Tuesday, January 4, 2011

~Nyx~ Thalia & Medusa and a Meditation on Drugstore vs High-End Makeup

Hello, all!
I'm reviewing two of Nyx's round lipsticks tonight (this morning...?)


Now, I love high-end makeup as much as the next girl... Who doesn't love the luxe packaging, the evocative names, that almost-affordable taste of a luxury, designer brand? While I don't see myself as having a stigma against drugstore makeup, I consistently gravitate towards more expensive products, and I keep asking myself why. After much meditation, I'll tell you why: consistency. I'm not a risk-taker. I like knowing what I'm getting myself into. With high-end brands, you can test, swatch, and try on to your heart's desire before you buy. And if for some reason something goes wrong- and it probably won't, since these brands have taken the time and energy to seek out the highest-quality ingredients and test until they get a formula just right, from the taste and texture to wear and finish- you can take it back, no questions asked, to a retailer like Sephora or Nordstrom. When you buy it, you get a cute little shopping bag with tissue paper... When you get it home, you unwrap little boxes until you finally get your freshly-minted product into your hot-little hands.
Now let's look at a drugstore product. You can't test it. If you try to swatch a little bit on the back of your hand, you have to look for one someone else has already tampered with and then do it quickly, like a criminal.   You certainly can't put it on your face. You buy it because it's just barely cheap enough that you won't feel terrible if you use it once and then try to pawn it off on a friend or let it rot in the back of your drawer, trying to forget the shame of purchasing something you hate. And there's usually something you don't love about the product; the scent or the taste, how long it wears, the fact that it gets patchy after three hours, the way it feels on your face, the fact that the color is a tad too frosty or too glittery or too matte... When you buy it, it's tossed in a plastic bag with the receipt, to get into it you wreck your nails peeling off shrink-wrapped plastic.

It's just not the same.

However, all these frustrations aside, when you finally find a drugstore-priced product you love, the feeling is fantastic. You've cheated the world! You've gotten a product you love for a fraction of the price you've gotten used to paying! Or, if you'd never pay more for the product, you've at least found something without the usual trial-and-error.

So. I've always wished that I could find more in-depth reviews and swatches comparing makeup across price-points, not just within it's class. That's what I'm going to do here, on this blog. When I review products, I review them as products- not as high end or as drugstore products. Something isn't good for a drugstore product or bad for an expensive product; it's either something you'll grab day after day or you won't, no matter what the cost. I will be completely honest, given my experience with different products. I will *try* not to let the cost of a product affect my judgement of its quality.


That being said, I've had pretty good luck with drugstore priced lipsticks. Maybe I'm not picky about lipstick, but I'm picky about most things, so I don't think that's the case. Nyx is a highly-respected, inexpensive brand, and their Round Lipsticks don't disappoint. The formula is creamy, but doesn't slide around on the lip. I haven't experienced any  trouble with with feathering. It goes on smoothly, with no patchiness. It's not sticky or heavy feeling, and it feels a tad moisturizing. They retail for $4 each, and Nyx runs half-off sales from time to time on their website; however, you still have to pay for shipping and tax. Ulta also runs bogo sales on these products from time to time, though they don't carry anywhere near the entire line.

The two colors I have are Thalia, which is a satin-finish nude that looks a little rosy in the tube, and Medusa, which is a deep burgundy with metallic shimmer.

So, here's a couple of shots of the packaging. The tubes are black plastic with white font printed on them. Not great looking, but inoffensive and functional. I am told these are "Lip Smacking Fun Colors." (Ok. The tube told me this. It's telling you, too.)

"Lip Smacking Fun Colors!" 

The top of the caps have stickers on them that give the product name, number, and weight.

The bottom of each tube has clear plastic showing the product through it. Helpful, if you have a bunch of these things rolling around and need to find a color easily.

This one is Thalia:
 And here's Medusa:
 Here are the colors swatched on my hand; Medusa on the left, Thalia on the right. Thalia swatches (and wears) much more peachy than it looks in the tube; it's creamy with a slightly glossy finish, but no shimmer or glitter. Medusa, as you can see, is a slightly metallic purple-wine color with sparkle in between shimmer and glitter.

Here is Thalia on my lips. I'm not convinced I like this color on me; it looks a little *too* nude. I was hoping for a pinkier flesh tone, not something that looks like a different skin tone than my own. Sorry for the giant nostrils; I'm having trouble getting clear shots when I take photos of myself, and this was the best of the bunch.


Full face; Thalia on lips
 This one is Medusa. Super blurry shot, sorry, but you've got the color.
 And here's a shot of Medusa with the flash so that you can see how it reflects light; the finish is a bit metallic, not quite frosted. There are actual little particles of shimmer in here, not quite big enough to be called glitter, but the same idea.
Medusa with flash! 

Full face with Medusa

My assessment? I don't think you can get a better lipstick for the price. These are significantly less than anything you'd buy at a cosmetic counter or Sephora, and almost half the price of some of the nicer drugstore brands. They go on beautifully and feel very comfortable on, and the color selection is extensive. Unlike some inexpensive lipsticks, I don't find them to be drying; I don't need to put a balm underneath or a gloss on top, nor do I need to spend extra time trying to get the color on evenly. Is this my new go-to lipstick? No. I still love the way NARS feels on my lips (or, more accurately, doesn't), smells, everything. And I still hate that I can't go to a store and swatch all of the shades of this line before I pick out the shades I want. However, getting them at $4 (or less on sale!) means that I can afford to get a few duds and still spend less on average per shade I like than for a higher-end brand, and I like this formula just as well as lots of high-end brands whose lip products I have- Benefit, Clinique, and MAC, for example. If you've been thinking about trying these lipsticks out, go for it!

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