Review: YSL Glossy Stain in #29 Rose Fourreau (Spring 2013 Collection)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOr, “In Which I Cheerfully Horrify A YSL Sales Associate.”

So, er, the other day the very nice carpet cleaning people were here, doing their thing, and, er, the crap that came out of my carpet was so … extensive … that the machine actually broke in the middle of doing it. The very nice man from the very nice carpet cleaning company said to me, very nicely, that he was going to have to go back to Very Nice Carpet Cleaning HQ and get a new machine, and this should only take about 3 hours. I could not stand to be in a half-cleaned apartment with all the furniture shoved against the walls and with the cats whining to be let out of the utility room, so I took the opportunity to go shopping. Really, it was too embarrassing to hang around waiting to see if the replacement machine would also throw up its hands in despair and shut itself down.

What to do with three hours? Why, hie myself over to Nordstrom’s to drool over spring collections, natch. YSL is putting out four new shades of Glossy Stains (or “Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres,” as YSL calls them), which I adore, so I had high hopes of drowning my shame in lipstick. To my astonishment, Nordie’s actually had these products on display and available! (Trying to find new collection items on counter at my Nordie’s is a little like playing the lottery, except with demonstrably poorer results.)

There are four new colors for the spring: #27 Peche Cerra-Cola, #28 Grenat Acrylique, #29 Rose Fourreau, and #30 Mauve Fusain. The swatches on Nordstrom’s website bear little if any resemblance to the actual products: #27 Peche Cerra-Cola is actually a very pale peach, #28 Grenat Acrylique is an orange-leaning red, and #30 Mauve Fusain is a bright violet slightly more blue than heliotrope.

#29 Rose Fourreau is a warm orange-pink; on the website it looks like a browned rose but it absolutely is not. Like most YSL Glossy Stains, the color takes a minute or two on your lips to deepen into its eventual shade. This goes on quite light, but after a few minutes it’s become the color of blood oranges. I love, love, love it.

YSL Glossy Stains have a reasonably good wearlength — 3-4 hours for me on average, which is good considering I talk all day for a living. They fade evenly and do not bleed into lip lines. The applicator is a slanted paddle, with one pointy end for use in defining the bow of the lip and the corners of the mouth. It works very well. However, YSL Glossy Stains do have one feature that I’m not a huge fan of, and I can only assume that this is something that they absolutely could not overcome in the manufacturing process — and this is where I cheerfully horrified the YSL sales associate.

As she was rummaging below the counter to find one of these for me to buy (because the relationship between the product being on counter and the staff actually having products to sell you is tenuous at best), she started making conversation with me about them. Given that she was completely underneath the counter, it must have looked like I was having a conversation with empty air.

“Don’t you just love the Glossy Stains?” she said.

“I do,” I said. “There’s just one thing about them I don’t like.”

“What’s that?” she asked, as she continued to dig through piles of everything except what I wanted.

“They smell like beer,” I said.

At this point there was a THUNK sound and the SA’s head popped up from behind the counter, her eyes wide with alarm.

“They what?” she said.

“They smell like beer. Haven’t you ever noticed?”

She immediately grabbed one, opened it, and held the applicator under her nose — at which point an expression of such horror crossed her face that you could have used a photo of it for an internet meme.

“Oh my God,” she said.

I considered asking her whether she had ever actually used these products, because we are not talking about a ghostly soupçon of fragrance here. It smells like beer. Strongly. It has sillage. After it’s been on your lips for a minute or so, the smell goes away, but there is no missing it when you put it on. But I decided not to poke her further, because who am I to snark at a sales associate when I myself was running from the humiliation of having caused the death of at least one carpet cleaning machine?

There seems to be quite a lot of confusion about which items in YSL’s Spring 2013 collection are permanent and which are limited edition — I’ve seen one blog post definitively stating that X was permanent and Y limited edition, and then another saying the opposite. Some blog posts don’t even have all of the items in the right category. So if you want this shade, I’d suggest ordering sooner rather than later. As of this writing, Sephora has #29 Rose Fourreau and #27 Peche Cerra-Cola available online, with no mention of the other two shades; Nordstrom’s has all four, as does Saks.



Naked lip:

new naked lip

Lip with YSL Glossy Stain in #29 Rose Fourreau:

YSL glossy stain 29 lip swatch


Random bit of trivia: YSL is in the process of removing the “Yves” from its name and rebranding itself as simply “Saint-Laurent.” Do I think this is a mistake? Yes. Did they ask me? No. Can’t imagine why.


YSL Glossy Stain in #29 Rose Fourreau: $32

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. They’re lovely, but $32 is $32, after all.

Purchase again? Yes.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)


Squee! Mini-Review: Clarins Instant Smooth Crystal Lip Balm in 04 Crystal Red

Call me Voxy. Some months ago – never mind how long precisely – having a bit of mad money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me at Sephora, I thought I would cruise about a little and see other parts of the world of cosmetics. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to buy a lipstick as soon as I can.

(Melville is giving me the stinkeye from his grave. I can feel it.)

So, last summer, feeling a little spleenish, I was looking around for summer collection items beyond what Sephora carries. And I found, on several beauty blogs, these delectable, lipsmacking photos of Clarins Crystal Lip Balms in red, orange, and pink. They were completely translucent and looked like they were made of some kind of ice or gel. Popsicle-like. Totally drool-worthy. I searched for them for months, but to no avail — because I didn’t know they weren’t released in the US. (Duh. I am such a dork sometimes.)

But this year they are being released in the US. At last! For years weeks days I stalked the Clarins website, pacing the deck, harpoon (in the form of a credit card) in hand. At last, the white whale — which is to say, the Crystal Lip Balm collection — was sighted! And, in an utterly undramatic fashion, I bought the one in Crystal Red.

I know. Anticlimactic.

But wait there’s more! It arrived today, and it is AMAZEBALLS. From the swatches I’ve seen on UK blogs, the versions put out in previous years were pretty much completely translucent. They looked gorge in the tube but on lips translated to only the slightest hint of color. This year’s version seems to be more pigmented — there’s a solid core of pigment surrounded by a very lightly tinted translucent balm. It’s so lightly tinted it’s effectively colorless. When I swatched it on my hand I was surprised.

Then I went ahead and put it on my lips. It is fabulous. It is a totally wearable not-too-intense shade of red. I can’t really call it a balm, though — the pigment makes it feel like a lipstick when it’s on your lips. It’s not drying but I didn’t think it was particularly moisturizing either. I didn’t do a wearlength test (hence why this is really only a mini-review), but it lasted a couple of hours for sure.

I immediately went back on the website and purchased two of the other three shades: Crystal Pink and Crystal Coral. I was wondering about the fourth shade, Crystal Violet, but based on how much pigment is in the Crystal Red, I suspect it would be way too purple for me. But we’ll see.

These should be on counters shortly but they are available now from (limited edition) for $24.50. Through 4/24 you can get free shipping with code MOM.

UPDATE! The other two colors I ordered arrived today. The pink is much less pigmented than the red and does feel more like a balm (though still not entirely); the coral is almost as pigmented as the red and it is fairly bright. It is OK for my skin tone but going much brighter than that would be a bad idea.  I wore the red to school the other day, through one of my longest teaching days, and got about 3 hours’ wear out of it before I had to reapply. It stained a little bit, but less than I’d have anticipated. Still a win all around, though.

Close-up and hand swatch!


You can barely see that on either side of the red pigment there is a tiny bit of shiny balm, almost totally colorless.

Review: LORAC Co-Stars Long-Wearing Lip Color in French Kiss, Hot Kiss, Steamy Kiss

Geez, I need a cigarette just after typing the title of the review. And I don’t even smoke.

I’ve had two of these clunking around in my lipstick drawer for awhile: French Kiss and Hot Kiss — which is why the brushes on those two are clearly not entirely white in the top photo. Sorry; I normally don’t photograph used products, but I had forgotten just how good they were until I came across them the other day. And since ULTA is having a sale through 1/21/12 and these LORAC Co-Stars are reduced in price to $9.99 from their normal price of $20, at 50% off you should definitely consider picking up a few.

Like most iterations of the “long-wearing” variety of lip color, this is a double-ended wand with a stain on one end and a gloss on the other. You apply the stain first, then gloss. Ideally, the only maintenance they should need throughout the day is a gloss touch-up, but  if you need it to perform perfectly from 8 am to midnight, you’ll probably want to touch up the stain as well as the gloss at some point. These formulas tend to be pretty effective at delivering long-lasting color, but the danger is that they tend to be drying on lips. These avoid that pitfall pretty well. There’s no way you could  call them “moisturizing,” at least not with a straight face, but they’re reasonably comfortable to wear; I find these more comfortable than MAC’s Pro Longwear Lipcolor by a long shot. And besides, it gives you such a good reason to expand your lip balm collection. (See? I’m helping. I’m a helper.)

French Kiss is a dusty rose, Hot Kiss is a terracotta color, and Steamy Kiss is a pinkish red — vivid but not blinding. French Kiss and Hot Kiss photograph more similarly than they appear in life, so I’ve put a few comparison photos in at the end.

Application is reasonably easy; the stain end has a doe-foot wand and the gloss end has a brush. Because the color is a stain, you will want to be careful applying around the edges of your lips; lip pencil helps a lot here. The stain on all three of the ones I own is very long-lasting indeed. It wears pretty evenly for the most part; the French Kiss is closest to my natural lip color so when that one starts to wear it’s not very noticeable. Hot Kiss starts to look a bit patchy after about 5 or 6 hours, which is still pretty darn good. I’ve just bought Steamy Kiss, so I haven’t tested its all-day wear yet, but school is starting again, so that’ll happen soon. In any event, you will definitely get a full evening’s wear out of it (or an MLA interview, just sayin’) with no touch-ups and no smearing.

Since the colors are almost opaque, they apply pretty true to the color that’s in the tube, which is a nice surprise. You don’t have to use LORAC’s gloss, of course; you can use any one you like. I haven’t noticed any difference in performance between LORAC’s gloss and any of my regular go-to products.


French Kiss:

Hot Kiss:

Hand swatch. L-R: French Kiss, Hot Kiss, Steamy Kiss:


LORAC Co-Stars Long-Wearing Lip Color: $20 (on sale through 1/21/12 for $9.99 at ULTA)

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair if full price; excellent if on sale!

Purchase again? Yes. More colors plz.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: Kat von D Foiled Lipstick in Adora

Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder, once opined that women buy lipstick during shaky economic times as a quick and inexpensive way to make themselves feel better. (I think he meant “inexpensive” as compared to, say, a fur coat, not an ice cream cone.)

Although things now are economically better than they were a few years ago, retail makeup therapy still works an awful lot of the time, especially in or after stressful situations. I recently had one of these, and we don’t need to go into details except that it involved me and three other cars and everyone is OK. Also, buy Toyota.

So after a harrowing experience, I think it’s totally natural to have indulged in a little lip splurge, even though yes, yes, Sephora is just about to have a VIB 20% off sale and wouldn’t it have been smarter to wait until next weekend. To which I say, “Pthhhhbbbttt,” and “Pffffffft,” and “shut up, I was just in a car accident and I will buy whatever I like.”

This lippie wasn’t originally on my to-buy list, though I did swatch it in the store when I did those red lippie swatches a few weeks ago, but it was awfully cheerful, and the person I was with swore it wasn’t too bright for me. (You may make your own decision below. Most of the time I’ll end up buffering it with a gloss of some sort, because really it is very bright.)

Kat von D “foiled” lipsticks are so named because they have a metallic finish. It’s a pity Kat wasn’t making these in the 80s, because I think Pat Benatar would have happily worn this onto the battlefield, or at least in the music video. I think she and Joan Jett might have gotten in a catfight over them.

Adora is what I would call a light red. That is not the same as pink, although in both the hand and lip swatch photos I took, it pulls distinctly pink. When I look at myself in the same lighting, it’s clearly red. Yes, it’s a blue-based red, but it’s definitely red. The metallic finish not so much a frost or a chromelike gleam but rather a sheen, like stainless steel. Because of the finish, I can’t call it either matte or glossy. It’s neither drying nor particularly moisturizing on the lips.

I haven’t given it an all-day go yet, but these foiled lippies stain like nobody’s business, so I would be very surprised not to get several hours’ wearlength out of this. The swatch I put on my hand for the picture below was on my hand for maybe five minutes in total and left a pink stain that hours later I haven’t been able to get rid of even with diligent scrubbing. On the lip, after I removed what I’d put on for a lip swatch, I got beautiful results by putting balm over the remaining stain. Although it looks terrifyingly bright when applied full-force, it turns out to be surprisingly versatile when coupled with other products. It would also make a gorgeous, gorgeous blush if you needed a quick touch-up. (You will, obviously, want to apply very lightly!)


Hand swatch:

(This definitely pulls pink in the swatch. In real life it is redder.)

Naked lip:

Lip with Kat von D Foiled Lipstick in Adora:

(Sorry, I was a little crooked there. Oops.)



Kat von D Foiled Love Lipstick in Adora: $18 at Sephora

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good. Less expensive than many other similarly-positioned brands.

Purchase again? Sure, if I found another color that worked for me.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)


Some Red Lipstick Swatches

For those of you from Over There who have been asking about red lipstick, I thought I would swatch some when I was at Sephora the other day. After seeing all of these on my hand, the friend who was with me said something to the effect of, “you know, they all look pretty much the same, don’t they?” and I had to say “yes, yes they do.”

There are a couple of pictures in different lighting, none of which are studio or light-box quality. For reference, my skin tone is NW20 in MAC, which is medium fair and pink-toned.



The third picture (the unlabeled one) is probably the one that shows the texture/opacity of the various shades the best. The two on the far right on the bottom “row” (I use the term loosely) are the two foiled lipsticks from Kat von D. Adora is a bright but light red; Beranice is pinker. Of all of these, those two left the most stain, even a full day and several hand-washings later.

I know these swatches are messy and untidy, but I thought they might be useful. And I do intend to buy one of these that I swatched, but you’ll have to guess which. ;)

Review: bareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor in Courage

Gee, do you think bareMinerals took (let’s say “borrowed”) a page from Bobbi Brown in terms of product titling? Bobbi Brown Spring 2011: “Pretty Powerful” campaign; bareMinerals Summer 2011: “Pretty Amazing” lipcolor. Huh. Pretty Suspicious, if you ask me.

People tend to be either lovers or haters when it comes to bareMinerals. As usual, I am the outlier. I really like some products and really dislike others. (Love: bareMinerals Multi-Tasking Face powder concealer in Bisque and SPF 15 Matte Foundation — even though I have to buy two different shades and mix them together to get a match for my skin tone. Hate: Original “dewy” SPF 15 Foundation, All-Over Face Color [no “face color” should be “all-over”], pretentious capitalization.)

I’m mostly on the bM bandwagon for the “Pretty Amazing” lipcolor. I have maybe one foot trailing on the ground in terms of caveats, but I’m mostly on the wagon. At the mo’ there are eight shades of this liquid lipcolor available, in colors ranging from bold to bright to unwearable. (Srsly, who looks good in ghostly pink? No one. Sorry, MAC Viva Glam Gaga — NO ONE looks good in this color.) Do NOT buy this product unswatched. And don’t buy based solely on some swatches you saw on the internet (including here). Go to the store — Sephora, ULTA, a bareMinerals store, wherever — and swatch it on yourself. These lipcolors are almost opaque, and when you see how that color that sounds so lovely really looks on your skin, you may be surprised. “Courage” was not the shade I intended to buy, but it was one of only two shades that were wearable for me. The one I’d originally had in mind would have looked fuglicious.

It’s a comfortable product to wear — not drying like some longwear lipcolors can be, and the wearlength is really very good (at least four hours in my timed trial, after which point I forgot to keep checking). Touchups or a midmorning dollop of gloss are not strictly necessary but do help the color wear evenly. Blotchiness as the product wears off is a built-in problem for opaque lipcolor, but these manage it reasonably well. Because they are so opaque, you’ll have to finesse it with lip pencil if you don’t want a hard lip line, and you’ll have to find a color that really matches. (For “Courage,” I’ll recommend UD 24/7 lip liner pencil in Paranoid, and not just because I like the juxtaposition of those two words.)

And speaking of the juxtaposition of words, I have to share with you the bM blurb about the product.

“The innovative hydrating glaze of our Pretty Amazing Lipcolor cocoons your lips in opaque high-impact lipcolor. The cushiony texture, insatiable shine and seriously polished appearance will propel you into an elevated state of gorgeousness. And our precision applicator handles like a racecar, cornering, sculpting and accentuating every curve of your luscious lips for enduring color with real staying power. Pretty Amazing.”

1. What is “high-impact” lipcolor? Is it like high-impact aerobics? Do I need to buy it sneakers and a Jane Fonda leotard?
2. “Insatiable shine.” What? What is that? You know that “insatiable” already has a meaning, right? And that in this context, that meaning makes no sense? Right. Just checking.
3. This is my favorite bit. The applicator handles like a racecar. Let me guess: it zooms around your mouth at speeds of up to 200 mph, you can only move the applicator to the left, and if you get bumped by the person next to you at the ladies’ room mirror while you’re applying, you will flip over and die in a ball of fire. (P.S.: “Cornering” also has a meaning — several, in fact, and none of them is appropriate to putting on lipcolor.)


Naked lip:

Lip with bareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor in Courage:


bareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor in Courage: $16 for 0.13 oz

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (mid-range: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good.

Purchase again? Probably, but they’ll have to come out with some more shades that are wearable.

UPDATE! Bare Escentuals is having a Friends & Family sale from Thursday 6/16 through Sunday 6/19. Get 20% off with code LOVE at checkout.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review/Amend the Trend: Wearing Orange (Pt. 2) with Guerlain Rouge G Serie Noir in Orange Euphorique

Longest. Post. Title. EVER.

In my previous post on the current trend of wearing orange, I said I had an orange lippie winging its way to me and I was anxious to try it out. Behold! Here it is.

As I mentioned in my previous review of a Guerlain Rouge G lipstick, Rouge G is Guerlain’s signature line, and carries both the fanciest packaging and the highest price tag. The Rouge G “Serie Noir” line extension is new for Spring 2011, and features the same product design in packaging that is not silver but … well, black, natch. (Yay! Marketing language that is not a lie!)

So of course my internal dialogue over purchasing this lippie went something like this:

Glamour Hound Voxy: Look! Look! It’s a new Rouge G limited edition lipstick! And it’s ORANGE! I want it I want it I want it I want it.

Fiscally Responsible Voxy: Uh, I don’t think so. It’s forty-seven dollars. (Writing the price out in words makes it look even higher.)

Glamour Hound Voxy: So? It’s ORANGE!

Fiscally Responsible Voxy: That doesn’t change the fact that it’s also forty-seven dollars.

Glamour Hound Voxy: But orange is really in — and this looks like a wearable orange! It’s not some bizarre shade that I could pick up from Wet ‘n’ Wild at the drugstore for $4.

Fiscally Responsible Voxy: Comparing it to a worse product that you don’t even want is not helping your case.

Glamour Hound Voxy: OK. Lookit. You know how you sometimes can get away with wearing peaches and warm tones, even though your skin tone is cool — and may I say, just by way of passing, that I think your skin has been looking ravishingly good lately?

Fiscally Responsible Voxy: Mm-hmm. Flattery will get you nowhere. Go on.

Glamour Hound Voxy: Well, isn’t it a problem having a good shade of peachy lipstick to wear with those lovely delicate blushes?

Fiscally Responsible Voxy: I already have NARS Petit Monstre. That’s a lovely shade of terracotta.

Glamour Hound Voxy: Terracotta?! For SPRING? ::is shocked:: Oh, dear me, no. That’s not the same at all.

Fiscally Responsible Voxy: Well, I do wish I had a nice peachy lip color that I could actually wear — but still! Forty-seven dollars!

Glamour Hound Voxy: But think of what a classic it will be. You’ll be able to wear it year after year — because you know you’ll never finish it, right? So it’s really a mere $47 for a lifetime investment in a beautiful peach lip. Why, the cost per use is surely only a few cents. Just pennies a day!

Fiscally Responsible Voxy: I don’t like how this is going. You’re almost starting to make sense. This is never a good thing.

Glamour Hound Voxy: Pucker up, baby. I just hit the “Place Order” button while you weren’t looking. Ha! Got you again!

Fiscally Responsible Voxy is going to need to learn some new tricks, I think.

Glamour Hound Voxy, on the other hand, is pleased to report that it is just as delectable in person as she had hoped it would be. If you are looking for a peach lipstick this is definitely one to consider, especially if you are cool-toned and normally have trouble finding peachy tones that look good on you. Some people may complain that the color is sheer, because they don’t want to pay a lot of money for a product that doesn’t give full coverage in one swipe. In a case like this, where the color is orange, I think that’s actually a good thing, because it means you can build up coverage to a level you’re comfortable with. It makes it much, much more wearable. Don’t get me wrong: I love a good red lip as much as anyone, but there’s no question that when you’re wearing, say, Chanel Dragon or MAC Russian Red or Ruby Woo, you might as well hang a sign over your head that says LOOK I AM WEARING RED LIPSTICK!!!!

Occasionally, even I want to be a little more subtle. I know that may be hard for some of you to believe. ;)

Anyway, if you can get over the cost, there is nothing not to like about this lipstick. It’s a beautiful sheer apricot color that you can build, and it looks just orange enough to be on-trend without going way over the top. If it’s not orange enough for you, you can always add an orange-toned gloss. Because it is sheer, it also wears off well; I get about 4 hours out of it before it noticeably needs reapplication.


Hand swatch:

Naked lip:

Lip with Guerlain Rouge G Serie Noir Orange Euphorique:

(I swear all of those pictures were taken in the same light tent. My hand looks much warmer-toned than my face for some reason. Sigh — must continue to work on photo skillz.)


Guerlain Rouge G Serie Noir lipstick in Orange Euphorique (shade 45): $47 at Sephora (you can’t buy directly from the Guerlain website)

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fiscally Responsible Voxy refuses to let me rank this any higher than Fair.

Purchase again? Yes, if another equally unique and suitable shade comes out. I love the two shades I have but don’t feel compelled to replace all my other lippies with Rouge Gs.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)


Review: Laura Mercier Crème Lip Colour in Hydrangea

Ah, spring is springing. The birds are chirping, the trees are putting out little green leaf buds … and snow is falling from the sky. O_o

Even more than summer, spring seems to me to be a really good time for a bright pink lip. As a cool-toned, pale-skinned lass, bright lipsticks are often problematic for me, because they pull this funny thing on my skin tone that makes my whole face look like I’ve been crying. Maybe some of you cry neatly and in a genteel, ladylike fashion, but I do not. My face gets all red and blotchy, my eyes (which are already bloodshot to start out with; removing that is the only color correction I do on my eyeshadow-look photos) become positively pink, my lips sort of swell up, and I flush all across my face so that it becomes difficult to tell where my swollen puffy lips end and my swollen puffy skin begins.

For this reason, I try not to cry in front of potential beaux until at least the fourth or fifth date, at which point I feel he should know what he’s getting into before we continue any further.

So finding a bright pink that doesn’t make me look like I’ve just thrown a tantrum has been something of a chore. But! Here is one: Laura Mercier Crème Lip Colour in Hydrangea.

This is an intensely pink color, and it works for me probably because it’s very cool. I could not wear a coral at this level of brightness and saturation. I find it neither moisturizing nor drying, and it lasts about four hours on me (more with primer, lip liner, and a little gloss). It does leave a stain, which helps it wear off evenly, and I haven’t found it to bleed into lip lines, which is always a concern with ultra-bright colors. I have, however, religiously used lipliner when I’ve worn it, which helps.

While I don’t think you need to be matchy-matchy in terms of lipstick and blush and eyeshadow all going together, I do think you get the best results, at least with the lipstick/blush combination, if you stick to the same side of the color wheel. That is, pink and blue-based red lipsticks work best with pink-toned blushes; bronze, copper, or orange-toned reds with peachy blushes. There are some exceptions, for sure, especially the closer you get to neutral tones. A soft pink lip and a soft peach cheek can work well together if you have the right shades. This particular lip color, though, definitely calls for a cool blush.


Naked lip:

Lip with Laura Mercier Crème Lip Colour in Hydrangea:


And now we come to the embarrassing part of this post. This is a lippie I bought last summer, intending to save wearing it and reviewing it until this spring… but I didn’t realize it was limited edition and is now no longer available through Laura Mercier or Sephora or most other traditional outlets. Crap! So why am I not just chucking this post? Because it is still available on eBay and through other discount sellers. ( always has some Laura Mercier products in stock; though this shade isn’t available at the moment, if you like it, I’d check back there every so often.)

Laura Mercier Crème Lip Colour in Hydrangea: Usually $22, but available much more cheaply on eBay.

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good. If you pay less for it than I did, which you probably will at this point, you can expect your ratio to be even better! :)

Purchase again? Other colors in the same formulation? Sure, if I found another I liked.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

Review: NARS Lipstick in Petit Monstre

With Halloween so close, it seems appropriate to be reviewing a lippie called “Little Monster.” Rrawr!
::makes clawing gestures::

This is brand-spanking new from NARS, and is being released with their Holiday 2010 collection. Online at Sephora it is not listed as “limited edition,” and I really hope it is permanent, although considering how long it takes me to go through a lipstick, it will be months or years before I need another one. This is my new favorite lippie and I find myself trying to put together particular clothing and makeup looks just so I can wear it. (I don’t believe in being matchy-matchy in terms of exact shades, but I do believe in coordinating color families; if I’m wearing bronzes and rust-colored clothing, I’m not going to slap on a cool pink blush and lippie.)

The shade is really difficult to describe. “Terracotta” sounds too orange. “Berried brown” or “browned berry” (both of which I have seen/heard used in descriptions) make it seem either pinky-brown or browny-pink, and I can’t find “pink” anywhere in here. Maybe “saffron”?

Although you get the same 0.12 oz that is pretty standard among lipsticks, the packaging is sleeker and tighter and has a noticeably smaller footprint, or whatever we would call it when thinking about how many lippies you could reasonably expect to stuff into your purse at one time. So it looks smaller than your average lipstick (and Guerlain Rouge G positively dwarfs it), but it contains the same amount as a lipstick by Givenchy or Guerlain or Make Up For Ever.

I was a little leery of ordering it for fear that it would be drying, like some NARS lipsticks are, but it is not, at least when topped with gloss. On the other hand, it’s not particularly moisturizing either, so I guess overall it’s a wash. Wearlength over primer and without gloss is about 3 hours, but I do find that my lips feel a bit tight after an hour or two, so I usually plop a clear gloss on top right after application. I’ve tried it with a few peach or bronze glosses as well and it works nicely.


On the hand:

Naked lip:

Lip with NARS Petit Monstre, no gloss:

Lip with NARS Petit Monstre, with clear gloss:


NARS Lipstick in Petit Monstre: $24 (also available at Sephora; F&F sale runs through 11/3)

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent. A great product in a flattering shade at a not-too-outrageous price.

Purchase again? Yes, although I do still like to test in-store to see if the formula is drying. I’m open to trying other NARS shades, though.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a little monster yell in the comments!)

Review: Guerlain Kiss Kiss Lipsticks in #521 (Red Strass) and #525 (Folie de Grenat)

I had a few other products next in line for review, but none of them came from Sephora and I figured that since the F&F sale was still going on, I ought to do products that are available at Sephora in case any of you want to pick any of them up for 20% off.

My love affair with the red lip continues (and will probably last through early January). These are two lovely red lippies by Guerlain, from their (less expensive) Kiss Kiss line. As I remarked elsewhere, I hate the Betty-Rubble-esque packaging, but the products are quite nice.

Both of these shades are blue-based reds, and neither one is what I would call a “starter” red lippie along the lines of the Shiseido Natural Red or a red gloss like Lancome’s Rouge Magnificence or 3CC’s Candy Apple. These are definitely lippies for red-letter days, or, as I like to call them, Tuesdays. #521, Red Strass, is a festive, cheerful, happy, look-at-me! lip color: a vibrant red with just-noticeable-enough gold shimmer. #525, Folie de Grenat (pictured at top), is its more sophisticated, slightly darker, unshimmery older sister: the Beezus to 521’s Ramona, the Jo March to its Amy, or Elizabeth Bennet to its Lydia.

(This is not to say, of course, that if you wear #521 Red Strass you are liable to find yourself ruining other people’s birthday cakes, falling through thin ice into a freezing pond, or running off scandalously with a dashing but unsuitable scallywag. Or if you do, don’t blame it on the lippie.)

These lipsticks are moderately creamy, and I find them neither moisturizing nor drying. I haven’t noticed any feathering BUT they are quite bright and so I have always religiously used a lipliner and primer with them. Wearlength is about average given the intensity of the color: about 3 hours plus some staining.


#521 Red Strass:

Naked lip, and lip with #521 Red Strass:

#525 Folie de Grenat:

Naked lip and lip with #525 Folie de Grenat:

They don’t look as different in the swatches as they do in the tube, but Folie de Grenat is definitely darker and more sophisticated, while Red Strass is lighter and less serious.


Guerlain Kiss Kiss Lipsticks in #521 Red Strass and #525 Folie de Grenat: $31 each at Sephora ($24.80 each during F&F sale!)

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Good.

Purchase again? Yes, I’d try other colors.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)