry, it doesn’t have to be as fierce applied as it appears in the pan). Perhaps on those with more obvious pink undertones, it will look less peach-orange and more peach-pink. If you apply Rude very subtly, it compares to Urban Decay Indecent but without the shimmer (and I’d say Urban Decay Bang is too dark and orange-y).

It definitely has a dewy finish, and it’s almost on the wrong side of dewy, even on my normal-to-dry skin; luckily, it skates that thin line and manages to be a glowy dewy rather than an oily dewy. You can also take down the dewiness by dusting translucent powder on top. This product is buildable and very, very blendable; the creamy, melt-on-your-cheeks consistency enables that, so it is impossible to overdo it, but if you like your blush darker, you’ll likely do better by building up the color in layers.

The texture, despite its creaminess, feels featherweight against the skin; it’s thin, comfortable to wear, and doesn’t feel greasy. It wears around seven hours on bare skin before it seems to reach its limit at eight hours (where it appears faded). Over foundation, it wears five to seven hours, depending on the quality of my underlying skin; if it’s drier, then it tends to cling to patches over time, so it’s manageable for five hours or so, but if my skin is more normal, then it lasts just over seven hours. What I really liked was that it looked and felt good over and under foundation, and many cream blushes have a tendency to work best on bare skin–and let me tell you, my skin is nowhere near good enough to be wearing full makeup and skipping foundation.

Illamasqua Cream Blusher Rude
Rude
Rude
9
Product
9
Pigmentation
10
Texture
8
Longevity
4
Application
89%
Total

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Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer

Wet 'n' Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer
Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer

Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer

Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer ($1.99 for 0.46 fl. oz.) is a vibrant emerald green with lighter green shimmer. It’s nearly opaque after two coats (which is what I have swatched)–there’s the barest hint of visible nail line at certain angles. This is a much better affordable version of emerald green! I tried Sinful Colors HD, which just didn’t have the payoff. Zoya Holly is a deeper emerald green. This shade is perfect for the holiday season, and it won’t break the bank 🙂  The consistency on Sagreena the Teenage Witch wasn’t too thick or thin, so it flowed across the nail evenly and didn’t feel too thick when dry.  I didn’t experience any bubbling or streaking during application.

I really like Wet ‘n’ Wild’s formula–it wears a week with minor tip wear–but it doesn’t try in sixty seconds like the brand claims (and it’s kind of a big claim, since the official name is Fast Dry!).  It takes more like two minutes or so for each coat to dry; it feels about average across brands.  I only find that thicker polishes tend to take longer to dry, but most will dry enough to apply a second coat within a couple of minutes.  You definitely won’t have fully dry nails within sixty seconds, though, and I’d say still use a fast drying top coat to ensure dry nails!

Wet ‘n’ Wild Sagreena the Teenage Witch Nail Lacquer

B+
8
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
89%
Total

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