Sunday, July 16, 2006

To the Max

Long wearing lip color is a very nice idea. The problem with most formulas I've tried so far is that they tend to make my lips feel very dry. Also, there's something about the pigment in many lip stains that doesn't work for me. I remember trying on several high-end ones at Sephora, only to end up looking like the victim of a very violent beet.

These colors always remind me the special lipstick that my best friend from high school bought when we were in our junior year. It was green in the tube and when applied it reacted with your lips to create the color. It had something to do with skin pH level. The problem was that when it touched my friends' lips it became a really ugly and unflattering beet color, and it was so long-wearing that it didn't fade or go away for days. It's no surprise that this beauty wonder never became a huge hit.

When I received samples of the new Max Factor MAXwear lipcolor I didn't have high hopes. I usually stay away from drugstore lip products, and the lip color layer of this two-step product seemed suspiciously like those ultra-dry tints and stains. But I was in for a very nice surprise.

First you apply the lipcolor and wait for it to dry (about 30 seconds). Then you apply the gloss that's on the other end. Both have a standard sponge applicator. Once the color part is set, it stays on for hours. It didn't fade much through eating a meal and didn't transfer to my cats' fur after I kissed them (I'm guilty of often making them sport lipstick on their fuzzy foreheads).

The dry feeling was pretty minimal. It's not uncomfortable, though it definitely doesn't feel rich or luxurious. Applying a rich cream a few minutes before putting this on made a huge difference in the way my lips felt, and I would recommend doing so if you are prone to dryness.

The gloss part was somewhat disappointing. I didn't like the cheap vanilla smell and overall it's not the best quality. The texture is thin, the pigment almost non existent and it has no staying power whatsoever. Had I liked the gloss, I'd be unhappy with the fact that there's actually very little of it in the tube. And since you need to re-apply it frequently, it'd be gone long before you used half of the lip color. I wouldn't recommend not using a gloss over the tint, because of the dryness and the look. But I'd combine it with any clear or semi-clear Lancome Juicy Tubes.

As for the colors, here's where I had my most pleasant surprise. Two of the colors I tried were absolutely perfect. Split Personality is exactly one shade darker than my natural lip color, so it is very wearable and I enjoyed pairing it with some of my favorite glosses. I also loved Grape Ape (though whoever came up with this awful name should be severely punished. Maybe by being sprayed with Zagorsk every day. You should never put the word 'ape' when trying to sell a beauty product. Ever). It perfectly matches my beloved Chanel Summer Plum glossimer- it's practically the same color, and the combination of them together was pretty enough to make my husband comment on it. He usually doesn't really notice lipcolor.

There's quite a selection of colors, though some of them are really not my thing and anyone with my coloring would do best to stay away from Red & White Zin or Midori Glam. But if you manage to find a color or two that you really like (ignore the gloss part when testing), this is a very good product to have on hand.

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