Pre-Fall 2015 Lip Picks

Lipstick is probably the most popular, most familiar member of the makeup family.  I mean, think about it.  Your brother or boyfriend might make all those lame jokes about not knowing what mascara is, or they act like they don’t know what you’re talking about when you mention foundation (and I submit that they are all liars and most guys actually could pass a basic makeup identification test if needed; they just needlessly feign ignorance for fear of looking less than ‘dude’), but every person on the planet knows what lipstick is.  Without question.  I’d venture a guess that most any person, in any country, anywhere, would know exactly what to do with that bright red bullet in a Revlon tube.  Now, how many of those red bullets we come across in a lifetime will vary from person to person, but generally speaking, lipstick is a globally known thing.

Which is why I think it’s so well loved.  Some form of lip rouge has been around forever, and it seems that every year there is some new shade, some new formula that the public goes absolutely nuts for.  MAC has their annual Viva Glam lipstick shade that always debuts with great anticipation.  People go on rabid Google searches for a certain lip color seen on a celebrity, causing it to sell out everywhere.  New long-wear formulas like Stila’s Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick and Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick have introduced a cult-like frenzy, garnering the praises of countless beauty bloggers and Instagram-ers.  The new trend of blue, lavender, and pink hair has seemed to inspire a breaking of boundaries in lip color as well with shades of deep purple and dark blue showing up on both the runways and on the streets.

You don’t just buy your friend one shade of lipstick for her birthday; you buy her four.  Many women don’t merely purchase one shade of lip color in a formula they love; they purchase multiples, if not the whole line.  We seem to treat lipstick like candy.  We want every flavor, every kind.  I believe if we could eat lipstick, we would.  And while this strikes me ultimately as bizarre and animalistic, I admit that I’m part of all this.  I’ve never seemed to develop a loyalty toward one brand or one formula, but I can certainly play the game.  And I would definitely eat MAC’s Candy Yum-Yum if I could.

I have two lipsticks that are inspiring me for the moment.  One you could consider an easy, wear-everyday-if-you-wanted kind of color, and the other could be taken as your way to play with this fall’s trends.

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Too Faced has had this line of Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick for a couple years, and I’d avoided them until now because anything with the words “long wear” tends to really scare me and make my lips turn reptilian.  I harken back to my high school days when CoverGirl first introduced Outlast All Day Lip Color, and I remember feeling like I was literally painting cement on my lips with the comfort and ease of a brillo pad.  That first go round at long-lasting lipstick was god awful, truly.  I mean, how dry does something have to be to the point where they feel the need to include another product with it, a “moisturizing topcoat”?!  Lord, no.  And does anyone remember trying to remove that stuff?  Might as well have used paint stripper!

But I feel that such formulas have improved over the years in comfort and practicality, with Too Faced having introduced one improved version.  I can’t say that the shine lasts especially long, but the feel of ‘Melted’ is very pillowy and buttery.  My lips appeared fuller as well, a result of glossy, light reflecting properties.  I purchased this in a shade called “Melted Chihuahua” (insert mental picture of the Taco Bell dog being thrown into a volcano here), and it’s an easy color for everyday, a warm, nude-ish rose that’s “my lips but better”.  The highly saturated pigment did linger for quite a while (through morning coffee, church, and brunch more or less), and the scent is tart and sweet.  I would love to go for a full-on vampy look with the dark, purple-blue Melted Villain shade, but I’m playing it slightly safer when it comes to this fall’s deep berry trend.

Which brings me to the nearly-black bullet pictured beside the Too Faced.  Revlon has a number of lipstick shades that have become cult classics over the decades.  You’ve got Fire And Ice, Love That Red, and the color pictured here, Black Cherry.  And no, the color doesn’t swatch as black but rather as a deep plum-berry stain.   I love this color.  I really, really love it.  Darker colors do make your lips appear smaller, but I don’t mind.  I like it when lips show a merlot tinge after a couple glasses, and I like how lips show all of their cracks and crevices when stained.  I actually don’t prefer perfectly smooth, plump lips- there’s not as much character in that look for me.  Even Angelina Jolie’s full lips have a lot of crevices and irregularities about them.  So anyhow, the Black Cherry is a fun find.  And for less than ten bucks at Walgreen’s, it’s nice to save a trip to Sephora and some cash that would otherwise have been blown on a lipstick I won’t wear super often.

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Pictured here- Black Cherry while out and about in the Midwest suburbs of Illinois.  Maybe the city will provide a better opportunity- I’ve always wanted to look like a wicked city woman (though I’m about as intimidating as a bulldog puppy).  xo, MR

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InStyle’s Best Beauty Buys of 2013 … and what I think of ’em.

So, May is one of my absolute favorite months for fashion magazines (I think I say that every month, right?) because this month tends to see the widest amount of beauty features in such publications.  People StyleWatch, Lucky, Marie Claire, and InStyle all proclaim their May issues as dedicated to beauty, and I’ll be honest- I’ll eye a magazine on the stand at a grocery store and I’ll quickly flip to the beauty section, and if it piques my interest in any way, I’ll buy it.  The beauty sections are always my favorite, teeming with hair how-to’s, reviews of new products and the like.  One close-up shot of Kerry Washington’s makeup at last month’s premiere complete with a break-down of what products were used, and I’m literally buying the magazine just for that one page.

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My May issue of InStyle magazine came yesterday in the mail and sure enough- 2013’s Best Beauty Buys can be found on page 297!  I like lists like these because I like comparing the magazines choices to what I already have and agree with, what I’m still curious about, and what products I hate.  Additionally, I’ve begun to take these “best of” lists more and more seriously because I’ve become increasingly interested in curating the best kit possible, even if it means a little extra investment here and there.  I trust InStyle for this and can tell that their choices are honest because a lot of the “winners” don’t change from year to year (whereas I feel some publication’s praises are simply based on what’s newest to hit the market).  Now, I won’t be mentioning my thoughts on every product that InStyle lauds, but there are a few I found to be worth commenting on.

1.  Best Inexpensive Lipstick- Cover Girl Lip Perfection  Yes.  The texture of these suckers does not feel cheap, despite the drugstore price (and the pigment lasts forever).  What’s great about this line is that the color range feels expensive and a little more edgy as well, whereas drugstore lipstick in the past seemed to just offer cute variations on frosty pink for the most part.  I still proudly proclaim their shade called Spellbound as the best shade of holy-crap-that-is-no-joke-magenta for under ten bucks.

2.  Best Inexpensive Mascara- L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Original  Is it just me or has this stuff sucked every time I’ve tried to give it another chance?  I’ve probably purchased this formula a total of three or four times over the years, just on the basis of knowing it’s reputation and thinking that it’ll perhaps work out differently this time.  But like Maybelline’s Great Lash (which I’ve consistently detested), this stuff is just goopy and can’t handle the pressure of a second coat (which is a bloody shame since I tend to cap things off at five coats).

3.  Best Overall Mascara- Dior Diorshow  I’ve purchased this stuff twice in my lifetime, which, in conjunction with my comments on the previous product, proves that I am certifiably insane in that I think if I do the same thing over and over I’ll somehow, at some point, land on different results.  In my little library of thoughts, Diorshow is categorized as the most overrated beauty product in existence.  The brush is too big to the point where you can’t control the product easily or put as many coats on without things getting into Shelob territory very quickly.  And what’s more, there’s fragrance in it.  For why?!

4.  Best Powder Blush- NARS  Always and forever, yes and yes.  I have three shades of NARS powder blush, and they are just the happiest, most exciting colors to wear.  Your mood just changes when you dot on one of the shades on to your cheeks.  While I love wearing their cream version in Lokoum on a regular basis, I took a dare last year in purchasing their powder formula in Exhibit A, an absolutely terrifying shade of vermilion at first glance (and I’m pretty sure the bride I most recently used it on hyperventilated when I first showed it to her).  But just a couple dots on the cheekbones and BAM!  You look like you’re glowing from the inside-out.

5.  Best Inexpensive Shampoo and Conditioner- Pantene Pro-V Classic  Just deal with my rant for a moment:  When you’re paying four bucks for a ginormous bottle of shampoo, this should tell you something- that apparently there’s nothing in that bottle worth any money to raise the price over four bucks.  Seriously, read the label on the back of your Pantene shampoo or conditioner bottle and tell me if you can identify any of the ingredients other than water.  The first ingredient of Pantene’s shampoo is water, the next two are detergents that strip your hair, the next is sodium chloride (table salt), and the next is dimethicone (which, while being toted as great for reducing frizz, also saps your hair of moisture).  The list goes on, but nothing in these products can be considered nutritious for your hair.  It’ll clean, but it’ll strip.  If you’re going for a cheaper shampoo and conditioner, at least go for a sulfate-free brand.  I also find shower products like these more worrisome too because we rinse a lot of this stuff down our drains and it gets swept up into our oceans and water systems, and I can’t see dumping gallons and gallons of synthetically-derived Pantene as ultimately good for our water supply and ecosystems.

6.  Best Lipstick- Tom Ford  I honestly wouldn’t know if I agree with this choice or not, because I’ve never tried Tom Ford’s lipsticks.  My life just isn’t at the point yet where I can justify fifty dollars for one tube of lipstick.  You read that right- fifty dollars. I feel like I could possibly justify such a price for face makeup (if you were to wear it everyday) or something that would last you a very long time, but I don’t wear lipstick everyday (rarely, actually) and lipstick isn’t even meant to last for an extremely long time.  So I’d either feel compelled to use it every single day (which I wouldn’t) or make the tube last at least two years (at which point it would’ve expired anyhow).  No win.  And what’s more, I’m just convinced that there are too many quality lip colors out there for twenty and under.

7.  Best Concealer- Cle’ de Peau Beaute’  See above.  Seventy bucks for concealer?  There’s no way.  Well, then again, I at least know I probably would use this everyday, and just a little bit each time.  I’d get my money’s worth!  And it is supposed to be an absolute miracle worker on all flaws and blemishes, and … you know what … no … I can’t keep talking like this.  Just slap me.

8.  Best Curling Iron- Hot Tools Spring Iron  Yep, this is the one.  I have the 1.25″ and I love it.  I just wrap sections of my hair around it (and I skip the clamp; I just wrap and hold) and nothing works better at creating easy waves.  Don’t pay more than fifty bucks for a curling iron or curling rod.  Save your biggest hunk of change for a high-tech flat iron.

9.  Best Lip Balm- Smith’s Rosebud Salve  Sure, the tin is chic in a French-apothecary-kind of way, but there’s a little too much petrolatum in this stuff for my taste.  Petrolatum, derived from petrochemicals, is known for ultimately disabling your lips from being able to remain moist on their own (hence the legend of “ChapStick addiction”).  Petrolatum merely acts as a barrier on your skin’s surface (not an actual moisturizer), and it simply traps whatever moisture is already on your lips in place.  Your lips, over time, basically un-learn how to replenish their own moisture.  Rub a petrolatum-based product all over your body and over time, this kind of barrier will prohibit toxins in the form of sweat and sebum from escaping the skin’s surface like they’re supposed to.  This is why I try to stay away from most drugstore lotions and “moisturizers”, because they’re laden with petrochemicals that can, in a worst-case scenario, really mess up your endocrine system.  I am forever loyal to Burt’s Bees Beeswax lip balm because I only find myself needing to apply it perhaps twice a day, and it is free of petrochemicals.

10.  Best Eyeliner Pencil- MAC Eye Kohl  Could the name “Smolder” be more appropriate?  This stuff is black magic.  Devilish, delicious, I-am-Jack-Sparrow’s-wickedly-awesome-pirate-girlfriend magic.

So seriously, let me know what you think.  Pick up the magazine (with Emily Blunt on the cover), flip through their lists, and give me your thoughts.  But I’m convinced there is no eyeliner better than my Jack Sparrow pirate eyeliner.  xo, MR