Posted on May 18, 2018 under Reviews
Though I have a lot of lipsticks in this grouping of categories, I find peaches, oranges, and corals really tricky. The tones have to be just right. For a long time, I ignored these categories in favour of those that I could more easily wear – namely, fuchsias, reds, and berries. But once the floodgates were opened, I realized that colours in these categories are actually some of my all-time favourites – I just have to really pay attention to undertone and depth of shade.
As always, comparison arm swatches can be found in my big lipstick inventory post.
My bare lips, for posterity:
This is a bright borderline neon peach, which sounds like my worst nightmare. Because it’s sheer, I actually think it’s a really pretty colour, but I find it looks best when I go a little heavier on the blush and eye makeup. I really like the Blotted Lips formula – though I don’t generally go for sheerer lip colours, the sheer matte finish appeals to me. This is a comfortable formula which fades evenly, which I think is all you can ask of anything sheer. I will note that this can photograph a bit strangely, especially from afar – I have a few tourist pictures in Northern Ireland where I look very washed out because this colour is weird on camera. These pictures do accurately portray how it looks on me, though.
Ahh, my perfect peach! This colour has the tiniest hint of brown that makes it very wearable for me. (Although that brown mostly comes across in swatches and not so much on my lips!) This lipstick goes with so much and it’s one of my go-to respectable lady colours. And, of course, the Audacious formula is pretty much unparalleled. I lost my original tube of Brigitte to the depths of a rental car in late 2016, and I misplaced my current tube for a few months, so that’s why this picture was taken on a different day – I had just unearthed it from a backpack I never use. If it had eluded me forever, I probably would have spent Optimum points on it a third time. That’s how much I love this colour.
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème in Strawberry Girl
This lipstick is the newest to my collection. On the last day of our trip, in Copenhagen, my mom offered to treat me to something from the Sephora that was half a block away from our Airbnb. I ended up selecting the recently-launched Strawberry Girl, which I see as Brigitte’s old sister. It’s not the easiest colour to describe, but I think “muted coral” probably comes the closest to getting at its red, orange, and brown tones. I love this formula: it’s creamy and rich but not heavy, and it lasts pretty well, although the wear time on this particular shade is not as great as So Sofia (which I’ll get to in a moment!) or even to the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang mini that will be featuring in an upcoming empties post. I’m not sure that this is my best shade, either, but I still like it on myself. Its muted dustiness reminds me of the pinky-browny shades I buy in bulk, but the warmth takes it in a different direction.
After hating and avoiding orange lipstick forever, 2017 was the year that I embraced a good earthy orange. Candyfloss is a gorgeous terracotta. Though it’s an unusual shade, I find that it’s pretty good for casual situations; I don’t feel like I’m making a huge statement when I wear it, because it’s muted. It wears down to appear a bit more peach, too, so it’s quite versatile. It’s my favourite of all the Blotted Lips I have – the colour is glorious and it applies and wears the most evenly.
I’m pretty confident in saying that this was my most-worn non-neutral lip colour of 2017. This burnt orange is just so damn flattering. I’m really glad Buxom sent this along because I never would have fallen in love with this type of earthy orange otherwise. I actually think burnt orange is one of the ugliest colours on the planet in general, but I love it on my face. Go figure! Anyway, these lip pencils have a really comfortable formula that wears well. This is probably the most colour-accurate photo I’ve managed to get of this shade – usually it shows up very red, but I think the red in my top helps bring out the orange and brown tones more clearly here.
This is a very bright reddy-orange. I don’t know that it’s quite a burnt orange since it’s so vibrant, but it’s definitely some sort of orange rather than red. (This is another one that’s tricky to photograph, but these pictures are pretty accurate, though they might read a bit more red on your screen.) Once again I’m shocked that I not only willingly put anything orange on my face but that I actually chose to have this colour custom-made. Again, I really enjoy the Bite matte formula – it’s nowhere close to a true matte, as you can clearly see, but it’s comfortable without being slippery (an issue I have with the Amuse Bouche formula). If they put out off-the-rack lipsticks in this formula I’d definitely hand over my money.
A more recent lipstick colour fixation has been a good old reddy coral. On A Stick is the casual option, though it can be built up to near-opacity if you’re really looking for a punch of colour. For whatever reason I do find this makes my lips drier than the other Blotted Lips colours I have, but it’s nothing egregious.
Old pictures ’cause they’re the most colour accurate.
I probably sang this lipstick’s praises enough in the nearly-1500 word blog post I wrote about it. The formula is incredible and the colour is the best thing ever. Like, there are plenty of lipsticks that look good on me, or that I can’t really object to one way or another. But this lipstick actively looks good on me. I spent literal years searching for this exact shade of no-bullshit, in-your-face, so-damn-loud coral, and finally I have it. I treasure this lipstick.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice
This was an impulse purchase added to a basket when I was spending Optimum points and was a few dollars short of my threshold. And goddammit, I don’t think I’ve ever made a better impulse purchase. I mean, it’s not that this formula is so incredible, because it’s not. It’s a decent cream lipstick formula – nothing to complain about, nothing to rave about. But this bright reddish coral is everything. It’s a bit of a chameleon; here it looks more pink, but sometimes it appears a lot more orangey on me. I haven’t worn in it some time since the gloomy winter weather has had me leaning towards more muted colours, but now that it’s finally warm out it will be back in my rotation.
This vibrant red-coral is no doubt a beautiful colour. It’s a slightly more serious coral than something like So Sofia, but it’s still fun. Unfortunately, I am not only over liquid lipsticks as a whole, I am especially over this particular formula. I would describe how it feels on my lips, but I think the photo above does a pretty good job of that. I mean… no.
As I was taking these photos, I was struck by how much I genuinely love all of these colours. It’s been quite a sudden transformation from someone who hated anything that remotely hinted at orange to a devotee of a good coral or earthy orange. I guess opening your mind can be a good thing. Who knew?!
Posted on February 24, 2018 under Reviews
When I did my lipstick inventory in the summer, I mentioned that I might do proper lip swatches of all my lip products. Since that inventory, I decluttered a fairly large amount of lipsticks, which makes that possibility a little less daunting. (Though you should definitely not expect minimalism from me as a general rule.) I decided I’d kick us off today with a boring – but necessary – category: the neutrals, nudes, and MLBBs. Despite my penchant for loud lipstick, I’ve been busy and tired recently and that has been reflected in my tendency to reach for softer lipstick colours (and to make minimal effort with my makeup in general). I have worn all of these pretty regularly in recent memory, so I can give you accurate mini-reviews.
I recognize that “neutral”, “nude”, and “MLBB” are fairly contentious, overlapping terms without clear definitions. Personally, I interpret “nude” as a colour close to my actual skin tone, “MLBB” as close to my lip colour, and “neutral” as, well, a daytime-appropriate, wouldn’t-look-twice colour that nonetheless does not closely resemble my actual skin or lip colour. I lean more towards neutrals over nudes and MLBBs; I’m fair with reasonably low-contrast colouring, so I rely on lip products to bring a bit of colour and life to my face. As you’ll see, I don’t really do nudes in the way that I’ve defined them, and I lean very heavily towards neutrals with rosy pinkish-brown bases.
I haven’t done comparison arm swatches in this post because I figured the lip swatches would be illustrative enough; if you really want to see them next to each other, there are swatches included in the lipstick inventory post.
Here are my natural lips:
I don’t think they’re particular pigmented or pale; they’re somewhere in the middle. Lipsticks tend to be pretty true-to-colour on me.
First, let’s look at my lip liners.
Milani Color Statement Lip Liner in Nude
This lip liner basically represents the neutral colour I’m always gravitating towards, and consequently can be seamlessly paired with many of the lipsticks you’ll see in this post. It’s a very creamy, comfortable formula that can easily be worn on its own. I love this liner and have most certainly got my money’s worth out of it.
On paper, a warm, beige-based nude should look terrible on me. But when I received this liner from Influenster, I was surprised to find that I actually really liked it. If you click through to the original review post, you’ll see that I got this liner when I had red hair. I did go back to platinum last March, and this liner (and its matching lipstick, which I’ll get to in due course…) were not my absolute favourites with that hair. The platinum hair made me supremely low-contrast, which this lipstick did nothing to combat. But now I’m (ostensibly) growing out my blonde, so I have quite a lot of brown at the roots and a darker, ashier blonde through the lengths, and I like this liner again. I usually pair this with the Bite Honeycomb lipstick, but it works well under a variety of neutral and non-neutral lipsticks. I often use it just to sketch in a structure to my lips before using a completely different lipstick on top of it.
And now the lipsticks…
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 17
I’ve had this tube for a long time (like, over 4 years) and have consequently used up quite a lot of it. It used to be a go-to neutral for me, but I’ve moved away from it because I’m not sure that the light peachy-pink base is my most flattering colour. I’ve been very wishy-washy when it comes to deciding to declutter it because sometimes I wear it and decide I do like it. I think it’s pretty dependent on what other makeup I’m wearing it with. It’s not one I lean on for no makeup makeup days because I think it does need a bit of strength in the eyes for balance. People rarely talk about the Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks anymore, but they remain solid drugstore staples. (And I’ve actually used one up – unsurprisingly, it was the rosy-brown 08.) They do have a very strong scent, however, so beware.
Like the lip liner in 020, I love this lipstick despite myself. In these pictures I’ve used it on its own so you can see the true colour, but in real life I always pair it with the liner, which makes it slightly deeper. I consistently get compliments on this colour when I wear it. Yeah, colour me surprised that a beigey-orangey-yellowy colour would ever be in my rotation. I’ve been on record as liking but not loving the Bite lipstick formula (a controversial opinion, it seems), but the super creamy, hydrating formula works perfectly here. I love using this lipstick on very casual makeup days when I don’t want to worry about crusty lips. And because it’s a light neutral, it fades gracefully – though the lasting power is decent when paired with the liner. When I run through my mini, I’ll definitely consider purchasing the full size.
Despite the name, this is a jumbo lip pencil, not a lip liner, and it has no discernible plumping action that I’ve been able to identify. However, it is an excellent comfortable, creamy matte lip product in a very flattering neutral tone. This is a rosy brownish-pink that is appropriate in basically every context ever. It adds colour to my complexion without being loud or distracting (although, obviously, I also love loud and distracting lipstick). It’s one of my go-to, ride or die neutrals and basically always lives in my bag.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Secret Salma
This was my twenty-third birthday present to myself, and I’ve managed to get a lot of use out of it in the eight months since it entered my life. Again, this is a very standard Clem neutral, though it’s pinker – and redder – than the reasonably brown Hush Hush. I remain a big fan of the super smooth, comfortable Matte Revolution formula.
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (mini)
As you can see from the picture of the all-but-decimated tube, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my go-to lip colours. It’s the perfect flattering neutral. It has enough colour in it to revitalize my face, but it’s still a very safe, everyday colour that can be paired with pretty much any eye makeup. By now you are probably very much noticing that this colour is firmly in my comfort zone and also nearly indistinguishable from CT Secret Salma. This is true! And while I really love the MJ lipstick formula – which I’ve articulated more fully in my review of the shade So Sofia – I will just redirect my love for this shade to Secret Salma when I use it up. Which will probably be in like 45 minutes because I wear it so often.
I am very much in love with this ultra-versatile neutral. It has hints of brown, plum, pink, and red and basically defies easy colour categorization. It also looks different on everyone – I have a friend whose lips really pull out the plum in it, and I’ve seen it turn quite brown on a lot of people. It also looks good on a huge variety of skin tones and depths. And the formula is so good – like, not just for drugstore, but in general. It’s deeper on me than my other neutrals and it has a bit of cool tone that makes it a statement neutral. If I lost my entire makeup collection this is one of the first colours I would repurchase. Which is convenient because it goes on sale for $5.99 pretty frequently!
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anna
When I first got this lipstick, I put it on and was immediately bitterly disappointing. It drew all the life out of my face, which is of course the opposite of what I want lipstick to do for me. But that was back when I was super platinum, and now that I’ve got a higher-contrast, more natural hair colour going on, I think I can make this work. Yes, the cool mauve tones are tricky on me – but if I make sure to warm up my cheeks with a healthy amount of blush and have a decent amount of eye makeup on, I think it’s pretty. It’s another colour that falls more into the “statement neutral” category for me. I relegated this to the back of my shelf for many months, but I’ve recently rediscovered it and have been wearing it pretty often. Definitely one of my all-time favourites, but it’s a little different from my usual neutral colour palette and I’m liking it!
This is probably more than strictly necessary (especially considering how similar a lot of these are), but this is actually a relatively tame category compared to some others in my collection. But I can honestly say that since trimming the fat back in the summer, these are all colours that I use regularly. I can’t guarantee that will be true of every lipstick in the coming instalments, but my neutrals are very well-loved, at least…
Posted on December 18, 2017 under Lists
You know, if you ask anybody who knows me they will no doubt tell you that one of my main hobbies is complaining bitterly. Yet I have never done a year-end roundup of products that disappointed me, which amazes me. So far I’ve done three yearly “best of” posts, but this is my first ever “worst of” post. (I decided to post this one before my Top 17 of 2017 because I thought it’d be better to end 2017 on a high note.)
Unlike my yearly “best of” recaps, I have not chosen a catchy number for this post. This is simply a list of everything that disappointed me in 2017, in chronological order.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Full Fan Effect Mascara
I don’t have my own picture of this product because I slammed it into the garbage and never looked back.
Look, it’s hard to truly impress me with a mascara, but I also rarely hate a mascara. Generally mascara generates in me emotion no stronger than “Meh.” The last mascara that inspired true, passionate hatred was Benefit’s They’re Real!, which is my gold standard for shitty mascara. That was about four years ago, so that tells you how rarely I encounter a mascara that really enrages me. However, this mascara is that. I am mad at it, okay? The first time I applied it my very standard set of eyelashes became three giant clumps and I was like, “Well, that sometimes happens with brand new mascara.” Then I tried to wash it off, and I had flashbacks to trying to wash off They’re Real!, which is a battle which usually ends up in you cradling your amputated eyelashes and crying in the corner of your bathroom. Lash Sensational Luscious is THE EXACT SAME. And this isn’t even the waterproof version! I tried it again the next day just to be fair, and my opinion did not change. Look, maybe it does get better with age, but I was not about to subject my lashes to warfare just to find out.
Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con Plush Eyeshadow Palette in The Lolita
My friend Kristin gave me this palette for Christmas because she wanted to buy me something that I would never buy myself. She’s right that I would never pay $71 for a palette of seven eyeshadows. And, you know, unlike the Lash Sensational Luscious mascara, I do not hate this palette. Actually, I think it’s very wearable, and most of the shadows are very pretty and blendable. This is sort of like a Naked Basics palette kicked up a notch; it has a few more interesting shimmery shades in addition to the staple mattes, and the packaging is a lot more beautiful than Naked Bascis’ rubbery, utilitarian feel. But – and if you’ve ever swatched this palette you’ll know exactly what is coming – that one shade, man. The middle one, I mean. It’s glittery and looks so pretty in the pan, but I have never experienced such fallout carnage in my life. Even packed on with my finger for maximum density, it delivers very little colour payoff. All the glitter seems to miss my eyelid and fall directly onto my cheeks, where it sticks unless I remove my makeup. It SUCKS, dude. And when 14% of your $71 palette is unuseable, you’ve got yourself a stinker. I see that MJ has discontinued this product, and the new palettes in this packaging seem to be getting good reviews – which is good, because they cost a pretty penny. Overall I do actually enjoy this palette and use it fairly frequently, but the one awful shade brings the entire thing down.
ELF Highlighting Palette
Pictured on the far left.
These highlighters do not show up on me at all. There’s a subtle highlighter and there’s a highlighter that does nothing. You can see swatches in my highlighter inventory post, but actually you won’t be able to see anything because they truly look like absolutely nothing on the skin. My mom, who is all about subtle highlighter, had the same experience with this palette.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Lash Sensational, this mascara just did nothing for me. I mean, I can get behind a subtle mascara, but when a mascara is named Mega Multiplier I’m just going to assume that it sucks when it gives me this effect:
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution
Like several other bloggers who bought this product because it was cheap, I have concluded that this does absolutely nothing for my dark circles. I love so many products from The Ordinary, so it’s a bummer that this one didn’t work out for me. Luckily it was so cheap that I’m not exactly crying about it.
ColourPop Lippie Stix in Trixie
I ordered this thinking it would finally allow me to end my long-term quest for the perfect bright coral. I then promptly forgot about it and bought Marc Jacobs So Sofia. When my ColourPop package arrived, I kicked myself for buying So Sofia when I had Trixie on the way. When I actually got around to trying Trixie on, however, I felt vindicated – it’s a hair too neon to be totally flattering on me. Also, the formula is thin, tugs in application, and emphasizes dry patches. I really like the Matte X Lippie Stix I have, so this one was a huge letdown.
Here’s Trixie on me:
Definitely not the worst colour I’ve ever put on my lips, but when compared to So Sofia I don’t think there’s any contest:
ColourPop Ultra Blotted Lips in Split
The Ultra Blotted Lips are a cool idea, in theory – I can always get behind a good lip stain. Unfortunately, Split is a deep enough colour that it gets patchy in application very easily, and it doesn’t wear long enough to justify the discomfort of a liquid lipstick or the finnicky application.
This is a full-coverage foundation made for combination/oily skin and I knew I wouldn’t like it, so it’s not exactly a disappointment. But it is a product which I dislike very adamantly. It looks like a dry, heavy mask on my skin, and it only looks drier and heavier by the end of the day. But hey – if you’re oily you’d probably really enjoy this!
Revlon PhotoReady Eye Art
I’m going to do a proper review of these at some point, but suffice to say that these are just “meh” in the world of liquid glitter eyeshadow. They’re finnicky to apply, take too long to dry, and don’t wear particularly well. It’s a shame, because they’re beautiful!
So there we go: my most disappointing products of 2017. Nine doesn’t seem too bad, really – that’s less than one stinker per month. Have you tried any of these products? Do you think they suck, too, or have you had more luck than me?