Our staff panel boasts quite a range – a few decades in age, a few dozen microns in hair thickness and from C2 to NC50 in MAC foundation color. Here’s our take on a few items. (Want to join us as a guest reviewer for one item? Tell us why in three sentences and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
No. 7 StayPerfect Lip Stain ($9.99). From Boots, a well-known and relatively inexpensive United Kingdom beauty brand that’s now in Target and Walgreens, this promotes its blend of Vitamin E and sodium hyaluronate for moisturizing and comes in five shades.
HT: The stain is lovely. Put on around 9 a.m., and though the color mellowed over time, it was still working after Pilates, a shower, numerous beverages, soup for lunch and multiple lip balm applications. Didn’t leave any color behind on drinks (no more so than regular Chapstick), which was nice. Re-application didn’t feel overly drying, no color feathering. Con: The “gloss” end of the stain stick is the weak link; it doesn’t retract into the pen, so it’s floppy, unsupported and hard to apply.
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CS: I’m a big fan of having gloss on one side and the shade on the other. The pointy tip for the shade helps me stay within the lines. Shade seems to be long-lasting, too, even through drinking and eating.
HS: The fact that it’s a felt-tip marker on one end and balm on the other is a win-win for me: It draws a clear line (meaning I can hit the lip line with maybe 70 percent accuracy), and I’ll never need to find the sharpener I can never find.
The Body Shop’s Colour Crush Nail Varnish ($8):
HT: Covers nicely in two coats, with high shine. Lasted 3-4 days without noticeable chips under a no-chip top coat. Dings started showing up on Day 5, but the color held as well as non-vegan formulas.
CS: Polish goes on smoothly, and two coats do the trick. Minty Amour is a vibrant bluish-green shade with pop. I wasn’t sure whether the Mint Cream would be too much of a contrast against my skin, but I did receive unsolicited compliments about my nails. The polish held up against chlorine, which impressed me.
HS: Since these arrived in a box with moss, it made sense to apply it, then garden. Pretty amazing: High gloss and only a single chip after two hours in the dirt. It’s “5-free,” which means it has no formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, formaldehyde resin or camphor. Apparently, this is a good thing.
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour ($38 for a quartet of minis; $28 for a single full-size):
HT: Applied like a thick liner, smudged as an eyeshadow. Nice staying power; didn’t crease, even when used without a primer. Retractable aspect was a nice feature. Enjoyed the shimmer, which was age-appropriate and seemed universally flattering.
CS: The Amethyst shade didn’t really look as purple-ish as I would expect with this name. Still, this goes on smoothly and is such a fun look. I was a bit shy about the glittery look for the workplace, so I applied a top layer of a favorite MAC shade to tone it down. I left the glittery look in place for a weekend gathering with friends.
HS: A must-buy for me, based on its ability not to crease, my biggest non-powder bane. Loved all the colors in the quartet; a little shimmer without going all Ke$ha. (Wait, is Ke$ha even a thing anymore? Or is the immortal – and apropos – “cigar in the caviar” lyric now just a throwaway line in a cosmetics review?)