When I visited Europe a few weeks ago, one of my makeup-collector goals for the trip was to check out the budget brand Kiko. I was excited about the Water eyeshadows–one of my all-time favorites, the burgundy 203, belongs to that line–and the much buzzed-about shadow sticks.
Beyond those eye products, I wasn’t sure what to look for. For some reason, I expected Kiko to be the European NYX, however it seems like NYX has a wider range of non-traditional lipstick shades. Kiko does carry some attractive vivid brights, but what ultimately caught my interest were two less conspicuous options. They weren’t prominently displayed, but their colors spoke to my sensibilities. Both lipsticks turned out truly comfortable to wear–just like balms. I had brought a few liquid mattes on vacation with me, to not worry about longevity, but I ended up not needing them and just wearing Kiko for the rest of the trip.
Left: Glossy Dream Sheer Lipstick in 205 Wine. Right: Smart Fusion Lipstick in 436 Cold Brown.
Smart Fusion Lipstick in 436 Cold Brown
436 Cold Brown is a taupe, something that Michèle Lamy might want to wear.
Smart Fusion is one of Kiko’s cheaper lines, with every lipstick having a matching pencil. I didn’t buy a pencil, but it’s clear why Smart Fusion might need one. These lipsticks are so creamy they easily slip around. My friend, who also bought a tube of 436 Cold Brown, says it applies patchy on her, and she has to even it out with a finger. I think that formula- and finish-wise, Smart Fusion is very similar to Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche, which has the same slippiness issue.
I actually thought that the Amuse Bouche lipstick in Thistle would be close in color to 436 Cold Brown. But when I swatched them side by side, it was clear that the Kiko is much more brown.
Left: Kiko 436 Soft Brown. Right: Bite Beauty Thistle.
I don’t wear Thistle too often, because it makes me look like a like a glamorous cadaver. But when I do, I often create bombastic looks that turn out to be my all-time favorites: 1, 2. I expect that 436 Cold Brown will play the same role in my collection. (Man, what can be more 2010s than colorful/glittery eye looks with corpsey lipsticks?) Case in point: the look I did yesterday, which I adore.
I wore 436 Cold Brown with an eye look centered on Urban Decay’s trippy Magnetic glitter (from the Moondust palette). Magnetic consists of blue and violet sparkles in a purple base. I’ve heard that Moondust glitters work well with a black pencil base, however I don’t know much about black pencils, and the one I used, NARS Via Veneto, turned out to be unblendable. I swished a matte black eyeshadow, Urban Decay Blackout, on top of the pencil and applied a thin layer of Darling Girl Glitter Glue. Once the glue dried down, I packed Magnetic onto the lids with my finger. The Moondust glitters are usually pretty subtle and fly all over the place, but all the prep allowed Magnetic to truly showcase its beauty, with no fallout. The blush I used for this look is Your Love Is King by Too Faced, a deep pink that creates a natural flush/ slight sunburn effect on my skin.
Glossy Dream Sheer Lipstick in 205 Wine
Since I was a tiny little teenager in 2000 obsessed with Placebo, I’ve had a particular affinity for “my lips but darker and shinier”-type products. I’m not sure if the Placebo man wore such lip colors, but for some reason it was etched into my mind that he did. Over the years, I’ve had a number of lipsticks and glosses that performed this function, and 205 Wine is just another iteration of the concept.
205 Wine is (to me) a great everyday option that combines the qualities of a lipstick, a gloss, and a balm. The only issue I see is that the product is full of humongous glitter chunks, which to me seems outmoded. Those chunks, lying flat on a faint strip of color, are what’s left of the look after a meal. I don’t mind the glitter that much, but I know it might be an issue for some, so beware. Here’s 205 Wine compared to Too Faced La Creme in Bumbleberry–the glitter is obvious.
Left: Kiko 205 Wine. Right: Too Faced Bumbleberry.
For the look below, I applied 205 Wine “in full force” with the bullet. On my eyes, I’m wearing a few shades from the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani palette, a not-too-shabby sale catch for $25. I used Anaheim (light brown) in the outer crease and Stark (light beige) to soften the edges, then 1987 (yellow gold) on the lid and Punk (deep burgundy) in the outer corner. On my cheeks is my favorite blush, Too Faced Baby Love, which I grab when I’m lazy because it goes with everything.
And here I just lightly tapped my lips with 205 Wine, as I wanted the focus of the look to be on the blush–Sleek Flushed, reviewed here. The eye makeup has, coincidentally, the same gold and burgundy color scheme, however instead of the ultra-pigmented Urban Decay eyeshadows, I went for the soft blendiness of Viseart Petit Pro. The idea is the same: brown in the crease, burgundy in the outer corner, gold on the lid.