ABH Lip Gloss

Considering how fond I am of lip products, I have surprisingly few glosses — a handful of old Revlon HD tubes (absolutely fantastic, if you happen across any on eBay) and an assortment of underwhelming-but-decent midrange offerings.

BUT THEN

Trying the new Bite Beauty Liquified Lipsticks — with their comfortable wear and glossy finish — made me remember how much I love a glossy lip. And then Nordstrom annoyingly/conveniently included an Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Lip Gloss set ($28/0.42oz; 0.07oz each) as part of their Anniversary Sale, and I just happened to have a $10 Nordstrom Note, so … guess who’s the proud new owner of six ABH lip glosses?

This particular set is their “fall” assortment, and all six shades were originally available only in this LE set; however, three — Amber, Maple, and Rum — have since been made part of the permanent full-size lineup. Because this is a fall assortment, it skews warm and brown; I have no problem wearing a dark lip color (even when they wash me out or aren’t “flattering”), but these will probably look particularly lovely on skintones darker than my own. (Or, if you like the idea of the formula but aren’t too sure about the shade assortment, ABH has a summer set on their website with a lighter/brighter variety — pinks, vivid purple, berry, medium nudes. The summer set was actually my first intro to this formula, but isn’t available in the Nordstrom sale.)

One of my favorite aspects of the ABH line (and probably what sets it apart from most other glosses) is that they’re SUPER opaque (some just very-nearly-opaque, but still very-richly-colored) — not the run-of-the-mill glittery topper or shiny tint or — heaven forbid — semi-opaque milky gloss that’ll settle in your lip lines and make you look odd.  The consistency is smooth and plush, rather than thick/sticky (Stila) or thin/oily (Lancome Juicy Shaker, I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR SUCKING SO HARD). The trade-off for the non-sticky formula is that they ARE prone to smearing outside the lip line if you’re not careful — despite being as opaque as the Bite Liquified Lipsticks, these are a true gloss formula. Over the past few days I’ve found that wear time on this specific set is anywhere between three and five hours, depending mostly on how much I eat and drink (and how I eat and drink it — mugs, cups, snacks, and fork-food is fine; but if you’re going to chow down on a burger, you may as well wipe this off beforehand since it’s not going to survive).

The tubes are mini, but by no means miniscule — at 0.07 oz, you’ll get many applications from each tube. (Plus, when was the last time you finished a full-size gloss?) The wands are a little short, but I actually appreciated that design ‘flaw,’ as it allowed for more precise application. The flat doefoot applicator gave me a bit of grief — it’s a touch larger than other doefoot applicators and holds a LOT of product; with colors this dark and glossy I prefer to build up (for precision’s sake) rather than smush a bunch of product on my lips all at once. Fortunately, it’s easy to scrape excess product off the applicator and onto the inner neck of the bottle; this not only allowed me to better control the application, but meant that as I added more product I didn’t have to stick the applicator all the way back in the tube — I could just grab product from the neck instead. I did appreciate that the doefoot had a rounded edge (perfect for shaping the cupid’s bow) and, though wide, wasn’t too thick — it was easy to get a precise line on the edge of the lips when I turned the doefoot sideways and used the thin edge.

These are not a groundbreaking new product, by any means — not a cool gloss/lipstick hybrid or matte/mousse concoction or whatever. It’s simply a very well-executed traditional lip gloss, available in a wide variety of shades, with a glossy, opaque finish and solid wear time. I like them.

Without further ado, swatches:

Amber is a peachy tan that I don’t love, but don’t hate. It’s the only one that had a hint of that streaky/gather-in-lip-lines tendency — it turns out I’d applied a touch too much, and the problem was completely solved once I blotted off the excess product.

Raisin is a beautiful muted plum-mauve.

Berry is a richer, darker, ever-so-slightly-redder plum-mauve.

Rum looks like a dark rosy brown in the tube, but applies as a deep chocolate (with juuuuust a hint of cherry). It’s not terribly flattering on me, but that won’t stop me from wearing it this fall.

Carla is a gorgeous muted rich red with a touch of berry and you can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. If I could keep only one of these, it would be Carla.

Maple is the only shimmery one of the bunch, and doesn’t look quite as shimmery on as I’d expected. This one was also the sheerest (though still somewhere between medium and opaque coverage); and though it COULD be built to full opacity, I wouldn’t bother — the slightly-metallic glossy finish obscures any unnevenness once it’s on. (My photographer really liked this one. I’m not as sold on it.)

Maple, Carla, Rum, Berry, Raisin, Amber in reverse order from lip swatches for MAXIMUM DRAMA AND INCONVENIENCE

GRIPES

Maple and Rum are a bit too close, shade-wise. I realize Maple is a little bit metallic and warmer, and Rum is a little bit darker, but on me they both read as “quite brown.” And though Raisin and Berry are obviously different on the lips, Berry is just a darker version of the same idea as Raisin, and I’d rather have had a true berry. Still, I’ll get good use out of at least half of these, and two of my favorites (Carla, Raisin) aren’t available in the permanent full size lineup anyway — I’m glad I picked this up, though I’ll probably set it aside until fall.

This has a strong vanilla frosting scent. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what vanilla iteration it reminded me of — it’s SWEET and UNAPOLOGETIC — but I had a Lip Smacker Vanilla Frosting lip gloss back in seventh grade and this is EXACTLY THAT SCENT. IT IS NOT SUBTLE. (Collier will HATE it.) Fortunately, the scent does dissipate — though never truly vanish — within a few minutes.

Tried ’em? Like ’em or nah? Discuss!