Monday, July 7, 2014

REVIEW: Dior Fluid Sticks

When I first dipped my lips in to the glossy waters of Dior's new Fluid Sticks, I wasn't too impressed with what I found. Inspired by the product's rave reviews, I purchased a soft neutral pink, Kiss Me, and hoped it'd be the perfect product for my sister's wedding. I described my lackluster experience to the ladies on Makeup Alley, who were really quite appalled by what I was saying.

"What do you mean they taste like perfume?"

"How are they only lasting an hour on you?"

"No pigment? Mine are really pigmented!"

Makeup is very much a "your mileage may vary" sort of thing, so I figured I was one of the few people these newbies wouldn't work for. I resigned myself to being awfully quiet about that, too, because they're generating tons of buzz and love, and it's kinda weird being the lone voice of dissention.

Here's Kiss Me in action (full breakdown and another FOTD posted here):

It's not BAD, but it's not inspiring. You know why? Because this shade was just an ordinary pink gloss on me. It didn't have great pigmentation, it gummed up at the corners of my mouth, and it barely lasted for an hour--definitely not the "fabulous wear" and "high-impact colour" the packaging promised. To make matters worse, it absolutely REEKED of perfume, and I could taste it the entire time I wore it. This product didn't live up to its official claims, let alone the hype. To date, Dior Kiss Me is one of maybe 5 items I've returned to Sephora. That's how much I hated it.

Now, when I ordered Kiss Me, I added in the 4-shade sample packet Sephora was offering, figuring I could find another shade to purchase after I returned to work in the Fall. But when Kiss Me ended up being a major disappointment, I pushed it off to the side. Add in a rogue infection that made me sick for almost a month, and you've got a product that's WAY overdue for a re-evaluation.

I was hesitant to put a Fluid Stick near my mouth again after the Kiss Me fiasco, but I'm glad I gave them another chance.

Let's backtrack a moment and go over Dior's claims in more detail. While some bloggers and YouTubers have defined the Dior Fluid Sticks as "liquid lipsticks," Dior clearly wishes to state otherwise: most of the advertisements, sample packets, and sales associates shout, "THIS IS NOT A LIPSTICK!" But they are also not a gloss, in the sense that layering them over a lip liner or lipstick isn't all that effective or attractive. They also aren't designed to stain or soak in to the lips. What they are designed to do is look glossy, provide "coverage between a gloss and a lipstick" (huh?), feel like nada on your lips, and wear well without feathering or fading. Sounds kinda like a lipstick, right?

But Dior refuses! "THIS IS NOT A LIPSTICK!" And if it's not a gloss or a stain...well, fine, Fluid Sticks; I'm officially labeling you "Frankenlip." THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR BEING SO PICKY.

A full-sized frankenlip Fluid Stick retails for $35 and comes in elegant plastic packaging. The bottom is clear so you can see what color you've got. The applicator is a soft, spade-shaped sponge tip; I found it easy to control. (The sample pack came with a disposable sponge-tip applicator, which I cleaned and re-used for each application.)

Pandore, a warm pinky-red, and Wonderland, a cool fuchsia pink

The formula is, indeed, incredibly lightweight and comfortable; it has a unique gel texture that stays in place without drying out my lips. You can apply a thin layer for a more toned-down look, and most of the swatches I found online seem to be applied quite thinly. But, y'know, I'm a guady ho. So I applied these products quite liberally for opaque coverage. This can lead to some very slight gumming-up at the edges of my lips when I first apply (eek!), but if I pat it with my fingers, it smooths out and doesn't reoccur. The wear is not impacted by how much you layer on: once it's there, it's not moving unless you rub it off.

Speaking of:

Here's what Pandore looked like after I ate a Cup o' Noodles. No smearing or smudging, just some mild fading, primarily at the very inner part of my lips. This is actually more impressive than some traditional lipsticks out there, which will fade and smear as soon as you sip your morning coffee. The Fluid Sticks WILL come off if you kiss someone or rub your mouth against something; otherwise, they're decently resistant to everyday wear and tear, which is impressive for a glossy formula.

Aventure, a coral with strong orange undertones,  and Mirage, a soft peach

Also, while the perfumey-ness I detected in Kiss Me was non-existent in Pandore, Wonderland, and Aventure, it was definitely present in Mirage. Mirage didn't smell nearly as potent as Kiss Me had, and the taste faded away after about 15 minutes of wear. Still, it's strange that the fragrance is really only noticeable to me in these lighter/paler shades. Maybe it has something to do with the pigments? *pseudo-science*

While all of the shades were beautiful and performed about the same, the only shades I think I'd purchase in a full-size are Pandore (for everyday looks) and Mirage (for work). That may be confusing, considering I just raved about these products, but the truth of the matter is that glossy lip products are just Not My Thing, and I don't think most of the shades flatter me. (Hell, Mirage isn't even that flattering on me, but it's just so freaking cool!) But who knows? I could swatch a few more shades and fall absolutely in love.

And hey, I liked them enough to try preserving what was left in the sample packet for later use!

Alas, the little wells overflow shortly after you peel pack the foil. I could probably get a second or even third use out of each color, but it's gonna be a messy experience.

Personal preferences aside, the Dior Fluid Sticks are definitely some of the best new lip products out there. Their versatility and comfortable formulation make them a great choice for a wide variety of people. Just watch out for those fluke shades, like Kiss Me.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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