Right away I want to start this whole long mess with this : “It was really hard to be impartial believing the fraudulent nature of the way Xenia/Doe runs her company.” That being said, I think I did fairly well.
1 – The packaging. No, not the tubes, but the actual box the order comes in.I order from a lot of companies online. Everyone so far has had SOME sign of personalization in their packaging. From being hand wrapped in tissue and sealed with a sticker, to a little ‘Thanks Xxx” message on the invoice. There is the occasional business card and the free samples. No one can beat Vivka for her personalization and extras. She goes all out.
Your lipsticks will come to you in a plain and probably over-sized white box with a piece of bubble wrap and your invoice. That’s it.
For someone all about ‘creativity’ and being OMGUNIQUE it was one heck of a boring box to receive. Her eye shadows come the exact same way, minus the bubble wrap but in a mailer. I realize she pays someone to do her shipping for her, so there is a good chance Xenia never actually touched your product at all since her lipsticks are shipped to the distributor directly from the company in LA that makes them.
2 – The packaging. Yes, now I’m talking about the actual tube.Look familiar? Although I didn’t notice it right away, the general opinion is it’s a knock off of the Heatherette Collection from MAC.
Nothing mind blowingly unique or new. My favorite color is purple and the color she picked is darling. The unicorn is embarrassing, though, I would never whip my lipstick out in public to reapply it like she suggests. First of all, it’s not ladylike. Secondly I’m not sure I want people so see me using what so many have described as a ‘child’s tube of play makeup’. I suppose it’s her style, being all immature and cutesy and I am admittedly more adult and punk. If it were a pink plaid I’d be all over it.
3 – The smell. Yes, the smell.
They smell a lot like MAC. Go ahead, I’ll wait. If you have a tube of Lime Crime and a tube of MAC, go compare them. Again, sort of familiar, huh? It was literally my first thought when I opened the tube.
If you were going to come up with a COMPLETELY new formula of YOUR OWN PERSONAL lipstick, why make it smell like MAC? I spoke to my ‘beauty insider’ at the private label company and she tells me they do that on purpose to make the item more ‘familiar’. It’s a little mental suggestion you’re getting a good product by using an established smell. Did Xenia do this on purpose? I have no idea, but I’d have made it smell like something personal. Fragrance IS listed in her ingredients, so one imagines there was some choice, it’s not that the combination of ingredients just HAPPENED to smell like that, something was added to MAKE it smell that way.
All that being said, it smells nice. I already liked the smell of MAC lipsticks.
4 – The formula.
From tube to lips in one stroke. She mentions that a few times in her ‘Buzzworthy‘ video. But even watching her she has to go over her lips a few times. My lips are very deeply pigmented on their own. Right out of the tube I have to go over my lips about four or five times to get even coverage. Ok, so perhaps I’m the anomaly that requires a thicker application. If I blank out my lips with foundation I STILL need to go over them a few times. Why? This stuff is really really thick. Thick doesn’t always mean you’re going to get opaque, it just means it’s thick. My ‘beauty insider’ tells me a formula gets ‘hard’ when there is too much pigment added to the emollient base. So yes, now I might actually believe it when Doe tries to claim she argued with the ‘chemists’ to make her lipstick more pigmented. Although the chances it was actually a chemist are REALLY slim.
They also stain your lips. Which is a new one for me. Even taking the lipstick off the color had bleed into my lips leaving them stained. Which anyone can tell you is because it’s over pigmented.
The product itself is thick because the ratio of base to color is off and the pigment makes the lipstick thick and really drying. I could NOT get through the day without needing to take it all off, apply some balm, and put it all back on. It was sort of annoying.
Being so thick it’s also really hard to get a smooth application right out of the tube, so using a brush made it easier. It also means it’s really smeary. You need to be pretty careful, but after a while it just starts to ’set’ on your lips as it dries.
Do I like the formula? It’s not my favorite. I can work with it, but I have definitely seen better. I think a lot of quality was lost in demanding a heavily pigmented product. I realize that it’s sort of an industry buzz word right now, but I thought we were aiming for unique?
Is it her own formula? I think the answer to that is actually on the label itself.
Distributed ( not made)by Lime Crime.
Most people I’ve spoken to agree that the ingredients, as listed, are a generic stock formula. These same basic ingredients are found in most if not all lipsticks I looked up, there isn’t anything ‘new’ or groundbreaking in them. In fact I’ve mentioned this before, but it looks like an older stock formula since it still contains parabens, which most small cosmetic companies are actively trying to phase out and remove.
5 – The colors.
On my lips the colors don’t really look much like they do in the ’swatches’ on her site. They certainly don’t look that smooth, even, or shiny. It’s been suggested that they are photo shopped, and I think I might agree.
I’m going to break this down and do a mini-review of each color I got, D’Lilac, Styletto, My Beautiful Rocket, and Centrifuschia.
My Beautiful Rocket
Pure luminous orange without those annoying red undertones!
In general, orange is one of my favorite colors, right up there with purple. When I saw this color I was intrigued, in the first swatches on the site (although shopped) it looked promising. I thought that making two orange lipsticks in one line was a curious choice. Needless to say it’s not all that a unique a color. I picked the darker of the two, the lighter looked more like a generic peach to me.
From left to right: My Beautiful Rocket, MAC Morange and Orange Dare and Stargazer 102
You can see from the swatches that My Beautiful Rocket actually reads a bit more pumpkin then a true orange. It’s like that on my lips, too. It’s not so much bright as it’s Autumnal. It looks really nice with neutrals and browns. It would be an easy color to work into your wardrobe.
Morange is an Intensity color from MAC that’s been around (according to the MAC Pro store in OC) about five years. Orange Dare was a Limited Edition Mattene from 2007. So both of these oranges predate My Beautiful Rocket. The color on the far right, Stargazer 102 looks almost neon in the tube but it’s the more intense and ‘true’ orange of the four. It’s a ‘hunter orange’ and it’s challenging and fun to wear.
Other color matches for this shade would be : Illamasqua Blaze, NYX Round Sunflower, Barry M Orange
Luscious, creamy black that gives you 100% coverage right out of the tube!
I have worn a lot of black lipsticks. At one point living in London I could go through a tube in a month. So I’d like to call myself an expert here. The swatches on the site make the color look just amazing. Black is not a unique lip color by any means. It’s HUGE this fall and I’ve personally been wearing it for almost too long to admit.
From left to right : Styletto, MAC Midnight Media, and Stargazer #110
One application out of the tube is a dark somewhat spotty grey. To get a FULL coverage of this black it takes me a good four swipes for a deep color. Even then, I’m not sure it’s really BLACK, more of a very dark grey. It’s definably not one of those shades that are just REALLY dark blues or purples, there is no doubt this is a black. One thing working against it in that it’s shiny. I think most Goths would prefer it was a matte, more like MAC’s Midnight Media Mattene. Matte is also more wearable in general in a dark lipstick for people unused to it.
I like Styletto. I really do, although it needs to be worn thick and as I previously mentioned, it’s drying. I prefer Midnight Media, being matte it’s more forgiving to apply and wear all day. The Stargazer is a really good dupe for the Styletto, the color is virtually the same.
Other color matches for this shade would be : Illamasqua Pristine, MAC Black Knight, NYX Black Label Black Onyx
Boutique crème de lavender dessert in a tube. For post-modern Marie Antoinettes only!
This soft lilac color was actually really popular this spring and I saw a lot of companies come out with a soft purple lipstick . It’s typically not my thing, but I was curious since I could think of at least two duplicates for it without even having to try.
From left to right : D’Lilac and Stargazer 115
D’Lilac and Stargazer 115 are just about the same color.
According to MAC, Lavender Whip is available in limited distribution in some Pro stores. I’ve had mine a a while though, so I know it’s been out since Spring at least. It’s such a shockingly similar color as well.
This Lime Crime shade is almost impossible for me to wear. It doesn’t really afford enough coverage on my dark lips to make it wearable. I need SO many layers of it to make the color opaque and smooth it’s just not worth it, it gets gunky and smeary and blargh. Because it’s light precise application is a MUST so using a brush and sitting and carefully filling in your lips is the best choice. You have to be very accurate and sharp with your lines. Also I noticed that where my lips meet and touched in the middle of my mouth the color tended to wear off, leaving me with a streak of my natural color in the middle, making me constantly have to rub my lips together to keep it even.
The lighter shade on your lips is really going to draw attention to the imperfections in your skin tone as well, so I would recommend a full coverage foundation. Overall it tended to make my face look orange, and as one other reviewer commented, like she had a fake tan.
Other color matches for this shade would be : Illamasqua Liv, NYX Round Opal, NYX Round Iced Lavender, NYX Black Label Amethyst
Fuchsia, amplified to a cosmic degree.
I love bright pink lipstick . I go between that and black most often, depending on what I’m doing. It goes with the cupcake pink streak in my hair. I have about a dozen amazing bright pink shades. Sadly Centrifuschia is an incredibly generic shade.
From left to right : Centrifuschia, Urban Decay Jilted, and Calvin Klein Mesmerize
I have two colors that are already color matches, Urban Decay Jilted and Calvin Klein Mesmerize. There are so many generic shades that could dupe for this color I’m not going to bother to list them.
What this color is unique for is staining my lips. Of the four Lime Crime lipsticks I ordered, this one was insanely difficult to remove.
As for the other colors in the collection, I suggest the following colors as alternatives (dupes).
Airborne Unicorn : Barry M Lavender, NYX Black Label Seductive, Stargazer 130, MAC Rebel, Illamasqua Underworld
Cosmopop : Barry M Peachy Pink, NYX Black Label Aurora, Stargazer 101, MUFE #201,
Countessa Flouressa : Barry M Vibrant Pink, NYX Narcissus, Stargazer 136, MAC Girl About Town , MUFE #203
Great Pink Planet : Barry M Baby Pink, NYX Strawberry Milk, Stargazer 122, MAC Pink Nouveau
No She Didn’t : Stargazer 104, MAC Blue Eve, MAC Blast o Blue
Retrofutirist : Stargazer 135, NYX Black Label Garnet, NYX Round Hero, Barry M Pillar Box Red, Kat Von D Underage Crimson or Hellbent, I could go on forever, there are so many red lipsticks out there. My favorite right now is Chanel Red Dragon
6- To Conclude
Knowing what I know now about the lipsticks alone, I certainly would not purchase any of these again.
Furthermore, I’m not crazy about giving my money to someone who I don’t find to be very honest or sincere. Her ‘persona’ (and yes, that’s the word I’m going to use) seems fake to me and I won’t buy into it.
- I was able to find almost dead on color matches to each of them, ruling out the much touted concept that they were unique and that no other company was making theses colors.
- They are really expensive for a mediocre formula.
- The formula isn’t my favorite. I think if Xenia was able to sit down and tweak it (but again, pretty sure it’s private label anyway) she might be able to smooth and thin these out without loosing color payoff.
- The packaging isn’t appealing to me. I was showing them to the ladies at the high end counters where my friend now works in Macy’s and the general opinion from these makeup mavens was that it looked cheap.