Monthly Archives: February 2015

High-end Lipstick Review Series: Instant Disqualification

Givenchy Lipsticks

Givenchy Lipsticks

As I mentioned in my review of Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy lipstick, I recently had an in-store Sephora shopping experience (there isn’t one where I live) to check out high-end lippies. I was considering reviewing Givenchy next, but after examining them in person I literally couldn’t even bring myself to try one, especially not at $38 CAD.

So, what turned me off? Lets start with the Givenchy Le Rouge, “a semimatte lipstick encased in genuine leather.” I just can’t get on board the matte lipstick train. I have disliked every matte lipstick I’ve ever tried. They’re just not for me. Then there was the ominously black Rouge Interdit Magic Lipstick: “Its pigments react with the skin’s pH, thus its color evolves differently on each woman.” Mood lipstick? Yeah I NEVER have any luck with these types of products that “magically adjust” to your *perfect* shade. Lips in an unpredictable shade of hot fushia for $38? Um no thanks.

The Rouge Interdit Satin Lipstick seemed like a possibility until I gave the testers the sniff test. Holy cow the Givenchy lipsticks smell terrible!!! The Rouge Interdit have a strong, old-fashioned makeupy scent that some people might call the “old lady lipstick smell.” The Le Rouge are evidently and inexplicably “mimosa and blackcurrant” scented, so you can imagine. And if the off-putting scents weren’t all bad enough, then there was the packaging.

I apologize to any Givenchy devotees out there, but the packaging of the lipsticks is not my cup of tea. The packaging felt light-weight, plasticy and cheap. The Le Rouge, billed as a “genuine leather goods item” and “lipstick-as-accessory” looked clunky and let’s just say that sure wasn’t very soft luxurious leather I was feeling. The Rouge Interdit have this weird loop of stiff, scratchy fabric on the bottom that serves no purpose. Advertised as a “fashion accessory” and “objet d’art” this lipstick ironically had zero visual appeal for me. To be perfectly honest, both looked kinda tacky, IMO.

So I’m officially disqualifying Givenchy from my high-end lipstick review series. Worth a re-purchase? These didn’t even get an initial purchase.

Could I be totally wrong about these? Has anyone tried the Givenchy lipsticks, and if so, what did you think?

Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤



Filed under Giveaways, Lips, Lipstick, Reviews

Beauty Themed Party Favour Idea for a Baby Shower

makeup themed party favour for a baby shower

It’s a boy!

I threw a very nontraditional baby shower for a friend of mine last weekend. It was a “Boozey, Badass Unshower” actually, with no games (I really am not a fan of baby shower games). I did make a yummy non-alcoholic punch for the mums-to-be in attendance. Because people weren’t going to be winning any prizes, I thought it would be nice to do party favours instead and I had the idea of going with a makeup/beauty theme and thought I’d share it with you.

Disclaimer: I’m sure craftier/more patient types would be able to do a fancier job with presentation. All I managed was some clear cellophane and poorly curled blue ribbon (did I mention it was an “unshower”?). 🙂

Each guest received a Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in Quenched 005, which is the clear one, and a nail polish in a shade of blue.

Maybelline Baby LipsOPI Blue My Mind











I went with the clear VS the tinted Baby Lips because 1. it has the blue packaging (too perfect) and 2. that way I didn’t have to worry about gals not getting a shade they didn’t like. It was hard to find enough of any one shade of blue nail polish at my drugstore, so I picked up a variety of blue polishes. The brands and shades I picked up were: OPI’s Blue My Mind (pictured), Can’t Find My Czechbook, Keeping Suzi At Bay, and I Saw…U Saw…We Saw…Warsaw, and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Set Sail, Brisk Blue, and In Prompt Blue.

My little deaf white kitty, Miss Vivien Leigh, loved the attention she received from all the ladies and attentively observed the guest of honour opening gifts before taking a nap in a tissue paper fort she’d constructed.


my sleepy kitty, Miss Vivien Leigh, enjoying the tissue paper

In case anyone is having a par-tay, I thought I’d share the recipe for the punch I made. I made it virgin, but had white rum on hand for spiking too.

Unshower Punch Recipe

  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups cold (decaffeinated) tea
  • 6 cups Ginger ale
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1 sliced orange
  • 1/2 jar of maraschino cherries and juice
  • 2 cups soda or sparkling water (add just before serving)

I let it sit with the fruit in it  for a few hours and also chucked in some ice.

Thanks for Reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤


Filed under Lips, Nails

High-end Lipstick Review Series: Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy

Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy CC Lipstick

Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy CC Lipstick

Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy in 600 Mania

Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy in 600 Mania

I’m back with another contender in my ongoing High-end lipstick review series. I picked up one of the Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy lipsticks at Sephora while I was in Toronto a few weeks ago. It was great to actually be in the store and be able to swatch and try on (carefully disinfected!) shades since there are 36 to choose from and Eaton’s Centre Sephora seemed to have almost all of them. Seriously, the colour selection is intense.

After much hemming and hawing, I kept coming back to #600, Mania, a beautiful, not-overly-vampy, rich plum. It was super sunny when I photographed the lipstick so the bullet looks lighter than it is, but the swatch is fairly true to colour:

swatch giorgio armani rouge ecstasy 600 mania

Mania swatches and applies much darker than it appears in the bullet

The Rouge Ecstasy is a “CC” lipstick, with the CC standing for “Color & Care.” The Armani site explains:

  • Care: Rouge Ecstasy offers the comfort and softness of a lip balm, leaving lips repaired and beautifully enhanced day after day.
  • Color: This velvety soft, everyday lipstick coats the lips in saturated, ultra-luminous shades with impeccable hold. Application is simple, precise and effective.

I have to say that I completely agree with the product description. Lets see how the Armani Rouge Ecstasy compared to the other high-end lippies in our series.

duchess pointduchess pointduchess point


Initially I was on the fence about the design and colour choice. It certainly isn’t subtle and it might not be for everyone. But the red and black did start to grow on me after a while. I also liked that it was weighty and substantial and has the magnetic closure. The little silver Art Deco “GA” embellishment and similar engraving on the lipstick was a nice touch too. 2/3 Duchess points

duchess pointduchess pointduchess point


Loved, loved loved the formula! This is my perfect kind of lipstick: slightly sheer and luminous, hint of glossiness, weightless feel, hydrating, smooth and even application – perfection! The Armani has the elusive quality of giving lots of colour in one swipe combined with a sheerness that still lets your own lips come through, the way a great foundation will give coverage without wiping out any trace of your own natural skin  (I dislike a thick opaque lipstick the way I dislike a heavy, matte full-coverage foundation). I would describe the finish of the Armani lipstick in 2 words: youthful and yummy. 3/3 Duchess points

duchess pointduchess pointduchess point


This lipstick wears better than any other lipstick I have ever tried, EVER. It isn’t drying at all – it feels moisturizing and balmy – yet it stays on for hours. The best part is that it also wears off so nicely. Even with a darker shade like this, it wears off completely evenly AND leaves behind a flattering stain. I wish I had more Duchess points to give. 3/3 Duchess points

duchess pointduchess pointduchess point


This is where the Armani let me down a little. After a peek at the ingredients list, there doesn’t seem to be any added fragrance (yay!), but the lipstick does have a faint “makeupy”  type of smell. Luckily, it isn’t overpowering and there isn’t any noticeable taste so I didn’t have to deduct too many points. 2/3 Duchess points

Sensitivity Test
Totally passed! No irritation from this lipstick at all. (neutral Duchess points)

MAC Test
I was so close to liking this one more than my MAC lipsticks. I think the two things that hold it back are the packaging and the scent. Although I love the formula, overall I liked it about the same as MAC. (neutral Duchess points)

Would I pay $39 CAD for another one?
duchess point


Yes, I would. I think the Armani Rouge Ecstasy is a high-end lipstick worthy of the splurge. 1/1 Duchess points

Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy total: 11/14

The Armani tied for second place with Guerlain and Estee Lauder.

High-End Lipstick Comparisons Chart

I am having such a fun time doing this series! I have lots more that I want to try and review, including brands like Dior, YSL, Rouge Bunny Rouge, and many others, so there will be plenty more posts in this series over the coming months. But when I wrap it up I’m going to decide on my favorite high-end lipstick and give one away to a subscriber (in a shade of their choice)!

Other reviews in this series:
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine
Rouge G de Guerlain
Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy
Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème
NARS Audacious Lipstick
Marc Jacobs Lovemarc Lip Gel
Tom Ford Lip Color
Burberry Lip Cover
NARS Lipstick (original)

Check out my initial post for a full explanation of my rating scale.

Thanks for reading
Nerdy Librarian Girl


Filed under Giveaways, Lips, Lipstick, Reviews

Review: New Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick

New Revlon Ultra HD Lipsticks

New Revlon Ultra HD Lipsticks

Hi everyone and Happy Friday the 13th! Do you think of Friday the 13th as unlucky? Some people believe its an unlucky day to travel or start a new project, and others think its actually a day that brings good luck. I certainly didn’t have much luck with these new Revlon Ultra HD Lipsticks, although I don’t think I can blame the calendar.

I typically love Revlon lip products, especially the Super Lustrous Lipsticks, Lip Butters (I have about 9 or 10 of these at last count), Kissable Balm Stains (I just got a new Adore, my fav shade), and Colorstay Moisture Stain. I was soo excited about the Ultra HD Lipsticks! Apparently they were released last fall, but they only just appeared where I live. Advertised as having “revolutionary wax-free gel technology for true color clarity in one smooth swipe”, I instantly fell in love with the look of the packaging, which is the same as the Lip Butters, but with a smooth, untextured, see-through cap with a  top that looks like a clear jewel. I didn’t even read any reviews (spoiler alert: this was a mistake).

I picked mine up at Target. As you have likely already heard, all of the Target stores in Canada are closing in what’s being described as the biggest corporate bankruptcy in Canadian history. Sales are beginning, and last week, all makeup went on sale for 30% off so I thought this would be a great time to purchase some of the new Ultra HD Lipsticks. At Target they were regularly $8.99 CAD. With the discount, I paid $6.29 for each.

My first disappointment came when I saw the shades in real life. Although there are 20 shades, I had a difficult time finding ones I liked – the opposite of my experience with the Lip Butters. There were a lot of bright pinks, orangey shades, and browns (like full on 1990s browns). Target didn’t have any testers either. I eventually settled on HD Primrose and HD Rose (all the shades are named after flowers).

Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in HD Primrose and HD Rose

Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in HD Primrose and HD Rose

Revlon HD Rose and HD Primrose

HD Rose and HD Primrose

HD Rose is a soft, muted, more cool-toned pink. I have since seen it swatched on other blogs looking like a much prettier purple-toned pink, but on me it looked more peachy-corally pink. HD Primrose is a darker shade, a rosey brownish-pink.

Swatches: Revlon Ultra HD Primrose and HD Rose

Swatches: HD Primrose and HD Rose

Once I got these home I experienced more disappointments. Ugh – the packaging! Having read other reviews now, I know I’m not alone in my frustration. A lipstick that doesn’t retract all the way + a clear cap = huge mess. You can’t avoid nicking the lipstick with the cap when you close it.

Ugh – the formula! You can even see in the swatch, these lipsticks don’t go on smoothly or evenly. “One smooth swipe”? Um, nope. HD Rose looked just awful. It was patchy and settled into any little lines in my lips. HD Primrose just sat on top of my lips blandly with a dull finish. I didn’t like the way either shade looked on me. They also felt thick and drying and uncomfortable.

Ugh – the scent! The worst and most disappointing thing of all was the overwhelming, sickly sweet, cherry cough drop scent that hit me as soon as I removed the cap. Ick! And you can really taste it when you’re wearing it. Bleck!

What was Revlon thinking with these? They are a real miss for me.

Have you tried them?

Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤


Filed under Lips, Lipstick, Reviews

Skull Lip Balm!

Rebels Refinery Capital Vices Collection skull lip balm

Rebels Refinery Capital Vices Collection unisex lip balm

Oh hi there. Sorry that from hereforth all other lip balms will seem boring.” – Rebels Refinery

I think that pretty much sums it up. I means SKULL LIP BALM! Are you kidding me? How beyond amazing it this? Rebels Refinery is an awesome Canadian brand that actually specializes in men’s products (but note, the lip balm is “unisex”) made from all natural, organic ingredients that aren’t tested on animals. Their logo and packaging has a real steam-punk vibe.

Rebels Refinery

I ordered their skull lip balm from their website. Although shipping was a little more than I normally like to pay ($17.01 CAD) I think it was totally worth it. Imagine whipping this little guy out of your purse.

skull lip balm

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him”

And the lip balm itself is actually really good too! I’m super picky about lip balm. For instance I’m not a fan of EOS or Fresh Sugar. The Rebels Refinery lip balm contains the “highest quality coconut and sweet almond oils” and Vitamin E. I find it very hydrating. I chose the flavour Avaritia, which is Latin for one of the 7 deadly sins (avarice/greed). Its described as “natural” and is pretty much unscented/unflavoured, but the lip balm is also available in Superbia (mint) and Luxuria (“strange-fruit”).

I love how you twist off the skull to reveal the lip balm “brain” inside. So macabre. 🙂

skull lip balm


The bottom of the lip balm is even embossed with the quotation “Be all my sins remember’d” – Hamlet.

Essentially the best lip balm of all time, the Rebels Refinery Capital Vices Collection lip balm is a mere $7.99 CAD. Note: As per usual, I am in no way associated with this company and purchased this product myself. All opinions are my own 🙂

Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl


Filed under Health & Skincare, Reviews

Feeling Marsala at MAC

MAC Haul Marsala

Goodies from the MAC Store in the Eaton’s Centre, Toronto

I just got back from Toronto where I had to attend some meetings and present at a conference. It was so cold and dry there! It was about -22 C (which is about -8 F I believe). Since I’ve been back, we’ve also had the worst weather! My university had two snow days this week. On the up-side: sleeping in! On the down-side: shoveling. Here’s a shot of my driveway yesterday morning after we got over a foot of snow. Thankfully my finance and our amazing neighbours helped me out.

snow day

My poor car buried under 1.5 feet of snow that fell overnight

Anyway, the best part of being in Toronto in the middle of a freezing Canadian winter was definitely getting to go to the MAC Store. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t actually have a MAC where I live. I think I must have been in a “marsala” sort of mood, because I was totally drawn to all of the red-brown earthy shades. I had 6 empty containers, so I did a “back-to-MAC” for a free lipstick (wah00!), and also picked up a second lipstick and a lipliner.

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Absolutely It

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Absolutely It

Absolutely It is a brownish, burgundy wine lip pencil that the SA suggested to me to bring out the marsala in any other lip shades you might already own. Don’t you love that? I also picked up two Lustre finish lipsticks, which is my all time favourite type of MAC lipstick.

MAC Sophisto and Spice It Up

MAC Sophisto and Spice It Up!

MAC Sophisto and Spice It Up

MAC Sophisto and Spice It Up!

Sophisto looks quite different in the bullet than it does applied. Although it initially appears more brown, its really a sheer, berry plum with some warm brown undertones going on (or as MAC describes it “dewy rose plum with gold”). In the bullet it almost looks like it might be shimmery, but this does not show up at all swatched or on your lips, so no repeat of my Naked Paris experience. Sophisto is a unique shade that I think you could play around with to get different looks depending on which lip liner you use with it. I’m really enjoying it. It is sheer though, so if you have quite pigmented lips or prefer a more opaque lipstick, it might not be for you.

Spice It Up! is described as “mulled brown berry” which I think is very accurate. Its a beautiful brownish-red. If you are into the 90s lip trend that has made a major come back, then you totally need Spice It Up!

Swatches: Absolutely It, Sophisto, and Spice It Up

Swatches: Absolutely It, Sophisto, and Spice It Up

I also got another blush – I really love the MAC blushes, especially the matte finish blushes. I had Mocha on my list for a while, a muted plum-toned pink matte blush that is a apparently a favourite of the very fair-skinned Dita Von Teese.

MAC Mocha blush

MAC Mocha blush

swatch: MAC Mocha blush

swatch: MAC Mocha blush

Finally, I also picked up another MAC 239 eye shadow brush. I’ve tried others from MAC, Real Techniques, Make Up Geek, and I just don’t like any other brush for applying eye shadow as much as the 239. So I got a second one.

MAC 239

Best eye shadow brush ever!

Hope you enjoyed my MAC shopping escapades and liked my ideas for “marsala” lipsticks!

Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤


Filed under Accessories & Tools, Cheeks, Face, Lip Liner, Lips, Lipstick

MAC Capricious Dupe!

MAC Capricious dupe

Revlon Super Lustrous Mauvy Night VS MAC Capricious

I’m such a huge fan of MAC’s Capricious lipstick. I just bought another one. This lustre finish lipstick is the perfect rosy plum (and also the shade worn by Evil Queen Regina on Once Upon a Time). It may just be my all time favourite MAC lipstick.

I recently did a post on my Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick collection and my favourite Revlon shade is without a doubt the beautifully plum, Mauvy Night (with the recently discovered Plumilicious a very close second). It suddenly hit me that the two shades are quite similar. Although they don’t initially appear to be dupes in the tube, I tried side-by-side swatches and it turns out that Mauvy Night may just be a dupe for MAC Capricious! and probably why I love them both so much.

Swatch Revlon Mauvy Night VS MAC Capricious

Left: Mauvy Night Right: Capricious

I would say that Capricious is a bit more pigmented and slightly glossier than Mauvy Night, but otherwise they are extremely similar. MAC lipsticks are $19.00 CAD and Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks are only $9.99 CAD, so Mauvy Night is a pretty great drugstore alternative if you’re on a budget.

Thanks for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤


Filed under Favourites, Lips, Lipstick

Two Makeup Geek Eyeshadows that are Dupes…for Each Other?

Makeup Geek Last Dance and Homecoming

One of these things is not a lot like the other

The other day I posted about my favourite Makeup Geek eyeshadows. I’m a big fan of MUG and really enjoyed the eyeshadows I’ve ordered. Of course, like any brand, there have been some “misses” but nothing as peculiar as these two shades: Last Dance and Homecoming.

Makeup Geek Last Dance and Homecoming


Although Homecoming is described on the MUG site as “medium brown with gold shimmer” and Last Dance as “satin medium to deep plummy brown”, these two shades seem to be identical. Check out the swatches and see if you can tell which is which:

Swatches: Makeup Geek Last Dance & Homecoming

Swatches: Last Dance & Homecoming

Now, I’m not sure if this was an accidental mis-labelling situation? I feel like these might both be Homecoming. If anyone else has ordered either (or both) of these shades please let me know what you think. Are these just really similar or could this have been a mistake?

UPDATE: I emailed Makeup Geek with a link to this post, and they confirmed I had been sent two Homecomings. They sent me a new Last Dance right away for free which was super nice of them! To see the REAL Last Dance, check out this post.

As always, thanks so much for reading!
Nerdy Librarian Girl ❤


Filed under Eyes, Eyeshadow