Leigh's comment on my Ellis Red/L201 post piqued my curiosity on the other Ellis Lips formulas and how they compare to each other. A generous introduction later, I was sent one of each formula to review on Messy Wands. This felt like such a monumental responsibility that for the last three weeks I've barely worn any other color on my lips, just so I make sure to write the most accurate review ever.
If you're unfamiliar with Ellis Lips, here is how it works: The product is housed in a bullet-lookalike pen. When you remove the cap, you'll see the applicator like below (if it's your first use, it should be completely white). To dispense product from the pen, turn the base of the pen clockwise. One "cycle" should be enough for one application (again, if it's your first use, just keep twisting till the color appears).
Ellis Lips comes in three textures: Creamy Lips (L101-109), Milky Lips (L201-209), and Glazed Lips (L301-309). All three boast a lightweight formula and provide as little or as much coverage as you wish. Playing with these made me seriously reconsider my fondness for lipsticks in a bullet form, just because of the freedom of customization I can get. According to the Ellis Faas website, all Ellis Lips products contain Vitamin E and are paraben-free. All textures are also liquid, so they "immediately blend into skin upon application," thus are non-sticky.
Creamy Lips comes with a spongy applicator while the other two operate on a brush-type applicator.
L-R: Glazed Lips L301, Milky Lips L205, Creamy Lips L108
Creamy Lips (L101-109)
Creamy Lips provides the most natural looking finish of the three formulas. A minute or two into application, it dries down to a velvet matte finish. The product mimics the texture of the lips while imparting a wash of the color of your choice. This is an admittedly high maintenance formula. It is not flattering when applied on dry lips and does not claim to have moisturizing properties, so while it doesn't sap the moisture from your lips, it wouldn't aid the pesky dryness (PSA: drink more water, self and everyone else!). However, when applied on "good" lips, Creamy Lips may be your best option in the market when you want to fake your natural lip color.
Case in point: In the picture below, would you have guessed I had lipstick on if I didn't point it out?
The shade in question: L108, a light peach
I found the included instructions particularly useful, so here you go:
"Apply Creamy Lips with the spongy applicator first by painting the lips with just a small amount of lipstick, then fully load the applicator to fill inside of the lips... For a more stained effect - just load a tiny bit of the lipstick onto the applicator, apply and blot for a matte stain."
Milky Lips (L201-209)
Milky Lips is the in-between of the Creamy Lips and Glazed Lips formula. While wetter then Creamy Lips, it does not achieve the like-water finish you get with Glazed Lips. The word I'd use to describe the effect is "dewy" or maybe even "glistening." Neither are bad words for one's lips to associate with!
What I found while using Milky Lips (in shade L205, a pink peach) is that upon application, the color seems to be suspended over your lips for a bit. It doesn't look good here, but wait for 1-2 minutes and the lipstick will settle and meld itself to your lips.
Like what I experienced with Creamy Lips, the Milky Lips formula clings to dry bits, and seem to seep into lip lines as well. But again, when applied to "good lips," this looks amazing. True story: I put this on when I left work one day, then went to the mall for some much-needed retail therapy. Halfway through trying on a new outfit, I stopped and went near the mirror to examine my lips. I distinctly remember not having any impression when I was at the office, but in that changing room what I saw were such plump and juicy lips... I'd kiss myself if I could.
Since Milky Lips is wetter in texture, I do feel that it's somewhat moisturizing. After all, it's like applying (dense) liquid on your lips. (Do note that the company does not claim Milky Lips to be moisturizing!)
Official instructions for Milky Lips:
"For a subtle look with just a trace of color, either apply a feather-light layer all over the lips or apply Milky Lips to the middle of the lips and fade it with the fingertips."
Glazed Lips (L301-309)
I saved my favorite for last! If Milky Lips is "dense liquid," Glazed Lips is literally pouring water over your lips, minus the mess that would ensue. It has the unique quality of providing intense color but is translucent at the same time. It goes without saying that Glazed Lips is the most comfortable of all three to wear.
One major plus for Glazed Lips is it fades evenly and dries down to a stain-like quality. I didn't know this will happen when I first put it on, so my mind was promptly blown five hours after. Just take a look at the picture below! I took it 5-6 hours after initial application of L301.
Such a huge plus! I cannot use lip stains because they've always been too drying for my chronically chapped lips. Now I have a lip stain alternative that gives me two looks in one application. Can you see how I die for this kind of product? I make hand-grabbing motions when I think of the entire Glazed Lips line.
Construction and Beyond
As mentioned, Ellis Lips are lightweight and comfortable, and if this hasn't been made clear, long lasting. I'm inclined to believe they will last on my lips forever if I don't have to eat or drink, and I was sorely tempted to test this theory but sadly, I am human. All formulas come with an applicator so precision wouldn't be an issue, and with them you save time rummaging for and cleaning your lip brush before each use.
That said, my biggest peeve with the products is the design. No doubt it's unique and definitely makes a statement. I have no problem locating them among my admittedly vast collection of lip products (big plus). However, they might not be the best for bringing out. I have no problem because my bags are usually large enough to hold a small child, but I can see how plenty of women would have to struggle to fit these in their tiny purses.
Also, because the amount of product I get for each application depends on how much I twist the base of the pen, quite often I get too much product because I become impatient while waiting for the color to appear. Earlier into testing these, I must have wasted a few applications' worth because I'd twist and nothing would come out, then I'll twist again thinking I didn't do enough, then I see the color and stop but it's too late because 2-3 applications worth would have oozed out. It really doesn't take long (think 5 seconds) for the color to appear, but compared to a regular lipstick where it's twist and go... Anyway, I'm quite proud to say that I've since mastered the technique.
Finally, I wanted to address what I said earlier about Creamy Lips and Milky Lips not looking good on dry lips. It is true that those two formulas do cling to dry bits and seep into lines, but I forget that I look at myself two inches away from the mirror, whereas other people are probably already too close to me when they're just two feet away. Unless your lips are so dry as to be flaking as you speak (to which I say what are you even doing with lipstick?!), they'll look perfectly fine to everyone but the person you kiss (who um, shouldn't bother what lipstick you've got on).
If the paragraphs above were too long, the takeaway is Ellis Faas products in general come with a learning curve, but they're so worth your time.
Ellis Lips retail for $35 apiece and are available at ellisfaas.com, Space NK, and sephora.com (!!). If you are a Sephora VIB, you have till November 14 to enjoy 20 percent off your entire purchase with code VIBDREAM. I suggest slipping a couple of these into your cart. Like um, what I did just now.
Update: While I don't have swatches of all the colors (if only!), here's a snapshot from the pamphlet I received from PR that I hope are color accurate (I haven't seen most of these colors so...). I hope it helps those of you who want to place a blind order:
The products in this post were sent to me from the company for review.