REVIEW: MAC Liptensity Lipsticks in Smoked Almond & Marsala

Hello everyone!

On top of possessing a larger vocabulary of colour names, research has also shown that women are better than men at distinguishing colours. In other words, while we perceive navy and cobalt as two completely different colours, our male counterparts may beg to differ. Even though this is backed by scientific facts (which has got something to do with our X chromosomes), I still can’t help but think that these capabilities could, too, be attributed to our exposure to the world of cosmetics. Years of comparing makeup swatches and the perpetual release of “new” lipstick shades with explicit colour descriptions by various brands would have undoubtedly trained our eyes to recognise any tonal differences and broadened our horizons of colour knowledge.

But just as we thought we’ve seen every colour in the visible spectrum on the Sephora racks, M.A.C pushed that boundary further and opened our eyes to a myriad of unexplored colours with its Liptensity collection which was launched online in September and in Singapore the following month last year.

M.A.C Liptensity

M.A.C Liptensity

Leveraging the skills of Maureen Seaberg, a tetrachromat who has the genetic ability to see up to 100 million hues (that is, a hundred times the number of colours an average person can), M.A.C unveiled 24 lipsticks which promise never-seen-before extreme colour intensity in just one stroke.

💥 FUN FACTS 💥

Tetrachromacy may seem like a fascinating deformity to have but in actual fact, it does at times pose great inconvenience to the sufferer and stir up insecurities about her image (as this condition primarily affects females).

As Concetta Antico, a tetrachromat artist, put it in an interview, tetrachromats “see colours in other colours” and can therefore see all the reds and blues in every vein and blemish vividly on their face, spurring them to level out the colours in their skin with a lot of makeup. Endowed with the ability to spot even the slightest difference in skin colour, tetrachromats can also easily tell the emotions of others, or if they’re sick.

(Jeez, I’d hate to have face-to-face conversation with tetrachromats since my dark circles, blackheads, acne and hyperpigmentation will all be intensified in their eyes 😲)

A permanent addition (with 6 LE shades) to the brand’s 14 other finishes, the Liptensity range is formulated to be the most pigmented lipstick by M.A.C to date. It contains presaturated pigment with a clear base to prevent our body chemistry from altering the original colour over time. Seaberg, whose role involved adjusting the shades to make sure that the colour stayed true, tested the formula in and out of sunlight to ensure its infallibility. I don’t know about you, but as one who has experienced firsthand the disparity in the colour payoff of lipsticks on the hand and lips (I don’t feel comfortable applying testers to my face), this sounds like a breakthrough!

2 out of the 24 Liptensity lipsticks released by M.A.C

2 out of the 24 Liptensity lipsticks released by M.A.C

The Liptensity line is so exceptional, even the design of the product had to be given a major overhaul. The shade names are pasted on the box that encases the lipstick (as opposed to having them printed on). and the seemingly slimmer-than-usual lipstick tube is made of a smooth matte material which gives it a nice grip.

Like the Giambattista Valli collection, the lipsticks each comes with a cap that coordinates with the colour of the bullet inside. It has remarkable aesthetic appeal – the differentiation in its outer packaging forms a glorious rainbow of colours when placed side-by-side. But most importantly, it is a lifesaver for those (i.e. me) who have to set time aside daily to go through their hoard of M.A.C lipsticks before deciding on what to wear for the day because you can just zoom into the colour you have in mind from side or top-view.

Furthermore, the bullet comes totally flat on top with concave edges which, from my understanding, marks the second diversion from the brand’s signature diagonal tip after the Sheen Supreme collection. Although it is the first of its kind in M.A.C history, it is not unique to the brand as Wet n Wild MegaLast Lipstick shares the exact same mould. That said, I’m not fond of how the bullet is shaped as it isn’t easy to draw a precise line with it. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Smoked Almond & Marsala

Smoked Almond & Marsala

Alright, too much talkin’ (as usual 😅) before the actual review, so here! I had the luxury of choosing two Liptensity lipsticks as part of my press kit at a M.A.C preview and trust me, it was the most difficult two choices I made in my life 😥 So, after much deliberation and graffitied my hand with beautiful swatches, I finally got down on..

#1 Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond (US$21/ S$39)

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond (US$21 / S$39)

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Smoked Almond

One of the highly-raved shades in this collection, Smoked Almond has not gotten a negative rating (but then again, there’s hardly any for the entire range) and it is not hard to understand why.

First of all, the colour is absolutely flattering on fair and medium skin tones. I was contemplating between this and Toast And Butter but the latter made me look tanner than I already was. Smoked Almond just complements my skin tone perrr-fectly. With a little tug, this bright rosebrown goes on creamy and pigmented on the lips and leaves a luscious shine. It applies like a Matte due to its thick consistency but has a Satin finish. I had a scab on the bottom left of my lip but you can’t really see it in the picture because it is fully concealed by the lipstick which wrapped around it like a second skin. Moisturing with an emollient effect, Smoked Almond doesn’t settle into lip lines but is prone to transfer and will leave discernible streaks after hours of wear.

Swatch comparison for Smoked Almond: Pander Me is close but has more yellow undertones

Swatch comparison for Smoked Almond: Pander Me is close but has more yellow undertones

#2 Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala (US$21 / S$39)

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala (US$21 / S$39)

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

M.A.C Liptensity Lipstick in Marsala

Among my other choices (which I had narrowed down a lot *hits chest*) were a few crimsons and fuchsias, such as Claretcast and Cordovan, but I eventually settled on Marsala not knowing that this was also Temptalia’s top pick. Well, I guess it’s true when they say great minds think alike, aye? 😝

Accurately described as a deep magenta pink with a Satin finish, Marsala came across to me as a darkened version of Heaux when I first swatched it and for that reason, I had to pick it up because I loooove Heaux. It applies glossier and more buttery than Smoked Almond and lends a vibrant colour payoff in one swipe. You know how most sheeny berry-toned lipsticks tend to be blotchy? Marsala doesn’t have that sort of nonsense. It has a thick and uniform consistency, yet lightweight and super hydrating.

However, it is slightly tacky and definitely not transfer-proof. Still, you could easily eliminate these problems by gently dabbing your lips with facial tissue to remove the excess oil while still preserving the intensity. Please, just don’t let these minor drawbacks forestall you from getting this dreamy shade! Swatch this in store if you don’t believe me 🤗 Good thing this shade, together with Smoked Almond, is permanent so you don’t have to rush into buying it 😉

Swatch comparison for Marsala: Heaux is close but is lighter and warmer. Diva Antics is darker and cooler

Swatch comparison for Marsala: Heaux is close but is lighter and warmer. Diva Antics is darker and cooler

Based on the two Liptensity lipsticks I just reviewed, this collection does what it promises, which is to deliver unrivaled and unfaltering pigment intensity while nourishing the lips with maximum moisture (which warrants the price hike).. but if only these were more long-lasting! Moreover, perhaps because I don’t have an extra type of cone cell in my eyes, the shades look rather identical to what I already own. There isn’t much stark difference to make me go gaga over it.

So, are you team Smoked Almond, Marsala or none at all?

So, are you team Smoked Almond, Marsala or none at all?

What are your thoughts on the Liptensity collection? Let me know your thoughts below or respond to my poll ☺

Thanks for reading!

M.A.C Liptensity is now available online and at all local M.A.C outlets for S$39.
Products featured in this review were editorially selected. All opinions, as always, are genuine and uninfluenced.

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REVIEW: MAC x Gabriel Zamora Lipstick in Gabriel Zamora

Hello everyone!

These days, the perks of being a social media influencer or an opinion leader don’t just end at receiving event invitations, free products or financial compensation for sponsored content. In addition to those, the cream of the crop may even score beauty deals with global cosmetics companies to create new products, and already there have been a few of such instances like the collaboration between NikkieTutorials and Too Faced; Nicole Guerriero and Anastasia Beverly Hills; and Grav3YardGirl and Tarte. Joining the ranks of these major deal clinchers are LarLarLee, Gabriel Zamora as well as 8 others around the globe (excluding Asia.. why though? 😠) as they became the first influencers to ink a pact (one any beauty enthusiast would envy 😞) with M.A.C Cosmetics to create their own personalised lipsticks.

Given M.A.C’s history of collaborations with Hollywood celebrities and designers with much greater star power, this came across as an unlikely partnership. But it also goes to show that they are willing to move with the times and adapt to trends (since tapping influencers seems like the “in” thing now). Besides, we all know M.A.C loves springing some surprise element in their collaborations.

10 INFLUENCERS & LAUNCH DATES

… because if it ain’t big, it ain’t M.A.C 😁

United Kingdom (April 19)

#MACxFleurDeForce by @FleurDeForce
#MACxAlessandra by @alexsteinherr

United States of America (April 20)

#MACxLarLarLee by @LarLarLee
#MACxGabrielZamora by @TheGabrielZamora

Canada (April 22)

#MACxSamanthaRavndahl by @ssssamanthaa

Australia (May 22)

#MACxNikkiaJoy by @NikkiaJoy

Germany (May 31)

#MACxCaroDaur by @CaroDaur

France (June 7)

#MACxMarie by @EnjoyPhoenix

Middle East (June 15)

#MACxTheRealFouz by @TheRealFouz

Brazil (August)

#MACxVicCeridono by @VicCeridono

Dear M.A.C, maybe some Asian influencers next time…?

Each of the influencer is entitled to tailor-make one lipstick (named after them) which would/will then be sold solely in their country of origin in very limited quantities. My trusted forwarder only ships from the U.S. so I was only able to buy the U.S.-exclusive shades concocted by LarLarLee and Gabriel Zamora – both beauty vloggers – but the former sold out before I could even bat an eyelid, thereby leaving me with only Gabriel Zamora to purchase.

While it is true that these influencers have strong presence on social media, some did not necessarily found fame online. Alessandra Steinherr, in particular, is beauty director of Glamour UK and as an avid reader of the magazine, I was inclined to lend my support but was once again thwarted by shipping restrictions.

M.A.C X Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C X Gabriel Zamora

Having made headlines last year for being the first male makeup artist to be signed by Ipsy (a beauty sampling service co-founded by fellow beauty vlogger Michelle Phan), 26-year-old Gabriel Zamora is certainly not new to the spotlight. However, he consider his partnership with M.A.C his first major collaboration. Instantly identifiable by his distinct electric-blue hair, Zamora is also known as one of the few beauty gurus who produce bilingual content in English and Spanish on YouTube. Talk about dedication!

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

The lipstick is sheathed in a box bearing the name and autograph of the influencer who designed the shade with its finish also indicated very clearly on it. The packaging, on the overall, is meh because M.A.C obviously knew the lipsticks were going to be snapped up by overzealous fans anyway.

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora

Intuitively, one might expect Zamora to opt for a statement-making colour for his lipstick to go with his flamboyant hairstyle. But he had instead done the complete opposite and decided on a shade that would “work well with virtually any skin tone”. Described as a brown nude with Satin finish, one swipe of Gabriel Zamora lends a creamy and opaque coat of warm terracotta brown on the lips and indeed, you can never go wrong with this shade. This universally-flattering colour is a great for everyday wear and it is simply GORGEOUS!

Although buildable to a darker tone, the vivid colour payoff of just one coat of the lipstick renders additional application wholly unnecessary. Comfortably thick with a nice slip, it clings on to the lips to allow for a longer wear without drying them out, so at some point it felt like a Matte because it doesn’t budge easily. It’s so perfect, words can’t describe how much I love this shade! My current go-to nude lipstick (in Pander Me, a limited-edition shade that is no longer on sale) is running out and this totally saved me the headache of finding a replacement.

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora swatch comparison

M.A.C Gabriel Zamora swatch comparison

What do you think about this lipstick? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or take a quick poll!  🙂

Thanks for reading!

The now sold-out M.A.C × Gabriel Zamora lipstick was available in the U.S. only.

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REVIEW: MAC x Min Liu Lipsticks – Peach Blossom Pink & Dynasty Red

Hello everyone!

Since the highly-coveted glitzy Bao Bao Wan collection in 2015, M.A.C has been making a point of enlisting China’s most esteemed style stars for at least one of their beauty campaigns every year and being Chinese, I can’t help but feel an odd sense of pride even though I am not from China (yes, Singapore is a country on its own that is more than 2000 miles away from China in case you weren’t aware). In that same year, they joined forces with couturier Guo Pei to create a lavish capsule collection embellished with exotic floral prints, followed by Chris Chang in the subsequent year who lent her creative expertise to probably the most kaleidoscopic collection in the history of M.A.C and not long ago, with Min Liu (刘旻 liǔ mín), a Fuzhou-born fashion designer and founder of the Ms MIN label.

Before I dive into this collection, I thought I should clarify certain inaccuracies about Min Liu’s identity – she is not to be confused with the New York-based motion graphics designer (her quirky work is really right up my alley nonetheless, go check them out!) of the same name whom even the supposedly trustworthy beauty websites mistook for (like this one here, here and here *sigh* they’re two completely different people, y’all 🙄 #lazyjournalism). While it can be a real challenge for some to distinguish between Asians, especially when many of us share the same name, it wouldn’t hurt to delve a wee bit deeper into her background and perhaps, exercise a little common sense? A prolific graphic designer running a chain of boutiques? Yeah, it’s possible but ain’t nobody got time for that 🙄

M.A.C X Min Liu Collection (Can we also take a moment to appreciate the beauty of those dresses in the promo picture?)

M.A.C X Min Liu Collection (Can we also take a moment to appreciate the beauty of those dresses in the promo picture?)

After more than three years in the making, the M.A.C × Min Liu collection finally came to fruition and was launched in conjunction with the start of Shanghai Fashion Week in early April. Drawing inspiration from the concept of “气 (qì),” or energy, which is often invoked as a proxy for health and attractiveness in the traditional Chinese culture, this collection adopts pink and red as two of its primary colours (apart from silver and black) because of their customary association with health and positive energy. Read more about the philosophy behind the collaboration here.

Initially slated for limited Asia-Pacific release, this limited-edition collection comprising two shades of Lipstick and Lipglass (Peach Blossom Pink / Fortune Red), Eyeshadow Duo (Fortune Duo), Pearlmatte Face Powder, Fluidline gel liner, Cream Color Base, Brush Roll and a makeup bag eventually rolled out globally in special packaging around mid-April.

M.A.C X Min Liu lipsticks

M.A.C X Min Liu lipsticks

M.A.C X Min Liu lipsticks

M.A.C X Min Liu lipsticks

The lipsticks are encased in a polished, all-black angular tube bedecked with a black tassel (which came protected in a plastic roll to prevent it from fraying), therefore felt a lot bulkier than usual. Naturally, with that extra ornament and the untypical-of-M.A.C packaging, the lipsticks are expected to cost more than those in the regular line. $3 more, as a matter of fact.

#1 Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink (US$20)

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink (US$20)

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Peach Blossom Pink

In the words of Min Liu, “pink is a metaphor of beauty” so there has to be some variant of pink here. And what better way to incorporate pink into this collection than to actually make a lipstick of that colour? Hence, there’s Peach Blossom Pink, a clean midtone pink with Matte finish that looks like a familiar shade of cool fuchsia which you most probably would already have in your stash.

This lipstick is so pigmented that it does not take more than two swipes to deliver long-wearing full coverage and a completely opaque wash of colour. However, the slightly drying consistency of the formula causes it to tug at the lips during application. The product also tends to settle into the fine lines and around the dry edges, thereby revealing cracks on the lips. But these flaws are only noticeable within close proximity.

M.A.C Min Liu Peach Blossom Pink swatch comparison

M.A.C Min Liu Peach Blossom Pink swatch comparison

#2 Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red (US$20)

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red (US$20)

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

M.A.C X Min Liu lipstick in Dynasty Red

Red, on the other hand, has been an important colour in the Chinese culture as it takes on multiple symbolic meanings such as fortune, loyalty and bravery. So the exclusion of any red hue in this China-inspired collection would be akin to committing blasphemy.

This auspicious colour takes the form of a lipstick (and gloss) described as a yellow vibrant red with Matte finish. Called Dynasty Red, it glides on like butter with no tug and lends an intensely pigmented payoff. Boasting a creamy and seamless consistency, it even has a subtle sheen to it. It gives full coverage with opaque colour and is comfortably emollient on the lips, making it feel almost nothing like a Matte. This shade is neither drying nor hydrating.

M.A.C Min Liu Dynasty Red swatch comparison

M.A.C Min Liu Dynasty Red swatch comparison

Although the lipsticks generally did not disappoint in terms of application, I wouldn’t have bought them if not for the special packaging because these lipstick shades are seriously cliched and overused.

What are your views about this collection? Chime in below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading!

M.A.C × Min Liu is now available on MACCosmetics.com and exclusively at M.A.C ION Orchard outlet.

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REVIEW: KKW x Kylie Cosmetics Crème Liquid Lipsticks – Kimberly, Kim, Kiki & Kimmie

Hello everyone!

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying that whatever the Kardashians/Jenners put out would certainly sell like wildfire. The constant bombardment of the family across the social media has sort of voodooed us into splashing our money on whatever they promote and I’m not gonna lie – I’m one of those who have unknowingly been sucked into the Jenners vortex. Ever since Kylie Jenner started her own cosmetics line, I’ve been religiously keeping tabs on her product launches and am now owner to many of her lip kits (which I will find time to review here). Recently, she has also been getting her family involved in the behind-the-scene process and I can’t help but feel excited about what they have in store for us!

So, following the massive success of her collaboration with Khloe Kardashian last year (which prompted three restocks, by the way), the Queen of Snapchat teamed up with yet another of her sisters on a capsule collection two months ago, once again sending fans of the Kardashian clan into a complete state of hysteria. Well, well, well… who could it be?

KKW X Kylie

KKW X Kylie

Yes, it’s the undisputed queen of the nude lip herself! This time, Kim Kardashian, or better known as Kim Kardashian West (KKW) after her marriage to mic-grabber rapper Kanye West, got a share of the pie as she jointly launched a four-piece lipstick set with her makeup maven of a sister under the Kylie Cosmetics label. This collaboration also saw the introduction of a new range of products by the brand – the Créme Liquid Lipsticks.

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

Featuring a highly moisturising formula, the lipsticks come in four shades of nude to recreate the signature Kim Kardashian look: Kimberly, Kim, Kiki and Kimmie – all variants of her first name – and are packed in a matte, pale pink velvety sliding box which essentially makes this collection the classiest and most professional-looking of everything the brand has offered by far. The liquid lipsticks are full-sized, filled in slightly frosted tubes marked by an unmistakable pale pink drip motif below the cap and.. it’s only US$45 with free shipping!

But unlike the very first Koko collection which sold out in under six minutes, this collaboration met with lukewarm response from the beauty community and were moving relatively slowly off the shelves during launch-time. Either a lot more stocks were prepared or the choice of (really light) nude shades just didn’t go well with most people. Nevertheless, I finally carted mine out after a 15-minute wait on the holding page and was nearly late for work 😒 The sets sold out after an hour but were swiftly restocked three days later.

As always, the company was experiencing high volume of orders so I half-expected my shipment to be held up. But the delay was exceptionally long this time for a domestic order – it took them seven days to ship out my parcel and another eight days for it to reach my U.S. address although I acknowledge that the latter is beyond their control. I was still collating orders to be shipped to Singapore so I wasn’t in a hurry to receive my item. Can you imagine the anxiety and frustration of other buyers, though?

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics

Before the launch went live, there were already comments about the shades being vastly similar to one another (I thought so too but I caved in because of the packaging). The swatches depicted above should more or less confirm that suspicion – they are indeed very similar (especially Kim and Kiki) and, as a matter of fact, boring. The only shade that stood out was Kimmie because it is the darkest of the lot. Still, all of them reminded me of M.A.C lipsticks that I had rated poorly in the past. But giving a conclusive opinion before actually wearing them would be unfair, so here goes..

#1 Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimberly

Channel some serious Kim Kardashian vibes with Kimberly, a light cool beige described as a “true nude” and named after Kim K’s birth name.

It is glossy and has a sheer, barely buildable coverage despite reports claiming otherwise. I had tried applying more layers to intensify the colour but all it does was adding more moist and watery patches that diffuse into the fine lines around the lips. The runny consistency of the lipstick also makes application messy and uncontrollable. The formula doesn’t bleed, but it spreads out to reveal an uneven and wrinkled appearance no matter how I tried to conceal it with more product. Besides, it does not dry down a single bit so it is not at all transfer-proof. The moment it touches something, practically the entire coat gets removed, maybe save for some leftover streaks. Yucks!

#2 Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kim

Kim is a light warm beige described as a “peachy nude” with a similar glossy finish to Kimberly. But this goes on thicker with a drier texture while still keeping the lips adequately hydrated. Although sheer, it is slightly more pigmented and buildable. However, due to the watery nature of the lipstick, the product settles into lip lines immediately upon application, therefore accentuating dry patches and that is a big ‘Nope’ right there because I have naturally chapped lips.

#3 Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kiki

Kiki, as Kim K’s family so affectionately calls her, is a light coral beige described as a “pinky nude”. In comparison to Kim (because this shade made me doubt my eyesight for a moment so I figured some of you may not be able to tell them apart at first glance as well), Kiki is slightly warmer with more red undertones.

Likewise, it has a lightweight and creamy consistency that is sadly overshadowed by its rubbish staying power due to the fact that it stays liquefied even after hours of wear. Its opacity – or should I say, translucency – is comparable to that of a gloss and the streaky mess is truly a shame. The Crème formula is really basically just gloss under the disguise of a more hydrating Velvet finish, minus the tacky texture. And it is awful.

KKW X Kylie Créme Liquid Lipsticks - Kiki & Kim swatch comparisons

KKW X Kylie Créme Liquid Lipsticks – Kiki & Kim swatch comparisons

#4 Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

KKW X Kylie Cosmetics Créme Liquid Lipstick in Kimmie

Despite having ranted against every lipstick in this collection so far, there is actually one shade among the four that I find rather wearable with decent coverage, and that’s Kimmie. It is vaguely (and inaccurately) described as a “deep nude” but I think it appears more as a muted terracotta.

Perhaps because of its darker hue, Kimmie has a more buildable and pigmented payoff and on top of that, applies more evenly and does not cling to the dry areas on the lips as conspicuously as the rest. Still, I cannot ignore the fact that it is short-lived on my lips. Reckoning that this would probably not withstand the test of gluttony and would require constant reapplication on the go, I ended up bringing my regular lipstick in a bullet along for touch-ups when I wore this out. I was so glad I did because it started to budge by the first hour and what was left on my lips after my dinner were a few unsightly powdery streaks.

KKW X Kylie Créme Liquid Lipsticks - Kimmie & Kimberly swatch comparisons

KKW X Kylie Créme Liquid Lipsticks – Kimmie & Kimberly swatch comparisons

As a bonus, here’s a lip swatch of all the four shades side-by-side:

Spot the difference... 🙄

Spot the difference… 🙄

All in all, unless comfort wearing is your utmost priority or you’re into creamy liquid lipsticks with diluted consistency and preposterously short lasting power, this new formula is utter garbage and should be avoided at all costs.

I really don’t see the point in this new formula at all. If Kim isn’t a fan of mattes (which is understandable since her makeup artist prefers creamy- and satin-finish lipsticks), she could have just stuck with the existing velvet formula, right? Arrrrgh. What a waste of our money 😒

Final verdict: 👎

Final verdict: 👎

What are your views on this collection? Let me know in the comments below or take a quick poll!

Thanks for reading! ♥

KKW × Kylie Cosmetics is a limited-edition collection launched on 25 April 2017 on kyliecosmetics.com and restocked in limited quality on kkwbeauty.com on 21 june 2017. now sold out, it can still be found in the reseller market (beware of fakes).

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REVIEW: MAC x James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

Hello everyone!

While many of us (still) struggle to find our ultimate goal in life, Detroit-born James Kaliardos realised his calling to be a makeup artist when doing his mother’s makeup at just age seven. His interest for makeup sparked after constantly watching his mother doll up her lids with eye shadow and despite his tender age, he was able to translate his love for colours and drawing into the beauty looks he saw on Vogue. This passion followed him through his formative years – where he helped his female friends look aesthetically rad for school proms – before it progressed to theatrical makeup.

Now a master makeup artist among other trades, he creates trends backstage across all international fashion weeks and had worked on the most famous faces in the world including Hillary Clinton, Madonna (especially Madonna – you know her Ray of Light-era boho-tech look? Yeah, that’s the work of James Kaliardos!), Julianne Moore, Barbra Streisand, Nicole Kidman, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Victoria Beckham (source). On top of that, he is a publishing mogul, having co-founded one of today’s most exclusive and expensive magazines Visionaire which ranges in the hundreds of dollars with very limited circulation, and an actor with his own troupe, the Innocent Theatre Company. Holy moly, how the heck does he do it?! I can’t even keep up with one job 😨

That’s not all! Adding to his already-impressive portfolio of achievements, Kaliardos recently collaborated with M.A.C on a new makeup range as part of the 50-piece Make-Up Art Cosmetics collection with two other notable makeup maestros Diane Kendal and Kabuki (which I passed on). But he commands a larger chunk of this launch with 22 pieces. However, as my money was saved for other upcoming releases, I only spent on a single lipstick (out of 4) from this sub-collection.

M.A.C X James Kaliardos lipstick packaging

M.A.C X James Kaliardos lipstick packaging

Every item in this collaboration is decked out in limited-edition packaging with the name and autograph of the makeup artist printed below the M.A.C logo in gold foil on both the black box and container, so the lipstick is no exception. The lipstick tube has a matte surface that feels smooth to the touch. All of the four lipsticks in the James Kaliardos collection are shades that he frequently uses to create red carpet looks and for photo shoots.

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper (US$17)

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper (US$17)

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Lipstick in Jasper

Described as a deep reddish brown with Satin finish, Jasper is in fact based on the brown from Paramount with deep wine pigment mixed into it. In appearance, it is a drop-dead gorgeous burgundy with cool undertones.

It runs smoothly on the lips with no tug and leaves a comfortable and hydrating texture topped with a healthy sheen. It is mostly opaque with a buildable intensity – swipe once for a just bitten look and two more coats for full coverage. It has a slightly patchy consistency so some parts of the lips would seem darker than the rest, but it’s not really visible from far and you can fix it momentarily by pursing your lips.

This lasts relatively long on me (I don’t really take note of the duration because I pig out a lot and lipsticks generally don’t remain in their original state after coming contact with anything) and fades to a natural-looking stain. Jasper is a shade that goes well with every skin tone!

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Jasper swatch comparison - Diva is brighter and warmer whereas Hearts Aflamed is more muted and warmer

M.A.C X James Kaliardos Jasper swatch comparison – Diva is brighter and warmer whereas Hearts Aflamed is more muted and warmer

What do you think of this lipstick? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or take a quick poll! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

M·A·C James Kaliardos was launched in january and is still available on MACCosmetics.com (collection page taken down, so lipsticks only here or view the full list of items here on the australian site). do check with your local M.A.C outlets on its availability.

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REVIEW: MAC x Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

Hey everyone!

Since drifting away from the pop culture scene (is it normal to gain a preference for oldies music as you age?), I’ve lost count the number of times I have gone, “Who is that?” whenever M.A.C announced a new collaboration with a pop artiste. Having not tuned into any local contemporary hit radio stations for the past decade, needless to say, I had the same reaction when I got wind of their partnership with a Canadian singer-songwriter who calls herself Kiesza. But hey, if not for this collaboration, I wouldn’t have known about this talented yet underrated lady (look her up on YouTube and treat your ears to some upbeat H&M-worthy music if you must), so it’s all good 👍

Joining the ranks of other celebrities such as Halsey, Tinashe and Brooke Candy, all of whom I honestly didn’t know existed until they teamed up with M.A.C, Kiesza presents her first makeup collection with the well-loved cosmetics brand – a four-piece capsule collection comprising a Matte Lipstick, Vamplify Lipgloss, Liquidlast Liner and Big Brow Pencil – and they (except the eyeliner) are brown-hued. Hence, even without finding out who Kiesza is, this collection, or rather the lipstick, already has my name written on it.

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved (regular packaging again..)

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved (regular packaging again..)

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved (US$17)

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved (US$17)

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved

Named after Kiesza’s latest single off her sophomore album, Dearly Beloved – the sole lipstick in this collection – reflects the understated look that she had been experimenting while trying to move away from her usual red lip colour.

Described as a warm soft brown with Matte finish, it appears to have ashy undertones when applied. Far from the usual drying Matte formula of M.A.C lipsticks, the payoff of this shade feels almost like a Satin as it goes on smooth with a creamy consistency and even has a slight sheen to it. Mostly opaque, it is moderately pigmented with a buildable intensity but emphasises every fine line (very noticeable on the upper lip) and dry bit of the lips. Having said that, it does leave my lips feeling moisturised and comfortable the entire time I had it on, so I guess it’s a fair trade-off!

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved swatch comparison - Cold Hard Cash is the closest dupe but has warmer undertones

M·A·C Kiesza Lipstick in Dearly Beloved swatch comparison – Cold Hard Cash is the closest dupe but has warmer undertones

What are your thoughts of this? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll 😉

Thanks for reading! 🙂

M·A·C × Kiesza is now available on MACCosmetics.com. This collection is not available in Singapore.

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REVIEW: Foreo ESPADA Acne-Clearing Blue Light Pen

Hello everyone!

Temperatures are soaring globally and this spells trouble for those with acne-prone skin. Heat and humidity intensify oil production in our skin which in turn gives rise to (more frequent) breakouts. Hence, while blessed souls with amazing complexion just need to slap on some toner to prevent summer zits from sprouting, the not-so-lucky ones like us would have to take significantly more precautions to stop new ones from popping up on our already-blemished face. What is your beauty regime for the hot weather like?

Apart from the usual acne cleansers and medicated cream we sufferers are all too familiar with, the trend these days seems to be toward using at-home LED devices to treat pesky pimples. LED light therapy for acne is not certainly not new as it has been used by dermatologists for years. But receiving the therapy in a clinic could set you back a few hundred dollars per session, or thousands to complete the entire treatment (and it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never get another pimple again). Handheld light therapy devices, on the other hand, are typically more affordable in the long run (a one-time payment of less than S$400) and are a more practical option because they can be used any time you want to avert an acne crisis.

Personally, I own a blue light device – a Foreo ESPADA Acne-Clearing Blue Light Pen gifted by my boyfriend for my birthday last year. It is quite a new product (less than a year in the market?) and was retailing for S$209 on Sephora. Now that the price online has been reduced by 30%, some of you may be tempted to give it a go but discouraged by the lack of reviews. Well, lucky you, you’ve come to the right place 😁 Read on to find out how I feel about the device!

Foreo ESPADA Packaging

Foreo ESPADA Packaging

Foreo ESPADA Packaging

Foreo ESPADA Packaging

As a quick introduction (with most information obtained from here and here), the ESPADA (‘sword’ in Spanish, but Foreo is a Swedish brand) is a slim handheld acne-fighting device which combines Blue Light Pulse Technology and T-Sonic™ pulsations. Operating it is easy as it has only one on/off button on the front. Once switched on, it activates a red laser-like beam for more precise targeting of blemish. This is extremely useful as without this function, it would be quite difficult to tell beneath the flat surface of the head if you’ve accurately aimed the blue light at your desired spot.

On/Off button

On/Off button

Targeted light precision

Targeted light precision

See the red laser-like beam on my forehead?

See the red laser-like beam on my forehead?

Next, rest the device on the targeted area and it will let out 415 nm of blue light (LED) which penetrates deep below skin’s surface to kill acne-causing bacteria at the source, while the T-Sonic pulsations help the light diffuse into pores for maximum efficacy. This treatment is only initiated on contact with the skin to ensure safety for skin and eyes and conserve battery. The whole process does not involve any pain or discomfort with the only rumbling sensation you experience coming from the pulsations. Repeat the process twice for mild acne, or three to four times for moderate acne. I’m a kiasu (overly cautious) person so I tend to zap every zit, regardless of their severity, minimally three times.

Be prepared for tired hands..

Be prepared for tired hands..

The ESPADA has a built-in timer that enables the device to vibrate every 30 seconds with longer pulses to indicate the end of each acne-treating routine. It is also USB-chargeable and one charge can provide up to 240 treatments. Mine, in most cases, needs to be charged once every week if used daily (about 30 treatments each day) and it takes about 3-4 hours to be fully charged. The red light at the foot of the device starts flashing once it reaches a critically low battery level and the treatment stops abruptly the moment the device deems itself to have insufficient power to complete the routine. But sometimes, there would still be a teeny weeny bit of power left to keep it running for a couple more seconds, so if you’re thrifty like me, just keep hitting the button until it can’t be switched on anymore  😁

Blue light technology in action!

Blue light technology in action!

Designed with hygiene as a priority, the head of the device is coated in a special bacteria-resistant silicone that prohibits the spread of acne-causing bacteria. The waterproof body is quick-drying, easy to clean and nonporous to prevent bacteria buildup. This device is said to be most effective on clean skin so I usually use it after cleansing my face and would only wipe the head with a damp cloth (or rinse under running tap every other week) thereafter. It is very portable and comes with a grey pouch for easy storage.

Comes with a grey pouch that is big enough to fit the device and the complimentary USB cable

Comes with a grey pouch that is big enough to fit the device and the complimentary USB cable

Now, moving on to the efficacy of this product, the ESPADA clears up pesky pimples to a satisfactory extent but unfortunately, does not work on severe cases of acne like my big cystic ones which did not only go away, their size remained unchanged and were still as painful as ever. This device is only effective against occasional or smaller pimples – such as those with poppable heads – as it is able to dry them up faster and reduce the inflammation. Moreover, contrary to what it also promises, it does not (at least for me) prevent further pimples from forming.

Price-wise, I thought the ESPADA is pretty affordable (although I received mine as a gift) especially with the discount at Sephora now. It is a lot cheaper than another similar product by Tria (not available in Singapore) due to the fact that this does not require additional or changeable cartridges which will collectively cost more than the device itself in the long run. There are a handful of other products in the Singapore market that use similar technology (such as SKIN INC’s Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light and Clariancy’s Tanda Clear) but cost at least a hundred dollars more.

In conclusion, is Foreo ESPADA a worthy buy? If you’re a student dealing with teen acne, then for the love of your wallet, yes. Otherwise, this still makes a decent combat tool against the little bumps on your face.

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: modelled pictures were taken 1.5 months ago when I had massive breakout of cystic acne. pictures posted in the recent reviews show my visibly clearer skin after seeking professional help from a skin clinic. I will share that wonderful experience soon on this space.
keep your eyes peeled!
😉
The Foreo ESPADA Acne-Clearing Blue Light Pen is available in three colours (cobalt blue, magenta & pink) at Sephora Singapore for S$206 S$146.

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