Every week, fashion and beauty editor Jolene Khor, makeup artist Fiona Bennett, hair guru Christian Maranion, and beauty connoisseur Monica Saranya Selva De Roy — collectively known as The Clubbers — test drive the latest (and with hopes, the greatest) makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrance, bath and body drops to land in Singapore. Tools and brushes too. You get the idea. To buy in bulk or to take a hard pass? We give you the 411 so you never have to second-guess again.
In the spotlight this week:
Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss

Compared to the generation before us, women of 2019 have developed a pretty astute lie detector within us. Call it conditioning, this hard-won survival skill of ours exists and works as well as it does because we have been marketed at (read: lied to) by the fashion and beauty industry for as long as they have been around. And you bet we have kept receipts, thanks to advertisements of yore that continue to live on in the Internet, only this time for a different purpose — to educate, so we don't grow up to be fools. Ergo, when a brand makes big claims these days, we're understandably weary. A lip gloss that hydrates? Maybe. A lip gloss that is long-lasting? Doubtful, but ok. A lip gloss that plumps without the traditional sting of a lip plump? What sorcery. Yet, those are the unique selling points of Hourglass' latest product, the Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss, a "silky, cushiony lip gloss without the sticky feel". It credits its winning formula to a few key ingredients — namely Volulip (plant extract plus hyaluronic acid) for volume, and shea butter and avocado oil for moisture. Does it justify the $50 price tag? We set out to investigate.
Not a Lipstick
You know you have a winner in your hands when the straight intern at your office says to you first thing in the morning, "That's a great lipstick!" Well Ethan, it ain't a lipstick, but you got one thing right: it is pretty great. He was, of course, referring to the Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss. I was wearing Icon, a super pigmented raspberry red that finishes as juicy as the fruit. Its luminescence was positively glass-like! It smelled minty and felt appropriately cooling too — not stinging — for a super plumped effect. I already have thick lips but man, Hourglass made my Jessica Rabbit dreams come true. Came lunch time, I dug into some bak kut teh, during which the lip gloss clung onto me for dear life. I would say about 20% of the product remained after my final sip of the soup. Not a lot, but I could deal with how it faded — softly, leaving a tint where the gloss was, and a little halo of shine around the rim of my lips, one I was able to blend out before heading back to work for a proper touch up. My second application however, pretty much lasted the rest of the day. Yes, there was transfer (naturally, it's a gloss after all) on my teacup but it was no biggie. My lips always felt soft and hydrated, something that almost never happens without constant lip balm touch up. As for its non-sticky claims, my lips felt more bouncy than gluey when I smacked them together, though strands that get caught in the goo won't exactly fly off on their own. Duh. 5/5.

Jolene Khor

Unreal is Right
Lip gloss is one of those things that take me back to when I was a teenager. You know, that time when you think you're old enough to wear makeup but you're probably not! The Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss is a proper gloss, not a lip paint. The beauty with glosses is that you can wear them on their own or layered on top of lipsticks, and this one has the added bonuses of smelling like fresh mint and feeling like a hydrating balm — not a sticky ol' mess. The nude ones are amazing. They're sheer enough that you can wear every day on their own and they don't look like you've tried too hard. The red one, Icon, can be used as a stain with just a couple of dots or layered on thick for a juicy red lip. The clear glitter in Halo is my favourite because many glitter lip glosses change the base colour of the lip. Don't be scared of this glitter bomb, it actually is a beautiful wet look and not glittery at all. I've thrown a couple in my kit and another one in my handbag and they are there to stay!

Fiona Bennett

High Coverage, High Shine
The luxurious packaging of Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss immediately caught my attention with its square barrel body and gold tip. The flat and rounded applicator allows for precision and glides on smoothly with a cooling effect subtle enough for sensitive lips. The overall wand itself is sturdy compared to many other lip gloss wands which have the tendency to be flexible and too bendy. The shade Canvas, which I would describe as a nude beige with a touch of warm pink, has enough opacity to provide coverage for darker lips without a lipstick or a lip liner base. Steady and non-streaky is how I would describe this formulation with a slight hint of mint in the scent. The active ingredients provide ample hydration to the lips but aren't too heavy despite having quite a thick and lush feel to them. Light reflecting shimmers on some of the glitter glosses provide a high shine finish and enhanced volume to the lips, both aesthetically and physically. A wonderful addition to any artists' kit.

Christian Maranion

Almost There
Lip gloss is not an early 2000s product anymore. It's back and it's milking our money — zero complaints! This minty lip product will overpower your senses and give you a plump-y lip, exactly how peppermint essential oil is meant to perform. Do not expect a pigmented lip product with Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss though. It's heavy and thick, yes, but I felt that the colour is meant to coat a lip colour to make it complete. I tried layering the glosses on a variety of lip shades from my existing makeup kit and they changed the game! It's like they became a whole new product when paired with a lipstick base — the colours are stronger and they give you a much fuller lip. Noteworthy is the Icon red; it is an unbelievably beautiful, deep red. So very sensual. However, like with most lip glosses, it's easy to wipe out the product with a single bite into food. I currently am obsessed with Tarte H2O Gloss and Hourglass, in comparison, doesn't come close enough to fulfil my lip needs.

Monica Selva De Roy
Hourglass Unreal High Shine Volumizing Lip Gloss is available online, at Tangs, and Sephora stores.
The Clubbers
a.k.a. the people who will never lie to you, the beauty enablers you never thought you'd have, the voices of reason when logic goes out the window on payday, and when Sephora goes on sale.
Jolene Khor
Beauty Editor of Buro. Singapore
The fashion and beauty editor at Buro. Singapore swiped on her first glitter lip gloss at age 12 and have never looked back since — except the rare (only not so rare) occasions when she wants to feel better about her makeup skills as an adult. That kohl eyeliner look wasn't working out despite the fact that she was listening to The Cure and quoting Oscar Wilde. Her mother is thankful that K-beauty happened though that means her glow isn't just genetic. These days, her worst crimes are knocking out with full makeup on and forgetting to apply sunscreen on her neck. Old habits die hard.
Christian Maranion
Hair Specialist & Makeup Artist
Nine years. That's how long Christian Maranion has been in the hair game. Having honed his craft, he then began dabbling in makeup, finding equal joy in killing it at both. He has worked with the likes of Vanessa Fernandez aka Vandetta, Tabitha Nauser, and Charlie Lim. He also frequently collaborates with names such as Sephora, Elizabeth Arden, and Kat Von D to up their beauty game. Don't be fooled by appearances — though he may love dark humour and even darker outfits, he is a pocketful of sunshine.
Fiona Bennett
Makeup Artist & Hairstylist
Fiona Bennett is a makeup artist and hairstylist by profession, and a wife, mother, and part-time Kardashian expert when she's not hustling. Hailing from Australia, she reluctantly came to Singapore with her husband almost six years ago but she's grown to love it so much she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. She began her journey (sometimes by force) pinning her friends down to make them up before going out — only now she gets paid for it! You might find the self-proclaimed beauty-obsessed Fiona snapping up the latest products in the department stores on weekends. You name it, she has probably tried it.
Monica Selva De Roy
Henna & Makeup Artist
Monica doesn't have enough heads for the hats she wants to wear. When the sun's out, she's selling ultra cool tech that makes logistics look sexier than ever. Then, she slaps on some face cake to moonlight as an actress on Vasantham; from nasty stepmother to varsity mean girl, she's seen them all in the realm of antagonism. Oh, her makeup and henna businesses keep her busy during the weekends too. Amidst all this, she's finding time to test and review makeup — if that's not true love, what is?