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: Buxom Plumpline Lip Liners*

Posted on February 01, 2017 under Reviews

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This post features press samples. I was not compensated for writing this post and all opinions are my own.

When I received six shades of the new Buxom Plumpline Lip Liners* in the mail, I was very interested. They’re marketed as lip liners but are more the size of a jumbo, sharpenable pencil à la the NARS Lip Pencils. After swatching them to figure out which colours I would reasonably wear, I was excited to put them to the test to see how they performed.

It’s unclear from Buxom’s marketing if these are actually supposed to be lip liners or not. The copy does call them lip liners, but it also recommends using the pencils to fill in the lips. Personally I just use this product as a jumbo lip pencil because I think the size lends itself to that, though I think you could use it as a liner as long as the tip is well-sharpened.

Unsurprisingly, Buxom claims that the Plumpline Lip Liners* are plumping. (Who’da thunk, huh?) Frankly, I find the plumping angle bizarre. The info sheet I received with these does reference a “plumping formula”, but I notice absolutely no difference in how my lips look with these liners. If it really is just about creating a contoured, defined illusion with lip liner, well, any lip liner can do that. Plumping products aren’t my thing, anyway; I already have pretty full lips.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner closeup

The Plumpline Lip Liners* are large, sharpenable wooden pencils. I don’t tend to be a huge fan of wooden pencils for my eyes or lips, but these sharpen well in my NARS sharpener and I do like the texture. The formula leans a bit more dry than slippery; they’re certainly less creamy than the NARS Satin Lip Pencils, but I don’t find that they tug or dry out my lips throughout the day. Sometimes when I fill my entire lips in with a lip liner it can be very drying and patchy, but that’s not the case with these. I find that the more mid-toned shades are creamier and more even than the lighter and darker ones. Those prone to very dry lips may find these slightly drying, as they are a fully matte formula. I notice my lips feel a bit dryer throughout the day when I wear them, but it’s nothing compared to a liquid lipstick. Right now I’m dryer than normal (seriously, my face has been eating up moisturizer and spitting it out, and my lips are constantly begging for relief in the form of Nuxe Rêve de Miel), but I haven’t found the Plumpline Lip Liners* to be particularly bad offenders on that front.

These liners (or lip pencils, or whatever the hell they are) wear about as well as you’d expect a matte lipstick to. I find they stay well on my lips throughout regular life (chatting, eating snacks, drinking water), but unsurprisingly wear off to some degree (though not completely) if eating anything particularly greasy or messy. I know that we expect a lot of our lipsticks now that matte liquid formulas have overtaken the market, but in terms of regular ol’ lipstick that we’ve all been wearing for like three million years, the Plumpline Lip Liners* perform well. I wouldn’t say that they’re miraculous, but I don’t think I could expect them to hold up much better than they do.

Buxom Plumpline lip liner size comparison

I like most elements of the packaging. They’re easy to hold, and those with smaller hands might find them easier to work with than something like the Revlon Balm Stains, which are considerably chubbier. If you don’t take into account the lip brush, they’re about the same size (length and circumference) as a ColourPop Lippie Stix, which I think is about ideal for this type of product. I like that the packaging corresponds to the colour of the product, so there’s no guessing game involved like with MAC or NARS lipsticks. I do like that the pencil is sharpenable; though I love the Revlon Balm Stains and Matte Balms, I find it a bit irritating that they get worn down to a dull and far less precise point, so I appreciate a chubby lip pencil that I can sharpen.

Buxom Plumpline lip liner lip brush

I don’t care for the lip brush that comes with the product because I just don’t see myself using a lip brush with this type of formula, nor do I think it’s necessary to use one with a product that you can apply with such precision straight from the bullet. I also have to say I hate that the cap on the lip brush is the same colour as the cap on the actual pencil, because without fail whenever I reach for one of these I open the lip brush end first.

And now, pictures of all the colours I own:

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in White Russian

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in White Russian* is a pale, cool pink. I don’t like colours this pale on myself because I think they wash me out too much, but I know a lot of people live and die for the Buxom White Russian lip gloss, so I see this one being pretty popular. This is the driest of the bunch I got for sure and the patchiest to apply, which I’m guessing has something to do with the white base.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Ransom

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Ransom* is a cool pink which is slightly darker than White Russian. I keep going back and forth about whether or not I like this on myself. It’s slightly cooler, paler, and pinker than I’d usually go for, but I want to make it work. This one applies well, though it’s a bit dryer than the next two you’ll see.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Hush Hush

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Hush Hush* is a warm pink-brown. This is the type of rosy neutral colour that I really like – it adds colour to my face without being too much. (I mean, not that I believe in “too much”, because you know I love my bold lipstick colours!) This one is very creamy and smooth to apply. I can see it being a best-seller because it’s so wearable and would flatter a range of skintones.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Covert Affair

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Covert Affair* is a burnt orange which can read a bit more red in photographs. I have never once in my life considered burnt orange lipstick for myself, but I actually love this. Besides Hush Hush it’s become my most-worn of these lip pencils. It’s also the creamiest of them all. (This is what I was wearing with my teal Lancôme eyeliner!)

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Intrigue

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Intrigue* is a neon, orange-leaning coral. As soon as I swatched this one I knew I would hate it on myself as I have an aversion to anything orange and especially any orange with a white base. This is not as bad on me as I would have expected, and I think it would be an amazing summer colour on someone with more warmth or depth to their skintone. (Seriously, I think it’s a glorious colour, just not on me.) This is one of the dryer colours.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Mystery

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner in Mystery* is a deep plum. I like this type of colour a lot so I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of it. This one surprised me because I thought it’d be pretty patchy (especially over my dry lips), but it wasn’t too bad. It did require about two layers for full evenness, but there are a lot of dark lipsticks that are just beyond wearability on my dry lips no matter how much I layer them. This one does feel slightly drier than some of the others, but it doesn’t cling to dry patches.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liner swatches

L-R: White Russian, Ransom, Hush Hush, Covert Affair, Intrigue, Mystery

I don’t think that the Buxom Plumpline Lip Liners* are as revolutionary as Buxom would have us believe – they’re chubby lip pencils, not magical lip plumping devices. However, I think they’re nice chubby lip pencils, and at $20 CAD/$17 USD they’re downright affordable alternatives to similar mid-range and high-end products. (I really can’t remember the last time I saw a lip product sold at Sephora that was only $20!) There’s also a nice range of colours, from neutrals to brights to deep plums and berries, so you just might find one you love.

Buxom Plumpline Lip Liners* retail for $20 CAD/$17 USD for 0.07oz of product, or $285.71 CAD/$242.86 USD per oz. (For comparison, the NARS Satin Lip Pencils are $34 CAD for the same amount of product, or $485.71 per oz.) They can be purchased from Sephora or Ulta.

Review: NARS Audacious Lipsticks in Audrey and Brigitte

Posted on December 07, 2016 under Reviews

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It seems that I’m getting quite excited about NARS these days! In 2016 I increased the NARS products in my stash from two (my eye primer, which I’ve been using for 3.5 years now, and the mini Cruella from last year’s Sephora birthday gift) to 9. This is mainly because I discovered Murale, a high-end beauty store owned by Shoppers Drug Mart, where I have now gone twice to spend about $500 total worth of Optimum points. My last Murale haul was almost exclusively made up of NARS products – I mean, if I’m getting them for free, why not, right?! (For any Canadians interested, Murale carries the standard Shoppers Beauty Boutique fare as well as NARS, YSL, Bobbi Brown, Paul and Joe, and various bougie skincare lines. Oh, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s makeup line, which I always pass over because an insufferable rich woman’s company does not get me going.)

Back in May, I treated myself to the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte, a peach with a hint of brown. Despite my general aversion to peach, I quickly fell in love with both the formula and colour of this lipstick, so when I lost it in September I not only replaced it as soon as I could make it back to Murale but picked up another colour. Murale does not carry the full line of Audacious lipsticks and had very few on the list I’d made beforehand of my favourite shades, and I ended up selecting one which wasn’t on my list to begin with: Audrey, a deep wine red.

Obviously, I’ve already spoiled you here in the opening of this review (and in a positive mention of Brigitte back in August). I really like these lipsticks. But why?

The Colours and Finish

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey

I really like the two colours I have. Brigitte is a great everyday shade and a wearable peach on my complexion. As I’ve mentioned in the past, peaches that are too orange or that have a white base tend to make me look rather washed out. Brigitte is a deeper peach and the hint of brown makes it incredibly wearable for me. Audrey is a quintessential fall/winter wine red shade. The Audacious line in general has a breathtaking array of beautiful, varied shades – I truly think there’s something for everyone. Or a lot of things for some of us. But really – I think the colour range is one of the strengths of this line, and something that makes it more appealing than other lipstick lines that I like but that just don’t have the same colour selection. (For example, I’m a huge fan of the Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution formula, but I find the shade range quite limited and the many brown-nude colours don’t appeal to me.)

The Audacious Lipsticks aren’t fully matte, but they’re not glossy or shiny either. They’re a perfect satin finish, which is generally the finish I prefer in a cream lipstick. Brigitte seems slightly more matte to me than Audrey, but both have a lovely finish which make my lips look full and pretty.

The Formula

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte

I find the Audacious Lipsticks to be creamy and opaque upon application. The colour doesn’t need to be built up at all, and Audrey, the deeper colour, isn’t patchy as some dark colours can be. They apply smoothly and easily.

Crucially, I also do not find these drying at all. I know that this varies from person to person. After reading Auxiliary Beauty‘s reviews of her Audacious lipsticks and how drying she found them (before ultimately decluttering them because they were so dry), I was shocked at how comfortable these feel on my lips. For reference, my lips, like the rest of me, are quite dry, but not completely parched. I slather on Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm religiously before bed and that keeps them in good shape, so they can handle formulas that aren’t super hydrating. But I can still tell if something is drying, even if my lips do okay – for example, though I like the Stila liquid lipsticks, and though they don’t turn my lips into a mess, I can tell that they dry my lips out more than a regular lipstick. I don’t have that experience with the Audacious Lipsticks.

The Lasting Power

With the explosion of liquid lipsticks, I think we’re all expecting a lot in terms of lasting power from all of our lip products. Obviously, no traditional cream lipstick is going to last as long as a matte liquid lipstick. That’s just not how science works. (How does science work? I don’t know, I have a degree in pop culture.) But in terms of the spectrum of regular bullet lipsticks, these guys are right at the “very long-lasting” end. They hold up for a long time, through regular eating, drinking, talking, and living life. No, they’re not going to win a fight against a greasy hamburger. But, truth be told, neither do Stila liquid lipsticks. The burger will win every time, people.

The Packaging

I know I’m horribly superficial. Good packaging can often sway me to buy a product if I’m on the fence, or make me interested in a product that I otherwise wouldn’t have given the time of day. But I think if you’re going to pay $39 CAD for a lipstick, the packaging should be good. I mean, otherwise I’d just buy some Maybelline Creamy Mattes on sale for $6.99 and call it a day, you know?

I really like the sleek black packaging with the NARS logo wrapped around the cap. (And I kind of want two more of the Audacious Lipsticks so I can line them up to spell NARS. As it is, I am the type of person who makes sure that they are turned to say NA when they’re in their little acrylic homes.) The packaging is sturdy – it’s minimalist but not cheap-feeling. There’s a weight to the Audacious Lipsticks that make them feel expensive. (There’s nothing that betrays cheapness quite as much as light packaging.) I also love that the lids are magnetic – it’s not really a practical necessity, but it’s the type of fun touch that makes me feel good when I use one of my Audacious Lipsticks.

And now, onto the swatches and comparisons and all that good stuff.

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte

By the way, I totally wasn’t planning on taking these photos today, but I realized that the lip swatches I’d taken were both grainy and out of focus, a fatal combination. I’d just been experimenting with my eye makeup (and you will, of course, get a post on my blue eyeliner shortly), so all I have on besides my eye makeup is brows and undereye concealer. Personally I think both of these lipsticks look a bit better with some blush, at least.

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Audrey is deeper than NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Cruella and Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss 09, though it’s not as deep as Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick in Scarlet. It has a more wine-y tone than both Cruella (which is a deep red) and Rimmel Kate 09 (which is a red-leaning berry), but it’s far less purple than Scarlet.

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte is deeper than Lancôme Rouge in Love lipstick in Corail in Love, and has a tick of brown in the colour which Corail in Love lacks. It’s less brown and pink than Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss 08.

I know this is only the four millionth rave review of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks out there, but, hey, this is my first review of them. Clearly, I really like them. In fact, I’d say they’re right up there with my favourite bullet lipstick formulas. As always when it comes to fancy lipsticks, I struggle to say that they’re necessary leagues ahead of some of the more affordable alternatives – is the formula worth $30 more than the aforementioned Maybelline Creamy Mattes, for example? I don’t know that it is. But is it a good formula that’s worth your money should you be looking for a splurge or something nice to spend your Optimum points on? Absolutely. And as with all expensive makeup, we’re paying for the branding, the packaging, and the feel of putting it on as much as the formula itself. All of that works for me in this product – it’s a lipstick that, in my opinion, does an admirable job of convincing me that it is worth $39.