Wet N Wild MegaLast Matte Lipstick in ‘Stoplight Red’: Review & Swatches

Ok, I’m just going to go right ahead and say it:

This lipstick beats the pants off of MAC’s Ruby Woo.

Yep. This drugstore cheapie is truly a diamond in the rough. I’m your standard red lipstick fanatic, constantly on a crusade for the perfect red. My collection includes MAC Red, MAC Ruby Woo, Besame Cosmetics Red Hot Red, Besame Cosmetics Cherry Red, Revlon Cherry Blossom, and NARS Dragon Girl. The latter is probably my favourite of the bunch, but I’ll get back to you on that later in the week after I pick up a tube of Melt Cosmetics Belladonna 2 from a friend of mine who says it doesn’t suit her.

But, I digress. Stoplight Red knocked my socks off. It’s a blazing blue red that gives opaque coverage in one swipe. I have been wearing it over MAC Cherry lip liner to prevent feathering, but wearing it solo doesn’t actually cause Stoplight Red to feather much unless the weather is humid (it’s been so gross here in London of the past week.)

The packaging consists of a glossy black plastic tube with a transparent cap. It’s pretty light and unsophisticated, but this is a brand that’s used to the inside of 12 year old girls’ handbags; it’s not swish, it’s not trying to pretend to be swish. For the pocket change that this lipstick costs, all I care about is that the tube is safely portable. So far, no issues. The cap is secure and the body of the tube itself is strong enough. My one gripe about the packaging has to do with the bullet of product itself: it doesn’t twist down so that the tip of the lipstick recedes lower than the lip of the tube. This results in the lipstick smudging the inside of the cap. It looks a bit sloppy and can become messy if you’re not careful.

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You can see what I’m talking about. It’s not a major offence, but it’s something that could be easily fixed by making the bullet fully retractable.

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This is Stoplight Red retracted as far down as it will go. I’ve used it four or five times, so it’s a bit worn down, but not much. The bullet itself has a wide, slightly oblong plane. I prefer pointier bullets because it makes application easier. A lip brush would be ideal here. 

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From left: 1 pass of Stoplight Red, 2 passes of Stoplight Red, 1 pass of Ruby Woo. As you can see, Stoplight red is even bluer than Ruby Woo. It’s also more opaque and applies more evenly. The only way in which Ruby Woo is better is the fact that Stoplight Red never becomes completely matte. It’s marketed as having a matte finish, but is actually more of a satin. 

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Stoplight Red applied to my bare lips, straight from the tube. There’s no discernible scent or flavour.

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In summary, this is an affordable product that gives a red lippie lover everything they could possibly want for $2.29. It goes for slightly higher here in the UK because you can only get it online (I bought this tube on Amazon.) The only con for me is the clumsy packaging. 

 

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Makeup Revolution’s Vivid Baked Blusher in ‘Loved Me the Best’: Review & Swatches

I’ve never been hugely into blush. Lipstick has always been my main focus. And since I fell in love with NARS Orgasm and Super Orgasm blushes more than 10 years ago, when I was just getting into makeup, I haven’t really felt a need to branch out much.

However, I’ve finally hit pan on my Super Orgasm! Shock! Horror! The rise of Makeup Revolution couldn’t have come at a better time. As perfect as NARS’s famous Orgasm blushers are, they are pricey, pricey, pricey.  So I got myself the Vivid Baked Blusher in Loved Me the Best. It’s a frosty red marbled with medium pink and a very pale pink.

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I like the packaging. It’s a sufficiently sturdy plastic case with a domed, transparent lid. The product itself is also domed, which I find aesthetically more interesting than if it were flat. I’m also pleased with the amount of product, which is optimised by the blush being baked into a convex shape. More proverbial bang for your buck.

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The texture is powdery and dry, but not so dry as to be difficult to blend. It does require a bit more effort and attention during blending, but nothing more than an extra swoosh or two with the brush.

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The swatch on the left was applied with my finger. The one on the right was applied with my blush brush. I was initially apprehensive about how this would translate on my skin. The product does look quite red in the pan, so I was slightly worried that I would look more like a naughty lady of the night that I fancy. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case.

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For those of you who like a more intense flush of colour on your cheeks, Loved Me the Best is definitely buildable.

To sum it all up: totes worth buying. Or whatever the kids are saying nowadays.

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Makeup Revolution Lipstick in DEPRAVED: Review & Lip Swatches

Cosmetics nerds have been all a-buzz since Makeup Revolution hit Superdrug shelves here in the UK. The brand offers lipstick, lipgloss, matte liquid lipstick, highlighter, balm + lipstick combos, blush, foundation, concealer, and eyeshadow for peanuts. Fun lipstick for £1? I don’t really need much more encouragement.

I had a mini haul and will definitely do review for each item. This post is all about their lipstick in a rather exciting shade of purple. It’s called Depraved, and I will admit before we go any further that I bought a second tube.

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Depraved comes in a glossy, black plastic tube, stamped with Makeup Revolution on the side of the cap. It’s light and the cap feels a smidgeon loose, but it hasn’t fallen off in my bag. I would compare it to Revlon lipstick packaging.

See that little window at the end of the cap that shows the colour? Well, that’s actually a mini pot of extra product. It pops off via little latches on the inside of the top of the cap. Nifty noodles.

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Inside the tube, you’ll find your standard pointy bullet. It smells faintly sweet – not as vanilla as MAC; definitely more sugary. I couldn’t detect any scent after about 10 minutes of wear.

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The swatches below are on the inside of my wrist. I class my skin tone as neutral. The dominant undertone is olive, but there’s a bit of yellow, too. My Mister says that I look like mint ice cream because I’m so fair and the green olive undertone is so strong. Thanks to the additional yellow, though, warm colours are flattering for me as well as cool colours.

Depraved is a cool lavender that leans slightly pink on me, though it is less pink than MAC’s Violetta, which I have previously reviewed. The first swatch (on the left) is one pass, and the second one is three passes (down, up, down).

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The consistency is smooth and creamy, so it’s understandable that a single swipe is going to be sheer. Happily, it’s easy to build up opacity.

Lip swatches, applied to bare lips. No primer or liner.

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I wasn’t able to achieve total opacity, but I got pretty close. My natural lip colour comes through a bit in a few areas. I would love to find a suitable lip liner to help give it the boost it needs to be 100% opaque.

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To be fair, that’s pretty darn good for a cheap-as-chips drugstore lipstick. Even high end creamy lipsticks can be hard to build up. And purple lipsticks are notoriously difficult to formulate.

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Colour me impressed. I love it and will definitely be picking up a few other lipsticks to see if they’re as good, or better, than Depraved. Pastel near-perfection for a measly quid! Have any of you tried Makeup Revolution yet? Let me know in the comments!

For those of you who avoid Lime Crime, Depraved is an ethical dupe for Airborne Unicorn.

 

 

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Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey: Review & Lip Swatches

Black Honey – part of Clinique’s Almost Lipstick range – is one those cult classic products that everyone who loves cosmetics has heard of, much like MAC’s Ruby Woo. I first found out about Black Honey via my effortlessly stylish younger sister, who is an editor at Blisstree, by the way, and you should definitely read her stuff.

Black Honey gives you a subtle boost of sheer, ever so slightly plummy colour. Because it’s a mixture of a variety of tones, the effect is flattering for everyone.

After a doing a bit of internet rummaging to find out more information about this intriguing lippy, I was struck by two things: everyone seems to love it, and it’s pricey. But did I really want to drop so much cash for a high end product with so little pigmentation? I’m a lover of statement lips. The bolder the better. I was feeling a bit meh at this point and decided against it.

Fast forward a few weeks. My mother came to visit from LA …with not one, but two tubes of Black Honey in tow. Ok, mom! Thanks! I snapped a couple of pictures of the box before demolishing it to get to the good stuff.

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Pretty box. Fresh, understated pastels. Nothing to complain about.

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The product itself comes in a metallic, silver toned twist-up tube.

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It’s not particularly eye-catching, but the presentation is elegant and unobtrusive.

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The cap fits securely. I haven’t had any issues with the tube cracking.

The product itself appears dark, but this is expectedly deceptive.

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Now, lip swatches! I applied one firm pass over my lips.

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Subtle and lovely. Even though the consistency is emollient, I did find that my lips felt a tiny bit dry after a few hours of wear. Now, my lips are quite dry naturally. I have to stick to a fairly strict lip care regimen, especially with my love of matte lipsticks! Black Honey caught on a few dry patches, which was a bit disappointing. It’s not a deal breaker, but something to bear in mind. If I make sure my lips are smooth before the first application of the day, then I can reapply as many times as I like throughout the day without worrying about any unsightly dry flakes.

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One really fun thing about Black Honey is that you can use it as a tool to customise other lip products. It looks beautiful layered over lip pencils. You can also put a bit on your cheeks if your face needs a wee colour boost.

For me, Black Honey is an ideal (almost) lipstick for work. It’s subtle and sophisticated, enhances your natural lip colour, can be applied in a jiffy without a mirror, and can be built up to a stronger shade with a few extra strokes. The only cons are the price and that it’s mildly drying.

Is it worth the investment? I’d say so. It’s fool proof and versatile. And here’s a fun fact: Liv Tyler wore Black Honey when playing Arwen in the Lord Of the Rings film trilogy. Natural beauty, baby.

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Life Update!

Ooph!

Apologies for the radio silence. My second, and penultimate, year of nursing school has just come to an end. Coursework and clinical placements have been eating all of my spare time, which is always at a premium at best, seeing as I have 2 year old and a husband who is also a full time student (yes, we’re mad people, it’s ok!). Thankfully, my Mister’s legal education and training has been completed, and I can proudly say that I am the wife of a shiny new barrister. He started law school when our little one was only three weeks old, kept consistent good grades, and has come out at the top of his class. What a champ.

I have a seven week placement coming up on an elderly care ward. Nursing elderly patients is demanding in every possible way, but is uniquely rewarding. I’m looking forward to the experience.

I’m also looking forward to going back home to the good old US of A once this placement is over at the end of July! I haven’t been home since last August and am longing for my friends and my family, particularly my grandmother. Being home will ground and centre me in preparation for the final year of my training.

This is my sixth year in the UK, and to be completely honest, I’m beginning to feel homesick for Los Angeles. When I left America in 2008, I couldn’t have been happier to leave it in the dust. After all, I wasn’t abandoning much more than years of repeated personal failures and a string of abusive relationships. I’ll be the first to admit that I was absolutely running away. I sought distance and isolation, to find my own way. It was very much like jumping into the deep end, and it was up to me to find my own way back to the surface. 

It worked. My family and a small handful of dear friends sent me across the Atlantic buoyed by their unconditional love and faith that I could turn things around for myself. Thankfully, I did. I left America utterly lost and unhealthy. I was obese, smoking 20 cigarettes a day, and had given up on my photography degree. I return at a healthy weight, smoke free for five years, with a family of my own and an admirable career that I’m truly passionate about.

I thank my lucky stars for the second chance.

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Review! NARS Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

I am really into red lipstick. Really into it. About a year ago, I bought Revlon’s Cherry Blossom. Since then, it’s just been a mad spiral of red lipstick insanity.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in the shade called Dragon Girl had been number 1 on my list of coveted items for awhile. After months of hemming and hawing, I finally buckled and purchased it, and oh boy, am I ever glad that I did.

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Dragon Girl is a baby-soft matte lipstick in the form of a chubby pencil. Here it is next to a standard-sized tube of chapstick, for scale:

ImageSo many matte lippies look and feel as dry as old crayons, but it was obvious from the get-go that Dragon Girl was going to be less drying. Looking at the product uncapped, you can see a very slight sheen.

ImageThe only real downside is that it’s inevitable to lose some product with chubby pencils. They require sharpening, and it’s impossible not to shave a bit of it off in the process.

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First of all, allow me to apologise for the less-than-awesome quality of the lip swatches. The front camera of my iPhone 4S is resoundingly mediocre. Fortunately, it’s true to colour. Please bear with me until I get my proper camera new batteries.

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I applied Dragon Girl directly to my lips without any lipliner. As you can see, it doesn’t really need any. One solid swipe gives you opaque coverage. There was no pulling or dragging on the lips at all. It went on effortlessly.

Something that I really love about Dragon Girl is that it can be worn on its own, with a lipliner, or as a lipliner. I love wearing it under MAC Red; the result is stunning.

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I’m unabashedly crazy about this lipstick. It is my Holy Grail red. Because it’s so creamy for a matte, it can be sheered down to achieve a subtle blush. Personally, I love the so-red-it’s-almost-fuschia effect that comes with wearing it in full force. Either way, it feels almost completely weightless.

The colour payoff and total matte finish is on par with MAC’s Ruby Woo, but what makes Dragon Girl better is that it isn’t nearly as drying. My lips don’t feel spent after a day of wearing it.

Pros: Highly pigmented, not drying, universally flattering.

Cons: Product loss due to sharpening.

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From the Crypt: Pretty Bones

My latest photo shoot for up-and-coming Gothic jewellery company, The Crypt Of Curiosities, featured an elegant pair of earrings.

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Silver ribcages dangle under jet black and vermilion Swarovski crystals, with silver teeth hanging further below.

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These earrings blur the line between kitsch and elegance, which – in my humble opinion – is what we look for in contemporary Gothic items.

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Clare, who is the mad sorceress behind the Crypt Of Curiosities, has mastered the art of the kitsch/elegance balance. This is why her work is becoming popular so quickly. Theres something for everyone in her collection, regardless of which subset of the Gothic subculture takes your fancy.

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As one of the Crypt’s sponsored models, I get so excited whenever new jewellery comes my way for photo shoots. I know that I’ll love whatever I receive, and this is coming from someone who’s notoriously picky about accessories.

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Each Crypt piece is put together by hand, and is lead and nickel free.

http://www.thecryptofcuriosities.com

Photographer: Mor Ghermezi (2013)

Model/MUA: Alyson Melody (Yours truly.)

As an aside, the lush lipstick that I’m wearing in this set is Red Hot Red by Besame Cosmetics. I will do a separate review for it, because it’s amazing.

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