Monday, April 24, 2006

Product Review: Zoya Glossy Lip Balm

You know how you always have that one elusive beauty product that you can never find? Whether it be the perfect tube of lipstick, or the shadow with just the right amount of shimmer, or that difficult-to-match shade of discontinued blush? Well, for the longest time, my obession was with finding a particular red lip gloss.

See, I had bought a red gloss from the Gap a few years ago. It was the most beautiful shade of candy-apple red ... red enough to be a classic red, with enough blue in it to suit my tastes and skintone. It was pigmented, moisturizing, and it lasted for more than 10 minutes. This was the gloss that I thought looked alarmingly bright in the tube, but once on, would make my whole face look alive. Plus, it was only a dollar during the after-Christmas sales, so score, right?

Er, yeah, until I ran out of the gloss. It hadn't occurred at the time that the low low price meant that it was very very discontinued. Bummer! And so the search began.

I scoured the cosmetic aisles of my drugstore, testing every shade of red gloss or sheer lipstick I could find. I hounded Sephora. I even wandered by the department store counters to see what they offered (as if I'd pay $30 for a gloss though, even the perfect one). No dice. Finally, I happened upon a Trade Secrets store in the mall one day, while I was waiting for my friend to try on some pants*. And there, tucked in amongst a bajillion bottles of nailpolish and fancy shampoo, was this:

The Marachino shade of Zoya Glossy Lip Balm looked frighteningly dark in the the tube. (The picture above is NOT Marachino) It was a shade that conjured up images of Hollywood starlets of the 40's, or vampy, simmering seductresses in low-cut gowns. Not that those are bad looks, but I couldn't imagine wearing a shade like that to go grocery shopping, you know?

But I was a girl on a gloss-finding mission, remember. So I went ahead and grabbed the tester.

My first impression of the gloss was that it was THICK. It took a bit of effort to squeeze out of the tube. I saw that it was quite pigmented, too. Nevertheless, I intrepidly (is that a word?) smoothed some on to my lips, and then ran out side to check the colour in better light.

Oh! It was lovely! A wonderful shade of soft cherry-plummy red. It imparted a soft shine (not supershiny like MAC lipglass) and it felt really really moisturizing. I usually can't wear gloss without some form of lipbalm underneath, but the Zoya Hot Lips felt nourishing. It was somewhat sticky (not quite as Lipglass though), which I took as a good indication of its lasting power. Plus, it smelled like fruity cherry candy, which was a major bonus for me (doesn't taste like anything though).

I ran back in and paid the $10 CAD for the gloss. It was the most I'd ever paid for a lipgloss, I think, but it was sooo worth it. It really does stay on... even after a cup of coffee. The sheen wears off, but the moisture and a bit of colour will stick around. The colour is very buildable -- if you put this straight on your bare lips with a lip brush, you can get a rich, dramatic colour (for a gloss, anyway). However, if you're like me, and just smoosh it on with a finger, it looks much more muted and subdued. Of course, for the truly timid, just slick on some lip balm before you apply this gloss. That gives you a sheer wash of colour that's perfect for a fresh casual look.

So, in conclusion:
Colour? check!
Texture? check!
Moisturizing? check!
Smell? check!
Lasting power? check!
I think I may have found the perfect red lip gloss! The one drawback is that you must apply it with your finger or a brush, which is somewhat inconvenient. I do like that the screw-top lid is neat and prevent leaks though.

Hot Lips comes in a wide variety of shades. I haven't tried any of the other ones, but you can check them out here. (Note: the Marachino shade looks almost purple-black on there, so I don't know what is up with that. The shades might not be represented accurately.)

So yipiee! Thank you, Zoya! Thank you, Trade Secrets! I found a winner! Does this mean I'll stop buying red gloss? Most likely not. But at least now I won't scare the nice ladies at Shopper's Drug Mart with my frantic and incessant search for the right one!

* And my friend got 2 pairs of fantastic pants. It was a good shopping day.



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