Thursday, December 31, 2015

Two US Drugstore Buys

Last day of the year, why not squeeze in a (hopefully) quickie post about the two products I bought from the "drugstore" when in the US in September. One of the things I most look forward to while in the States is of course, the makeup shopping, especially when it comes to permanent products or limited edition releases not available in Australia. Which is precisely why I bought Maybelline Leather Color Tattoo in Creamy Beige and L'Oréal Infallible Eyeshadow in Amber Rush. The former is a matte shade, said to be a dupe of MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork, that hasn't been released in Australia (doubtful whether it ever will be), while the latter is a shade that is missing from the permanent line up here.

l-r: Maybelline Creamy Beige, L'Oréal Amber Rush

Both are excellent eyeshadows in terms of texture, pigmentation and application/performance. I do find that the Maybelline Color Tattoos dry out over time (unlike other cream shadows like MAC Paint Pots or Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow), which is one major downside to them. But when they're fresh, they work brilliantly. Good colour pay off, easy to apply with the fingers, blend nicely, non-patchy, can be built up in pigmentation, long wear time. The L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadows are arguably even more exceptional. They're truly some of the most pigmented, ultra metallic eyeshadows on the market — high or low end. They're frequently compared with and described as a dupe for the Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Eyeshadows, especially since L'Oréal owns Giorgio Armani Beauty. However, my experience with them has been mixed (see reviews on the first five I bought, plus Tender Caramel, Bronzed Goddess and Metallic Lilac, Bronzed Taupe).

Assuming an eyeshadow meets the minimum quality requirements we now expect all eyeshadows to meet, the only factor between love and indifference is the shade itself. A tiny bit cooler-toned, or frostier in finish, a tinge more grey than brown, slightly darker or lighter, can make or break an eyeshadow. Since you can't really try out an eyeshadow on your lids at the store, more often than not, it's a process of trial and error; a long, arduous journey littered with disappointment, but punctuated by rare moments of triumph and redemption. Sadly, in the case of both Creamy Beige and Amber Rush, there was no spark.

Put simply, Creamy Beige applies too cool-toned on my lids — a bit too greyish and muddy against my complexion, not as medium neutral brown as I'd hoped (especially if it was meant to be a dupe for MAC Groundwork). It's a common complaint that if you've been reading me for a while, wouldn't come as a surprise. It's not completely terrible (like Rimmel ScandalEyes Shadow Stick in Trespassing Taupe, or even the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough as Taupe, which was unwearable for me), but it's still significantly off.

l-r: Urban Decay Trick, L'Oréal Amber Rush, Makeup Geek Grandstand, Urban Decay Chopper, Max Factor Auburn Envy

The problem with L'Oréal Amber Rush is IT IS WAY TOO SHIMMERY. Just look at it beside similar shades. It's practically white in comparison because of how frosty the finish is. I would've preferred if the metallic finish of the shadow was more in line with the coppery-orange base colour, rather than simply silvery/white. I just don't like how it looks on my lids ... too much mirror shine, not enough actual colour. Even if the extremely pronounced frost finish was toned down, the colour itself is something I have multiple approximations of, so the inclusion of it in my stash was wholly redundant. I do think the quality of the Infallible shadows is undeniable, and for that reason I continue to buy them (my collection is probably around 8-9), but there's not a single one I'm infatuated with. Because, as we know, it's all about the shade.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Powder Brush Party

I have a thing for makeup brushes. They're my babies. While I have more than enough brushes, I always tell myself they're an investment to justify buying another one (or two, or three). After all, makeup products can expire, but good quality, well cared for brushes last forever. I can't see how one can be a makeup lover without being a makeup brush lover in turn. It's simply the basics, like the importance of skin care and good skin to any makeup, or a rudimentary understanding of how colours work on different skin tones. The tools one uses are equally as important as the actual products, if not more.

With the latest brush purchase of the Wayne Goss Brush 00 (yes, an absolute splurge ... I guess I'll call it my early Christmas present to myself, or part of it at least), I was inspired to round up all the powder brushes in my collection. No, one absolutely does not need 5 powder brushes, but if it counts for anything, they were accrued over the past four years. The funny part is I don't even use powder that often, and I'm not the hugest fan of face powders in general. I guess I just like big, fluffy brushes.

My powder brushes include:
  • Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush (synthetic)
  • Zoeva Powder Brush #106, from the Rose Golden Luxury Set (synthetic)
  • Wayne Goss Brush 00 (goat hair)
  • Real Techniques Powder Brush (synthetic)
  • IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush #225 (synthetic)

l-r: Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush, Zoeva Powder Brush, Wayne Goss Brush 00, Real Techniques Powder Brush, IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush

l-r: Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush, Zoeva Powder Brush, Wayne Goss Brush 00, Real Techniques Powder Brush, IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush

Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush

Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush
Probably the most aesthetically pleasing of the bunch, the Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush was something I purchased 75% because of the way it looked. The remaining percentage was because it was pleasantly soft. I'm bummed that parts of the handle near the base of the ferrule have cracked, especially since I've barely used this brush. I tried to remedy the problem by applying some clear nail polish over the areas, which at least seems to have prevented further damage. The Powder Pouf is unique in that it's the only brush I have with white bristles but dark brown tips (be prepared to see a lot of dust and fluff nestled on the tips each time you use it). It's a fairly dense brush with a rounded top that's more kabuki style. The bristles are more tightly packed and the brush head is on the smaller side than what would be ideal for a light application of powder all over. It's more suitable for buffing mineral foundation or even liquid foundation (though I've never tried it with liquids).

Zoeva Powder Brush (#106)

Zoeva Powder Brush (#106)
This one is a bit larger than the Too Faced, with longer bristles that are considerably looser, meaning it could be used for a light dusting of powder (pressed or loose) all over. It's also the exact inverse in terms of colouring — dark bristles with white tips. It's roughly the same length as the Powder Pouf, which is to say on the short side (which I prefer, being short-sighted). I'd say the Zoeva is slightly scratchier than the Too Faced, but still feels generally lovely and soft. Since I bought it in a set, it's excellent value for money and the most economical purchase of the lot. By itself, it's about $20 from Beauty Bay or $15.50 USD ($21.63) direct from the Zoeva website. (Speaking of Zoeva, how utterly stunning is the Rose Golden Luxury Set Vol 2? Ugh.)

Wayne Goss Brush 00

Wayne Goss Brush 00
I'd put this brush firmly out of my price range back when it was called the Holiday Brush, but two things tipped me over. One, I had a $20 gift card from Beautylish that I had to spend. Two, I'd just bought the Wayne Goss Brush 14 and fell head over heels, so I was operating on a very positive first impression of the brush line. I thought to myself ... if Brush 00 is as amazing as Brush 14 but a large tapered powder version, it'd be worth the hefty price tag. I placed my order on Beautylish then waited in excitement for its arrival.

The first thing that struck me when it came, after I'd washed and dried it, was the shape was odd. I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but I swear it's not evenly cut? No matter how much I try to shape it, it simply doesn't seem symmetrical. One side is rounder, the other side is flatter, as if it's missing hairs or the hairs aren't the right length. It also doesn't come to a precise point in the middle, but is kind of wonky and slanted to one side.

Having said that, I'm not sure if that's just an inevitable characteristic of a natural hair brush that's handcrafted, or whether any of my dissatisfaction with the shape impacts performance. Probably not. It's by a large margin the softest powder brush I own. I don't see myself reaching for any of my others, simply because why would I use anything inferior? The softness means I can apply powder all over without disturbing too much of the foundation underneath. The tapered shape is great for getting around the curves of the face, like around the nose and underneath the eyes. Brush 00 could also be used for a diffused application of bronzer, highlighter or blush, though I've solely been using it for powder.

Real Techniques Powder Brush

Real Techniques Powder Brush
The first powder brush I purchased many years ago. I go through periods when I think to myself, "Why don't I use this more often?", then promptly forget about it again. This is by far the largest brush of the five. I don't reach for it much at all, but if I did, I'd imagine it'd be even larger and fluffier with repeated washes and use. I like the fact it's humongous, because that's it's defining characteristic. That's what it has going for it. It covers a wider area in a shorter period of time and the larger size ensures product isn't concentrated in one spot. In terms of the feel of the bristles, the closest match is the Zoeva. The Real Techniques version is denser, though not as dense as the Too Faced Powder Pouf.

IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush (#225)

IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush (#225)
Featured in my April 2015 Favourites, this brush is like the synthetic cousin of the Wayne Goss Brush 00, except not as tapered. In terms of the general shape, it is the most similar, though it's larger in size and doesn't come to as sharp a point as Brush 00. I can't deny I'm upset that for whatever reason, the shape isn't what it used to be when it first arrived. I'm not sure if it's in the way I've washed and dried it, or whether it just happens with time, but there's gaps and fissures in the hairs that prevent it from being one evenly smooth domed surface. (Clearly, I'm overly concerned about how my brushes look and derive satisfaction/pleasure from how much they resemble their pristine state.) Come to think of it, the wonky shape is another thing this brush shares with the Wayne Goss. Imperfect shape aside, this is probably the softest synthetic brush I've encountered. While incredibly dense (it takes like, 2 full days to dry), the brush doesn't feel hard and stiff against the skin, but still luxuriously plush, fitting snugly to the contours of the face. If I didn't have the Wayne Goss brush, the IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush would be my favourite.

l-r: Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush, Zoeva Powder Brush, Wayne Goss Brush 00, Real Techniques Powder Brush, IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush

l-r: Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush, Zoeva Powder Brush, Wayne Goss Brush 00, Real Techniques Powder Brush, IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush

So there we have it. Five powder brushes. One is more a dense, somewhat stiff kabuki style brush for buffing in mineral powders (Too Faced), the other is your standard medium-sized rounded powder brush with longer, looser bristles (Zoeva), one is a denser, much larger version (Real Techniques), one is a premium goat-haired, tapered brush that's supremely soft and ideal for an all-over, light application of powder without disturbing the underlying foundation (Wayne Goss), and the final is a larger, more rounded synthetic variation of the Wayne Goss (IT Cosmetics). Let's hope I stop there.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Airy Florals and Jam

Carven Le Parfum is one of those perfumes I didn't know I wanted until it was mine. It'd been on my radar for at least a couple of years, but I didn't pay too much attention until Priceline started stocking it. I remember when I first saw it at David Jones many months ago, I instantly was drawn to the beautiful bottle. Something about the shape, frosted glass, white ribbon and gold-trimmed cap exuded a quiet, feminine elegance. I don't recall falling in immediate love with the scent, however. It seemed a bit to meh to me. Kind of fruity, kind of floral, nicely done, well mannered, not particularly distinctive or memorable. The price was also steep, so I moved on.

Later, when Priceline began stocking Carven perfumes, I decided to give the tester another go. I smelled both Carven Le Parfum and the EDT version Carven L’Eau de Toilette and definitely preferred the EDP. The EDT smelled weak and generic and a lot cheaper to me than the EDP. What really stood out to me about the EDP was the sweet pea note which isn't prominent in any of the perfumes in my shamefully large collection.

Retailing at $150 for the 100ml (the only size I've seen Priceline stock), I was tempted during the last 50% off perfume sale a few months back. But that still was $75 on a scent I liked, but wasn't dying to buy. So I resisted. In the ensuing months, I kept thinking about it intermittently, and whether I should've bought it. While on holiday in the US, I saw it in the department stores and Sephora for $112 USD for the 100ml (about $170 AUD with tax). $75 wasn't looking too bad after all. I began feeling tinges of regret, but at least anticipated it was only a matter of time before Priceline would repeat its sale. Sure enough, I casually walked into Priceline recently and it was half price off perfumes. There was one last bottle of Carven Le Parfum at the store, and this time, I didn't hesitate.

Created by Francis Kurkdjian, Carven Le Parfum has top notes of mandarin blossom, apricot and white hyacinth, middle notes of sweet pea, jasmine and ylang ylang, and base notes of sandalwood, osmanthus and Indonesian patchouli. The first few times I tried it on myself after I'd purchased it, I was surprised to discover this was much more of a white floral than anticipated. I struggled to smell the sweet pea I recalled most vividly about it. There's a purity and cleanness to it that feels fresh and bright, despite it being dominantly floral and sweet. I do get flashes of Elie Saab Le Parfum, another Francis Kurkdjian creation, probably due to the mandarin blossom and jasmine notes, but it's a lot less heady, and softer, more restrained.

I've been wearing Carven Le Parfum frequently and liberally in an attempt to familiarise myself with how it smells and reacts with my skin. So far, I appreciate that it's well blended, refined and radiant. Everything sings in harmony. The white florals aren't the overpowering, headache-inducing kind, but rather young, airy and entirely daytime wedding-appropriate. I like the dryness of them, bordering on soapiness, but tempered by jammy sweetness that isn't gourmand or artificially sugary. The fragrance stays close to my skin and has moderate longevity, though disappears within a few hours. Some reviews have mentioned a sourness to it that I don't detect at all (they also identify lychee in the top notes, which I almost wish existed, but can't smell either). The base of sandalwood and patchouli keeps things warm and rounded. I can't say I'm in love with Carven Pe Parfum, but it falls firmly in the "nice to have" category. I can picture myself being more fond of the fragrance as time goes on, but for now, we're still in the early, getting-to-know-you stage.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Superfluous Seven

So ... more haulage. Evidently, I've been shopping too much. In my defence (not that there's any), Priceline was having another one of their 40% off cosmetics sales, and I did buy less than last time. I also did write down a list beforehand of products to get and largely stuck to the list, with a couple of exceptions. If anything, I also wrote down a few other products I didn't buy (Rimmel Exaggerate Automatic Lip Liner in East End Snob, Max Factor Excess Shimmer Eyeshadow in Copper, Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Pink Pong, Essence lip liners), so really, it could've been worse. (Or so I tell myself.)

But seriously, I should stop buying more makeup. I did recently reorganise my stash and threw out/donated some stuff (including finally binning both my Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundations in 52 and 53 which I'd stored in the bottom drawer of my Keji office organisers for more than a year, not using as I was acutely aware they were expired, but not wanting to throw away just in case they were still usable), and surprisingly didn't feel like my makeup collection was out of hand. Despite having a lot of makeup, I know what's there. And I'm happy with the majority of it. The part I'm not overly thrilled with, I'm comfortable keeping because I still see the merits in not getting rid of it. When said merits no longer justify keeping the product, it goes. I'm a lot more active in periodically editing my makeup than any other aspect of my life, despite the volume of items. I do feel lipstick is probably one area that I should exercise more ruthlessness over (Liz's Lipstick Survivor is the standard), but for now, I'm not overly concerned with having about 35 more pink lipsticks, all largely unused, than what's good for me.

Back to the Priceline haul. Here's what I purchased this time, with the discounted prices:
  • Savvy by DB Soft Glide Eyeliner in Shimmering Slate ($4.79)
  • Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara ($3.45)
  • Models Prefer Customised Eye Shadow Quad in Hook Me Up ($6.59)
  • Models Prefer Professional Airbrush Concealer Brush ($7.79)
  • L'Oréal Brow Artist Plumper in Medium/Dark ($11.39)
  • Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Sultry ($10.77)
  • Rimmel Magnif'Eyes Mono Eyeshadow in Millionaire ($6.57)

Total: $51.35

Unlike the last Priceline 40% off cosmetics sale, I actually purchased some eyeshadows. I saw Rimmel Magnif'Eyes Mono Eyeshadow in Millionaire featured in this Pixiwoo video, and instantly it shot up my "to buy" list. The Models Prefer Customised Eye Shadow Quad in Hook Me Up was regularly featured on Oz Product Junkie's Instagram and I finally caved. I'd swatched the quad a long time ago and found it awfully tempting, but resisted because I had so many similar shades already. At $6.59 for 4 shades though, I was prepared to risk duplication in case it exceeded my expectations.

The L'Oréal Brow Artist Plumper in Medium/Dark was a total impulse buy, along with the Models Prefer Professional Airbrush Concealer Brush. If you've noticed, I rarely (if ever) feature brow products on the blog. Just like the hair on my head, I don't do the hair on my face (well, except plucking). I have relatively full brows already and can't be bothered putting any product in them on a daily basis. I did try the Light/Medium tester in the store and found it fascinating how it completely transformed the colour of my brows, and the effect that change had on my face and the way my makeup looked. It was an entirely wrong match for the natural colour of my brows (being a relatively warm, lightened yellow brown), so I opted for Medium/Dark instead, hoping it wouldn't be too severe. I can't put the product all over my brows since it makes them look too caterpillar-like, but just a light touch over select sparser areas (especially the tail end) works nicely to achieve a more consistent, polished and fuller brow. I'm guessing Brow Artist Plumper is the "drugstore" version of something like Benefit Gimme Brow, with its microfibres, small brush head, and almost hairspray-like finish. It's a little uncomfortable adjusting to the feeling of product through my brows since I'm not used to it, but after a while, it's not an issue.

I was mainly drawn to the Models Prefer brush due to its similarity in appearance to the Sephora Collection Pro brushes, namely the Airbrush Concealer Brush #57. The latter is $29 in Australia, so $7.79 for a close alternative seemed a good deal. I don't have anything quite like this brush, though the Zoeva Concealer Buffer from the Rose Golden Luxury Set is probably the most similar. The Models Prefer option is not as dense and flares out more than the Zoeva, which is significantly smaller and more a hard nub. I've tried the brush to blend out concealer under the eyes, around the nose, corners of the mouth and over blemishes, as well as for powder highlighter, and it worked brilliantly for both.

The Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara was another Oz Product Junkie-enabled purchase. I've never tried any Essence mascaras, but they're so cheap that I didn't think twice in buying one to test out. I need to finish one of my existing mascaras first before I crack open this one though. The Savvy by DB Soft Glide Eyeliner in Shimmering Slate was a repurchase of an absolute favourite pencil eyeliner. The Soft Glide liners look to be repackaged/renamed Luxury Liners, though they retained the original shade name. I truly haven't come across a better pencil liner from any brand. It's so black, so smooth, so pigmented, soft but not too melty, long lasting and doesn't move. I reach for it when I can't be bothered with the precision of liquid liner, which is literally almost every weekend and every holiday.

Finally, we have Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Sultry. I saw it on Daphne and kind of had it get it based on how good it looked on her. I've purchased 4 Matte Balms, but overlooked Sultry initially. These kinds of shades seem to be gaining popularity recently, so I thought I'd permit myself to purchase it (despite my informal lip product ban) since it at least wasn't pink or peach. On me, Sultry appears like a brightened brick red. It's not too purple or brown on me, but more a deep, vintage-looking, dusty rose. Think Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in Soft Rose. I wish it were more distinctly purple-tinged on me, but it does lean more conventionally reddish pink. I see Sultry being paired with golden/bronzy eyeshadows and a nude blush for a striking (albeit typical) autumnal look. The Matte Balms have an excellent formula and aren't at all drying on the lips.

l-r: Revlon Sultry, Models Prefer Hook Me Up (Crease, Corner, Lid, Base), Rimmel Millionaire

Bottom to top: Revlon Sultry, Models Prefer Hook Me Up (Crease, Corner, Lid, Base), Rimmel Millionaire

Overall, at just over $50 for 7 products, I'm fairly happy with my new additions. It's hard to isolate my favourite purchases of the haul since they're all so superfluous and unnecessary, but if forced to pick, I'd say the Models Prefer brush and quad are the standouts in terms of value for money. Having said that, I'm sure I could easily find dupes of all the eyeshadows (including Rimmel Millionaire) in my existing collection (e.g. the Lid shade of the Hook Me Up quad is totally Makeup Geek Glamorous/Clinique At Dusk/Too Faced Caramel). Ditto Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry, which is just a slightly darker, more berry, less glossy Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in Soft Rose. At least I restocked on the best pencil liner I know, tried out a tinted microfibre brow gel, and scored a mascara for less than the price of a coffee that I'm excited to try.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Coral, Pink, Berry

Holiday gift sets, with their elaborate packaging, relative value for money and limited edition nature, are a surefire way to entice beauty lovers to open their wallets. When I saw the Too Faced Melted Kisses & Sweet Cheeks set, it immediately piqued my interest. Three mini blushes and three mini liquid lipsticks, all new to me, from a good brand, for around $50? I rationalised it was just over $8 a piece. Nothing that'd break the bank. I mean, could I even buy a liquid lipstick or blush for $8 from Maybelline or Rimmel? With the added incentive of a Beautylish promotion, the decision to buy was a foregone conclusion.

The whole set is packaged into three separately boxed Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Blush and Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick duos (admittedly, it felt excessive tearing apart each of them to get to the products — as if I was greedily awarding myself three presents and caring naught for leaving none for anyone else): Love Hangover/Melted Nude, Justify My Love/Melted Peony, Your Love is King/Melted Fig. I guess you could consider them broadly as the coral, pink and berry sets respectively. The blushes are 2g each (full size is 6g) and the liquid lipsticks are 5ml each (full size is 12g). Considering I cannot recall the last time I finished a full size blush or lip product (lip balms don't count), the smaller sizes don't bother me in the slightest. Rather, I view them a plus since I get more variety and bang for my buck.

The liquid lipsticks have identical packaging to their full size equivalent (just an adorable mini version), but the blushes are a bit different, in that they're squares with raised hearts in the middle, rather than the whole thing being heart-shaped. I'm sure there are practical reasons for that, since an exact mini replica of the full size packaging would've been more aesthetically pleasing, but probably harder to manufacture, less sturdy, and even tinier than the current 4cm x 4cm shape.

l-r: Love Hangover, Justify My Love, Your Love is King

l-r: Too Faced Love Hangover, Clinique Peach Pop, NARS Orgasm, NARS Luster, theBalm FratBoy

I was expecting to have multiple nearly identical shades to Love Hangover (the "coral" pick of the three Love Flush blushes in the set), but surprisingly Love Hangover leans a lot pinker than comparable shades. Clinique Peach Pop is probably the most similar, though it is more orangey red and sheeny. theBalm FratBoy looks so flat and powdery in comparison to the other shades ... it's the most matte in finish. Both the NARS blushes have more of a pronounced gold shimmer than Love Hangover which applies largely matte, though Luster is more of a burnt orange tone and Orgasm is more a sheer warm pink.

l-r: Too Faced Justify My Love, NARS Angelika, Tarte Doll Faced, e.l.f. Pink Passion

Justify My Love is brighter and more cool-toned than NARS Angelika (more red, with silver sparkles) and Tarte Doll Faced (matte, bit warmer). It has the addition of fine gold shimmer which adds a nice touch and isn't chunky or too much. e.l.f. Pink Passion is an even more extreme version of Justify My Love, though the effect on the cheeks is similar (mainly a berry red). As a reader commented on my Instagram (I share her pain), cool-toned pinks never retain their shade when applied to yellow skin. I either haven't found one that will (maybe I need one that's pastel/white-based? Illamasqua Katie perhaps?) or must accept the inevitable consequence of my light-to-medium sallow Asian skin tone.

l-r: Too Faced Your Love is King, Rimmel Genuine Plum, Illamasqua Naked Rose, NARS Sin

I don't really have anything like Your Love is King, which is a bit scary in the swatch. It's a lot brighter and more red than Rimmel Genuine Plum or NARS Sin, both of which are more purple/berry-toned. Illamasqua Naked Rose is more matte, clearly a lot paler and dusty pinky mauve in colour. This one felt drier and patchier in texture when swatched than the other two, though I didn't have any issues with a brush. You need a super soft brush like the Wayne Goss Brush 14 or Suqqu Cheek Brush to apply it, otherwise risk major clown cheeks. It imparts an earthy, deep, fall flush.

l-r: Melted Nude, Melted Peony, Melted Fig

Admittedly, the Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipsticks didn't excite me as much as the blushes, maybe because I found the shades to be generic (though let's be real, not like the blushes weren't either). I've heard many positive things about the formula and they seem to enjoy a good reputation, so I was keen to try them out for the first time myself. I had no problems with the application and feel of these on my lips, I didn't find them drying, and they're extremely pigmented such that you need only a very small amount for opaque coverage. They're fairly glossy in finish, non-staining and easily removed with a tissue.

Melted Nude is a warm, peachy brown shade that I'm not convinced looks 100% flattering on me. It reminds me of Revlon Matte Lipstick in Smoked Peach. It's one of those shades where you really need a flawless, perfected, painstakingly concealed base (or just full coverage foundation) to work, otherwise I find it emphasises any areas of redness I have. Melted Peony is a bright, yellow-based Barbie pink. It instantly brings to mind MAC Viva Glam Nicki and makes my teeth look super yellow. It's a garish party shade that I would've been head over heels for maybe 2 years ago, but don't have quite the same enthusiasm for in the present day. Melted Fig is probably the most unique shade of the three. It's a medium-to-dark berry/plummy shade that's not too purple. More rosy-mauve. I probably don't have an exact dupe of this in my collection, but I'm sure I have several options that come close. MAC Plumful, Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum or a cross between Australis Colour Inject Mineral Lipstick in Samba/Boogie Woogie/Foxtrot perhaps? It's a slightly different, still elegant option for a night out, though a bit too dark and serious for me to wear during the day.
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