Monday, February 17, 2014

THE REVIEW // Givenchy Le Rouge + LORAC On Sale!

Hi there!

As promised, I'm here with a review and swatches of the latest addition to my lipstick hoard collection, Givenchy's Le Rouge! This particular beauty is special, as it's part of the four-piece, limited edition "Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Matte" (boy, that's a mouthful!) collection released under the Le Rouge line. From what I understand, the formula is the same, but the packaging is even better than the silky black lambskin donned by the "regular" Le Rouges. Just look at that silvery goodness!
I will note that, while the shade I chose (Rose d'Exception) and one other has a silvered case, the other two in the Sensuously Matte quartet have gilded packaging. Trust me, they are both lookers!

Now, I must admit that this little lippie was not an impulse buy--no, it was quite premeditated. I had been practically salivating over the creamy, long-lasting formula of the Le Rouge family almost since its inception! Unfortunately, the nude offerings in the line didn't cut it for me--neither did the pinks. I was devastated! They were too warm, and the nudes pulled brownish on my icy complexion. Even with that packaging, I couldn't justify $36 for a shade I didn't love. I frowned incessantly, until I came across--could it be?--a pinky, almost a lilac nude (if that's a thing), in the form of Rose d'Exception. Perfection has a number, ladies, and it's 206! Here are some swatches for proof:
Flash, indoor, and natural lighting, respectively. It's not like this shade is brand-new--in fact, I'd swatched it in-store months back, but somehow, that past incarnation of myself could not appreciate Rose d'Exception in all her glory. I'm still shaking my head at past Katy for that one.

Anyhow, in case you were still gawking at the $36 price tag, allow me to wipe away your wallet's tears, because this baby is a worthwhile investment. I admit, I've been lured in by one thing or another and purchased a product (or six) for the wrong reasons, but Givenchy provides the whole package--literally. Apart from its looks, I can assert that Le Rouge outperforms most high-end formulas, and stands proudly on my vanity next to my two other HGs--Guerlain and YSL. It's impossibly creamy, it wears well and, unlike the luxurious case it calls home, it's pretty lightweight on the lips, which is a plus. Here is Rose d'Exception on my lips:
It's a shame that the shade range has remained so limited, but I'm pretty sure that won't stop me from acquiring a playmate for Rosie in the near future. I've had my eye on Magnolia Organza (from the permanent line) for a while, though I think she might feel underdressed next to a companion like this! ;)

The Givenchy Le Rouge Intense Color Sensuously Matte Lipstick collection is exclusive to Sephora. Each of the four shades can be purchased in stores and online.

Katy xx

P.S. If you've been dying to try LORAC's 3D Liquid Lustres, now's your chance! As per the title of this post, check out from now until Thursday for some LORAC goodies at great discounts.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Primer Problems

Photo via.

Sometimes drugstore makeup works. Sometimes, it works even better than its high-end competitors, and beauty bloggers everywhere announce that such-and-such a product is set to give its more expensive counterpart run for its money. This is not one of those times.

As a blogger, I think that it's important to point out your favorite things to your readers--I've been known to shout my love for certain products from the rooftops, even (Dior Crème de Rose, I'm looking at you)--but I think that it's equally important to let people know when an item disappoints you, particularly if said item has been over-hyped in the media. Such was the case for me upon purchasing Revlon's Photoready Perfecting Primer.

Now, I don't mind dishing out upwards of $50 for a fantastic primer--in fact, my winter HG is Hourglass' No. 28--but I thought it would be nice to try out something that wouldn't make quite such a dent in my wallet. After much research, I settled on Revlon's offering, largely because a wide variety of beauty bloggers who've earned my utmost respect raved about the product. Ten bucks and a trip to CVS later (okay, it was closer to eleven), I had a primer in my pocket and a smile on my face.

I was really quite excited try it, so much so that I even woke up early the next morning because I just couldn't wait any longer. I finished up my morning skincare rituals, slapped on some SPF (as I do every day), and pumped some into my hand. I was ready for some magic to happen. Then I smoothed it onto my face.

This primer pilled worse than one of my grandma's old cashmere sweaters. Now, pilling on those is sentimental and kinda cute, but on my face? Not so much. Quite surprising, considering claims from lovely bloggers like the Muse, who experienced quite the opposite.

My verdict? Skip it. I am not above including drugstore makeup/skincare in my makeup bag--in fact, I'm about ready to declare that my HG mascara by Make Up for Ever has been replaced for almost a quarter of the price--but sometimes, the high-end brands just do it better. Of course, I haven't tried Maybelline's Baby Skin primer...yet.

Katy xx

Saturday, February 8, 2014

THE REVIEW // MAC Viva Glam Rihanna

Who doesn't love a good red for a good cause? (Red lip, that is, not wine ;))

Recently--21st January, to be exact--MAC unveiled the much-anticipated Viva Glam Rihanna collection, comprised of a lipstick and a lip gloss, each described as a "blue-red with a frost finish". For those who missed out on the coveted Riri Woo, another stunning red that came and went sooner than you can say "Stay", this duo certainly does not disappoint!

This time, MAC chose to place Rihanna's name on the packaging, rather than the product. They also surprised MAC devotees with a departure from the iconic black bullet, opting instead for a frosted metallic red worthy of Rihanna's seal of approval. The packaging alone makes these collector's items!

I've always loved lipstick. I usually hate lip gloss, but in an effort to expand my cosmetic horizons in 2014, I purchased both. They were too pretty not to! Here are some swatches, with flash, indoor and natural lighting, respectively:

To the left, we have a swatch of the lipstick. In one pass, it's not perfectly opaque, but as you can see from the middle swatch, a few coats builds this baby up to maximum power. To the right, we've got the lipgloss. Stickier than I'd prefer, but I was sort of expecting it. The formula looks stunningly reflective on the lips, but beauty can be sticky, I suppose! I think that the flash captures the gloss most accurately in terms of color, but the natural and indoor lighting better conveys the frost in the lipstick. Here's how the lipstick looks on:

It really is a lovely red. Now, you could stop here, and wear it alone, but--and this is coming from a gloss hater--I truly think that the lipglass takes this look to a whole new level. The difference is akin to a red delicious apple next to a candied one.

Boom! Even despite my lip gloss embargo of sorts, there was no learning curve for me on this one. It looked like patent leather on my lips, and I loved it immediately. Only after I purchased these beauties did I think to try the gloss on its own. After putting any venus fly trap-esque, hair-eating images out of my mind, I went for it. And hey, the stickiness isn't so bad. It might even be *gasp* worth it!

The MAC Viva Glam Rihanna collection is available in stores and online at MAC, Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

xx Katy

Friday, February 7, 2014

THE REVIEW // Besame Cosmetics Lipstick in Besame Red

When was the last time you saw an advertisement boasting an old formula, rather than a new one?

With its vintage-inspired line of lip, cheek and eye products, Besame Cosmetics does just that. Known for its lipsticks, Besame is celebrated among vintage enthusiasts for formulating shades that perfectly emulate retro chic. Red Hot Red, for example, is described as "Marilyn's favorite" (yes, that Marilyn). According to the site, Besame focuses on creating "modern reproductions of classic luxury makeup from the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s, designed to make women feel elegant, inspired, and empowered by their beauty." And, despite its 21st century launch in 2004, the brand does does the job admirably. Years ago, I'd seen these lipsticks in action in the skilled handed of a very talented makeup artist. She swore by the brand. More recently, I came across them again, in a lovely rockabilly/pinup boutique called Enz's. After much back and forth, I decided on the namesake "Besame Red".
The above swatch was captured in indoor lighting. Yes, that is with one swipe. No, I'm not kidding. This is the good stuff! Here's a swatch with flash, so you can see the blue undertones in this luscious red:
Honestly--and you probably already know this--these swatches aren't perfectly true to color. Personally, I think that the better the product, the harder it will be to do it justice in a photograph. Maybe I keep telling myself such things to evade confronting my amateurish photography skills. ;) In real life, Besame Red falls in between the swatches pictured above. It is certainly a blue-based red, but it's not quite as pink as it appears to be in the flash photo. Then again, the indoor lighting barely shows any blue at all.

What I can promise is that this lipstick will be as creamy and opaque in one pass as it appears to be in the photos. I love it, and I can certainly see another Besame purchase in my future. At $22, they can't beat MAC, but considering what you get (the adorable packaging, complete with velvet pouch (not to mention a truly solid product), Besame's signature color certainly gets my stamp of approval. You can purchase your very own nostalgic gem on the site, which conveniently ships through Amazon (it's Prime Eligible, too!)

Happy shopping!

Katy xx