Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Borghese Lipstick

Fall Trend: Bold Lips with Borghese

Borghese Grappa B Moisture Advanced Care Lipcolour ($24.00 for 0.15 oz.) is a creamy berry red wine with a soft sheen and high color. It is a creme finish, which accounts for how easily it glides over lips. It’s full color and very hydrating on lips and lasts me about five hours without eating/drinking. The color can bleed if your lips have this tendency already, so I do recommend a lip liner for best wear.

The packaging is a combination of black and silver metal, with the black portion kind of looking like a licorice twist, actually. I don’t love the packaging, but it’s functional and does the job. While the price is steep, you do get more lipstick for your dollar than usual, as the average lipstick size is about 0.12 oz. By the ounce, this lipstick is just a bit more expensive than MAC and Illamasqua, but cheaper than Urban Decay and NARS.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation:  If creamy, full color lipsticks are your passion, Borghese’s lipsticks are worth a peek!

Availability: Borghese.com

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Thursday, September 10th, 2009

MAC Close to Real, High Def, Resolutely Red Lipsticks
Close to Real, High Def, Resolutely Red Lipsticks

Review: MAC Cosmetics In High Def Collection

Just launched, MAC’s In High Def Collection (see full collection details here) contains several hand-picked products from the existing line as well as some new products that are designed to work well in the high definition environment. There are four new shades of lipstick: Close to Real, High Def, Resolutely Red, and Sharp Focus. The rest of the collection is permanent, existing products (Face & Body Foundation and Mineralize Skinfinish Natural).

Lipstick ($14.00 U.S. / $16.50 CDN)

  • Close to Real is a pale, frosty peach. Despite having a lustre finish, it doesn’t feel like one to me. It feels much more like a frost lipstick, and it definitely looks like it on the lips. I found this one to seem to grab onto every imperfection on your lips–even after I had exfoliated–it just didn’t look very flattering. The color is really pale, so I’d vote on using this more as a layering shade than standalone.
  • High Def is a creamy, opaque pinky-coral color. It has a slight sheen, but it doesn’t contain any shimmer. On my lips, it doesn’t read very much coral (unfortunately, as MAC lacks corals!), but it’s still pretty. It looks more like my-lips-but-better with a bit more pinky-brown.
  • Resolutely Red is a mostly opaque, lightly creamy shade of reddish-wine. It’s not super bold or bright, so it’s more of a wearable red. It’s not too cool or warm, either, which I definitely like. It has a glossy look to it when applied.
  • Sharp Focus is semi-opaque muted, browned-down red with almost a bit of plum undertone. It’s almost like a vampy lip color, yet not really. If you’ve wanted to go for a darker lip, but have found vampy shades too dark too fast for you, this might be one way to start.

Face & Body Foundation

Face & Body Foundation is a water-based sheer to light-medium coverage liquid foundation. MAC says that it is water-resistant, and I’d agree that it holds up pretty well under water, though I’ve never say, showered, in it either. (I’m now curious, so I may try it!) It has a slightly dewy finish, which may be too much for those with really oily skin. It’s a solid foundation, and I actually used this as my go-to for maybe six months or so a year or two ago. I liked it a lot during summer, because it was very lightweight and held up under the summer heat.

Mineralize Skinfinish Natural

This is a baked mineral-based powder that has a near matte finish (there is just a slight, slight bit of luminous-ness to it) — MAC calls the finish “natural-matte.” I personally can’t wear MSFN due to the fact that it breaks me out, but I know it is an often raved about products for others. I wish I could say I experienced the same amazingness (despite breakouts), but it just didn’t wow me. It’s a great setting powder, and it can be used as a very light, sheer foundation (I recommend the 189 brush for foundation application). Many like it because it gives their face a sheer, even look. I’m sure plenty of you have tried this, so please do share your thoughts for others who haven’t!

You can view reviews for: 187 Brush and 188 Brush, as well. (Both brushes are permanent.)

Recommendation: This collection left me unexcited, to be honest. The lipsticks were so-so, but I didn’t feel like there weren’t already as good, if not better, options available in the permanent line. I have no problem with MAC pointing out, “Hey! We have products that look great for HD work already!” I’ve always liked Face & Body, so I do recommend that if you haven’t checked it out. But overall, it’s just not a very exciting collection, yeah? Bring on Fall Trend!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Givenchy Gloss Poetique

Givenchy Gloss Poetique Lip Gloss in Poetique Rose

Givenchy Gloss Poetique Lip Gloss in Poetique Rose ($45.00 for 0.14 oz.) is a lightweight, non-sticky, lightly tinted lip balm released with Givenchy’s Les Poetiques Collection for the fall season.

The product does everything it is supposed to do: truly enhances your natural lip color to a slightly flushed, just-kissed glossy pucker. It’s not sticky in the least bit, and it feels a bit like a lip jelly than a lip balm. It is also incredibly hydrating on lips and keeps them feeling soft and smooth for hours. The product itself doesn’t actually tint your lips like a lip stain, but it does seem to bring out the natural hues in your lips.

My lips tend to look a bit dull and corpse-ish when left alone, but with this glossed on, my lips had a pretty rosy look to them that wasn’t really colored so much as enhanced. It looked very natural and as if I was wearing clear gloss (though I definitely wasn’t!).

Like Givenchy packaging typically it is, it is both pretty and functional with the logo on the cover. Inside is a mirror, and underneath the gloss are three applicators — two bristled brushes and one sponge-tipped applicator. They’re useable, though just a bit stiff. Interesting enough, the gloss looks like there’s a design of the Givenchy emblem, but it’s actually printed at the bottom of the pan, so you don’t disturb it whatsoever. The lip balm has kind of a perfume-y strawberry scent, which I like, but some may find too artificial to enjoy.

I’m not really going to get into value — the price tag is steep, and they don’t give you a tub of it to really merit such a splurge. But if you like it, enjoy it, and don’t worry about the price tag so long as it’s within your budget! :)

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 6/10
  • Ease of Use: 7/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: Looks incredibly lovely on lips–totally enhances your natural lip color and makes it the best it can be, but for a price!

Availability: Sephora

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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Illamasqua Fable Lipstick: Matte Bubblegum Pink

Illamasqua Fable Lipstick ($20.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “matte bubblegum pink” by Sephora.

Fable is an opaque, warmed-up bubblegum pink. I’ve found most bubblegum pink lipsticks to run a tad cool, while I find this one has a definite warm edge to it. I also wouldn’t call it matte, and I’d say it is more of a semi-matte finish, because there is some glossiness/sheen to it that I don’t normally see in matte textures. I do like the way it looks with just the hint of glossiness, because it keeps the lipstick from being too dry (it’s a smidgen creamy) or flat. Illamasqua packs plenty of pigmentation into this tube of lipstick; there’s no building or layering required to achieve the opacity as seen in the lip swatch.

Though a lipstick will cost you $20, the value is still strong, because you get 0.14 oz. for your troubles. Compared to other high-end brands, Illamasqua is just a bit more expensive than MAC ($140/oz. vs. $143/oz.), but not by much. Their lipsticks are priced right in line with other competitors like Cargo and Make Up For Ever, as well.

The packaging is functional and isn’t over-sized (like their eyeshadows/blushes can feel like)–there’s just nothing special to it. I will say I do feel like their labels tend to rub off all too quickly.

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you like intense lip color, you may find Illamasqua’s matte lipsticks to be just the right kind for you.

Availability: Sephora.com

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Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


Dolce & Gabbana Makeup The Classic Lipstick in Nude

Dolce & Gabbana Makeup: Natural Nude

Dolce & Gabbana Nude Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00) is a creamy, opaque fleshy-beige with a touch of warmth. Just that subtle warm tone keeps it from looking pale and deathly on me, particularly since I’m warm-toned myself. I’ve definitely found that nudes can be difficult for me to wear, because they’re often pale or cool in nature and make me look a bit corpse-ish. (So not flattering!) Nude is surprisingly wearable on its own, though it is a touch light for me, and I’d personally layer it with a hint of glossy color to make it perfect for me. I think this is great nude shade for many others, though, and when you do need a very neutral lip color, this is a good standby.

The packaging is classy and timeless without being associated with old. The “gold” tube has some heft to it, which I do find as an attribute I like in my higher end makeup. My only issue with it is that it holds fingerprints, and I just find it can make your beautiful makeup pieces look a bit dirty, so I really wish they could prevent this somehow! (I know this is kind of an issue across most luxe brands, though.)

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you love luxury lip products, Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Lipstick will not disappoint you. This is not a lipstick for everyone, because the price makes it an indulgence. I do wish it was more available, but at least it is available online at Saks.

Availability: Dolce&Gabbana, Saks Fifth Avenue

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Monday, August 24th, 2009


Dolce & Gabbana Makeup The Classic Lipstick in Iconic

Dolce & Gabbana Makeup: Classic Red

Dolce & Gabbana Iconic Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00) is an opaque, creamy bright classic red. The name “Iconic” is incredibly well-suited to this particular shade of red. The formula is long-wearing, moisturizing, and feels great on lips. I love the intense color pay off, and the glossy sheen it gives off without actually being glossy or shimmery. Overall, I loved the formula and color itself–though this particular shade is not for the color-shy!  The gold packaging is luxe and weight-y, though it does hold fingerprints (which is something I dislike, personally!).

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 7/10

Recommendation: If you love luxury lip products, Dolce & Gabbana’s Classic Lipstick will not disappoint you. This is not a lipstick for everyone, because the price makes it an indulgence. I do wish it was more available, but at least it is available online at Saks.

Availability: Dolce&Gabbana, Saks Fifth Avenue

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