Monday, October 12th, 2009

Korres Lip Scrub ($19.00) is a solid lip scrub in the shape of a lipstick. It uses rice powder to exfoliate while jojoba oil and beeswax are there to hydrate your lips.

The product has me at odds. I’m not sure if it’s best to remove it, let it sink in for a few minutes, then remove, or not to remove it at all. The rice powder makes for a very, very subtle exfoliator, and it feels more like a polisher than a scrub. I really didn’t feel like it did much in the way of exfoliation, though it did make my lips feel more hydrated–if I didn’t wipe it off, but the grainy bits of rice… you have to wipe it off at some point. Otherwise, it just feels like you have sand on your lips.

The lemon scent is very subtle, too, and I think I smell more of the jojoba oil/beeswax combination than the lemon. This stuff also doesn’t taste good, so those who have the urge to lick their lips while this is on… resist!

While convenient for travel, I don’t personally find it necessary to travel with. A toothbrush or a wash cloth will do in a pinch, and at $19, I’d rather buy another lipstick than a lip scrub that does just a so-so job. Not to mention, I think it’s easy to use up this product, so you won’t get as much usage out of it as you’d like before needing another tube.

  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Availability: Sephora.com

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Fusion Beauty Infatuation

Fusion Beauty LipFusion Infatuation ($29.00 for 0.19 oz.) is supposed to be a liquid lip color that also plumps up lips with Fusion Beauty’s Amplifat™ technology.

In the past, Fusion’s LipFusion has always been my go-to if I ever want a lip plumper, just because I found their original LipFusion line to be incredibly non-irritating — no burning, stinging, tingling, or in other words, pain, when using it. I tried DuWop Lip Venom, and I thought my lips were going to fall off! I’m personally not into lip plumpers myself, because I do like my natural lip size (and sometimes feel they’re too big!), so I don’t often seek out anything that’ll fatten them up.

What Fusion Beauty says are key ingredients…

  • Amplifat™: concentrate (derived from a perennial sea fern) works with the skin’s own triggers to help naturally increase two key proteins that occur naturally in the skin (ADFP and FABP5). These two key proteins help induce diffusion and storage of fatty acids.
  • Lip Vantage: is a dual-encapsulated plumping and highly hydrating ingredient that delivers incredible moisture and promotes lip renewal for more youthful looking lips
  • Peptides: enhance collagen synthesis for naturally enhanced, lush, youthful, healthy lips.

But naturally, I was curious about Fusion Beauty’s new Infatuation line-up, and I’m all about more color in a lipgloss! I tried three shades…

  • In the Flesh is a semi-opaque darkened peach with light pink-peach shimmer and lots of glossy shine.
  • Sugar Rush looks like a light peachy-pink when I swatched it, but on my lips, it looks much more like a sheer milky pink with silver-pink shimmer.
  • Pucker Up is a semi-opaque medium pink with a little bit of brightness, but I wouldn’t call it a full-on hot pink. I felt like this one had the least amount of noticeable shimmer and looked more like a creamy gloss (but it did seem to have a touch of shimmer).

None of the three shades I tried really grabbed me by color. They didn’t apply too evenly on their own, and the color had a tendency to settle into lip lines. If you layer it over a lipstick, you’ll get a more even application, but then you’ll lose a lot of the lip plumping effect (since it’s no longer directly on your lips), so it’s kind of a wash. The gloss smells like grapefruit to me, but at the very least, it has a slightly sweet scent with a kick.

The tingling action was so-so — it felt like a bit more than LipFusion, but it was still something I could endure (and I have a low threshold for tingling on my lips). The result was just slightly bigger lips, but the effect could have easily been from how glossy the formula was rather than any actual fattening on a more scientific level. The gloss itself was thick enough that it felt like a creamy lip gloss, but it was still non-sticky. The wear time felt a little less than average, as it seemed to fade and wear off after just two or three hours when I tested it out.

This lip plumping gloss goes for about $152.63/oz. as compared to Fusion Beauty’s Color Shine (which contains 0.29 oz.) at $131.03/oz. — but each Color Shine retails for $38, which is a bit of a steep investment to make into a single lip product. $29 puts it around the level of Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain lip glosses but with a plumping effect.

Bottom line: As a gloss, not overly impressive, and there are numerous other high-end glosses at $29 a pop I’d opt for over these (Chanel Glossimers and Guerlain KissKiss Gloss, just to name two). As a lip plumper, it makes lips look fuller, but it’s not enough plumping for me to shell out $29 to get it. I think, as well, since the gloss itself isn’t outstanding, I’d rather go for their clear formula and use another gloss for color.

  • Product: 20/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation:  For those who prefer a lip plumper that doesn’t pain them, LipFusion might work out for you.  These glosses are more pigmented than their Color Shine formula, but your mileage will vary by the shade.

Availability: Sephora

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Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Smashbox Reign Collection: Jet Set Eyeliner Palette

Smashbox Jet Set Eyeliner Palette ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

The shades you get are dark black, dark brown (neutral-cool), metallic gold, and metallic dark brown (with warm tones). I like Smashbox’s Jet Set formula overall — it’s definitely long-wearing, holds up to humidity and heat, and is pretty waterproof. However, I have found these liners to be prone to drying out if one is not careful about sealing the container after each use. With the Jet Set palette, this is a definite concern, because it’s not really air tight – the palette flap just opens and closes but never feels sealed. I do worry about how long before you start noticing these drying out.

The shades are so-so — the photos I took of the palette are of a counter’s testers (which accounts for some of the “ew” factor!), and the shades are certainly wearable, but maybe not enough variation to merit $48. I could buy two full sized shades for $22 each ($44 total). I don’t really need a dark brown and a shimmery dark brown in the same palette, you know? I don’t feel that this palette represents Jet Set liners overall, and I’d recommend checking out the real, full-size versions instead of this palette.

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

Recommendation: The packaging may sway some, but be careful — it may lead to drying out of those cream liners faster than you can use them up.

Availability: Nordstrom ($48.00) contains four shades of cream eye liner. They’re described as budge-proof and water proof. The palette comes with a miniature-sized angled brush as well. It is part of Smashbox’s Reign Collection for the fall.

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Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Dolce & Gabbana: Black Crayon Intense Eyeliner

Dolce & Gabbana Black Crayon Intense Eyeliner ($29.00) is an intense black eyeliner with microfine gold glitter. The eyeliner itself is double-ended with the crayon on one side and a smudging sponge brush on the opposite end.

The liner stays on about average as far as my eyes are concerned — lasts for a few hours, doesn’t fade too much as wear extends, and it certainly doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t stay pristine throughout the day, though, unless it is smudged out quite a bit and set with some powder. I liked the intensity of the black color, and the gold glitter is subtle (and surprising) enough that it can work for everyday or to glam up a look in the evening.

For the price tag, I personally would expect better wearing time–at least eight hours of no budging, smudging, or fading. It can handle about four hours, but after that, there is noticeable (though not terrible) migration and fading on the lower lash line. It does wear better on the upper lash line, because it less disturbed and prone to fine lines like the lower lash line is. Because of the glitter, I would not recommend using this on the waterline (so I didn’t).

The eyeliner was not as soft as I would like, either. It wasn’t as creamy and soft as Urban Decay’s 24/7 Liners, though still harder than Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes liners. I found mine to feel just a bit rougher than I think is necessary in a pencil, though it does allow one to get a more defined, precise line. I would suggest quickly giving it a shot of heat via your blow dryer if you have sensitive lids or find yours particularly hardened.

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

Recommendation: Unless there was a particularly unique shade amongst D&G’s eyeliners, they’re not the first product I’d recommend from the D&G line. (I’d probably recommend their lipsticks first.)

Availability: Saks

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