Bang Bang Lip Volume Lotion is said to provide continuous lip plumping with minimal to no irritation, which may entice you to plunk down your credit card for this product. Before you do, know that it works by irritating your lips with benzyl nicotinate. A new twist on standard lip-plumping products is the inclusion of the sulfur compound methylsulfonomethane. This ingredient gained notoriety due to the book The Miracle of MSM: The Natural Solution for Pain, although there is little scientific support for its continued use to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Assuming it has an anti-inflammatory effect when applied to lips, that would make the irritating benzyl nicotinate less potent (which is good), but would also make this plumping product less effective (because it only works via irritation, not some other lip-plumping property). Bottom line: There’s little reason to bank on great results, though you may notice a slight increase in the fullness of your lips.
Vincent Longo is a fashion makeup artist with a long list of celebrity and supermodel clients. To give you a little background, Australian-born Vincent Longo has been in the beauty business for quite a while. Believing "all women are beautiful," he studied makeup artistry in Italy and eventually migrated to New York, where he was the featured makeup artist for one of Cindy Crawford's first professional photo shoots, circa 1981. Longo's resume continues with consulting and makeup artistry work for such well-known brands as Revlon, Elizabeth Arden, and Estee Lauder. His namesake line launched in 1994 and is sold primarily at Sephora boutiques and at Barneys New York.
Makeup artist–helmed lines usually present a well-balanced range of performance-oriented products in line with what's needed to create a variety of looks, from casual to theatrical. Although Longo's assembly of products allows for such creativity, the quality isn't as uniform as most competing makeup artist–type lines. However, there are a few standouts in this collection that make it worth checking out, just watch out for the blunders that don't paint a pretty picture.
You'll find the foundation shade range to be a strong point of this line, yet in most cases it's counterbalanced by insufficient UVA protection for the bases with sunscreen. The brushes are underwhelming and lack the quality you might expect from an artist's line, and the mascaras pale in comparison to what you'll find from Lancome, L'Oreal, or Maybelline. Almost all of the powders and powder-based products (blush, eyeshadow) are exceptional, with elegant blending and smoothness.
If your budget allows, these pricey, well-formulated options are a consideration. There's certainly promise and proof among the top products here, but this line has yet to reach the status of one-stop makeup shopping in the same manner that lines like Stila or Laura Mercier have.
For more information about Vincent Longo, call 212-760-0099 or visit www.vincentlongo.com.
Note: Kudos to Vincent Longo for being one of the only cosmetics companies to post a complete list of their products' ingredients on the company Web site.