Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Matte Liquid Lipstick Showdown

I just wanted to firstly say a quick thank you to everyone who answered my little Q&A - it was great getting to know you all a little better and if anyone still wants to fill it out I'd love to hear from you. :) But onto the purpose of this post, are you surprised that all the shades I'm going to talk about are variations of red? Because you shouldn't be. As a lip product addict/hoarder/aficionado I thought I'd do a round up of the long-wearing, matte liquid lipstick type products that I have in my stash so you don't have to try out as many varieties as I have (unless you want to of course.) I've got you covered across every price point and with so many options to choose from, I feel like I have pretty high standards.

A few things to note are that I haven't touched on wear time because I've found it to be pretty consistent - they all wear just fine until I eat or drink something and then they'll wear away slightly on the inside of my lips. Not completely away like a lipstick, and they definitely don't leave an awful ring around the outside of your lips, but they will wear away enough to warrant a small touch up, which I expect to do because as if I ever go more than a few hours without eating or drinking something. Also, I expect matte lip products of any variety to be drying, so while I haven't done this when testing these products, for regular wear I like to dab a bit of my boo Reve de Miel on top which doesn't sacrifice the matte finish but it does help avoid dryness and it eliminates stickiness and any other undesirable qualities of a product's finish. I'd definitely suggest doing that with any of these and with any matte lip product you have if dryness is an issue for you. Let's go alphabetically.

Application: feels like quite a thick, dry-ish sort of cream going on, but very pigmented.
Finish: a little sticky when drying down, and overall one of the more drying products of the lot but very matte and opaque. 
Layering: layers just fine.
Smell: like fruity lollies.
Overall: this is a great, affordable offering from the drugstore and they've expanded their shade range and have quite a lot of options, however I believe Australis is only available in Australia & NZ. 8/10

Application: applies sheer, which can be a plus for some, but you definitely have to layer the product to get an opaque shade.
Finish: feels very smooth and creamy on the lips, living up to its velvet name, it's non-drying and extremely comfortable. The best way I can describe the consistency is like a stain suspended in a gel. However, it takes a long time to become matte, and the colour definitely transfers and really isn't true to the shade in the tube and it's nowhere near as pigmented as I'd hoped.
Layering: layers just fine, which it has to, really as it takes a couple of layers to get it opaque on the lips.
Smell: chemically/fruity.
Overall: for all the hype these got upon release I had very high expectations and they just weren't met, which is such a shame considering the beautiful shade range. Perhaps I'd have liked the product better if it wasn't marketed as a matte liquid lipstick, it could be good in it's own right, but when compared to other brand's offerings these fall short. 5/10

Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon (mini pictured) - $38.00AUD (full size) 
Application: because these aren't completely opaque the product applies a bit streaky at first and you do have to work with it to get even colour across your lips. Also rather than being a standard doe-foot applicator this has a flexible sponge tip which may be a plus for some but I find it difficult to get an even line around the lips, making lip liner an essential.
Finish: it takes a while to dry down and in that time things get pretty sticky, which means the product can transfer a bit. But when it sets it has the appearance of a beautiful deep stain on the lips with a slight sheen, feels totally weightless and it's one of the least drying of the bunch.
Layering: this doesn't layer particularly well, the product tends to build up and look uneven and feel uncomfortable. When you have to touch up I'd advise removing as much as you can and starting over. 
Smell: vaguely chemically and powdery.
Overall: Hourglass have some seriously beautiful shades in this range but I have to work with the product more than I think I should have to at that price point. It's worth having this one but I probably wouldn't buy another. 6.5/10.

Application: smooth and easy to apply, but it requires 1-2 coats to become opaque. It also has a pointed sponge-tip applicator which makes it easy to get a defined cupids bow. 
Finish: very similar to the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets, this is creamy, non-sticky and comfortable, but it's also not really matte. While it's certainly more pigmented and true to colour than the Bourjois version you'll still need to build it up a little and the result is a beautiful, albeit somewhat glossy finish. Unfortunately it's also prone to transferring.
Layering: layers just fine.
Smell: slight powdery "old lady" smell. 
Overall: this is basically a better, more pigmented version of the Bourjois offering. While it's a nice product on its own, it's not one of the best matte liquid lipsticks. 7/10

Application: smooth and completely opaque. 
Finish: dries very quickly, with some stickiness but no transferring. Very full colour, however it does deepen slightly over time which can be noticeable when reapplying a few hours later. 
Layering: layers just fine. 
Smell: pleasant vanilla powdery scent. 
Overall: Lime Crime gets bonus points for having the prettiest packaging, but loses points for controversy surrounding the brand. However, we're here to talk about the product not the brand and if it performs well I'm going to tell you and you can make your own decisions. 9/10

Application: fully pigmented and easy to apply. 
Finish: not actually matte, but it's very comfortable to wear and feels like a super thin gloss on the lips that's totally opaque and non-sticky. It also doesn't dry down or set but it's not the least bit drying on the lips and it leaves behind a decent stain. 
Layering: layers perfectly. 
Smell: creamy/powdery inoffensive scent. 
Overall: it's not overly matte but it's fully pigmented and very comfortable, but unfortunately the shade range leaves a lot to be desired. There's only four shades and it's not available worldwide so I can only give it a 7/10.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo - $12.95AUD (or $5.99US, ha) 
Application: it feels a bit moussey in texture so it applies very smoothly with a standard doe-foot applicator.
Finish: I like that the word soft is in the product name because these actually do feel soft on the lips, but they're still super matte. It's a little bit sticky as it dries down, but it doesn't transfer and it feels weightless on the lips, however I've found the colour it dries to is slightly different from what's in the tube.
Layering: layers fine.
Smell: somewhat fruity. 
Overall: NYX have a great shade range and they're very affordable despite the stupid price hike in the Australian market. 7.5/10

Application: smooth and totally opaque in one coat. 
Finish: it's the tiniest bit sticky as it dries down, but it does so very quickly and becomes completely matte and very comfortable to wear. It also doesn't transfer once dry. 
Layering: no problems with layering. 
Smell: powdery/creamy. 
Overall: I can't fault this product at all except for the massive price jump if you were to buy it locally in Australia, and for the crap shade range. Sephora, get on that. 9.5/10

Sleek Matte Me in Rioja Red - $7.49US / about $9.20AUD 
Application: a full pigment liquid lipstick that applies smoothly and evenly.
Finish: this feels like nothing on the lips until you press them together and feel the intense stickiness, which is surprising because once dry it has a completely matte, paint-like appearance. It doesn't feel sticky on other surfaces (fingers, mugs) and it doesn't transfer at all, so if you can avoid pressing your lips together then it's a pretty great product. However, it's worth noting that the shade deepens slightly as it dries so you will lose some of the brightness you see in the tube. 
Layering: this layers perfectly evenly without any discomfort, although it'll deepen the shade ever so slightly again. 
Smell: can't detect anything. 
Overall: apart from the bizarre stickiness this is a great product. However it loses more points for only being available online outside of the UK and for the limited shade range, but if you're on a budget definitely check this one out. 7.5/10

Application: full, opaque colour, totally smooth and creamy with a slighly moussey texture. It also has a flexible sponge tip applicator which isn't my favourite as it makes lip liner necessary. 
Finish: like the Sephora offering this is a tiny bit sticky as it dries, but it's very comfortable and matte and doesn't transfer. 
Layering: no problems with layering. 
Smell: slightly chemically. 
Overall: this product is just about perfect except for the applicator. It also comes in lots of beautiful shades, but I don't seem to hear much about it which is a shame, I think it's really underrated. 9/10

Saturday, January 10, 2015


You may not have seen just yet, but I've finally made the switch over to Disqus on this little blog to allow for much more fluid communication. What this means is now, if you want, you can get a notification when I (or anyone else) replies to your comment, which makes it feel a lot more like a conversation rather than the standard blogspot system where you have to check back to see if you've received a response.

In honour of this, I've decided to do a little Q&A in order to get to know you guys better (a la Sophie's post in December.) The journal in the photo is this guy which I bought as a Christmas present to myself this year. I wanted to start it in January 2014 but I didn't want to have to carry it around with me overseas so I waited until this year, but really you can start it anytime you want. Basically there's a page for every day of the year and a question on each page, and every day you write down your answer and at the end you can look back and see how your answers have changed over the past five years. So I've taken a few questions out of this book for my little Q&A - answer as many or as few questions as you'd like, but I'm really looking forward to getting to know you all a little better. :)

Where do you live? 

Favourite writer(s)?
Favourite musician(s)?
Favourite season?
Favourite scent?
Favourite colour?

Where are you dying to travel to?
Staying in or going out?
What do you want to say when someone asks, "what do you do?"
Which two famous people would you invite to dinner (one dead and one living)?
If someone paid for all your relocation costs, where in the world would you move to?

Any requests for this blog? Anything you'd like to see more of?
What's your blog link?

Friday, January 02, 2015

2014 Make Up Favourites

If you want to know what I loved in 2013 here are my previous make up and skincare favourites posts.

2014 was definitely a different year for me. I spent almost half of it travelling which, aside from the obvious major life changes, also had a pretty big impact on my beauty routine. So much so that I wasn't going to do a favourites post this year because I felt like it would be too skewed towards what I had available to me while I was travelling and wouldn't necessarily be an accurate representation of my favourite products overall. Not only did I not have the vast majority of my makeup with me, but I also got to try out so many new products that I'd not been able to get in Australia before (or that I didn't want to pay exorbitant prices for.) But despite only getting home in time for the last two months of the year, I decided to round up my favourite new discoveries along with a couple of old staples and when I take a look at my whole makeup stash these products are the real standouts. It's also worth noting that I won't be doing a 2014 skincare favourites this year because even though I've tried new products, since getting home I've been making a big effort to finish up products I had open before I left so it really hasn't changed much from last years favourites.

The newest entry by far is the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer which I only picked up a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne (thanks to Tenneil's exceptional enabling skills), but this just blows every other primer I've ever tried out of the water. It smooths over the skin seamlessly and really extends the wear time of foundation which is what I need a primer to do. It may be super expensive but it's gorgeous and it works. Another super expensive, much hyped product that I've fallen for is the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 2. After trying a sample from Sephora while in the States I knew I'd have to pick up a bottle before coming home. From the first time I put it on my face I could see what all the fuss was about, it literally makes your skin look like silk and the finish is the most beautiful of any foundation I've ever used. Unfortunately it's not the most long-lasting of bases but combined with the Hourglass primer it's a dream team that I've reached for on all special occasions over the Christmas/New Years period. However, for fellow oily-skinned girls it's the kind of base I'd apply if I had a special occasion on during the day or at night, I wouldn't expect it to last perfectly through both.

When I know I'll need a foundation that's in it for the long haul I'll turn to the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation in Fair Sand. Now available at the Sydney Sephora store, this is a beautiful, moussey textured medium coverage foundation (that can be built up to full if that's your thing.) It feels weightless on the skin, has a beautiful finish and is housed in great, travel friendly packaging. If all my makeup disappeared these are the two foundations I'd need back in my life ASAP. For concealer the standout has to be the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer in 1 which is great for pinpoint concealing blemishes and scarring. You only need the tiniest little dot of product and it's matte, full coverage and waterproof - I just don't own anything else as good as this. For powder I've got to mention a staple which is the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent. I've found a lot of transparent powders don't do much for oil control, and a lot of oil controlling powders or those with coverage tend to look cakey, but this one ticks all the right boxes. Plus it's super affordable and available everywhere. The only downside is the packaging isn't great for keeping in your bag for touch ups but I always use this to set my makeup in the mornings before leaving the house.

The prettiest blush of the year award has to go to the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes in Dim Infusion and Radiant Magenta. I've still not tried the ambient lighting powders because of my aforementioned need for oil control, but when these blushes were launched they were right up my alley. Super smooth and finely milled with great pigmentation and completely luxe packaging, these blushes blur pores and imperfections and leave you with glowing skin in the best way. The Anastasia DipBrow Pomade in Dark Brown has been my go-to brow product for the later part of the year and I really can't say enough good things about it. When you first use the product it's got a wet texture but soon it develops a firm kind of skin which sounds gross but I actually think it makes the product even better. The pigmentation isn't as intense so it's a lot easier to work with and there's less chance of looking like the monobrowed baby from The Simpsons. The result is polished brows that still look natural, what more can you ask for?

The best and most versatile eyeshadow palette I've bought this year has to be the Urban Decay Naked Basics 2. Although it's not the most exciting looking palette out there, it's completely invaluable because you always need good matte crease shades, and this is full of them. This year has seen me experiment with eye makeup a LOT, and while I'm not giving up daily winged black eyeliner anytime soon, this has really helped me try some new things and made smokey eye looks less intimidating. For mascara I've really enjoyed the Maybelline The Rocket Mascara which annoyingly isn't available in Australia just yet. I picked it up when I was in London and I've really enjoyed it ever since. I'm no mascara pro, but this lengthens, thickens and holds a curl without clumping so it's been keeping me pretty happy.

For lips I can't possibly go past my old favourite, the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm which is still the best lip balm I've ever used. Because of the heavy glass packaging I didn't take my original pot away with me but by the time I reached Paris I knew I couldn't last the rest of my trip without it, so I picked up a second one. I use it every night before bed and I love dabbing it on top of lipstick because it stops your lips from drying out but keeps the matte finish. And I'm sure the NARS Audacious Lipsticks will be on 2014 favourites lists far and wide, but that's because they're incredible. Unlike any other formula I've tried, these are rich, creamy and fully pigmented and they come in an incredible range of shades - pictured above are Rita & Annabella.

My favourite hand cream has to be the Jurlique Rose Hand Cream which is an old favourite of mine. Jurlique make my favourite rose scent of all time - warm and creamy and not at all sharp like cheap rose scents can be, this hand cream is rich and luxurious, sinks in quickly and both feels and smells amazing. I'm not much of a hair product person, but I was thrilled to discover the Batiste Dry Shampoo XXL Volume - let me tell you, it's not kidding about the XXL volume. Now I just use this when I'm doing a beehive and I hardly have to tease my hair, it does all the work for me. And finally for fragrance my favourite has been Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noire. I actually decanted some of this into a little bottle and took it overseas with me so now this perfume reminds me of my trip. On the surface it's a sweet, fruity/floral hybrid with notes of black cherry and Bulgarian and Turkish roses, but underneath that it has a real warmth and depth to it that really sets it apart for me. The notes that deepen the fragrance include licorice, vanilla, patchouli and smoked black tea and I think they give it a much more grown up feel which I adore.