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making faces :: glow back

i remember when i was veyr young and first experimenting with makeup by trying out different shades/ flavours of lip balm, there was a product around that claimed to adjust to your particular colour needs. it would burrow into your soul and know immediately what colour would be just perfect for you and only you. or something. it was a cheap product, even by drugstore standards, and even at the time, it didn't take me long to figure out that it was a gimmicky little thing that turned roughly the same shade of berry pink on everyone. and then the world progressed and it was forgotten. so why are prestige brands in the 2010s bringing this sort of thing back as if it's high tech? i wonder.

the latest company to venture into the long-forgotten custom colour pool is dior, who launched a product simply called "cheek and lip glow" with their spring collection. unlike the product from the seventies/ eighties, this is a liquid [rather than a lipstick in a crazy shade of green], but it does look odd amidst the ultra-refined, soft dior palette. the formula is a bright coral red in the bottle, like some fruity shade of kool-aid, something that does seem more pharmacy than fine retailer.

my own experience with lip and cheek products, even ones that i like, such as beeca's beach tints, is that they're strictly a blush on me. the formulas are inevitably drying on my lips, so much so that i can't wear them for more than a couple of hours without looking and feeling wretched. this, combined with the fact that the product still sounded gimmicky to me made me decide to pass on the lip and cheek glow, but then a friend gave me one as a gift. never look a makeup horse in the mouth.

the liquid is quite... liquid-y. it's thin and sheer and just a little viscous, kind of like jello before it sets. it's not as watery as the benefit tints, but it's nowhere near as thick as the becca beach tints. swatched, it looks like a baby pink on me, but it deepens and pulls a little redder when it's smoothed on my skin or lips.

cheek and lip glow
cheek and lip glow, blended


the science behind colour-adjusting makeup is that the product becomes "customized" by reacting to the ph in your skin. it will turn a different shade on everyone, and it will even turn a different colour on the same person as their ph fluctuates. but most humans fall within the same range and have skin that leans slightly acidic, so it's likely that the colour will come out about the same on the large majority of people. [a word to the wise: if the colour of this product looks a lot different on you than what you see here, you might want to consider seeing a doctor. a major change in skin ph can be a symptom of some serious health issues.]



the colour is quite light and sheer, which means that you can either get a very faint effect or you can layer to make it brighter. on me, a light application barely shows at all and on both the lips and cheeks, it took some layering. because of the chemistry behind the product, i can't say how that would vary from person to person, because the need to layer could be related to my skin type. regardless, i don't think it's possible to overload on this product unless you really don't watch what you're doing.

on the cheeks, i dab a few spots onto my skin and then use my fingers to blend it out. this is extremely easy and you don't get the staining effect that i've seen in some similar products [*cough* benefit *cough*] where you can see the spots where the product was initially deposited if you don't blend at lightning speed. the jelly-like finish does indeed impart a beautiful, glowing but not shiny finish and the colour does significantly brighten my skin. as skeptical as i might have been, once applied, this does absolutely look like a high end product. it lasts like a high end product as well, which a lot of liquid and cream blushes don't on me.

on the lips, i found that even layering the colour looked a little anæmic, but fans of a soft, subtle look won't be as troubled as i. you can wear it as a gloss, or you can press the colour into your lips with your finger. i favour the latter, because the product is so runny that i think it would be easy for it to migrate outside the lips. and then you'd have a nice pink stain around your mouth like you've contracted some sort of disease. i need about three patted layers to get a real effect on my lip colour, although, as i said, your mileage probably will vary. i had absolutely no trouble getting those layers to look even, nor did i have a problem with them wearing unevenly.

the texture on the lips is interesting. it starts off a little, er, slimy, but when it sets [assuming you don't wear it as a gloss], it becomes like the very finest, softest film. it's weightless and you're unlikely to be aware that you're wearing it, but if you touch your lips [why the hell would you do that?], you'll feel a slight tackiness. miracle of miracles, it is not even a little drying on my lips. its inherent softness means that it doesn't quite have the long-lasting "grip" of a stain, but the trade-off is that it doesn't feel like you ate a bag of salt. i'll take it.

now, a word about the scent and taste: there is one. or two. i can't quite decide. there is a vanilla mint scent, or a scent of mint followed by a wash of vanilla that's very prominent when the product is first applied. and it has a taste to match. i despise artificial mint scents and flavours with a passion that borders on a psychological disorder, which makes the minty scent hard for me to stomach. the vanilla is a little sickly, but not so bad and it doesn't last long. there's also a slightly cooling but not prickly or burning sensation on the lips when it's first applied. it reminds me a little of mouthwash. 

although it isn't quite as emphatic as i like my lip colours to be, i was impressed that there's no feathering or migration with this product and i love it as a base for glosses, which themselves often look bland on me.

here's a look at it on both the lips and the cheeks [used alone on the lips]





and here it is with a gloss [mac hush hush rose, a limited shade, for which you could probably substitute mac pink poodle].





this look also incorporates

nars luminous weightless foundation "gobi"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"

mac e/s "juxt" [spring yellow-green]
mac e/s "swimming" [sparkling leaf green]
mac e/s "sushi flower" [bright coral pink]
illamasqua precision gel liner
dior new look mascara

the final verdict? don't judge a whole product category by what you experienced in childhood? i'm surprised to say that i'm extremely impressed with this new dior formula and i hope that they consider both making it permanent and adding new shades. [although a single shade won't look significantly different from one person to another, incorporating different pigments, like an orange-peach or a bright violet, would give you different colours. this reddened pink is an excellent starting point, though.] worth the investment, if only to enjoy the pleasure of being a grown up and still getting to play with the same toys you had as a kid.

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