Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Makeup Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick- Pure Hollywood, Carina, Sadgirl

Anastasia Sad Girl
Anastasia Sad Girl

ProductAnastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Pure Hollywood, Carina, Sadgirl

Review: I love lipstick. Especially liquid lipsticks. Much to my eternal sadness, my boyfriend does not. He hates unnatural-looking lip colors (and by that, he means all of them) and thinks red is an "old lady color." In a surprisingly literal way. If someone is wearing red lipstick, he honest to god thinks they are 15-30 years older than they are. One of my favorite games is to point out girls wearing red lipstick who are obviously (to everyone not my boyfriend) in their early-mid 20s and ask him how old they are. He will, with furrowed brow, hold an internal debate with himself, knowing that his answer is going to be way off because of the lipstick. 90% of the time, he goes with a "conservative" 35-40 years. He does the same thing with dark, vampy lipstick. It never fails to amuse the hell out of me. 

This fun boyfriend fact is the major reason I don't review a lot of lipstick on this blog- I got so used to not wearing it around him! However, times are a changin', because I'm sick and tired of denying my inner lipstick-loving makeup beast that needs to have all the pretty colors on her face. I see all these glorious lipstick shades on Instagram, and holy hell, do I covet the shit out of them. My lipstick beast must be appeased! 

And that is why I recently bought 3 shades of Anastasia's Liquid Lipsticks, even after seeing some not so favorable but incredibly honest reviews, like this one and this one. The colors in the collection are just so gorgeous, and no matter how hard I tried to be reasonable and rational, I just had to have them. I kept seeing them everywhere on people who raved about them, and the colors were taunting me, so I succumbed in a moment of weakness and bought Pure Hollywood, Carina, and Sad Girl. Picking only 3 was agonizing for me, because I wanted all of them, but I decided on a light, mid-range, and dark color that weren't too similar to any lipsticks in my collection. 

In case you were wondering, here's what the Anastasia website says about these liquid lipsticks: 
"Full coverage, intense pigment, and a matte finish in an easy-to-apply liquid formula. One sweep delivers vibrant long-wearing color that sets all day. Formula is ultra-pigmented. Swirl wand around tube to evenly mix color before application."
You can also watch Norvina/Claudia of ABH talk about and swatch the products here

I was not totally enthused about needing to evenly mix color in a $20 product, but Norvina is just so adorable, I was willing to make an exception. She seems like she cares so much and puts a ton of thought into everything about her product lines, you know? But... my experience with my new lipsticks were not in line with what I was expecting based on all the pics and reviews I'd seen, to put it gently.

I can still say a couple of nice things about these products. They don't really have a smell, which is awesome for the scent-sensitive among us, myself included. There's maybe a faint chemical smell that dissipates as soon as the product dries on the lips, but that's it. They're also reasonably pleasant to wear. Sad Girl is really comfortable if not applied too thick. I wore it for around 7 hours, and my lips felt great. I'm currently wearing Carina, which is a little more drying (Norvina warned about that in her video linked above), but with a blotted lipbalm under it, it feels almost as good as Sad Girl and the wear doesn't seem to be affected. I'm also impressed with the colors themselves - what you see in the tube is pretty much what you get on your lips, and they sort of dry matte without any color warping.  Both Carina and Sad Girl look amazing! Pure Hollywood looks amazing on people who are not me. For some reason, it winds up looking like a light tan on me, which is not cute. What is cute is to mix Pure Hollywood and Carina to create a lovely pink shade that is a bit more muted for workwear. So pretty!

Carina Pure Hollywood Swatch
Carina + Pure Hollywood. Ignore my unedited peach fuzz.

Sadly, for everything I liked, there was another thing I disliked. First off, they are not easy to apply! Especially Sad Girl. I mean, I'm realistic. No matter what, liquid lipsticks are going to take a bit more patience and care to apply than your average tube. But these drove me bonkers, because even with a lot of shaking and blending the product with the applicator wand, they still applied streaky! Carina was the worst offender, because not only was it streaky but it came with actual pigment clumps, which made my lips look like they were flaking and kind of gross. Sad Girl, while absolutely gorgeous in color and feel, took me forever to get right. So streaky, so uneven, and more runny so it was harder to control. Not only do you definitely need a similarly-colored lip liner for it, but you also need to clean up the edges with concealer. No matter what tactic I tried, there was no way around it. And the wand itself exacerbates the uneven application issue. The best result I got was to scrape the product off the doe-foot applicator onto the back of my hand and apply it carefully with a fingertip. It was annoying. I felt like I spent a lot time trying to troubleshoot streaking and uneven application issues when I have none of the same issues with my Stila Stay-All-Days (Patina is my current go-to on days when I go heavy on the dark eye makeup).

Pure Hollywood, Carina, Sad Girl Swatches
Swatches w/ 1 coat. Very true to color.  Notice how there's a little bleeding with Carina.
Top to Bottom: Pure Hollywood, Carina, Sad Girl

You also need to apply these liquid lipsticks with a light hand. If you apply too many layers, they feel like they don't dry all the way and feel tacky/sticky, leading to lots of transference and coming off in clumps, in Carina's case. Unfortunately, if you don't apply more product, the lighter colors seep into every crack in your lips, no matter how hydrated and exfoliated they are. And then it clumps there, which is noticeable when you smile. When I was experimenting with them, it was like the more I applied to fix the streaky application, the shorter time they would last on my lips. So frustrating, because I want to love them so much! And I feel that for $20, you shouldn't have to spend so much time troubleshooting your lipstick only to wind up with lackluster longevity and uneven wear. Oh, that's another thing. These lipsticks are basically only good if you don't plan on eating and drinking all day, because they're not trustworthy when it comes to food. Drinking water is fine, but pretty much anything else will lead to heavy transference and reapplication.  And how is it that a liquid lipstick manages to get on my teeth? I don't understand!

Pure Hollywood, Carina, Sad Girl Swatches with Smudging
This is about 6 hours later of air and typing, taken at night, so I apologize for the awful blue cast.

In the pic above, you can see how Carina and Pure Hollywood still look a little wet. The smudging was done by gently brushing a finger over the swatches, both directions. Carina looks awful from just that! Transfer on lips was WAY worse with Sad Girl, but it held up on my hand for some reason. Maybe because it was a thinner layer? I have no idea. I didn't use balm under Sad Girl on my lips, so you'd think I wouldn't have had so many issues with it. Goddamn, it's a gorgeous color though. 

In closing, I really, reeeaaalllyyy tried to make them work, but 2 of the 3 are being returned this weekend. I just can't quit Sad Girl. It's just so vampy and unique. I can't give it up, even though my boyfriend says I look 45 when I wear it. FML.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend these lipsticks, unless you are fine with relying on lots of lipliner to camouflage the streaking, higher-than-normal amounts of transference, tacky-feeling lips, and product clumping into lip lines on the lighter shades. I totally understand if you are willing to deal with all the pitfalls for a color though. Anastasia's shades are just incredible. It's a pity the formula/production consistency needs more work. At least for the 3 shades I tried.

Rated Beauty Grade: C- for Carina, C+ for Pure Hollywood, C+/B- Sad Girl (I've heard some of the darker, non-Sad Girl shades apply better, and there are formula differences between the light and dark shades, so I'm grading them based on shade this time)

Price: $20 at Macy's. I'd suggest avoiding the Anastasia website until the demand dies down. I've heard of a lot of delayed/lost/incorrect orders lately.

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