A little bit sweet on you | Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in Sweet Papaya review, photos, swatches

Monday, June 18, 2012

The product: Clarins Colour Quench Lip Balm in 06 Sweet Papaya

After last Friday’s Lise Watier Tangerine review, I pulled Sweet Papya from my drawers for a quick comparison. Save for the fact the slim, slant-tip packaging and the fact that they’re both somewhere in the vicinity of “orange,” the two shades aren’t all that similar – but that’s reason enough to see how they measure up, if you ask me.

The shade: While Tangerine is a bright, clear orange heavy yellow undertones, Sweet Papaya is a slightly milky red-orange with finely-milled gold shimmer – enough so that, while there is plenty of shimmer, it’s hard to discern once on the lips both visually and tactually.

What makes it worth talking about now, though, is the opacity. It’s still sheer, but while the “translucent” Tangerine was really just clear, Clarins’ product actually fits the bill for translucent. It won’t give you bright, defined lips, but it’s just tinted enough to deliver a sheer layer of colour and shimmer. 

“Papaya orange” is an iteration of the colour family that I feel like I don’t see very often in lip glosses or balms, but I actually really like it. At this level of pigmentation, the different hue doesn’t make an enormous difference, but it’s a great alternative if you want a more demure version of the orange colour family.

The scent: One of the main reasons why I wasn’t crazy about Tangerine was strong floral scent – it’s a dead ringer for a bouquet of lilies, a scent that would theoretically be fine, but which I’m not actually fond of. At all. (I don’t know; maybe it’ll grow on me?) I typically enjoy the fragrances of Clarins products, though, and the Colour Quench balms are no exception.

Sweet Papaya smells sweet and fruity (I’ve seen it described as a light cherry fragrance), and while it’s not my favourite scent, it’s not too cloying — more like you’ve just eaten a few sweets than like you’ve been frontally assaulted by an angry swarm of chemicals.

The formula: Sort of like the shade, the Colour Quench formula isn’t one of my favourites – but I still do like it. I’d have liked to see it marketed as a sheer lipgloss rather than a long-lasting lip balm, though, because it fits the bill for a good gloss. While not stripping, I don’t find this formula particularly hydrating, but it is both non-sticky and shiny.

If you pick up a Colour Quench balm, go into it expecting a comfortable, sheer, fun summer gloss, rather than a super-hydrating, long-wearing balm.

The verdict

Sweet Papaya isn’t a must-have in my books, but if I absolutely had to wear a sheer orange shade, it would probably be my top pick. I really like that Clarins has gone with a red-based, papaya-inspired shade rather than an orange or tangerine one, because (with fair olive skin and cool undertones,) it makes the orange hue easy to wear.

As I mentioned earlier, though, I think calling this a “Colour Quench Lip Balm” that will deliver “long-lasting moisture & shine” really misconstrues the product. Think of it as a sheer, comfortable gloss, and you won’t be disappointed; expect a hydrating, long-wearing lip balm, and you probably will be.

Keep reading! Ingredients, additional photos, & more »

My brain thinks it’s about to be Spring and I can’t make it stop (so here’s what’s on my mind)

Monday, January 30, 2012

It’s been unseasonably warm this January, and my brain seems to be convinced that Spring is about to break. It’s too good to be true, of course (and I’d be worried if it was anything otherwise), but I’m still going to be distraught when winter comes back full-force.

This little reprieve has me thinking about getting a haircut (I’m long overdue) or facial from someplace like Rush Hair, and I’m reaching for an entirely different product set than normal – all sheers and springy shades. But, I digress: here are some of the products that have been on my mind.

{click on any of the photos to read the post}

Black Box Week | Wrap-up

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy Saturday, lovelies! I just wanted to wrap-up our Black Box week & share a few more swatches with you all. Hope you enjoyed the series, and please feel free to leave any additional thoughts you may have in the comments!

To be honest, I kinda liked writing up everything for this week – it was a bit hectic and a bit crazy, seeing as I did most of it in the span of three or four days in addition to writing up posts for those days, but I don’t know. I guess I liked the coherency of it all? I kinda want to do it again, but of course, with a different focus next time ;)

(I’m thinking, maybe, MAC Pigments? Or a week of different makeup looks. Ooh, or perhaps Clinique’s Black Honey seasonal collection…)

Read the reviews

How they stack up

One particularly awesome thing about this collection is that, though they’re all more or less black, there’s no redundancy in the products. They’re all different in shade, application, portability, texture, finish, purpose – I think it’s a bit brilliant, to be honest.

But then again, I’m easily amused.

Annabelle Black Box swatches, L-R: Le BIG Show mascara, Licoriche Smoothie, Metal Daze Smoothliner, Black Spark Liquid Eyeliner, Blast Off Glitterama Eyeliner.

Direct sunlight, no flash.

L-R: Le BIG Show, Licoriche, Metal Daze, Black Spark, Blast Off.

Indirect sunlight, no flash.


Try Le BIG Show if you’re looking for a lot of volume, an intensely black lash, or a glossy finish, but not necessarily lengthening or curling.

Try Licoriche if you’re looking for a super-blendable, super-black base or a really opaque waterline. It layers well, too, so you can get anything from a subtle, hazy shadow around your lashes to a dramatic smokey eye.

Try Metal Daze if you’re looking for a light black/dark gunmetal eyeliner to create a sharp or smokey line. The shimmer in this one adds a bit of interest to what would otherwise be another basic black, and it gives a softer, more ethereal effect.

Try Black Spark if you’re looking for a longwearing, budgeproof, easy-to-use, black-but-better liquid liner.

Try Blast Off if you’re looking to add some shine and glitter to a liner you already have. (Because of the translucent base in Glitterama liners, they’re even prettier when layered over a “regular” liner!)

Just a few more photos »

Clarins 4 Colour Eye Palette in Graphites | Ramblings, review and swatches

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The product: Clarins 4 Colour Eye Palette in Graphites

*note: you may also hear these referred to as the mineral eye quartets, the eye quartet mineral palettes, or the ombre minérale 4 couleurs – there are a lot of words on the packaging! :P

What Clarins has to say about them:

Superb monochrome colour harmonies, with shades and textures perfect for creating any look you desire. Highly concentrated in mineral pigments, these eye shadows light up all eyes. Their wet and dry texture is extremely soft on application. Easy to blend and shade, their colours are both subtle and even. Harmonies of satin and iridescent shades offer a variety of effects. For a superb, long-lasting make-up result.

When I saw Graphites for the first time, it registered as something that I might like, but not love. I probably would have picked out something more like Rosewood at the counter, a quad with plummy pinks and neutrals. But – now I think I understand why this is the quad that ended up in my mailbox, rather than one of the other five.

The shades: Graphites doesn’t look like much in the pan: a pretty, silvery shimmer, a black, a grey, and a nude. And alright, so if you really want to simplify things, I suppose that’s true. But this palette is seriously breathtaking, and I can’t think of a single skintone it wouldn’t work on!

What these photos did a fairly poor job of capturing (sorry) is that the sheer, nude highlighter has an unexpectedly lovely pink duochrome – subtle, but absolutely breathtaking under the brow or in the inner corner. The silver shade is essentially just shimmer in a translucent base, and it’s perfect for playing with textures. What really impressed me about the silver is that yes, there’s a bit of fallout when you apply, but it stayed on my lid for the rest of the wear, unlike a lot of shimmery products I’ve tried out.

Clarins Graphites applied with a damp brush on unprimed skin. Indirect sunlight, no flash.

The black is your basic matte, but it’s gorgeously smooth. It’s the perfect choice to blend into your outer V for added depth, because not only does it blend just right, it’s also fairly hard in the pan – really buttery blacks always deposit too much colour (not to mention fallout), but this one’s just right. And, finally, that gorgeous charcoal shade. I don’t even think I have to describe this one for you! The texture’s spot-on, it blends like a dream, and it’s deliciously intense, even when swatched dry on unprimed skin.

Clarins Graphites swatched dry (left) and wet (right) on unprimed skin. Indirect sunlight, no flash.

The verdict?

Yes, yes, yes. If you’re looking for an eye palette with shades that’ll do a great job complimenting other shadows or create a seriously sexy smokey eye all on their own, this is the one. The shades wear well both wet and dry, they blend absolutely gorgeously, and the textures all work incredibly well together.

I’ve got a look coming up using just this quad, but in the meantime, you can see it featured here. (Black and highlighter shades both used dry – the black to create the smokey eye; the highlighter to blend out the edges.)

Ingredients, photos, and more »

Lid lockdown | Clinique Lid Smoothie Antioxidant 8-Hour Eye Colour Review

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

If you were hoping this post would lay your lemmings to rest, you’re out of luck – it won’t.

Instead, this review is a bit of a love story. It’s about a girl and her Clinique Lid Smoothies, and it follows them through application (smooth and irresponsibly easy), then the promised eight hours of wear (without a single crease), and then through a rain storm, a run, a nap, dinner, and desert.

Sit tight, and please keep your arms and legs within the roller coaster for the duration of the ride.

The product: Clinique Lid Smoothie Antioxidant 8-Hour Eye Color

The shade range: Alright, so first and foremost, we’re going to talk about the shades. I have just five of the twelve shades available, but I’m 98% certain that these are not going to be the next big thing – and I’m pre-emptively blaming it all on the colour range.

Like most Clinique products, these shadows are really “tame.” That is, the colours aren’t particularly daring, and they’re all on the sheer side. They can be layered, yes, but on the whole? Nothing that’s going to stop traffic, and (let’s be honest) it’s the traffic-stopping shades that usually catch the attention of the blogosphere.

{check out the swatches}

The formula: Now, this is what I think makes these shadows phenomenal. Though sheer, these Lid Smoothies wear for well over eight hours with zero smudging, fading, or creasing. They live up to their water-resistant claims and hold up perfectly in the heat, but at the same time, you don’t need elbow grease to get them off – just warm water and makeup-removing cleanser.

I can get twelve to fourteen hours (!!!) of wear out of these with minimal creasing, both on their own and with powder eyeshadow overtop. The creasing (which, weirdly enough, was way more pronounced on my left lid) didn’t appear until around the tenth hour, so these definitely get two huge thumbs-up from me.

Honestly, I can’t rave enough about these. I know they’re not going to work for everyone, but I’ve only ever found one other product (incidentally, also cream eyeshadows) that wears on my lids all day without creasing, and that’s the Ellis Faas line.

Clinique vs. Ellis Faas: If you want colour, you have to go with Ellis – their products pack a major pigment punch, and these Lid Smoothies are ridiculously sheer. However, in terms of cost, ease of use, availability, and packaging, Clinique definitely has Ellis beat!

(In case you’re looking for them, here are our review for Ellis Faas Lights and Ellis Faas Creamy Eyes.)

Bit O’ Honey used as a primer (horizontally) under powder eyeshadows (vertically) – it really picks up and locks down the colour!

Top: indirect sunlight / Bottom: flash

Packaging and application: These are being marketed as “cooling” eyeshadows, which I was worried about at first. When it comes to my sensitive eyes, “cooling” is usually code for “DANGER; look out!” The cooling’s in the packaging, though, in this case: a smooth, sleek, metal applicator. It’s something I haven’t seen before (or, really, anything like it), and so I’m giving Clinique mad props for innovation on this one ;)

The applicator does indeed feel cool in the eye area, but more importantly, it does an amazing job of blending out product – no brushes or fingers needed. You know how doe-foots are supposed to help spread products, or built-in brushes are supposed to help blend, but they never actually work? Well, this one actually works, and the metal’s not only soothing on my eyelids (great for the morning, when they’re still a little puffy!) but it spreads the product out evenly and without any tugging at all.

The verdict?

Sheer or not, I’m crazy for these Lid Smoothies. They’re easy to apply, widely available, and well-priced, but most importantly? They have incredible wear time. For a girl who’s been let down by both Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance, these are a godsend!

The only flaw I can think of for these is that there aren’t any super-pigmented colour options – but I’m willing to forgive and forget. Clinique’s Lid Smoothies not only make lovely washes of colour (I’ve been hooked on Born Freesia in particular), but they function fantastically as eyeshadow primers, too, intensifying colour and wearing all day (and then some) without creasing or fading.

{more photos}

Clinique Lid Smoothie Cream Eyeshadow | swatches, descriptions, dupes

Friday, July 29, 2011

I had planned to do our Lid Smoothie coverage in three parts over a week or three – a “coming up” post, a swatch post, and a review. (Oh, and then some EOTD features on the side). The only problem in this plan?

I am extremely, extremely impatient in the short term.

Anyhow, because they’re already available online (I’ve spied them at both Lord & Taylor and Dillard’s), I figured that I may as well post the swatches – after all, they’ll be on counters next month! Which is soon, in case you hadn’t noticed. Too soon :P

Availability: August 2011, $19.50 US / $24 CAD

Shades: Bit O’Honey, Cashew Later, Sassy-fras, Ginger-ly, Cute-cumber, Pinkgo Bilboa, Seventh Heather, Born Freesia, Imprompt-blue, Currant Affair, Lick-orice, Salt and Pepper (italics denote shades that are featured in this post.)

Shade descriptions

  • Currant Affair: red-brown with plummy undertones and red shimmer.
  • Born Freesia: sheer lilac with a fine lilac frost and slightly-rose microshimmer. Sheers out to an intriguing almost-no-makeup eye with delicate violet reflects.
  • Cute-Cumber: an adorably named medium-dark green with gold shimmer; fairly muted.
  • Pinkgo Bilboa: salmon pink with… I think that’s champagne shimmer?
  • Bit O’Honey: extremely shimmery champagne – great for a no-makeup look or a wash of luminescence.

Okay – before I leave you to these photos, I want to point out that these have all been swatched heavily. When I do EOTD shots, I’ll be sure to show off their sheerness and opacity (they both layer and blend out quite well), so please just give me time!

Clinique Lid Smoothie swatches L-R: Currant Affair, Born Freesia, Cute-Cumber, Pinkgo Bilboa, Bit O’Honey

Reminds me of…

  • Currant Affair: Le Metier de Beaute Alexandrite (more berry), Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream 17, MAC Heritage Rouge (more burgundy, more pigmented)
  • Born Freesia: Bare Escentuals Flash (more sheer; whiter reflects), MAC Hint of Sapphire
  • Cute-Cumber: Inglot 419 (more intense), perhaps MAC Sumptuous Olive (more gold, less green), MAC Spread the Wealth (lighter)
  • Pinkgo Bilboa: MAC Expensive Pink (less salmon), MAC Mineral Mode (more white-pink)
  • Bit O’Honey: Um, all sheer washes of champagne? Think Stila Kitten, MAC Retrospeck, MAC Femme-Fi. Check out these wash/highlighter swatches if you’re bored.

(More photos and swatches…)

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