Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation

fentySooo, big news in makeup community – RiRi has entered and seemingly, monopolised the “hot new product” market. (Or so we thought…) I thought the launch was cool, she dropped it so nonchalantly and effortlessly and I thought that was cool too. She is gorgeous, tanned, unpredictable and sassy so I KNEW I was going to spend some dollar on Fenty Beauty and the utter chaos it has caused.

I waited a while, because I naively thought the ridiculous queues outside Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge would fade as the buzz died down. How wrong I was!! I went on a weekday, a Monday in fact, because who wants to trek to Knightsbridge in the midst of Hurricane Ophelia and 70mph winds after work, to wait outside for some makeup?! Yeah, apparently like 50 people wanted to do that so I had to wait outside in the storm for like 67 minutes. Yes, I counted. I didn’t even have headphones to listen to the hot fire that is Jhene Aiko’s new album.

Anyway, time trickled on. I get inside and I am greeted by a makeup artist. She explains a little. She is a legit makeup artist, and not a sales rep that you would ordinarily find on a makeup counter. They have been trained to pick the best match out of 40 shades for each skin tone. She asks me what I’m after and I tell her it’s the foundation but I’m interested in some other stuff too. She sits me down in a very cramped Harvey Nicks surrounded by boisterous women who on one side are trying to break into the enclosed Fenty scene to avoid queuing, and on the other, knocking over products and giving the staff hell.

The girl picked up a shade swatcher aka a reel of different shade cards and held a couple to my face before disappearing off to collect some sample bottles. She wasn’t gone long. Maybe a minute. She came back with 3 bottles: 260, 290, 300. Now, I’d done a little research online and assumed I was in the 300 range as this shade on all the models is what seemed most similar to my skin tone. Turns out I was wrong. She shuffled the neckline of my jumper slightly and said “yes, this is why I bought 260.” Basically, my neck and chest is approx. 2 shades lighter than my usual face shade. I never try to match it because when my face is the same colour I look ill. It reminds me of a not very nice time when I was very sick and didn’t have my thyroid under control. I avoid this look and pile on bronzer like it’s going out of fashion.

However, she was adamant that this was the right shade. I did ask to try shade 270 but she said she didn’t bring it out because I’m not the right undertone for it. Ordinarily I would just go up a shade BUTTTTT you can’t do that in Fenty Beauty BECAUSE the shades don’t go up chronologically. They go up in undertones that are (loosely) in groups of two. So, 260 is neutral, followed by 270 which is pink, 280 which is pink, 290 which is yellow and 300 which is yellow. Annoyingly, there are no real olive shades in the range. My undertone is super neutral but yellow always looks more flattering than any other shade on me. Then we tried 290. I liked this! But it dried down in about a minute and the difference between the foundation and my face was too stark. My artist said no, basically. So we put 260 all over the face. And then I bought it. I probably will purchase 290 as the summer months roll around again. My advice is to trust these women! They literally have matched thousands of people with your skin tone to the foundation. They are experienced and trained.

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Pay special attention to the labels and corresponding undertones! For olive girls (or NC girls), the 270 + 280 shades will pull too pink/muddy. These are Mac NW shades 🙂

I also bought the highlight duo in Girl Next Door and Chic Phreak, and the Mocha contour stick. The highlight duo is the less popular one, it’s slightly more peachy than the gold sister duo but it’s so unique!! I don’t have any highlighters like it and I have A LOT of highlighters. My artist kind of sold it to me as a blush topper but tbh it wasn’t dark enough to be a blush topper. It just melted into my skin and gave me the warmest peach glow I could imagine. Definite new fave.

The Mocha contour stick is from the Dark matchstix trio, it’s cheaper to buy the trio instead of the sticks individually but I didn’t care for the highlight stick or concealer stick. The “correct” match for the shades in the 200 range is the medium matchstix trio which has a very cool undertone but it wasn’t strong enough for me (ya girl needs to draw on her cheekbones ygm). I got this one from the dark trio instead. I like contour sticks. I used to use and love the smashbox ones back in the day! For the last year or so, the morphe concealer in the dark brown cool shade has been working really well. But now I’m happy to try a new one!

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I always think it’s hard to review foundations without at least a week’s trial but I’ve worn it for a few days and do have some general thoughts. Firstly, it’s pretty full coverage, but atypically. Usually, fuller coverage foundations are quite thick as there is more pigment in the formula so thicker binding agents are needed. (Science, bro). However, this is super liquid. Not unlike the nyx total control foundation! Main difference is that it dries within seconds and dries COMPLETELY FREAKIN’ MATTE. This is my only matte foundation. I am a dry skin gal. I do not do matte anywhere. So once it dries, and the colour settles (it dries a TAD darker than it’s liquid form), it is completely touch/transfer proof. It’s BIZARRE. I actually really like that aspect as I am always touching my face for some reason or the other (ew). It doesn’t need setting or anything and my even my t-zone stays matte. Importantly, the foundation doesn’t oxidise. Everyone throws round the word oxidise but that’s only the case when it carries on getting darker during the day as it’s exposed to, you guessed it, oxygen. Once Fenty Beauty has dried down a bit darker, it stays that colour. An example of an oxidising foundation is Mac, or Nyx total control. Not a bad thing, just something to bear in mind.

Swatches Fenty Beauty

Fenty is MUCH less yellow.

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BUT, it dries similar to some of the others, except the NYX. Please excuse the insta story swatches!

I’m okay with it, it’s reasonably priced and not gimmicky. I wish the shade range pulled more yellow instead of neutral/pink as I feel a lot of olive skinned people might struggle to find a perfect match.

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I definitely could have gotten away with 290, it’s the shade of most of my other foundations, but as they say… Winter is coming (new GoT fan here).

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 7/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 10/10 (£26)
  • Overall – 8/10

(The rating is for the foundation, the other products get 9/10 from me because they are great).

Huda next, guys!

 

 

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette Review

 

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Okay, so it’s been a hot minute since I bought new makeup, but my investigative self just had to get my hands on the new ABH subculture palette. AKA the brand’s biggest controversy since inception. They’re a solid brand, and have cult following, so to polarise opinions the way that this palette did? It has to be groundbreaking-ly bad. Anyway, after my not-so-glowing Modern Renaissance palette review, I thought it would be interesting to see how this “sister palette” compares… I was in the minority of not liking Modern Renaissance, but that was mainly down to the colours. As far as I can tell, the tea on subculture is the formula. A lot of cosmetic chemists have weighed in on this issue, and I am not one of them so I won’t harper on about the talc content or lack of “binding ingredients” but it is certainly interesting. In terms of packaging, it comes in a lovely teal cardboard box, with the palette encased in that soft touch velvet kind of material, the same as Modern Renaissance. It’s a pretty looking palette.

I am currently going through a minimal makeup phase. This means no eyeshadow or lashes at all, and barely foundation and concealer. However, even if I put a full face on, I’ll skip my eyes and just wear mascara. I don’t know why I’m doing it, and I’ll probably grow out of it, but there’s a charming simplicity of skipping heavy eye makeup in the summer. This makes it difficult to review allllll the new makeup currently sitting in my drawers. However, I’m trying, guys.

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Please forgive my pictures and swatches – they are iphone quality and not my usual DSLR quality as my DSLR is at home, and I have recently moved to the big smoke (more on this later – keep your eye on BBH).

First impressions:

I LOVE the colour palette. It’s gorgeous. Neutral, cool, autumnal, different etc. It’s so much more appealing and flattering than modern renaissance and much less mainstream. This is what caught my eye in the first place.

 

*Swirling my brush in*:

Wow. Hella fallout. Like, worse than Lorac Pro 2 level of fallout (one of the best palettes I own). Fallout itself doesn’t make me mad but this is excessive. No more swirling.

*Tapping brush lightly*:

Okay. This works. It blends well if you prime and set your eyelids. So far so good.

*Using shade All Star*

Hmm. The colour on my lid is not the same as the colour in the pan. It oxidises to a blackish red-brown. Kinda cool. But there is no maroon shade in the palette. It works, however.

*General use of palette*:

I tested this palette by doing an eye look using 9/14 shades in the palette. They all worked well together, but I will say this. Do not buy this palette if you don’t know how to use a light hand. If you use a heavy hand it won’t work. It will be hard to blend out and just make a mess. I always do my eyes before my face, so fallout isn’t necessarily an issue, but on the lower lash line, it can be difficult to control your brush, so be careful.

This was the eye look I created. It turned out nicer in person, I think.

I used Dawn as the transition shade all over the space between crease and brow, then Roxy as the crease colour with All Star in the outer crease. Then over the lid, I packed on Untamed, then used Adorn in the middle for a halo eye effect. I used Edge and Axis on the lower lash line and again, Adorn in the middle. I used Electric on the inner corner and Cube on the brow bone as a highlight.

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On the rest of the face: ABH Dipbrow in Ebony, Charlotte Tilbury Liquid Liner, Red Cherry Stevie lashes, Too Faced BTS Mascara, NYX Total Control Foundation, Nars radiant creamy concealer in Ginger, Tarte Shape Tape concealer in Light Medium, ABH Powder Contour kit, Cover FX highlight drops in Moonlight, Ofra blush in raisin, Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Iconic Nude with Blondie Gloss over the top.

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^ This is the palette with the kickback of 1 tap of a brush. As you can see it’s pretty dusty. I would advise blowing the fallout off before closing the palette so it doesn’t get messy.

Overall opinion:

I like it much more than Modern Renaissance. The colours are a lot more universally flattering, and I was careful with application so that I didn’t pick up too much product on my brush. ONE TAP is all you need for a full coverage application of the eyeshadow. This also means I can do my eyes a little faster than if I were to use less pigmented or harder pressed shadows as I don’t have to build up the intensity. Personal preference but I really didn’t find it that difficult to use. It’s similar to the Lorac palettes and even Modern Renaissance is pigmented! Hellooo, has anyone used the Mario palette?! It’s similar. Perhaps not as dramatic, but that’s just the nature of ABH palettes. (I don’t think I reviewed the Mario palette – if you were wondering, it’s nice but there are quite a lot of satin shades). If you prefer palettes that are easier to use, pass on this palette, and wait for a new one… Guarantee the market will become saturated with similar toned palettes in the next few months!

You can find it here for £41:

http://www.beautybay.com/cosmetics/anastasiabeverlyhills/subcultureeyeshadowpalette/

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  • Pigmentation – 8/10 (it’s too pigmented so dropping it to an 8)
  • Texture – 8/10 (very very soft)
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 6/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Farsali Rose Gold Elixir and Volcanic Elixir Review

dsc07823So I’ve been busy. If you want to read more about what’s been going on in my life, read this post over here on BakedByH. I probably won’t continue that narrative on this post but it may help to explain why all my reviews are coming at once instead of in a timely manner. That, and, I just haven’t been feeling make up recently. But I’ve still been keeping up with skin care, and hopefully going to expand on my routine over the next few posts.

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Today we’re talking about the Farsali Elixirs. I’ve been using these for about ten months now, so they’re definitely tried and tested. Generally, I really like these. Both of them, for different reasons. First we’ll talk about the Rose Gold Elixir.

This is the popular one in all the Instagram videos, with the tell-tale gold flicks. It looks bougie, and it kinda is let’s not lie. It’s $35 for 15ml, which is a fairly small bottle. The ingredients are: Rosehip Seed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, 24k Gold, Vitamin E, Lemongrass Oil, Orange Peel Oil. These are all natural and fairly easy to obtain (aside from the gold). The cynic in me thinks the Rose Gold Elixir is just a fancy bottle of Vitamin E oil, but I’ll suppress that thought for now.

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It’s quite a thin consistency and the gold flecks disappear when blended out, I mean.. I’m not entirely sure where they go but they seem to dissolve into the skin. Which means I’m now made of gold? Idk. Hmm. *Ponders* 🤔

The oil is lightweight and won’t clog your pores – it really is a moisturiser. I use it in the morning on freshly cleansed and toned skin (current cleanser: Alpha H Balancing Cleanser or Mario Badescu Glycolic Cleanser twice a week) and current toner: Pixi Glow Tonic).

I have repurchased this one, in the larger size because I do really like it. I take it everywhere as it can be used both morning and night, and under the eye so I don’t have to travel with a million creams!

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Ok, the Volcanic Elixir. It’s a greenish thick oil that occasionally gets a little solid if cold. It is also really great. BUT. There is a but. And it may be a deal breaker. It smells like curry. No lie, actual proper depths of a spice market, I can’t even describe it, CURRY. And, like, I’m Asian sooooo, I don’t want people to think that’s just what I naturally smell like, you know?! Okay, I’m exaggerating slightly – the smell does disappear after about 15 mins and I only ever use it at night time to minimise the consequences!  But this is the one I use when my skin is really dry and quite textured. It evens, brightens and calms it overnight. It’s better than the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (in my opinion) because it delivers on all of those claims but does it better. It’s just stronger. I do like the Kiehl’s, and I use it when I need something a little lighter with a nicer fragrance.

It’s made of 100% Polynesian Tamanu Oil. I understand this isn’t as common as the ingredients in the Rose Gold Elixir, but I can totally get on board with it.

I do have dry skin, combination to some extent – my t-zone is normal but, my oh my, do my cheeks and mouth area get dry over winter! The cold weather is so unforgiving to delicate skin types and facial oils are my saviour. I have no desire to change the three oils mentioned in this post as they all work for me. Of course, I may add more. But, currently no pressing desire to do so.

I have noticed an overall evening of skin tone with these products, though, it’s likely that’s in conjunction with the rest of my fairly rigorous skin care routine… But they are really quite lovely products. I would definitely recommend the Rose Gold Elixir because it’s suitable for pretty much everyone. The Volcanic Elixir is good – more potent and does more for the skin, but the smell is extremely overpowering and I know that would be enough to put some people off.

Farsali is the brainchild of Farah Dhukai and her husband, I believe. I bought these at the beginning of Summer 2016, off the Farsali website. Although I paid in dollars, I was charged in £ and not charged customs because it was shipped from the UK, if you order in the UK. There are often hidden deals on each of the elixirs, and a page comes up before you buy one of them, offering the other at a potentially discounted rate. I think that’s the case anyway, or it was when I ordered them.

It’s an 8.5/10 from me for the Farsali Elixirs. 

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette Review

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Let’s talk about the (not so new) Anastasia palette – The Modern Renaissance Palette. This is a particularly aesthetically pleasing palette. Right from the warm pink toned colour family to the pretty pink fluffy exterior, it’s certainly eye catching. But just how practical is it? It’s ABH’s first permanent palette and I find that interesting because it’s so trendy. This post took about two months longer than intended to publish because I had just refused to make my mind up about this product. I’ve now formulated a somewhat less than popular opinion so keep on reading if you want to know.

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It’s undeniable, this palette is of superior quality. That is, the formulation of the shadow is slightly better than any of ABH’s previous palettes (I have the amrezy palette, the world traveller palette and the glow/contour kits for comparison). These shadows are creamier, more buttery, more pigmented and more consistent than any of ABH’s previous products. They blend well and the various eyeshadows complement each other in the palette. In terms of pigmentation and quality, it’s comparable to the Lorac Pro Palettes (1 &2) which are arguably, two of the best palettes out there. As with all super pigmented eyeshadows, there’s fallout – it’s the compromise to having a lot of pigment in the formulation, the excess needs to go somewhere and it’s usually termed fallout. Just tap your brush off on the side before applying to the lid so that it doesn’t go all over your face.

Here are the swatches. The first three pictures are finger swatches and then there’s a brush swatch of all the shades because you don’t generally apply eyeshadow with your finger so brush swatches give a more accurate representation of pigmentation.

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Brush Swatches, using a Zoeva 234 Luxe Smoky Shader

There are only two true shimmer shades – a gold tone and a pinky silver tone. That really is all you need amongst the warm sea of matte shades. There’s a couple of in-between satin finish shadows that have some slight shimmer but it doesn’t foil on the lid therefore making them look quite flat and matte (Antique Bronze is a prime example).

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As for the fluffy exterior. I feared it might get super dirty and look ugly really quickly but if you have this palette and you want to know how to keep it clean then don’t worry because I’ve figured it out. Just get some antibac brush cleanser on a tissue and blot at any marks. They come right off. I use this stuff for all my brushes and to keep everything clean. You’re welcome.

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If you’ve made it this far you might be wondering when my so far, glowing review becomes less than popular. It’s not to do with the quality of the palette. It’s to do with how useable it is. In my opinion, pink eyeshadow is just not very flattering on many people. It looks great on the Instagram pictures, you know where the beauty gurus use ring lights and skin smoothing apps? But actually, in person, more often than not it looks off. I mean, to be honest only about three shades in the palette are responsible for the offending pink eye (conjunctivitis pun intended) situation. These are Love Letter, Venetian Red and to some extent Red Ochre. The rest of the palette is super flattering and actually, very neutral. It’s just this trend of pink eyeshadow that needs to move on IMO.

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For example, I used the MR palette for this look with zero pink shades and loved it.

Just one more gripe about the price: it is $42 and £41. I actually bought this the day it became available in the UK. When it arrived, I refused to use it for a few weeks and kept it in a drawer because I resented having to pay so much for it! These prices are set by ABH and not our retailers so it really was their call. Slightly disappointing as none of my other ABH palettes have been more expensive than about £25. I assume as the brand is growing, the prices are increasing to maximize profitability. Annoying, but such is life. If you’re wondering whether the palette is worth it then it’s your call. If you want a warm toned palette with a great selection of warm crease and transition shades and you’re willing to fork out for the quality, then yeah you can get hold of it here (waitlist but it’ll come back eventually). If you want the palette because it’s trendy AF then maybe try pink eyeshadow in any other palette you’ve got or get a cheaper alternative to make sure the colour suits your eyes. If you want a new palette that’s a little more versatile with colours check out my last review.

All in all, it’s a nice palette and you can create some very pretty looks with it. It has an excellent selection of transition, blending, crease and outer v shades which look and blend excellently but when I think of the palette, I tend to forget about these and focus on the fact that I don’t like pink eyeshadow on pretty much anyone. Maybe this clouds my judgement, but I had to get it out there.

  • Pigmentation – 10/10
  • Texture – 9/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 6/10
  • Overall – 8/10

 

Urban Decay XX VICE LTD RELOADED palette review

 

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This is Urban Decay’s latest ‘Vice’ palette, and it’s meant to pay homage to all the old skool UD shadows, such as Acid Rain and Gash. It has 20 different shades that can be found in old UD collections as well as common palettes such as the Naked palettes, but the shades are in UD’s new (and better) eyeshadow formula. I’ve been playing around with this palette since about April despite its UK release date being August – my mum was in the UAE and picked it up for me there, so I’ve had a long time to form an opinion. I wasn’t expecting to love it – I’ve never really been into UD palettes but this one really is excellent. It’s the palette I go to when I’m lacking inspiration. It’s got most colour families included which is great if you’re travelling or you have multiple events that you need to get ready for and it’s especially great for asian events!

The quality of the shadows is really good – I’m very fussy when it comes to eyeshadow and this pleasantly surprised me. All the colours bar one perform well (Shallow) and have good staying power with and without a primer. My only gripe about this palette is that I always need another palette full of transition and crease shades to go with it. There’s only three matte shades and if you’re of medium or darker skin tone, the only matte shade that’ll show up in your crease is Suspend which is a very cool toned almost grey brown shade. I like to use the Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette with this palette to get the best variety of eye looks. Some of the darker shades (Oil Slick and Twice Baked) have a little fallout but it’s not unmanageable. I’d recommend doing your eye makeup before your face makeup if you’re working with glittery dark shades anyway.

The packaging is great – it’s a sturdy plastic palette with a push button mechanism so there’s no chance of the palette falling open at every opportunity. It’s got a huge mirror so it’s good to travel with. It comes with a dual ended brush – a fluffy side for blending and a less fluffy side for packing on colour. The brush is okay, but I always use my Zoeva Rose Gold Eye Collection for eyeshadow 🙂

It is pricey – at £43 for the full 20 shades but it’s definitely worth it if you’re in the market for a new multipurpose palette (as opposed to the pink toned palettes that seem to be dominating the market ATM), or you’re an UD fan. It’s annoyingly more expensive here than in the states but so are most things when you’re a UK based makeup hoarder!

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 9/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 7/10
  • Overall – 9/10

You can purchase it here.

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The outer packaging

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The palette

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Just a handful of the looks I created with this palette 🙂

Huda Beauty Liquid Matte Review

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Okay, so these were very hyped up by the Instagram beauty community, and even by Huda herself. She made a number of seemingly outrageous claims, like these are “hydrating” and “the longest lasting liquid lipsticks ever” and that they’re super “comfortable”. It almost pains me to say it but these completely top the LL league table for me and I was NOT expecting that. They really live up to their claims!! And possibly the best thing about the shades? They are completely brown girl friendly. *applauds*

I got the shades Trendsetter (an orange based brown-nude), Icon (a warm toned strawberry pink), Flirt (a cool toned grey brown) and Spice Girl (a neutral-warm brown). All the shades are super flattering and they all perform as well as each other.

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  • Pigmentation – 8/10
  • Texture – 10/10
  • Longevity – 10/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 10/10

You may notice the lower than perfect score on pigmentation – these aren’t super pigmented – but it works. They’re pigmented enough to cover any discolouration but they don’t have the flakey dryness that comes with super high pigmentation. I’m assuming it was a compromise to having a ‘hydrating formula’.

Texture-wise, they’re very liquid, which can get a little messy but it’s NBD really. Worth mentioning though, they dry a lot darker than when first applied and they take about 30-60 seconds to dry down.

They last for aaaages, and they wear off super inoffensively. I literally wore flirt today for 14 hours. Sure, it wasn’t perfect at the end of the day but I didn’t top up once and I ate a full three meals. It still looked fine after all those hours because it’s so neutral and lightweight.

The only downside to these, are the price. I paid £18 per 5ml lipstick on Cult Beauty. Having said that, they really are worth it in my opinion. They look good on medium skin and they’re comfortable and long lasting. What more could you want from a lipstick, really?

Well done, Huda.

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Best nude liquid lipsticks for brown girls

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From L-R. Colourpop Chi, Jeffree Star Celebrity Skin, Dose of Colours Truffle, TheBalm Committed, Coloured Raine Mars, Kat Von D Lolita 2, NYX SMLC in Cannes, TheBalm Charming, Kat Von D Lolita, Jouer Noisette, TheBalm Trustworthy

This is probably one of the topics I get asked about the most… I love a good nude lip. But if you’re anything beyond NC25 you may have noticed that a lot of ‘nudes’ look straight up baby pink or like you have concealer on your lips circa 2009. That would be because they are often made for lighter skin tones. That’s a whole other debate, and I won’t get into it other than to quickly say that I’m glad more brands are catering for women of colour these days! Anyway, the trick to finding the ‘perfect nude‘ is to look at the undertone of it. Nudes with brown undertones tend to be fairly flattering on brown skin, though they’re often a little dark so channel that 90s vibe. If you want a straight up nude, go for something warm/neutral/orange based. Anything pink/cool based like lighter nudes won’t flatter medium/tan/dark skin very well. Of course, this is all dependent on individual preferences. There’s a lot about your lips that will influence how a shade looks on you including natural lip pigmentation, dryness and size.

Why Liquid Lipsticks?

I pretty much ONLY wear liquid lipsticks now. I have a lot of them, last count was 40 odd?! Crazy I know. But it’s because a few years ago, before there was the plethora of liquid lipstick (LL) choice, I really really struggled with lipstick. I have naturally pretty pigmented lips and no bullet lipstick could cover the pigmentation properly and stay true to the colour and finish that was promised. Trust me, I tried all of them. Everyone used to swear by the MAC matte bullets but seriously, they stayed on my lips for a hot 2.5 minutes before disappearing into thin air. Then, years and years ago we were on holiday in Abu Dhabi, and I went in to Sephora and bought a Sephora Cream Lip Stain. These were one of the first ‘liquid lipsticks’ out there, and they weren’t even marketed as that back then. I realised that I could wear it and it would stay put on my lips for hours! I had a super dark vampy colour and I loved it but I didn’t get anymore of those. The current formulation of LLs across the board are far superior. So not long after, I discovered Stila’s Stay All Day LLs. And I told everyone and their mother (including my own mother). Seriously, I bought loads of colours for myself, I bought more to give to people as gifts, I just had to let people know about this lipstick advancement! Word spread quickly, and soon enough all my friends and family were walking round with their Stila LLs in their bags. I maintain to this day that the Stila formula is one of the best and it was one of the originals, so if you want to start somewhere then Stila is a great brand. It’s also easily accessible in the UK, online or in M&S. You’ll notice that Stila hasn’t found its way on to this list.. The colour selection is somewhat disappointing. And the ‘nude’ shade of the bunch – Dolce, is not the best. It’s patchy and weirdly glittery and I just don’t like it. Patina, on the other hand, is a nice rosy shade but I wouldn’t class it as nude. It’s a light mauve. It looks VERY different on different skin tones but it doesn’t look bad on any at all. It used to always be sold out but I think the Patina hype has died down a little now! I remember when I got it a couple of years ago, I was on the waiting list for ages and as soon as it came out it had sold out within the afternoon! Ah, those were the days.

Anyway, lets move on to the nudes.

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Colourpop, Chi$6 (£4.63)

This was part of the Karrueche ColourPop collection a few months ago. It’s a neutral nude, perfect for medium-tan skin tones that won’t pull grey or pink. The formula is pretty good and it’s not expensive.

  • Pigmentation – 8/10
  • Texture – 7/10
  • Longevity – 7/10
  • Price – 9/10
  • Overall – 8/10

Jeffree Star, Celebrity Skin, £14 (Keep checking back for stock updates)

Controversy aside, JS are known for having one of the best LL formulas. I obviously had to test this out, so as soon as Cocktail Cosmetics got a restock of popular shades I was all over it. It’s one of the lighter nudes on this list but it’s warm based and will work for light-medium skin no problem. Tan skin might struggle as it’ll pull a little grey/pink and might blend in too much, but dark tones should be able to pull it off as a lighter nude. It’s pretty thin, and it can go on a little streaky so needs a couple of coats but tbh, that’s common with all lighter LL shades. I think it’s due to the type of white pigment. It wears off fairly inoffensively and doesn’t tend to crumble which is always good. I’m not sure I’d consider it the best formula out there but it’s a solid effort and it’s a decent price.

  • Pigmentation – 6/10
  • Texture – 7/10
  • Longevity – 7/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 7/10

Dose of Colours, Truffle, £14.50

This one is almost always sold out but I’m particularly grateful to beautybay for stocking dose of colours as a brand anyway. This is another brand that supposedly has the best LL formula and again, I have to disagree. Whilst this performs better than some others on the list, the moussey texture lets it down more than expected. It wears away and looks a bit silly in the centre of the lips even if you don’t eat anything oily. I would put this down to the shade but I have another one from DoC, called Berry Me and that one is even worse! It literally peels off. This one isn’t as bad. It’s very comfortable and easy to reapply once you’ve put it on so its longevity is not a huge deal if you’re prepared to carry it around with you all day. The packaging is cute and sophisticated also. It’s a pink based nude and it’ll work for light – medium skin. Any darker and you’ll be wearing a lovely shade of pink, as opposed to nude.

  • Pigmentation – 8/10
  • Texture – 7/10
  • Longevity – 7/10
  • Price – 9/10
  • Overall – 8/10

TheBalm, Committed, £13.50

A warm, pinky nude that is comfortable, smells great, easy to get hold of (online or in Superdrug stores), lasts for ages and wears away fairly inoffensively. It’s perfect for lighter – medium skin. Anything beyond NC42 will find it pink.

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 8/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 9/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Coloured Raine, Mars, £15

This one is a dusty rose, it’s not really brown based but it’s the Stila Patina shade for brown girls and the formula is excellent. It’s a good price and is very flattering. This is a ‘go to’ daily shade for me.

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 9/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Kat Von D, Lolita 2, $20 (£15.48)

I bought this as part of the Lolita duo released on Sephora website last year. I’d always wanted KVD Lolita and the chance to grab both of these shades was too good to miss. It’s a travel sized tube so it’s a bit on the tiny side but you can get it in full sized. I heard KVD was launching in Debenhams this September so hopefully her LLs come with her! It’s a terracotta nude. Orange based nudes are VERY flattering for asian medium skin in particular so I always get lots of compliments when I wear this. The KVD formula can be a little drying but pop a lip balm on beforehand to moisturise if you suffer from dry lips.

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 9/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 9/10

NYX SMLC, Cannes, £5.50

This takes a while to dry down fully, it’s pretty similar to Charming from TheBalm in terms of colour when dry but it takes about half an hour to dry and mattify. That’s great if you know you can’t eat or drink for half an hour! It’s a nice, daily colour that wears off subtly. It’s very affordable so NYX SMLC are a great place to try out different colours.

  • Pigmentation – 7/10
  • Texture – 8/10
  • Longevity – 6/10
  • Price – 9/10
  • Overall – 7/10

TheBalm, Charming, £13.50

This is one of my all time favourites. It’s a deep mauve shade as opposed to a nude but it complements my skin tone really nicely. It’s a trendy shade too – it channels major popular colourpop/girlactik vibes. The formula, as described above, is excellent. It’s one of the few lipsticks that I have a backup of incase it ever goes missing!

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 9/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 9.5/10

Kat Von D, Lolita, $20 (£15.48)

Although I have this in the mini size as part of the kit, I also have it in full sized because it’s so perfect. It’s a browny, dusty rose that looks different on everyone (not to mention the fact that there have been three versions of the same shade), but i think this is the one here to stay. It evens out my lip pigmentation so it looks like I have none and is just a very flattering, comfortable lipstick.

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 9/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 9/10

Jouer, Noisette, £15

My favourite nude of all time. The formula is great, it smells nice, it’s easy to carry. It’s a lovely warm medium brown with neutral undertones and not a hint of pink. It dries almost immediately and lasts for ages. Although the Jouer brand is very good, Cassis which is a purple mauve shade slightly underperformed compared to Noisette, so not all the colours across the brand are perfect unfortunately 😦

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 10/10
  • Longevity – 10/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 10/10

TheBalm, Trustworthy, £13.50

This is one of the newer shades from TheBalm. It’s a spicy reddy brown and is actually the liquid lipstick version of Spice Lipliner from Mac. **Cue mad rush to buy it**. TheBalm is very consistent with its formula across the shades and this one is as excellent as the other two on this list.

  • Pigmentation – 9/10
  • Texture – 9/10
  • Longevity – 9/10
  • Price – 8/10
  • Overall – 9.5/10

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From L-R.  TheBalm Trustworthy, Jouer Noisette, Kat Von D LolitaTheBalm CharmingNYX SMLC in CannesKat Von D Lolita 2, TheBalm CommittedColoured Raine Mars, Dose of Colours TruffleJeffree Star Celebrity SkinColourpop Chi