Adventures at Sephora

NARS - Adventures at SephoraHopefully, this is the last time that I mention the backlog of posts and photos on my computer. Keeping current with data and getting back to people (e-mail and phone-wise) is a terrible vice that I seem to have perfected, instead of eradicated. My first catch-up starts with a new series to MOJ. There are always new series I am inspired to bring in, as well as some which don’t make much sense to continue with (do you agree? Let me know which need to be retired, or resurrected!). The new kid on the block is Adventures at Sephora. Sometimes, you just can’t buy everything that you want (wouldn’t that be nice?!).

NARS - Adventures at Sephora MyOwnJudgeAbout a month ago, I tried out some matte lipsticks by NARS. The part that attracted me the most was the allure of the lipsticks being named after cities. Universal glamour! The double win came as I spotted a lipstick with the same name as my hometown. I was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan – so imagine my surprise when I spotted a lipstick named the same! The color was a light beige, a little less loud and bright than I may have wished for (if I were to wish for a color…), but then again, this isn’t Vegas we’re talking about.

MyOwnJudgeWomp womp! The color is a fail for me. When trying on nude lip colors, the risk is always choosing a color that matches your skin tone far too much and makes your lips a bit invisible. I was super bummed that the shade I wanted to stock up on, because of the name, ended up being a match not made in heaven for me. [insert sad face here].

I tried to cover it up with a gloss to make my lips a bit more existent, and it worked a little bit. I wasn’t impressed enough though, so I left empty handed. Maybe next time I’ll give Volga and Tonkin a chance.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these?

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Babor Cosmetics Lipstick

MyOwnJudgeFollowing my Babor Csometics makeover, I was excited to try out the products for myself. First in line was a proper stick of lipstick.

You know me – a fan of packaging. The gold packaging for both the box and the lipstick make the product purchase utterly special. The allure of golden packaging for products across the spectrum is just the Midas effect I suppose. Who doesn’t want to own something golden?MyOwnJudgeThe color I tested was #13 – Rouge Noir. It looks like a super dark vampy red out of the packaging.MyOwnJudgeThe color varies depending on how many times you swipe it across the skin. It has a bit of a blotchy finish once you start getting a little happy with the application. But no one is guilty of that, right? (I won’t tell!)MyOwnJudgeAfter two swipes, the lipstick is completely not as dark as the lipstick seems at first sight. It comes off like sheer vampy burgundy and applies very softly without staining the skin in case of errors. The only gripe was how the coloring stuck to every imperfection of the lips. That is the curse of darker lipsticks (and the super light ones as well) – they will forever point out all flaws. Being that it is getting colder and I have a terrible knack for chewing on the dry spots one finds on their lips, I wasn’t happy with how it looked. The combination of flaws and the color made it look a bit like scabs – not cute. The remedy? I went to my fix all and used a Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush lip gloss with shimmer to top off the color and hide imperfections.MyOwnJudge
So much better! The lip gloss adds dimension with the shimmer and helps deflect from looking at the flaws. It adds great personality to the lipstick.

The win-all for this lipstick is definitely the even and creamy application. It feels as smooth as chapstick just running over your lips. It had no drag that an extra thick lipstick can sometimes have. It’s a little bit rich in the $25 price tag, but if you think about it, so many nondrugstore brands are around that price, that it’s nothing new.

I am unsure whether all lipsticks are as sheer in application as this one, but if so, this would be super awesome. It verges on a combination of lipstick, lip gloss, and lip butter products. A general application that can be used whenever – depending on what color you choose of course.

Have you tried Babor Cosmetics yet?

Disclaimer: This product was sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on MOJ remain unbiased and unpaid. For more info, feel free to contact the author.

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Wet n’ Wild Lipstick Shades

MyOwnJudgeAfter my successfully indulgent trip to the drugstore (as well as the follow up online confession), it was only right to expose how the colors looked like in real life. In this photo – I tried to make the lip shades look like a Cingular sign :).

As I’ve said in my review, the lipsticks are creamy and highly pigmented, and very very worth the money. Something else I found out with these babies? They’re not for the faint of heart, and by that I mean, they are high maintenance. These sticks (or at least the colors I chose) need a brush applicator on hand at all times. If you use the lipstick on its own and brave it out, you’ll have plenty of cleanup to follow (it’s the worst to do cleanup after red lipstick, because your skin may turn pink from either the coloring or the irritation from rubbing). Every time I tried to apply Red Velvet on my own, I was running cleanup interference to the point that I wiped the whole thing off and started again. Did this three times before I gave up and took a brush thankyouverymuch
MyOwnJudgeNo swatch post is ever enough without the before and after shot. Here’s my before. There is no flash on the left and flash on the right. This pattern is the same throughout all the colors.MyOwnJudgeRed Velvet is a bad mama jama. It’s matte but super creamy (okay all of them are – but still). It’s bright and has a blue tone to make your teeth look pearly white. Did I mention this would look awesome on all skin tones?MyOwnJudgeThen the trouble started. Just Peachy is the kind of beige that a girl with my skin tone should steer clear of. As a matter of fact, I’m starting to think this shade is so specific that I’d have to keep my eye out for the perfect match. It has an pastel orange tint to it, making it disappear on my face. It felt like I was hiding my eyebrows… just you know – on my lips. My skin shade by MAC standards is NW20, so you’d have to be wayyyy below or way above for this color to work on you. It’d need to create a serious contrast.MyOwnJudgeBut alas, Yaya will not give up. I decided to layer my Armour Beauty gloss on top to give it more dimension.MyOwnJudge
What do you think? Any better?
MyOwnJudgeSmokin’ Hot Pink is a very attractive coral and pink mix. It’s a bit reminiscent of pinup gals.MyOwnJudgeI slipped up on Mauve Outta Here. Where the heck is the photo without flash? Y’all know as much as I do. It’s a lilac and pink mix that verges on not matching skin tones, but is just enough to get away with. Do you agree?

I kind of want to get more colors but my wallet is asking that I take a conservative stance with the pending holiday and birthday events. Ever notice how birthdays are always in clusters (and never in the clusters where you have the most discretionary income!)?

Which is your favorite?

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Wet n’ Wild Lipsticks

MyOwnJudgeThe last time I stepped foot into Rite Aid, they were having killer sales on all things unnecessary but pretty. Wet n’ Wild products were 40% off and the new Mega Last lipsticks were calling my name. Being that each one was $2.99, I figured if I got all four colors I was itching to try, one would be free, considering the discount. For $3 a pop I honestly would have tried them without the sale as well, but a brand can normally slip under the radar if they don’t make some kind of money saving commotion to land in the weekly paper.

Lips take center stage! This 4-hour, longwearing lip color leaves a semi-matte, crème finish in one stroke. Glides on easily with rich, velvety color that doesn’t cake, feather, or bleed. Made with hydrating skin-care ingredients: Hyaluronic Microspheres provide extraordinary adhesion to lips, an exclusive polymer complex offers cushion-like feel and texture, and natural marine plant extracts Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamins A & E help smooth lips. (source)

I got the following colors:
Usually, customers don’t expect the same color payoff and product performance from a product that is so cheap, but ladies and gents of the jury. When I tell you these lipsticks baffled me?! How can the company afford something so good for so cheap a price?!
These swatches are after one swipe. The description does not lie! The pigmentation was jam packed with bright goodness. For the most part, the colors I chose were a good match for me, and I dare say universally flattering as well.MyOwnJudge
The lipsticks appear more matte than creamy, but they have a generally creamy application (if that makes sense).

Though I was very pleased with the lipsticks, there were two things that drove me crazy. First, the lipsticks are so pigmented, that you almost have to use a lip brush to apply the product (especially the brighter colors) for neat application within the lines. As far as the bleeding goes, there is absolutely none. Second was the packaging. Y’all know I judge packaging almost as closely as the product itself, so this had to be addressed.

The packaging contains the color name, which isn’t the smartest thing if you want a name to reference in the future, or well – just because. I have been guilty of unwittingly buying doubles and triples of products, usually because I did not have the name handy to double check (an excuse on my part, but a minor thumbs down nonetheless). Another packaging peeve? The ‘peel here’ and perforation are on opposite sides!
MyOwnJudge I’m not sure if it was just the batch I got, or if they just had to sacrifice packaging for quality. Personally, I’ll readily make that sacrifice. I normally attack the packaging like a fiend anyhow.

Stay tuned for more swatches soon!

Have you tried these yet?

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NARS Bento Box

My Own Judge - NARS Bento Box
After a long ago trip to Japan, Francois Nars has finally done it. After a decade in development, the NARS bento box is going to be available for sale soon, exclusively at Saks, Barneys and Neiman Marcus.

Inspired by Kabuki paint, the little bowls are hand poured with a NARS lipstick formula (there are two colors), enriched with Vitamin E. Each bowl has the same amount as a regular lipstick, and will retail for $125. You can use the brush to apply these babies with the precision of a microscope.

The concept and design is a must see. Interested? There’s a waitlist waiting to get your name on it.

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Lipstick Queen – Jean Queen

MyOwnJudge - Lipstick QueenWhat cosmetics do you wear with jeans? Sometimes we pile everything on, being that denim has become as universally flattering and accepted as the color black has. Poppy King, Founder of Lipstick Queen has been asked which lipstick and gloss matches denim so often that she decided to create a product that did exactly that, the Jean Queen.

The lipstick and lip gloss come separately. Both are a rosy and sheer color with darker undertones. From a glance they seem to be the color that can flatter any skin tone because it is a light wash, and because it has the pink hint that is natural to the human lips.

The pink is meant to offset the blue tones from your jeans, as well as light up your face. The shine in the lipstick and the gloss is also meant to juxtapose the matte nature of most denim.
MyOwnJudge - Lipstick Queen
The roles are reversed, as the lip gloss is of a thicker and a bit darker consistency than the lipstick. For the $18 price tag, if you can’t get both, I’d say it’s smarter to get the lipstick. Just seems like you’d get more wear out of it, thus making your money work harder. The sheer wash of the lipstick can be layered for a bit of a deeper tone, or the two can be paired together.
MyOwnJudge - Lipstick Queen
MyOwnJudge - Lipstick Queen
The lipstick is at the top and the gloss is below. Doesn’t the lipstick look like an adult’s version of a chapstick?

What do you wear with your jeans?

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Victoria’s Secret Lipsticks: Good for the Soul

Victoria Secret LipsticksDon’t give me that side eye. I’m back. Life kicked my butt, and I have finally gotten ahead of the rat race to kick it right back into gear. Thanks for being so patient with me all!

I have so many products waiting for me to give them a chance to brighten my day and I wanted to get the ball rolling with Victoria’s Secret lipsticks. You can’t sleep on these babies!

Following an event too many days ago, I remember asking a pretty gal what was on her lips. I thought she had Schiap from NARS but she sure as heck did not. She said the name of the brand and I could swear that was the secret Victoria had been hiding. The shades and the cream consistency of these lipsticks is a bit awe inspiring.

Victoria Secret Lipsticks

Victoria Secret Lipsticks

Victoria Secret Lipsticks Victoria Secret Lipsticks
I got the lipsticks in Showstopper (left) and Vino (right) (check out the selection here). They go on like butter. REALLY.

I can’t wait to get more colors. The colors look the same on the lips as on my hand. I will have more pics soon of how it looks on me.

Have you tried any of these lipsticks? Love it? Hate it? Let me know!

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I see 3 Custom Color in my spring forecast

MOJ 3Color CusHow is the weather by you? Some of the chill factor has snuck back in, but the warmth that appeared mid last week has made itself at home in my wardrobe and makeup. Flats and light jackets and blazers are my uniform items to brave the errands of each day. Spring is also notorious (or famous…) for it’s showers. I happen to love the rain, so even if it does, I’m in a great mood. The mere shift in temperature makes me reach for neons and brights. Some of you may not be as crazy. I’ve accepted this fact ;). To adopt a brighter spring mentality, or even to transition into it smoothly, you might need a bit of sheer.

Many people notice a person’s face first. The eyes and the lips. When others notice you, I hope you have a smile readily available. That smile should be decorated with 3 Custom Color. I broke out my Three Custom Color sheer lipstick in Frangipani thinking that it would be bright as the Vegas lights, but found a peppy sheer coat. So I thought of y’all!

Frangipani sounded familiar so I checked the wiki. It is aptly the common name for a range of flowers found in a tropical climate. Tropical climates have rain, and flowers bloom in spring. So really… you need yourself some sheer pink in your life. Check out the swatches after the jump!

My natural lip with no flash. Sorry for the blur. Sometimes my eyes play tricks on me and what I think is clear turns blurry once it hits the computer!

Without flash it looks like it has a bit or orange or coral in it, si?

Left is without flash, right is with flash.

The lipstick felt like it was what I always look for from my lip and cheek stains – the ‘just right’ amount of flush and a bit of shine. I have not yet tried this product on cheeks, but I might just snip off a piece of lipstick and melt it down into a pan and use it as cream blush. If you’re not as experimental, check out the site for some fabulous colors that are easily build-able, given their sheer and soft creamy nature. I suggest Rebecca’s Favorite Blush or Pink Hyacinth.

When people comment on whether a product that offers gloss is sticky or not, I always think that the answer should be yes. Gloss is gooey (excuse the scientific terminology) and it will always stick in some sort of way. If it was powder, the case would clearly be different. With that said, there is no annoying stick factor to this lipstick. It does not work as a suction cup to all stray hairs in the breeze or grab on to any food particles that may come across it when you devour your morning croissant, bagel, or cookie (wouldn’t it be great to have all three without consequences?!).

Three Custom Color is also famous for recreating discontinued colors from any brand and concocting new colors that are just you (click here for more info). I might reach out to them to create the perfect purple lipstick/gloss that I have been craving and will let you know how it goes.

Does your makeup change with seasons? What’s your warmer weather secret?

Disclaimer: This product was sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on MOJ remain unbiased and unpaid. For more info, feel free to contact the author.

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Maybe She’s Born With It

MOJ MaybellineOn the heels of going back to school to finish my studies and starting a temporary job, I am strapped for time and most importantly, the internet refuses to let me blog as many times as I wish. Excuse the occasional absence from the yayameister now, I will need a week or so to get my bearings. Also keeping me busy? The MOJ Valentine’s Day guide and New York Fashion Week preparations. Everyone who sent me an e-mail – please be patient. I have not yet had the time to answer each e-mail, but fully intend to do so!

But speaking of New York Fashion Week. The new makeup sponsor, Maybelline, has some snazzy lipsticks out on the market – the Color Sensational group. I took the cue from B at and got some colors to test out. The results? Some I loved instantly, and some grew on me!

MOJ Maybelline

MOJ Maybelline
The first image at the top of the page shows the color payoff with flash. Check out how they look on my skin and without flash:

MOJ Maybelline MOJ Maybelline

Now on the lips.

Without any lip product on:
MyOwnJudge MyOwnJudge

MOJ Maybelline
MOJ Maybelline
Park Ave Peach. This wasn’t as expected but it looks really good on. This is the kind of lipstick you throw in your bag for whenever because it is never out of character for where you are. It’s a neutral with a twist.

MOJ Maybelline

MOJ Maybelline
Pink of Me. I had the most trouble with this one. For some reason I was having a brain fart and my application with the lipstick was a bit terrible (as you can see the weirdness at the top of the lip). This lipstick stains a bit, but once you have it under control (take a q-tip or an eyeshadow sponge applicator and run it around your lip edges to clear mistakes – if you use your fingers, it usually makes the surrounding area red), it’s a cute pink with a hint of subtle magenta in it.

This color has subtle shimmer in it, and when the wear starts coming off it shows better. Definitely a great bright addition to everyday makeup, or a shy gal’s entrance into the world of brights!

MOJ Maybelline

MOJ Maybelline
Madison Mauve. This was my entrance into the world of purple lipsticks. I saw ladies rock it on the red carpet and brands have been responding with more variety. When I first put it on, I didn’t like it. I felt like this was a Nanny Fine’s grandma lipstick. You know? The 80 year old women who walk around with bright lipstick and eyeshadow and a leopard fur coat.

But then I wore it again. And I looked in the mirror again. Honestly? I couldn’t stop looking. The color grew on me and now it’s ultra fabulous. Though not the perfect shade of purple that I had in mind, this is the perfect color to add diversity to my lipstick drawer.

MOJ MaybellineLooking like a mad scientist as I kiss tissues.MOJ Maybelline

You can buy these lipsticks in a plethora of shades at your favorite drugstore. To check for locations and get additional information, click over here for the Maybelline page.

What’s your favorite Maybelline lip product?

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Magazine Weekend Elle July 2009

Happy Saturday everyone! I’m falling under a continuous Saturday/Sunday BBQ schedule and am having the best summer. I hope the same spreads to all my readers and would love to hear how you are spending your weekends!

This magazine clipping of the day is from Elle July 2009 with Gwen Stefani on the cover. The article rocking my socks is the one by April Long discussing the red lipstick trend and it’s transforming powers. Now red lipstick has and always will be a staple. This is not a trend to take lightly and it is not a fad. It stays through and flatters every woman and gets every man who has it on his collar in deep doo doo. Villains, superheroes, vixens, and lolitas have all rocked this color, and if you haven’t yet, then maybe you should!

Through my super Google skills, I can safely say that if you foolishly don’t have an Elle subscription, you can check out the article on their site here. You can also follow them on twitter!

And in the spirit of the article, I had to break out my NYX vixen red lipstick in Electra. Never mind the shininess or the expression of the face – it’s hot as Hades in my humble abode.

Remember to keep your lips moisturized and SPF-ied!! Enjoy!

Shoot me an e-mail to if you would like me to explore other/have topics and/or magazines, or for general opinions of what’s in magazine weekend.

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