Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Favorite Nude Lip: Lime Crime Coquette Swatches and Review

Nude lipstick swatches: Barry M Pale Nude, Lime Crime Coquette, and Revlon Soft Nude.

Finding the perfect nude lipstick is like finding the perfect red. It's hard because it's different for everybody. I don't know why it took so long for me to try Lime Crime'sCoquette, considering I bought so many of their other lip colors.
I guess I just figured I should only get the unconventional shades because a nude is so easily accessible from most brands. Right? Wrong. I just wore it to work and got 3 compliments on the shade before lunch.

Lime Crime Coquette Lip Swatch

It's not a concealer-nude on my NC25 skin, but it will be if you are deeper-toned than NW25 or NC30.
I love it on my skin because it's got some warmth/pink in the formula (see the swatches against Barry M and Revlon above) and not too pale, too grey, or too brown. Because I have so little red in my skin, wearing something too brown or pale makes me look like a walking corpse. This, for me, has a hint of blush in it and is perfect for that kitten-ish Brigitte Bardot look with dark lids and lots of liner and mascara.

When I swiped this on, I was first impressed by how I did not need any lip primer to even out my lip tone ahead of time. Coquette went on in an even layer and didn't sink into lines like some sheer or waxy pale lipsticks can. It goes on creamy (like a MAC Amplified Creme) and sets into a satin finish an hour later, which is perfect for me.

This is not meant to be a long-wearing lipstick but it's lasted pretty darned well so far. After about 3-4 hours of wear (with plenty of talking and some drinking), it will become less opaque and settle into lip lines a little, but that's only noticeable if you hold a mirror a few inches from your lips and stare), but that's much less than other nude lipsticks have. I only need to press my lips together every once in awhile to even it out, and then touch up after I eat.
It also does not make my sensitive lips flake or feel too dry.

Unoffensive, comforting Vanillin flavor, like MAC.

Coquette retails for US$15.99 on

Seafoam Grey: Coastal Scents Hot Pots in Reef Blue and Gipsy Silver

Smoky, sea-foam grey lids.
I've been a long-time fan of Coastal Scents Hot Pots. These are mostly good-quality shadows that are great for beginner or those looking for colors for day-wear, as they come in tons of shades, are silky and pigmented but not too strong for those who aren't very confident with color cosmetics. If you want to quickly build up your kit without breaking the bank, I highly recommend checking Coastal Scents out, because you can get 12 Hot Pots for very little money, and a free magnetic, mirrored palette thrown in for free.
(These also fit into regular MAC palettes.)

I bought 12 of them last year, in warm browns, coppers, beiges and olive greens, but decided it was time to try softer, cooler shades this time round, especially as the company has come up with some new colors, which are currently going at US$1.99.  (And this time round, none of the shadows broke during the shipping, which was great. )

Coastal Scents Hot Pots in Reef Blue, and Gipsy Silver

2 of the shades I picked out (I'll post about the other colors separately) were Reef Blue and Gipsy Silver, from their new collections. I also got the Shadow Worx Shimmer primer since I don't own any shimmery primers and wanted to see how a $9.95 primer worked. So far it's been quite good, and I enjoy how I can wear it alone as a cream shadow, although I don't have oily lids, so I can't comment on how well it makes shadows last.

Monday, February 27, 2012

MAC “Vera” Collection Haul: My Top Picks and Swatches!

MAC Butterfly Garden Crushed Metallic Pigments set

I had some gift vouchers (yay) so what better than to blow them on the MAC "Vera" 2012 collection?
I'd been waiting for this since I saw the images on MAC's site a few weeks ago, but didn't know it would hit our shelves this soon. So when I walked past a MAC counter this evening on my way to a movie, my eyes lighted on a small colorful display, and I might have shrieked a little before I made a beeline right for it. 

MAC Strawberry Patch Crushed Metallic Pigment set

All items swatched on bare skin without a base.
The item I had really wanted from the collection was actually only the Crushed Metallic Pigment stack "Butterfly Party", but I decided to swatch everything on a whim and feel in love with 2 other items I had not thought would be nice. So I ended up getting:

MAC Butterfly Garden Crushed Metallic Pigments swatches

Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack "Butterfly Party"
  • Rain Drop: Metallic Teal (if you have Teal pigment, you don't need this.)
  • Moss Garden: Sparkly Seafoam-Silver (unexpectedly pretty and quite unique)
  • Butterfly Party: Rich Purple Pearl (nice but not a must to have)
  • Desert Cloud: Metallic Indigo Violet (lovely blue-violet; a darker, more purple version of Cornflower pigment)
MAC Strawberry Patch Crushed Metallic Pigment swatches

Crushed Metallic Pigment Stack "Strawberry Patch"
  • Star Crystal: Metallic champagne-ash (If you missed out Metal X Palladium, this is a lovely pearl-beige shade that isn't too stark white)
  • Rose Light: Frosted Pastel Pink (80's pink - in a good way)
  • Strawberry Patch: Glittery mauve (pretty, but my least favorite of the bunch because it's so sparkly that it's hard to wear for day, and needs a good base to work)
  • Moon Rose: Metallic burgundy with fuchsia sheen (the reason I picked up this stack. The images don't do this justice so you'll have to swatch this yourself before it's sold out!)

MAC Pearlmatte Face Powder in Sunday Afternoon

MAC Pearlmatte Face Powder in Sunday Afternoon
I thought the 2 pearlmatte face powders were blushes until I swatched one of them on and got the surprise of my life. These are like a cross between beauty powders and Mineralize Skinfinishes, with an interesting texture that's matte but luminous at the same time. 
It's a little like my beloved MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Porcelain Pink, which gives a soft pink glow but is not outright shiny like other MAC MSFs, except this is better if you are afraid of looking oily.

MAC Sunday Afternoon swatch

I did not get any of the lip glasses or liners from the Vera collection.
It's not that they aren't nice; in fact the glitter liners are beautiful. But I don't find the glitters in pencils obviously enough to make much of a difference from regular metallic pencils, so I didn't see any point buying them at MAC prices. 

As for the glosses, well, I'm not a lip gloss girl so I gave all of them a miss. You'll have to check them out yourselves at the counter and judge for yourself if you like them! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Psychedelic Cyclamen Ombre Lips: Rimmel Color Show-off in 220 Shocking Pink and Lime Crime D’Lilac (plus tips)

Red and lilac ombre lips

When you combine 2 shades that look really vibrant and saturated on camera, you get day-glo Cyclamen lips like the above. 
Instead of going for a typical dark shade to contrast against the pale creamy lilac, I went for a strong red-fuchsia in a matte texture.

Read on for tips for application!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Smoky Blue-and-Pink Wing: MAC Fuchsia and Frozen White pigments

This is a look that should look multi-faceted and contoured. If you have mono-lids, just draw in the crease along your socket line, above the lid crease. This takes a bit of practice to get even but it looks great!

See the step-by-step to get the look here!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Smoky Brown with Electric-Blue Liner (Bourjois Intense Extrait 08 and Regard Effet Metallise 54 Bleu Clinquant)

This is a super-simple way to dress up browns without piling on a whole lot of color. If you enjoy wearing color along your lash line, this is also a way to get it to to stay longer and more intense along the waterline. 

Bourjois Regard Effet Metallise Pencil in 54 Bleu Clinquant on waterline, with Intense Extrait Shadow #08 on the lids.

I used a lot of Bourjois in this look (uninentionally, but aside from the electric blue pencil, it's easy to find lots of alternatives and many makeup wearer should already have similar shades in their collection).

NYX Sweet Pink Matte Lipstick

I mentioned this lipstick quite a few times and thought it was about time to do more of a feature.
NYX Sweet Pink is a deep, matte magenta which is strong and bright, but one shade less neon than shades like Barry M Shocking Pink or MAC Candy Yum Yum. If you want to try a hot pink but are afraid of neon notes, then NYX Sweet Pink is a fabulous, more lady-like alternative.

Magenta Balenciaga with NYX Sweet Pink Matte lipstick.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Plum Pastel Eyes with Ballerina Pink Cheeks and Lips

Pastel Eyes: MAC Aqua, with MAC Lovely Lily pigment and Circa Plum pigment

Step 1: Pack a matte pastel aqua over the inner half od the lids (MAC Aqua).

Step 2: Apply a sift shimmery pastel mauve (MAC Lovely Lily limited edition pigment but there are plenty of soft shimmery purples around) over the outer halves of the lids.

Step 3: Apply a deeper grey-violet (MAC Circa Plum pigment) to the outer halves of the socket line. 

Step 4: Apply a metallic green liner (Bourjois #44 Golden Grey Session) right to the inner corners of the eyes, and a deep metallic plum (Rimmel Exaggerate in #220 Perfect Plum) along the outer 3/4 of the upper and bottom lash line. Do a thicker wing towards the outer half of the upper eye. 

Step 5: Finished with mascara.

Everything else is kept soft and sweet in ballerina pinks.

On the cheeks: 

  • Essence Blush Souffle in 01 Ballerina Pink
  • MAC MSF in Blonde

On lips: 

  • Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Strawberry Shortcake

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lazy Girl's Guide to Perfect Winged Liner (and Shadow) for Valentine's!

Perfect Winged Eyes need not take weeks to master.
A winged eye and a demure kitten flick can give you really alluring eyes, but I got so many questions about how to do a good winged eye or flicked liner, so it I figured I’d do a more detailed tutorial on how to do it without requiring weeks of practice.
You will need:
  • Black gel liner
  • Flat, angled synthetic liner brush
  • A sheet of paper or card (or tape)
View the step-by-step here!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

MAC Ruby Woo: Lip Swatch, Shade Comparisons and Overview

MAC Ruby Woo: The Queen of Scarlet Lipsticks?
[NOTE: Sorry for the long hiatus! Was away on a work trip and was not able to manage both blogs, but I'm catching up soon with lots of haul and review posts!] 

Ruby Woo is one of those shades that I keep gravitating to at the MAC counter, because it looks like such a gorgeous deep crimson. But I actually hated it every time I swatched it because it was always hard, dry, crumbly, and dragged on the skin horribly.

Well, after a few months of dithering, I finally decided to give in and try out a tube for myself, and it turns out that a fresh tube of Ruby Woo is NOT hard, dry, and streaky. It was the way the MAC staff like to dunk the entire lipstick into a beaker of alcohol to sterilize it. Well, DON'T do that people!

The repeat contact with alcohol can break down the oils in the lipstick and leech it out of the tube. I suppose you might not have a choice if that is a tester that two dozen people swatched onto their hands and lips each day, but if you own one for personal use or are a makeup artist and need to use it on clients, then just spray the top of the bullet with alcohol and wipe on a sheet of tissue to remove the top layer. This way, the rest of the product stays fresh.

MAC Red Swatches: (L-to-R) MAC Diva, MAC Russian Red, MAC Ruby Woo
 As you can see, Ruby Woo is the brightest of the MAC reds I own. All 3 are Mattes, but Ruby Woo is a retro matte, which means it is even denser and dryer than the other 2. The retro matte texture is actually lighter feeling than the regular mattes, which have more emollients and hence go on thicker and feel a bit tackier/stickier. 

Ruby Woo has almost zero sheen compared to the other 2 above, but I don't find it to emphasize lines on the lips. The other thing I love is that right after application, you can kiss a sheet of tissue and there will be minimal transfer. When I layer a second coat on and kiss again, it's the same thing. 
This lipstick stays put!

Lip-swatch: MAC Ruby Woo
The color looks darker in the tube than it is when applied, so if you are looking for a true, true red Ruby Woo is better. But because of this same fact, it can look different depending on your skin tone. If you have a more yellow undertone, this lipstick will look warmer. If you are porcelain or pink based skin, the lipstick looks more cool blue.

If you like the way it looks in the tube form (a deep intense red), or if you have a medium-to-deeper skin tone, then go for Russian Red instead as it will show up less coral on you. Neither of these are a true blue-based red, even though MAC describes it that way on their site. These lean neither orange nor magenta so I'd call them true reds instead, which are easier for most people to wear. Diva on the other hand, is a dark blue-based red with slight plum undertones.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lime Crime Carousel Glosses: Lipgloss for Lipstick Girls?

I used to be a gloss lover before I got into blogging. I loved it for the same reason most girls love lip glosses. The versatility and low maintenance, and how it juices up your pout with subtle color and shimmer.

Well, there-in lies the problem which I discovered the MOMENT I tried to do lip swatches for a post. In stronger lighting and zoom, half of them looked like a smattering of barely-there shimmer over clear gloss. The difference was quite minimal, and I finally understood why "signature lip colors" are mostly lipsticks. In real life, with most of the generic shades around, nobody else can really tell one pink gloss from the other on your lips (or a peach one to tell the truth). 

So in the past year, I've pretty much stopped using colored glosses on their own.

Carousel Glosses: (L-to-R) Loop-de-Loop, Kaleidoscope, Candy Apple, Cherry on Top, and Golden Ticket

When I first heard that Lime Crime was coming up with a line of limited edition sparkly glosses in zany colors, I thought "Nah. They're probably like MAC Dazzleglasses."

Lime Crime Carousel Gloss, boxed. Reminds me of European chocolate pastilles!
Dear readers, I was so wrong.

Carousel Lip Gloss swatches: (L-to-R) Loop-de-Loop, Kaleidoscope, Candy Apple, Cherry on Top, and Golden Ticket
I tried my best to capture the sheen, intensity, opacity and texture of the glosses as best as I could here. And yes, honey, they do go on that strong.
The closest comparison would probably be to MAC's Dare to Wear Lipglasses from 2010, but in more outlandish shades.

View the more detailed review and lip swatches here!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How to get berry-stained lips

Beautiful stained lips from last year's Carolina Herrera show.
This may be a no-go for those girls who like a super-defined lip line. With stained lips, your lip line almost disappears, and it's the center of your lips that's the focus. But there's something about a berry-stained lip that's both cherubic and sexy at the same time, and I recall spending about 2-3 years where I wore nothing on my lips but lip stain and gloss.
So how would you go about getting it to work on you?

There are 2 ways.

The traditional ink stain:
You get a deep berry/wine colored lip stain (if you want that naturally stung look)
You get a funkier color like hot pink or coral if you just want to have fun. The application method is the same.
Gucci Westman applying Revlon Just Bitten. [Pic source:]

  1. Make sure your lips are completely clean and dry before application. This means no balm, no saliva, nothing. The ink is not going to sink in and stain properly if you don't make sure to dry your lips before-hand.
  2. Apply a LIGHT even layer over the entire lip. If you need to, quickly smooth out with a finger to distribute and even out the color before it sets.
  3. After the first layer is dry, go back in with the product but apply only to the center of your upper and lower lip. Let it set for a while this time before you go in with your finger to smooth out any unevenness or obvious lines.
  4. Rinse and repeat if you need to build up more dramatic color, but usually just 2 coats is enough.
  5. Top with clear balm if you have dry lips, and leave it be if you don't! 
This method can last for hours, but as the center of your lips comes into contact with more moisture (your own, and when you drink or eat), the color will start to wear away in the center after a few hours. This i unavoidable, so just repeat Step 1 (hold a triple-folded sheet of clean tissue between your lips for a couple of seconds) and Step 3 to touch up the center. The action of smoothing it out with your finger will also touch up the border of your lips a little, so don't worry about having to touch up the outer edges of the lips.


There are many products in drugstores that can give you this effect. I used to love the Bourjois lip stains in little pots, but these have long been discontinued. If you don't like these liquid stains, there's another alternative, which lasts very well but takes longer.
Some deeper and stronger-colored red/pink lipsticks also contain colorants that stain your lips so you can use these instead of buying a lip stain specifically. The application is similar, but you need to let the lipstick sit for a couple of minutes to let it stain your lips properly. Then wipe off and reapply in the centers and let it sit again.

Lipsticks that give a good stain: MAC Rebel lipstick (deep berry-pink stain), and Lime Crime Countessa Fluorescent (deep pink-red stain).


Now, the Cheat's way:
Don't we all love this?
The cheat's method is not technically speaking a "stain". It's just getting your lip color to LOOK like a stain.
It's quite easy to do, and much better if you don't have a lot of time in the morning to prepare, but don't mind touching up discreetly through the day.

Step 1: Prep your lips with a little non-sticky, non-shiny lip balm. Color is going to slide right off if the balm is too heavy. Those that come in sticks and tubs and are slightly waxier (as opposed to oily or glossy) are better.

Step 2: Pick a deep colored lipstick (I actually used MAC Rebel, which is a very dark plum but it goes on a deep fuchsia, so be warned that you need to get a much deeper shade than you intend. 
Apply it in a concentrated layer to the center of the lower lip, steering clear of the lip line. You don't need to be neat or precise with it. 
Step 3: Roll your lips together to distribute the color, and use a finger to spread it out just a little if necessary. Then finish by applying another coat of lipstick to the center once more. 
Over the day, you just need to touch up your lips in the center and roll your lips to distribute! If it looks like there is too much pigment being built up and the lip is much darker than you want, just wipe off with a tissue, and re-apply. It usually takes no more than 2 minutes!

Cons? This procedure means your lip color is not transfer proof. You will leave marks on cups, etc, but it's quite low maintenance (you don't really even need a mirror for quick touch-ups sometimes.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Barry M 154 Pale Nude Lip Paint

Swatches (L-to-R): Barry M Pale Nude, NYX Circe, Revlon Soft Nude

Nude lips aren't usually a statement in and of themselves but there are so many women who cannot live without a good nude lipstick.Well, finding the right shade of nude can sometimes be tricky, and you will need to experiment to see which undertone suits you the best. 

Barry M 154 Pale Nude has a peachy-pink base and is milkier-looking than either NYX Circe or Revlon Soft Nude. The texture is like a MAC Satin; not quite creamy, but also not matte. It's thick and quite opaque on the lips, which is perfect if you need a real "concealer lips" look. 

Lip Swatch: Barry M 154 Pale Nude Lip Paint on NC25 skin

However, a lipstick this pale is not easy to wear. If you're NW25/NC30 or darker, it WILL be paler than your skin. I also think it looks better on pinker skins, as the peach-pink tones can make an NC girl look a bit sallow (unless they are NC20 or paler).

Barry M 154 Pale Nude
I don't wear this on its own as it's a touch too pale for my skin tone. I usually layer it with something else, like a gloss or a baby pink lipstick such as Lime Crime Great Pink Planet.

Lip swatch: Barry M Pale Nude with Lime Crime Great Pink Planet layered over the centers of lips.