Make Up For Ever's Artist Plexi-Gloss is nearly a superb gloss—perhaps 85% superb—that falls short of greatness due to an inconsistent performance among shades. Housed in a transparent, plastic tube, these promise "vivid color" with a non-sticky, high-shine finish that delivers "up to five hours of color impact." Available in three variations—opaque (with and without shimmer) and sheer—the best qualities of Artist Plexi-Gloss vary by the shade. Some, particularly the opaque options, we found stunningly vibrant while the sheer options tend to be disappointingly subtle.
Although there isn't anything wrong with sheer lip gloss in general, the sheer options Artist Plexi-Gloss provides failed to excite—we'll get to that in a moment. Let's talk about what we loved first!
The color selection is as exactly as you would expect if you're familiar with Make Up For Ever—incredible. From pale nudes, fiery reds, deep aubergines and blue-blacks, there is a potential shade and undertone among the 30+ options to suit any preference. Some provide rich, vibrant color with a single swipe of the wand, while others resemble a watercolor finish on lips. All layer well over lip liner or matte and semi-matte lipstick well.
There's a small amount of fragrance that dissipates shortly after application, but isn't offensive, and this gloss lacks any distinct flavor.
As mentioned, Artist Plexi-Gloss is available in opaque without shimmer, opaque with shimmer as well as sheer colors, but the tricky thing is the brand leaves you to divine this information, as it isn't labelled on their packaging. Sephora's website helpfully indicates the finish of each gloss by color/name—but can anyone ever get reception for their mobile phone inside a Sephora store?
Trickier still, not every opaque shade is truly opaque. Some, particularly the deeper shades, provide more transparent color than you would expect for a product described in this way. This may or may not be to your taste, but if you have a deeper skin tone and are hoping for rich color payoff among all of the opaque shades, you may find this a disappointing quality. (Either way, our feeling is a brand shouldn't describe a color as opaque if it isn't!)
The shades that are infused with shimmer (i.e. "pearlescent") are beautiful, and their degree of pearlescence is both sophisticated and appropriate for day or night.
The color of the opaque shades, whether pearlized or not, will last for a few hours so long as you aren't eating or drinking (at least, not drinking without a straw), tend to fade evenly and the more vibrant shades leave a soft stain behind. In line with their marketing, these options do give lips a high-shine appearance, and have a slightly moisturizing finish that leaves lips soft—even after their color has worn away.
The sheer shades were less exciting and didn't rise to meet the expectations we had for this formula—thankfully, they were not as sheer as the semi-opaque colors described above. However, the sheer options didn't distinguish themselves for us from a $6 gloss that one could easily find at the drugstore. The sheer options faded faster than the opaque colors, too; you can expect a couple of hours of wear time at most.
Last, we did want to mention the wand for Artist Plexi-Gloss, which is unique and enhances its overall quality. Rather than the traditional doe-foot applicator, it has a flat, spatula-style tip that flexes with your lips. It also has a split seam that manages to deposit and blend the gloss evenly—whether you have thin or larger lips, you'll find this applicator makes even application easy (even to the corners).
Overall, Make Up For Ever's Artist Plexi-Gloss has some excellent qualities, but it fell short of our highest rating as not all of the shades live up to their finish or marketing promises (and aren't labelled so that you can easily distinguish them). However, this is still a gloss worth checking out, as there are at least a dozen or so shades that are absolutely stunning.
Make Up For Ever At-A-Glance
Strengths: Wonderful foundations; impressive options (and shade ranges) for powders, powder blush, and powder eyeshadow; some extraordinary lip glosses and lipstick/lip color options (and again, the shade ranges are remarkable); a few formidable mascaras; good shimmer options.
Weaknesses:Can be expensive; a few formulas contain needlessly high amounts of fragrance.
This Paris-based makeup collection traces its roots to theatrical and fashion makeup, building on the concept that a professional makeup artist not only desires, but also needs, every conceivable color and texture to create the broadest range of looks. Since 1984, Make Up For Ever creators Dany Sanz and Jacques Waneph have been doing their best to meet these criteria. Through the years, this line has gone from offering a tremendous array of colors in their own European boutiques to a more streamlined, "everyday" collection of products in select department stores and (primarily) Sephora, whose parent company, LVMH, has owned Make Up For Ever since 1999.
The color line presents an intriguing blend of classic, workable shades positioned next to some truly unique hues and finishes that only those involved with theater or the most flamboyant "anything goes" makeup artist (or diva) would covet. A major plus for this line is that many of the colors are densely pigmented, working beautifully on medium to deep skin tones. The drawback is that fair and lighter skin tones may find their choices more limited in a few areas of the brands’ ranges. However, for those who want it all when it comes to possible shades, this line more than delivers what it takes to please.
An interesting aspect of this line is that, category to category, there are mostly exceptional choices, with products that we found to be average—certainly falling short of what we know Make Up For Ever to be capable of. However, if you are cautious of those few pitfalls (fortunately, there are an abundance of testers to experiment with at Sephora or the brand’s standalone boutiques) you will undoubtedly be pleased with those products that Make Up For Ever does best.
For more information on Make Up For Ever, call (877) 757-5175 or visit www.makeupforever.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!