Greetings from the adventuring jet-set, fellow rogues!
In case you’re wondering why I’m hopping with unroguelike glee from foot to foot, it’s because I’m bringing you some of the most exciting items from my recent desert lootsravaganza, adventurers! Yes, it’s time to start delving into the local goodies I picked up, starting with four lipsticks and a gloss from Ana Hilwa, one of the brands under the umbrella of the Mikyajy makeup chain in the Middle East:
Ana Hilwa is Mikyajy’s ‘cheep and cheerful’ brand – the brand’s own webpage states ‘for the girl who likes to save a few bucks’, and I think that covers most of us, wouldn’t you say? When I got these, they were having a ‘5 for AED49’, which works out to something like $2 an item. The standard prices are not much more expensive, and certainly coming from Middle Earth’s ‘no reputable lipstick shall cost less than $20’ philosophy (must be written in some ancient text somewhere – perhaps there is a prophecy involving a chosen one who will liberate us from this state of affairs? I hope so), it’s an unbelievable deal. Needless to say, I grabbed five lip products in colours I thought I might pull off, and skipped gleefully off into the baking desert with my loot.
Right, so let’s get down to the details! As you can see from the picture above, we had quite a battle on our hands at the Mikyajy store. The sales attendant was lovely, but the skeletal undead were three deep at the counter and someone had forgotten to leave out their milk and cookies or something, because they were *angry*. While our rogue friend holds them off, I’ll start explaining about the lipgloss…
As you can see in the first photo, it’s a hot pink jelly with a troll-tonne of glitter. The glitter is large, and it is iridescent, and I was drawn to its golden sparkle immediately. No prizes for guessing why ;-). Anyway, the gloss itself if reasonably sheer (not hugely surprising), and the glitter is much more sparse on the lips (a bit like chunky glitter nail polish always is on the nails). This works in its favour, but detracts a little bit from the thrill. The real interest here lies in the rather unexpected appllicator!
It’s… a flappy paddle thing! It’s a thin plastic spatula that has a little rubbery give to it, rather like a mudflap. Of all the gloss applicators I’ve tried, it’s not my least favourite (that award has to go to the fingers – messy, inaccurate, etc), but it certainly has its quirks. The defined, thin edge to it actually makes it kind of easy to scrape off what you’ve already applied, and the spatula-esque nature of it means that it tends to spread things towards the edges if your lips if you’re not vigilant. Still, it works well enough, really, and I was kind of enchanted to see the different approach. It has a slightly disposable feel, but it hasn’t broken yet, and the packaging is otherwise totally normal and sturdy for a gloss.
The colour is pretty, and it applies quite evenly – this is a totally serviceable everyday sheer gloss, with a non-sticky, lightweight finish and a vague, sweet scent. The glitter gives it a bit of interest, but not so much that you feel you need to go clubbing with Midas to justify it. Mind you, I am a glitter fan, so take that as you will 😉
Onward! To the lipsticks – let’s see how our rogue is faring…
Hmm, we seem to have reached a standoff…our rogue has been spotted, but the Skelemancer seems unwilling to do much more than point and yell. He’s a bit like that, actually. Or…he might be preparing a spell! Wh-
Wow! The Skelemancer has totally rearranged the scene to better display the lipsticks and give him better access to the rogue (or so he thinks). How convenient for us! The rogue, however, is making use of the temporary confusion to do some Grade-A sneaking, and the Skelemancer is about to get a bit of a surprise, ehehe…
But I digress. We’re here for the lipsticks, yes? First up, let me clarify some generalities – each lipstick is housed in a transparent, sturdy acrylic case with a visible meachnism. This is a very budget thing to do, but the mechanism is fine, the acrylic is high quality, and it kind of reminds me (fondly) of my old original GameBoy with the see-though casing. I still have it, and it still plays that Pokemon Red cartridge just fine ^_^
The lipsticks are lightweight and non-drying to wear, have a soft scent that reminds me somewhat (unpleasantly) of fake cherry, but it fades so quickly it’s hardly an issue (and isnt’t an issue if you don’t share my pathological hatred of synthetic cherry flavour). The colour lasts for about three hours or so, maybe four. They would go longer, but the lighter shades especially don’t cling *as* well to that inner part of your lips, so if they’re gonna fade, it’ll be there. The embossed heart in the bullet is cute/twee enough, but it actually makes the first application damn difficult – I had to grind that down before I formed my opinions on the application!
As for specific shades: below are the lipswatches, in a happy lipswatch spreadsheet! I love spreadsheets – if they involve lipstick, so much the better! I’ve tried each lipstick by itself and with the Bahah gloss on top. Please do click on the picture to make it bigger if you would like more detail!
Riyadh is a bright, light barbie pink. This is an extremely hard colour on my skintone,and it doesn’t flatter me terribly well. It looks OK-ish in the lip swatch, but if you ever see (muahahah) a full face picture of me in this, you will immediately grasp the ‘play makeup they gave you at Pizza Hut when you were 6’ implications the colour. It was also (for whatever reason) the hardest to apply evenly, and the first to fade significantly. Having said that, the application and smoothness (once achieved) were pretty decent for a lipstick so light! My aversion to it is pretty much based on the mismatch with my skintone, so dig around for a couple grains of salt to take with this…
Tarut is a sort of red coral type of deal. This one was also a tiny bit harder to apply than the next two, and sort of felt like it sat on top of the lips more. Having said that, it was still basically lightweight, smooth and comfortable. I rather like the colour, although in some lights it leans a little too warm for my liking. It is very striking with the gloss in top – I swear I haven’t doctored the photos; that’s just what happens when you take a vampire, put bright lipstick on her and then take photos in full overcast daylight… *puts sunglasses on*
Dammam is a lovely bright medium pink. This one was very smooth to apply, was packing serious pigment and lasted more toward the 4 hour end than the 3 hour end. It was also very comfortable and light on the lips, reminding me a bit of my Estee Lauder Fuchsia Fever in that respect! What can I say – I really liked this one!
Al-Ahsa is a classic fuchsia, a little deeper out of the bright light. I saved the best for last, kids! All the same positive qualities that applied to Dammam apply to this lipstick, but it has added drama and flair and a flattering cool undertone (for me, and anyone’s teeth, I suppose). This is not what you expect from a $2 lipstick, fellow adventurers (at least not in NZ, where $2 maybe gets you a Pizza Hut grade one) – this right here is quality.
A note on the gloss: the gloss looked spiffing on top of all of these, but sadly, I can’t recommend it – with the gloss on top, the lipstick bled after an hour or so in a thousand horrifying, long veins of pigment all around my lips. It was so bad, I instinctively wiped it off before taking a photo (don’t worry, I’ll turn in my beauty blogger badge later :-P) – and I’m not a squeamish person. So, yeah. Like Paladins and sinful thoughts, each has fabulous qualities on its own, but don’t mix the two!
So – what do you think, fellow adventurers? For ~$2, these are lightweight, solidly wearing (for me), pigmented lipsticks in sturdy packaging, with neat place-name names and suitably cute brand (ana hilwa = ‘I am sweet/pretty’). The gloss is totally serviceable and has a fascinating flappy paddle applicator. I’m loving Dammam and Al-Ahsa especially – would you pick any of these up if you stopped by a Mikyajy?
The practicalities: Ana Hilwa lipsticks cost AED 19 (~US$ 5 ), are permanent, and may be acquired from Mikyajy stores, as well as from the Mikyajy website. A quick note on that – either I’m tripping, or the swatch colours on the website are way off. This is not at all uncommon even amongst brands whose price points suggest they whould be able to afford better web design, but it’s worth noting! I got my Ana Hilwa goodies at the Mikyajy in the metro entrance to the Dubai Mall.
Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!
I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided! All images and text on this blog are the property of The Painted Rogue unless otherwise stated. If you nick off with any of it, be prepared to find a dagger in your back. Possibly with a legal troll attached to it. You don’t even want to *know* what he powders that wig with.