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Saturday, 7 March 2015

High Street vs. High End: Revlon and NARS

My love of NARS lip pencils is no secret round these parts. Since jumping on the beauty blog bandwagon just before Christmas, I now own four of these cult products and will probably not stop until I own them all. They're just that good.
But as I wrote a couple of days ago, I'm living on a student budget and £19 a lip pencil isn't always viable. If I'm frugal with my food shop, that amount could feed me for over a week. Which is where budget brand Revlon come in. I actually bought one of their 'Colorburst' Balm Stains last Summer - I had been after the shade, 'Honey Douce', for months but they'd flown off shelves and was impossible to track down. Hence my euphoria when I finally found it in a small branch of Boots in Newquay. Our annual trip to Cornwall is always very relaxed and mainly consists of dog walks on the beach so I keep things very simple on the make-up front. This lip stain was perfect for our ultimate lazy holiday.

Revlon Colorbust Lip Stain - 'Honey Douce'

Yet when we got back home, this lip stain fell out of my make-up routine. It's been neglected since last Summer and has just been sitting on my chest of drawers... until this weekend when I remembered what a great little steal this was. Colour-wise, it's very similar to NARS' 'Sex Machine'. It's a pinky-peach tone with a satin finish. On first glance, the bullet itself is quite startling. I remember doing a double take and checking if I'd picked up the right colour. In its packaging the product looks almost burgundy in colour. Not quite what you'd expect from a product named 'Honey Douce'! But because the formula is so low in pigment it comes out a completely different shade. This cool pink/peach is very easy to wear and even easier to apply.
But this is where I get picky. I'm personally not a big fan of its packaging. It feels very cheap and the bottom (which you rotate to build the bullet) makes an annoying rattling noise and often threatens to fall off. The bullet itself is very wide and round which makes it hard not to go over the lip line - the smudged effect is not exactly desirable. The product itself has a slight minty scent which was pretty unexpected and unnecessary if you ask me. When it comes to long-lasting wear, the balm definitely needs topping up throughout the day as the satin formula means its not great for the wear and tear of everyday life. But I love the shade and it does feel very light and balm-like on the lips. 'Honey Douce' is definitely going to be making a return to the make-up routine.

NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil - 'Sex Machine'

'Sex Machine' is the latest addition to my over-growing collection of NARS lip pencils. It's the perfect 'your-lips-but-better' shade which may sound stupid to some, but for me it's ideal. I whip this one out for all occasions - but it's mostly become my go-to everyday shade. I love that I can layer this on in the morning and not worry about smudging or uneven fading. It's a dusty pink colour that matches the natural shade of my lips and it's fast become my favourite. Once again, it's a Velvet Matte formula which fails to dry out the lips and just sits comfortably all day. I always forget I'm wearing it which is a sign that a lip product is doing it's job! 
I picked up this lovely liner at #BeautyChatLIVE last month and am fast getting through it. One of the things I love about this pencils is their easy application. I like to keep them nice and sharp so the application is very precise. Plus, this soft hue means you can either do a quick swipe of pink or build up the colour for a slightly bolder look. I would honestly struggle to find fault with these lip pencils. In my eyes, they can do no wrong. They're long-lasting and incredibly effortless. 'Sex Machine' is the perfect subtle babydoll pink. 

'Sex Machine' (L), 'Honey Douce' (R)

In the photos, there's not actually that much difference between the colours. But when it comes to formulas and lasting power, these products are worlds apart. In this instance, High End beats High Street but Revlon Colorburst lip Stain is a solid contender. When making a direct comparison, it takes a wonder of a product to bump NARS lip pencils off their pedestal. But I'd say the Colorbust lip stain is a more relaxed, lazy day kind of product. The kind you'd reach for on holiday or when you're having an otherwise low key day. In contrast, NARS lip pencils constitute my everyday, 'put-together' face. They look like I've made an effort when in reality, they require very little. But at £7.99 instead of a pricey £19, Revlon does win in this respect. As a result, my ideal make-up routine is a mix of budget and slight indulgences just so I can salvage that bank balance a little.

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