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Lancome Artliner in Noir Review + Swatches

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Color:
Lancome promises that Artliner delivers “rich, deep, luminous color pigments (that) offer the most intense color,” which is true. The liquid eyeliner goes on as a shiny, opaque black. One of the first things I noticed and loved about Artliner was how pigmented it was. (5/5)

Wear:
The wear was impeccable. It lasted a full 8 hours without any flaking or smudging. It looked perfect. (5/5)

Formula:
The formula of this eyeliner is nice, very smooth and easy to apply. It gave me absolutely no issues. It also isn’t runny at all: once it’s on, it’ll stay in place as you need it to. (5/5)

Packaging:
The Artliner is packaging is nice, the kind of quality one expects from a high-end brand like Lancome. The packaging is plastic that feels sturdy. The cap clicks into place, which is a nice touch, since no one likes dried out liquid liner. It’s nice to have that extra security too, since it ensures that cap will stay in place during travel. The packaging is slim enough to store easily as well. (5/5) 

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Price:
A full-size Artliner will set you back $30.50. This is undeniably steep, but it’s also comparatively priced to equally high-end luxury brands, such as Marc Jacobs, Dior, and Givenchy. Also, a large part of this category’s score is quality. Artliner is a fabulous product that’s easy to use, mega dark, and lasts forever. Liquid liner enthusiasts will love it, and it has a tip that will work well for beginners. Across the board, I believe it’s a worthwhile investment. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
Artliner hit a lot of marks for me. It’s greatly pigmented, long lasting, and easy to use with effortless luxury packaging. It’s not the most unique product, but it’s a classic done perfectly, so Artliner really can’t go wrong. (4.5/5)

Overall:
Artliner is a fantastic liquid liner that works well for everyone on the liquid-liner-capability spectrum. It’s tip is thin and precise enough for both beginners who want to get close to the lashline, and more advanced users who want to get creative. It’s dark, dries down quickly, and lasts forever. Apart from the steep price tag, there isn’t much not to love. (4.9) A+

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Would I Repurchase?
Yes

Availability:
-lancome-usa.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-Ulta
-Macy’s
-hsn.com
-Dillard’s
-Bloomingdale’s
-Neiman Marcus
-Boots
-Saks Fifth Avenue
-Bergdorf Goodman

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Artliner comes in 2 shades, Noir (black) and Brown.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Color in Rose Gold Review + Swatches

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Color:
Rose Gold is exactly that, a shimmery rosy champagne gold color. Is it the most unique shade on the market? No. Is it the color Laura Mercier intended, and promises you? Yes. The caviar stick also makes this kind of shade more versatile–the creamy formula can be worn on it’s own for an amped-up take on a neutral eye, or used as a base for softer hues to neutralize it and tone it down. Also, the color coding on the bottom of the stick and the swatch on Sephora’s site are pretty true to the real hue. (4.5/5)

Wear:
Caviar Sticks promise to be long-wearing, and I was satisfied on that front! This shadow lasted over nine(!) hours looking flawless and freshly applied–no creasing or transferring (as the brand claims). I didn’t experience any shimmer fallout, either. (5/5)

Formula:
Caviar Stick Eye Colors are creamy shadow sticks that are designed to “glide onto lids,” “blend seamlessly,” and have “a rich-pigment payoff.” When testing this product, I checked off all those boxes! It goes on so easily and blends well, unlike some thicker, potted cream shadows. It had a high-shimmer payoff, with or without primer. (5/5)

Packaging:
Caviar Sticks come in lightweight but sturdy plastic pencils that twist up the product. The cap snaps into place and the twist-up mechanic doesn’t feel cheap. The brand and shade name are printed right on the side of the “pencil”, and I like that each shade is color coded on the bottom (making storage easier). (5/5)

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Price:
My Caviar Stick is a sample size that came in one of last year’s Sephora Favorites (making it both smaller–0.03 oz–and cheaper than it would’ve been on it’s own). However, the full size is $28 USD for 0.05 oz. That’s the same amount of product as a MAC powder eyeshadow, but almost twice the sticker price and price per ounce ($300 for MAC, $560 for Laura Mercier). Not to mention it is around the same price as similar products from Bobbi Brown and Marc Jacobs.

So, is it worth the higher cost? I think so. Rose Gold is exceptionally pigmented, versatile, and performs well, and has the sanitation, longevity and ease of use that other cream products don’t always have. I had zero problems with this product, so I think a $28 price tag isn’t outrageous, given the quality. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
I was definitely impressed by Rose Gold Caviar Stick. I don’t reach for cream shadows often (and this is the first one I’ve tried that came in pencil form), but it totally blew me away. It had fantastic color payoff, ease of use, and lasted forever, not to mention it’s potential multipurpose use. The only thing some may balk at is the price, but if you see yourself reaching for it a lot and hate dipping your fingers in potted shadows or dirtying up extra brushes, this will definitely be worth the investment. (4.5/5)

Overall:
Rose Gold Caviar Stick is an awesome product. I hadn’t tried any Laura Mercier products before, but this was a great introduction to the brand. The shadow performed fantastically and looked great for an incredible amount of time and gave me no issues. (4.8) A

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Would I repurchase?
Yes.

Availability:
-lauramercier.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-Lord and Taylor
-Selfridge’s
-Bloomingdale’s
-Bergdorf Goodman
-Macy’s
-Neiman Marcus
-Saks Fifth Avenue

Useful Information:
-Caviar Stick Eye Color comes in 11 shades.
-Caviar Sticks are dermatologist tested.
-By many people’s standards, Laura Mericer is not cruelty free–they sell their products in China and cannot guarantee their ingredients’ suppliers are not animal testing.
-This product was purchased by me.

Benefit Watts Up! Review + Swatches

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Color:
Benefit describes this highlighter as a “luminous champagne,” and I wouldn’t disagree. It’s a soft pink champagne twist-up highlight stick. Is it the most unique color in the world for a highlight? No. Is it a beautiful, luminous, natural highlight that gets the job done well? Absolutely! (4.5/5)

Wear:
This highlighter wore beautifully for a full 7 hours. By the 8 hour mark, it was a little hard to detect. (4/5)

Formula:
Watt’s Up! is a stick highlighter that I like to apply directly from the tube. It has just the right consistency to me–it’s firm enough to not break off when you apply it straight from the tube, but not so stiff that you have to press hard to get it to show. It’s creamy and smooth enough that it applies easily, and one pass on the cheekbones or down the nose is all that’s needed. It has shimmer, but in a way that looks very natural when blended. It catches the light beautifully. It also blends like a dream. (5/5)

Packaging:
My version of Watt’s Up! is a mini that came in one of 2014’s Sephora Favorites bundles. The full size comes with a blending sponge on one end, and the mini lacks this. (However I don’t miss it, since it blends perfectly well with the fingers anyway, and the full-size sponge isn’t detachable and hence, not washable, which is a squeamish spot for some). The plastic packaging is durable but not overly luxe, which I think is appropriate for the price range it falls in. The twist-up mechanism is effective and doesn’t feel cheap to me. Benefit is known for it’s kitschy packaging, and I like the shiny exterior this highlighter sports. (5/5)

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Price:
My mini version contains 0.08 oz of product, where the full size contains 0.33 oz for $30 USD. This comes out to a price per ounce cost of $90.91 (for the full size). This is a little on the pricey side (NARS Illuminator, for example, is also $30 but has a price per ounce of a mere $27.27, and at 1.1 oz, contains more than 3x the amount of product), but will save you more than Urban Decay’s $29 ($145 per ounce) highlighter in the long run.

But what matters more to me than the up-front and long term prices is whether or not either of those costs are worth the money. I admit I don’t have much experience with highlighters, but Watts Up! was a wonderful introduction. I feel like it performs up to par, and it’s a product I reach for over and over again. That makes it worth the price to me. (4.5/5)

Wow Factor:
To me, a great highlighter is luminous yet natural, wears well, applies easily, and helps to bring out the features when used with blush and bronzer for a contour. Watts Up! ticks off all these boxes seamlessly. I love the soft, natural color and think the rosiness will look lovely across all skin tones. Highlighter isn’t something I use in my everyday routine, though, which makes the price a little tough to swallow. (4.5/5)

Overall:
“Perfect” isn’t a word I use a lot, but I’ll make an exception for Watts Up! It has a beautiful, natural look and ease of use that I love, and a little goes a long way (without having to be too mindful of using a light hand). I believe beauty lovers who rely on highlighters will find the cost doable, given the outstanding performance of the product. I recommend it. (4.6) A-

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One pass from the tube on the left, blended out on the right.

Would I repurchase?
Yes

Availability:
-Sephora
-benefitcosmetics.com
-ULTA
-Boots
-HSN
-Debenham’s
-Macy’s
-asos.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Benefit is not cruelty free (they sell in China)
-Watts Up! only comes in the one standard champagne shade.

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils in High Density Black Review + Swatches

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Effectiveness:
Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils is designed to give a “false lash effect,” “an intense look in a single stroke,” and “intensity,” “curve,” and “long-lasting effectiveness.” The mascara made my lashes look super dark and long, and they looked very fluttery and feathery (there wasn’t much volume, but by my standards, the given effect still passes the “false lash effect” test). However, this mascara doesn’t hold a curl for long, so that is one extra drawback. (4/5)

Wear:
I was disappointed to see that this mascara flaked after 8 hours. I’ve rarely experienced flaking. However, it was after a full day’s worth of wear, so I think for many consumers, that can be forgiven. (4.5/5)

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Formula:
The first thing I noticed about Volume Effet Faux Cils was that it applied so smoothly. It had a little bit of a wet texture, but it wasn’t thick the way most wet mascaras can be. Application was perfect, there was no clumping or any difficulties when putting the product on. It also dries quickly and feels so soft and natural on. Like, if you touch it, it doesn’t feel like there’s anything on, it feels like your natural lashes, just better. (5/5)

Packaging:
Volume Effet Faux Cils has some of the most luxe packaging I’ve seen on a mascara, and at this price point, that’s wonderful. This is the only mascara I have that comes in a metal tube (while simultaneously resisting fingerprints). I also like how the YSL logo fits into place every time you twist the cap back on. I think it smells nice as well, but then again, I think all mascaras smell nice. The bristles are short and close together on a long wand; however the length doesn’t make it cumbersome or difficult to use. (5/5)

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Price:
This mascara will definitely put a dent in your wallet at $32 USD. There’s 0.35 oz of product in the tube, making the price per ounce ration only $91.43 (for reference, one MAC shadow is $300 an ounce, making this mascara a lot more cost-effective than it initially appears). As always, I factor “bang for your buck” into the price score, and I believe Volume Effet Faux Cils is definitely worth the price. It’s certainly a luxury cost, but it delivers luxury quality.(4.5/5)

Wow Factor:
This mascara definitely grabbed my attention in a positive way. I accidentally fell asleep with it on and didn’t wake up with a hint of product residue, That’s how light and natural it feels. And it makes the lashes look incredible and truly feels like a high-quality, luxury product. I was disappointed that it flaked a little and didn’t do much for maintaining a curl, though.  (4.5/5)

Overall:
I was impressed by this product. It was exactly what I’d hoped for from YSL–luxury and quality. You definitely feel a little more elite using this mascara! It’s a great product and I recommend anyone whose considering a purchase to take the plunge. It won’t disappoint. (4.6) A- 

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Would I repurchase?
Yes

Availability:
-yslbeautyus.com
-Nordstrom
-Boots
-Bloomingdale’s
-Lord and Taylor

Useful Information:
-I kindly received this product for free for review purposes from Influenster.
-This mascara comes in 6 colors.
-Unfortunately, YSL sells in China and is not cruelty-free and performs animal testing on it’s products.

Make Up For Ever HD Micro Finishing Powder Review + Photos

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Effectiveness: I had heard many great things about the MUFE HD Finishing Powder, but I admit, I wasn’t sure about it. It’s a white powder (100% pure silica) that goes on transparent. I was doubtful that one simple ingredient could achieve so much hype. However, this powder leaves a smooth finish that’s not cakey; it makes the skin look poreless. In HD photos, as well as the naked eye, the skin looks absolutely perfect. (Although, my skin is generally normal, so I couldn’t effectively test for a reduction of shine). (5/5)

Wear: The smooth finish and poreless look lasted a full 8 hours. (5/5)

Formula: The powder is very finely milled and becomes invisible on the skin (and in pictures), making it work on all skin tones. If you touch your face with this on, you can tell there’s a smooth powder finish, but not in a way that feels “powdery.” It feels like perfected skin. (5/5)

Packaging: I have a 0.0035 oz sample size (came in the Sephora Favorites Glitz & Glam bag). Mine comes with a sifter over the powder, which I’m not sure is included in the sizes available for purchase (I assume it is). Otherwise, the packaging is the same: Clear plastic jar with a black, screw-on lid. The lid screws on well, you never have to worry about the product spilling out. The only thing I dislike about the sample size packaging is that the small cap makes it hard to fit a fluffy powder brush to get the product on the brush (retail sizes shouldn’t have this problem, though, which is why I’m not taking off a point). (5/5)

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Price: Sephora sells two sizes of Finishing Powder, a 0.14 oz mini for $19 USD, and a full, 0.3 oz jar for $34 USD. Thats $135.70 per ounce for the mini, and $113.33 per ounce for the full size. This makes the full size the most cost-effective in the long-run (and I see this being the kind of powder people would want to use every day, and a little goes a long way).I think the turnout is worth the price. people who are on HD film/photo a lot (like beauty Youtubers) would benefit from everyday use of the full size, and those who want something special for a nice occasion can snap up the smaller jar for less than a $20. (5/5)

Wow Factor: I was doubtful at first if pure silica was really worth all the fuss. But the effect this gives is subtle yet noticeable. I love the smooth, poreless texture it gives the skin, and a little goes a long way. I can see this working on all skin tones and lasting a while. However, I don’t think those who are on film/take photos a lot will need it (its not a touch up powder, or one designed for coverage. Too much can make you look ghostly). (4/5)

Overall: It’s a great powder, but it’s also niche. For the average consumer, it’s not a must-have, or even necessary. But for the beauty fanatic (or blogger, or Youtuber), it creates an amazing finish. I don’t think the average woman applying makeup would particularly notice a difference in her skin and wouldn’t get the fuss (or the price). If you’re in front of a camera a lot, I highly recommend it. If you just want something for coverage/to keep your makeup in place/oil down, etc, there are many effective, less expensive alternatives. (4.8) A

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Would I repurchase?
Yes

Availability:
-Sephora
-makeupforever.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-This product contains no animal products, however, the Make Up For Ever brand is not cruelty free/vegan and still tests on animals.

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara Review + Photos

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Effectiveness: Perversion promises to be “lengthening and volumizing.” This description is accurate enough. I found this mascara to be more lengthening than volumizing, but I did notice both results.The results weren’t amazing, but not disappointing, either. (4/5)

Wear: I achieved perfect wear using this mascara. It lasted a full 8 hours looking good as new. It held a curl for the duration of the testing period and the lashes stayed a rich, dark black. (5/5)

Formula: Urban Decay describes Perversion mascara as “ultracreamy,” and I have to agree. This mascara feels really wet. This can lead to some clumps if you rush application. However, the mascara dries down and does not budge (I accidentally rubbed my eye and there wasn’t the tiniest flake or smudge). (4.5/5)

Packaging: The tube is sleek, shiny plastic with stylish lilac lettering. The wand is chubby with bristles that are varied in size. I didn’t find it cumbersome to use, although as with all thicker brushes, it can take some care to get into the tiny baby hairs in the inner corners. (5/5)

Price: I received this as a 100-point perk from Sephora, but the full size is $22 USD for 0.4 oz of product. You can also purchase a travel size for $12 USD. For the full size, it comes out to $55 an ounce, which isn’t terrible. (For comparison, Benefit’s They’re Real! is $2 more expensive and contains 0.1 oz less product).

As always, I weigh in on whether or not I believe a product is worth the price. Perversion delivers on rich color, ease of use, staying power, and doing what it says it will, even if it’s not the most innovative or amazing in the industry. It’s a reliable mascara without any bells and whistles, so I believe it warrants it’s price tag. (5/5)

Wow Factor: I wasn’t blown away by Perversion. I have less expensive mascaras that give better length and volume. However, I wasn’t let down by the product, because it shines in it’s staying power, ability to hold a curl, lack of smudging, and dark, rich color. (3.5/5)

Overall: I enjoy this mascara, but I often find myself reaching for other mascaras. It’s nice and gets the job done well enough, but it didn’t make enough of an impression in length or volume to really stand out to me. (4.5) A-

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Useful Information:
-I received this product as a 100-point perk from Sephora.
-Urban Decay is cruelty free, but its parent company, L’Oreal, is not.

Availability:
-urbandecay.com
-Sephora
-Ulta
-Debenham’s
-Nordstrom
-Macy’s

NYX Macaron Lippie in Chambord Review + Swatches

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Color:
NYX just describes this lippie as “black.” That’s certainly not off the mark! Chambord is a semi-matte (as promised) green-based black. This is a true black, not a dark grey, and the pigment is true to what you see in the tube. It’s a twinge sheer in one swipe, but two is perfect for true opacity. While other black lipsticks exist, and there’s definitely a market for them, black is still absent from most major brands’ lines, so it’s great seeing NYX come out with one. 4.75/5)

Wear:
I’m pleased to say Chambord looked fantastic for 5 full hours of wear. It didn’t fade or feather throughout that time. (5/5)

Formula:
Like the other lippies in the Macaron range, Chambord applied smoothly and felt so creamy. It also had bold, strong pigment (that could benefit from the precision of a lip brush). I like that this applied better than some of the others. This was more forgiving on dry lips and didn’t bunch up like Blue Velvet did on dry patches. Also, my lips didn’t feel as dried out after wearing Chambord. However, I had this on for a few moments to photograph, and it had already stained my lips (to the point where I needed a scrub to get the color off all the way). That type of excessive pigment seems to be common with this range of lipsticks. (4/5)

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Packaging:
As I’ve said before, the Macaron Lippie line’s packaging feels markedly cheap. They come in black plastic tubes with a clear band that shows a peek of the color inside. To show that color, the inner tube is clear, which I think looks very low-budget. Also, these have an inexpensive feel (the lipstick can rattle in the tube in some, and I have one where the color was smeared inside the clear tube when I bought it). I don’t think the plastic is dexterous enough to withstand a lot of rough use (drops or travel). However, they’re not too large and store easily. (3.5/5)

Price:
Each Macaron Lippie is $6 USD for 0.16 oz of product. That’s $37.50 per ounce, which is more product for less money than a MAC lipstick ($16 for 0.1 oz), for example. But of course, quality is just as important as face value. Chambord is fantastic not only for the price, but for the line as a whole. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
As I’ve mentioned, black lipsticks are rare and bold, but not unheard of and definitely have their fans. So while the shade was one of the less unique in the range, it’s quality impressed me. I’ve struggled with some of the other lipsticks in the Macaron range, as my lips are chronically dry, but Chambord was more forgiving, which I appreciated greatly. I can see myself getting more use out of Chambord than some of the others for this, alone. (4.5/5)

Overall:
I think Chambord is excellently done. It’s pigment rich, long-wearing, and comfortable to have on the lips. It also has one of the most even applications out of any in the Macaron range that I’ve tried so far. I think it’s fantastic that members of niche cosmetic communities (cosplayers/those with a darker aesthetic) now have access to a superior black lipstick than was previously available, at an inexpensive cost. It also goes without saying that a shade this dark will look bold and dramatic across all skin tones. (4.5) A-

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Availability:
-nyxcosmetics.com
-Target
-Ulta

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-The 12 lipsticks in this range all have a nice, faint vanilla scent.
-NYX is cruelty-free.

OCC Matte Lip Tar in Black Dahlia Review + Swatches

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Color:
OCC describes Black Dahlia as “blackest blackened red.” It’s not a bad description, although those who are intimidated by the shade in the tube need not fear, it’s much more red and wearable that it appears. It’s definitely a vampy wine shade, perfect for these end of the year months, so those craving a dark lip would love this. It’s the kind of red that makes your teeth look whiter. I’ve lusted after this shade for a long time–I don’t have anything like it in my lippie collection (although my range of vampy lipsticks is admittedly sparse). (4.5/5)

Wear:
Black Dahlia performed well, lasting 7 hours before needing reapplication or removal. While it initially has a glossy sheen, it settles into the promised matte finish at around 3 hours. It also looked slightly less dark, more wine at the 5 hour mark. The formula is stainlike, which helps it last so long and survive through meals. (5/5)

Formula:
I’ve tried Lip Tars both before and after their packaging makeover, and noticed that the mint scent with these newer Lip Tars is less intense (which is nice–the old formula was so strong it made my whole lipstick drawer smell like mint). The product is thin but not too liquidy, and applies pretty evenly on the mouth. Your lips MUST be in perfect condition, though–any dry patches and the product will cling to them like a magnet, making the overall product look slightly uneven (true with all mattes in my experience). One small bead from the tube is plenty to coat the whole mouth, so use the included lip brush and take your time; precision is important with a shade this bold. However, the product never really dries down and transfers kind of easily. However, it didn’t dry out my mouth further. (4/5)

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Packaging:
Lip Tars come in squeeze tubes, with the product dispensed through a very narrow opening in the nozzle. This works well, since a little product goes a long way. The packaging is flexible plastic and houses plenty of product. They store easily, although this is the kind of sensitive product you’d want to store away from heavier items (like foundation bottles) during travel, as Lip Tars could easily get smashed by heavier things during travel. (5/5)

Price: 
Lip Tars are $18 USD each for 0.33 oz. That’s $54.54 per ounce. For reference, MAC lipsticks are $16 for 0.1 oz ($160 per ounce). This is one of those great instances where you pay a little bit more for a lot more product (more than twice the amount) and get a better long-term value (Lip Tars are more than twice less expensive per ounce).

As always, I consider monetary value as well as whether or not I feel a product gives you your money’s worth. Black Dahlia delivers on both counts. This Lip Tar is long wearing and boldly pigmented, which is what you expect from OCC. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
Black Dahlia grabbed my attention in a positive way! It’s such a bold, perfectly vampy dark lip color. It always impresses me when a lipstick can last through a meal and still look great. I also love the name of the shade. It did bother me how this formula never quite dried down and transferred easily, though. (4/5)

Overall:
Black Dahlia is a great lipstick that I definitely recommend! It’s perfect for the colder months, helps teeth look whiter, lasts forever, and makes a bold impression. (4.6) A-

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Availability:
-Sephora
-occmakeup.com

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me
-OCC products are 100% cruelty-free and vegan