My Own Quest to Finding the Right Red Lipstick

25 09 2009

By Taryn

Piggybacking on Jessi’s excellent The Perfect Red Lip post, I figured I’d offer up my own experiences in finding the right red lipstick/gloss…

Up until a few years ago, I had always favored dark, matte lip colors like MAC’s Rocker, Russian Red, Ruby Woo and most of all, the now-discontinued Benefit Dietrich, which was a matte, blood red with cool undertones. Here’s a shot of it in the tube:

Oddly enough, when photographed in certain lights, it appeared to be more of a tomato red, which wasn’t accurate at all. Regardless of the color, however, it gave me “Joker mouth” and was hardly flattering to my chalk-white skin. My skin, BTW, also amazingly appears much lighter in this photograph of my lips (as if it couldn’t get any lighter!). Also, notice how much smaller and less plump my lips look when wearing a harsh, matte lipstick:

While I could marginally pull that off a few years ago, now it would just look aging. So, I decided to come up with a softer red lip that I could wear more often since I really missed wearing the most glamorous of lip colors. Here’s what I came up with:

It still has pigment, but a much softer finish. Here’s what I used to get the look:

  1. Lined lips with Kevyn Aucoin’s The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Medium
  2. Put a touch of Benefit’s Cupid’s Bow in the bow of the lips
  3. Drew in lips with Shiseido’s Automatic Lip Crayon in LC4, which is a berryish-red
  4. Took MAC’s Red Romp* Lipglass and wiped the wand on a tissue before applying all over, and blotted lightly once again.

*Red Romp was LE, so you may want to check out Russian Red as a duplicate.

Red is wearable for anyone; it’s just a matter of experimenting, finding the right MA to work with you, and getting the right texture and shade for your skintone!

Ellis Faas Lipcolor Review

24 09 2009

By Taryn

While scrolling through the comments on another blog, I saw someone talking about Ellis Faas lip products and how good their reds are.  I went to the website, intrigued, and saw that her products come in three formulas: Creamy Lips, Milky Lips and Glazed Lips.  Bright reds are not really flattering on me anymore, but I can wear a sheerer red, and that’s where the Glazed Lips come in.


Packaged in sleek, bullet-like silver tubes, all Ellis Faas lip colors are in a click-pen format.  The Glazed Lips almost have a watercolor-like consistency, where you can see through them yet they still provide a good amount of pigment.  They come with brush applicators, but I have better luck using my own lip brush rather than their applicator, which tends to just spread the color around, making it look uneven and slightly messy.

I’ve also found that wearing a lip liner under these will give your lips a cleaner appearance, as well as slightly better coverage and lasting time.


Glazed Lips L301 and L303

While these are expensive at 24.95 Euros (about $36.87 USD), they made for a nice splurge and definitely have a unique look to them.  I wish the applicator was easier to use and the product blended in a little better, but so far I haven’t found lip colors that look this wet and watercolor-esque from any other brand.

They can be purchased at

Summary: Expensive, but unique liquid lip colors that have a thinner consistency yet brilliant pigmentation.

Confession Time: My Favorite Mascara

24 09 2009

By Sheila

It’s confession week here at Painted Ladies, and today I have yet another dark (but not dirty) secret to share with you. 

Years ago, when I worked in cosmetics retail sales for a big name company, they would tell  us to make sure to push their latest and greatest mascara to everyone we’d encounter. Sure they were pretty good mascaras, but whenever a customer would ask what my favorite mascara was, I’d pull them aside, look down, and say in a shushed voice, “Run to the drugstore and get some Cover Girl.” 

My name is Sheila, and I was a disloyal sales person. Above all, I am a makeup junkie, and I could never have lied and told people not to get something I considered the very best. Although I’ve been a faithful devotee of Dior Show for about a year, I always have a tube of Cover Girl LashBlast around and use it when my Dior has gone mysteriously missing. I think we all know who would be to blame for that by now (wink). 

In all my years of using makeup, I’ve found Cover Girl mascaras to be an excellent quality as they don’t flake, don’t clump, hold a curl all day long, and really get your lashes looking their very best. Cover Girl is always coming out with new formulas and new brushes that improve upon the last versions. If it’s a case of brush versus formula, they win all the way around. 

On top of all those fabulous features, the price is unbeatable, and being a drugstore item, they frequently are part of buy-one-get-one specials, or discounted with readily available coupons. 

As for my furtive product recommendations in my sales days: did I do that for other products? Maybe …. You’ll have to stick around for those confessions. 😉

 What’s your favorite mascara? Have you found that low-end mascaras work just as well as high-end ones?

Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil Review

22 09 2009

By Taryn

Awhile ago, I ran out of my DHC Cleansing Oil and decided to try Origins’ new Clean Energy product. I like cleansing oils because they thoroughly remove makeup, are water soluble, non-drying and you’re not tugging at your face to get it perfectly clean.

Origins has not let me down and they have created a very good product. Clean Energy smells better than the DHC, has a lighter consistency, has all-natural ingredients and works just as well. The essential oils in Clean Energy may be irritating to some skin types, but I found I didn’t have a problem other than it stinging a bit if I got it in my eyes.  Still, it is paraben-free and that’s a big plus for me, since the DHC contains one paraben.

What’s also nice about the Origins product is that you can pop into Macy’s or any other store they sell the line in to purchase it, rather than having to get it online. I like online shopping, but it’s nice to have the option of buying something in a store if you realize you’re suddenly running low. Another plus is not having to pay the shipping fees.

The Origins is 6.7 fl. oz and the DHC also comes in the same size. One downside is that the Origins comes with a screw top, and you have to buy the pump separately for $1. Still, with the added cost of the pump, the Clean Energy comes out to $19.50 and the DHC at $25, which is a pretty significant price difference for a product that does essentially the same thing.

Summary: Both remove makeup very well; DHC is slightly less irritating for sensitive skin, yet Origins will work for most skin types, is cheaper and contains no harmful chemicals.

My Second Favorite Lip Balm

22 09 2009

By Taryn

As you’ve probably guessed, I have a lot of favorite lip balms, with Bloom’s Aromatherapy Lime Balm being my favorite.  Ah, but there is another that works extremely well, especially in the wintertime when my lips are chronically chapped.  It all began when I went up to Canada a couple of years back to hit Shoppers Drug Mart for some Smarties and discovered the previously-unknown-to-me Labello lip balms.  This was before they hit the US market.  I bought a few and found them to be good, but nothing spectacular.  When I went back a few months later, I discovered Labello had a Med Protection version of their balms. I honestly don’t know what is medicated about it as there is no tingle or medicinal smell, but this is one of the most moisturizing lip balms I’ve ever used.  It’s thick and creamy and lasts all night long when I apply it before bed.  The cost was about $4 or so, but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it in Canadian pharmacies since then.

All is not lost, though, as you can purchase it for $7.95 at The price is significantly marked up so it may be worth Googling and searching around a bit for a better price (perhaps on ebay), but whatever it is you pay for it, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Summary: A thick, creamy balm that lasts a long time and has no fragrance.  It is getting difficult to find, but is worth paying the extra money for at

How to Achieve Skin as Smooth as Glass for Mere Dollars

21 09 2009

By Taryn

I’ve used some pricey exfoliators, but most of them aren’t really any better than the budget-friendly alternative I’m going to share with you: the Salux wash cloth. This is a cloth made of nylon that is sold in various Asian markets and online, where it’s slightly more expensive. This is not for people with sensitive skin and active blemishes, as it’s quite coarse and needs to be used very gently. It’s made for the body, but I find it works wonderfully on the face as well.

I simply lather it up with my favorite facial cleanser and proceed to go over my face in a circular motion very gently. I can’t emphasize how gently you need to use this because otherwise you will end up with irritated skin. Used properly, however, it will leave your face feeling smooth as glass and flake-free.

I was fortunate to find these in Marukai Supermarket in Little Tokyo while I was visiting Los Angeles, but if you don’t have an Asian market nearby, I’ve found to have excellent customer service, fast shipping and reasonable prices. They also include free samples of various Asian products as well.  Additionally, they have an Amazon storefront.

Another bonus? These are machine washable.  I’ve washed mine with a delicate detergent in my front-loader several times without it falling apart.

Not a bad price for saying adios to those irritating flakes that ruin your makeup application, huh?

NYX Champagne & Caviar Palette Review

20 09 2009

By Lisa

Few things in the world make me happier than finding new neutral eyeshadows.  They go with anything in my wardrobe, they work with virtually any shade of lipstick and blush, they can be used to create everything from a weekend look to black-tie, and they are virtually foolproof.  With neutrals, I never look like I have a black eye or that I am in the final stages of a head cold, which sometimes happens when I wear color. When I don’t know what face I want to put on, I start with neutral shadows and go from there. You can imagine my delight when NYX, one of the most reasonable and consistently excellent brands on the market, introduced a palette of 10 neutral shades – ranging from white to pink to champagne to taupe to chocolate to black.  Called Champagne & Caviar, it is part of NYX’s new Runway Collection of eyeshadow palettes.


Three of the colors in the palette are matte while the others have various amounts of sparkle and shimmer. All go on silky smooth and last all day without creasing. The best part about this palette is that you have so many options, and you can mix and match to suit any mood or occasion. Experiment! In a few minutes, you can do a casual daytime eye by using two shades, one slightly darker than the other. I like to use the lightest champagne shade with one of the lighter brown shades as contour.

For evening, you can build off this look and create a smokey eye by using the pink or white shade on the brow bone, adding a medium brown shade in the crease and outer corner, and lining with the chocolate brown or black shade.  One of the shades is a little too sparkly for me to wear all over my eye so I gently pat it on with a finger tip over another shade to give me just enough glow.  The Champagne & Caviar palette is small and sturdy enough to fit in your purse or suitcase, and the packaging is attractive.

The one downside to this palette is the colors are very sheer. I am fair so they all show up on me but women with darker complexions might not be happy with the results.  There are other palettes in the Runway Collection that offer bolder color choices and are worth a look.

I bought mine for $7.99 at a neighborhood beauty supply store but the brand is also sold in Ulta stores and online at