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making faces :: oh my, it's more armani-ness

i did promise a while back that i had a bunch more armani trinkets to show you and it's about damn time i got around to making good on that promise. last time around, i looked at the eye tints that armani had launched in the late summer/ early fall, which somehow ended up following me home when i wasn't paying attention. [yes, that is the best story i could come up with.] this time around, i'm looking at some of the luscious lip products that blew in through the window to keep their friends company.

starting with familiar territory, armani staged a "stealth launch" of half a dozen new shades of their rouge d'armani sheer lipstick formula. unfortunately, i haven't managed to find more than three of the six new shades and i've found different ones at different counters. i'm guessing that this may be somewhat easier if you live in a place that has more or larger armani counters. certainly, it's less of an issue if you can order from armani directly, since everything is in stock there. here's a look at the shades that were released [credit to instagrammer tuksya, who is a great source of things armani]:




of the ones i did find, the one that i knew immediately i couldn't live without was #403 "burning sun". it's a fascinating shade that is likely to vary a lot from one person to  another. the based is a papaya orange, but there's some extremely fine shimmer in pink and violet that gives it a much cooler sheen. the overall colour looks a little bit more like the inside of a pink grapefruit when seen from a distance. the shimmer doesn't read as frosty at all, merely as a veil of cool pink over the warmer orange base. it's this sort of shade that draws people to higher end lipsticks to begin with, i think. it's subtle and the clash of shades lurking within it makes for something a little surreal when seen up close, but subtle and ladylike at more of a distance.

while it falls well short of opacity, "burning sun" packs a lot of [tropical fruit] punch, so it's not the sort of thing that will go unnoticed.

403/ burning sun
i struggled to find shades that looked like this one. nars "autumn leaves" is fairly close to the base [orange] colour, but looks darker and browner because of "burning sun's" overlay. the closest shade i found was chanel "mandarin", one of their discontinued rouge allure lacque liquid lipsticks. "mandarin" is redder and more opaque, but it has that same "cool over warm" feeling to it.

l to r :: nars autumn leaves, burning sun, chanel mandarin [d.c.]
i wish that armani would pay more attention to this formula, which hasn't been properly refreshed [where they let people know that it's being done] since its launch in 2012. it's a very nice balance for a sheer lipstick: even colour, moderate translucency, somewhat moisturizing and i find it longer lasting and less prone to migrating or feathering than a lot of semi-sheer formulas. here's a review and swatches of all six new shades, because armani certainly doesn't want to help you find out anything about them.

here's a quick look at "burning sun" in action, back when we had some burning sun around.




i unfortunately didn't write down what else i'm wearing, although i *think* there are some shades from the original urban decay naked palette on my eyes.

i'm going to give the company a little benefit of the doubt and theorise that maybe they weren't paying close attention to the new sheer colours, because they were focused on the brand new rouge ecstasy lacquer line that was following hot on its heels. and i can't really blame them for that. at first, i was shocked that they were revamping their lip gloss line yet again, because they've done it two times in the last four years. but it turns out that while the ecstasy lacquers look glossy, they're not really glosses. or they are glosses, but they're not glosses the way that other glosses are glosses.

i've lost you, haven't i?



the best way to understand the rouge ecstasy lacquer is thusly: it's armani's take on yves st. laurent's game-changing vernis à levres/ glossy stains. they're not exactly the same, but you'd group them together rather than categorically saying they were glosses or liquid lipsticks.

i'm a huge fan of the glossy stains, but damned if i might not like the ecstasy lacquers even better. well, it's a close competition. yves has the edge when it comes to longevity, but just. they're both unnervingly long-lasting. i find that armani's are slightly easier to get even [more noticeable on darker colours], but the shape of the ysl applicator is better for getting a crisp line along the edge of the lip. each have shades that are creamy and ones that are shimmery. as a general rule, it's easier to see the shimmer in the ysl shades when it's there. i found it easier to retouch the armanis without removing everything and starting from scratch. the big advantage that armani has for me is that, while there is a scent, it's not nearly as strong as the one from ysl, who always perfume their products so heavily that you'd think it was how you were intended to locate them in your makeup drawer.

i picked up one creamy and one shimmery shade almost as soon as the line was released and have been playing around with them for, well, let's just leave it at "i'm way behind with my reviews".

the cream-finish shade i got was #601 "plum vinyl". it is a moderately deep, bright plum-pink that looks almost fuchsia when swatched, but reads a little deeper on my lips. i was a little scared that this would fade to a hot pink stain as it wore, but it stays pretty true to colour, just loses it's high-gloss shine and becomes a bit more muted. my lips did have a noticeable pink pigment the morning after i wore this, despite a thorough cleansing and exfoliating the night before. a shower and a pass of the electric toothbrush brought things back to normal, or as normal as they ever get with me.

601/ plum vinyl
i felt like i couldn't really do comparison shots with these, because, even if i could emulate the original colour, i didn't really feel like i could say that another product would serve as a replacement, unless it was one of the ysl glossy stains. [based on swatch adventures past, glossy stain #26 "violine surrealiste" is the closest match.]

you've already seen an "action" shot of this one back when i did my post on the new eye tints.

the second shade that i picked up is listed as one of the "shimmer" shades, #200 "night berry". i'm personally going to label this as "depends on your definition of shimmer". if i put my reading glasses on, lean in close, squint and tilt my swatching arm at just the right angle, i can sort of see a bit of shimmer in there. i think. but i might be experiencing shimmer placebo.

to my eye, "night berry" is a gorgeous, warm-leaning oxblood shade. because it's shiny, it doesn't appear quite as intense as very dark, vampy berry colours, but it is still in that category. it's a nice option if you like the colour of nars "bette", le metier de beauté "bali" or armani's own "611", but want something that's a bit livelier. now might be a good time to add that these lacquers can be applied lightly for a softer shade, or blotted down, so that you get the stained effect from the start [rather than waiting for the colour to fade with time].

200/ night berry
and yes, that is totally the thrice-scrubbed with makeup remover stain left from the swatch of "plum vinyl you saw above. tenacious little buggers, these.

to go back to what i was saying before, do you see shimmer? go ahead, enlarge the photo, i'll be right here. in the interests of fairness, i've seen a couple in person where the shimmer content was definitely visible, #504 "pink out" in particular looked quite dazzling without being a full-on frost. in this case, i think it's just possible that the shimmer particles impart a slightly fuller look to the lips, even when the glossy finish starts to fade. again, it's possible this is just a placebo.

and finally, since we haven't seen a full-face look with this one yet, let's do one of those, shall we? this is with the colour applied full-throttle, so what you're seeing is as dark as it gets.




that's a slightly smoky look done with mac's "a novel romance" palette from last year's fall collection [one of them] on the eyes. the cheeks are a combination of nars "sangria" and hourglass "dim light". normally, i'd worry about colour overload, but i do love an understated smokey eye with a dark lip and honestly, when i tried a softer/ lighter cheek colour, it didn't look right. [feel free to disagree...]

so with that, i think that i've finally made my way through the onslaught of armani from the summer and autumn. it is a lot, but you can take heart in the fact that everything i've reviewed here is [as far as i can tell] part of the permanent collection, which means that you don't need to feel any more rushed about buying than i did about reviewing. 

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