Tuesday, 28 July 2009

REVIEW - NYX Black Cherry

I'm loving NYX right now, everything I've tried by them has been great quality for a tiny price. I like their cute eyeshadow singles, wonderful blusher, and of course, their lipsticks. My favourite is Snow White, a vampy deep red with a slight brown undertone and I expected more of the same when I tried Black Cherry recently.

(L-R - NYX Black Cherry & Snow White)

I got the Round lipstick formula, which is a cheaper than their Black Label range but still brilliant quality. As I found with Snow White previously, the lasting power is pretty impressive, though I found Black Cherry wasn't as pigmented as Snow White was. It is a little bit more sheer, but that's OK.

For some reason, I thought the colours would be similar, but maybe darker in Black Cherry's case. And although Black Cherry was indeed darker in tone, Snow White looked much more bolder as a statement due to the great pigmentation and brighter shade.
Black Cherry is almost like a thick stain on your lips after eating far too many coloured cherries. the colour reminds me of the red inside the cherries (as the name suggests) but in lipstick form.

(L-R- NYX Black Cherry & Snow White)

I did like this lipstick, but for me, there wasn't enough red in it. It looked slightly too berry/purple on me, which is a shade I can get in many drugstore brands.Though if you are after a dark berry red, this is a cheaper and better bet than other drugstore brands as the quality and price are so much better.

I look forward to trying more NYX round lipsticks, I'm very interested in Hebe and Electra; 2 other reds. It's a shame NYX isn't available in the UK, their quality is great and it isn't fair that Wet'n'Wild, another US brand, is available and I haven't been impressed with their products at all.
NYX, you need to do something about this as the Brits would love your brand!


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

OTHER - Cherry Coca Cola Lip Smacker by Bonne Belle

Hi, I'm back! Had a great time and have just about recovered despite having got home on the 1st of the month! Back to reality now, with work and uni dominating my life.
Because of this, I've not had time to review a red lipstick, especially as lipstick wearing is seen as a winter pastime. Maybe next time though, and if you go to the links on the right hand side, theres plenty of past reviews of red lippies to keep you going!

However I did feel the need to share my latest obsession with you - Bonne Belle's Lip Smackers!

For those outside of the US (like me), you may be fairly unfamiliar with Lip Smackers, but I hear they are quite a phenomonom in the States. They basically look like your average lip balm stick - but the flavour is not so average. They are in a huge variety of flavours, including some bog standard flavourings, and then stuff like Skittles flavours!

I haven't tried many of these but I did just receive some soft drink ones; Coca Cola, Cherry Cola, and Barq's Root Beer (above, L-R) through the post. The Barq's Root Beer one is a light brown (though I assume it'd apply clear), and the standard Coca Cola one is a darker brown than the Root Beer one, and it sort of enhances the pink in your lips somehow.

The one I am interested in most is the Cherry Cola one though because, yes you've guessed it, it's red! Well, it's a pinky red, like most red tinted lipbalms but it has the most amazing fragrance.
It really does smell of cherry coke and despite the fact I don't really like drinking real cherry coke (taste of it is too overpowering and sickly), I do love the smell of it so this is a great way to come across the scent without having to drink gallons of the stuff.

It's not just a silly gimmick though, it actually works really well at the job it's been given. It is really moisterising without getting too greasy like some lipbalms, particularly cosmetic ones, are. Lasting power is as good as lipbalms get, with eating and drinking being a problem, but this isn't all bad because you can keep reapplying it to experience the scent again!

If you can get your hands on this, I would reccomend it. They are widely available in the US but you can occasionally get them on Ebay if you are in other countries. The regular Cola one is divine too.
But for the rosey red lipped look, Cherry Cola is the way forward and it really picks you up during a hard day at work. Its also good underneath lipsticks to stop your lips drying out, so remember to pop it in your handbag along with your favourite red lipstick!


Sunday, 21 June 2009

OTHER - Festival make up

I'm going to be away for a couple of weeks or so because I'm going to Glastonbury Festival, the biggest music festival in the UK and possibly Europe! I'm backpacking around some of southern England beforehand, so will be absent for a while. I hope to commit to the blog as much as I can when I return, as long as work doesn't get in the way.

Before I leave, I thought I'd do an article on festival make up. I know festivals are meant to be laid back events where it shouldn't matter what you wear and what you look like, I sure don't give a damn, but sometimes people like to try at least look alive after a few days of dirt and no sleep!

If you are trying to avoid looking more tired than you are, don't wear dark eyeshadows. Smokey eyes may look amazing on a night out, but you will look far too overdone for a field. They will also draw attention to any undereye shadows or puffy eyelids you may have.

Try using lighter eyeshadows;
pale purples, pinks, greens and silvers will wake your eyes up. Those with a significant yellow undertone should try light gold shades too.
Powder eyeshadows will not last very long though so either invest in a good primer, or go for cream eyeshadows for staying power. Both Avon and Maybelline have stick eyeshadows that are creamy and claim to be long lasting, and Benefit's creaseless cream shadows (above) are good if you don't mind taking an extra make up brush to apply it.

For undereye circles, invest in a
good concealer in a cream formula that matches your skintone. I use Benefit's Lemon Aid, which hides discolouration/puffiness on eyelids and also cancels out the purple in undereye circles too. It is quite yellow though so may only be suitable for those who have a yellow undertone.

Eyeliner is up to you, as long as you try keep it natural or go for a smudgey rock chick look. Bright colours will liven up your face too, if you dare.

You may be shocked as this is the focal point of this blog, but keep away from lipstick! Again, it will look OTT, you should try go for a natural look as much as possible. I would suggest you wear a
lipbalm with SPF, I like the strawberry flavoured Chapstick, which has SPF15 (above).

There are many other lipbalm sticks available with SPF, but try avoid the tins like Vaseline (which I adore usually) as dipping your finger in constantly isn't very hygenic during a weekend of dirt, minimal washing and lack of running water.

A nice blush can wake up your face, even if you wear no other make up.
Cream blushes are longer lasting in this sort of enviroment but I don't like them, so a personal favourite of mine is Milani Luminous minerals blush, which is only $6 USD in US drugstores.

It is a dupe of the lovely NARS Orgasm blush, which works for a lot of people and lasts for ages. I don't like taking expensive things camping so went for the Milani blush, which is still fairly impressive. Some people don't like the shimmer in it, but it really does wake your face up.
Because it is a light peachy pink, it probably won't work for those with a darker skintone though, but I do reccomend a peach/pink blush for natural colour and to make your face look that little bit more perkier.

It's best to
leave the foundation and any other products at home though - you don't want to spend ages getting ready in the morning. Also, you will need to apply suncream A LOT, especially if the sun is shining brightly, so the last thing you want is to have to reapply make up after every time you do this.

I would suggest the most you'll need is a concealer, spf lipbalm stick, blush, eyeshadow/primer, eyeliner, and some suncream of course. And maybe some blotting paper/powder if you are very oily as you will have to deal with sweat too. Try keep it natural, if you overdo it you'll just look like a lightweight! You can always hide behind sunglasses if you look that bad anyway.

But try to travel light and not carry tonnes of cosmetics as you probably won't care about your appearance as much after a while anyway, just try to
remember to apply suncream every 2-3 hours and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydrating your skin and yourself.
But remember to let go, leave all your usual tidy traits at the gate and enjoy yourself!


Thursday, 11 June 2009

REVIEW - NARS Flamenco - sheer red

Sorry again for more silence - I am very busy this month so won't be able to update this as much as I'd like to. But today, after the very bold reds I have reviewed recently, I will do my 1st lone lipstick review for the very pretty NARS Flamenco (below).

Flamenco is a cool-toned sheer red, though a very pigmented one, but quite rightly so as NARS is so expensive! It is a brighter red than the slightly more plum NYC Sheer Red lipstick, which I reviewed a few months ago, but both are quite similar. It's described as a candy apple red on the NARS website, which I think is an accurate description.

Although it is a sheer color, it can be built up for a more dramatic look at night if you find full-on reds too much. For girls who love full-on shades at night, you may want to think about investing in this if you want to transfer some glam into your day/job as it is a very flattering red stain. If you apply gentley, it may also look nice with dark smokey eyes for that edgy look.

(L-R - NARS Flamenco and NYC Sheer Red)

The only problem as far as I am concerned is the high price, I can understand why it would be expensive for a sheer colour (£17 GBP).

If the price does worry you, try NYC (New York Color) and their very good Sheer Red shade as it is only £3 in the UK from Superdrug, and possible even cheaper in the US. As I mentioned earlier, the shades are very similar but NYC has a slightly darker/plum tone to it than Flamenco, but you'll find the pigmentation is quite good.


Sunday, 31 May 2009

REVIEW - NYX Snow White and NARS Cruella

It's a Snow White themed battle between high end vs. low end today as luxury brand NARS goes up against US drugstore cheapie NYX.

I have managed to get my hands on a NARS velvet matte lip pencil in Cruella (below, right), which costs about $25 in the States and a NYX round lipstick in Snow White (below, left) which is under $5 in good US drugstores, I think.

I got a NYX 'Snow White' round lipstick from Ebay for about £5 GBP including delivery from a US seller, which is still not a price to be grumbled at. I hear these are regularly on sale so you can try out all the other colours to your heart's content without breaking the bank. I am going to review Black Cherry in the future so keep your eyes out for that, and I recommend their cute blushes to everyone.

Snow White looks quite brown when swatched (see photo below, it is on the left) but applies deep scarlet red. It does have a slight brown undertone that darkens it, but the brown isn't really very noticeable and gives it a very blood red look.

I was very surprised by the quality of this lipstick - despite the bargain price (for US customers anyway), it is very pigmented, creamy, and long lasting.
Although it did look like a lot had transfered onto cups and glasses I was drinking from, the color did not fade from my lips all night, despite it being a warm night. I'm thinking maybe I put too much on, so I reccomend you to not go too mad with this as it is already very pigmented.

I didn't notice any obvious feathering or bleeding into the lines of my lips either, which is common with red lipsticks, this surprised me as I didn't have time to put lipliner on either!

(L-R - NYX Snow White, NARS Cruella)

Although it is described as a lip pencil, don't mistake NARS 'Cruella' velvet matte lip pencil for a lipliner as it certainly isn't. It's a jumbo sized crayon that is supposed to act like a long lasting matte lipstick, so maybe 'lip crayon' would have been a more appropriate moniker.

When applied to the lips, the colour is not too dissimilar to Snow White - Cruella is also a deep scarlet red. It doesn't have the slight brown undertone to it though, I would say the undertone is slightly berry in Cruella. It is maybe half a shade lighter than Snow White too, but this is more to do with the formula I reckon.

Cruella is also pigmented, but because it is essentially a big soft lip pencil, you have to layer it if you want it really bright and deep. Snow White is a creamy lipstick, so you can just swipe one layer and you are done. Cruella is also very long lasting but doesn't transfer onto cups as much due to the matteness.


(Top L-R - NYX Snow White, NARS Cruella. Bottom - MAC Viva Glam)

Conclusion - Depending on your budget, both the lipsticks are a pretty good dupe of eachother. As I said, both are a similar deep darkish scarlet red on the lips, though where Snow White has a very slight brown undertone, Cruella has a very slight plum undertone.

They are quite similar to my favourite red - MAC's Viva Glam 1, which seems to be a cross between both of the lipsticks. If you look at the above photo, Viva Glam is on the bottom. It has slight brown undertones like Snow White, but is maybe a shade lighter than it and more matte.
I like to wear Viva Glam most nights I go out as it is a lovely bright red on me, but if I am looking for a change and channelling the inner glamorous vamp in me, I would pick Snow White and Cruella as they are a bit darker and different.

I do love both though, the colors are gorgeous, deep, and vampy and you are bound to take centre stage if you dare wear these. Though for the sake of saving money during the reccession, I reccomend you try NYX Snow White first as it won't break the bank and is of high quality.


Tuesday, 26 May 2009

OTHER - Eyeko Strawberry Fat Balm and 3 in 1 Cream

Another distraction from red lipsticks, I am delving into my dealings with kooky British company Eyeko. They claim to be inspired by Japanese culture and have come up with this cute range of fat balms (suitable as a lip balm and cream blush), 3 in 1 face creams, eyeshadows, nail polishes, and much more.

Just because it's in the UK, I wouldn't put off trying this brand out as postage is currently free worldwide!! I don't know if it's going to remain this way seeing most the items are £5 GBP and postage is usually about half of that, so make the most of this offer at www.eyeko.com.

Sticking with lips, I got the Strawberry Fat Balm which looks like a muted pink/red in the tube, but applies less pigmented and would probably boost natural pinky lip colors. I think the Raspberry one is supposed to be more red but I have yet to test it out.

I do like the strawberry one though, it's really moisterising and doubles up as a sheer creme blush (which I haven't tried yet as I prefer powder blushers), meaning its versatile and great for when you don't have much space in your bag. It would be great under drying lipsticks (like many of the ones I have reviewed on here) and has a lovely soft scent.

It is also available in the mentioned raspberry flavour and also mint, which is a irridescent shade of pink.

The 3 in 1 cream claims to be a moisteriser, highlighter and eye cream. While I agree it is a great highlighter, I don't suggest you use it straight from the tub as a moisteriser as it is very thick and sticky.

If you do want to use it allover your face, I would use a pea sized amount of the cream and mix it in with your usual moisteriser in the palm of your hands. As it is quite thick and can set very quickly, I'd swish it around in your palms until it has fully mixed, but you have to be quick with it. It leaves a gentle gold shimmer on your face that isn't stupidly glittery, just glowy.

There is also a bronzing version of the cream for those who prefer tanned looking skin! As well as being on sale worldwide via www.eyeko.com, Eyeko items can also be purchased at Superdrug in the UK.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

REVIEW - MAC Red and Kanga Rouge

Sorry for the short silence again, things keep popping up and preventing me from reviewing. Back to lipsticks now after my last review was on lipglosses, I want to stay true to the title of this blog while popping in other things inbetween.


This review is on a permanent MAC lipstick and a recent limited edition one. The permanent being MAC's self titled MAC Red (below left), and the limited being Kanga Rouge (below right), from the Dame Edna range earlier this year.

MAC Red is a lipstick of mixed reviews on Makeupalley: some say it's their perfect red and I can see that it's a lovely vivid blue-red colour in the tube as well as a lovely formula (satin).

However, others (like me) have noticed how it turns a bright fuschia pink on their lips.
I have a cool yellow undertone to my skin, so maybe this affects it, I don't know, but this is one of the popular permanent reds with the highest amount of people complaining it has turned pink on them, so beware - try before you buy.

Kanga Rouge isn't for the faint hearted - a shiny, bright blue-toned red, perfect for show offs who want to be centre of attention like Dame Edna Everage herself.

It reminds me of those bright red rose petals as it has a hint of pink in it, but a good amount of pink, not like the overbearing pink tone that MAC Red has on many people. On me, it doesn't look too pink but I do find it's formula rather shiny as I prefer mattes.

(L-R, MAC Red and Kanga Rouge)

Conclusion - People who dislike the dryness of matte lipsticks will love either of these 2 as they both have moisterising properties to them and shouldn't dry your lips out too much. Especially Kanga Rouge was is incredibly shiny compared to MAC Red's silky formula.

This means that neither last as long as mattes, in particular Kanga Rouge's lasting power isn't too good as it's a cremesheen formula and I find cremesheen's never last very long. MAC Red's isn't too bad but compared to mattes like Ruby Woo, Russian Red, and Viva Glam, it loses in terms of how long it stays on.

I definitely suggest those wanting to try out MAC Red to try before you buy as it turns pink on soooo many people. I don't think the colour is unique really as drugstore brand reds also turn too pink like MAC Red does.
Kanga Rouge has pink tones but I have never seen it turn too pink on me, though i suggest you wear it with a true red lipliner to stop it fading pink, which I think may happen. If you like glossy reds, then Kanga Rouge is for you.


Thursday, 14 May 2009

Tutorials and articles on red lips

Despite making my own guide to wearing red lipstick, I have never said I was an expert on make up, far from in fact. So I've decided to shoo you in the direction of people who know more than me!

These are all tutorials/articles that I watched, loved, then followed the advice of, so I hope you like them as much as me:

Video tutorials

1) Dita Von Teese inspired tutorial - by Lauren Luke aka panacea81

2) Christina Aguilera inspired tutorial - by Marlena aka makeupgeek

3) Anne Hathaway inspired tutorial - by Lauren Luke aka panacea81

4) Sexy Pirate tutorial -
by Marlena aka makeupgeek

5) Retro christmas tutorial
- by Marlena aka makeupgeek



Monday, 11 May 2009

OTHER - NYX Red Sparkle/Plush Red lipglosses, MAC Cult of Cherry lipglass

I know some of you out there prefer lipglosses to lipsticks. I am not one of these people as I find them too sticky (my hair gets stuck in it, yuck) and I prefer my lips to be matte or near enough matte.

But today I have decided on a US friendly article, concentrating on cheap-as-chips drugstore brand, NYX.
The colours I will be looking at are blue toned cherry reds and my point of reference will be MAC's limited edition lipglass in Cult of Cherry. It's the only lipgloss I have ever bought (apart from those silly cheap things you buy aged 13/14) and rarely for me, I do love the color.

The two NYX lipglosses I am going to talk about were sent to me in a swap from a very kind girl in the US. I was too grateful to tell her I actually don't like lipgloss and kept them as the colours were too beautiful. Now, I can finally put them to good use.

First of all, I want to describe MAC's Cult of Cherry lipglass (above). It's a gorgeous rich cherry red color, almost pearly in tiny self-red shimmer. When I say shimmer, I don't mean glitter or sparkle, it is a bit of shimmer that isn't really noticeable when on your lips.

It is very pigmented so can be worn alone, but it can turn a bit pink so I prefer it with either red lipstick or lipliner underneath. But I recommend using lipliner, whatever red lipgloss you are wearing - it stops it from bleeding as much and gives the colour a bit more of a punch.

It turns it into the perfect red shade for me, a red with a slight pink tone but not TOO pink, like most cherry reds turn on me. My favourite look with Cult of Cherry is MAC Viva Glam 1 lipstick underneath it.

Sticking with the shimmer factor is NYX's Diamond Sparkle Lipgloss in Red Sparkle (above). As you can see from it's name, it is more sparkly than the shimmery tones of Cult of Cherry, but again, no glitter thankfully. It is slightly less of a rich red, possibly due to the sparkles being silver.

Lastly, NYX's Goddess of the Night Mega Shine lipgloss in Plush Red #126 (above) is darker than both of the previous lipglosses I have spoken about and also has no sparkle or shimmer at all. Well, when I say 'darker', it is a tiny bit darker than Cult of Cherry but not by that much. There is a slight purple tone to it.

(Pic 1 - in natural light / Pic 2 - with flash. L-R Cult of Cherry, Red Sparkle, Plush Red)
Click to see larger images

Coming up - Some future lipstick reviews I hope to do soon will include NYX Snow White, NARS Cruella, Benefit Flirt Alert, and finally Maybelline Empire Red with any luck.
I am also going to do an article on dupes of the cult classic NARS Orgasm blush (or blusher as it is called in the UK).

Thanks for reading! Elle X

Saturday, 9 May 2009

REVIEW - Bourjois' Lovely Rouge collection - #15 Rouge Best & #17 Rouge Allie

Sorry for the delay in updates, I've been quite busy recently.

I have been considering throwing in the odd review on other make up products I have used because sometimes, there is only so much you can say about red lipstick.
I will keep the main aim of this blog as red lips though, so don't worry red lovers. I will put all entries under certain tags which can be accessed from the bar on the side so you can find products easily.

My new review is of discontinued shades again, sorry. I am testing 2 of Bourjois' 'Lovely Rouge' collection. However, I still see these hanging around discount drugstores/cosmetics shops in the UK so all you Brits may bump into one if you look hard enough. If not, Ebay.co.uk occasionally has them for fairly good prices.

(L-R Bourjois Rouge Best and Rouge Allie)

For a bright red, I reccomend #15 Rouge Best of the Lovely Rouge collection, which is a blue toned red but applies fairly true red on my NC27 yellow toned skin.

I have read reviews where people have felt this shade has looked too harsh or unflattering, which may be the case on very pale girls or tanned/dark skinned girls, but I believe on light-meduim skin, it has the potential to look lovely and retro.

#17 Rouge Allie is a darker and slightly brown toned red. It's a less in-your-face shade than Rouge Best, but remains fairly bright red and much more glamorous and sophisticated than the previous colour. I can imagine it is flattering to most people whether you're pale, dark, cool or warm toned.

The only thing I have against Rouge Allie is the smell - it has a slight chemical smell to it that Rouge Best doesn't have for some reason. So if you are sensitive to smells in your make up, you may have to pass on this certain shade.

EDIT --- Forgot to mention, my friend who is a muted redhead borrowed this lipstick and the rusty undertones looked GREAT on her! So any natural red, ginger, or auburn haired ladies who have been struggling to find suitable reds, seek this out and give it a go!

(L-R Bourjois Rouge Best and Rouge Allie)

Conclusion - I like the colours of both these lipsticks, both are quite different reds from one another, but I think Rouge Allie is the most universally flattering of the two. It's a shame the chemical smell could put people off as it's a nice colour. The pigmentation is pretty good for a drugstore lippie, too.

I think the thing that lets the whole Lovely Rouge range down is the lasting power - both are slightly matte lipsticks that are dry (wearing lipbalm underneath will help), yet unlike most matte lip colors I have tried, these don't seem to last very long. If eating or drinking, you may need to reapply every 2 hours or so.

I suppose for a drugstore brand, thats not bad going for the price, but I was just surprised as matte lipsticks usually last all night. I think both should be tried if you are looking for your perfect red though, they're cheap and are great colours.


Thursday, 30 April 2009

REVIEW: DARK REDS - NARS Shanghai Express & MAC Dare You

As promised, something more widely available. NARS stuff is much easier to find in the US I think and MAC's Dare You was going to be a limited edition lipstick, but it's still on the UK MAC website so I assume it must be a permanent one now.
Both are dark red lipsticks, more so than MAC's Viva Glam and Dubonnet, despite saying in the review that they were dark. These really ARE dark, with a brown/brick undertone. Now lets get to reviewing.

(L-R: NARS Shanghai Express and MAC Dare You)

Starting with NARS Shanghai Express, this is a dark brick toned red on me. I kind of wish there was a bit more red in it but it might just be my skintone, I tried it with a bit of red lipgloss over the top and it looked lovely. I will try it with a brighter red lipliner next time and will update this paragraph about what I think.

It is very pigmented and I can imagine this really suiting a girl with light to light-medium skin if she wore no blush and teamed it with slightly smokey eyes. It would probably work with dark skinned ladies too.
Really dramatic and I like the fact its a semi matte - matte looking but not as bone dry. Some people may still find this a little too dry though and as usual, I would suggest lipbalm on lips before applying.

MAC Dare You was the first dark red lipstick I bought. I got it as a sample cheap off Ebay and at first, I wasn't sure. I liked the colour but thought it was more brown than red, whereas other people seemed to think it was predominataly red. I think this would be a great red on girls with a darker skintone as I can see why brighter reds would turn pink or orange on them.

Where the NARS lipstick is brick toned, I would call this brown toned as it is more brown than brick. It is a lovely dark reddish brown on me with some cute red sparkles, I love how it doesn't go on muddy looking or so dark you look like you're in a witch fancy dress outfit.
It is a cremesheen formula so shouldn't be too drying, but I've found with this formula that it doesn't last as long unfortunately.

Conclusion - I don't think I can choose a favourite out of these 2 because although they are quite similar (Dare You is just slightly darker), they are both lovely, rich and dramatic looking colours that would look great with smokey eyes for a glam/grown up goth look without making you look like a teenage Marilyn Manson fan.

However, pricewise I would go for Dare You because MAC is a bit cheaper than NARS and although I do favour mattes, Dare You has a lovely red metallic sheen. Because of the prices, I would suggest you try both out at a counter before buying, especially in the case of NARS.

They may both be fairly pricey, but there is a reason they cost this much and it is because the colour pay off can not be found in drugstore lipsticks. If anyone can find me a lipstick that is the same colour and quality as these 2 for under £10/$15 in a drugstore, I will be surprised. There is usually dark browns that don't have much red in them, or dark reds that are more berry toned, but nothing quite like these two high-end wonders.

(L-R: NARS Shanghai Express and MAC Dare You)


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

REVIEW - MAC Port Red, Racy, Ruby Darling

I'm sorry to say I'm going to inflict more MAC onto you today. Honestly, I'm not an employee! They have done some amazing reds in the past and continue to so this is why I am constantly talking about them and name dropping. I promise to be truthful though, if I don't like it, I will say so.

There'll be no trouble with that with my next 3 lipsticks as I like all 3 of them. All 3 are limited edition MAC frost finish lipsticks that are no longer available. Sorry. They are so nice though so I feel I have to tell you about them in case one of them might end up being your perfect red. They are (L-R below): Port Red, Racy, and Ruby Darling.

Port Red is my favourite MAC lipstick, along with Viva Glam. It is a darker, but still deep and bright red which is slightly mettallic on the lips. It is quite blue/cool toned but doesn't go pink on my NC25 yellow toned skin, it's just the perfect ruby red. A note to all girls similar skintone as me - try seek this one out and try it!

Not only is it a beautiful shade, the lasting power is fairly good, beaten only by the much more drying matte MAC lippies. It is not for the faint hearted as it is so bright, but it is incredibly retro and sexy looking so I will continue trying to find back ups of this so I will never run out ever in my life.

Racy is more toned down than Port Red as it is more warm toned. It's still quite bright though, but not quite in-your-face, so perfect for those who want to stand out but not THAT much. It is still flattering though, with a slight copper undertone which makes it a bit more universally flattering than Port Red, but slightly less retro unfortunately.

Ruby Darling is great for all you shy girls out there. I find it a little bit too brown and muted, though many people have raved about it's magnificance on Makeupalley.com so it must work for the majority. It has a slight red shimmer which makes it stunning, otherwise it's just a red toned brown in my opinion.

As I have said, unless you are after a daytime red or just general muted red, I don't think this is the true retro red that many search high and low for. I will wear it on a daytime basis but for the nighttime, I prefer something that stands out more.

(Top to Bottom - Port Red, Racy, Ruby Darling)

My conclusion is that if you are looking for a brighter red, I would go for either Port Red or Racy. Port Red is my favourite of the 2 though as it is much brighter. I can see it going pink on some with darker skintones though, so beware. Ruby Darling is perfect for daytime looks and for anyone wanting a red thats not so harsh.

Unfortunately all 3 of these lipsticks were limited edition so hard to get hold of, it's such a shame as they are all great in their own way. If you think you want to try these colours from seeing my above swatch, I would try Ebay or swap sites like the one I mentioned earlier. I promise to do more attainable lipsticks next time.


Saturday, 25 April 2009

REVIEW: SHEER REDS - NYC Sheer Red and Pout Precious

As I have discussed some fairly bold reds so far, I am now going to talk about sheer reds. These are a great alternative to full cover lipsticks and are less full-on, making them perfect for a daytime look that still looks glam, but not TOO glam. They also look great with smokey eyes as sometimes full red lips can be too overpowering with dark eyes.

Here, we have Pout Beloved on the left and New York Color's Sheer Red on the right. First, we shall look at the NYC lipstick as that is the one that is most readily available. For a sheer lipstick, it crams in quite a lot of colour but remains faithful and is transparent.

It has a nice brown tone to it, meaning when applied on the lips it does not go pink like a lot of sheer reds do. Fading is prone, but this is no suprise and no problem seeing the lipstick costs a mere £3 GBP in Superdrug in the UK, and even less in the US. All in all, it is a stunning shade for a sheer colour, making it more than just a lipbalm.

Pout's Precious appears to be more of a lipbalm than a lipstick, with it applying a reddish toned pink. It also has some small glitter particles in it, which seem to stay on your lips after the lipstick has faded, which can either be annoying or great depending on what you like. Pout lipsticks have a very strong fruity scent, which I think is lovely but it may not be everyone's cup of tea, just to warn you.

The color isn't bad though, it's just a slightly reddist version of my own lips, like I've been eating watermelons or strawberries. The texture is creamy, meaning your lips aren't as prone to drying.

Pout has been discontinued now, sadly. It was a high end British brand with the most adorable products and packaging. However, if you go on Ebay.co.uk, many products are still available on there for discount prices - waaay cheaper than they were when the brand was still going.

Pout also claims to have an ingredient in all lip products that boosts the size of your lips slightly if you use it enough, so I do recommend you try get hold of one of their products. Their brush sets are amazing, too.

Conclusion - It's hard to compare them both as they are quite different in colour, so it depends what you are looking for. NYC Sheer Red is more of a lipstick because of the pigmentation and general colour, so if you're looking for a toned down red, that may be your best bet.

Pout Precious' colour is more natural than that of the NYC lipstick, a fruity red-pink , so if thats more your thing then I would suggest that. The only thing I can think could be a problem is Precious doesn't differentiate from normal tinted lipbalms that much, bar the lip-boosting qualities... it's just a tinted lipbalm in a posh tube really, so myself, I would rather try another product from the range rather than this.

I am going to do a review later on a full cover red lippie by Pout, so keep your eye out for that in the near future.

(Top to Bottom - NYC Sheer Red and Pout Precious)

My next review will either be the US lipsticks I discussed earlier (if one of them shows up), a few Limited Edition MAC Frost finish lipsticks, or NARS Shanghai Express. So look out for that towards the middle of next week.


Friday, 24 April 2009

REVIEW - MAC's Russian Red and Ruby Woo

After reviewing 3 lipsticks available in Britain, I was planning to do 3 American lipsticks but after ordering Maybelline's Empire Red off Ebay, I have been awaiting it's arrival to do the review and it still hasn't showed up.

Nevermind, instead I will review 2 more MAC lipsticks. In fact, these two are the most hyped red lipsticks of all and they are of course Russian Red and Ruby Woo (left to right in below photograph).

Starting with Russian Red, the least pink of the 2, it is a matte colour with amazing lasting power. The colour is blue-toned, yet not pink on my skin at all. When I have tried other apparent true-reds, they have either turned orange or pink on me, but Russian Red is neither. It is a bright true-red, though this may not be the case on everyone.

As I have said, it is matte so can be drying, therefore I recommend some lipbalm underneath if you want it to remain matte, or some clear lipgloss over the top if you prefer glossy looks. There is also a lipglass available from MAC with the same name so this may work over the top too, but I haven't tried it so couldn't vouch for it's performance.

Ruby Woo is even drier than Russian Red, it isn't easy to apply without lipbalm underneath as the texture is quite chalky and can drag on your lips if they are dry. It then sets after a few minutes, meaning minimal fading as it usually takes a make up remover to get rid of it.

The colour wasn't red enough for me, though. It turned slightly fuschia on my lips, maybe because of the texture, which I quite liked. Maybe there's too much yellow in my skin for it to be a true red. I didn't mind the colour, it was quite nice, but the pink undertone put me off because I just prefer red.

In conclusion, my favourite has to be Russian Red which is nothing but red on me. It is also less hard work as Ruby Woo requires a careful application and will not apply consistently without lipbalm due to the dryness.

I recommend you try the 2 lipsticks as both get lots of brilliant reviews and are retro, matte blue-toned shades. They would probably suit cool toned ladies best, though I am thinking if you have significant yellow undertones like myself, Russian Red may be better suited to you as it is the most universal of the 2 lipsticks and also less hard work.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

REVIEW - Rimmel Diva Red, GOSH Lambada, Collection 2000 Red Red

(L-R: Rimmel Diva Red, GOSH Lambada, Collection 2000 Red Red)

Now, to prevent me from looking like I am advertising for MAC, I will now do 3 lipsticks that you can get for under £10 GBP on the British High street. The problem is, MAC are just so famous for their range of reds so I will continue reviewing their items later, but today I will go affordable. We are in the midst of a reccession afterall.

First, I will start with Rimmel's Diva Red. It is a moisturising lipstick and I believe it has been repackaged in a shiny purple tube. I have the previous version which is in a way less impressive and more cheap looking pink tube, but the colour will be the same. This is either the first or second red I bought, before I started on the more high-end brands.

It is definitely a blue toned red and certainly not a tamed one, if you wear this you will definitely stand out so I wouldn't reccomend it to those why are a little shy. It does have a hint of pink in it so may turn fuschia on those with darker skin, so beware.

It isn't drying due to the formula but can wear off easily. This is one of the reason I prefer mattes, apart from the fact I don't like glossy lips. It is slightly glossy but not too much, but my main gripe with it is the colour looks a bit cheap on me. If you are after an affordable red though, I would give this a go as the pigmentation is very good for the price (about £5-6).

Next, we come to Collection 2000's Red Red lipstick, which is a tomato red. I don't really suit it as I have yellow undertones which makes it look too orange, but if you are warm skinned you should give it a try. The pigmentation isn't as good as Rimmel but if you prefer a slightly less bold blue-red, you can't go wrong as I think it costs about £2-3.

And leaving the best til last in my opinion, it is GOSH velvet touch lipstick in Lambada. I think this lipstick is underated, whenever I see discussions on perfect reds I never see this one mentioned. It is fairly neutral but very bright, without being too blue like Rimmel Diva Red, or too orange like Collection 2000 Red Red.

It goes on very pigmented without drying your lips, it is a little bit shiny but it feels lovely on and looks spectacular. I think this would suit girls of a lot of skin tones, though test it out, don't just take my word for it. It is incredibly afffordable, at £6-7 but with quality that rivals MAC. The packaging in quite sleek like MAC's too so if you are looking for a cheap Russian Red duplicate, it's worth giving this one a go.

Conclusion - My overall favourite is GOSH Lambada, which is one of my favourite reds. It's affordable but looks expensive, whereas the other two look a bit cheap on my lips. Do try them out though, but I think Lambada has the ability to looks great on more girls and if more people hear about this, the more it will come out from under it's rock.

(Top to bottom: Collection 2000 Red Red,
GOSH Lambada, Rimmel Diva Red)

All three lipsticks are available from Superdrug in the UK, Collection 2000 and Rimmel are also stocked in Boots too. For overseas customers, Rimmel is available from Sephora and I think GOSH is more widely available in Canada than the US, but I'm not sure. Collection 2000 is a UK budget brand so probably only available in the UK, but you could always try ebay.co.uk as some sellers ship to other countries.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

REVIEW - MAC Dubonnet and Viva Glam

My first two reviews are of two darker reds: MAC Dubonnet and Viva Glam 1.
These aren't really THAT dark at all, but not your retro bright reds. However, these are retro in another way in that they exude a more sophisticated and glam feeling than brighter reds do.

(L-R Dubonnet, Viva Glam. Please note: the flash on my camera makes them look a brighter red than they are, please see pic of Dubonnet below for slightly more accurate colour portrayal.)

I'm going to start with Viva Glam, which I admit is my favourite red. On me it is a bright red with a hint of brick, but a bit more toned down than postbox red. I think it would look better on cool/yellow toned girls as I can see it turning too brick on a warm toned girl with peachy skin.

I love the look of matte lipsticks, which Viva Glam is. Mattes can be drying, but a little bit of lipbalm underneath helps keep your lips moist and makes application much easier.

Dubonnet is one of those hyped up MAC reds, alongside Russian Red, so I caved in and this was the second MAC lippie I purchased. However, when I applied it, it just looked a little bit too brick on me. I don't know why because swatched next to Viva Glam, they look identical.

Maybe it's because it's not a matte shade, maybe the slightly shiny texture just doesn't suit me. I'm not sure as it puzzles me so much that the two lipsticks are more or less identical in colour when swatched, and Dubonnet actually looks redder in the tube, yet Viva Glam just looks more red on my lips.

(MAC Dubonnet. A fairly accurate portrayal of it's colour in this pic, Viva Glam is similar but less shiny)

Conclusion - Don't let my review put you off Dubonnet though, as the reason it is hyped is because it works for many people. I am unfortunately not one of those people but you MIGHT be, therefore I suggest you try both out at a MAC store.

Put one shade on one half of your lips and the other on the remaining half and compare in different light, take a photo if you can so you can take your time to compare and find your favourite.
If they do look the same colour on you though, pick the finish you prefer. If you don't like dry or matte finishes, get Dubonnet. If you prefer mattes and don't mind finding ways to combat dryness, get Viva Glam.

Myself, as a Viva Glam girl, the added bonus is all the money goes to an AIDS charity so you are spending your money to be stylish AND to help others.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

How to wear red lipstick

I apologise if the title sounds patronising, it isn't meant to be because I am no make up expert myself. I don't want this to be a tutorial as I'm not an expert at all, there are so many good guides on the internet these days so think of this as tips, rather than an expert opinion.

The universally popular Russian Red, by MAC

Finding the right red

I have heard of girls searching for years and years for that perfect red and still not getting there. Everyone has an idea of what their perfect red looks like, it's just finding it thats the problem.

The general rule is that cool/yellow toned girls should stick to blue toned reds. To get a balance is quite difficult as I find a lot of blue toned lipsticks in drugstores far too pink, but keep searching. As a yellow toned girl myself, I would recommend MAC's Russian Red and Ruby Woo for bright red lips, then Dubonnet and Viva Glam for darker vampy lips. Rimmel's Diva Red and GOSH's Lambada are also really good as bright reds.

Warm/peach toned girls should try warmer reds. I'm afraid I don't know much about these as I don't use them often, but think postbox red or tomato red. I know Collection 2000 in the UK do a red called Red Red which is tomatoey, Barry M also do one called Pillarbox Red, and MAC's Lady Bug and Lady Danger may also work.

Redheads/ginger haired girls should try more rustic or brick reds. MAC's Chili is nice and again, Dubonnet or Viva Glam would also possibly work here. My redhead friend who is not bright red, but a more subtle ginger used Bourjois' Rouge Allie #17 (from the discontinued Perfect Rouge range, still available from ebay) and it was perfect on her so it's worth a shot as it's a bargain!

Having said that, sometimes sticking to these guidelines means you may be missing out on that perfect red. Sometimes it just shouldn't work, but it does. Just try as much as you can in and check it in both natural and artificial light, take a photo, see how you feel.

Applying your red lipstick

1) It is best to apply any foundation or powder first. Powder round your lips to form a dry base for the lip colour (Apply eye make up last, see later for why).

2) Apply a lipliner that is similar to your lipstick allover your lips. This is needed to stop the lipstick bleeding which is a common occurance with reds, and also because pencils are precise, meaning you don't have to be so careful with the lipstick later.

I own lots of reds but only have two lipliners: a bright cherry red one (Rimmel's 1000 kisses liner in Red Dynamite), and a darker brick red shade (MAC liner in Brick). This usually covers all bases.

Some people say you should get a lipliner that matches the colour of your lips but I disagree. This means your lipstick would have to be applied right to the edge of your lips to cover the lipliner, which makes it easier for the colour to bleed!

3) If you have a drying or matte lipstick (MAC's popular shades Russian Red and Ruby Woo are pretty drying), apply some lipbalm to the inside of your lips, taking care not to go too close to the edge of the lipliner.

4) Now you can apply your lovely red lipstick, taking care not to go over the lipliner's precise lines. Most pros use a lip brush, but I find this too time consuming so what I do is dab the lipstick on lightly, purse lips to even the colour, then apply more until the desired shade.

5) Now you can do your eyes. The reason I think it's a good idea to do your eye make up last is because if you did it first then applied the lipstick last, your eyes may be overdone and look too much with your stand-out lips. It's much easier to do eyes last so you can gradually build them up until you feel happy at the balance, without looking like a clown.

Most people say that if you do wear red lips, you have to tone down your eyes. I don't think this is always the case because goth was a popular look in Winter '08 which saw dark red lips teamed with dark smokey eyes. Some girls suit this look, but then some don't. It's best to test out different eye products with your red lips one day you have time, play around, see what suits you.

If strong eyes and strong lips DON'T suit you, I would suggest use a pale gold eyeshadow (my fave is Barry M's pink/gold #3 dazzle dust) and then a thick line of black liquid liner on your top lashes, flicking them out at the outer corner of your eye. Add mascara or false black lashes and hey presto, a timeless classic red lips look!

Pillarbox Red lipstick by Barry M, add matching red nails for instant glamour!

My recommended products

If you are wanting to read some reviews on any of the products mentioned, visit www.makeupalley.com as it has an extensive review database from thousands of users across the world. They also have a swap section where you may be able to get hold of rare items and get rid of things that haven't worked out for you.

Apart from the above mentioned products, my personal favourites are listed below. For reference, I am a NC25/NC27 in MAC's foundations, powders and concealers and have light-medium yellow toned asian skin. I couldn't tell you if these would suit you as well as me so I suggest you test them out in store wherever possible.
(* = limited edition/discontinued)

- MAC Viva Glam matte lipstick (deep brick blue-red)
- MAC Port Red frost lipstick* (deep metallic blue-red)
- MAC Russian Red matte lipstick (bright blue-red)
- MAC Dare You cremesheen lipstick (deep red brown, great w. goth/smokey eyes)
- MAC Cult of Cherry lipglass* (bright blue-red, looks great over Viva Glam)

- MAC Brick lip liner
(brick red, perfect under Viva Glam)

- NARS Cruella velvet lip pencil (deep scarlet red)
- NARS Shanghai Express lipstick (dark/deep brick red)
- GOSH Lambada lipstick (bright neutral red)
- Rimmel Dynamite Red 1000 Kisses lipliner (cherry red, good under Russian Red/Ruby Woo)

Where to buy

Anna Sui products are available worldwide on annasui.com. Store list can be found here.
Barry M
is available from Boots/Superdrug in the UK and barrym.com worldwide.
Besame can be found at besamecosmetics.com worldwide.
is in Boots, Superdrug and Debenhams stores in the UK. It is widely available in Europe and from Ulta in the US.
Collection 2000 can be bought in the UK from Boots or Superdrug.
is available in Superdrug stores in the UK, and on goshamericas.com in the US.
can be found in most good department/drug stores worldwide, especially in the US and UK.
Lola Cosmetics
are available in the US at Sephora, Sephora.com, and makeup.com.
is available from MAC stores and on maccosmetics.com.
can be found in most good department/drug stores worldwide, especially in the US and UK.
is available in the UK from narscosmetics.co.uk and hqhair.com, Sephora in the US, and sephora.com worldwide.
NYC (New York Color)
is available in UK Superdrug stores and in good drugstores in the US.
has unfortunately been discontinued but many items are on Ebay.co.uk for bargain prices.

can be found in most good department/drug stores worldwide, especially in the US and UK.
is available in the UK from Boots and Superdrug, and Ulta in the US.
* Products marked
with a star are discontinued or limited edition items that are no longer available. You may be able to find these on Ebay occasionally, or if you are on a swap site like makeupalley.com you may be in with some luck there.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


Hello and thank you for visiting.

As my profile says, I am Elle and I'm from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.
Like many girls out there, I have been searching furiously for the perfect shade of red lipstick. Most High street brands' reds have failed, often looking far too orange/plum/brown/pink. Same problem? Read on!

What I will concentrate on is bright, retro reds that are not for the faint-hearted! This is because it is a look that is an interest of mine that I feel is incredibly difficult to do if you don't have the right lipstick. I hope to ease this...

BUT every girl is looking for a slightly different type of red to one another, so I just can't cater for everyone. However I will try my best with suggestions to the best of my knowledge as I believe every single girl out there CAN wear red, it's just WHICH red that is the problem!

I hope to post some reviews (and maybe some pictures if I'm feeling adventurous) of lipsticks I have already tried and tested, regardless of whether they have worked for me or not. I will then add reviews as I test new ones. I will do quite a few higher end brands as I feel they have the financial means to make a red that little bit more spectacular, but I will also do cheaper brands as much as I can.

Hope you enjoy my blog and come back!
Elle X