Friday, December 17, 2010

Milani Fall Collection - HD Lipstick, Baked Bronzer and Lip Flash Pencil

Milani recently sent me some items from their fall collection to review. I'm still pretty new to Milani as a cosmetics brand. I already know I love their polish, but I haven't used much else from them besides their eyeliner, which, by the way, they do incredibly well. The Milani cosmetics displays in my neck of the woods are always empty and sad looking, with maybe one or two items left on the shelf... that usually have been opened by someone wanting to 'test' them. (Note to people: Stop opening the makeup and nail polish in the store and desecrating it! If it doesn't say 'tester', it's not a tester! Someone like me might have actually wanted to buy that eyeshadow you just left your dirty fingerprints all over.)

Anyway, what I'm trying to say with my endless rambling is that I'm always excited to try something new, and I have found that I really enjoy everything from Milani that I've tried so far. Here are my thoughts.

Here are the new items from the fall collection. Baked Bronzer in Golden and Soleil, HD Advanced Color Lipstick in Lovely Rouge, Rich Caramel, Sweet Grape and Vivacious Fuchsia and Lip Flash Pencil in News Flash.

The Baked Bronzers. Golden on the left, Soleil on the right.

This angle shows the baked texture and the gold sparkle veining. You can click all of these to enlarge and view more detail.

Closeup of Golden. You would think with a name like 'Golden' that it would be lighter and more neutral than Soleil, but it's the opposite. Golden is darker and a little blush-toned. Makes a good 'bronzer-blush' type color on my fair skintone.

Closeup of Soleil. It looks darker than Golden in this lighting, but it's lighter in real life. This one is more of a traditional 'Golden' bronzer shade. On the light to medium side with veins of gold sparkle running through it. Aren't they pretty?

Golden and Soleil, swatched over dry skin (no primer) and not blended. You can see the shade difference here.

Neat secret to the packaging:
The bronzer portion flips up to reveal a mirror and a fan brush. I actually really like the included brush for application of these. Normally the brushes included in drugstore cosmetics are completely useless, this one isn't.

My thoughts? These have a really light and flaky texture to them. Sounds like I'm describing some sort of pastry. They're both baked, I suppose... But anyway, when you touch them with the brush, the product has just a really light fine flake texture. The gold shimmer becomes very fine and doesn't appear as glitter, more of a sheen or a frost mixed with the bronze color. I'm not a fan of shimmery bronzer or blush unless my skin is absolutely perfect that day, but I noticed that if you blend and buff these enough with a brush, you can eventually blend away most of the shimmer. The little brush compartment under the product is pretty cool.

What didn't I like about these? The packaging. The main problem is that the sticker that seals the product and tells you the shade name on the front (see the tabs that say "06" and "05"? Those stickers.) is connected to the label on the back with the shade name and ingredients. It's difficult to open the product without either leaving a lot of sticker on the compact or messing up or removing the ingredients label. The other flaw in the packaging is that the clear windows on the lid seem to cave in easily. Mine arrived with the clear lid actually inside the bronzer package, it had gotten pushed in in mailing somehow. So, be careful when removing the safety seal and also try not to put too much pressure on the top of the compact.

HD Advanced Color Lipsticks. Vivacious Fuchsia, Sweet Grape, Rich Caramel, Lovely Rouge.

Opposite order, different lighting.

Swatched! Vivacious Fuchsia, Sweet Grape, Rich Caramel, Lovely Rouge.

As you can see, these are more of a sheer lipstick than a full coverage lipstick. What strikes me about these is their slick, moisturizing texture- not what I think of when I think 'lipstick'- they're totally non-drying and not tight or dry feeling at all. They're actually more of a colored balm than a lipstick. You can build up the intensity of color by applying more, or you can wear them sheer (like they are on the back of my hand above). These are scented with a more traditional lipstick scent, though. You know... kinda vaguely perfumey-flowery-sweet? These have a floral candy smell. Not unpleasant. Brings back all kinds of memories of playing with "grown-up" makeup when I was really little.

And look at the packaging! It's so 80's fabulous. It's so retro, I kinda love it. The long tube, the shiny black with the metallic gold...

I'm trying to think of what I didn't like about these, but there's not much coming to mind. I guess that maybe Sweet Grape is a little frosty for me. The packaging is definitely bigger/longer than it needs to be, so they take up more space in your purse. I don't see what's particularly 'HD' about these. That's about it.

The Lip Flash pencil. This is what I was most looking forward to trying because they look so freakin' amazing in all their promo pictures. They are amazing. I have more colors to post, but Kelly just posted her review so I'll wait a couple days to post mine. Wow, I really get off topic easily, don't I? This is the Milani Lip Flash pencil in News Flash.

Closeup. Feel free to click any of these pictures, I leave them huge for a reason.

Swatched. It looks more brown in the tube, but against my skin it's more of a purple raisin color. Check out all those little purple and red sparkles. Note the glossy finish.

These are not lipliners. They are a full pigment gloss in a stick. They're really more of a lipstick with a glossy finish than a gloss, or maybe a fusion of both. They seem to be unscented and have only a slight lipstick flavor. They're not moisturizing- they do have more of a traditional lipstick texture and they're slightly dry feeling.

I like the precise application that the pencil provides. I love the great full coverage color accented with beautiful iridescent shimmer. I love the matching color of the tubes and all the little sparkles in the packaging.

The only downside I see to these is with the packaging. For one, they have to be sharpened, so if you keep them in your purse you might need to bring a sharpener with you. I can also see the cap getting loose over time and coming off in your purse. They fit pretty tightly, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.

Overall, I think these are all really nice, especially at drugstore prices. Drugstore makeup seems to have improved a lot over the years. The Lip Flash pencils are amazing and come in great shades, the bronzers are almost identical to a MAC Mineralize Skinfinish and the HD Lipsticks are smooth and non-drying. Aside from the products I showed here, Milani also has some of the most amazing eyeliner I've ever used. If my store would ever re-stock their display, I'd permanently switch from Urban Decay 24/7 to Milani Liquif'Eye pencils. They're that good. Well, they must be good because the display is ALWAYS EMPTY :(

Now I might have to try out some eyeshadow from them...

(These were sent to me for review.)


  1. These look awesome! I especially like the look of those HD lipsticks. Lately I've been liking sheer color.

    I'm so glad you like those Milani eyeliners! They are truly awesome. I just wish they'd make more colors!

  2. I haven't tried any of the beauty products. I like the look of the lipsticks. A nice sheer lip balm look is nice sometimes. I have to try the eyeliners.

  3. The HD advanced color lipstick mimics the packaging of Dior's Serum de Rouge, right down to the gold rings around and the stamped initials all over the tube. I have Sweet Grape and actually like it, it's a great color for fall/winter. When I want a more opaque effect, I layer it with MAC's Currant lip pencil.

  4. These seem similar to Nars Velvet Gloss Pencils! I wonder if the drugstores around me have any left...


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