Review: Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm

For years, I’ve been on a quest for dramatic lipstick. Not just any dramatic lipstick, mind you, but one that doesn’t make me look like a clown. I’m pale with an otherwise-ruddy complexion, and every red lipstick I try basically makes me look like Ronald McDonald with long hair – not a good look.

So when I saw these Revlon Colorburst matte balms, I snapped up two whose packages made them look like they might work with my skin tone: Sultry and standout. After swatching them and wearing each for a day, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about these as colors, but I’m definitely a fan of the formula.

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms: Sultry (l), Standout (r)
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms: Sultry (l), Standout (r)

I started with Sultry, which, oddly, is no longer listed on Revlon’s website. Nevertheless, it exists! I know, because I bought it. Sultry is a pinky plum with a little bit of iridescence to it. Here it is on my lips, freshly-applied:

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm - Sultry
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm – Sultry

Standout is a dramatic red:

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm - Standout
Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm – Standout

Both applied smoothly, though I found myself struggling at the edges of my lips, where both went just slightly skip-y. A lip liner would probably help with this for most people, but as we already know, I’m lip-liner-incompetent, so that would probably only have made things worse for me.

Despite the name, these are not “balms” in the sense I would expect: they’re not sheer, they’re not glossy, and they’re not particularly moisturizing. Basically they’re opaque, mostly-matte lipstick crayons. They’re certainly less glossy than a typical gloss or lipstick, but there’s definitely a little bit of shine still there at times, especially when they’re newly applied.

These balms have a menthol feel to them; upon application, they tingle a bit. They also stain quite well; I left Sultry on overnight and, when I swiped a tissue over my lips the next morning, there was still color coming off. Neither was immune to the passage of time or food, however. You’ll definitely want to re-apply after lunch. Overall, though, these lasted much better than I expected them to. I’m impressed!

Three hours and a meal later, Sultry is starting to wear a bit
Three hours and a meal later, Sultry is starting to wear a bit
Three hours and a meal later, Standout isn't standing out quite as much
Three hours and a meal later, Standout isn’t standing out quite as much

As far as how Sultry and Standout flatter my skin tone, that’s a tougher question. Here’s how each looks on me:

Standout certainly, well, stands out against my pale skin
Standout certainly, well, stands out against my pale skin (and brings out my freckles!)
Sultry appears a bit more brown than I expected

Standout is a bit bright for my comfort, I think, though the more I stare at the picture the more I wonder what the problem is. So basically I’m punting on Standout. I want to like it, but I’m not sure I would ever have the courage to wear it out as part of a look.

Sultry is definitely wearable for me, but only if I pair it with a dark-ish eyeshadow; without eyes to balance it, it looks like I’m a prettily made-up corpse.

For both of these, I felt like I needed something more in my cheek area to bring the whole look together. Not necessarily blush – I’ve got enough redness going on as it is – but something to make “oh hey, sudden bright lip color!” not quite so jarring to the eye. My cheeks are really the last makeup frontier for me; I still haven’t quite figured out what goes there or how to use elements there bring out what I want to bring out on my face.

So, final feelings? I’m not sure I love either of these colors; I suspect each needs to be part of a complete “look” to read quite right on my skin. I do love the formula of these balms, however, and I’m probably going to be perusing the other colors in the line next time I’m at CVS.


Polish longevity check: Polka dot nails

Time to check in on that Polka Dot Nail Art I did last week. How did my Rimmel Salon Pro + Seche Vite manicure last? Amazingly well!  When looking at these pictures, keep in mind that I spend most of my day typing, so my nails are in constant use. I also don’t avoid doing things like opening pull-tab cans or washing dishes. I’d say I’m about in the middle of the pack as far as how hard I am on my manicures – I don’t baby my hands, but neither am I a doctor who has to wash them ten times a day or anything.

Here it was on my left hand the day I applied it:

A closer look at my dots
A closer look at my dots

Here’s how it looked on my right hand day 4. No idea why I switched to photographing that hand, but since I’m right-handed and that one is more likely to show wear anyway, it works for our purposes:

Notice the beginnings of tip wear, especially on index finger and thumb, and the slightly ragged edges at the bottom of each nail
Notice the beginnings of tip wear, especially on index finger and thumb, and the slightly ragged edges at the bottom of each nail

There was a little bit of tip wear, and the bottom edges of the polish on each finger had started to catch in my hair, but for the most part, it looks pristine!

Here’s how it looked on day 6, just before I took it off. Again, right hand:

Tip wear has gotten worse, and chunks are now missing from the bottom of my index finger and thumb
Tip wear has gotten worse, and chunks are now missing from the bottom of my index finger and thumb

The tip wear we saw on day 4 has gotten a little worse, and the bottom edge of my index finger and thumb have chipped a bit, but if you just glanced at my hands quickly, you wouldn’t notice anything amiss. In fact, I had a cashier stop me when I was paying her for my lunch on day 6 to tell me how much she loved my nails! I could probably have gotten another day or two out of this manicure before it became obviously crappy.

So there you have it: Rimmel Salon Pro nail polish, topped with Seche Vite topcoat, equals a 6+ day manicure. Is it the Rimmel or the Seche that makes this a powerhouse manicure? I’m not sure. If people are interested, I might do some tests putting Rimmel alone up against Rimmel + Seche Vite, and see what shakes out (or chips off…)

Review: Starlooks Luscious Longwear Lip Pencil

Today we have another submission from my April Ipsy bag (affiliate link): the Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip Pencil in Naked.

Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil - Naked - pencil shot Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil - Naked - pencil tip shot

First, a caveat: lip liner is one of two makeup items that I continue to utterly suck at, no matter how hard I try (the other, if you’re wondering, is false lashes). So be aware that what you’re about to see is a review by a complete lip liner amateur.

The shade here is called “Naked” and described by the Starlooks website as “one, brilliant shade of nude for all skin tones!” The color actually reads bright orangey-pink on my skin, however, so I couldn’t exactly call it a nude.

Hand swatch
Hand swatch

On my lips, it still looks a bit bright to be “nude”, but it’s not terrible. The formula goes on smoothly, though the pencil is quite soft, which made it harder to maneuver than I would have liked. I do really like the matte appearance of the liner itself; in another color I would consider wearing it alone.

Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil on the left, my bare (and somewhat chapped) lips on the right. Note to self: smile next time!
Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil on the left, my bare (and very chapped) lips on the right. Note to self: smile next time!

Starlooks’s website recommends layering it under a matte lipstick for “an incredible 8 hour wear”, but a) I failed to read the directions beforehand and b) I don’t own any matte lipsticks with colors along these lines, so I tested Naked out with the closest lipstick I had to it in color, which happened to be New York Color Ultra-Moist Lipwear in “Ruby”.

Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil under NYC Ruby on the left, NYC Ruby alone on the right
Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil under NYC Ruby on the left, NYC Ruby alone on the right

As you can see, having Naked layered underneath completely changed the look of Ruby and removed some of the frostiness in the lipstick.

What about that 8-hour wear time? Well, here’s my lips after about an hour of not doing anything in particular:

Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil after about an hour
Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil after about an hour

Not looking so good for the lipstick; there’s a definite ring-around-the-lips forming. The liner seems to still be sticking around, though. Let’s try eating something and see what happens…

Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil after about two hours and one meal
Starlooks Lucious Longwear Lip pencil after about two hours and one meal


On the bright side, the lipstick on the lined side of my mouth is definitely sticking a bit better, but only to what’s left of the liner, which has retreated to about the outer third of my lips. We’ve also got some definite feathering at the corners of my mouth, though if you look a few photos up you’ll notice that my initial lipstick application wasn’t exactly neat in the corners to begin with, and feathering may be inevitable when you’ve got chapped mouth-corners like I currently do.

Might this pencil be of more use with a matte lipstick, as the product website recommends? I suppose it might be, though the fact that the liner itself had worn off most of my lips after a meal makes that seem unlikely. I may give it another try in the future with a matte color if I can dig one up.

Given that I don’t use lipliner to begin with, there was always going to be a high bar required of Naked to impress me. I was hoping to see some reason why adding liner to my routine would help, but the results here are lackluster. Wearing Starlooks Luscious Longwear Lip Pencil didn’t keep my lipstick attached to my lips much better than lipstick alone, and it didn’t prevent my lipstick from feathering.

Would I buy this? Definitely not as a lip liner; it didn’t do either of the things a liner ought to. Possibly as a matte lipcolor, if it were available in other colors, but not at the price point it currently sits at. For nearly the same price as this gone-in-two-hours liner retails for ($14), I could buy a MAC lipstick (usually $16), which hangs around on my lips more or less until I purposely wipe it off.

What are your best lip liner tricks/brands? How does a good liner change the way your lipstick handles daily life?

Quick and dirty comparison: Urban Decay Velvet vs. Glide-On liner pencils

I’ve been out and about all weekend doing holiday sorts of things, but I wanted to get started on reviews based out of my April Ipsy (affiliate link) bag.

ipsy bag april 2014

My bag this month had five items:

Today, we’re going to talk about the Urban Decay liner. Urban Decay’s website describes the Velvet liners as “a must for smoky-eye fanatics: an ultra-velvety, plush version of our creamy, waterproof 24/7 formula. Create perfectly blended-out or rich, defined lines.”

I already own their older formula, 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil, in Perversion. It was the first “fancy” eyeliner I owned, and I’ve been really, really impressed by how it really does glide onto my eyes. So I decided to compare my new Black Velvet pencil to my old Perversion one. Results?

Black Velvet (light line), Black Velvet (heavy line), Perversion, Perversion (smudged), Black Velvet (smudged)
Black Velvet (light line), Black Velvet (heavy line), Perversion, Perversion (smudged), Black Velvet (smudged)

Mehhh. Let’s take a closer look at that…

Black Velvet (light line), Black Velvet (heavy line), Perversion, Perversion (smudged), Black Velvet (smudged)
Black Velvet (light line), Black Velvet (heavy line), Perversion, Perversion (smudged), Black Velvet (smudged)

Yeah, no. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t quite understand the tricks behind smokey eyes. Smudging my eyeliner is something I do accidentally, not on purpose. But it sure looks to me like Perversion (second smudge from the right) smudged way, way better than Black Velvet (far right smudge). Pair that with the fact that Black Velvet went on patchy and draggy while Perversion, as usual, went on as smooth as butter, and I’m just not impressed. If Velvet pencils are supposed to smoke out better, either it’s not living up to the hype or I’m really misunderstanding what a smokey eye is supposed to look like.

How do they work on eyes instead of my hand? I gave each a quick swipe on my unprimed eyes and, well, they came out pretty much the same way as they had on my hand:

Black Velvet, Perversion
Black Velvet (l), Perversion (r)

Once again, Black Velvet dragged and pulled while Perversion glided on effortlessly. What you see here on the Black Velvet eye is my result after going back over the line a few times to fill in bare and uneven patches; what you see on the Perversion eye is literally one swipe, with no cleanup.

I can’t really think of a circumstance where I’m going to be looking for a liner that drags on my lids; the fact that so many do and I didn’t realize there were ones that didn’t is a large part of the reason it took me so long to get the hang of eyeliner in the first place. Though I can’t help wondering if maybe I’m just missing something about what makes this formula great, the fact that I can’t figure it out means that Black Velvet is taking a place in the-drawer-of-makeup-I-rarely-use-and-am-not-quite-sure-why-I-still-have.

Do you have experience with Urban Decay Velvet liners? Do you like them? Tell me if I’m just missing something awesome!

Spring weather means spring nails!

Things have been unseasonably weird here in New York lately. We hit 75° a few days ago, and then the night after that we had snow! Nevertheless, the approach of spring means it’s time to start using colors that aren’t quite so…severe. I decided to try my first real polka-dot manicure today, using a couple of colors that seemed springy.

Easter nails!
Easter egg nails!

For a base coat here I used Sally Hansen Double Duty, which, as usual, I then immediately proceeded to scuff up on four nails by smashing them into the edge of my desk. Nevertheless, I plowed onwards and added Rimmel Salon Pro with LYCRA in “Yes sir!”, a dusty sage green creme.

I really like these Salon Pro polishes; they dry quickly and the Lycra really does seem to make them a bit more flexible and forgiving of activities that would chip other polishes. “Yes sir!” applied just the slightest bit streaky on the first coat, but a second coat evened it out and made it perfectly opaque. You could probably get away with one coat on this if you applied it thickly. I also love the brush on these Rimmel polishes – it’s a bit shorter and wider than a typical nail polish brush, and two swipes covers my nails just perfectly.

Rimmel brush
Rimmel brush

I waited about five minutes after applying “Yes sir!” before I attacked with my dotting tool. The polka dots here are L’Oreal Color Riche in “I Will!” (the white dots) and E.L.F. “Nude” from the 14-piece Brights Nail Cube gift set (the pink dots – side note: there is also a E.L.F. Essential shade called “Nude”, but I can’t tell from eyeballing it on the website if it’s the same color).

A dotting tool, by the way, looks like this:

Double-ended dotting tool
Double-ended dotting tool (pardon the crust on the end – I didn’t clean off the polish before I took this photo)

It’s a pencil-sized object with a tip that tapers and then rounds off (mine has two ends, with two different-sizes rounded heads). You dip the tool into your polish, the touch it to your nail, and it leaves behind a perfectly-round dot. Well, or a mostly-round dot. Or occasionally a smear, if you’re me. But at any rate, it produces better dot results than you can ever hope to get by just dabbing a nail polish wand to your nail.

At this point, I had some unevenness in my polish, more the fault of my scuffed base coat than of the polishes themselves. Luckily, I have a secret weapon: Seche Vite topcoat, which is magic as far as I’m concerned. I’d seen blogs rave about it for months before I decided to try it, though I didn’t quite understand what could be so special about a topcoat, but it turns out Seche Vite has a couple of things going for it. First, it can be applied over wet nail polish. Not just “this isn’t quite dry” nail polish, but even “I just put that on thirty seconds ago” nail polish. Second, it dries almost gel-polish-like, so that rather than being hard and chip-y, it dents and then bounces back, and its thickness evens out any unevenness in the polish underneath it. And third, once it’s on your nail, your nails are basically dry in ten minutes. I mean, don’t go smashing them into things or anything – you can still harm your manicure – but the tackiness that comes with normal nail polish dry-time isn’t there. You go right from wet to “can use my hands, carefully”.

A closer look at my dots
A closer look at my dots

And that’s what goes into a polka-dot manicure! With a dotting tool, this is actually a really, really simple way to get some cute nail art on your hands, very little coordination required.

Stay tuned for some shots of how this manicure wears over time, coming in a few days.

Welcome and a philosophy

Welcome to my blog! Come in, have a seat – no, not that one, I spilled some nail polish there a little while ago. I’m Amelia, and I’m a klutz – but you could probably tell that from the way I just tripped over a shoe on the floor while showing you in.

I’ve never been grace incarnate. In school, I was the band geek, not the athlete. Now that I’m an old lady in my thirties, I’m still pretty much a geek, though without the band. I love Doctor Who and Star Trek. I really want to learn how to program in Python. The concept of “beauty” as some sort of societal ideal isn’t really something I focus on compared to, well, everything else in the world that’s more important (like why Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse got cancelled so prematurely!). In fact, it wasn’t until a year or so ago that I really got interested in makeup for the first time in my life. I mean, I went through the usual teenage “throw on some eyeshadow and mascara for the boys” phase, but I never really learned how to pick or coordinate colors, or how to do things like, er, apply eyeliner without turning myself into a raccoon.

My current makeup obsession started with a wedding and a lipstick. Specifically, my wedding, and the MAC Captive lipstick suggested by the makeup artist I hired to pretty me up for the event. Something about the way she made me look like still-me-but-better, and then the way that lipstick just felt like luxury in a tube, hit a switch in my mind that hadn’t registered before: makeup can be for me. It doesn’t have to be there “for the men to like” or “because I have to put on my face before I can go out” or “because I have imperfections I need to cover up” – I can use makeup just because I like the way it makes me look, or because I’m feeling playful about colors, or to bring out features I love rather than to hide ones I don’t like. I don’t have to wear it every day, and in fact, I don’t. Makeup for me is a fun thing I do when I want to, rather than something I have to do so I can leave the house without feeling like I’m bad at performing “womanhood”.

Ever since I learned what makeup can be, I’ve been on a quest to learn, well, how to do it. It turns out when you don’t spend your formative years learning all the tricks, that can be a tall order, especially when you’re not the world’s most coordinated girl to begin with. My looks tend to consist of knowing what I want, and then hoping it all works out somehow when I execute it. And to be honest, I think that’s how a lot of us work this stuff.

The really great bloggers, the ones we all subscribe to, have worked incredibly hard to acquire the skills they use to create their work, and I suspect most makeup and craft bloggers are also blessed with goodly amounts of hand-eye coordination. But for the rest of us, it matters how easy or hard something is to do, and whether it can be replicated by someone who’s perhaps not all that fantastic at what they’re doing. That’s why sites like The Pintester have become so popular – it’s great to see what someone really good at what they do can make, but we also want to know what happens when the average person tries the same thing.

And that’s what I’m aiming for here at The Makeup Klutz. I’m not going to be the person who publishes perfect photos of perfect looks on a perfect face. I couldn’t be if I tried; I’d just spend a lot of time being frustrated. When you come here, you’re going to see what this stuff looks like when done by someone unskilled-to-average who’s learning their way as they go. No perfect edges, no magical contouring, no flawless cuticles or skin. Just someone who likes playing with makeup doing what she likes, so that you can see how yours might come out. If that sounds useful to you, great! Pull up a chair – no, still not that one – and stay a while to read and comment 🙂