Tuesday, September 24, 2013



Here are some I've tried lately, with reviews and pictures.  As a disclaimer, I'm a neutrals girl when it comes to lip glosses and colors.  I rarely go for the straight up "lipsticks" preferring instead the more natural looks of tints, glosses, etc.  

Guerlain Maxi Shine.  Really beautiful subtle colors and stays on a while for a gloss.  I do think they are worth the $30 pricetag - the quality is in how natural they look and how well they stick.  People have complained that they're a little tacky on the lips but that's hard to avoid in a long-lasting gloss.  I bought Pink Clip, Bubble Gum (shown right), and Browny Clap.  Bubble Gum would look adorable with any look that highlights fuchia or pink, it would even work with a pale pink outfit and the appropriate blush.  That said, it was just a tad too pink for me, I tend to stick to variations of red or brown hues.  Sometimes I venture towards Rose.  But this is a true bubble gum, although sheer enough to wear to work.  Several of the colors have a subtle illuminating glitter.  This is true for the Pink Clip color - it looks almost opalescent - but it works great on the lip by highlighting, rather than looking obviously like glitter.  The Pink Clip I bought because I was looking for something with a coral overtone and I haven't been disappointed.  This color doesn't add depth though, just shine and a light-colored tint - it works for peachy/pink ensambles.  The Browny Clap also has glitter but it's less noticeable and pretty much invisible on.  It's my favorite color for how natural and versitile it looks.  It has become an every day staple in my handbag.  It gives lips a deeper red/brown healthy shine. VERDICT: Amazing gloss, worth the price.

Fresh's Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15.  I have several of these in my makeup bags and work stash.  The two pictured above are the birthday samples from Sephora - one colorless and one in Rose.  I layer the Rose on top of the original formula so the pinky red color doesn't smack people in the face, it looks much more natural diluted.  I also have Honey which is so highly pigmented that I have to use that with a clear gloss or treatment too.  I like the Honey color better than Rose because it's a little closer to brown-red that looks natural on me than pink-red, but both are great.  Petal is the newest release in this line and it's getting rave reviews.   


At $22.50 you should be expecting more than a tinted chapstick, and you get it, sort of.  The formula is so hydrating and the SPF is a nice touch.  The cons (and the reason I keep my eye out for samples but haven't made repeat purchases) are (a) the staying power isn't better than Vaseline lip therapy (b) the consistency is a lot like Vaseline lip therapy and (c) while the colored sticks are probably more natural looking and pigmented than products you can find in the drugstore, they too are not long lasting.  When the formula fades, so does the color.  Also, the high pigmentation tends to look overdone unless diluted, and who wants a two-step tinted lip balm?  VERDICT:  While I appreciate many of the product's qualities, I plan to return to Vaseline Lip Therapy when my supplies are out.

Shiseido's Lacquer Rouge.  This is the last item pictured in the first frame.  I picked this up when I returned the Perfect Foundation Brush reviewed here.  I wasn't able to return the brush for a refund, I had to exchange it.  So one point off for Shiseido for not having a better return policy.  This was a botique store that would only do returns if the returned product had not been used even though the receipt stated returns would be honored within 30 days with no other caveats listed.  Used items could only be exchanged.  There are so many competitors now (Nordies, Sephora, CVS, to name a few) who let customers return products they've tried and not liked, I have no reason ever to go back to that boutique.  Even for Shiseido products which I can get at department stores that will honor a return.  The 'lacquer' is a gloss formula and it's not great. Its very thick and doesn't spread over the lips well (or over a clear base) so you can get a patchy look if you aren't careful.  The thick formula paired with the high pigmentation means it absolutely should not be put on without a mirror.  I bought the most natural looking color (309 - another point off for not having identifiable names or having any indication of the color on the outside of the tube...what if you own more than one? You better memorize the numbers).  So it's a two step gloss with a mirror requirement.  Staying power is no better than my Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush gloss (which I have always loved but which are very sheer - this is weekend stuff).  VERDICT: Not worth the time or $'s.  I probably won't make it to the end of the tube.  Or even the middle.       

Clinique Almost Lipstick.  This is holy grail material.  I have two of the same color (Tender Honey) and use both of them all. the. time.  One is at work and the other is in my makeup bag.  And I have a third in the cult classic Black Honey for special occasions.  Very diverse shades of this stuff can look great on the same complections.  They are very versitile due to how natural the shades look.  They are creamy with some shine, but no more than a lipstick.  They feel great on and the lack of super vinyl shine that is so popular on lip products these days is consistent with the natural look.  While they look highly-pigmented in the tube, they are sheer enough to put on without a mirror.  They seriously deepen your natural shade and add a tint that makes you look radient and healthy.  They do your manicures for you too.  Just kidding. But I wouldn't be surprised.  They are that amazing. 
VERDICT: best of the bunch, and not because of the great price tag. 

Bite Beauty Lush Lip Tint.  This is billed as a conditioning tint and I was so excited to try it - I bought Lychee and Tangelo thinking they would be complimentary shades for darker and pinker looks, respectively.  They were both horrible.  The color is too pasty and not at all natural.  They are basically lipsticks, rather than tints, and on top of the too-strong-for-a-tint color, you have to put a lot on to get the conditioning benefits (as opposed to Fresh's Sugar offerings which, incidentally, are a couple bucks cheaper) so they both went back.  I didn't notice their staying power because I couldn't stand to leave them on for long.  VERDICT:  Fail. 

My newest additions are my first YSL Rouge Pur Couture 'Rebel Nudes.'  I have been pleasantly surprised by these.  I had received samples of Rouge Pur Couture in brighter hues in the past and found them too over the top to spend $34 on.  If I'm spending that kind of money I want to get a lot of use out of the tube.  I picked out of the most neutral of the Nudes have been wearing them to everything since.  They are first class lip stains and the neutral colors really serve to deepen a variation of a natural lip and to add illumination and gloss. 

This is such a complex formula that you really need to have the color just right.  They are buildable but wouldn't lend themselves to mixing well.  You can immediately feel the cool liquid aspect of it when you first apply it which gives way to a waxy layer that stays and stays.  It really does feel like you could eat a 5 course meal complete with wine pairings without smudging or losing the color.  And it's almost true.  This is, at heart, a stain.  The after-effect is a relatively un-frilly not-quite-matte color.  It's not a gloss.  And the color stays like a stain.  There are other stains out there.  But I've never owned one because I have found the colors unnatural and over-saturated.  Until now! 

I have Nude Provocateur (101) and Beige Anarchist (106) and love them both.  Nude Provocateur is a dark nude that adds a depth to the natural color of the lips.  Beige Anarchist is going to be my go-to when red, pink, or a wine color is part of the ensemble.  It looks bright purple in the tube but has a brown-red hint to it which makes it a little dressier than 101.  Both have an illuminating-grade glitter quality to them which makes them shine but not "sparkle" exactly.  I also like the applicator - it's like a typical gloss applicator but flattened and at an angle.  It really does a good job of simulating a brush.  One that you never have to clean.  The $34 price tag is nothing to scoff at.  It's the most I've ever spent on a lip product.  But it's worth adding a couple favorites to your collection.  VERDICT: go-to for occasions where you need staying power. 


What are your favorites?

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