Mmm, I’m having sweet flashbacks to “My Love From Another Star” thanks to the Lip Alive Color Mousse in 03 Sweet Raspberry by the Korean brand NoTS ($32 for 5g; provided for consideration by Q-depot). NoTS–which stands for Noble Through Skin–is a cruelty-free* line of skincare with a few select makeup products.
*See bottom of the post for more on cruelty-free Korean cosmetics.
I confess that “My Love From Another Star” is the only K-drama I’ve ever really watched. Nothing else has pulled me in. I tried watching “The Producers” with Do Min Joon, I mean Kim Soo Swoon, and gave up.
The first side is a happy, fun party lip: a creamy bright coral pink a la Cheon Song Yi’s trademark lips. It’s easily achieved by applying the mousse thickly and opaquely. I’ve noticed that photos mute the brightness, but it’s there IRL.
The second side is the truly sweet: a soft pink with a hint of peach (as the official swatch photo shows). This side shines through once the lip color has settled on the lips for an hour or two or when blotted down. The doe-foot applicator is flattened and slightly angled for easy application. The packaging is well designed with a window and a shiny exterior. After some rides in my purse, it has held up well (something I can’t say for some cheaply made products ::cough:: e.l.f. ::cough::). When I read “mousse,” I initially expected a long-wearing matte liquid lipstick akin to my Innisfree Creamy Tint Lip Mousse (discontinued; link is to mysugarcoffee’s review). (Which incidentally is also a Cheon Song Yi hot coral pink. Yes, I’m
But color me surprised when I applied it and was immediately reminded of my beloved Dior Fluid Stick in 373 Rieuse. The NoTS and the Dior both:
- Are pigmented, creamy, glossy, and shimmer-free.
- Stay creamy and smudgeable and never really set or dry down. Beware of getting it on your teeth! The glossiness does tone down after a while.
- Last for several hours (so long as you don’t eat or drink).
- Leave a stain after the product has been eaten or drunken off.
- Leave a cushy smooth feel on the lips.
- Work best with a light layer of balm as a base.
However, while the NoTS is a great alternative to the Dior (more expensive at $35), it is not a 100% dupe. The Dior feels a little thicker and cushier, smoothing over lip flakes better. Scrubbing lips is always a good idea before applying lipstick, but it’s especially helpful with the NoTS. That’s partially attributable to the formula and partially attributable to the opaqueness of the color, which shows off lip flakes. You can get away with a few lip flakes but not as much as with the Dior.
The Dior has the tiniest extra bit of translucence and jelly-ness that allows it to float more smoothly on the lips, and I think the comparison swatches illustrate that. As for the shades, Dior Rieuse is softer and more definitively coral whereas NoTS Sweet Raspberry has more pink tones. The pink tones are especially apparent when the product wears off, leaving just a deep pink stain.
Pros: Pigmented, smooth, glossy, long-wearing formula that leaves a stain. Comfortable to wear. Similar to Dior Fluid Stick and cheaper.
Cons: Remains smudgeable. Catches on lip flakes. Not quite as smooth as Dior Fluid Stick and only a little bit cheaper if you don’t catch it on sale.
Sept. 2015 edit: If you register for a free account on Q-depot (there’s an award points program), Q-depot will email a coupon code for $5 off your first order of $69 or above.
Cruelty-Free Korean Beauty Products
Q-depot has an entire section/filter for cruelty-free products. But what does it mean to be “cruelty-free”?
I asked Q-depot, which explained that it relies on the list by KARA (Korea Animal Rights Advocates) at http://animalrightskorea.org/bad-science/korean-cruelty-free-cosmetics.html. NoTS doesn’t appear on that list, but Q-depot personally confirmed with the owner of NoTS that NoTS is cruelty-free.
What you’ll notice is that some brands on KARA’s list (such as Etude House and IOPE and, well, all the brands under the AmorePacific umbrella) don’t test on animals but do export to China, which currently requires animal testing. Q-depot counts those brands as cruelty-free.
Where you draw the line is up to you. I love that Q-depot even recognizes that cruelty-free status is important to many consumers (and that it contributes 3% of net profits to charity)–things that distinguish it from many other Korean beauty retailers. Here’s hoping that one day every company will be cruelty-free at every step of the way, even those selling in China.