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Reviews: In search of the ideal sheer lipsticks
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flitcraft
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Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:39 am      Reply with quote
The last couple of years I’ve been searching for the ultimate sheer lipsticks. I’m in my mid-fifties and I’ve found that matte lipsticks are too harsh and severe, nude lipsticks make me look corpse-like, and bright pigmented lipsticks look garish. What I need are lipsticks that add a wash of definite but transparent color, with a moist rather than matte look but no shimmer. (I’ve never liked the feel of lipglosses—they feel too sticky to me, so they’re out.) Having concluded that sheer lipsticks are most flattering for me, I’ve tried quite a few and thought I’d review some of them.

First off, the also rans for me were Nars and Lorac. Lorac’s supposed sheers simply aren’t—they’re ordinary lipsticks, not at all transparent, and heavy on the lips. Pass. Nars’ Gypsy was a nice enough subtle red and Dolce Vita a pleasant pinky-beige. But they were too drying and not transparent enough. I also tried Burt Bees Lip Shimmers, but really didn’t like them at all. Too much menthol or mint was rather irritating, and the colors were one-dimensional. On the plus side, they’re all natural and really cheap. But not for me.

Next up—the honorable mentions. Shiseido Honey Tea, a very pretty deep brown-red sheer that works great for me color-wise, as I’m pale with yellow undertones. But also too drying. So I do wear these from time to time, but not very often. Jane Iredale’s Lipshere in Babe has a more emollient feel, but the color is a tad too cool for me. It’s a plummy dark mauve with a bit of brown tone to it. Again, I do wear it but it isn’t the most flattering color I have. And it has an annoying (to me) vanilla-ish scent. A close runner up to the winners is the Lipstick Queen Saint line of sheer lipsticks. They’re gorgeous, really—I have Saint Natural, a rich mocha rose, and Saint Berry, a deep berry. Despite their high quality, I’ve downgraded them slightly because they aren’t really very sheer and they are a bit drying for everyday wear. (But I do sneak them into the rotation just because they’re so very pretty…)

Now for the winners: Vincent Longo Lipstains (not the wand type but the lipstick type) are almost perfect—sheer, yet pronouncedly colored, beautifully moist in looks and feel, SPF built in, and gorgeous colors. My favorites are Love Toast, a pink-beige-mauve tone that is perfect for the “no makeup” look, Nude, a slightly warmer but similar tone with more beige and less pink, and Belle Etoile, a beautiful raisin-brown-plum tone. (I think that one might be my desert island lipstick…) A surprise winner is Garden Botanika’s tinted Vitamin E sticks. They’re kind of a lip balm that has a surprising amount of pigment as well, and feel great on the lips. I took one of them on a two week road trip and my lips looked and felt terrific using it everyday. The colors I’ve tried are Camellia, a dusty pink that didn’t do much for me but would probably be better for cool-toned folks, Twig, a lovely terracotta color that is my favorite of the lot, Black Currant, a cool deep berry tone, and Rhubarb, a deep brick red. I borrowed one of these from my daughter on a ski trip or I never would have tried them. But I’m really glad I did—they are a lip treatment masquerading as pretty sheer lipsticks. And my third set of winners is Julie Hewett—I’ve tried the Bijou Sheers in Biba, Kiki, and Jules, and Film Noir as well. What can I say that hasn’t been said about these exceptional lipsticks? They look great-- rich but sheer, and both look and feel moist, due to their camellia oil base. They layer beautifully both under and over other lipsticks or can be worn by themselves. Biba is a sheer nude that I mainly use to warm up too-cool lipsticks and to moisten too-dry ones. Kiki is a neutral pale pink with a hint of peach that is subtle on its own and can also be used like Biba to adjust other lipsticks. And Jules, ah Jules, is the perfect rust-brown-red. With a wash of Kiki underneath, it’s my ideal autumn color. Film Noir isn’t one of the Bijou Sheers but it’s also quite sheer. It’s a lovely rich berry tone—not as dark or purple as I had feared. You can ramp it up by applying extra layers, but for daytime it’s pretty on its own. I think Film Noir is a touch more pigmented than the Bijou Sheers, and perhaps a tad less creamy. But all four of these are A plus lipsticks in my book.

So there you have it—about two years worth of experimenting, resulting in a generous handful of winners. Am I still looking for sheer lipsticks? Not actively, at the moment, but if you have some good suggestions, I’m game to try some more.
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Wed Sep 26, 2007 3:17 am      Reply with quote
I love estee lauder sheer lipstick. It's so smooth and colorful.
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Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:59 am      Reply with quote
Flitcraft, thanks for the description of your quest! I have Vincent Longo and almost the same JH ones as you, except I can't wear brownish colors, so I don't have Jules. Surprisingly, Sephora's own brand lipsticks are quite reasonable and moist and I have worn them ever since a store opened here. They are excellent with the qualities it appears that you (and I) want. I wear #531 and have replaced it many times. It goes on very smoothly and staying power is very good, too. I wear them for everyday or around the house a lot, saving the expensive VL and JH for special or with certain outfits.
flitcraft
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Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:05 am      Reply with quote
Existential lady, can you describe the color of Sephora's 531? Is it warmish or coolish? Like I said, I'm always game for trying a new one...
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Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:13 pm      Reply with quote
Hey Flitcraft, I checked the color, Sephora 531, and it has slightly more brown in it than JH Film Noir. That one I wear when I wear brown or beige which I don't often wear. I think it is closer to Jules. I had another one which I can't find at the moment which was 529 and that one was more plummy. They have a great selection of shades, if you can get to a store. I only mentioned the number because I think they have a section of mattes and then they have some that are glossier and those are the ones that I like. When I first started buying them, they were like $6.00, but now with no inflation Rolling Eyes they are up to about $10.00, maybe more. I think they are excellent quality, though I don't really buy anything else Sephora brand. Let me know if it works out for you.
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Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:40 am      Reply with quote
DHC's sheer lipsticks are really nice, and well priced. There is a shade called Fig which is a YLBB type hue. I was really surprised how much I like these.
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Thu Sep 27, 2007 6:09 am      Reply with quote
Though I haven't tried them, I've heard Cover Girl True Shine lipsticks are really great-- sheer and wearbale.

I like Clinque Butter Shine lipsticks. My favorite is I'm Yours, a pale golden pink.
sister sweets
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Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:43 pm      Reply with quote
I also have some of the Clinique butter shine lipsicks - even after I started L2K and threw away most of my lipsticks I kept these. I have two colors - one is very light in tone and the other more autumny - beautiful on. They are sheer and moist and most are wearable colors on anyone. I don't know the ingredients (I'm getting fussy here after all my "lip Work" at boot camp Laughing )
Still I'll be checking out the Vincent Longo colors - and I am currently waiting shipment of the JH colors - Kiki, Jules and Film Noir (thanks to flitcraft and others who posted such positive reviews - should arrive tomorrow in time for the weekend. Oops - guess that means I have to cheat on my L2K - just a little!
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Sat Sep 29, 2007 3:57 pm      Reply with quote
Flitcraft, have you tried YSL Rouge Pure Shine Sheer Lipstick? Some lovely colors there with a hint of shimmer/gold dust. #13 Golden Brown is my current fave, but there are lots to choose from. Nice with Golden Gloss over.

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sister sweets
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Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:02 pm      Reply with quote
The beautiful JH sheers and film noir arrived today - I am amazed at these products. They are sheer and layerable. The colors are wearable and I wore the Kiki this evening under the Film Noir. They feel wonderful on.

I also got the Mandy palette which way surpassed any expectations. The colors are beautiful - I love the cheekies. The quality of JH products is better than any in my past and I've tried lots. Now I want more -
Next stop Gem Noir and maybe some pencils.
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Sun Sep 30, 2007 7:15 am      Reply with quote
Vincent Longo doesn't appear to be available here in the UK, so I was delighted to spot his range in Sephora whilst we were in Toronto recently. After having read so much about his lip & cheek stains, I just had to buy one.

The colours looked very extreme and dark in the tubes. A helpful SA advised me to swipe them across one of the cosmetic sponges the store provides in order to get an idea of the colour. Most of them looked alarmingly dark purple to me. I decided to try the least scary colour, Cupid's Breath. Although it seemed rather dark on my lips at first, once I'd gotten used to it, I absolutely fell in love with it.

I definitely wouldn't part with it now.
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Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:49 pm      Reply with quote
Ah how I love the unmitigated joy that JH's lipsticks bring everyone, it seems! I started the original thread about them and am always pleased to see such happy, happy users of her products such as myself. I truly am amazed by her makeup too--it's just exceptional!

--avalange

p.s. LOVE Vincent Longo too, but there's something about JH's makeup, something ineffable, that makes it more lovable than other brands out there...

My favorite is Celeste at the moment--a lovely sheer coral.

sister sweets wrote:
The beautiful JH sheers and film noir arrived today - I am amazed at these products. They are sheer and layerable. The colors are wearable and I wore the Kiki this evening under the Film Noir. They feel wonderful on.

I also got the Mandy palette which way surpassed any expectations. The colors are beautiful - I love the cheekies. The quality of JH products is better than any in my past and I've tried lots. Now I want more -
Next stop Gem Noir and maybe some pencils.

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Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:27 pm      Reply with quote
Funny,when I read your post title I opened it to offer up Vincent Longo's lipstains. I can also recommend Clinique Almost Lipstick...I love black honey (but tends to be a bit pink on my lips) and my new favorite is the limited edition Almost Rasin.
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Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:48 am      Reply with quote
I often use a lip pencil over the whole lip area, then top with a clear balm. It gives a nice sheer, not too heavily pigmented look and lasts fairly well.

The Stila Clear Colours are also nice, and I’ve been addicted to berry colour for some years. I have quite a stash of this in the fridge, from when I mistakenly heard it was going to be discontinued.

I also like the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hr Cream Lip Protectant in plum. I keep one of these by the bed, it’s sheer enough to apply without a mirror, so I can use on those mornings after when I’ve got lucky and don’t want to scare off my unfortunate victim Laughing
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Sat Oct 06, 2007 10:44 am      Reply with quote
Cover Girl True Shine lipsticks and Elizabeth Arden 8 Hr Cream Lip Protectant tints are good. The EA is much more hydrating than the CG.
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:57 pm      Reply with quote
I too love the Estee Lauder range. used to be a clinique lipstick person - still like their gloss, but Estee Lauder is the one. I never leave home without some on and one in my bag.
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:06 pm      Reply with quote
I love Morgen Schick lipsticks. They're very sheer.

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flitcraft
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:24 pm      Reply with quote
Wow! Thanks everyone for all these wonderful suggestions. Today I finally took my field trip to Sephora to check out their lipsticks, and what a disappointment! Since my last visit (okay, probably a year ago...) the place has really changed. Lots of lines gone (Becca, Pout, Cargo, and saddest of all to me, Vincent Longo.) Seems they are concentrating more on popular department store type brands--Clinique, Shiseido, Nars, etc. as well as their own brand. I asked a helpful Sales Assistant for the 531 and 529 lipsticks to try, but they've changed all the numbers. She did show me a few candidates, but they were not at all sheer but matte nude (which she assured me would look great on me, but which sadly did not.)

While I was there, I thought I'd check out the recommended Clinique Almost Lipsticks in Black Honey and Black Raisin. Black Honey was nicely sheer but a tad too cool--it turns fuchsia on me. But Black Raisin is gorgeous--it is exactly raisin colored and very, very sheer. Definitely a winner for me.
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:23 pm      Reply with quote
Flitcraft- In the JH line I wear Jules very well and the Film noir - do you think I could wear those same Vincent Longo sheers you mentioned?
I am almost 49 years old and have gotten rid of all my junk lipstick (L2K bootcamp still) but I do wear the JH lippies for good... (brief dinner out etc until the guilt hits) I am a lipstick addict - love the stuff. It is my drug of choice and now I'm intrigued by Vincent Longo sheer line you spoke of. - Will likely get more JH in the spring.
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:28 pm      Reply with quote
Flit, I think an affordable lark for you will be Labello in the rose shade. Know in advance, however, that its tint is very subtle.

Thank you for sharing the fruits of your own research.


Is there notable variance in how these brands taste? I sometimes find that distracting.
flitcraft
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:45 pm      Reply with quote
Sister sweets, If you like Jules and Film Noir, I would heartily recommend Belle Etoile in the Vincent Longo--it's sheer but lushly rich in color like the JH shades in question. Nude and Love Toast are quite a bit lighter in shade--more of a mauve-beigy-rosy color not much deeper than my natural lip color. Nice all the same, but not as much of a sheer color pop. (As long as you're going to cheat on your Lips2Kiss, might as well make it count...)

Melanie, thanks for the suggestion on Labello. Is it drugstore?--I'm not familiar with the brand. Time for another field trip I think. As for the flavor of the lipsticks I've written about, most are either completely or practically tasteless (or do I mean taste-free? "Tasteless" seems to imply the wrong thing altogether...) The main exception is Jane Iredale, that features a mild but noticeable flavor that I find kind of annoying. But nothing like the gagging perfumy scent of Dior lipsticks, for example. I wouldn't wear them even if they had a perfect sheer!
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:56 pm      Reply with quote
Thank you kindly for the quick and informative response. I might just have to get on the sephora sight and go for it!
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:16 pm      Reply with quote
flitcraft, I think Labello is either German or Italian. It may well be in drugstores in Europe -- it's certainly not expensive.

I got mine online from a Canadian drugstore site that ships to the US.
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Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:43 am      Reply with quote
OK, I looked at my Labello. Made in Mexico for a Canadian branch of a German company.

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&rh=n%3A3761351%2Cp_4%3ALabello&page=1

You can get it from Amazon (and read reviews there, and the ingredient list, in case it has flit-craft non-nos), but I bought it more cheaply. If I can find it, I'll post the website I got it from.
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Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:30 pm      Reply with quote
I love Cliniques almost lipstick in honey- its a great natural pink shade on my golden complexion.
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