Armani Ecstasy Lacquer in 603 Night Viper & 602 Vertigo
When the Armani Ecstasy Lacquers popped up on the Nordstrom site, they immediately caught my attention...admittedly for the packaging because they look so darn sleek!! Then I read the description and placed an order. I'm trying to get out of my neutral lips rut, especially for this Fall. I don't have a ton of darker lip options, so I chose to try these new Armani lippies in the darker colors - 603 Night Viper & 602 Vertigo.
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Armani Ecstasy Lacquer in 603 Night Viper & 602 Vertigo, $38/.2oz
Seriously. Look at that tube!!! *heart-eyed emoji* *heart-eyed emoji* *heart-eyed emoji* I just love it!!! The black bits are fingerprint magnets, but unless I'm up close I don't notice too much.
The sponge tip applicator has a slight point, which makes it pretty easy to get a clean line. Straight out of the tube there is too much product, so I wipe a bit off prior to application. The formula is very lightweight, with almost a watery feel but has that slight hint of gloss tackiness. It's not too sticky though.
From the Nordstrom site, here's the product description:
Giorgio Armani introduces Ecstasy Lacquer, a formula that features the shine of a lacquer with the color and comfort of a lipstick and the hold of a stain. The brand's innovative Armani Liquid Vinyl Technology features the highest concentration of water-soluble pigments, allowing for pure, vivid color impact with maximum long-wear results. Its formula is enriched with glycerin for comfortable application and long-lasting hydration.
I'd say these don't resemble a lipstick at all. They are definitely a stain/gloss hybrid. ***EDIT: these do have a fragrance to them, though I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Sometimes it smells vaguely fruity, but Jenn below in the comments said baby wipes or baby shampoo :-( So if you are sensitive, you might want to stay away.***
This formula is definitely very comfortable to wear, and my lips don't feel dry at all even at the end of the day - so hydration is pretty good. These remind me of YSL Glossy Stains - or at least what I remember of them because I don't currently own one to make a comparison. But these Armani Ecstasy Lacquers have a thinner formula and aren't as sticky.
So to recap the good: I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE the colors, the packaging and how they feel on the lips. I mean, way more in love than I should be considering what I'm about to write (which makes me a little gutted)...
The very first time I wore 603 Night Viper, I think I had beginners luck or was wearing new-product goggles (you know, where you are so excited it seems awesome no matter what!) because I thought it was pretty darn great. But after I started really paying attention my opinion changed. Ugh these are really hard to work with.
I find both colors really difficult to get an even application. and it seems to get worse the more layers I try to add. I did try applying a very thin first layer, and then letting it dry/set before applying another layer like I read you are supposed to do with the YSL Glossy Stains, but that didn't help much because it never really sets/dries. I found the best way is to blot the product into my lips, but then most of the glossiness is tempered. BTW these aren't crazy-super-high-gloss as the description makes them sound - they seem to have a pretty normal gloss to me. The blotting method works best with 2 light layers, but then the color isn't as intense...which isn't bad but I bought these colors because I thought they would be quite vampy.
These Ecstasy Lacquers also don't wear off evenly, and transfer quite easily to cups and things. They do leave quite a stain - so much so that I have to use the Tom Ford Makeup Remover to get it all off. Buuuuut...I find the stain that's left isn't even either, which seems weird? This formula also settles into my lines. From a normal vantage point it's hard to tell, but up close the lines and unevenness are pretty evident.
Sunlight swatches. Click image to enlarge.
Night Viper is more bordeaux/oxblood, while Vertigo has more of a purple/eggplant tone. If you look closely, you can see that the formula has settled into the little pores/lines on my arm. And this is only after a few minutes.
I was all set to return these, but I find the colors so flattering and the formula so comfortable to wear that I keep going back and forth. I mean, from a normal distance the unevenness doesn't look bad. I also haven't tried these over a lip pencil. Common sense says these should go back for as high maintenance as they are, but when it comes to beauty my common sense doesn't always prevail ha ha!!!
I'd also like to add that perhaps the lighter colors would be better???? Maybe???
If you have tried these colors and have found a way to apply them evenly, please let me know!!!