Friday, October 21, 2011

Tarte Lip Service Limited Edition LipSurgence Collection Review and Swatches

Here's the long-awaited (can you hear the sarcasm?) full post on the LE Tarte LipSurgence collection, available now at Sephora and  I've been pretty much wearing these non-stop since I got them so that I could get this review up before it sells out on Sephora again, but I also wanted to be sure to give as thorough and accurate a review as possible.  I think this is a happy medium!  For arm swatches and my initial thoughts, see here.

Left to right: Glitzy, Perky, Flashy, Swank, Dazzled

Three of these are Lusters and have shimmer, and two are sparkle-free tints.  I found that, overall, the lusters felt a little gritty from the shimmer, but they also seemed to stay moist on my lips for longer than the tints, which were not gritty, but lost their slip within half an hour.  The tints leave behind a lovely stain of color when they wear off, while the lusters last an hour+ (depending on the pigmentation) but leave behind less of a stain and a sprinkling of glitter.

They all have a very slight peppermint smell/taste, which gives the tiniest bit of tingliness when applied, but it's very mild.  They supposedly increase moisture by 6000%, which is just so ridiculous I can't even say.  They are moisturizing, definitely, more so than Clinique Chubby Sticks, but I do still rely on my Jack Black after a day of wearing these.  I'd initially thought their texture was softer than Clinique's, but I think that's only true for Perky, the light pink tint, as it seems to be softer than the others (and is also looser in its casing, so it has smooshed against the side of the tube a bit); I wish I could compare them, but, alas, I lost the Clinique one.  The texture is balmy, but firm, so there's no wasted product.  Overall, I would describe them as a glossy staining tinted balm, which is a mouthful, but I really think that covers all the pieces.

Pictures and descriptions of each shade:

Glitzy: Described as an "antique pink luster", this is the most neutral of all the shades.  It's a beige-pink with gold shimmer, and is the best product for a "nude lip" that I've yet to come across (they usually make me look dead).  It's one of the lighter shades, so it lasts about an hour on my lips before much of the color is worn off (and the shimmer tends to hang around, though you don't have to worry about having sparklelips when it wears off because it's subtler than that).  

Dazzled: A "pearly coral pink luster", Dazzled is the sheerest of all the shades.  It's warm, but certainly not orange, like it looks in the tube (thank God).  It just adds a hint of color to my lips, and it has the least shimmer out of all the lusters.  The color fades the fastest with this one, since it's so sheer, but I wore it through teaching a class (lots of talking) and my lips felt nicely moisturized and it wore off evenly, so that's good.  It's really foolproof, too, and I feel perfectly comfortable applying it without a mirror.

Flashy: This is definitely the most pigmented of the collection.  It's a "bright iridescent fuchsia luster", which is pretty much spot-on; cool bright pink with lavender/magenta shimmer, this can be made completely opaque with very little effort.  Like the other lusters, it's a little gritty, but the shimmer doesn't migrate; the tint (and shimmer) lasts a couple of hours, and though the balminess is gone after an hour, my lips still feel moist, not stripped.

Perky: This is a "soft carnation pink tint", and goes on a light pink, not so light or cool as to be Barbie pink, but a really nice true pink, and leaves a slightly darker pink stain once the balm has worn off––very natural and pretty.  I mentioned Tarte's LipSurgence pencils in my RT on lip stains, and I can now say that the tint formula, at least, definitely has a staining effect.  I like this one more than I was expecting to, since usually light pinks are like nudes for me, and just look terrible, but this one is a winner in my book.

Swank: This "light cherry tint" is really similar to Clinique's Super Strawberry (and Jordana's Super Strawberry, after that glossiness has worn away), and is a sheer red.  It's extremely wearable, and like the others, brightens my face without being too loud or bold.  The stain it leaves behind lasts for a few hours, as long as I don't eat a meal (it did survive drinking tea), so I can put it on in the morning before I leave for class and not need to reapply until the early afternoon, after I've had lunch, etc.  As mentioned, it does dry down pretty quickly, and has basically sunk in after half an hour, so I like to put JB on top between applications to keep my lips as happy as possible.

Bottom line: I think this set is fantastic.  All of the colors prove wearable for me, which is just about unheard of, and I think the sheerness and lightness of the formula makes them very versatile.  The lipsticks (tubes? balms?) are nicely moisturizing, though nowhere near 6000% (I can't even conceive of that), and they last a decent amount of time on my lips, even with my incessant smooshing.  All of the colors in this set are exclusive to the set, which makes it great for people who already have other LipSurgences, and, of course, an excellent introduction for those of us who haven't tried them before.  

LipSurgence pencils are usually $24 apiece, but you get 5 in this set for $29 (or, if you buy it with your 20% off from Sephora, $23.20), so it's an absolutely phenomenal value.  Of course, I would never buy them individually, because $24 for a glorified tinted lip balm is absurd, no matter how nice the color and texture are, but at less than $5 (with discount), I think they're fantastic.  If you like tinted balms, get this set.  It's versatile, it's flattering, and even though I generally shy away from wearing sparkle on my lips, even the lusters in the set have found a place in my heart.

$29 ($23.20 with Sephora F&F discount) for 5 x 0.10 oz, available from Sephora and Tarte

Quality: 9.25
Effectiveness: 4 (it falls short on the 6000% increase in moisture claim, obviously)
Ease of Use: 5
Senses: 5 (very, very mild peppermint scent/taste/feel)
Pigmentation: 4.5
Duration: 4.5
Consistency: 4.5
Price: 3.5 ($23.20 is still a chunk of change, even though you're getting 5 full-size products)
Value: 5++++++++
Packaging: 0 (much like the Clinique Chubby Sticks, these don't retract all the way into the tube, so there is a risk of getting product caught on the lip of the lid, but even with my tremor and general klutziness, I have yet to nick any of these, so it seems they've got the design down better)
Grade: A-

I am extremely pleased with this set, and recommend it without reservations.  Go!  Get it before it sells out!
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