Skip to main content

making faces :: game changers

i'm not sure when i became skeptical, but i will say that i have never once believed the claims of any
beauty product. that's not an exaggeration. for years, my selection of products was determined by two things: 

do i like this colour?
does this smell nice?

that was really it. i did fundamentally understand that more expensive stuff generally had higher quality ingredients, because that was something that i could see reflected in other ways: food works like that. clothing works like that [up to a certain point]. so as my budget increased, i would try out more expensive things to see if they were worth investment and i'd be pleasantly surprised when they turned out to produce good results. 

part of my credulity came because i knew about the facts of skin and aging. there are some things that are effective, but the main thing you have to accept is that the changes you can expect are not going to be massive. [and actually, you can make a far greater difference through changing diet and sleep patterns than with anything topical, but that's a discussion for another time.] 

another part came from the fact that a lot of the products i tried when i was younger had big caveats associated with them. yes, you could have lipstick that lasted for hours, as long as you didn't mind the fact that it sucked all the moisture out of your lips. you could keep the impact of freshly applied liner if you could draw a perfectly straight line with a brush as sturdy as thread and were ok with the fact that it had a tendency to peel away in rubbery strands.

there have certainly been some advances in the technology. there have been advances in our understanding of how the skin reacts to certain elements. nonetheless, it is still pretty rare to find a variation of a long-standing product that represents something truly new. 

so imagine my surprise that this year i've found two

the first is long overdue for a review, since it actually came out last spring. i didn't get around to trying yves st. laurent's glossy stains for a long time, since i was always hamstrung for what colour to select, but in the last several months i've amassed three of them. i'd read enough from experienced bloggers that my expectations were high and i was impressed that even swatching them in store left me stained for hours, but i still worried that they'd leave my lips feeling parched, or that they'd bleed and migrate all around my lips or that... well, i had concerns. 

the first shade i ended up buying was totally predictable. i got "violet edition", which is the darkest shade, a vampy purple with a lot of red in it. as soon as i tried it, i realised that this was something special. it immediately affixed itself to my lips with a first coat and grew luscious and glossy with a second. the colour lasted for hours. it survived drinks. it mostly survived a meal. it reapplied nicely without needing to have its remnants scraped from my face with a chisel. left alone, it barely needed touch-ups, even to maintain its shine. this truly is a gloss that has the long-lasting power of a lipstick, except that it's better than a lot of lipsticks. 

violet edition
violet edition
like a gloss, it keeps the lips moist and like a gloss. the texture is just barely tacky, not sticky and it's lightweight enough that you don't really notice it on. it smells a bit of red wine, which i know some people have found objectionable. personally, i was just so thrilled that it didn't have the sickly fig or rancid watermelon scent that i've encountered in other ysl lip products that i hardly noticed. the scent fades fast enough anyway, you won't be bothered by it for long. 

i even have to say that the packaging- always the thing about ysl products that drives me nuts- is even a little better. it's still plastic and still has the gold paint on the cap, but it isn't as dominant or as prone to scuffs as other products in the line. it's not marvellous, but it's a step in the right direction. 

the only thing that i found a little problematic about these was the almond-shaped applicator. it's precise enough, but the outward curve doesn't align with the shape of my lips, so it requires some careful manoeuvring to get the line perfect. it's not that difficult to work with, just enough that you'd notice, but given the staining power of the product, you don't want to colour outside the lines, even a little.   

after picking up "violet edition", i grabbed two shades from the new selection of more muted and somewhat shimmery shades that came out this fall called "rebel nudes". the moniker is a bit misleading, because the shades are neither nude nor particularly rebellious. they're actually on the quieter end of the spectrum. i find these shades are a little more complex because they have more shimmer, so they reflect the light differently depending on the angle. 

"naughty mauve" is a brownish plum shade with pink shimmer. it's breathtaking when you look at it up close, but it's also a very nice everyday kind of shade. applied, i find that the warmth of the base colour becomes more apparent, at least on mine lips. i suspect that this is one that tends to shift more depending on the colour of your skin. 

naughty mauve
naughty mauve
"fuchsia tomboy" is a bright pink, a little warmer than what i'd call fuchsia, but still in the neighbourhood. it has a lot of gold and silver shimmer mixed in, so it catches the light really nicely. it's a very fun shade, very happy-looking, if that makes any sense. i can imagine that this one will see a lot of use in the spring, when i'm more inclined to make myself look fresh and [moderately] sparkling. 

fuchsia tomboy
i would have been excited enough about finding this, but hot on its heels, i discovered a second product that scrambled my makeup-addled brain a little. 

i was a little confused when i heard that armani was coming out with a new lipstick formula. after all, they just came out with their new sheer formula last year. i was also confused by the conflicting information about whether these were tinted balms or fully pigmented lipsticks. as it turns out, that's because they're kind of both. 

the rouge ecstasy line, named "cc" because they're supposed to provide colour and care [and because it's wicked trendy to attached double letters to everything in cosmetics nowadays] offers what i would call moderate pigmentation. they aren't fully opaque like the rouge d'armani lipsticks, but there's plenty of colour. what's remarkable about the colour application is how incredibly even it is. normally, even a little sheerness reveals uneven pigmentation, but every shade i've tried of these- four of them since they launched in the fall- has been flawless. 

in terms of texture, they really are quite balm like. not like a gloss. like a soothing balm that's neither slick nor thick. they aren't as slippery as dior creme de rose, but they aren't as thick as nuxe reve de miel. in fact, they're not slippery at all. the colour goes on and stays put. it's an odd phenomenon, because their sheerness mutes them a bit, so i assumed that it might also fade quickly. not so. this stuff was made to survive. the apocalypse comes i'm heading to my armani counter and building myself a shelter made entirely of rouge ecstasy. 

shockingly, the colour survived the constant pleating of my lips, drinks, even food. and it really did make my lips feel better. they've become my go to product at the office, where the air is worse than the centre of the sahara. it truly feels like i have a soft balm applied all day, but i also have colour to go with it. 

now, i should clarify that the four shades i've tried are all on the brighter end of the spectrum. i wouldn't expect all the colours to have that lasting power. nonetheless, even the softest of the four shades lasted well beyond what the texture might have lead me to expect. 

the most muted shade i picked up was "dolci". it's one of the brighter pinks and it certainly does have a fair amount of colour, but on me it always looks understated. [note :: if you're new to this blog, i should warn you that colours on me tend to look more subdued than they do on many. it's how i'm made. i can't help it.] it's a warm pink that's perfectly appropriate for the office or for informal occasions. i think it's a bit deep to work with a smoky eye, but it's perfect for a coloured, but not unnatural look. 

dolci
dolci
in every armani lip range, they offer a version of their signature red. #400. in this case, the shade is just named "the 400" and it is a true red, neither warm nor cool [ok, maybe slightly cool] that has considerable impact despite not being fully opaque. this is always a full-wattage, screen-siren red [see the version of this shade in the maestro liquid lipstick range here] and this one is no exception. the slight sheerness makes it lighter and a little less "femme fatale" than other variations, but it's still a powerful red. 

the 400
classified as a pink shade "diva" is right on the line between pink and red. there's lots of pink in it, , but i'd still say it was red at first glance. like "the 400", it's a lighter, cheerier red colour, like the colour of hard candies or maraschino cherries. or that unearthly red sauce that you used to get on cheap chinese food. trust me, it works a lot better as a lipstick than as a food-related product. [eating the lipstick would probably be healthier for you, come to think of it.]

diva
diva
finally, i purchased "attitude", because it was completely impossible for me to go without a plum shade. i adore plum-type colours and armani's more than anyone. i have a healthy number of armani lipsticks and almost all of them are from the plum range. "attitude" is a red-violet colour that's a bit darker than the others, but still one that i feel perfectly comfortable wearing during the day. i won't lie, i adore this one perhaps more than the others because i find that it's a great match for my particular colouring. on its own, it seems to make my eyes look brighter and my skin look more even. 

attitude
attitude
the truly nice thing is that there are thirty-six shades available of this new formula. it is an extremely well thought out compendium of colours for warm and cool, light and dark. i've actually passed up the opportunity to purchase more from the incredible armani fall collection [thus far] in order to collect more of these. 

this is a rather lengthy post but aside from all of my blah blah and all the photos, the one thing that you should take away is this: both of these products are truly innovative and represent notable advances in the world of prettifying. absolutely worthy of the investment. 

Comments

L.P. said…
I just got a Rouge Ecstasy today (thanks to my sister), the shade 403/ Downtown. It's a nice, subdued red, on the warm side of neutral. This is only my first day with it, but so far it doesn't seem to hold up as well as RdA, but the color makes a very good everyday red.

I also have YSL Glossy Stain in Mauve Pigment, and I've grown to like it a lot.

(Both products are more strongly scented than I was expecting and I had to get over that.)
Bellyhead said…
These are beautiful color choices on you, especially Violet Edition. That one was truly MADE for you! I also think this is truly an innovative product and would collect these if it weren't for that really strong fruity smell. I guess scent being such a personal thing and many people get along fine with YSL lip products. This is my one and only reason I can't purchase YSL lip things. :(
Kate MacDonald said…
@LP- Downtown was one of the shades that I was considering. I have a lot like it, but it's the sort of thing that I love for office wear.

@Belly- YSL are about the worst for scented lip products (although Estee Lauder are close). I actually mind the scent of these less than some of their others. I'll hold my nose for the Rouge Pur Couture line as well. The worst to me are the Rouge Voluptes, but I can't stand the formula of those either, so it's an easy skip for me.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

write brain

i was talking to a friend of mine about coffee, specifically about our mutual need for coffee, yesterday and, literally as i was in the middle of a thought, an idea occurred to me that i felt like i had to note. so there i am, scribbling a note to myself that was really just a word salad of related terms, which i later transformed into a weird but more comprehensible note that i could refer to later. [i don't want another beatriz coca situation on my hands.] i feel like this idea isn't a story on its own, but something that i could incorporate into a larger project, which is good, because i have a few of those.

now, of course, i need to sit down and do research on this, because it's become terribly important to me that the details of this weird little idea that i'm planning on incorporating into a larger thing be totally plausible, even though no one but me is ever going to care. i'm increasingly convinced that the goal of every writer is to find someone who will t…

dream vacation

i've written about this before, but i have an odd tendency to travel in my sleep. i don't mean that i roll around  and shift positions a lot [although that was a problem in my childhood], but rather that i take these strange vacations in other places that do actually exist, for no particular reason. i would love to travel more, like most people i know, but in my dreams, i seem to pick places that wouldn't normally occur to me. [like greenland, which was actually green when i dreamt about it, and the volcanoes between chile and antarctica that i swear i didn't know about before i dreamt them, but which really do exist.]

for instance, a couple of nights ago, i dreamt that dom and i had gone on vacation to jerusalem, more specifically east jerusalem, also known as  the palestinian section, and also where a lot of palestinian homes get bulldozed. it's walled off from the west, israeli, part of the city, although the two are connected by a light rail line and a lot of h…

fun-raising

no, i am not dead, nor have i been lying incapacitated in a ditch somewhere. i've mostly been preparing for our imminent, epic move, which is actually not so terribly epic, because we found a place quite close to where we are now. in addition, i've been the beneficiary of an inordinately large amount of paying work, which does, sadly, take precedence over blogging, even though you know i'd always rather be with you.

indeed, with moving expenses and medical expenses looming on the horizon, more than can be accounted for even with the deepest cuts in the lipstick budget, dom and i recently did something that we've not done before: we asked for help. last week, we launched a fundraising campaign on go fund me. it can be difficult to admit that you need a helping hand, but what's been overwhelming for both of us is how quick to respond so many people we know have been once we asked. it's also shocking to see how quickly things added up.

most of all, though, the ex…