Review, Swatches & Dupes: Nyx Wicked Lippies in Power, Wrath, Mischievous, Trickery, Sinful, Betrayal & Cold Hearted

I bet you were all privy to the collective freakout that wracked the beauty blogosphere just before Halloween, when Nyx started floating promo images of their Wicked Lippies. We’ve since undergone a seasonal transition– pumpkin spice to peppermint mocha, according to the traditional calendar of my people, the #BasicBitches. But I’ve finally gotten my hands on these low-cost, jewel-toned babies.

It might be too late to incorporate them into your costume– might I suggest “Unfortunate Courtier Who Accidentally Bumped Into King Midas” for next year’s concept? But anyway, I feel pretty strongly about the fact that you don’t need repurposed religious rituals to, like, eat candy and wear weird lipstick. I haven’t gone trick-or-treating since before puberty; I just live like it’s Halloween every day!

Nyx promises “velvety” smoothness and a “dazzling metallic finish” with the Wicked Lippies. The former’s definitely true– these lipsticks are highly emollient and comfortable to wear, although there’s the trade-off of limited longevity and a tendency to bleed. I recommend a lip primer or colorless liner to keep that color in its place– the pigmentation is worth it, especially at these prices! As for the bit about the metallic finish– that actually varies in practice. The lipsticks seem to range from genuine, magnetic foil to a kind of wet-look glossiness.

Look at that gorgeous metallic rainbow.

Look at that gorgeous metallic rainbow.

Price: $5.99 from Ulta or $6 from

Quantity: 0.15 oz

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Guest Post: NYX Macaron Lippies with Katy!

I’ve got a special pre-Halloween feature for you! Here’s a guest blog from my friend Katy, who has great taste, especially wrt unconventional lipstick colors:

Hi, i am Katy and I am not a beauty blogger but I care a lot about non-natural colors that i can put on my face.

A thing that you should know about me before we begin is that I have been on a quest for opaque unusual-colored lipstick for the last several years, so this is a topic very near to my heart. During Ulta’s 40% off sale, I finally got around to picking up my favorite 7 NYX Macaron Lippies. Although that sale is over, they are now buy one get one 50% off on the Ulta website!

Swatches from top to bottom: Chambord, Lavender, Coconut, Citron, Violet, Pistachio, Blue Velvet. Also check out my scar at the top; I got it when I was a little kid.

Swatches from top to bottom: Chambord, Lavender, Coconut, Citron, Violet, Pistachio, Blue Velvet. Also check out my scar at the top; I got it when I was a little kid.

Overall, I really love these! They are very creamy, and very opaque. The only ones I found lacking in opacity were Citron and Coconut. The most heavily pigmented and opaque ones were Violet and Chambord. My absolute favorite is probably Lavender but I’m maybe biased because that’s my favorite color. I also love Pistachio!

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Review, Swatches, Dupes & FOTD: One Direction Up All Night Makeup Kit

Full disclosure: I’m a Zayn girl.

So I’ve been friends with Larry fanfic luminary Jess– that’s figgingharry on Tumblr– since high school. We met at the most awesome nerd camp on the continental United States, and then we did undergrad together. Those were the pre-One Direction days. Now undergrad’s over, which is sad. But it does mean that I now have disposable income– enough to go visit Jess when they were doing research in Istanbul! (Paid for it out of my stipend by eating a lot of ramen and putting a moratorium  on trolling for second-hand designer eBay finds– never let ’em tell you  that you can’t live a glamorous jet-set lifestyle on a humanities grad school stipend, folks!)

TLDR; I now listen almost exclusively to One Direction. (And Taylor Swift. I hear the two fandoms don’t like each other, which is a species of tragedy.) So as a beauty junkie, I think I was morally obligated to buy one of their makeup kts. Our favorite boyband, already renowned for their ventures into the profitable realm of fruityfloral perfumery, has released three such makeup kits so far. There’s a lot of product in each. You get an eyeshadow palette, a tube of mascara, a chubby eye pencil, a pair of lip products, a nail polish, and a set of body stencils. The last thing’s basically useless, but still– I’d say it’s a pretty good value for less than the cost of one NARS blush.

The kits are cleverly named after the band’s three albums. Take Me Home seems to be mostly neutrals, for that “effortlessly gorgeous, girl-next-door look”– definitely not me. Midnight Memories, on the other hand, features bombshell staples– red lip, smoky eye– for the “rock n’ roll girl”. I already have way too many of those shades, despite not being particularly rock n’ roll. So I went for option three:


One Direction Up All Night Makeup Kit. The artfully desaturated picture of the boys is actually on a plastic sleeve that slips off– the case itself is a mere image of brick. I guess it’s like the equivalent of reading The Hunger Games with a plain white book jacket? I say The Hunger Games (instead of, like, Twilight) because it– like 1D– is a teenybopper pop culture phenomenon that I actually really like.

Availability: $28.50 from Lord and Taylor, Dillard’s, Macy’s, or Boscov’s 

Quantity: 0.20 oz eyeshadow, 0.13 oz lipstick, 0.23 fl oz lipgloss, 0.27 oz nail polish, 0.22 fl oz mascara Continue reading

Review, Swatches & Dupes: All of the Tilt/Shift Lipslicks!

I actually took all these photos more than a week ago, but school happened, and also I decided to make pop fanmixes for Confucius and Nero instead of processing them. (Next I’m gonna do Liu Bang slash Gaozu, founder of the Western Han– it’s technically related to me Area of Study, so.) Good thing I took notes so I know what’s what! I have better study habits for beauty blogging than for actual study…. Here I’ve got a set of lip products from Tilt/Shift Cosmetics, indie purveyor of celestially named cosmetics. They’ve got a collection of planetary loose pigments in gorgeous duochromes, but I opted instead for the Lipslicks. These are matte in finish, wax-based, and packaged in a little pot if you order the full size, so you’ll have to grab a lip brush if you want to take advantage of the “medium to full coverage”. They’ve got a medicinal mint smell, redolent of dental hygiene. The texture’s slightly stiff but, as the website notes, they tend to “melt on the lips when used”. I don’t find them particularly drying, which is nice I took advantage of a packaged deal called, appropriately enough, the Big Bang, so I was able to get samples of all eight shades for $10.80. The trade-off’s in the packaging– these came in little plastic baggies, and there was barely enough room to maneuver my brush for application. I did experience a little streakiness and resistance with these, and every color took multiple coats to reach opacity. I suspect I would have had an easier time of it with the full-size jars.


(L-R): Chaos, Zenith, Gravity, Supernova, Equinox, Nebula, Solstice, Aurora

Availability: $6.50 for a full size or $1.50 for a sample size from Tilt/Shift Cosmetics

Quantity: 0.15 oz for a full size

Special Deals: Get a Big Bang package with all eight shades in full-size jars for $44.20 or in sample baggies for $10.80 Continue reading

Sale Alert! Nyx at Ulta

Nyx products are going for 40% off this week at Ulta! Technically the sale also includes Revlon, Physicians Formula, and Almay. I’m sure they all have very decent products– pretty sure I owned some Almay Wake Up Liquid Makeup during early undergrad that I pretty much liked? But Nyx is my favorite drugstore brand– very possibly in the running for my favorite anything brand for makeup. So I’m going to fixate on the goddess of night, and her entourage of mythologically named lipsticks. The sale ends next Saturday, September 4.

Sale prices doing include Nyx Kits over $14.99, but there are plenty of other goodies you can pick up, including the widely touted Butter Lipsticks and the neon and pastel Macaron Lippies for those more adventurously inclined. (I’ve had middling luck with smooth coverage when it comes to Earl Grey and Lavender— but the cost of entry’s so low now I might experiment with a couple other colors anyway.)

My picks are below. But first I wanted to show you this– the most perfectly named powder blush of all time. I think I may need this because I’m supposed to give my undergrads a Very Brief Intro to Marx tomorrow. Too bad it wouldn’t arrive in time for the hour of my need.

Nyx Powder Blush in "Bourgeois Pig".

Nyx Powder Blush in “Bourgeois Pig”.

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FOTD: Urban Fantasy


Eyes: Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Candelight, Too Faced Brow Envy, Benefit High Brow Glow, theBalm Pressed Eyeshadow in in Snobby and Seductive from the NUDE ‘tide Eyeshadow Palette, Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Jilted and Urban from the Electric Pressed Pigment Palette, Urban Decay Ink for Eyes in Perversion, Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliner in Broken Doll, Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencil in Oyster, Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Mascara

Face: Skin79 Oriental Gold BB Cream Plus,  Nyx Concealer Jar in Green, CoverGirl and Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer, Nyx Powder Blush in Taupe, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light and Incandescent Light from the Ambient Lighting Palette, Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder in Light

Lips: Nyx Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Aphrodite

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Sale Alert! TheBalm on Hautelook

Makeup and skincare from vintage-inspired beauty line theBalm is going for 50% off on Hautelook right now! They share my taste for corny puns– it’s amazing how many things sound like “balm” if you believe in yourself and try!). The vaguely utopic retro imagery also speaks to me. Basically I like them a lot.

Their shadyLady range isn’t available, nor is the newly released Balmsai palette. But you can get almost all their other goodies, including the cult hit Mary Lou-manizer highlighter. At least till Tuesday!

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My picks below!

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Fierce Magenta Redux, or DIY Liquid-to-Matte: Romance, Wild Plum, CosmoBerry & Rave

I just reviewed and swatched a little haul from the Etsy seller Fierce Magenta. The brand’s glosses are marked by radiant color shift, nonsticky wear, and intense shine. But you can also wear them blotted, for a matte lip chockfull of duochrome shimmer.

In each of the following shots, I’m wore three layers of gloss, and blotted after applying each. Every subsequent layer had the effect of packing on more shimmer– a lot of the base color came away with the tissue, but the stubborn little glimmers clung on. If you want a mouth with the gleam of a disco ball, swipe and blot on!

For comparison’s sake, I’ve shown each DIY liquid-to-matte alongside the closest shimmery lip color in my collection. Some of them aren’t very close at all– alas, or actually, hooray?

Three layers of Romance, blotted.

Three layers of Romance, blotted.


Romance, worn as as matte lipstick.

Romance, worn as as matte lipstick.

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Fierce Magenta Review, Swatches & Dupes: Romance, Wild Plum, CosmoBerry, Rave & Medusa

The school year’s started, which means time for selfies, swatching, and mirror-gazing has sadly diminished– at least if I’m going to be virtuous about school stuff. But hey, I’ve already managed to miss the first two days of class. Like my advisor would say, that doesn’t exactly augur well.

I was in DC, having #reunion2014 with my undergrad BFFLs. I’m happy to report that Fyrinnae Queer Theory stayed on my lips throug a seven-mile bike ride on one of the capital trails. (I’m sure that’s not actually a lot of miles in, like, sporty-people land. But usually my only form of exercise is hauling around Endymion Wilkinson’s five-pound manual for Chinese history, and it was my first time on bike since before puberty!) I also managed to shepherd my friend through Sephora, twice! She let me put her purchases on my VIB account, and and my competence at evangelizing wrt makeup bumped me up to Rouge status.

Anyway, now I’m back, and ready to send off the summer with some indie swatches! I’ve got a five lip colors from Fierce Magenta, an undeservedly obscure Etsy vendor of striking duochrome glosses. 

(L-R): Romance, Wild Plum, Rave, CosmoBerry, and Medusa. Fierce Magenta's Etsy storefront in the background.

(L-R): Romance, Wild Plum, Rave, CosmoBerry, and Medusa. Fierce Magenta’s Etsy storefront in the background.

Availability: $7.49 for a sample-size or $9.69 for a full-size lipgloss; $7 for a sample-size or $9.50 for a full-size lipstick from Fierce Magenta

Quantity: 5 mL for a sample-size or 10 mL for a full-size lipgloss; lipstick quantities unspecified

Special Deals: Mix and match three full-size lip products for $24 or five sample sizes for $28

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Lip lib: Four custom Lip Tars (complete with nerdy names)

If I had to limit myself to just one kind of lip product, I’d go with Lip Tars (after throwing the requisite tantrum and bargaining with the antique gods).

I love the sleek weight of my MAC bullets. And the crisp artillery click of my Chanel Pirate tube, unlocking at my touch, like a trigger. But Lip Tars aren’t so “modern warfare” in their presentation. They’re not bullets– they’re paint tubes. And I like mixing them up to make custom colors, even if they leave bright streaks on my desk.

Here are a four of my experiments in lip mixology:




Agrippina on my face

Agrippina on my face

This rusted metallic orange-red is named for Agrippina the Younger, who figures pretty prominently in Suetonius’ biography of her son Nero– I read parts of it at the Latin nerd camp that ate my summer. (It’s a highly entertaining read, by the way– I recommend it if you A) like Game of Thrones/ASOIAF, except for the magicky Three-Eyed Raven parts or B) are remotely titillated by failed matricides, whispers of incest, fiddling– or rather, singing– while Rome burns, or contest rigging in the classical equivalent of American Idol. Nero– what a guy.) They had their issues, mother and son. In Suetonius’ rather gossipy account, it all culminated in the Emperor’s attempt to kill off his mom by means of a collapsible boat. Before they reached such a violent juncture, there were sketchy carriage rides, and kissing of breasts. I’m sure the Freudians have had a field day, in their time.

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