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Too Faced In the Buff & Naughty Nude La Creme Lipsticks

Too Faced In the Buff La Creme Lipstick
Too Faced In the Buff La Creme Lipstick

Too Faced In the Buff La Creme Lipstick ($21.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “warm beige.” It’s a light-medium peach with brown/beige tones and a luminous finish. It had mostly opaque color coverage with a very creamy, glide-on consistency. Because the color is lighter and though the texture feels lightweight, the lipstick itself is thicker, so it can bunch up on itself and create “lines” if you press your lips together. Thankfully, it was not something that was noticeable from afar. In the Buff wore for four hours, was lightly hyrating when worn, and faded evenly. Urban Decay Naked 2 is lighter, more beige. Edward Bess Forbidden Flower is slightly lighter. NARS Isola Bella is more orange. MAC Posh Tone is similar. MAC Cozy Up is a touch lighter, more beige. See comparison swatches.

Naughty Nude La Creme Lipstick ($21.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “chestnut.” It’s a light-medium, peach with beige undertones and a luminous finish. It had nearly full color coverage (there’s a bit of my lip freckle peeking through still). The consistency was creamy and easy-to-apply, though due to the lightness of the shade and the slight thickness of the formula, if you press your lips together, it can create lines or cause the product to push onto itself. Naughty Nude lasted four hours on me and was lightly hydrating during that time. It was actually really fitting that I ended up reviewing these two together, because they are very, very similar. In the Buff is the slightest bit warmer/more orange, but I was surprised to see them be nearly the same. To that end, this shade has the same similar shades. Urban Decay Naked 2 is more beige. Edward Bess Forbidden Flower is similar. NARS Isola Bella is more orange. MAC Posh Tone is darker. MAC Cozy Up is a touch lighter, more beige. See comparison swatches.

In the Buff
In the Buff
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total
Naughty Nude
Naughty Nude
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total

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theBalm Toile Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush

theBalm Toile Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush
theBalm Toile Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush

theBalm Toile Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush ($22.00 for 0.20 oz.) is described as a “strawberry.” It’s a bright, bold coral-pink with a barely-there satin sheen. MAC Simmer is similar. NARS Amour is slightly more muted, less warm-toned. See comparison swatches.

It’s incredibly pigmented with true-to-pan color, but the coverage is more buildable than over-the-top. I would still recommend using a lighter hand when initially applying so that you can adjust the intensity more readily. The texture is soft, finely-milled, and it wasn’t powdery. As I applied Toile to the skin, it blended out easily initially, but it tends to stick in place once it is sheered out slightly. The blush wore nine and a half hours on me without fading, so it lived up to its long-wearing claim. I wouldn’t describe this so much as a product that stains, as it easily removes with regular makeup remover with no extra elbow grease required.

Toile
Toile
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
96%
Total

Make Up For Ever #222 Sponge Applicator & #272 Eyelash Brush Reviews & Photos

Make Up For Ever #222 Sponge Applicator
Make Up For Ever #222 Sponge Applicator

Make Up For Ever #222 Sponge Applicator ($13.00) is a sponge-tipped applicator on a long, wooden (beech) handle. The sponge-tip is 12mm tall, 9mm wide, and 5mm thick. It’s attached to a black knob that has a thin (about 3-4mm wide) plastic piece that has a lot of flexibility, so you can bend the applicator as needed to maneuver around during application. Sponge-tip applicators are good for picking any powder product that is prone to fall out, crumbling, or when you need to really pack on a color; like a white eyeshadow base, sponge-tip applicators can really pack on a product. It is also a useful applicator for smudging eyeliner or eyeshadow underneath or on the lash line.

The sponge really doesn’t feel too different than a mutltitude of sponge-tip applicators that get included in various kits and palettes; yes, the sponge seemed more resilient and durable, as I can try to remove it and it doesn’t instantly rip as cheaper ones do, and it isn’t scratchy. I’ve scratched at it, and it hasn’t shown any signs of wearing, scratching, tearing, or even bits of the sponge flaking off. I’m not sure it would hold up to prolonged or sustained use. Given that Make Up For Ever sells refills (6 for $9) for it, I would expect breakdowns over time. It’s definitely made out of a thicker, more pliable, and sturdier material than the average applicator you’d find in a cheaper palette. If you like handles or have larger hands/longer fingers like me, the long handle could be very helpful. Otherwise, you may find simply buying a 50-pack of disposable sponge applicators for $5-10 is a better option (or merely gathering all the ones you inevitably own–this is what I do; I keep all the random sponge-tip applicators I’ve had in palettes in a plastic cup).

I was most worried about the very itsy bit of glue that connects the actual sponge-tip to the black knob getting broken down over time or while cleaning, you might accidentally tug too much and rip the very bottom of the sponge (where it’s glued) from the knob. For review purposes, I just went ahead and lightly pulled at the bottom, freeing it from the knob, and yes, it will be prone to slipping and pulling off–just patting and lightly blending powder eyeshadow on the lid or smudging eyeliner on the lower lash line didn’t see any slippage, so it will depend on the use.

#272 Eyelash Brush ($12.00) is described as a “spiral brush used to style eyebrows and correct their shape, as well as separate lashes before or after application.” It is a mascara spoolie, so it is good for all things brow and lash. It’s 25mm tall, 7mm wide, and 7mm thick. There is a thin metal wire that extends out of the metal ferrule. Like the #222, you can acquire disposable spoolie wands in bulk and at a low price point (like 50 for $5-10). The difference is that this isn’t designed to be disposable but reusable.

This brush is comparable to MAC #204 ($15.00), which tapers slightly more towards the top so it is narrower overall. This is actually a brush I keep as part of my daily arsenal, as I use it to brush brows and blend out harsh lines when I’ve filled in my brows with powder. I’ve used it for lashes, too, but it’s nowhere near as effective as a metal lash comb for separation. When it comes to lashes, it is best if the mascara is still wet, otherwise it doesn’t do much once mascara has dried on lashes. The same is true for Make Up For Ever’s #272. It works well to comb through brows as well as to diffuse, blend, and even out color from filling in brows. It could also be used to apply mascara, colored mascara, mixing with a product to apply color to the lashes (like a DIY colored mascara), applying brow gel, and so forth.

The #272 can be a total pain to clean, though, which is another reason why I don’t love it with mascara. I highly recommend cleaning it nearly immediately after using with any liquid product like mascara to avoid difficult clean up (everything just hardens and sticks to the interior wire).

Both of these brushes are useful, and I like them, but whether it’s worth investing in one rather than disposable varieties is ultimately something that is going to depend more on how you use it. The #272 is the kind of brush that I do, personally, find necessary, and I can’t vouch for the durability of Make Up For Ever’s (but it’s on my calendar to revisit all my Artisan Brush reviews a year from now to check in), I can vouch for the MAC #204, which seems very similar in length, shape, feel. The biggest difference is that MAC’s ferrule is crimped towards the top, while Make Up For Ever’s #272 is round.

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Giorgio Armani #701 Flash Lip Lacquer

Giorgio Armani #701 Flash Lip Lacquer
Giorgio Armani #701 Flash Lip Lacquer

Giorgio Armani #701 Flash Lip Lacquer ($29.00 for 0.22 fl. oz.) is a medium-dark bluish-gray base with multi-colored shimmer and pearl (predominantly aqua, blue, and violet). On lips, this translates into a smoky, plummy purple tint to the lip color, plus an array of violet and blue shimmer. MAC Karin is less gray, less multi-color in shimmer. MAC Boys Go Crazy is purpler. Giorgio Armani #604 has a similar tint to lips but no shimmer. See comparison swatches.

If you tend to get intrigued by unusual colors, this is a very cool gloss. And as a result of it being semi-opaque, it can really add a versatile tool to your arsenal for layering. It will instantly add drama to any lip color, plus dazzling shimmer that looks like water when the sun hits it. The consistency is lightweight, comfortable to wear with a cushy, gel-like texture that is very lightly tacky but not full-on sticky. The shine lasts longer than the average gloss–three to four hours–and the shimmer and color linger for another hour or so. I had a total wear time of five hours with this shade, and it was lightly hydrating during that time. The biggest downside is that the sheer, darker color does settle into lip lines, though I think the amount of shimmer helped to camouflage some of it, and it was not too noticeable from afar (but you’ll definitely see it in the close-ups). I didn’t detect any scent or taste with the formula.

#701
#701
8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
87%
Total

MAC Retro Matte Pro Longwear Lip Pencils

MAC Retro Matte Pro Longwear Lip Pencils
MAC Retro Matte Pro Longwear Lip Pencils

The MAC Retro Matte Collection also includes eight shades of Pro Longwear Lip Pencils ($19.50 for 0.04 oz.), and five the shades (all featured in this post) are new. The collection will launch online the week of September 3rd and in-stores on September 12th (North America), and September 2013 for international locations. There is some uncertainty whether all shades are permanent or only some; the answer I received from MAC’s PR was some, which is what I’ve gone with, but the nearest counter/store are both saying all are permanent.

The Pro Longwear Lip Pencils tend to have good color coverage, apply evenly overall, but they aren’t super creamy lip pencils, so they can skip, drag, and tug.  They’re not the worst, but they’re not the most comfortable to apply or wear alone.  I like them best underneath lipstick or gloss, as you get the benefits of a lip pencil–longer wear, more even color fade, no feathering/bleeding–without the drawbacks of wearing it alone. The formula is not one I would opt to wear alone because of how drying they are by themselves, and honestly, they have a drier texture that tends to cling to lips and doesn’t look as flattering.  Even the Retro Mattes, though sometimes drying, look smoother applied.  I wish they were creamier during application with more of a set/dry down, so you could achieve really even, smooth color that still wore and lasted well. I prepped by slathering lips with lip balm while sleeping (I used Hourglass’ Lip Oil, actually) and wearing lip balm for a half hour prior to applying (blotting off immediately prior to applying the lip pencil).

On their own, I’ve found that while they wear like iron–topping in anywhere from six to ten hours–the wear can be less flattering over time, as it flakes off in areas, rather than a gradual fade.  The deeper colors stain, too, and so when they do, the fading appears more even as the product wears away.  These feel like they shrink or cling to the lips, which is why I really think they are best underneath other lip products.  I ended up wearing a lot of these two at a time (half on one side, half on the other), because after wearing one alone (and after all seven of the Retro Mattes), my lips weren’t going to make it through another four standalone tests.

Wearing them underneath lipstick adds anywhere from an extra hour to three hours, depending on the shortness of the lipstick to begin with and lighter shades always disappear faster.  How drying the lip pencil is also can be mitigated by wearing a more hydrating formula on top or patting on lip balm and/or a hydrating gloss throughout the day.

Dynamo is described as a “bright peony.”  It’s a bright, medium-dark coral-pink with a matte finish.  The consistency is slightly dry but is able to cover with even, opaque color without too dragging or skipping around.  On its own, it lasted well for seven hours.  I’m not familiar with many coral lip liners, and Urban Decay Streak is really the only one I could think of, but it is not similar to this shade.

Fashion Boost is described as a “bright purple cream.”  It’s a vibrant, medium-dark magenta purple with strong fuchsia undertones and a barely-there satin sheen. It had mostly opaque color coverage, but I couldn’t quite get 100% even, opaque color. It lasted seven hours and faded slightly unevenly.  Urban Decay Anarchy is brighter, pinker. MAC Heroine is very similar–a touch more muted but just barely.  See comparison swatches.

High Energy is described as a “bright orange red cream.”  It’s a medium-dark, orange-red with a matte finish.  It was slightly dry in consistency but didn’t skip too badly, and I was able to get opaque color that was very even overall.  This shade wore well for eight hours but was drying on its own.  Urban Decay Bang is slightly more orange. MAC Throw Me a Line is more muted. MAC Ablaze is slightly more muted.   See comparison swatches.

Shock Value is described as a “bright pink cream.”  More like a bright–nearly neon–light-medium, blue-based pink with strong fuchsia/magenta tones.  It’s definitely pink, but it’s almost so blue-based that it looks magenta.  This one was creamier than the others, but it tended to cling to itself as applied (seemed a little tackier than others).  I highly recommend blotting with a tissue before you press lips together to avoid the product sticking and lifting from areas on the lip.  This shade wore for eight hours well, though it was painful to remove and wear. I couldn’t think of any similar lip pencils to this shade, but I have no doubt it would pair well with MAC Candy Yum Yum and its dupes.

Trust in Red is described as a “bright cool red cream.”  It’s a medium-dark, cool-toned red with blue undertones.  It’s actually a bit muted–not as bright/bold as you’d expect.  It had mostly opaque, even color coverage, was somewhat drying when worn, and lasted for eight hours and stained.  Urban Decay 69 is not as blue-based, darker. MAC Cherry is darker. MAC Freehand is darker, less blue-based.  See comparison swatches.

Dynamo
Dynamo
8
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4
Application
90%
Total
Shock Value
Shock Value
8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
4
Application
92%
Total
Trust in Red
Trust in Red
8
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4
Application
89%
Total

Make Up For Ever #146 Flat Blush Brush Review & Photos

Make Up For Ever #146 Flat Blush Brush
Make Up For Ever #146 Flat Blush Brush

Make Up For Ever #146 Flat Blush Brush ($37.00) is described as a “medium, trapezoid-shaped brush” that is designed to be used with loose and press powders. By its name, one would expect primarily using this with blush, as it is designed for buildable coverage. Make Up For Ever also recommends using it for face painting. The brush head is 26mm tall, 33mm wide (at the top, which is widest point), and 10mm thick with a pinched ferrule. It has a total length of 7.25 inches/18 centimeters.  The brush’s shape is flat, almost a square but slightly flared outwards–like a trapezoid, but it is a squatter one than I envision with just the word “trapezoid.”  It had soft bristles at the tips, and the bristles length-wise were fairly soft but you could “feel” the individual bristles slightly (they didn’t blend together as seamlessly).

I think the shape is somewhat large for a blush applicator, and it’s definitely best for just initially applying color to the cheek and less useful for blending or diffusing blush color. It splays out unevenly, is an odd mix of stiff and springy that never quite blends or applies the way you’d expect. It just seems to make applying blush harder than it is with other blush brushes (with more typical brush heads). I just received another blush brush from the range late last week, so I’m testing that one as well to see if that works better for blush application. I can see the flatter shape working better for face painting, though, and to that end, it was nice for applying liquid primer or moisturizer (I tried with Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil).

There’s something about this brush that felt off, because no matter how many washes (I’ve washed it a dozen times now with four different cleansers), it always feel a somewhat oily or greasy. I can press the brushes together, and it molds that way until I squish the brushes in another way. As of now, this is the only Make Up For Ever brush that I’m having this issue with, so it might be a one-off or more specific to the flatter brush shapes.  I just received a few other face brushes, so I’ll have a better idea of the context of this issue in a couple of weeks.

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