Review: Lancôme Matte Shakers in Pink Power and Kiss Me Chérie*

Posted on June 18, 2017 under Reviews

The products featured in this post were provided to me by Lancôme for my consideration. This post is not sponsored.

Lancôme Matte Shakers

Despite the fact that I’ve been telling myself to stop buying liquid lipsticks for at least a year and a half now, the Lancôme Matte Shakers launch intrigued me greatly. I almost bought one with Optimum points back in May, but resisted if only because I really don’t need more lip products anytime soon. (Uh, will that stop me from buying more? PROBABLY NOT.) So it seemed quite serendipitous when Lancôme sent over three shades of the Matte Shakers a few weeks ago.

Today I’ll only be reviewing the shades Pink Power and Kiss Me Chérie; I can tell that the blue-toned hot pink shade, Yummy Pink, won’t suit me, and so I’d rather pass it on uncontaminated to somebody who will enjoy it.

I really am over liquid lipsticks for the most part, and I’ve come to realize that I prefer traditional bullet lipsticks. But something about the Matte Shakers really interested me. I think it might be partially a case of FOMO; I was left completely out of the Juicy Shaker hype because I don’t do lip gloss, but the Matte Shakers seemed like something I could, in theory, get behind. And, of course, they were super hyped up, with several Canadian YouTubers who I generally trust raving about them. So I went into this thinking that I might actually like them.

Lancôme Matte Shaker applicator

I’m going to start off with my complaints. The packaging is super cute but definitely a bit of a gimmick. It can be hard to shake the product up properly, which is necessary to mix the pigment and oils and to coat the applicator. If you don’t shake it thoroughly enough, you might find the colour a bit sheer or streaky on your lips. I’ve found the best way to deal with the Matte Shakers is to hold them in one hand, with a finger on each end, and jiggle them back and forth, like so:

Lancôme Matte Shakers

Even still, it takes a bit of effort to get a fresh one going. As for the large sponge applicator, I’m not crazy about it. It’s easier to use than I’d expected going in, but liquid lipstick really demands a precise applicator, doesn’t it? Part of why I’m so fond of my Stila minis is that the doe-foot is teeny tiny and allows for very clean application. Look, I’m not a millionaire beauty YouTuber, I’m just a regular Joe with a beauty blog, and I am not that good at applying liquid lipstick. I also have a poorly-defined lower lip line, so an applicator this large just isn’t ideal for me. It’s not the worst, and the pointed tip helps with precision, but it’s definitely my least-favourite liquid lipstick applicator. I find that I get the best application when I use a lip liner first to define the shape of my lips. (I mean, this is true for all lipstick, but borderline necessary for the Matte Shakers.)

However, I do really enjoy the formula of these: they’re comfortable and reasonably long-wearing, though not totally transfer-resistant. The formula is very thin and watery, which means that it doesn’t cake up on the lips and can take multiple layers and touch-ups. To me, these look and wear like a regular lipstick, applied in liquid form. They never dry down fully, which means you never get that crusty liquid lipstick look that’s the inherent flip side of a long-wearing formula. Even hours after application, I can rub my lips together without the dry tug that normally accompanies liquid lipstick. These definitely are not matte until they begin to wear down, so if you want a matte look then either blot or skip these all together.

In terms of application I find Pink Power a bit streaky on the first layer, but it builds beautifully to an even, opaque finish. It really stains the lips, so even if the top layer wears away you’re left with quite a pretty effect. Kiss Me Chérie is even with one layer but feathers a little bit on me after about five hours of wear, but this is almost inevitable for me with darker colours if I don’t line my lips. This one also stains, but not quite so evenly: I would want to reapply it if it wore off. I find Pink Power longer-lasting (it made it through a delicious bento box yesterday without any visible wear), whereas Kiss Me Chérie tends to wear off a little more in the center of the lips. The formula of the Matte Shakers lends itself quite well to the blotted/popsicle lip trend, as they can easily be blended out around the edges of the lips softly with a fingertip for a stained effect. (See this review for a really pretty example of this effect.)

By the way, good luck removing these fully – they will leave behind a stain:

Lancôme Matte Shakers

Of course, you probably want some pictures of these on an actual face right about now…

Lancôme Matte Shaker - Pink Power

Lancôme Matte Shaker - Pink Power

Lancôme Matte Shaker in Pink Power

Pink Power is a vibrant fuchsia pink with a warm undertone. Back in the day this colour was my jam, and I still own an embarrassing amount of fuchsia lipstick as a residual effect of my nineteen-year-old preferences. Though my favourite lipstick colours now tend more towards berries and magentas, this is the type of fuchsia that I like: bold and warmer rather than cooler.

Lancôme Matte Shaker - Kiss Me Chérie

Lancôme Matte Shaker - Kiss Me Chérie

Lancôme Matte Shaker in Kiss Me Chérie

The Sephora website describes Kiss Me Chérie as a “brick red”, which I disagree with: it’s cool-toned and lacks the brown of a brick. I would simply call this a cool deep red. It’s a very nice colour and one that I think would be flattering on many complexions.

Lancôme Matte Shaker Swatches

L-R: Pink Power, Kiss Me Chérie, a scratch that my asshole cat gave me

Hank

The adorable culprit

I think the Matte Shakers embody the type of liquid lipstick formula that the market needs more of: something which finds a middle-ground, sacrificing some wear time for comfort. I sense that a lot of consumers are returning to traditional lipstick formulas, or liquid lipsticks like the ColourPop Ultra Satin Lips which are less budge-proof but infinitely more comfortable. Despite the hype that the Matte Shakers (and Juicy Shakers) are receiving, I’m not sure that they’ll be an iconic, long-lived product in Lancôme’s line if only because the packaging is a bit gimmicky. I can see that under Lisa Eldridge’s direction, Lancôme is trying to move away from their old-lady image towards something a bit more fresh and innovative. However, in the case of the Matte Shakers, I think they sacrifice some functionality for style. The Matte Shakers are special and different, but, well, why reinvent the wheel? Lancôme has so many products that have stood the test of time (Hypnôse mascara, Artliner, Teint Idole foundation…) and I don’t know that these will end up in that category.

The Lancôme Matte Shakers retail for $29 CAD and contain 6.2 mL/0.20 fl oz of product – that’s $4.62 per mL, or $145 per fl oz. For comparison’s sake, a Stila liquid lipstick costs $31 and contains 3mL/0.10 fl oz of product, and ColourPop liquid lipsticks cost $6 (USD) and contain 3.2mL/0.11 fl oz. The Matte Shakers can be purchased at Shoppers Drug Mart, beautyboutique.ca, Sephora, Lancôme counters, and the Lancôme website.

Review: ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips in Tuesday, Lychee, and Dr. M

Posted on June 01, 2017 under Reviews

I am now very behind the times with my ColourPop acquisitions; the Ultra Matte Lips were their first liquid lipstick offering, and they have since launched not one but two newer liquid lipstick formulas and updated the Ultra Matte Lips formula. I don’t know why one brand needs three different forms of liquid lipstick, but then, I’m not the genius marketer whose strategy of “Pump out trendy products with trendier names” seems to be working.

As I’ve said before, ColourPop’s prices are not dirt cheap for Canadians, so for me the main draw is the ability to try out different fun colours relatively inexpensively. (You know, compared to Sephora prices.) I’d pretty much decided against the Ultra Matte Lips formula since they first came out, since most reviewers seemed to find them very drying. Even after ColourPop updated the formula, I’ve been trying to wean myself off liquid lipsticks for at least a year now. But some of their most compelling colours are in the Ultra Matte Lips formula, so I broke down back in January and ended up with three colours: Tuesday, a bright red-coral; Lychee, a warm medium-toned lilac purple; and Dr. M, a deep forest green.

I would say the Ultra Matte Lips have a pretty standard liquid lipstick formula: a little more liquidy than moussey, pretty drying, and long-wearing. For $6 USD I’m not going to complain; sure, my lips need a little extra TLC in the form of Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm after the fact, but they’re not screaming in pain. The Ultra Satin lips are more comfortable but less long-wearing; Stila Stay All Day and Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuits are more comfortable and wear about the same. If I seem slightly unenthusiastic about the formula, that’s probably just because I’m getting burnt out on liquid lipsticks in general and can no longer work up much enthusiasm for them. I ordered these bad boys back in January and then in April I did pick up one of the Liquid Catsuits when I was in the US, but I think I’m going to have to ACTUALLY FOR REAL put my foot down and stop buying liquid lipsticks now. I don’t hate them, but I just prefer traditional lipsticks. The trend is dying and the backlash is starting, people. I hath declared it so.

Whereas the Lippie Pencils are, in my opinion, unapologetically cheap-looking, ColourPop’s various liquid lip offerings appear to have slightly classier packaging. However, if you own these products for more than about five seconds, the sham is exposed. The lettering on rubs off very quickly, and the tubes themselves are not very hefty. Hell, even the Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuits feel more expensive. I mean, Wet N Wild.

And now the lip swatches you have been waiting for with baited breath…

Tuesday

Tuesday is a vibrant red-coral. I bought it hoping it would replace my crusty old Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 06, which is one of my favourite lipstick colours ever but which I have not found a satisfactory dupe for yet. Alas, it’s redder and deeper than the Rimmel shade. I still think it’s really pretty, though. I should consider it too orange for my personal comfort level (which, you may remember, has absolutely no tolerance for orange of any kind near my lips), but I think it works. Anyway, this is a lesson for me to stop buying shit online hoping t will miraculously be an exact dupe for something.

L-R: ColourPop Tuesday, Lancôme Posh Pink, YSL 57, Rimmel Kate Moss 06

Lychee

I hope you don’t want to buy this colour, because it’s been discontinued. It’s a nice warm radiant orchid-esque purple. You may recall that I have been on a very long hunt to find a dupe for the OCC Lip Tar in Hoochie, and this is the best option I’ve found yet. Personally I would love this exact warm purple tone but lighter, but I like this as well. The added depth does make it slightly more wearable. As you can see, this colour does not apply totally evenly.

L-R: ColourPop Lychee, Stila Viola, Little Mix by Collection Perrie

Dr. M

Dr. M is a rich forest green. Now, here’s the thing. I have worn this in public once, and I will likely wear it in public another handful of times. But I bought it 100% because of Rihanna. Back in 2014 she wore forest green lipstick to the IHeartRadio Music Awards, and somehow it looked almost natural on her because she is amazing and can pull anything off and also was like the only celebrity who understood the theme of this year’s Met Gala and her makeup for that was also perfect. So, yes, I have been obsessing over the concept of forest green lipstick for three years now, and 6 bucks seemed like a fair price to pay for a very belated attempt to be as cool as RiRi.

So, I like these colours a lot but I am over liquid lipsticks in general because they are too much hassle. If you see me ever reviewing another liquid lipstick on this blog please yell at me until I am forced to repent and reform my hoarding ways. (Actually, don’t, because Lancôme sent me a few shades of their new Matte Shakers so you will be seeing those at some point.)

By the way, this has nothing to do with anything, but here is a picture of my cat to end out this post. He likes to judgmentally watch me taking pictures for my blog.

Is Olaplex worth it?

Posted on May 17, 2017 under Reviews

Olaplex review

I’ve been blonde again for two months now, after a two-month flirtation with red. The red was never quite right: it took much better to my roots than to my bleached lengths, so I had a vibrant auburn that faded into a slightly watery brownish-red. And I just don’t like myself as a redhead; as soon as I went back to blonde I felt like myself again.

Of course, being blonde involves a lot of damage to the hair. This time around, my hair had had enough. For weeks I smothered it in every deep conditioner and hair mask known to man, I soaked it in argan oil, I force-fed it enough protein to keep an army going – and still it was dry, brittle, and hideous.

Olaplex has been getting a lot of hype in the beauty community for awhile now. Despite seeming on the surface like a perfect candidate for the treatments, I’ve been ignoring it since I heard about it because the price tag isn’t exactly negligible. But with my extremely damaged hair, I had to go for the big guns. I had to drop 30 bucks on a 100mL bottle of Olaplex 3.

In case you haven’t heard of Olaplex, it’s a 3-step system that helps to actually repair the damaged and weakened bonds in your hair. Step 1 and 2 are salon-grade: Step 1 would be mixed into any chemical treatments (such as bleach or toner) and step 2 would be applied afterwards. Step 3 is a diluted version of step 2 and is meant to be used at home, between salon treatments. Since I do my own hair colour and since Step 1 and Step 2 are only available to professionals, I only use Step 3.

Step 3 is not a conditioner; it doesn’t add any extra moisture to your hair. You’d apply it after shampooing, leave it on your head for at least 10 minutes, and then rinse it out and finish with conditioner or a hair mask. Personally I’ve had the best results using it as an overnight mask and washing it out in the morning. I’m not a daily hair-washer, so this feels like a bit of a chore to me, but it’s only once a week so it’s not too bad. Plus, in a time crunch, I’ve found that I can go about my day without washing the Olaplex out, though my hair gets oily faster.

So, is Olaplex worth it? Well, having used Olaplex 3 weekly since the end of March, I’m going to have to go with yes. When I first went back to blonde my hair was as damaged as I’d ever seen it. Usually after I chemically process it, it’ll be pretty dry for a bit, but I can always nurse it back to health with hair masks. However, nothing was cutting it this time – no matter how many hair masks I used or how much oil I applied, it was still crunchy, straw-like, and almost impossible to brush through. I had to wear it up or in braids every day to hide the damage. In fact, let me show you how gross it was:

Before Olaplex

Before Olaplex

This was after applying a generous helping of argan oil, and you can still see how dull and dead it looks.

With my first Olaplex treatment, I left it in for 20 minutes and washed it out, then followed up with conditioner. My hair felt better afterwards, but not significantly so. However, each time I’ve used it subsequently I’ve applied it from roots to tips, brushed it through to evenly distribute the product, waited about 20 minutes, and applied another (smaller) amount, then kept it in overnight. That’s where I started seeing results. Here’s my hair after my initial short treatment and two overnight ones:

After 2 Olaplex treatments

After 2 Olaplex treatments

I still think it appears damaged, though it’s obviously a significant improvement which I attribute entirely to Olaplex.

And here it is yesterday, six treatments in:

After 6 Olaplex treatments

After 6 Olaplex treatments

You can clearly see how improved it is. It also feels so much healthier and stronger. Not only is it smooth to the touch, when wet it’s not as elastic-y as it used to be. After I bleached it again in mid-March, every time it was wet it was stringy and stretchy. Now it has regular wet hair texture. Obviously, between the last set of pictures and this one I took off several inches, and a lot of the most damaged parts were cut out. But Olaplex has certainly improved the health of my hair by a significant amount. (By the way, I did go a slightly darker blonde, but the difference in colour is mostly due to lighting!)

I think that with Olaplex there does come a point of diminished return – that is, you can only get your hair so healthy, especially when it’s hair that has sustained three years of DIY bleach damage. My hair is not in the same condition that it was pre-bleach, and I don’t know that it ever will be. But Olaplex has restored a lot of health to my hair, and it looks and feels much better than it has in about two years, which is when I first started to experience noticeable effects of bleach damage. I’ll continue to use it because it certainly can’t hurt; though I don’t think I’ll continue to see massive improvements in the wellbeing of my hair at this point, it’ll be good for maintenance at the very least.

Now, $30 for 100mL (3.4 fl oz) does seem steep. For some reason I’m happy to spend $50 on a foundation, but any hair product that costs more than $10 is a stretch for me. This is silly; if I’m going to chemically process my hair to the extreme I should be willing to put some money into its care and maintenance. And when you break it down, Olaplex 3 treatments are weekly, so it’s not like I’m going to go through this little bottle in a month. Is it still pricey for how much product you get? Yes, of course. But is it worth it to repair traumatized hair? I think so. The fact is, being platinum blonde long-term requires special care. I keep saying I’m going to stop being blonde soon as it’s so bad for my hair, but perhaps Olaplex will allow me to continue on this path for awhile yet…