Friday, September 30, 2011

Ellis Faas L201/Ellis Red

Yesterday I posted a picture of a very red pair of lips and told you it was a worthy Chanel Dragon rival. A handful of you guessed what it was right off the bat, which told me two things: 1) Ellis Faas might not be as obscure a brand I thought it was, and 2) I need to make the guessing game harder. 

The lipstick in question is indeed Ellis Faas L201, otherwise known as the Ellis Faas signature hue, Ellis Red.

A little bit about Ellis Faas for those unfamiliar to the brand. Ellis Faas offers its products for skin, eyes, and lips in the form of silver twist-up pens. Their lip series is divided into three categories: Creamy, Milky, and Glazed. According to their website, Creamy Lips comes with a sponge applicator that provides long-lasting coverage, Milky Lips delivers a wetter, less heavy finish, whereas Glazed Lips proffers the slickest finish of them all. I've only tried the Milky series, which comes with a brush applicator, as seen below. 

Ellis Red

This is how it works: when you twist the bottom of the pen, you'll get a dollop of blood red fluid peeking out from the bristles. Spread the liquid evenly around the lips with the brush, and you're done! Be careful not to get too excited during the twisting or you might get too much product.

I have to say it. Ellis Red makes me think of a vampire post-feast. It goes on super wet and stays wet for as long as it remains on my lips, and that is a significant amount of time. I wore this out to dinner once where after sampling a huge portion of seafood pasta, a girl friend turned to me and asked me how I managed to make my lipstick last through the meal. My reply was, "it's still there?!" and I whipped out a mirror to check. I didn't prep, prime, line, or set it, yet my lips were pretty much the same as before. The only part that faded was the inner section of the bottom lip. Astonishment turned to wonder, and that was when I knew I had to feature Ellis Red on Messy Wands.

Due to its construction, Ellis Red might be the easiest red ever to apply on your lips. Makeup artists always tout the lip brush as the must-have precision tool when applying deeper hued lipstick. Lo and behold, Ellis Red already comes with its very own brush!

I thought I should also address how it compares to Chanel Dragon. They're similar products in that both are very pigmented liquid lipsticks. However, Chanel Dragon looks and feels denser compared to the wet Ellis Red. I am very aware that I'm wearing pigmented lipstick when I have Chanel Dragon on, whereas Ellis Red feels so light that at times I wonder if it's still on my lips (I'll have you know, my periodic mirror checks never disappointed). 

The only con I can think of is that the formula is as "liquid" as it appears on the lips, so it doesn't "settle" onto the lips like normal lipsticks would. This doesn't mean the color will swim unfettered around your lips after application. I would just be very careful if I were wearing a scarf or light-colored clothing, or if I have my hand anywhere near my mouth. Many a dear item have been relegated to the bin due to unremovable lipstick stains, and Ellis Red would be an easy villain if given a chance. Needless to say, having a mirror handy is almost a prerequisite to wearing Ellis Red.

Ellis Red retails for $35 and can be purchased at Space NK,, and I'm so happy with this, I think it's high time I try out some of their eyeshadows.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Since we had that bit of fun

Let's play again! I will be reviewing this item tomorrow. Spoiler: I think it's a worthy Chanel Dragon rival.

In the meantime, who wants to take a shot at guessing the color? I'll give you a hint. It's newly available in Sephora. 

The grand prize this time is a virtual red velvet cupcake (of course). If no one gets it right I'll have an excuse to travel to my favorite cupcake shop and have one for real!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Concession to Donning Leopard: Dior Mitzah 5-Couleurs Palette

For an industry that changes its mind in what seems like split seconds, the leopard print remains to be one of the few stalwarts eternally glorified by the fashionable. From coats to bags to shoes, a dash of black dots on yellow ochre fur (we’re told) adds an instant touch of glamour.

This has always been a spot of bother for me (no pun intended). I'm not sure if I'd like donning fur, and I don't have the funds to purchase one anyway. But I can't deny the elegance of the leopard.

Enter Dior's Mitzah collection, inspired by Christian Dior's muse Mitzah Bricard, a woman known for her love of animal prints. It's a carefully curated collection of two nail polishes (Ebony and Camel), a golden bronze mascara, and two leopard-themed (both in color and presentation) palettes. Out of the two palettes, I decided to make the more functional purchase instead of the more stylized one.

Mitzah offers in its five pans a soft ivory, camel, ochre brown, chocolate brown, and a taupe brown. The quint boasts the smooth texture that Dior 5-couleur palettes are known for. Pigmentation was good but for the taupe brown shade that I felt was harder to pick up compared to the rest.  

What better than a cat-eye to complement this palette?

A few readers have e-mailed me inquiring about how I put on my eye makeup when I have uneven lids. Here's a little peek at what I do (at times). I place more of the darker shade on my "monolid" side in an attempt to fake the appearance of a crease. It looks like bad application when you can see my lids in full, but when my eyes are wide open it does help balance both sides out.

I think Mitzah is a beautiful palette of not-so-basic neutral shades that's worth a look, especially with the fall season rushing towards us. Mitzah will no doubt be an excellent companion to its plethora of red and berry lips. 

Dior Mitzah retails for $60 and is a limited edition palette exclusively available at Sephora locations and 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Holiday Covets

Information on Holiday 2011 collections is slowly trickling onto the web, and I wanted to share the few that I'm looking forward to. I apologize for not showing pictures of these collections directly. I didn't want to take them off these sites without the owners' permission.

Clickety click for Holiday pretties:

NARS - not terribly exciting, but I'm intrigued by the multiple

YSL - oh the highlighter

Shu Uemura Rouge Et Bleu - Shu Uemura is collaborating with renowned director Wong Kar Wai for a collection. MUST HAVE

Dior - I must say, Dior has been so good with their quints recently

And of course...

Chanel - of which I will probably buy close to everything

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Post With...

I need your help. 

I don't know if this is absolutely amazing or just really really wrong (for my skintone). Thoughts? 

Also, anyone wants to wager a guess what I'm wearing? Correct answers get a virtual chocolate fudge brownie with melted marshmallows on top.

Nails Inc. Electric Lane Holographic Top Coat

Sephora has been amping up its game lately (Ellis Faas! Koh Gen Do!) and one of the newest additions to their extensive offering is the UK nail polish brand Nails Inc. Ever since I tried on Butter London's All Hail McQueenThe Queen I've been smitten by holographic nails, but I wasn't really sure where I could go to acquire them. Holo nail polish weren't (in fact, aren't) readily accessible. Then, I found out Nails Inc. was crossing the Atlantic, and was bringing with them Electric Lane Holographic Top Coat.

As its name aptly describes, Electric Lane is a top coat that contains fine sparkles (I spot white, pink, and  blue), which when used over other polishes will create a multidimensional effect. In other words, it gives any ol' nail polish the ability to turn into a sparkly, amazing version of itself.

L-R: Electric Lane, Electric Lane layered over Porchester Square, Porchester Square

I can't figure out what happened between the polish on the nail wheel and my own nails, but I swear the color is true to life (on me). For reference, click here to see how they look on Michelle of All Lacquered Up.

Either way, I think Electric Lane is a great addition to any nail wardrobe as an instant amplifier. Think about it: this one top coat effectively doubles your entire collection. Not bad for $10.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Le Metier de Beaute Fall/Winter Nail Lacquer Giveaway

Since Le Metier de Beaute generously sent me their Fall/Winter Silk Road nail lacquers, I now have extras (that I purchased from before + were gifted by my ex-colleagues) of a few of them in my collection. I'm not one to let good nail polishes go to waste, so giveaway time it is!

Top-bottom: Dynasty, Anatolia, Urban Dweller

I will be giving away one each of Dynasty, Anatolia, and Urban Dweller to three lucky winners! (Edit: Just realized the wording here is potentially confusing. Each winner will win one polish - hopefully the color of his/her choice.)

There are a few ways you can enter to win one of these polishes:

1) Leave a comment on this article. It can be about anything - what's your guilty pleasure, when do you plan to use the colors, how much you dread winter etc. Please leave your e-mail address in any part of the comment so I have a means to contact you if you win (alternatively, you can e-mail me at messywands [at] gmail [dot] com if you don't feel comfortable letting your personal email be known to public). Be sure to mention which of the three is your favorite!

2) You can earn a second entry by following me on Twitter AND tweeting about this giveaway. You have to include @xiaoo in your tweet and link back to this feature for it to count as an entry.

The deadline for this giveaway is September 30 at midnight. I will pick three winners at random the next day and inform them via e-mail. The winners will have 72 hours to respond and provide a valid shipping address. If any one of the winners does not respond within 72 hours, the prize will be forfeited, and I will pick another winner.

Unfortunately, since shipping policies for nail polishes can be a huge pain (and expensive), this contest is only open to readers from the United States.

Good luck and spread the word!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shade Parade

Another adorable video from Chanel (the first being this one). Reminds me there are a few shades I need to pick up...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Updates

The Kate Spade lipstick line has finally landed in stores (via umbrella? haha). If you haven’t heard, Kate Spade collaborated with Poppy King for a capsule collection of four lipstick/gloss hybrids dubbed Supercalifragilipsticks.

Picture of a spread in O Magazine, taken from

Picture taken from

From the pictures, it looks like the available colors are a classic red, a discreet nude, a tasteful pink, and a bright fuchsia. I’m curious to see how they fare, though I will probably pick up only one of them (a girl has to stop somewhere. I already have two million of these “basic” shades).

Of course, just as I was about to hit publish I happened across Karla Sugar's amazing swatches of these babies. Now I can't wait to pop by my local Kate Spade store. Pop Art Pink is calling out to me!

This is not really news, but did you know Fresh Cosmetics was founded in Boston? I totally didn’t! And here I was lamenting we didn’t have anything exciting going on (beauty-wise. Companies, some attention here please!). I tried out a sample of their Soy Face Cleanser some time ago and loved it. I also tested out one of their Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments (in newly released shade Passion, courtesy of incredible ex-boss Polly Blitzer), which made me want to go out and purchase the other existing shades at once. I have to review it soon! It's a life changer.

Now I have this unopened tub of Rose Face Mask from Fresh that’s begging to be used. In fact, I think I’ll get off this space and pamper myself for a bit. Have a good night!

Le Metier de Beaute nail lacquers in Gypsy Rose Me, Dynasty, and Silk Road

As promised, here's Gypsy Rose Me, the accompanying nail lacquer to Ken, Red My Lips from the Le Metier de Beaute Bordeaux Collection. I also thought of including the other two nail lacquers from the Silk Road Collection missing from this post. 

Top-bottom: Dynasty and Silk Road

L-R: Gypsy Rose Me, Dynasty, Silk Road

All summer (since I heard of it, at any rate) I have been waiting for Silk Road to hit the counters, and I'm glad to announce the months of pining paid off. As I thought, it resembles melted copper on fingernails. Just look at that metallic gleam!

I placed Gypsy Rose Me and Dynasty side by side so you could compare both of them. Both are berry reds with fuchsia undertones. Gypsy Rose Me is like the lighter hued sibling of Dynasty, where Dynasty boasts more of a sheen and a darker hue compared to Gypsy Rose Me. However, I personally think Gypse Rose Me is more interesting as a color - Dynasty reminds me of one of the many ubiquitous reds we see all year round.

Application and formula are of the usual great standard: smooth, easy. Gypsy Rose Me required two coats for opacity. I think I could have gotten away with one for the other two, but I'm a creature of habit, so I applied two coats of polish for all three colors in the above photographs.

Both Dynasty and Silk Road retail for $10 and are only available in the smaller bottles. Gypsy Rose Me is housed in a larger-sized one and is available as part of the Bordeaux Collection set, which retails for $49 exclusively at Neiman Marcus stores and

Dynasty and Silk Road were sent to Messy Wands from Le Metier de Beaute for consideration. I was not obliged to post about them, nor do I receive compensation for doing so. Gypsy Rose Me was purchased separately for this review.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Le Metier de Beaute Bordeaux Collection Red My Lips Swatches, Photos, Review

Hello again! How do you do, oh how do you do? I've missed you. Has it really only been a month since I've been gone? I tried catching up on beauty news for the past few days and honestly I don't think I'm near caught up at all. I'm just glad Holiday collections haven't appeared in stores as far as I can tell because I might as well just throw away my (virtual) pen and wave Messy Wands goodbye.

Since that's not the case, back to business!

I came back just in time to pick up an item from the Bordeaux Collection, which is a collaboration between Neiman Marcus Fashion Director Ken Downing and Le Metier de Beaute. There are three sets within the collection, each featuring a lipstick and matching nail lacquer in deep wine/berry tones. All three sets are beautiful and will set you on a direct track toward a very sexy fall, but due to personal monetary considerations, I decided to only purchase one. I picked the Red My Lips and Gypsy Rose Me combination, which appears to be the lightest hue among the three. Today's review is only of the lipstick, I will show the accompanying nail lacquer in a later post.

Red My Lips is a flattering subtle berry red. I was pleasantly surprised by it. I do believe I do not own a similar hue in my stash.

What's more, the lipstick feels incredibly comfortable on my lips. In fact, Red My Lips makes me forget I'm wearing lipstick, which is like winning the ultimate comfort test. Application is smooth and the lipstick is beyond pigmented. I was able to obtain the color above with only one swipe.

I love that I am wearing a brown sweater in the photo, because I think those two colors go together swimmingly. Without a doubt, this will be one of my fall staples (along with that sweater. Have we ever had a conversation about Boston winters?).

The Bordeaux Collection sets go for $49 each and are exclusively available at Neiman Marcus stores and

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Update

There really is no excuse, but here we go:

Rest assured I have not abandoned beauty blogging. I miss writing and photographing for Messy Wands and am constantly brooding (no! think of the wrinkle lines) about my absence, but I just moved in to a new place and I don't have internet and everything is still on the floor, and yes I'm sick of apologizing but it seems like I have to do it again because many things (or at least the lack of internet) is out of my control.

On to more exciting matters, after tallying up all the comments and tweets then using to select a winner, I'm pleased to announce that Wendy W. is the proud owner of a new Les Tendres de Chanel in Les Roses! Wendy, thank you for replying my e-mail so quickly. I will be sure to send out your gift as soon as possible.

Here's a little taste of Niagara Falls, which I visited during my East Coast tour with my family. My sister quite masterfully captured this picture on her phone, which I'm thankful for since I lost my phone along with all the pictures I took of the trip.

Back to unpacking I go. I hope to be back soon!

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm almost back!

It's been a long absence and I miss this space dearly. I'll be back in a week and my fingers are already itching at the thought. It's like writing my very first post all over again.

Read this yesterday and fluttered about the room. Floored that I am in such company.

Don't forget to enter my first ever (Chanel!) giveaway before the 9th! Love all of you and can't wait to speak to you again.