Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Becca Valentina Sheer Tint Lip Colour
Becca Valentina Sheer Tint Lip Colour

Becca Valentina Sheer Tint Lip Colour

Launched with the Balearic Love Collection for the spring, Becca Valentina Sheer Tint Lip Colour ($24.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “nude pink.” I have to disagree on the description–there’s nothing about this that says “nude.” It’s a medium petal pink with a subtle frosted finish and healthy shine. Guerlain Rose Ensoleille is a bit pinker. Guerlain Bloom of Rose is rosier, a little less warm-toned. Chanel Paradis is a touch less warm. Guerlain Cherry Blossom is warmer.

If you’re unfamiliar with this formula, Becca says it’s supposed to be sheer, hydrating, and is finished with a subtle shine. It has a burnt brown sugar scent to me–lightly sweetened, not too over-the-top–but I didn’t detect any taste. The consistency is soft, smooth, and lightweight; the texture is more akin to a lip balm than a lipstick. It doesn’t have the heavier slip that a lot of sheer and moisturizing lipsticks have, which is nice. It hangs on for about three hours and fades away naturally and evenly.

With this particular shade (which is the only one I’ve tried), the color coverage is semi-sheer to semi-opaque depending on how heavily you apply it. I like that there’s enough color to noticeably change your natural lip color but there’s no heavy or opaque look, so it retains a softer, more natural appearance. I love how moisturizing the formula, is, too–not quite as luxurious as a true lip balm, but it’s very close! It’s definitely one of the more moisturizing products I’ve come across.

It’s packaged in a metal case with an interesting clicking mechanism where you actually have to twist the lid to lock it in place.  If you often tote your lip products around with you and find caps come off, you might like this type of packaging!  It will hold fingerprints, even though metal cases always feel more luxurious and look more elegant! Ah, the game of packaging is riddled with trade-offs.

The Glossover

coming-soon

Becca Valentina Sheer Tint Lip Colour Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
For semi-sheer lip color in a formula that keeps lips feeling lush and hydrated, definitely check out Becca's Sheer Tint Lip Colour! The only downside was the shorter wear time, but it wasn't too much below average.

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

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Sunday, April 29th, 2012

MAC Russian Red Trio
MAC Russian Red Lipglass over Lipstick; Nail Lacquer

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipstick Review Round-up

In the collection, the lipsticks, on average, were the strongest product. The quality of MAC’s lipstick range is definitely there, particularly with their core, permanent shades. The permanent shades are often overlooked because of the neverending onslaught of limited edition shades coming out each month (and sometimes each week!). Many of these shades have been around for several years and have proven to be bestselling shades for the brand for good reason.  I would recommend the lipstick over the matching lipgloss and nail lacquer for every single shade (which is not to say I recommend every single lipstick, period).

These shades did the best when it came to pigmentation. They’re rich, pigmented, and pretty much opaque across the board, with some being totally and utterly opaque and others being nearly opaque. When it comes to the overall quality and claims, these do well, but some finishes are more drying than others. I don’t find MAC to have moisturizing lipsticks, but for the most part, they are not drying either. Lustres and cremesheen finishes are the most drying for me, while mattes and satins can be slightly drying depending on the individual shade. Frosts are neither drying nor hydrating in my experience.

Generally, lighter shades (think Angel, Myth, Snob, etc.) will not wear as long or as well as richer, deeper shades (think Girl About Town, Rebel, Russian Red, etc.), as those deeper shades (combined with their finish) lead to six hour wear as a result of staining–and staining may be good or bad depending on your preference. Lighter shades typically wear three to four hours with deeper shades lasting four to six hours–and this is based on experience of over a hundred MAC lipsticks over the years. I’m pretty sure it’s way more than that, but I’m not going to guarantee it.

The best shades were:  Girl About Town, Morange, and Russian Red (all As).  Good but not great shades were:  Peachstock, Please Me, Rebel, and Spice.  The most under-performing shades were:  Myth and Razzledazzler.

Availability: Based on the information I have received from MAC, the distribution of these shades is regional. I cannot confirm the extent of non-regional shades being available online for your region (e.g. whether all of these will be available on the UK website). I can confirm only that for North America, all shades are available for purchase online. Only the North America-specific shades will be available in-stores on May 3rd, 2012. Select Macy’s will also carry Latin America & Middle East region-specific shades.

North America: Chestnut, Girl About Town, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Snob, Spice; Chestnut and Spice are limited edition–the rest are permanent
Asia Pacific: Angel, Morange, Impassioned, Peachstock, Ravishing, Razzledazzler, Saint Germain; Peachstock is permanent at PRO stores only, Razzledazzler is permanent in Asia only–the rest are permanent
Europe & Africa: Impassioned, Morange, Myth, Rebel, Russian Red, Saint Germain, Spice; Spice is limited edition
Latin America & Middle East: Girl About Town, Impassioned, Morange, Pink Nouveau, Please Me, Russian Red, Snob; all shades are permanent

Reviews, Photos, Swatches

The Glossover

coming-soon

MAC Fashion Sets: Lipstick Review Round-up

A-
The quality of MAC's lipstick range is definitely there, particularly with their core, permanent shades. The permanent shades are often overlooked because of the neverending onslaught of limited edition shades coming out each month (and sometimes each week!).

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Please note that the photos included in this post are for summary purposes only–there are four additional photos for each lipstick shade that have been excluded in this post but are available in the set’s original post: two product photos, one lip swatch (diffused flash), and one lip swatch (studio lighting).  All links to the individual posts have been provided above.

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

MAC Spice
MAC Spice Lipstick, Lipglass, Nail Lacquer

MAC Spice Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

The famous Spice Lip Pencil has inspired a MAC Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.), Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) to complement it. This shade is part of the North America and Europe/Africa regions of the collection, so it will only be available both online and in-stores for North American buyers. Spice is described as “mid-tone neutral nude.”

Both the lipgloss and lipstick match very well, and as a result, they also look good layered. Spice is the kind of shade that will change here and there depending on the level and type of pigmentation you have in your natural lip color. Because I have a hint of underlying pink in my natural lip color, the rosy tones of both the lipgloss and lipstick come forth once applied, even though they look less pronounced when swatched against the skin (and likely helped by my yellower undertones in my skin!). While the nail lacquer shares some similarities, it’s significantly lighter, so it doesn’t look the same. It’s much pinker, not as brown or as “nude.”

Spice Lipglass is a medium rosy brown with opaque color coverage.  It applies very evenly and doesn’t settle into lip lines too much at all. MAC Over Indulgence is sheerer, so it looks a bit lighter. MAC Show Me is browner and lacks the rose tones of Spice. MAC Looks Like Sin is a little more berry-colored. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Spice Lipstick is a medium rosy brown with opaque color coverage. (Not a typo; it’s very nearly the same as the lipgloss!) It has a satin finish, and while the lip pencil is permanent, the lipstick is not (nor are the lipgloss and nail lacquer). MAC Shitaki is browner, sheerer. Guerlain CHant d’Aromes is browner, no rose tones. MAC Viva Glam VI is sheerer and a bit browner. Guerlain Galante is a little redder and darker. (9, 10, 9, 8.5, 4.5, 4; A-)

Spice Nail Lacquer is a rosy brown with an almost jelly-like quality to its finish. It does have a cream finish officially. After two coats, there is still a fair amount of visible nail line. China Glaze Dress Me Up is much browner. Chanel Morning Rose is pinker. Nubar Moire is darker and browner. (8.5, 8.5, 9, 9, 4, 4; B)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free.  Satin finishes like Spice typically wear between four to six hours on me, with lighter shades on the shorter end of the spectrum and deeper, more stain-prone shades on the longer end.  I suspect Spice  will fall somewhere in the middle there.  MAC Lipglasses are also vanilla-scented but taste-free. They are very sticky and have a thick, borderline-goopy consistency. If you prefer gel-like, cushion-y glosses that feel lightweight on, I don’t recommend MAC Lipglass. Because of the tackier texture, MAC Lipglasses do tend to wear a full four hours on me, with some of the darker shades lasting up to six hours (with mostly the color lingering at that point).

Note: I am reviewing each “set” together. After I’ve reviewed all sixteen sets, I will do round-ups for each product type (so all lipsticks together) to deliver an overall Glossover rating. This rating is more indicative of the product type, as the rating that follows this post is an average across three totally different types of products. You can also see the individual scores listed after each product, which are listed in the same order as they are in the Glossover.

The Glossover

product

MAC Spice Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
Spice may seem boring, but it can be really flattering. It's nude in a way that doesn't mean pale, pasty, or washed out; it's nude such that it's the kind of hue we see in our natural skin tones. For medium and deeper complexions, it would work well as a go-to shade.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

8.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Friday, April 27th, 2012

MAC Impassioned
MAC Impassioned Lipglass, Nail Lacquer, Lipstick

MAC Impassioned Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer

MAC Impassioned Lipstick ($14.50 for 0.10 oz.) has been such a top-seller that it has now inspired a Lipglass ($14.50 for 0.17 fl. oz.) and Nail Lacquer ($16.00 for 0.34 fl. oz.) to complement it. This shade is part of the Asia Pacific, Europe/Africa, and Latin America/Middle East portions of the collection, so it will only be available online for North America buyers. Impassioned is described as “bright warm pink.”

When the lipgloss is layered over the lipstick, the result is a deepened, vibrant pink-red with a hint of silver micro-shimmer. The combined color is totally opaque and the two products work well together without causing any unevenness or bunching up. The nail polish doesn’t match the lipstick or lipgloss at all; they’re different animals, really. Sure, they’re both warm-toned, but the nail lacquer is nearly orange! You can see it in the swatches as well as the product photos; the bottle of polish looks much more orange compared to the vibrant pink (with more like a hint of orange/coral) gloss and lipstick.

Impassioned Lipglass is a bright pink-red with subtle warm undertones. It applies pretty opaque on lips, and it doesn’t settle too much into lip lines. The strong, opaque color helps to minimize the appearance of what settling there is. MAC Scandelicious is blue-based. MAC Gimme That is slightly pinker and has fuchsia shimmer. Illamasqua Follow is a bit redder. (9, 10, 9, 9, 4.5, 4; A)

Impassioned Lipstick is a nearly neon pink-red with a hint of coral warmth. It has an amplified creme finish. It yields opaque color coverage, and it has a fairly creamy consistency that enables a good glide of color to spread evenly across the lips during application. MAC Moxie is a bit pinker. MAC Party Parrot is less pink, more coral. OCC QUeen is redder, darker. Guerlain Gigi is darker. NARS Funny Face is less coral.  The lipstick is part of the permanent range. (9.5, 10, 8.5, 10, 4.5, 4; A)

Impassioned Nail Lacquer is a rich orange-coral that leans and looks more orange than it does coral, but in certain lighting or at particular angles, there is more coral color coming forth. It’s opaque in two coats, and while the initial coat had some streaking, the second coat covered most of it pretty well. Deborah Lippmann Girls Just Want to Have Fun is just a touch more orange. Illamasqua Lament is a little more coral. SpaRitual Love & Happiness is darker, more orange. (9, 9, 9, 9, 4, 4; B+)

MAC Lipsticks are vanilla-scented but taste-free. Amplified creme finishes like Impassioned typically wear four to six hours on me, with deeper shades like this one wearing closer to six hours. This particular finish is not particularly moisturizing, but I don’t find it drying either, though Impassioned has a slightly drier texture compared to other shades in the range. MAC Lipglasses are also vanilla-scented but taste-free. They are very sticky and have a thick, borderline-goopy consistency. If you prefer gel-like, cushion-y glosses that feel lightweight on, I don’t recommend MAC Lipglass. Because of the tackier texture, MAC Lipglasses do tend to wear a full four hours on me, with some of the darker shades lasting up to six hours (with mostly the color lingering at that point).

Note: I am reviewing each “set” together. After I’ve reviewed all sixteen sets, I will do round-ups for each product type (so all lipsticks together) to deliver an overall Glossover rating. This rating is more indicative of the product type, as the rating that follows this post is an average across three totally different types of products. You can also see the individual scores listed after each product, which are listed in the same order as they are in the Glossover.

The Glossover

product

MAC Impassioned Lipglass, Lipstick, Nail Lacquer Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
Impassioned is a really bright, fun color to wear--very appropriate for the upcoming summer season! I'm bummed that the nail lacquer is not much of a match to the lipstick and gloss; it's even a bit too warm and orange to really complement well.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

9.5/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

4.5/5

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Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss
Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss

Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss

Estee Lauder Violet Rain Pure Color Sequin Finish Lip Gloss ($22.50 for 0.20 fl. oz.*) is a vibrant, nearly neon fuchsia-pink with iridescent fuchsia sparkle. It’s redder and more shimmered compared to Milani Flashy. MAC Gimme That! is redder, lighter, less shimmered. The color is opaque and extremely heavy in sparkle.  You can feel the sparkle a little bit, but it’s not too noticeable or gritty.  Because of the overall brightness and vibrancy of Violet Rain, it should complement most skin tones–it’s going to give you lots of oomph, pop, and contrast whether you’re pale, deep, warm, or cool.

This new (but limited edition) formula is supposed to have a high shine, long-lasting wear, and non-sticky.  It has a great glossy shine that wears for two to three hours, while the color and sparkle itself lingers for five to six hours.  The sparkle travels ever-so-slightly, but it manages not to travel to parts on unknown, and I only found a few stray sparkles outside of my natural lip line.  It’s slightly tacky but not what I’d describe as sticky.  This is scented with Estee Lauder’s signature fig scent, which is a softly sweetened fruit scent overall, but I didn’t detect any taste.  I also liked that it was somewhat hydrating, because even after six hours of wearing Violet Rain, my lips weren’t dying of thirst, but they did need a boost of moisture shortly after.

* When Estee Lauder sends samples, they are usually not in full retail packaging, so they do not come with outer boxes or real labels, which means I don’t have the official weight/volume of the gloss written on the package. I will call the Estee Lauder counter when they’re open today to get an official number. For now, I’m assuming it’s the same as the rest of the Pure Color Glosses.

The Glossover

LE
product

Violet Rain

A-
Because of the overall brightness and vibrancy of Violet Rain, it should complement most skin tones--it's going to give you lots of oomph, pop, and contrast whether you're pale, deep, warm, or cool.

Product

9/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

4/5

Results
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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($24.00 for 0.08 oz.) is described as a “lilac rose.” It’s a cool-toned rosy pink; it’s not as red as raspberry pink, but it’s not so cool-toned that it leans magenta or purple. NYX Rose is similar but has a very frosted finish, so it appears lighter. Guerlain Bloom of Rose is a warmer pink. Guerlain Belgravia is slightly pinker. Revlon Carnation is a bit frosted. MAC Unlimited is lighter and less cool-toned.

The Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is supposed to be richly pigmented, have a “velvety matte finish,” be long-wearing, and have a non-drying formula. NARS recommends using it as a lip liner, all-over color, or paired with another lip product. The drier, matte texture allows Never Say Never to wear long and hard–a solid five and a half hours–but my lips feel dehydrated after four hours. After six hours of wearing this shade, my lips weren’t cracked or severely chapped, but I did feel the pull for a boost of hydration.  The texture is soft, creamy enough that it doesn’t pull or tug too much at lips during application, but it is dry enough that it does feel like a matte lipstick.

It comes in a large, jumbo-sized crayon that needs to be sharpened, so you will lose product when this occurs, though it’s not as much as with the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils, since this formula is drier and harder (not as soft and as pliant as the Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils). Readers have recommended freezing the pencil prior to sharpening it to minimize the waste.

The Glossover

product

NARS Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Review, Photos, Swatches

A-
This shade will flatter the cooler-hued products in the collection, which is primarily the Marie-Galante eyeshadow duo. It doesn't pair as well with the warmer shades, like the Ramatuelle eyeshadow trio!

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

10/10

Application

4/5

Results
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