Monday, January 16, 2017

Lancome Parisian Lips Le Stylo

Lancome's launched its beautiful Spring 2017 Absolutely Rose collection, which centers around delicate rose pink tones. First off, the pale rose-gold and pearl-pink packaging is absolutely gorgeous, but today I'm focusing first on three of the four available Parisian Lips Le Stylo duos.

These are double-ended lip bars (SGD$36) which are designed to give a subtle ombre lip effect, with a matte twist. Instead of simply working with two colors, the two shades you get aren't that far apart in tone. They are, however, very far apart in texture. 

On one end you get a sheer tinted cream which is very much like a tinted balm stick. It adds a slight gloss to the lips and very faint color.

Parisian Lips Le Stylo sheer cream end
On the other end, you get a sponge tip dunked in a pressed powder pigment, which gives you a complementary matte tint.

Parisian Lips Le Stylo powder end
I find these aren't really meant to be worn alone because the balm end doesn't give much visible color, and the powder end needs something creamy to stick to; otherwise you don't get much payoff. Together though, you get a lovely soft velvety matte tint, and the option to control whether you want it all one uniform shade, or if you want to concentrate the color in the center of your lips. 

Parisian Lips Le Stylo No. 03 swatch comparison
As far as application goes, it was straight-forward enough. You apply the creamy balm end over your entire lip, then press the powder tip around the center of your lips. Press your lips together a bit and you're good to go. The colors are also beautiful; I tested 3 of the 4 available shades and I like all of them, although my favorite is probably 01, a slightly warmer bright peony pink. I had expected 03, the palest baby pink shade, to look a bit crazy on me, but it actually turned out quite flattering and wearable.

The texture also stayed super comfy on the lips - it wasn't dry or icky feeling as you might expect with a matte texture. Probably because of how conditioning the cream end is. Lasting power is just average for a normal semi-sheer lipstick, which is to be expected. The balm won't stay on long if you eat, kiss or drink, but the powder on top does help it stay a bit better so it all averages out.

On the negative side, I did find myself wishing the creamy balm end was a little "fatter" because it does take awhile to cover your whole lip with the slim rounded crayon tip. And the other issue was having to re-dip the sponge tip back into the powder after pressing it into a balmy cream. After just a couple of uses, the powder is pretty much "contaminated". Doesn't affect the color, but I'll have to use it longer to see if it screws with how "matte" the powder looks after you've introduced so much cream into it.

Lancome Parisian Lips Le Stylo 03

Difference from regular matte and liquid-to-matte lipsticks:

As a concept, the practise of pressing a matte pigment into your lips isn't new. It's a regular on the runways, and I remember doing a post on pressing loose matte pigments into lipsticks to get that ultra-matte look (back in the day when there weren't all these liquid-to-matte lipsticks on the market).

The only difference is the weightless-ness of the final finish, and the sheerness of the application. Liquid-to-matte lipsticks - let's be honest - can look thick and cakey as hell. It might look pretty in a filtered picture online, but in real life, there is no other way to describe it but "heavy". I like to say that all you need to do to look "heavily made-up" is apply a liquid-to-matte lipstick. (Although I do love that look from time to time.)

Pressing a pigment into a cream means you can let the more intense color "bloom" from the center out, with undefined, soft edges to your lips. This creates a subtler, fresher and more pretty effect.

There are many different ways to do ombre lips and I have to say the way I've always done it sticks closer to the current European trend because I find it a lot more wearable and flattering for most people and lip shapes. It doesn't necessarily make your lips look bigger, but it also won't make them look thinner or like you ate off your lipstick, which is the side effect of ombre-lips gone wrong.

3 Ombre Lip Styles
Korean style - two high-contrast colors with an intense shade in the center of lips for a doll-like "small-mouth" effect 
American style - two high-contrast colors with deeper shade around the outsides for a 90s 3D "big lip" effect
Parisian style - two low-contrast colors with slightly deeper shade in the center of lips for subtle "velvet petal" effect
MAC Blush in This Could Be Fun

Goin' Ghetto?

Finally, if you really aren't prepared to shell out the big bucks, try pressing the most vibrant or intense matte blush you have (something which might actually look too deep or bright) into a sheer tinted balm that's non-shimmery and a few tones lighter than the blush shade - but similar in tone.
E.g. baby pink balm with hot pink blush, or peach balm with hot orange blush.

You CAN also use a neutral beige-ish tinted balm with any more intense blush shade.

You just want to avoid blush colors that are too neutral/brown or you can end up with ashy, dull looking lips. For darker skins, go with more intensely vibrant blushes instead of darker ones.

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