Well Red: Red Lipstick Swatches

Since overcoming my fear of all things lipstick a few years ago, I’ve amassed quite a collection of lip products – mostly lipsticks, a few lip stains, and three very neglected lip glosses.

At the heart of my collection are the high-contrast reds which, apparently, I can’t get enough of, because my current wishlist is filled with them.

Clockwise from 12 o’clock: Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani 400, Beauté Liqui-Gel Stain in Fever (review here), Laura Mercier Stickgloss in Poppy, Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Samsara, Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick #17 Ichijiku (review here), Lipstick Queen Medieval, Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge in RD-2 (review here), MAC Viva Glam I.

Here I’ve added a swatch of Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in #10 Rouge Philtre (review here) on the far right, because I left it out of the earlier shots (on purpose. obviously.) even though it counts as a red.

So, as a reminder, these swatches (and the paper swatches) are, from left to right:

  1. Guerlain Rouge Automatique in Samsara: a berry red
  2. Suqqu Creamy Glow Lipstick #17 Ichijiku: a dark, vampy, brick red
  3. MAC Viva Glam I: another dark brick red
  4. Lipstick Queen Medieval: a sheer but buildable cherry red
  5. Lavshuca Dramatic Memory Rouge RD-2: a sheer red that’s slightly warmer.
  6. Armani Rouge d’Armani 400: a classic true red
  7. Laura Mercier Stickgloss in Poppy: a sheer tomato red
  8. Beauté Liqui-Gel Stain in Fever: a vivid red to sheer rose pink depending on how sheer it’s applied.
  9. Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain #10 Rouge Philtre: another vivid classic red, that can be sheered out to a rose stain.

Can’t get enough red?

What’s your favourite shade of red lipstick? And are there any you’re lusting after at the moment? I’m in love with Guerlain’s new Rouge G l’Extrait in Luxure, and I can’t wait to actually get it.


Adventures in Minimalism: Purging the Taupes a.k.a. insert taupe pun here

Taupe on a rope? Taupal eclipse? The audacity of taupe? Please submit your taupe puns in the comments section – we will have a pun-off.

Ok so some of you may have seen my stash photo on twitter:

Stash full

(Incidentally Adobe Photoshop’s panorama stitching is wizardry – apart from a dodgy Shu eyeshadow, you’d never tell this was two photos stitched together)

Now by some people’s standards this is just a little pygmy stash, but the size doesn’t bother me too much, it’s more the huge waste – there are so many products here that I just don’t use!

So now I’m embarking on a minimalist adventure, purging anything that, in the words of William Morris, I ‘do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ (smart man, also do you know you can get William Morris tablecloths – what did this guy NOT do?).

To start with, let’s have a look at all my taupes.

And with labels:

A LOT of Asian eyeshadows here, and almost half are drugstore, which is nice. Most brands you will have heard of before, Dodo may be new to some folks – I don’t know a whole lot about the brand actually, I think it’s Korean and I know it’s quite reasonably priced; I bought this eyeshadow in a Japanese drugstore for about £4.

First we have: Visee Glam Nude Eyes N-5 (reviewed here), Suqqu Keshizumi, Addiction Flashback, Sonia Rykiel Quatre Eyeshadow Collection 09, Dodo P20, Lancôme Erika F.

It seems in my absence I’ve forgotten how to take good photos of swatches, so bear with me.

Lancôme Erika F (far right) pushes the definition of taupe, and as you can see, my skin pulls out the grey and green in it. In reviews of it by other bloggers, it often looks like a much closer relative to the taupe family than it does on me.

My favourites from this group are the Sonia Rykiel (3rd from the right) and the Suqqu (2nd from the left). I love how purple and cool the Sonia Rykiel is, and the coolness of the Suqqu makes it so wearable. Both textures are amazing. My least favourite is the Dodo (2nd from right), the texture of the eyeshadow isn’t great – a little hard – and it’s a little too warm. Flashback and Visee are…ok. I like them a lot on their own, but when I compare them to my other taupes, I see others that I prefer.

Next we have: Kate Wide Edge Eyes PU-1, Maquillage Eyeshadow N in GY835, Bobbi Brown Stone, Too Faced Like a Virgin, Suqqu Ginbudou.

Don’t you LOVE that Maquillage (2nd from left) eyeshadow? I really haven’t used this eyeshadow enough; I bought it just as I arrived in Japan, and never really got acquainted with it because then I bought about…100 other things in a fit of shopping that experts are calling: WHEEE JAPAN! (I am the expert. It is me calling it that. You can call it that too if you like.)

Anyway, mmm yummy to that Maquillage. Its texture is lovely as well. The Kate (far left) is also rather nice, not too red. The palette itself is stellar, I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed it yet. The Suqqu (far right), like Erika F, pushes the boundaries of taupe so it’s a bit strange to compare it to the rest. I love it though, regardless of taupicity.

While the Too Faced (the matte, 2nd from right) doesn’t exactly excite me, I do see it as a very useful shade; it’s my only matte taupe, and it’s very versatile. The only loser in this bunch is the Bobbi Brown. It’s a little warm, and if I wasn’t so overwhelmed with taupes I’d probably keep it, but this eyeshadow is middle-of-the-road in terms of both texture and shade, so it’s not really necessary for me to keep it.


  • Sonia Rykiel 09
  • Suqqu Keshizumi
  • Maquillage GY835
  • Kate PU-1
  • Too Faced Like A Virgin


  • Visee N-5 (but probably keep because the palette is really solid and versatile)
  • Addiction Flashback


  • Dodo P20
  • Bobbi Brown Stone

Taupe Imposters (Intertaupers!)

  • Lancôme Erika F
  • Suqqu Ginbudou

Are any of you reading-people mid-purge? Or planning one? Are you shocked by the amount of stuff I have – or laughing at my piddly collection? Which taupe is your favourite? Do you like questions? What did you have for lunch? I had pasta and homemade pesto? Because I’m cool like that? My basil plant has grown really big, how do I stop it? Maybe I’ll buy a sheep to graze on it? Do sheep eat basil? Italian sheep maybe?


Swatches: Canmake Melty Nude Lip, Nudy Glow Rouge, Coffret D’Or Beauty Essence Gel Foundation

Hello! So after yesterday’s heavy post I thought I’d lighten things up with some swatches I took at the drug store – I know it’s difficult buying online so I thought if I tried to swatch as much as possible it’d make everyone’s shopping a little more fun. If you have any requests email me or comment.

First off, Coffret D’or Beauty Essence Gel Foundation (seriously, I’m surprised they didn’t have to make the labels bigger to accommodate this massive name).

Okay so I don’t know much about gel foundation, I’ve heard some people say it doesn’t settle into pores as much as liquid foundation and so it looks more skin-like but that’s all I know really.

Anyway I’ve had a lot of requests for swatches of this Coffret D’or Beauty Essence Gel, so here they are.

First: My skin with some MAC shades on it. This was taken in different light (at home) so it’s not totally foolproof but it gives an idea of how pale my arm is (very- paler than my BB Alabaster face). I tried to adjust the white balance so that the swatches would be more comparable.

These are all the shades, sorry it’s quite blurry but I hope you can get an idea of the colours.

These are just the lighter shades, I included this picture because it’s sharper than the other one and so it might be more helpful.

Okay so none of the shades are light enough for my skin, and I would say if you’re NW15 you probably won’t find a match either. As a cool-toned girl, none of these tones match me at all. The Ochre shades are supposedly neutral but, while they were cooler than the Beige shades, I would still say they were warm overall. There is one tone, Soft Ochre which is more neutral but for some reason the only shade they have is ‘C’. The Beige tones are a strange colour. They’re warm but they have a kind of olive tint to them as well, I think if you were very warm you could wear these shades, and for those with olive tones they might be of interest to you too. The B shades are the lightest and D shades are the darkest. The difference between shades is quite small, and I wouldn’t consider the D shades to be that dark at all.

You can find this product on sale here.

Now, requests for Canmake lip swatches were pretty common too, so I’ve swatched the Canmake Melty Nude Lip (lipstick) and Nudy Glow Rouge (gloss) products for you.

Melty Nude Lip

I only realised after swatching that the testers hadn’t been in the correct order, oops! I wasn’t too impressed with these lipsticks, they were just ok. Then again I am not a fan of the ‘nude lip’ trend so I guess I was kind of biased against them in the first place. On lips (one of the testers had just been put out) they are VERY nude (what can I say I like to point out the obvious). On skin they look much darker and more vibrant than they actually are when applied on lips. Oh also, you may be finding it difficult to tell the difference between shades 1 and 2, I also have no clue. In the shop they looked so similar I could only see a tiny difference when I held my arm at different angles. 2 is ever so slightly more pink but other than that the difference is negligible.

I had to copy in the descriptions from the Canmake website because I thought they were cute:

color image [01] Baby Beige

A bright light beige. For a casual look that emphasizes your eyes.
Everyone will be fascinated by your lips, which will look perfect, yet somehow vulnerable!

color image [02] Creamy Nude

This is true nude-look make-up – a skin-tone beige that will suit everyone! For natural-looking lips ☆

color image [03] Baby Pink

A cute milky pink the color of cherry shells. For sweet-looking lips like an innocent young girl.

color image [04] Peach Beige

A pinkish beige that creates lips in a sophisticated skin tone.
For criminally beautiful lips that combine an adult sophistication with a certain impishness!

Canmake Nudy Glow Rouge

I have to say I was really impressed by these. As you know from last week’s Friday Round-Up I hate sticky lipgloss and Japan had yet to show me any formulae I hadn’t seen before. Enter Canmake Nudy Glow Rouge (overly-verbose naming seems to be a trend here). These are a bit like the Illamasqua sheer lipglosses in texture, but they are much more pigmented. They do have a little stick (there has to be SOME) but they actually feel quite creamy. I’m really tempted to get one of these, I just can’t decide on a shade right now. It seems like all of them would be good (though I’m not too keen on Honey Latte myself) but I’m leaning towards Rose Macaroon.

Here are the colour descriptions from the website.

color image [01] Rose Macaroon

A pinkish beige that gives your lips a gentle rose-pink color. Creates a gorgeous countenance that will make your skin look one tone brighter. Contains silver pearl

color image [02] Strawberry Whip

A lovable milky pink like a pink shell. For dainty-looking lips like those of an innocent young girl. Contains silver pearl × large gold light-polarizing pearl × large red light-polarizing pearl

color image [03] Brownie Chocolate

A deep beige that will accentuate the paleness of your skin. For grown-up yet sweetly neat-looking lips. Contains large gold light-polarizing glass pearl × large red light-polarizing glass pearl

color image [04] Sugar Milk Tea

A versatile milky beige that creates lips with a sophisticated skin tone. Very handy when you want to ensure that your eye make-up stands out! Contains large gold light-polarizing pearl × large red light-polarizing pearl

color image [05] Honey Latte

A bright beige close to your natural complexion.
The exquisite color calculated to blend in well with your skin is the perfect shade to make you look like a classy girl!

color image [06] Peach Milk

A creamy pink that blends in well with your skin. Melts into your skin, for perfectly cute, devilishly sexy lips ♡

You can get Canmake products here. (I didn’t do a huge search for the best prices so you might find them cheaper elsewhere).

Update: You can also get them from this site which comes highly recommended (see Kat’s comment below, thanks Kat!).

Comparison: Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick vs. Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Cover Stick

A thread on the MUA (Make-Up Alley) forums the other day prompted this comparison of the two foundation sticks I own: Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick and Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Cover Stick. Foundation sticks are marketed for their ease of use (a concealer and foundation in one), adjustable coverage and portability. But which one’s the best one?

This comparison won’t help you find out because there are more than 2 foundation sticks in the world but it’ll start you on your search (and then tell me the answer when you get to the end, mmkay?).

It’s hard to tell which foundation is better in terms of shade range. Shu Uemura seems to have fewer shades for darker skin, but the line does have many options for different undertones (but it still leans a bit yellow).  Bobbi Brown, on the other hand, must only hang out with people with warm undertones and believes ergo that every woman must have a yellow undertone. (Can you tell I’m bitter?) However her range spans a vast spectrum of shades: from very pale to very dark. Even though I’m cool-toned I can use Bobbi’s palest shade (Alabaster) because it seems to be more neutral than the rest of her range.

I’m comparing the Bobbi Brown stick in Alabaster to the Shu stick in 584.  Here is a swatch of the two foundations along with my other foundations (from this post).

In my opinion 584 in the Nobara cover stick is different from 584 in Face Architect Fluid foundation so even if you think you know your shade, test it first just in case. Bobbi Brown in Alabaster is a little paler than Shu 584 but I can wear both and not look weird (foundation-wise at least) as the difference is slight. As I said before, Alabaster is a lot more neutral than Bobbi’s other shades. 584 is slightly pinker than Alabaster but it’s still not far into the ‘cool’ range.

Warm undertones won’t have problems finding a shade in these foundation sticks: Shu Uemura has a plethora of yellow tones (the ‘5’ range is the coolest tone as far as I know) as does Bobbi Brown. Those with neutral undertones could have trouble with Bobbi Brown if their skin isn’t very pale as it seems only Alabaster can classed as neutral. Very cool girls could have a lot of trouble with these – I can just about get away with these shades but they do warm my skin up a bit.
KarlaSugar has swatches of the Shu Uemura cover stick and she also explains the numbering of the shades.

The Bobbi Brown Stick costs £26.00 for 9 grams and the Shu costs £30.00 (from SpaceNK) for 11 grammes. This works out to £2.89 per gram for Bobbi Brown and £2.73 for Shu.

For this comparison I tried to get coverage as full as possible. I put the sticks directly on my face (I know I know: germs, bugs and smallpox etc.) and then used a sponge to pat it in. I also used a concealer brush to spot conceal and conceal under-eye bags. I wouldn’t wear this much coverage from day to day.

Both were relatively easy to blend out with a sponge. I found the Shu more pleasant to apply as it just glides over skin because it has more slip than the Bobbi Brown. Nothing was wrong with the Bobbi Brown per se, but it was much tackier on skin than the Shu.

Here’s an uncomfortably close-up picture of the moon’s surface the foundations a few minutes after application. Neither look so hot on my mighty pores, and I can’t really tell which foundation has done a better job here. On my actual nose, however, the Shu cover stick has managed to cover my sebaceous filaments while they are still somewhat visible on the Bobbi Brown side. Bear in mind that I tried to take this picture in the harshest light possible – I’d rather show these foundations looking their worst so I can scrutinise every detail. (I’m not that repellent! Honest!)

The Shu Uemura foundation is advertised as a foundation/concealer duo:

‘the innovative formula … gives the instant high coverage of a concealer with the smooth glide of a foundation’

While the Bobbi Brown just promises ‘adjustable coverage’. However after some research (see the end of this post) I’ve discovered that the Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick is exactly the same formula as the Touch up Stick that’s advertised as a blemish concealer.

So I tried to test the two as blemish concealers as well. Neither a sponge nor fingers provided any noticeable coverage of blemishes, but after switching to a concealer brush I could see results. I think because of the Shu’s aforementioned ‘slip’ it did a better job of covering blemishes. I really had to cake on the Bobbi Brown to cover the blemish and it also wasn’t so easy to blend out.
Here are examples of the blemish coverage (I know, TMI right? But I’m willing to scar my one reader for the sake of science! Sorry reader.)

It’s annoying that the light is so dark on the Bobbi Brown example but you can see that the blemish is still slightly visible, especially when compared to the Shu example.

There’s not much difference between lasting power on these two. I assumed that Shu’s slip, which had been so helpful for application, might have been a disadvantage when it came to lasting power, but both have lasted until the end of the day. Sadly, both have pooled ever so slightly in my problem areas: around my nostrils and in the dip on my chin. This pooling isn’t terrible – you would have to look hard to notice it, but I’m still a non-plussed. As concealers, both look as they did when they were freshly applied. I would say it was a draw in terms of lasting power: both had the same longevity but also the same pitfalls. I asked my hermit brother to scrutinise my face and he said that my right side (Shu) looked a little bit better but he didn’t know why. Concise isn’t he?

Bobbi fought a good battle, but Shu comes out victorious as the new king of relativley reasonably priced foundation sticks (ain’t that a mouthful). To be honest though, I’m left feeling a little deflated about the whole foundation stick shebang. They’re easy to travel with because you can apply with your hands (but add a concealer brush if you have a blemish or two) and they look like the kind of foundation James Bond would use: the kind disguised as a chunky felt-tip pen. But that’s where their perks end – at least for me. I’d rather take my normal foundation (Shu Face architect fluid or the Graftobian HD) and Bobbi Brown creamy concealer and be done with it. I can apply those with my fingers too and they won’t take up much more space than these cool spy foundations.

Update 2011: I am in love with the Shu Nobara Stick, poor Bobbi has fallen by the wayside, see my updated review here.

Oh yes, the Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick and Touch Up Stick thing: I emailed Bobbi Brown customer service a few weeks ago asking for the ingredients of both these products. Here they are:

Touch Up Stick


Foundation Stick


Interesting…’but’ I hear you say, ‘maybe they have different amounts of each ingredient’ (yeah you were thinking it). That would be reasonable – perhaps the touch up stick is more pigmented and therefore a better concealer. But no, I went to the counter and compared on my arm for a good 10 minutes and I couldn’t see the difference. Still not quite convinced, I ask the Sales Assistant and she told me they are indeed the same product, but the Touch Up Stick is in a more convenient package for blemish concealing.

Anyway so if you’re looking at the Touch Up Stick to conceal blemishes you might want to consider the Foundation Stick + concealer brush combo as you get a lot more product for your money that way.