BOT REVIEW #2: Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain
Availability: Exclusively at Sephora stores and online
Price: $16CAD/$13USD

This is the new formulation of Sephora Collection's Cream Lip Stain in Shade 03, Strawberry Kissed. Isn't she pretty!

Strawberry Kissed is a delightful cross between red and fuchsia. I'd imagine she looks good on all skin tones. 
Sephora Brand Makeup
I've been hearing and reading a lot lately about how Sephora brand makeup is actually really good quality, up there with Too Faced and other mid-range brands. It's not all that surprising once you know that Sephora's makeup manufacturing arm makes Kat Von D products as well as their own (hence why KVD is exclusive to Sephora, although you might find her stuff in Marshall's/Winners/TJ Maxx from time to time). Temptalia in particular, on her reddit AMA last month said that she thinks Sephora brand is the most underrated makeup company out there right now. 

People don't buy Sephora brand in Sephora because it's "generic" makeup. It would be akin to buying Life brand makeup at Shoppers Drug Mart or CVS brand makeup at CVS when there are other options at similar price points by brand name companies your hear about all the time, and who advertise, and who make their packaging pretty or cool - that kind of thing. I get it, I really do.

In the case of Cream Lip Stains, an exception to the rule in makeup of "if you want good, high quality makeup you can compare notes with your friends about," needs to be made. Let's get into this.

The Cream Lip Stain (CLS) is in a clear plastic tube with a black doe foot plastic applicator top that screws onto the tube with a gold foil "Sephora" around the bottom of the applicator handle. It's very plain, but almost elegantly so. Inside the neck of the tube is a rubber stopper that makes sure the doe foot has just enough product on it. The other interesting point is that the screw-on applicator top has to go over a little "speed bump" in order to be fully closed. Once you've felt that click, you know your CLS is closed for good and that no leakages will occur. For women who throw their daily lip product in their purse all willy-nilly, this extra protection against leaking is a terrific idea. 

So while the packaging of the CLS isn't anything to write home about, if you like your pretty things to be in pretty packages - and if you are willing to pay money for them - then you might want to think about embellishing the plain Jane tube yourself, crafty girl. 

Application is a breeze, just like every other doe foot applicator out there. In fact, I found this easier to use due to the formulation of the product. It glides onto your lips. Like most stains, you're not going to have a whole lot of time to move it around, but if you are paying attention to applying the product, you don't need to worry about stains from mistakes. Certainly reaching into the tube with a brush isn't going to give you too much of a better application, but any precision tools out there will make sure you have a razor precise look with this stain. 

The scent of the CLS is, at first, a bit like chemical vanilla, but it disappears quickly. I don't think it will cause anyone any particular problems due to scent. 

I have one word for CLS colouring: INTENSE. Check out this swatch, and remember, this is only ONE swipe!

As you can see, this shade is a lovely cross between red and fuchsia. It is very true to pan on the lips, and is absolutely opaque. This girl dries down quickly to a matte, but not so fast that you can't work with it a bit. The CLS collection includes both mattes and satins, so there are options. There is also a full range of 16 colours, from nudes to deep reds. 

As the formula for the CLS has been, uh, re-formulated, I imagine that these colour qualities are the same for all shades. If you have any other shades of the CLS that are different, let us all know!

I want to show you that I tried to take this swatch off my arm after about 10 minutes and a with fairly strong wipe of a kleenex. I wiped the swatch with some force as I had been told in Sephora (Sephora Yorkdale in Toronto, a lovely SA named Chelsea who spent at least an hour with me touring the store!) that the CLS is actually a stain an not easy to get off. It is a real stain, and took soap and water to remove:

SA Chelsea at Sephora recommends putting the CLS on natural lips, which means no moisturizing primer. I feel like you can get around this by putting some chapstick on your lips as soon as you wake up in the morning and wipe it off when you've gotten to the lips part of your routine. 

If CLS sets too dry for you, I lightly dabbed some lip balm (a waxy balm like Chapstick, not a cream or butter as they will break down the CLS instead of sitting on top of it) on top of the stain about 30 minutes after application, letting the stain set before you put anything on top of it. 

Lip liner, either colour or universal, is also OK to use, but I found I didn't need it. The CLS doesn't bleed into the fine lines around your mouth, nor does it feather. Once it's set, it's set!

Wear time was about 7.5 hours. It's not that this product comes off, it's that after a day of activities, it's reduced to the stain and not the full colour. I found the CLS got a bit dry after 4-5 hours, so I just re-applied. And I HATE having to re-apply. I drank water from a bottle and ate a lunch while wearing it and CLS stuck with me through both. 

The price for this product at $16CAD or $13 USD can't be beat for this quality level. However, it also means there might be some slim pickings as the word continues to spread about the reformulation and higher quality of this product. At my Sephora, the pinks were sold out, leaving the reds and purples. Personally, I was delighted to get the last Strawberry Kissed as my first choice, a browney-pink, was sold out. I thought it would be too orange for me, but not so. A new world of colours!

Final Grade: A
Well done, Sephora! The CLS colour range is terrific. The product packaging is plain, but elegant and it's a size that fits in my purse makeup bag. CLS can be put on in the morning and even through a morning of drinking water (you know you should be!), you're not going to have to re-apply til lunchtime, if even then...maybe in time for mid-afternoon snack or coffee or something. 

If you've used any of the newly reformulated Sephora Collection Cream Lip Stain, let us know in the comments! If you've used any other Sephora products, I want to know about them, so please comment on this blog or Facebook. 

Thanks, and til next time!


BOT REVIEW #1: L'Oréal Extraordinaire Gel Lacque 1-2-3 System

For my very first review, I am going back to where it all started for me. 

Nails are my first beauty love. I was a nail biter for a long time, so nail polish just wasn't a part of my life in any way. One day, I was in Bed Bath and Beyond, and saw a product called Pink Armor, which is a gel that strengthens nails without drying. I picked it up, fell in love, and I've been doing my nails ever since. I thought about reviewing Pink Armor for my first review, but then realized I wouldn't be able to say anything other than "I love this stuff like my firstborn, you should get it." It is truly the only "As Seen on TV" product I've ever used that actually lives up to the hype.

A few months ago, I couldn't get my Pink Armor (I've only ever seen it at BB&B and I just wasn't traveling to that area of the city at the time), so I went to the drugstore and asked for a duplicate. At first, the cosmetician had no idea what I was talking about, but when I explained it is a brush-on gel, she recommended the L'Oréal Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque 1-2-3 System

What is it?
The Gel-Lacque 1-2-3 System consists of a gel base coat (1), a coloured polish (2), and a gel top coat (3). 1 and 2 together cost $10USD on Amazon. Here are the two base (1 & 3) products:

The base coat is pink (like Pink Armor.../side eye at L'Oréal) and has a nice light pink hue to it, likely nice enough to wear on its own if you've got five minutes to do your nails. 

The top coat is clear, and is called "Gel Glaze", which to me equals glossy. Together with a polish the three products are meant to provide the look and feel of a gel manicure (the kind where you need a UV light and curing time and all that stuff) but done at home. 

How do you use it?
The idea is to use the base and top coats together with a nail polish from the Gel Lacque line. I picked up a nude colour from L'Oréal's "The Nudes" collection, which consists of nude lipsticks and polishes from different models and actresses. The polish I got is "Eva's Nude" as imagined by Eva Mendes. 

Here are the three products together:

The Good...
I like that there is a gel system out there that is available at the drugstore. Pink Armor can be hard to find and it's $14 (at least) for a bottle. This is a decent replacement for me. I also like that all three products in the system dry quickly between layers so it doesn't take two hours to do the whole thing. Whatever ingredient that makes that happen is a good thing in my book.  Finally, the price is good. You can buy 1 and 2 for about $13 at Shoppers. Pink Armor and Seche Vite together will cost around $20. 

The Bad...
The top coat is not as glossy as I'd like it to be for something called a glaze. It's OK, but doesn't live up to what's on the box, ifyouknowhatImean

The Ugly.
First, I am used to the Pink Armor base and Seche Vite top coat system that makes my nails hard as diamonds and makes polish last for at least five days without chipping and with a seriously glossy look. That's what I'm comparing against. 

This system just doesn't live up to what a gel manicure, even one at home, should be. My nails today are soft, easily bent and just don't hold up to the rigours of my everyday life (computer use, cooking, walking doggies. Not much strain.)

Finally, I am not a nail polish novice. I know how to use nail polish properly and how to prepare my nails for polish. I know that you have to let the layers mostly dry before putting the next one on to avoid bubbles and streaks. This is my result:
The streaks kill me. 

More streaks.

Please ignore my red dryness - I am still looking for a long-lasting hand cream.
But, the streaks! So bad that I give this polish the birdie!

The Last Word.
I think that the Bad is due to the polish itself. I've never found a good solid nude (other than Leather Effect from Nails Inc) that doesn't streak, but this is really bad. If I had time to do my nails again today before my appointment, I would, but I don't, so I'll do it later. 

The gel base and top coats are...OK. They aren't as thick as I'd like them to be (to make nails stronger), but for drugstore prices, they will likely work if you plan to re-do your nails every few days. They certainly aren't on par with getting a gel manicure in a salon. The low-gloss really bothers me, but might not be a thing for other people. 

If I had to grade this system, it would get a C at best. 

Til next time!

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