Jan 082014
 

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I’ve always had an affinity for the rebellious spirit of the punk movement. I was around to see some of the ending phases of it in California, and enjoyed the Punk:  Chaos to Couture show last spring at the Met in New York City. I could go on (oh, could I!), but let’s move on to the makeup instead.

met

When MAC recently released the Punk Couture collection that included several deep toned lipstick, I couldn’t resist picking up MAC Instigator and Studded Kiss ($15) to add to my vamp colored lip collection.

Dark Lips Review04

But first, let’s start at the beginning.

Chanel noir 3 color lipstick

To do this post properly, I reached into the vault to see three Chanel near-black lipsticks released in a very limited production in 2009. These three colors–Hysteria, Obscure, and Maniac–have not seen a lot of use. Perhaps I needed Punk to experience a re-awakening to really appreciate their edgy beauty.

Chanel Noir Lipsticks

Here are the three colors:

Chanel 3 dark lipsticks

More recent additions to my vamp collection include Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Provocante from a Fashion’s Night Out release, the comparatively sheer Rouge Allure Envoutante, and Rouge Allure Rouge Noir (#109).

Vampy lips1a

Here is a lip swatch of La Provocante:

Dark Lips Review swatches2

And Chanel Rouge Allure Rouge Noir:

Dark Lips Review swatches1

Currently, MAC has released four deep colors as part of Punk Couture. I picked up MAC Studded Kiss and Instigator, which have a matte formula. These melt pretty well on the lips, and look incredible under a gloss.

Vampy lips3

MAC Studded Kiss reminds me of Chanel Rouge Noir–it is a deep red black jewel. The pigmentation is incredible. I wore it for most of the day today, and it’s vibrant color wore for hours without drying out my lips or fading until at least four hours had gone by.

Vampy lips4

MAC Instigator leans deep black purple, and reminds me of Chanel La Provocante:

Dark Lips Review02

I haven’t played with MAC Instigator extensively yet, but as this collection is selling out so quickly I thought it best to get some images up as soon as possible.

Dark Lips Review03

Here are swatches of MAC Studded Kiss and Instigator:

Dark Lips Review06

Here are more swatches that include the Chanel deep colors, Hysteria, Obscure and Maniac:

Dark Lips Review07

Here are my modern Chanel acquisitions, Chanel La Provocante, Envoutante, and Rouge Noir:

Dark Lips Review08

Here is the entire group (click to enlarge):
Dark Lips Review11

You can see that the original 2009 set is the deepest and darkest of the group. Here is one more set of the entire group:

Dark Lips Review12

I hope you enjoyed this little overview of some of my deep, dark lipsticks. Although these aren’t always in my comfort zone, I’ve always found it fun to use these on days when they feel right. If you’d like to get the MAC, do not wait a moment longer. Nordstrom has MAC Instigator and Studded Kiss up for order (they’re back-ordered for February delivery) and I do not know whether they will last the night.

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Oct 152013
 

Chanel La Desiree1

Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Désirée ($34), newly released for within the new holiday collection, looks dark and vampy in the tube. Before playing with the shade, I had the impression that this was a velvet cousin of Chanel’s famous Rouge Noir lipsticks. Although we found that Chanel La Désirée applies on the deeper, saturated end of the color scale, it does not apply with any similar near-black darkness of some of Chanel’s past vampy shades.

Chanel La Desiree2

Instead, Chanel La Désirée is a warm dark velvet red that is more intense than Chanel Rouge Coco Rivoli (see below for comparisons). On Liz:

Chanel La Desiree4

Here are comparisons of Chanel La Desirée with Chanel Rouge Coco Vendome, the very intense Chanel Rouge Allure Rouge Noir (#109), Chanel Rouge Coco Rivoli, and Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet La Provocante.

Chanel La Desiree comparisons 1a

As with other Chanel Velvet formulas, the color applies with a moisturizing feel and a satin-matte texture. Chanel La Désirépulls a bit warm on me. It’s a striking, beautiful color that looks lovely for Fall and the holiday season.

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Apr 142011
 

 

Since I posted this preview, Guerlain’s introduction of Rouge Automatique ($32 each) lipstick has already become a success.  The combination of the sleek, beautiful and thoughtfully functional packaging and the moisturizing, pigmented formula is a winner–this line fits within so many criteria that women want.  I’m in love with all of the lipstick innovations that we’ve seen so far in 2011, and Guerlain’s Rouge Automatique is part of the leading edge.

Guerlain Rouge Automatique’s packaging incorporates a sliding mechanism that pulls the lipstick bullet up as the piece is pushed down.  On the top, there is a little door which is pulled down with the slider, and is tucked into the package as it goes.

The picture, above, shows the little door opening as the square is pulled down.  If you look closely, below, you can see where the square tucks into the package:

Overall, the packaging is well-machined, lightweight and smooth.  I’m not concerned about snagging the mechanism on fragile scarves or sweaters, and it is no larger than the average lipstick tube.

To turn to the formula, Guerlain kindly sent Cafe Makeup two colors for testing:  Nahema (#143) and Vega (#125), both named for two of Guerlain’s iconic scents (all of the lipsticks in the Rouge Automatique are).

Nahema is a soft, warm red-pink-coral that has a lovely shimmer.  It’s a gorgeous summer color, very fresh and beautiful.

Closer (you can see the shimmer on the bullet):

Here, I compare Nahema to the peachy-coral Lancome Chris n Tell (reviewed here), as well as Chanel Flamboyante (reviewed here).  I found that Nahema was closer in tone to Chanel Flamboyante but applied more sheerly and with more of a peachy tone.

Liz and I found Nahema nicely pigmented and had a pleasant, moisturizing feel.  Nahema is quite luminous, and gives quite a good amount of color to Liz’s naturally pink lips.  My estimate is that these have about 90% coverage–there is a bit of your natural lip color that will show through using no lipliner and average application techniques.

Vega is a deep, warm red with a touch of brown.  It looks quite dramatic in the tube and when first applied.  There is virtually no shimmer to Vega.

Closer:

Vega applies as a nearly-opaque warm red, with the same lovely moisturizing feel as Nahema.  During the first hour, Vega retains its color and glow nicely.  After some sips and normal lipwear, Vega faded to a beautiful matte rosewood color.  It still retained some of the moisturizing feel even during the second hour.  I should note that my wear time with these was comparable to other high end lipsticks, such as the Chanel Rouge Allure.  The wear time of the Guerlain Rouge Automatiques is certainly longer than Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine line. I should mention that I go through lipsticks rather quickly, I’ve never tried a lipstick that lasted any longer than 2 hours on me with acceptable color.

Here is Vega swatched next to the comparatively browner and deeper Chanel Rouge Coco Rouge Noir and Chanel Rouge Coco in Baroque.  The closest color to Vega in my stash is Chanel Rouge Coco in Vendome, which is another warm, browned-red, although Vendome is a slightly more sheer red.

Guerlain’s Vega on Liz:

Overall, I love the formula, packaging, price-point.  I’m sincerely looking forward to exploring more colors in this line as I’ve been very impressed with the product that I’ve seen so far.  The formula and look of this line transcends age (they look good on younger lips, as well as on the rest of us), and the color has a universal appeal (Liz is now the happy owner of Nahema, and I’ve kept Vega).  Highly recommended.

These lipsticks were provided by Guerlain free of charge for review and consideration.

 

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Feb 152011
 

One of the most edgy items from Nars Spring 2011 collection is Nana Lip Glosss ($24), described as a “deep black grape” that is “quintessentially French.”  As anyone who loves Chanel Rouge Noir as much as I do knows, a deep vampy lip is an essential part of a women’s color wardrobe.  My question was whether this gloss had the same power as the famous deep red-black lipsticks.  You can see a runway deep lip on pale models at this recap of Theyskens’ Theory show earlier this week at New York Fashion Week (MAC was used there).  Could Nars Nana let the deep lip translate to women in the real world?

I have to admit, the tube of the NARS Lip Gloss looks pretty cool.  It’s rare to see a lipgloss with that deep pigmentation in a department store line:

“Deep purple grape” certainly describes how the product looks in the tube, although I found more red in the color when applied:

Nars Nana absolutely fits within the vampy dark lipstick category.  Here, swatches compare with Guerlain Rouge G in Bee (reviewed here), and Chanel Hydrabase in Rouge Noir and Rouge Coco in Rouge Noir (both here).

My thoughts:

  • Nana is a gorgeous deep wine color.
  • It applies with a cushiony gel feel, with minimal stickiness.
  • It is super pigmented,  you can get the super-pigmented deep vampy lip pretty easily.
  • It is relatively long-lasting for a gloss (a few hours with sips).
  • The texture is very high gloss, in a good way.
  • One point of caution–this sinks into liplines.  It shows it all.  There are glosses that skim over the texture, Nana is not one of them.
  • Another point of caution–the super pigmented gloss is unforgiving when you apply it.  Small mistakes show.  Be ready for clean up.
  • Third point of caution-it’s a little tough to spread this evenly.  It grabs and pulls as you put it on, even when your lips are newly exfoliated.

If you want my advice, use a lipliner with this gloss. I grabbed Chanel Beige, and it created a little cushion fill between my lips and the gloss.  Although Chanel Beige diluted the strong color, you won’t have that effect with a deeper lipliner.

Here’s Nana on Liz with no lipliner (just Nana gloss, nothing else):

You might say that Liz is quite an expert at applying gloss by now, she’s been wearing Chanel Glossimers since she was thirteen (not a typo). The uneveness that you see is not because she isn’t applying it properly-she knows how to apply lipgloss (it’s a lip. gloss.) and this is still our result.  I found that the gloss applies much, much smoother over a lipliner.  But we wanted to give you the straight up pure gloss version, ’cause that’s how we roll.

Here’s Nana over Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Madere (reviewed here):

As with Madere, Nars Nana is a niche product that requires some thought and care.  Not for everyone.  If you’re into the vampy look, and go with a good lipliner, you’ll adore Nana.

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Mar 102010
 

Chanel’s former Rouge Hydrabase Rouge Noir/Vamp #18 (currently selling for $32 including shipping on Strawberrynet), is a very dark toned lipstick that coordinates with Chanel’s legendary Vamp nail color that derived from the early 1990’s.  Like many of the Rouge Hydrabase line, the lipstick is extremely pigmented.  I had long refrained from buying this color, because of the very deep, blood-red-black intense color seems too strong.

When Chanel released the Rouge Coco line a few weeks ago, they re-formulated Rouge Noir.  Curiosity got the better of me, and after discussing the issue with Joey of The Pink Sith, I decided that a comparison was needed.  After all, Rouge Noir is the only color that appears in both the Rouge Hydrabase and Rouge Coco lines.  If we really want to know the difference (and we do! we DO!), the interests of science dictate that we compare them side by side, right?

Here are my thoughts:

  • Pigmentation:  Rouge Noir in the Hydrabase formula is more densely pigmented.  The slightest swatch gives an overwhelming wash of color.  The Rouge Coco goes on with a normal amount of pigmentation, and can be built pretty quickly (2-3 coats) to match the Hydrabase swatch.
  • Texture:  The Hydrabase version is much more matte.  If you add the red-black color to a matte-texture lipstick, you get a lot of very dark drama.  I find this combination too intense, and slightly aging.  The Rouge Coco has a satin glow that catches highlights to give a moisturized look to the lips.  I look more alive, and more my age, with the Rouge Coco formula.
  • Color:  The color seems to be a nearly identical match.  If anything, the Rouge Coco might have just the faintest touch more blue, and the Hydrabase a touch more brown.  As you can see from the swatches below, any difference is extremely slight.
  • Application:  The Rouge Hydrabase is a drier formula, without question.  I far prefer the Rouge Coco formula, which glides on and feels moisturizing.  Because the Rouge Coco can be worn slightly more sheerly (and more densely applied), I find that it is more versatile.

So, in the battle between Chanel Hydrabase versus Chanel Rouge Coco– which is the better Rouge Noir #18 (or “the Lipstick Formerly Known as Vamp”)?  Although the traditionalist in me hates to admit it, I have to give it to Rouge Coco based on wearability.  The newer version can be made to be dramatic.  The dash of reflectivity and a touch of coolness simply makes this choice more flattering.

For my previous review of Rouge Coco’s version of Rouge Noir, the link is here.

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