Posted on October 11, 2018 under Reviews
So, it’s been five months since the last instalment of this series, but better late than never.
I will always love red lipstick. A classic blue-based red is one of the most timeless lip colours possible; a vibrant warm red perks up my face like nothing else; a deep red is beautifully dramatic without being too out there. My collection of reds isn’t terribly extensive compared to some categories, but it’s absolutely perfect for my needs.
Here are my bare lips, for reference:
And comparison pictures (of a much larger collection) can be found here!
Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Red Diva
This is a true blue-red. It’s cheap as chips and I have no complaints about the formula – there’s a reason I keep buying these Rimmel liners! I know that twist-up products are a massive rip-off, but they do appeal to my laziness.
Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Romantic
Man, this is from very early in my makeup career. This precise tube is nearing five years old now. (It seems to be doing okay, though?) I’m devastated that Revlon has discontinued this, because if I ever get through it I don’t know where to start in finding a replacement. This is one of my most-used colours – it feels casual but special. It’s red for people who don’t want to commit to red. I feel pretty but not overdone when I wear it. When I think of my favourite lipsticks, I usually think of the bolder, more unusual colours. But when it comes right down to it, there’s not much I’d miss more than this one if my entire collection got destroyed.
(It does tend to look a bit pinker in photos, but in real life it’s categorically a lowkey, lovely red.)
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Annabella
Is this not the most amazing vibrant poppy red ever? Ugh, I love it so much. I used to be exclusively about cool-toned red lipstick, but I realized that true reds are too serious for every situation. A nice bright warm red, though, is just fun. God, I love this colour. And we are now far enough into this series that I know you all know how much I love the NARS Audacious formula.
When I bought this lipstick I threw out all my other true reds because there was no way anything could beat it. And I fully stand by that – this is the quintessential red, very aptly named. The Charlotte Tilbury formula, while unnecessarily expensive, is great – it’s so comfortable and wears really well for a traditional bullet lipstick. I also sort of like how luxe it is – a true red is unparalleled in its classic elegance, so I can almost justify buying a bougie version of it. I’ve used a lot of this tube and I wouldn’t be surprised if I actually went through the whole thing. I’m definitely more into warm reds these days, but this will never go out of style.
ColourPop Blotted Lips in Lexi
Not once in my life have I longed for a sheer deep cool red, but when Aisling passed along this tube to me I ended up liking it a lot. I was already a fan of the Blotted Lips formula, and I do like the way this red looks. When I really don’t want to commit, I just dab this on in a very thin layer. It does photograph pretty similarly to Revlon Romantic, but it’s cooler and more serious, I think.
This is the only liquid lipstick formula I will tolerate. It is so thin and comfortable on my lips, and while it isn’t as long-wearing as something like Stila or the ColourPop Matte formula, it lasts longer than regular bullet lipsticks while basically feeling like one. This is a cool red that somehow finds a perfect balance between deep and vibrant. It means serious business, but it’s not somber.
NARS Velvet Lip Pencil in Cruella
Ahhh, my 2015 Sephora birthday gift is still going strong. This cool-toned, slightly dark red is a perennial fall/winter staple. Lip pencils are probably my absolute favourite lipstick format – they’re so easy to apply, and I love that you can sharpen them for total precision. This formula is great, too; it applies so smoothly, feels comfortable, and wears well.
NARS Velvet Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl
Another classic NARS colour. I absolutely love this super vibrant strawberry red with pink undertones. (It kind of leans coral in some photos, but if it’s anything but red it’s pink!) It’s pure fun, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
I guess seven red lipsticks isn’t exactly going to win me any awards for minimalism, but I think I cover all the bases here without any overlap. I’m really happy with this collection and I probably won’t add anything to it in the near future. Also, does NARS kill it with their reds or what?!
Fuchsia was the first lipstick colour I ever fell in love with. When I was 19, you could expect to see me sporting fuchsia more often than not. It’s a colour that I’ve grown out of somewhat; I still really like the right tone on me, but I don’t think it’s my most flattering colour anymore. (To be fair, when my fuchsia obsession was at its height, I had brown hair.) Regardless, this portion of my collection is still pretty robust, even after trimming it down in the summer.
This category can get slightly hazy – sometimes there’s not a lot separating a warm fuchsia from a pink-based coral or a cool fuchsia from a warm lilac. I’ve just gone with my gut here, which has involved rearranging the configuration of products I presented in my lipstick inventory post back in the summer. (By the way, as always, arm swatches are available in that post.)
And here are my bare lips:
Lancôme Le Lip Liner in Rose Lancôme
Man, isn’t this colour just so pretty? It’s bright and unapologetic and it has the hint of warmth that I love in a good fuchsia. Although you definitely should not spend $30 on a lip liner, if you do, Lancôme liners have an almost gel-like quality and they glide on very comfortably and evenly. Personally I like to cheap out on lip liners, but I’ve found it really hard to find a bright, warm fuchsia and I bought this with Optimum points anyway. (Of course. Come on. I buy everything with Optimum points.)
Ugh, I still hate the name. However, this is a great lip liner option – it’s cooler and deeper than Rose Lancôme, so it fulfils a different function. You can see in the photos in the original post that a purple undertone can become more apparent in cooler lighting, which makes it a nice layering option to change the undertone of a fuchsia lipstick. Also, one time I wore this lip liner by itself to work, and a man asked me why, and I said because I liked it, and he said, “No you don’t,” and I still don’t know what he meant by that. Actually, I’m pretty sure he meant he didn’t like it, which is fine because he was buying Just 4 Men hair dye because he wants to pay more money for less hair dye solely because there’s a picture of a man on the box. Anyway. This lip liner reminds me of that man. I hope he’s having fun touching up his grays.
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Angela
I honestly have no idea how to categorize this lipstick. Is it a bright magenta? Is it a super bright cool-toned pink? Is it almost a lilac? I don’t know! In the end I decided that it’s too light and bright to be magenta and too pink to be lilac, which leaves it in the vague “bright pink” category. Rest assured that the Audacious formula is one of my favourites of all time – I have five of them! You can read my full review of the formula here. Angela is my most recent addition to the Audacious collection (though it’s not really that recent an acquisition since I bought it in August). I was slightly nervous that this colour would be way too much, but I shouldn’t have worried. In general, I can pull off really saturated colours, and this one totally works.
Oh, you thought NARS Angela was freakishly bold? Well, allow me to introduce to you this custom colour from Bite Beauty, which is Angela on steroids. This is possibly the most unapologetically loud lipstick I own, and I love it for that. The formula is also great – I’m in a small minority who doesn’t live and die by the Amuse Bouche formula, but I really enjoy the matte formula Bite offers at their lip labs. It strikes a nice balance between wear time and comfort. In the original post you’ll be able to see that it can appear a bit more purple in some lights, but overall I think it’s just shy of being a true purple. Whatever it is, I love it.
This is genuinely one of the best lipstick formulas I have in my collection, and I always forget about it. It has a true matte finish but manages to look beautifully smooth on my lips. It also wears like a champ. And this is just a really nice colour – anything that leans berry is going to be flattering on me, but I like that this colour has that nice vibrant punch. If I ever make another ill-advised ColourPop order, I might have to try some other Matte X colours, because this one is seriously so good. (And, hey, it was a GWP, so I didn’t even spend any real money on it.)
Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Lovesick
I have such an intense nostalgic love for this lipstick. It was one of the first I ever bought, right when I was first getting into makeup in early 2013. I have a perfectly clear memory of buying it: I was at the end of my first year of university, just finishing exams, and preparing to move back to Toronto for the summer. I bought it from the Pharmaprix near my dorm and put it on just to see how it looked. I wasn’t used to so much colour on my face, but I found that I really liked it. I wore it constantly during the summer. On my nineteenth birthday, I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that it was a really flattering colour on me. Wait, here is a picture from that exact day of discovery:
Anyway, I then proceeded to buy like fifteen more fuchsia lipsticks that summer because I had found My Colour. This is no longer My Colour, but it’s still a great lipstick. They haven’t made this colour in years, so I cling to my tube. (By the way, this is my second tube – the first one melted in the sun – so it’s not actually five years old. Just, like, three. Whatever.)
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiore
I’m pretty much over liquid lipstick these days, but Stila’s formula is about as good as it’s going to get for me. Fiore was a gift from my friend Kristin a few Christmases back, and she obviously knew me very well when she selected this bright pink! I actually prefer this tone on me to the OG fuchsia, Revlon Lovesick. (I’m wearing it in the picture on the sidebar! Which was taken 3 years ago the last time I lived in Glasgow, ha.) Though this is undoubtedly a bright pink, it’s a bit more muted than some of the others I have. It’s like a daytime bright pink. I don’t know what it is – there’s just something in the undertone that makes it a bit more of a reasonable colour.
Dude, I love this lipstick. Like, I’m over liquid lipsticks and I still love this one because it truly doesn’t feel like a liquid lipstick. And this is the kind of in-your-face vibrant warm fuchsia lipstick that I’m all about. It’s just so good. I think if I had to pick a single fuchsia from my collection, it would be this one. The colour is just exactly what I want, and I can’t rave about this formula enough. And this is coming from someone who just declared that she is over liquid lipsticks. I have tried enough liquid lipsticks that claim to be different to be wary, but this one actually is. (It doesn’t wear the same way as a classic liquid lipstick, either, but this particular colour stains so brilliantly that that doesn’t matter.)
YSL Rouge Volupté Shine in 28
I really didn’t need to buy this lipstick, but I love it anyway. I’m not normally a sheer lipstick person, but I absolutely love the Rouge Volupté Shine formula for casual days (and travel, when comfort is of the utmost importance). Though this is definitely a bright colour, the fact that it’s sheer means that it’s not too much when I want to slap on a sheer foundation and mascara and run out the door to grab brunch. And though this is (obviously) not a long-wearing formula, it fades to an even stain, which is a bonus. Obviously, I wouldn’t call this a fuchsia, but it fits into the catch-all category of “bright pink” for me. It appears a bit warmer in photos than in person, but in real life it’s definitely pink.
YSL Rouge Pur Couture in 57
This is where the colour category gets a little fuzzy. In my big lipstick inventory back in the summer, I put this in the coral category, but swatched next to a bunch of true corals it looked really pink. However, here it is photographing very coral, especially compared to the true fuchsias in this post. So, apparently I can never win with this colour, but I still consider it a warm bright pink with a slight blue-y duochrome shift under some lights. That sounds kind of like something a middle schooler circa 2006 might have worn, but I promise it’s really pretty. This lipstick is pretty much a trophy for me, unfortunately – the formula’s nothing special, and I think the floral scent is truly revolting. I mean, I still wear it, but basically the only reason I don’t part with it is that it’s YSL. Which is a bad reason, I know, but that’s the way it is.
Speaking of warm pinks that are borderline coral-y but really who’s to say what is what when colours are so nebulous and subjective and can we all just agree that I’ve had a hard time trying to categorize these last few and I’m doing my best…! This one is just so gloriously playful. It’s not a serious colour at all; it’s just fun. In my experience, the Matte Revolution formula is consistent across all colours – that is, it’s creamy, comfortable, and reasonably long-wearing.
And because I feel like I’m going crazy with these warmer pinks, I went on a bit of a swatching frenzy:
Maybe you can better understand where and why I drew the line? Maybe not. The more I think about this the more I’m second-guessing myself, even though back in August I was convinced I was entirely wrong in my classifications of YSL #57 and CT Electric Poppy in the coral category. It’s a slippery thing, and the line between “warm bright pink” and “definitely coral” is hazy. At least for me. Maybe you guys are better at colour taxonomy.
I had a lot more lipsticks in this category back in the summer, but luckily I managed to trim the collection down to a more reasonable size. (Okay, there are still a lot of lipsticks here.) Even though fuchsia is no longer my go-to colour I seem to have had to do a few culls specifically targetting the excess of fuchsia in the past few years, which I guess goes to show that old habits die hard.
Posted on February 24, 2018 under Reviews
When I did my lipstick inventory in the summer, I mentioned that I might do proper lip swatches of all my lip products. Since that inventory, I decluttered a fairly large amount of lipsticks, which makes that possibility a little less daunting. (Though you should definitely not expect minimalism from me as a general rule.) I decided I’d kick us off today with a boring – but necessary – category: the neutrals, nudes, and MLBBs. Despite my penchant for loud lipstick, I’ve been busy and tired recently and that has been reflected in my tendency to reach for softer lipstick colours (and to make minimal effort with my makeup in general). I have worn all of these pretty regularly in recent memory, so I can give you accurate mini-reviews.
I recognize that “neutral”, “nude”, and “MLBB” are fairly contentious, overlapping terms without clear definitions. Personally, I interpret “nude” as a colour close to my actual skin tone, “MLBB” as close to my lip colour, and “neutral” as, well, a daytime-appropriate, wouldn’t-look-twice colour that nonetheless does not closely resemble my actual skin or lip colour. I lean more towards neutrals over nudes and MLBBs; I’m fair with reasonably low-contrast colouring, so I rely on lip products to bring a bit of colour and life to my face. As you’ll see, I don’t really do nudes in the way that I’ve defined them, and I lean very heavily towards neutrals with rosy pinkish-brown bases.
I haven’t done comparison arm swatches in this post because I figured the lip swatches would be illustrative enough; if you really want to see them next to each other, there are swatches included in the lipstick inventory post.
Here are my natural lips:
I don’t think they’re particular pigmented or pale; they’re somewhere in the middle. Lipsticks tend to be pretty true-to-colour on me.
First, let’s look at my lip liners.
Milani Color Statement Lip Liner in Nude
This lip liner basically represents the neutral colour I’m always gravitating towards, and consequently can be seamlessly paired with many of the lipsticks you’ll see in this post. It’s a very creamy, comfortable formula that can easily be worn on its own. I love this liner and have most certainly got my money’s worth out of it.
On paper, a warm, beige-based nude should look terrible on me. But when I received this liner from Influenster, I was surprised to find that I actually really liked it. If you click through to the original review post, you’ll see that I got this liner when I had red hair. I did go back to platinum last March, and this liner (and its matching lipstick, which I’ll get to in due course…) were not my absolute favourites with that hair. The platinum hair made me supremely low-contrast, which this lipstick did nothing to combat. But now I’m (ostensibly) growing out my blonde, so I have quite a lot of brown at the roots and a darker, ashier blonde through the lengths, and I like this liner again. I usually pair this with the Bite Honeycomb lipstick, but it works well under a variety of neutral and non-neutral lipsticks. I often use it just to sketch in a structure to my lips before using a completely different lipstick on top of it.
And now the lipsticks…
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 17
I’ve had this tube for a long time (like, over 4 years) and have consequently used up quite a lot of it. It used to be a go-to neutral for me, but I’ve moved away from it because I’m not sure that the light peachy-pink base is my most flattering colour. I’ve been very wishy-washy when it comes to deciding to declutter it because sometimes I wear it and decide I do like it. I think it’s pretty dependent on what other makeup I’m wearing it with. It’s not one I lean on for no makeup makeup days because I think it does need a bit of strength in the eyes for balance. People rarely talk about the Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks anymore, but they remain solid drugstore staples. (And I’ve actually used one up – unsurprisingly, it was the rosy-brown 08.) They do have a very strong scent, however, so beware.
Like the lip liner in 020, I love this lipstick despite myself. In these pictures I’ve used it on its own so you can see the true colour, but in real life I always pair it with the liner, which makes it slightly deeper. I consistently get compliments on this colour when I wear it. Yeah, colour me surprised that a beigey-orangey-yellowy colour would ever be in my rotation. I’ve been on record as liking but not loving the Bite lipstick formula (a controversial opinion, it seems), but the super creamy, hydrating formula works perfectly here. I love using this lipstick on very casual makeup days when I don’t want to worry about crusty lips. And because it’s a light neutral, it fades gracefully – though the lasting power is decent when paired with the liner. When I run through my mini, I’ll definitely consider purchasing the full size.
Despite the name, this is a jumbo lip pencil, not a lip liner, and it has no discernible plumping action that I’ve been able to identify. However, it is an excellent comfortable, creamy matte lip product in a very flattering neutral tone. This is a rosy brownish-pink that is appropriate in basically every context ever. It adds colour to my complexion without being loud or distracting (although, obviously, I also love loud and distracting lipstick). It’s one of my go-to, ride or die neutrals and basically always lives in my bag.
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Secret Salma
This was my twenty-third birthday present to myself, and I’ve managed to get a lot of use out of it in the eight months since it entered my life. Again, this is a very standard Clem neutral, though it’s pinker – and redder – than the reasonably brown Hush Hush. I remain a big fan of the super smooth, comfortable Matte Revolution formula.
Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (mini)
As you can see from the picture of the all-but-decimated tube, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my go-to lip colours. It’s the perfect flattering neutral. It has enough colour in it to revitalize my face, but it’s still a very safe, everyday colour that can be paired with pretty much any eye makeup. By now you are probably very much noticing that this colour is firmly in my comfort zone and also nearly indistinguishable from CT Secret Salma. This is true! And while I really love the MJ lipstick formula – which I’ve articulated more fully in my review of the shade So Sofia – I will just redirect my love for this shade to Secret Salma when I use it up. Which will probably be in like 45 minutes because I wear it so often.
I am very much in love with this ultra-versatile neutral. It has hints of brown, plum, pink, and red and basically defies easy colour categorization. It also looks different on everyone – I have a friend whose lips really pull out the plum in it, and I’ve seen it turn quite brown on a lot of people. It also looks good on a huge variety of skin tones and depths. And the formula is so good – like, not just for drugstore, but in general. It’s deeper on me than my other neutrals and it has a bit of cool tone that makes it a statement neutral. If I lost my entire makeup collection this is one of the first colours I would repurchase. Which is convenient because it goes on sale for $5.99 pretty frequently!
NARS Audacious Lipstick in Anna
When I first got this lipstick, I put it on and was immediately bitterly disappointing. It drew all the life out of my face, which is of course the opposite of what I want lipstick to do for me. But that was back when I was super platinum, and now that I’ve got a higher-contrast, more natural hair colour going on, I think I can make this work. Yes, the cool mauve tones are tricky on me – but if I make sure to warm up my cheeks with a healthy amount of blush and have a decent amount of eye makeup on, I think it’s pretty. It’s another colour that falls more into the “statement neutral” category for me. I relegated this to the back of my shelf for many months, but I’ve recently rediscovered it and have been wearing it pretty often. Definitely one of my all-time favourites, but it’s a little different from my usual neutral colour palette and I’m liking it!
This is probably more than strictly necessary (especially considering how similar a lot of these are), but this is actually a relatively tame category compared to some others in my collection. But I can honestly say that since trimming the fat back in the summer, these are all colours that I use regularly. I can’t guarantee that will be true of every lipstick in the coming instalments, but my neutrals are very well-loved, at least…