Review: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème in So Sofia

Posted on August 05, 2017 under Reviews

I am prone to long-term obsessions when it comes to lipstick colours. For example, I’ve certainly mentioned on this blog multiple times my quest for a lilac that flatters me: see this post for an example of two which aren’t quite right. (Oh, a reference to this quest in a ColourPop review, too.)

One of these interminable expeditions concerns the search for my perfect coral. (Referenced in the ColourPop review, too…) Actually, my perfect coral is embodied in Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss 06, which is a super vibrant pink-leaning coral that I love with everything I have in my soul. It appears that I’ve never posted a picture of me wearing it on this blog, but here’s one from the very end of my undergrad, when I was stressed and needed to inject some sunshine into my life in the form of bright lipstick.

Now, obviously I would not be searching for another coral if there weren’t a catch to 06. The catch is that Rimmel discontinued it A LONG-ASS TIME AGO. I’m a little hazy on exactly when, but I was wearing this regularly during my first summer at my job, which was three years ago, and I constantly had to tell people who asked about it that it wasn’t made anymore. I purchased this particular tube in the fall of 2013, which means that it’s coming up on four years old. It hasn’t gone bad yet, but it’s old as shit, not to put too fine a point on it. I’m also not terribly in love with the Rimmel Kate formula anymore; it’s nice, and you can’t really complain for the price, but I prefer something a bit less slippery.

I’ve been looking for a dupe for this colour for a long time, and I’ve found it really difficult. There’s a fine line between a pink-based coral and a warm bright pink, and most lipsticks seem to cross it. See Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, for instance, which in 9pm Nordstrom lighting I thought could be a convincing dupe but turned out to be pink, not coral.

Online dupe-hunting proved difficult; the internet bears little evidence that anybody else in the world has ever bought 06, and I haven’t been able to find anybody duping this specific colour. (Temptalia’s dupe database let me down here!) Googling “pink coral lipsticks” yielded a few promising candidates, all of which I eventually discarded. Bite Pickled Ginger, for instance, is too light. MAC Impassioned seemed like the best candidate colour-wise, but I find MAC lipstick formulas a bit underwhelming.

I read Auxiliary Beauty’s March 2016 review of Marc Jacobs So Sofia with some interest, and even noted in a comment that it reminded me substantially of 06. Yet I wasn’t ready to commit to it, for whatever reason. Too expensive, maybe (though at $38 CAD it’s cheaper than both Charlotte Tilbury and NARS), or perhaps it’s just that the Marc Jacobs beauty brand never really appealed to me. (I do love Daisy, though, because I’m basic as hell when it comes to fragrance.) I recently stumbled across her review of So Sofia again, and my interest was reignited.

As I’ve mentioned before, I despise going downtown, but last week I had to go to the passport office, which is right next to the Eaton Centre, which meant it was the perfect time to do a Sephora return I’d been putting off. (For those keeping track, I returned the Hourglass Vanish foundation, which I really liked but which I decided I didn’t reasonably have a use for.) I was four days past the thirty-day mark so I got store credit, which in my mind meant that I could get a new lipstick for free. (Well, it was with money that I’d already spent, but…) I’d had the foresight to bring with me my tube of 06 and immediately made a mess out of the back of my hand with swatches of every coral lipstick I could find. As it turned out, So Sofia was the closest by far, so I bought it. (Having had the Sephora birthday gift mini of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for over a year, I was confident that I liked the Le Marc Lip Crème formula enough to get along with So Sofia.)

The Le Marc Lip Crèmes come in large, shiny black tubes. I think the packaging is pretty enough; I’m not losing my mind over it, but I’d feel good about pulling it out of my bag in public. I do like the magnetic closure, which my mini of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang lacks. There must be some evolutionary biological reasoning as to why we all seem collectively drawn to magnetic lipstick tubes.

However, I must complain pettily, for that is my calling in my life. These lipsticks have have very wide bases that don’t fit into your standard lipstick organizer, so I have to store So Sofia with my jumbo lip pencils and liquid lipsticks. This shouldn’t bother me, but it does, because ontologically this is a bullet lipstick and should be stored with its kin. This design seems a bit arrogant to me, as if Marc Jacobs thought his shit was so good that it shouldn’t have to conform to normal dimensions. You don’t get to transcend my organizational system without a complaint, Marc!

That is Too Big.

However, I’ll concede that this irritation can be mostly swept aside in light of all of So Sofia’s positive attributes. I mean… it’s beautiful, dammit:

(Can we please acknowledge that this is legit the first lipstick review I have ever posted on my blog where I have photographed a fresh, unmarred bullet? I don’t know how I managed this, to be honest.)

This formula has a slightly gel-like component to how easily it glides onto the lips without feeling particularly thick. Initially, the finish has a definite sheen, but it wears down to a matte throughout the day. On my lips, the formula feels lightweight and comfortable. After about five or six hours of wear it feels slightly dryer, but not moreso than any other lipstick. What really impresses me about So Sofia is how well it wears. I actually found the longevity of my Kiss Kiss Bang Bang mini a bit disappointing – it wasn’t abysmal, but considering the full size costs a rather extravagant $38, I wanted it to last longer than it did. Perhaps the vibrancy of So Sofia just causes it to stain my lips more, but either way, it wears really well. Here’s a picture I took after five hours of wear, which included eating two bagels and drinking a bottle of water with absolutely no retouching:

I mean, bagels cannot be eaten delicately. They gleefully strip mouths of lipstick. And somehow my lipstick still looked totally pristine. (Better than my foundation looked between my eyebrows…)

Better, non-iPhone photos of the colour on me:

Squinting incredulously ’cause the sun was in my eyes.

I mean, is that not glorious? If that doesn’t say summer, I don’t know what does. In fact, it’s so summery that I wonder if acquiring it on the first day of August wasn’t a mistake on my part. How much time will I have to wear this before I put it away in favour of my berries and deep reds? I know in my heart that seasonal colours are a lie, but in the four years that I’ve owned Rimmel Kate 06 I’ve scarcely pulled it out between the months of September and March. This is a neurosis that I think I will have to overcome in order to get the most out of my $38.

And comparison swatches:

L-R: Rimmel Kate Moss 06, Marc Jacobs So Sofia, YSL Rouge Pur Couture #57, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy

If anything, the Rimmel colour has the tiniest more orange to it – So Sofia really is just on this side of coral. However, it has the vibrancy that the YSL and Charlotte Tilbury shades lack, as well as the barest hint of warmth that makes it a coral in my eyes. Though it’s not exactly identical to my Rimmel shade, the shocking brightness makes it a satisfactory dupe for my purposes.

I’m not sure the last time I bought a lipstick hoping it would be something specific that it actually turned out to be. It’s not just the colour that’s perfect, it’s the finish, the feel on the lips, and the way it wears. So Sofia is precisely what I wanted it to be. And that’s almost as beautiful as the colour.

The Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crèmes retail for $38 CAD for 0.12 oz, or $316.67 per oz.

Review: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation in Alabaster

Posted on July 10, 2017 under Reviews

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation

Everyone who read my foundation inventory post: Clem, didn’t you just finish saying you have too much foundation and it stresses you out?
Me: Yes.
Everyone: Then why did you buy ANOTHER FOUNDATION that you DO NOT NEED?
Me: I don’t know!!!!!!

… Yes. I am not going to make any excuses. I bought another foundation. This is my first foray into the world of stick foundations, a format which I have typically avoided because I have always assumed they would be bad for dry skin. However, I’ve heard good things about the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation from dry-skinned YouTubers such as Jessica Braun and KathleenLights, and I really wanted a long-wearing, flawless base for an upcoming wedding.

Shade Range

The Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation comes in 26 shades ranging from extremely fair to quite deep, with a variety of undertones represented. As is the norm with foundation, you’ll find more subtle variations in the light to medium part of the spectrum and less as you get to the darker shades. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse saying this, but this is a subtle way that people of colour are shut out in the makeup world – sure, there may be dark colours available, but they are fewer and less varied than the 900 shades of light tan that a range has.

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation

I used my tried and true method of matching the back of my hand (which seems to work for me) and selected the shade Alabaster. The Sephora website describes it as “fair, cool undertone”, though I wouldn’t say it leans particularly pink or yellow. There is one lighter shade, Blanc, which I’d put on par with MUFE Y205. (I’m the second-lightest shade in the MUFE range as well, for reference.)

Colour reference:

L-R: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation in Alabaster; The Ordinary Serum Foundation in 1.1N; Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation in Y215; NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in Siberia

Packaging

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation

The Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation comes in a triangular tube with brown metallic packaging. It’s very consistent with the Hourglass aesthetic, which I tend to enjoy. It looks and feels expensive. I’m a sucker for nice packaging a lot of the time, but I don’t really care if foundation packaging looks pretty as long as it’s functional. The fact that I find this packaging attractive is a nice bonus but not really a factor for me one way or the other. Of course, the reflective packaging collects fingerprints quickly, but they can be wiped off for blog pictures to preserve the illusion that you aren’t crusty. (That’s more than you can say for NARS packaging, which is a magnet for dirt that you can’t get off.) The twisting mechanism is smooth. I like that the stick itself is triangular: you can use one of the corners to apply the foundation to smaller areas, like the nose.

Whereas liquid foundations almost always clock in at a standard 1 fl oz/30 mL, stick foundations seem to vary in size substantially. The MUFE one is 0.44oz, Anastasia and Maybelline are 0.32 oz, and Bobbi Brown and Lancôme are 0.31 oz. Hourglass, in typical fashion, has given us a mere 0.25 oz of product. (Um, hopefully I’ll get more than 17-20 uses out of it, which is what they promise from their $21 gel eyeliner.)

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation

Application and Finish

This is a very emollient cream product with a lot of glide. It does eventually set on the face, but you have a bit of play time during which it’s quite malleable. I’ve tried blending it with several brushes and with a wet sponge and I prefer the sponge. Denser brushes work nicely, too, and maintain more coverage; stippling brushes aren’t the best with this formula and will leave you with streaks. I tend to like a sponge with fuller-coverage products anyway because I find that on my dryer skin I get the most natural finish that way. On me, this foundation is prone to looking a little bit heavy around my jawline if I apply too much or blend too little. For reference, my skin leans quite dry in the winter but I’m more of a normal type in the warmer months, and I don’t currently have any dry patches on my face.

This is the amount of product that I apply to get a – wait for it – seamless finish that doesn’t look heavy in the slightest:

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation

Now, enough talk, here are some before and afters:

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation before

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation after

It seems like every time I’m set to photograph a foundation for review, my skin helpfully decides to break out so that I can show what it actually does. I’ve been fighting a really tenacious chin breakout for a few weeks now, which is super annoying but actually pretty convenient review-wise. Close-ups of the breakout before and after:

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation before

Hourglass Seamless Finish Foundation after

Look, Mom! I posted a huge closeup of my zits on the internet!

Here I’ve put a second layer of the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation over the breakout. I think this foundation does act pretty well as a concealer. When I’m wearing it I never put concealer over my blemishes. I don’t think it looks too heavy in this instance, either, though I don’t think I’d want to put a second layer all over my face. Obviously, you can still see the breakout, but this is how it would look if I’d used a concealer over it instead of a second layer of foundation.

Wear

The lasting power on the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation is great. What I really like about this foundation is that it seems to mesh really well with my skin’s natural oils. At the end of 10 hours of wear, my skin looks healthy and luminous; the foundation doesn’t look dry or visibly broken down, as some do on me. My nose is, of course, the ultimate test – it’s the only place foundation ever wears off fully on my face, whether I’m wearing glasses or not. I would say I make it to about the 7 hour mark with my nose makeup intact with this foundation, which is longer than any other foundation I own, including NARS All Day Luminous Weightless. If I took the time to blot I could probably stretch this a bit longer, but with busy retail days I rarely do!

Normally I like to include a photo of a full day of wear when I’m doing foundation reviews. Unfortunately my work schedule lately has not been very conducive to this: I’ve been working until midnight most nights, so I can’t get good lighting for photos (and I also want to wash my makeup off and fall into bed as soon as I get home). So you’ll just have to take my word for it, sadly!

Overall Thoughts

I don’t have particularly problematic skin in general: I get hormonal breakouts around my chin (as you can see!), but otherwise my skin is pretty clear and even. I also like for my skin to look like skin, and enjoy when my moles show through. For this reason, I tend towards light to medium coverage foundations for day-to-day, and I’ll often apply it to the perimeters of my face and leave my cheeks bare. Though the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation can be sheered out somewhat (when applied sparingly and blended with a damp sponge), it’s definitely a thicker, fuller-coverage product by nature, so this won’t be a day-to-day one for me. It’s great for special events, though, and photographs beautifully. I’m also very into it for travel – you know I’m all about limiting my liquids wherever possible. It’s pricey and contains quite a small amount of product, but this is a foundation that I really feel I can rely on. I don’t think it’s for everyone, but neither is anything on this earth.

The Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation retails for $56 CAD for 0.25oz, or $224 per oz, and can be purchased from Sephora.

Review: Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara*

Posted on June 27, 2017 under Reviews

This post features a press sample which I received as part of an Influenster campaign. This post is not sponsored and all opinions remain my own.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

Mascara is one of those products that is indispensable yet boring. I just can’t get my self excited over mascara as a general product category. I also basically live off samples and whatever I can get from work – I’ve purchased a few luxury mascaras with Optimum points recently, but I haven’t spent actual money on mascara since 2013. I use what I have, and normally I get on with it okay because my lashes are decent to begin with. There are a few that I love, and of course if you read my blog you know that I violently hate Benefit They’re Real!, but overall it takes a lot to get me worked up over mascara one way or the other.

Despite my mascara ambivalence, I was excited for the opportunity to test out Revlon’s newest mascara, the Mega Multiplier. Although my favourite mascara is high end, I am always down to find a good drugstore mascara because I think it’s ridiculous to pay $30 for something that gets thrown out after six months. I also haven’t ever tried Revlon mascara, so why not now? Plus, I love Gwen Stefani (and thank her every day for putting Rich Girl and Luxurious into the world), so it’s cool that she’s the face of Revlon’s summer launches.

I think this is really nice packaging for the drugstore. I would say that the Revlon mascara range still looks like it belongs at the drugstore, but it’s a step above, like, CoverGirl or Maybelline Great Lash. The shape of the tube is fun (but doesn’t compromise function!) and it ties in with their oblong liquid lipsticks. And I like the contrast between the matte black and the shiny plastic of the cap. Not that important, I know, but I am a person who has an opinion on everything.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara wand

The brush isn’t anything special; it’s cone-shaped and made with natural bristles. It looks a lot like Lancôme Hypnôse Star. This type of brush has typically never given me any hassle.

If this mascara billed itself as an everyday option for subtle definition, I’d give it the green light. But, I mean, it’s called Mega Multiplier. That demands a dramatic result. And I just don’t get that. Every time I’ve applied this mascara I’ve felt like it’s barely doing anything no matter how many coats I put on. I just build, and build, and build, and the final result is still lacklustre. And that’s on lashes that are reasonably long and thick on their own! It also kills a curl pretty immediately, and on my lower lashes it smudges. Boo.

Here’s a before and after:

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

Curled lashes, no mascara.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

After one million coats of Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

And another angle:

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

I mean… what is being multiplied here? It certainly isn’t my lashes.

For comparison’s sake, here’s a before and after I took today using my Clarins Truly Waterproof mascara, which I banged on about for the second half of 2016 because it is that good.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

And, because I think of everything and don’t want you to have to scroll between these two pictures, I have compiled them for you in one convenient place. Top is with Revlon Mega Multiplier, bottom is with Clarins Truly Waterproof.

Revlon Mega Multiplier Mascara

I mean. We’re seeing the difference here, right? I don’t even hate how the Mega Multiplier makes my lashes look; I think it’s a nice, subtle effect, and if it weren’t for the smudging and curl murdering, I’d recommend it to those who want something very soft. But presumably someone picking up a mascara with a name like Mega Multiplier – and claims of “mega volume and extreme length” – is looking for something with a bit more oomph. Pass on this one then, I say.