Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Product Review: LAQA & Co. Lil' Lip Duo (Shades: Ring of Fire and Bossy Boots)

By Randi Reed 

Disclosure: I purchased this product myself. This article contains referral links (Birchbox), as well as non-referral links which do not earn commission and are provided for information purposes. When someone uses the Birchbox invitation link to subscribe, I earn Birchbox points toward purchases, which are used to purchase more products to review.

From finding the perfect red to wear with Team USA colors for the Winter Olympics to "Go Red Day" for heart disease awareness, to Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of opportunities to squeeze in all the shades of reds you wanted to try before Spring.  First up on our agenda: LAQA & Co.’s Lil’ Lip Duo in Ring of Fire  and Bossy Boots

Before we begin, a word to the punctuation police: No, I haven’t misspelled the name of this product. The apostrophe is where LAQA & Co. placed it. Now that we've covered that...

New York-based LAQA & Co. makes several Lil’ Lip Duos, which are smaller versions of their Fat Lip Pencil and come packaged in sets of two in boxes featuring  artwork by emerging young artists. Intended to be all-in-one balm, liner, and gloss pencils that doesn't need sharpening, the pencils' small size and mufti-functionality seems to make them a good candidate for throwing into a purse, travel bag, or even tiny evening clutch. 

The Lil' Lip Duo I purchased contained the shades Ring of Fire and Bossy Boots

Ring of Fire is a bright red that veers over into rose territory. This is a bright, “happy” color that’s not for the faint of heart, and you’ll either love it or hate it. If you like brights, you’ll probably love it. It would be a cheerful change from Valentine Red for February 14, and it’s a good candidate for carrying over into Spring as the bright lip trend continues for Spring 2014. Lil' Lip wears into a stain, and when it does, it turns into a slightly different color for everyone. On me (ultra-fair neutral skin that oxidizes most pinks), Ring of Fire oxidizes into a bright rose-ish, coral-ish pink stain.

Bossy Boots is a wine color that would be perfect for creating your best daytime Hedy Lamarr look. Compared side by side with my favorite Revlon lipstick shade Wine With Everything creme, Bossy Boots is the same color, but much more sheer. I’ll be wearing this one often. The sheerer texture makes it suitable for wearing year-round, which makes it more versatile than a traditional wine lipstick. Because of Bossy Boots' built-in balm, I also plan to save space in my travel bag by carrying it for touchups even when I start off with Revlon’s Wine With Everything.  On me, when Bossy Boots becomes a stain, it becomes a slightly mauve-y, cherry-stained pink.

Texture and Application:
The texture of Lil’ Lip depends a bit on which color you choose. Ring of Fire is a bit more matte and has more pigmentation, so it feels slightly drier going on than Bossy Boots. Its pigmentation means you may not need as much product as expected, so I suggest applying sparingly and then going back over it as necessary. Bossy Boots has a sheerer texture with more shine, and it reminds me more of the texture of other gloss pencils I’ve used. While both felt moisturizing, Bossy Boots seemed even more so. On the downside, it also seemed to migrate more. Neither shade felt at all sticky, which was a major plus. 

Fragrance / Taste:
There’s a slight flavor to the product, but it's too faint for me to identify exactly what it is. Being fragrance-sensitive, especially in lipsticks, I was glad it was so light. The fragrance in many lipsticks gives me a sore throat or makes me cough, and this one didn't. 

Lil’ Lip had good wear for a gloss pencil—especially because they wear into a stain. The slightly pigmentation in Ring of Fire meant that I had to use makeup remover to thoroughly take off the remainder of the stain. Ring of Fire did oxidize on me when it went into a stain, but I liked the color it changed into so I didn’t mind.  Bossy Boots retained its shine a bit longer and felt hydrating longer than Ring of Fire. Bossy Boots also didn’t oxidize, which was nice. Neither shade dried out my lips, and Bossy Boots felt moisturizing for a long time, like a lip balm. 

While both shades seemed to stay put better than many gloss pencils I’ve used, there was still a fair amount of migration outside the lip line, so I’ll be using my favorite lip liner with this. If that’s the tradeoff for moisturizing, I’m OK with that.

Overall, I liked the moisturizing convenience of this product, and I found it a good value at $16 for the set of two. As a plus, I also liked that it's made in the USA, and that LAQA supports young artists by using their designs on product packaging and gives them a cut of the profits. LAQA also features a different young artist each month on their website. A cosmetics company that creates jobs in the US and actively supports the arts community? Win-win!

Would I buy it again? Yes, and I did. I bought one for my BFF for Christmas.

Ring of Fire:  8 out of 10.
Bossy Boots:  9 out of 10.

Top: Ring of Fire. Bottom: Bossy Boots. (Photo: Randi Reed / Cosme-Haul.)

Ring of Fire. Here you can see how well pigmented it is. (Photo: Randi Reed / Cosme-Haul.)

Bossy Boots. On my monitor it looks a bit too red, but you can see the texture. (Photo: Randi Reed / Cosme-Haul.)

Available in different shade combinations at Birchbox, and on the LAQA and Co. website.

Also available as a set of five for $32US. Individual larger Fat Lip Pencils in the same colors are $18US each.

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©2014 Cosme-Haul and Randi Reed.