meet Make Up For Ever's Aqua Rouge #8 - Red.
Aqua Rouge is described as a "Waterproof Liquid Lip Color" that delivers in the long-lasting ability of a lip stain and the shiny finish of a gloss. you can actually wear the lip color alone if you choose to since the gloss does not act as a sealant (the pigment does that itself). i was curious about this since CoverGirl's Smoothwear All-Day Lip Color (another 2-step system) has a top coat for sealing in the moisture.
there are 12 shades available at Sephora or online at Make Up For Ever for $27 each. the Aqua Rouge claims to be "100% waterproof, kiss-proof that will not transfer" and i am here to test it out!
my first attempt ever with such a powerful red and it took me a long time to get this right - actually, i still have not quite mastered it. i didn't use any lip liner in order to keep it from affecting my review but it is just so hard to get the edges to look perfectly smooth! i found some instructions online (click on Step by step) and it too suggests using a lip liner.
maybe it is the science nerd in me that i have repressed since switching to "Business" from "Biological Sciences" but i decided to test this product over a 3-day period and observe the effects of different variables: the first day being just a complete initial reaction to the product and then the second day, wearing just the "red" side (matte) and the third, using both the "red" and "gloss" side.
* photos are taken after any eating that may have occurred. there was no reapplication of the red throughout the day for day two and three.
i started applying the sponge applicator on the center of my lips and worked outwards. i often crossed my lip line and seeing how this product does not budge after it dries, i had to clean up the edges. plus, i found that i did not spread the color evenly on my lips. after taking some photos, i'd realize there are spots on my lips and i'd go back and reapply - this happened twice so in the end, i had a few layers on.
my first impression of just wearing the red alone (matte version) was that it felt sort of like it was painted on, like something is coating your lips. it doesn't feel uncomfortable or thick though. when i press my lips together, the top lip sticks to the bottom lip. if you do this right after applying it, the color can transfer between the top and bottom.
i applied the gloss (using its brush applicator) and noticed that it was hardly sticky at all. a little color transferred to the applicator in the process. i think this can be avoided if i waited for the red to be completely dry.
transition from the matte lip to a glossy lip:
top to bottom: natural light; artificial light
throughout the day, the gloss will fade and i'll reapply often. i described it sort of as "paint" because after 5 hours, this "paint" started to crack. i believe it is because i moved my lips often (you know how that happens when you talk) and i'd also press my lips together. it felt like i had peeling lips or little crumbs stuck on my lips. this left some bald spots behind and thus, i needed to touch it up - please see below pic [6:00 pm].
what is impressive is that it does not transfer when drinking or kissing AT ALL. you'd think that with such a bold red, that at least some color will transfer, but nope. nothing on my hand, nothing on my boyfriend, nothing on my straw. there is the exception of when you eat though, especially greasy foods.
the first day i wore this, the Aqua Rouge met its match when i ate a bacon-wrapped corn cob. i knew beforehand that it wasn't going to be a good idea but it was confirmed as i watched the red melt away from my lips and all over the corn.
i ventured to the washroom and found that most of the red had rubbed off except for the top half of my top lip and bottom half of my bottom lip [7:10 pm].
to see how well the Aqua Rouge can actually hold up against other foods besides bacon, i decided to do two more days of testing...
day two - matte version
[1:00 pm - application] i decided to try a slightly different approach - i applied a very very thin layer - and i made sure to try to get it right without having to reapply and fill in any uneven edges or bald spots. before applying it on my lips, i'd wipe all the excess off the sponge applicator like you would do while applying nail polish. even if it seems like there is nothing really on the sponge applicator, the color payoff is ridiculous so you really need very little.
[2:15 pm - snack] really odd combination of snacks here - i had some cold mango tofu (i dislike 99% of tofu unless it is sweet) and some McDonald's fries.
[7:15 pm - dinner] sun is starting to go down so i tried to sneak in a quick picture before it disappeared. i had some noodle soup (with duck) and some grapes.
day three - glossy version
[1:15 pm - application] since only wearing a thin layer worked so well yesterday, i did it again on the third day. the gloss wears off often so i had to reapply twice today.
[3:30 pm - late lunch] got the Deluxe Love Boat at Sakana Grill which has some sushi but mostly fried items like tempura, dumplings and chicken. there is a slight gap in the middle of my lips where you could see the color has rubbed off. my boyfriend said it wasn't entirely noticeable unless i was talking.
[10:35 pm - late dinner] had some pizza in between episodes of Dexter.
[11:50 pm] by now i've been wearing the Aqua Rouge for almost 11 hours and the same cracking/peeling effect that i had on the first day came about. the color was peeling into little bits which you can see if you look closely.
a deeper analysis:
wearing the red alone seemed to have the least amount of transfer. with the gloss however, it seemed that the gloss transferred easily (as seen by 1:15 pm lip print) while the red remained intact. at 6:50 pm, i had reapplied my gloss and this time around, it took a bit of the red with it.
the nights that i wore the Aqua Rouge on my lips, removing it at the end of the night wasn't too too difficult since by then i'd have worn it for almost 12 hours and the color was slowly wearing away from all the meals i've had. however with these arm swatches, i wanted to take it off after i took the pictures but it would. not. budge! soap didn't work, water didn't work and my makeup remover did not work, as you can see in the picture below (only the gloss wore off):
my makeup remover is oil-free though so i started to look for something with oils (due to the earlier experience with greasy food). my shower gel finally did the trick :)
so overall, i'd suggest using a lip liner and also wearing only a thin layer. i only experienced the peeling/cracking after i'd worn it a long time and only when i have been using and reapplying the gloss. this is probably due to the long-wearing pigment being a bit drying and reapplying the gloss accumulates the peeling into little flakes (thanks Ashley K for this realization :)).
i can't get over how much of a show stopper this red is (did you know this is the official red of Madonna's MDNA world tour?). maybe it was also the fact that i never wore such a bright red before but many of my friends (even the male ones) commented on it. even a lady working at one of the perfume counters at The Bay told me it looked good. personally, i still find it a bit intimidating but i am growing to love it! i prefer the matte version on myself since since my lips are already full looking and the red combined with the gloss makes it that much more eye-catching. i'd love to try one of the more wearable colors though since i am a huge fan of the no-transfer ability of this lip color. i was surprised every time i looked in the mirror after eating since i expected all the color to have vanished.
have you tried MUFE's Aqua Rouge collection? what is the longest-lasting lip product you have?
disclaimer: i received the Aqua Rouge from Make Up For Ever Canada for review (thank you Lindsey). the opinions above are a reflection of my honest feelings.