Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Maybelline Nude Lust

Name: Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Nude Lust

Date of Purchase: Jan. 25, 2014

Grade: A-

Notes: In the first part of Don Quixote (she began, like a totally normal beauty blogger), Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza meet a group of prisoners sentenced to hard labor. The galley slaves are chained together, which arouses Don Quixote’s sense of injustice. He asks the men about themselves; the most brazen of them, Ginés de Pasamonte, boasts that he is writing a thrilling autobiography that will surpass every picaresque novel ever published, and that he welcomes his ten-year prison sentence because it will give him a chance to finish his book. Don Quixote asks if the memoir is finished yet. “‘How can it be finished,’ answered Ginés, ‘when my life isn’t finished yet?’”

I find myself in much the same position as Ginés de Pasamonte. I started my lipstick chronology with the intention of not buying any more lipsticks until I had taken a complete inventory of the ones I already owned. But given that I've bought five lip colors since January 1, I can pretty much conclude that I've failed spectacularly. And since I'm moving my reviews from tumblr to blogspot, there's an extra temporal wrinkle to deal with: I wrote most of my lipstick chronology over a month ago, and now have to update my posts accordingly, which prevents me from moving forward and recording my most recent purchases. Maybe I'm more like Tristram Shandy, who starts writing his autobiography but gets bogged down in the details of his infancy.

In my last post, I mentioned that I was still searching for the perfect nude lipstick for my cool-neutral complexion. Maybelline recently released a new line of lipsticks called The Buffs, a nude counterpart to last year’s Vivids, and this review made me suspect that #920 (comically named “Nude Lust”) would work for me.  Unfortunately, my local CVS is terrible about stocking new products, but at the end of last month I walked into a CVS in Washington, and lo: a whole display of new Maybelline products. I even had a coupon that gave me $4 off the $8.29 price, so I really couldn’t resist, and I walked out with #920.

But then came the Pasamontean problem. What if life kept intervening, and I kept acquiring new lipsticks, and my chronology was never complete? What if, like Pasamonte’s memoir, it could be finished only after my own life was finished? That was too macabre to contemplate, so I decided to skip ahead and review Nude Lust (that was an awkward phrase) before returning to spring 2012. And now I'm reporting this conundrum as if it's a new one when, in fact, I've written yet another review of a new product since then. Non-linear narrative and all that.

The Buffs is a line of ten flesh-colored lipsticks, ranging from pale peach to dark brown. Maybelline has received a lot of justified praise for recognizing that for the majority of people on the planet, “nude” doesn’t mean “palest beige.” I do wish, though, that the lipsticks were housed in tubes corresponding to their actual colors. Instead, the cases are all the same shade of fleshy pink, as if to say, “Well, your nude might be brown, but we know what color ‘nude’ really is.” I understand that Maybelline groups its lipsticks by color category and every lipstick in the plum category, for instance, has a purple case. But surely they could have made an exception here? Couldn’t they have added a decoration or a new finish to link the Buffs together, instead of making the tubes all the same color?

Anyway, this is Nude Lust, a pinky beige nude that’s cooler-toned than most of the nudes in the line. As yesterday, it's swatched between the warmer, peachier Revlon Soft Nude (left) and the cooler, pinker L'Oreal Fairest Nude (right).

On the lips:

Nude Lust is almost opaque even on my pigmented lips, but it doesn't mute them entirely, which I appreciate. Look, it's my old hair, plus proof that I can actually apply eyeliner when I want to:

I've tried several other Maybelline lipsticks, in both the Vivids line and the regular Color Sensational line. The Vivids--reviews to come--have a perfect formula, pigmented but still moisturizing. The regular Maybelline lipsticks are a bit drying, at least on me (the phrase "a bit drying" will soon lose all meaning on this blog). I was hoping that Nude Lust would be comparable to the Vivids formula-wise, but it's not quite as hydrating, though it's more comfortable than the regular line. I haven't tried any of the other Buffs (nor do I plan to, since I suspect most of them would look heinous on me), so I can't speak to the quality of the line as a whole.

One more photo: here's my new hair and, on the eyes, Maybelline cream eyeshadow in Electric Blue blended into my old standby NARS Lhasa.

The Buffs came out a few months ago, but they're still new enough that this review might actually be of use to someone. TL;DR version: I recommend Maybelline Nude Lust with caveats and Don Quixote unreservedly.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lipstick Chronology #11: L'Oreal Fairest Nude

Name: L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Fairest Nude

Date of Purchase: Summer 2012

Grade: B

Notes: A white lady complaining about the dearth of cool-toned nude lipsticks will not, and definitely should not, get much pity. Nonetheless: why are there so few cool-toned nude lipsticks pale enough for me? I'm not even the coolest of cool-toned pale people, yet almost all the nude lipsticks I've tried have pulled too peachy-warm.

I've found one exception so far: L'Oreal's Fairest Nude, a gift from my mother, who has been loyal to L'Oreal lipstick since I can remember. It's the perfect color for me: definitely nude instead of MLBB, but with cool mauve undertones. Here it is in all its cheap '80s-tastic glory, next to my other L'Oreal lipstick, True Red:

The cool-toned skin of my inner arm makes Fairest Nude look warmer and browner by comparison:

But on my face, it's the perfect nude: slightly darker than my skintone, but light and opaque enough to mute my pigmented lips.

Why the B, then? Because Fairest Nude is the cruelest of all nude lipsticks: a perfect color in a terrible formula. It's drying and uncomfortable on the lips, but I could tolerate even that if it weren't for the revolting smell. L'Oreal lipsticks have an oppressive synthetic floral scent that can't quite disguise the metallic and chemical undertones. You can even taste the scent when you're wearing the lipstick, and it will not fade. I tried to deodorize Fairest Nude by leaving it open for several days on my dresser, but all it did was scent the air around it.

Like any good lipstick addict, I've tried to find a dupe, but with no luck so far. I heard good things about MAC Blankety, but found it to be too brown for my complexion. I had high hopes for Maybelline's new line of nude lipsticks, the Buffs, but most of them are too warm or dark for me; the one I bought, Nude Lust, is close to Fairest Nude but a little browner.

Here's Fairest Nude swatched next to my other two nude lipsticks. Left to right, warm to cool: Revlon Soft Nude, Maybelline Nude Lust, and Fairest Nude.

The search continues, though I wear nude lipstick infrequently enough that I don't mind putting on Fairest Nude when I have to. I love reds and berries and fuchsias so much that anything more muted just feels like a waste of real estate. But if you know of any dupes, high-end or drugstore, I wouldn't say no to hearing about them.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lipstick Chronology #10: MAC Up the Amp

Name: MAC Amplified Creme Lipstick in Up the Amp

Date of Purchase: April 2012

Grade: A-

Notes: Lots of purple lip colors on the blog recently! Up the Amp was my very first, inspired by tumblr bloggers like Arabelle Sicardi of Powder Doom. In that post, Arabelle is wearing OCC's lip tar in Belladonna, but I decided to edge into the world of purple lipstick with a pinker purple. Then OCC discontinued Belladonna and I never got to try it at all! The lesson here is, don't edge into color. Just wear it.

There are many more purple lip colors now than there were in early 2012. The only ones on my radar back then were Belladonna, Illamasqua Kontrol (too blue-gray and gothy for me), and MAC Up the Amp, a cool-toned pinky purple with a bit of gray mixed in:

 I ordered Up the Amp sight unseen, and was pleased with what I got, though I'd wanted something a little less muted. Up the Amp wasn't my Platonic purple lipstick, but it was close.

That winter, I brought Up the Amp with me on a visit to my family in San Francisco. It sparked the following exchange with my mother:

Mom: That’s a pretty lipstick. What’s it called?

Me: Up the Amp.

Mom: …Oh. I thought you said “Up the Ass.”

I sent my mom her own tube of Up the Amp for Mother's Day and felt like the best daughter ever, until she told me that the lipstick had given her a horrible rash and she’d had to return it. By then the Maybelline Vivids had come out, so I steered her toward Brazen Berry, which is similar to Up the Amp but pinker, sheerer, and brighter. It has a neon quality that brings out the gloomier gray tones of Up the Amp:

(Left, Brazen Berry; right, Up the Amp.)

Speaking of dupes, Revlon's Berry Haute has been hailed as a perfect dupe for Up the Amp, but I would disagree. It's a much less aggressive color; I'd describe it as mauve, not purple. It's also on the sheer side, which means that unlike Up the Amp, it doesn't automatically become A Look.

(Left, Berry Haute; right, Up the Amp.)

I feel neutral about MAC's Amplified Creme formula. It's thick, soft, opaque, and a little heavier than I'd like, but it's also surprisingly short-lived. It never seems to "set" on the lips, which means that it transfers onto every fork and coffee mug. Not a huge problem for me, but something to be aware of if you like your lipsticks with more longevity.

In warmish evening light:

That gravity-defying bit of hair makes me feel like Tintin.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I've been carrying my tube of Maybelline Vision in Violet all over the Eastern seaboard this weekend, reminding myself repeatedly to return it to CVS. I'm a poor grad student; a $9.50 lipgloss, especially one that I won't wear often, is hard to justify to myself. And yet. It's an opaque blue-toned purple lipgloss! A true purple lip color of any kind is hard enough to find, let alone a lipgloss, let alone from a drugstore brand. So what if it makes me look like a pallid deep-sea creature whom David Attenborough catches gnawing on a whale carcass? And so my stash grows and my checking account dwindles.

I've been at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, for the past couple of days, looking at things like this:

Just a perfectly preserved first edition of John Donne's Anniversaries from 1612, nbd. Seventeenth-century readers often took it upon themselves to correct errors in the text--here we have "weaving" written in faded red ink (and exquisite italic hand) beside the typo "weaning":

What's that? I must have been too engrossed in my studies to take any selfies?

In my experience, most female academics don't wear visible makeup; those who do stick to neutral, understated colors. In my four years in grad school, I've met just one other woman who wears red lipstick regularly. I think it's great that my field doesn't pressure women to make themselves up to look more "professional," but I find that the pressure often goes the other way: I'm constantly worried that I'll seem less professional, less serious, less devoted to the life of the mind, if I take obvious pleasure in painting my face. In my monthly dissertation seminar at the Folger, I try to strike a balance: shimmery taupe eyeshadow (NARS Lhasa), mauvey-pink blush (NARS Mata Hari), and the lip color that has rarely been out of my purse since I bought it two months ago: Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry, a beautiful dark rose with brown and plum tones. The texture is soft, opaque, and only a little drying; don't mistake it for a real lip balm, but as matte lipsticks go, it's pretty comfortable to wear.

I leave you with a song that sums up how I feel about academia right now: Santigold's "L.E.S. Artistes." I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up. Fuchsia lipstick included.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Horror: Maybelline Vision in Violet

Here's the thing about the Maybelline Color Elixir in Vision in Violet: Maybelline never promised that the vision would be a good one.

I was at CVS today, buying a new tube of my favorite liquid eyeliner, Maybelline Line Stiletto in Blackest Black, and I decided I'd take advantage of the Maybelline sale and try one of the new Color Elixirs. I'd heard encouraging things about these glosses, not least that the line contained that elusive unicorn of drugstore cosmetics, a true purple gloss that remained purple on the lips. And the tubes, designed to resemble lipsticks suspended upside down in clear jelly, fit into one of my favorite aesthetic categories: things that look like other things. So Vision in Violet accompanied me home, where I discovered that it matched my beloved purple Converse:

In the tube, it looked like a pink-tinged purple; swatched, however, it pulled much more blue. This was very exciting for a purple-lip lover who had been burned by deceptively purple-looking fuchsias.

I compared Vision in Violet to MAC Up the Amp, a gray-toned orchid purple (left) and Maybelline Brazen Berry, a neon pinkish purple (right). It reduced those obnoxious lipsticks to timid, cowering mauves. Better and better.

Then I put it on my face.

Is this a vision? Yes. This is a Boschean vision of a woman being punished in hell for her love of cosmetics. There are copulating fish-people and bagpipe-headed goats somewhere behind me.

Before today, I'd always been smugly certain of my ability to wear purple lip colors. Vision in Violet has shaken that certainty. This is, however, an excellent gloss. I'm not sure about the pigmentation on other colors, but this one is pretty evenly saturated; you can see some unevenness up close, but who will want to get that close to you when you're wearing this color? It feels comfortable on the lips, too, but I didn't wear it long enough to test Maybelline's claim that the Color Elixirs are liquid lip balms. I'm sure you'll understand.

You know, the sane part of my brain may want to return this gloss to CVS, but the part of my brain that loves dystopian fiction and China Miéville wants to wear it every day. Maybe to tomorrow's colloquium workshop, where my professors and fellow grad students will critique my first dissertation chapter?

I mean, it doesn't look bad with a blazer.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lipstick Chronology #9: NARS Flamenco

Name: NARS Sheer Lipstick in Flamenco

Date of Purchase: Feb. 2012

Grade: A

Notes: NARS was the first beauty brand I fell in love with, and it remains my favorite to this day. (That said, my experience is limited; with the exception of two YSL lip products and two Chanel nail polishes, I haven’t made a foray into truly high-end brands, and let’s hope it stays that way for now.) NARS strikes me as a smaller, more subdued, and slightly more expensive version of MAC. Each brand offers a good blend of hardworking neutrals and crazy neons at a mid-range price point, but whereas MAC releases multiple huge collections per season, NARS’ seasonal collections are less overwhelmingly frequent and more carefully curated. I don’t own a huge number of NARS products, but I’ve been very impressed by almost all the ones I’ve tried. Which brings me to my first NARS purchase: the sheer rose-red Flamenco.

When I say I have dry lips, I mean that it’s a good day when they’re not bleeding. I’ve tried a number of ostensibly “moisturizing” lipsticks, with mixed results (looking at you, Revlon Lip Butters). So you can trust me when I say that NARS sheer lipsticks are as soothing as lip balm. They also smell wonderful—a faint herbal scent, like fruity tea. I haven’t worn Flamenco in a while, but when I swatched it this morning, I was reminded of why it’s the only lipstick I’ve ever used up and repurchased. (To be completely honest, I lost my first tube, but it was almost used up.)

Flamenco is pigmented for a sheer lipstick. You can easily build it up to near-opacity, but no matter how sheer you wear it, it’s always red. Which kind of amazes me: surely a sheer red would be, well, pink? Flamenco is not pink. It’s a neutral red that leans a bit cool; its warm-toned counterpart in NARS’ sheer lipstick line is Manhunt, a beautiful reddish coral.

Here, one coat of Flamenco:

Two coats, on my lips:

My other makeup is the combination I've been wearing almost every day this winter: NARS Lhasa eyeshadow over a coat of Maybelline cream eyeshadow in Tough as Taupe, and a bit of Lhasa on the lower lash line; Maybelline LashBlast Length mascara; NARS Coeur Battant blush.

I don't have a good explanation for why I rarely wear Flamenco anymore. (I do have an ungood explanation: sheer fickleness.) I don't even have any dupes for Flamenco in my collection; the closest thing I own is Revlon Red Velvet lip butter, which is much darker and browner than Flamenco.

How do normal people end blog posts? Cough mumble time to write an outline of a dissertation chapter I haven't yet researched. The joys of grad school.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lipstick Chronology #8: Laura Mercier Bare Lips

Name: Laura Mercier Sheer Lipstick in Bare Lips

Date of Purchase: Late 2011

Grade: B+

Notes: Bare Lips was my first high-end beauty purchase, and my first purchase—though, sadly for my grad-student wallet, not my last—from the Bluemercury a few blocks from campus. Unfortunately for poor Bare Lips, it’s become linked in my mind with my trip to Seattle in January 2012, which would have been nothing more than a lovely reunion with old friends if my suitcase, containing almost all the clothes I owned, hadn’t disappeared somewhere between San Francisco and Seattle. “We’ve had a lot of thefts from the baggage carousel recently,” said the nonchalant airport employee. I cried almost constantly for the next few days, until my suitcase turned up at the Seattle airport, having been mislabeled in San Francisco and put on the wrong airline. So all ended well, but I’ll always associate the strong cotton-candy scent of Bare Lips with that ordeal. Sorry, BL. Not your fault. But look how much I used it before that!

Bare Lips is a sheer mauve, distinguished from other my-lips-but-better shades by its reddish-plum undertones. Here it is swatched between NARS Dolce Vita (left) and NARS Last Tango (right). All three lipsticks could be described as dusty rose, tea rose, old rose, rosewood, or any other iteration of "rose" that the beauty industry has invented. But compared to the pinkish Dolce Vita and the beige-leaning Last Tango, Bare Lips is distinctly ruddy:

I haven't worn it in quite a while, because my go-to MLBB for the past year has been Dolce Vita, which is far more moisturizing and comfortable than Bare Lips. But since my poor sad tube of Dolce Vita has only a few more swipes left in it, I might try and use up Bare Lips (and Last Tango, for that matter) before repurchasing Dolce Vita. BL does look very nice on:

I tend to be suspicious of people for whom the best descriptor is "nice," and I feel similarly about lipsticks. Laura Mercier is nothing if not a nice brand, which probably explains why I've never given it a second look. But sometimes you just want to look nice, you know?

Mini-Review: Essie Stylenomics

I’ve been accused of owning a lot of nail polish.


Those built-in shelves are the best part of my apartment. (The mice are the worst.)

We often hear about the dangers of impulse buys and the benefits of looking at swatches and reviews before committing to a fancy bottle of nail polish. But the polishes I wear most frequently tend to be the ones I bought on a whim, or the ones that came into my life unexpectedly. When I’m reading online reviews, my eye is always drawn to the chunky glitters in jelly bases, the flashy duochrome shimmers; I can spend hours looking at swatches of those. But I’ve learned that I don’t really like wearing them. See all the glitters on the top shelf? I can’t remember the last time I reached for one of them. The ones I wear most often are deep, saturated colors in creme finishes, like Essie Stylenomics.


Stylenomics is from the fall 2012 collection of the same name, but I believe it's been added to Essie's permanent line, because my mother found it at her local Walgreens when I was home in San Francisco for the holidays. She was looking for a black nail polish that we were going to use to paint over a metal fastening on one of my shoes (I lead an exceedingly glamorous life), and she bought Stylenomics thinking it was black. It turned out to be a rich dark green that I just had to try on. I was so impressed by the color and the wear time (most nail polishes chip on me within a day or two, but Stylenomics held on for at least three) that I wouldn’t let my mother, the queen of retail returns, take it back to the drugstore.

What is my point here? First, not all advice is good advice; second, Essie Stylenomics has been on my nails almost constantly since December, and it should be on yours too; third, I never want to type “Stylenomics” again and it kills me to recommend a nail polish with such a silly name.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lipstick Chronology #7: MAC Capricious

Name: MAC Lustre Lipstick in Capricious

Date of Purchase: August 2011

Grade: B

Notes: Capricious was my very first non-drugstore lipstick, purchased from the MAC counter at the Nordstrom near my old high school in San Francisco. (How’s that for a panoply of prepositional phrases?) Capricious has a lustre finish, which means that it’s glossy and sheer and, at least for me, somewhat drying—I think the culprit is the shimmer lurking in the formula. Despite this, I wore Capricious almost every day that fall. It’s a reddish plumberry color that will make you look nice, if you’re into that.

A fairly heavy swatch--you can see how sheer the Lustres are. If this were a different color, it would look uneven on my lips, but it's so close to my natural lip color that it blends in seamlessly.

Wait, that color looks familiar.

A dupe, a palpable dupe! The differences between Capricious (right) and Revlon Mauvy Night lie in formula and saturation, not in color. Mauvy Night is more opaque and slightly darker than Capricious, but they look almost identical on the lips. Frankly, I think I used Capricious more frequently than Mauvy Night because of the sleek MAC packaging and delicious vanilla scent, and because when you’ve just paid $15 for a lipstick instead of $8, you tend to value it that much more.

(I'm glad that reposting this on blogspot gave me the chance to re-swatch these lipsticks, because it was so cold in my apartment the first time that my arm was covered in goosebumps no matter what I did.)

Same eye situation as in the Mauvy Night post: a blend of two Maybelline cream eyeshadows, Bad to the Bronze and Pomegranate Punk. I love the combination of berry lips and bronzey eyes. Eyes closed because I had a hard time keeping the crazy out of them today.

I don't wear Capricious very often these days, but it was a great starter lipstick. It also represents an important point on my beauty learning curve: in late 2011 I finally figured out which colors looked good on me instead of in a Platonic vacuum, and my lipstick purchases became more deliberate. I wanted colors I could wear on a normal day without drawing attention to my ZOMG BRIGHT LIPS, and my holy trinity that fall comprised Capricious, Bobbi Brown Roseberry, and Laura Mercier Bare Lips. It wasn't long before I went back to my Platonic vacuum, with its coral-reds and white-based pinks, but knowing the rules is never a bad thing.

Auxiliary Ambivalence: NARS Kauai

I’ve been waffling for weeks over whether to buy NARS Kauai, a new eyeshadow duo for Spring 2014. Because of my devotion to intense lip colors, I’m very much a neutral-eye person, but the pale gold and deep purple of Kauai are beckoning me out of my comfort zone. The formula is smooth and buttery and perfect, and the finish transforms from a subtle sheen under natural light (above) to sparklemania in artificial light. But it’s $35! I don’t know! I also don’t know for sure whether it’s limited edition: Temptalia says it’s not, which is reassuring, but other bloggers say it is. Ugh, decisions.
I really need to stop swatching over that cluster of freckles on my right hand.

I’ve been waffling for weeks over whether to buy NARS Kauai, a new eyeshadow duo for Spring 2014. Because of my devotion to intense lip colors, I’m very much a neutral-eye person, but the pale gold and deep purple of Kauai are beckoning me out of my comfort zone. The formula is smooth and buttery and perfect, and the finish transforms from a subtle sheen under natural light (above) to sparklemania in artificial light. But it’s $35! I don’t know! I also don’t know for sure whether it’s limited edition: Temptalia says it’s not, which is reassuring, but other bloggers say it is. Ugh, decisions.

Stray notes: 1) I really need to stop swatching over that cluster of freckles on my right hand; 2) the apparent unevenness of the purple is due to said hasty swatching, not to a fault in the formula.

Lipstick Chronology #6: Revlon Cherries in the Snow

Name: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Cherries in the Snow

Date of Purchase: August 2011

Grade: A

Notes: It’s snowing! I didn’t plan for this post to intersect with Winter Storm Janus, but isn’t it nice how that worked out? (Addendum, a month after writing the post: If I'd reposted it on blogspot yesterday, or two days before yesterday, or a week ago, I could have said the same thing. God, this winter.)

Premiered in 1953, Cherries in the Snow is one of the oldest lip colors on the market. Here’s the original ad, equal parts patronizing and surreal:


Who knows there was a morning when your orange juice sparkled like champagne?

There’s a certain thrill to wearing a 61-year-old lip color. It’s a firsthand link to the past, more tangible, immediate, and beautifully mundane than a book or a work of art. There’s also a matching nail polish, which my 89-year-old grandmother and I both happen to own:


Cherries in the Snow is usually described as red, but I see it as a deep, pigmented, almost glowing raspberry pink. (One of my favorite beauty blogs, Lipglossiping, wrote a post to that effect: “This isn’t a red lipstick and I’m sick of hearing it described as a blue-based red. It’s pink. Pink like Nicki Minaj can only f*cking dream of.”) Here are two arm swatches, the first under natural light and the second under artificial light, to give you some idea of the intensity of the color:


Here it looks more pink, almost fuchsia…


…but here it skews more red. I wouldn't call it Nicki Minaj pink (in my collection, that honor is reserved for MAC Pink Nouveau), but it's pink as hell.

I can’t say enough good things about Cherries in the Snow. I think it would look gorgeous on anyone, regardless of skin tone. I love lip colors that straddle the pink-red divide, and this is one of the best of those. The formula is creamy but surprisingly long-wearing: I wore it to my 24th-birthday dinner at the (now defunct, alas) Magnolia Grill in Durham, and it stayed on my lips through three courses. Oh, and it somehow makes my lips look fuller? What is this magic?


The nail polish is great, too—opaque in one coat, though I prefer to use two.


I feel fancy.

This will be my last Revlon post in a while. Next, my first MAC lipstick! Exciting stuff.

Lipstick Chronology #5: A Tale of Two Undertones, Part 2

Name: Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Soft Nude

Date of Purchase: September 2011

Grade: B+

Notes: This was one of many Tumblr-induced lipstick purchases at the CVS across from campus. That summer, I’d kept coming across images like this one, from Creatures of the Wind Spring/Summer 2012:


Now, if I asked you how you’d replicate this look (created by James Boehmer for NARS), you’d probably mention the model’s eye makeup first, not her lipstick. You’d say something intelligent about how the nude lipstick mutes her lip color so her gorgeous pastel eyeliner and gleaming cheekbones stand out. None of this occurred to me when I first saw the image. Instead, I decided that all I needed to imitate it was a nude lipstick. I chose a stark beige nude with no pink undertones. Oh, and I didn’t own any other makeup. Because I am a kind, giving person, I’ve reproduced the result for you.


To quote the best vanity license plate I’ve ever seen: YEAH…NO.

That said, this is not the worst nude lipstick for my coloring. It looks far too warm in the tube, but it’s sheer enough that some of my natural lip pigmentation peeks through. With some eye makeup to balance it out, it’s not half bad. Even a pair of glasses improves the overall effect:


(This lipstick really begs to be worn with eyeliner or a smokey eye, but one of my eyes has been irritated for a couple of days and I don’t want to play around with eye makeup right now, so this is is what you get.) (I'm posting this on blogspot a month after writing it on tumblr, and I have no such excuse now, except laziness.)

In a later post, I’ll review L’Oreal Fairest Nude, the cruelest of lipsticks: a perfect color in a terrible formula, with no known dupes. (One hears encouraging things about MAC Blankety, but I've tried on Blankety and it's too corpsey-brown for my complexion.) Here is Fairest Nude to the right of Soft Nude, to give you an idea of the shade I’ve been seeking for over a year now, with no success so far.


A white person searches for a slight variation on her own shade of white: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mini-Review: Revlon Adorned

If you happen to run into Adorned, a limited-edition lipgloss from Revlon’s holiday collection, please treat yourself.


I’m very much not a gloss person, but this stuff is as pigmented and long-lasting as a liquid lipstick. It’s a stunning fuchsia color with matching shimmer, and I think it’s worth owning just to look at:


I know.

Lipstick Meme!

From Sleep and Water, a wonderful Australian beauty blog I just discovered. I would love to see other people do this—seriously, I never get tired of hearing about lipstick.

1. How many lipsticks do you own?
49, plus five glosses. I plan to get rid of about ten lipsticks after I finish my chronology.

2. What was the first lipstick you owned?
Revlon Certainly Red, but I returned it so quickly that I’m not sure it counts. The first lipstick I both owned and wore regularly was Revlon Carnation, from the now-discontinued Colorburst line. I’m a little embarrassed about this one, because it’s a shimmery bubblegum pink and I wore it to graduate classes at my stuffy university like it wasn’t even a thing.

3. What is your favourite lipstick brand?
The brand with the biggest representation in my collection is Revlon (followed at a great distance by MAC), but I’d own a lot more NARS and YSL if my budget permitted. Really, though, I don’t have one favorite brand; I’m just a fuchsia and pinky-red whore. A good lipstick is a good lipstick.

4. What is your most worn lipstick?
Two sheer lipsticks: NARS Dolce Vita and Revlon Plum Velour. So sadly depleted!


5. What is your favourite finish?
I can’t choose! It’s easier to say what my least favorite finish is: anything with shimmer or frost. I like matte formulas for bright colors, satin formulas for dark colors, and sheer or satin formulas for neutral colors. And I do have a fondness for sheer berries and plums and corals.

6. What was the last lipstick you bought?
Maybelline Nude Lust. But the last lip product I bought was a Revlon gloss, the shimmery fuchsia Adorned, which is basically a liquid lipstick.

7. How many lip products do you currently have in your bag?
Four: Plum Velour, Dolce Vita, a tube of Carmex, and Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry.

8. What is your favourite red lip colour?
It’s a tie between NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red and YSL Glossy Stain in Rouge Gouache.

9. How do you store your lipsticks?
In two round Kate Spade jewelry boxes. Nudes, MLBBs, corals, and hot pinks on the left; reds, berries, and purples on the right. The small jar is for the ones I never wear and have been meaning for ages to give away/donate/throw out.


It’s nice to have an organizational system that imposes a limit on the number of lipsticks I can accumulate—but then I always cheat and free up space by carrying a few in my bag.

10. Which lipsticks are you currently lusting after?
 Portland Black Lipstick Company’s Lux et Voluptas, a pink with a gold foil finish for an overall rose-gold effect. But I don’t have immediate plans to buy it; really, I just like knowing that it exists.