Swatch & Review: As NARS Would Have it, My Love Is a Mexican Rose (Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil)

Hey everybody!

First of all, I’m really sorry for the delay. I ordered NARS Mexican Rose Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil along with Paramaribo Eyeshadow Duo back in the beginning of February, basically as soon as they were available on HQHair. However, after two weeks the parcel still didn’t arrive. I contacted HQHair, and we came to the heartbreaking conclusion that the parcel had been lost on the way. I had to filled in and send back a self declaration form, and after 2 days the replacement made it here! Of course I would have preferred the original package not getting lost, but the lightening fast replacement made it all better!

I fell for Mexican Rose as soon as I started seeing swatches and reviews on American sites in January. I don’t know what got to me, because as you know I’m only taking baby steps to venture out of the “my lips but better” comfort zone. However, there is something about the dewy raspberry pink that kept me going through all the swatch pictures I could lay my hands on. Finally, remembering a friend’s wise words (“just get it and go back to normal already!”) in a similar intense lemming situation, I caved in.

Since I don’t own any NARS lip pencils (or any lip pencils now that we’re at it), I thought I’d hold it in my hand to show you guys what size it is. I love the sleek black packaging, and the stripe of color that is supposed to indicate the color of the pencil itself. Say you have a bunch of them, this stripe might be useful for telling which is which.

As you can see, the color in tube looks innocent enough. Since it’s touted to be “glossy,” you would be misled to think it’s sheer and harmless. Even in my swatch picture, you get the impression that it’s one of those sheer shades that you would see everywhere.

It would be wrong to think that way, very wrong indeed! For once it gets on my lips, it is a daredevil hot pink, so bright that it matches my iPod! The application is smooth and even. What I really like about this pencil is the fact that I can get precise lines to make my lips look sculpted. However, it does take a little longer to apply (compared with a lipstick for example), and since the shade stands out so much I wouldn’t advise you to slather it on when you can’t look at yourself in the mirror. The finish is nice and glossy, but it’s got some amazing lasting power! I wore this color for two days in a row, and it trooped through any food and drinks I decided to consume! It’s only the “glossy” part that wears off, not the color. This means if you put it on in the morning to go to work, the color is likely to see you through the day. You only need to top it up with gloss if you like the glossy effect. For a lip product this long-lasting, it is surprisingly not drying at all. My lips stay soft.

Here is how it looks on my lips. It’s my first lip swatch ever, so bear with me if it’s not perfect!

I know that the main complaint people have about this pencil is that it has to be sharpened, because inevitably you waste some product that way. Also, it is apparently very soft and could break during application/sharpening. I personally haven’t tried to sharpen it yet, but I don’t have the impression that it is too soft (maybe it has something to do with the kind of climate you live in). I think the tip will stay good for multiple applications, and with this kind of staying power it could be weeks before I have to sharpen it.

My main issue with this one, which probably isn’t surprising considering how long-lasting it is, is the fact that it is very tricky to remove it. I held a cotton pad soaked with a bi-phase makeup remover against my lips for a good minute or even longer, but still it took quite some rubbing to get most of it off. I ended up using my facial cleanser and toner on my lips too, and eventually I cleaned it off. The lovely Jessica from Getting Cheeky told me she often exfoliates to be able to truly remove it, but at the moment there seems to be no better solution.

Bottom line: The color is amazing, texture excellent, and staying power stunning. I wish it would be easier to remove, but it seems like nothing is truly perfect! Because of this (and how vibrant the color is), I wouldn’t say this is an everyday color. However, for a dinner date or drinks with your girlfriends, Mexican Rose is the best candidate!

What do you think? Do you like how Mexican Rose looks/sounds? Have you tried any chubby lip pencils? What’s your favorite?

Sunny xx

Swatch & Review: Clinique High Lengths Mascara

Mascara is probably my biggest makeup passion ever. Even before I learnt how to put on eye makeup quasi-properly, I had witnessed the wonders mascaras can do. However, I have stayed pretty nonjudgmental when it comes to mascaras. As you will be able to see later in this post, I have MINIMUM real lashes, so whatever I use makes a big difference. Now that I am keeping a beauty blog, I found myself paying more attention to the details of different products. Therefore, I am going to share my experience with Clinique High Lengths Mascara with you.

I received this as a gift with purchase last year. With 4.7 milliliters/0.16 ounce, it is an extremely generously-sized sample. The Clinique website claims their High Lengths Mascara can: “stretch limp, lifeless lashes to lengths beyond your wildest expectations. And wow – eyes look noticeably wider, fully energized. Our curved, fine-toothed comb finds the tiniest lashes and brings them out of hiding. Ophthalmologist tested and appropriate for sensitive eyes.”

The first exceptional thing you can notice with this mascara is indeed the “curved, fine-toothed comb.” However, it is also one of my gripes with it.

As you can see in the close-up picture, there are indeed a lot of fine teeth on the comb. However, whether it is because of the shape or size of my eyes, the wand is very awkward to use. It is way too long, and the curve does not work with my eyes. I have in more than one occasion painfully jabbed the wand into my eyes during application and caused my eyes to water with irritation. Don’t get me wrong. The wand might work great for other people, but for my rather flat eyes it just feels pretty clumsy and awkward. It is pretty difficult to reach the outer corners of my eyes with this wand unless I am just using the very tip, but I normally have an easier time with shorter wands. I can do my lower lashes using just the tip as well, and that works fine.

The formula of this mascara leans wet, which is fine by me except it doesn’t hold curls. As you will be able to see in my eye swatch pictures, my lashes are indeed lengthened dramatically, but they can be much curlier with another mascara. It doesn’t clump or smudge, which is definitely a pro. However, it does flake a tiny little throughout the day. It is not bad, but I feel obliged to mention it. Clinique does not market this as waterproof or water-resistant, but I didn’t have problems with it melting on me during several trials, and even when my eyes watered with the jabby wand I wasn’t crying black tears. Also, my lashes do not feel rigid with this mascara. Instead, they are pretty soft and natural to touch.

Are you ready for the swatch pictures now?

This is my bare eye. I only curled my lashes without applying anything. Can you see the fuzz I call my eye lashes? No? That’s OK, because sometimes I can’t see them either!

Here I lined my upper lash line and applied one coat of Clinique High Lengths Mascara to my upper lashes. You can definitely see an improvement, right?

Here I applied two coats of Clinique High Lengths Mascara to my upper lashes and one to my lower lashes. Now my lashes are definitely saying hello to my dear readers, and my eyes are coming back to life!

What I like about this mascara:
1. It doesn’t smudge or clump.
2. Lashes feel soft and natural after application.
3. It does lengthen my lashes dramatically.
4. The result is very natural-looking, and my lashes do not feel rigid either.
5. The formula is supposed to be safe even for those with very sensitive eyes.

What I dislike about this mascara:
1. The wand is very awkward to use.
2. It does flake a little throughout the day.
3. It doesn’t hold curls.
4. It doesn’t add volume. To be fair, this is not what this mascara is designed to do, but I do need a little help both length-wise and volume-wise, so this is not the best pick for me personally.

Bottom line: I would recommend this to people who want longer, soft-feeling, and natural-looking lashes, particularly those whose eyes are not as flat as mine. It is a good mascara, but it is just not the best for me, so I won’t be purchasing a whole tube.

What do you think? Would you be interested in trying this out? What is your favorite mascara? Do share!

Sunny xx

Review: Clinique Take the Day Off

Since I’ve only started wearing eye makeup more often since last year, I used to stick to basic drugstore makeup remover (like L’Oreal and Maybelline). It’s not that they fail to do their job, it’s just that it takes excruciatingly long and I always lost patience and started rubbing. I thought I’d give this a go because Jen from From Head to Toe recommends it, and I’m really happy with it! I must have used up 2 bottles in a year, though a good amount of that second bottle was gone due to my bad packing.

Take the Day off removes eyeshadow in literally one second. Even my coats and coats of mascara and gel eyeliner come off relatively easily. A little goes a long way, and NO rubbing is involved. The formula is gentle, and I personally do not react badly to it at all. It’s true that it leaves eyelids a bit oily, but since it’s bi-phase and targets waterproof makeup, I wouldn’t imagine it to be otherwise. I always wash my face afterwards though. I don’t use any soap on my eyelids, but by the time I’m done washing my face and patting it dry, the oily feeling is also gone. In short, it doesn’t bother me.

I have repurchased it a couple of times since my first bottle, and I would definitely recommend it. However, in the meantime, I have also noticed some pharmaceutical brands offer eye makeup removers and I might look into that. If I can find one that works for waterproof makeup (I only use waterproof mascara), I might give it a try. If it turns out to be a dud though, I’m always willing to go back to Clinique!

Long Time No See: Trip to the U.S. and Major HAUL!!!

Hello out there!

Sorry for the long silence! I actually went on a two-week trip to the U.S. and just got back two days ago. I never really mentioned this on the blog because all the way till the last minute I wasn’t sure if I would really make it. All the bureaucratic mayhem I had to go through both for the American AND the Belgian government was incredible. But anyways, I made it and now I’m back!

I principally went for a good friend’s (basically my adoptive sister) wedding in Tennessee, but before we (I went with her brother T, with whom I’d been living under the same roof for 3 years) got there we did a little trip in Boston, New York, and Pittsburgh. Of course I made an extensive shopping list before setting off, and from the picture above you can probably see how major the haul is!

I will put up my swatches and review ASAP. I went happy-go-lucky in drugstore eyeshadows because I thought I had too many high-end ones to justify paying for more of them. With that said however, I just found out Urban Decay is launching Naked2, and that’s got me thinking… maybe I want one for Christmas!

So bye for now and I promise to post a lot of posts in the near future!