The Big Lipstick Post

After having gone through the #30DaysOfLipstick challenge, I’ve spent a surprising amount of time thinking about lipsticks during the month of September. So let’s have a chat about all things lipstick before I forget the lessons I’ve learned.

The Importance of Lip Care
I wear lipsticks almost every day, the key being almost. By wearing something on my lips every single day for an entire month, I really started to feel just how much strain it can actually put on your lips. Even by occasionally opting for lip balms, it was still a bit more than my lips could take. I’d recommend going at least one day per week without anything on your lips, or just some Papaw ointment. Something that’s absorbed and doesn’t need to be removed with makeup remover. Because that’s a key part of the strain, removers can be a bit harsh if you use them often and given just how sensitive the skin on the lips actually is… Give them a bit of a break. Also, exfoliate them with a very gentle exfoliator every now and then. I personally use one from Mecca Cosmetics that was fairly expensive but that does a good job. No matter if you use a home made sugar scrub (just mix sugar and honey) or something you’ve bought in a store, use it to avoid chapped lips. Third part is to moisturise. Good lipsticks won’t dry your lips out but it’s rare to find the ones that are truly moisturising. Put some chapstick on your lips after you’ve had a shower and exfoliated. Put some on before going to sleep. Be nice to your lips if you want them to look good.

Finding flattering shades.
For this challenge, I tried everything. Or at least it felt like it. Before I started this challenge, I’d mainly stuck to classic reds and they do remain my favourite. However, trying new shades meant I had to go back to the drawing board. I learned that I can pull off darker lipsticks than I usually wear, that I still hate lipgloss with a passion, and that crazy colours need more groundwork than classic ones. I also learned that although I prefer creamy finishes, I can wear mattes. I’ve learned that by combining mattes with metallic eyeshadow, I can avoid the flatness I really can’t stand in most modern makeup looks. I’ve also learned that the undertones of lipsticks are almost as important as the colour itself. Blue undertones in classic reds is the shit, it makes your teeth look whiter. Warm undertones on the other hand, tend to bring out the redness in my cheeks in an unflattering way.

Quality Drugstore Products
wpid-20150908_074954.jpgI’m a firm believer in value for money and don’t believe that an expensive price tag automatically means that something is good. A lot of the products I use are from drugstore brands or Korean brands with the occasional expensive product thrown in there for variety. Two brands I’ve had exceptional luck with are MaxFactor and Maybelline. From MaxFactor, the flipsticks and the giant pen sticks (seriously, what’s up with the awkward naming of makeup products lately?) are top notch. The flipsticks have been a staple of my makeup collection for years now and I’d recommend grabbing a few of them since they can be used for three combinations (at least) per stick. So by having two of them you can probably come up with close to ten different looks.  The pen stick is a new addition to my collection, but beyond being wrapped in an annoyingly stubborn plastic, it was a very pleasant surprise. Great finish. With Maybelline, I’d recommend their long lasting ones. Sure, it won’t be 24h like it claims but it will last all day, look good, and not dry your lips out. Plus, it’s a two step lipstick that doesn’t end with a gloss. Huzzah!

Korean Brands
TonyMoly is where it’s at. Seriously, the vast majority of the lip products I have tried from them have been utterly amazing. Find your local W Cosmetics or order them online, they’re cheaper than most western drugstore brands but with better quality overall. The tinted balm I tried from Innisfree was a pleasant surprise and out of all the products I’ve tried, this was the one with the best taste. I usually don’t care for the taste of lip products as long as they don’t taste horribly enough for me to not be able to get over it, but yeah, a nice taste is underestimated. Seriously, tinted lip balms is a fantastic option for when you want a shiny finish that is also moisturising but doesn’t feel like you’ve rubbed a combo of glue and grease on your lips. I’ve only tried one product from Clio, a brand I’m usually really fond of, and it’s kinda meh. Etude House is very hit and miss, I liked the tinted balm but threw out a lipstick from them recently after only using it once or twice because the quality just wasn’t there.

Alternative Colours.

I used to wear blue lipstick as a teenager and I’ve always had a soft spot for all things eccentric. There’s a lot more colours and brands that cater to people’s eccentric sides and I for one welcome our new pigmented overlords. Or something.
wpid-20150919_114425.jpgThey require a lot more work to look good than the vintage reds you can just slap on. Any colour you put on your lips will interact with the other colours on your face and it takes a lot of work to figure out how to balance them. Green is meant to cancel out red, but it can also make you look sick. A lot of alternative colours drain the colour from your skin and makes you look gothic pale. I found that it orked to warm greens up with gold and cool blues down with silver. For the purposes of the challenge I never used a primer or a lipliner with the lipsticks because I wanted to be able to evaluate them all in a fair way. However, you might need to help some of these lipsticks out. Use a concealer to counter the natural colours of your lips (or at least a foundation), because they will shine through otherwise. The other option is to use a lipliner in a similar colour as the lipstick you intend on wearing. ColourPop makes great lip liners. I need to try their sticks and liquid lipsticks a bit more before I make a final verdict on them. The NYX wicked collection is a good budget option but take some time to consider the colours before just grabbing all of them. The quality varies a fair amount.

wpid-20150831_080255.jpgThe Favourites.
So after 30 or so days of experimentation, which products came out on top? Well, the Guerlain lipstick I keep mentioning is still
as good as it ever was. The TonyTints really get the job done and cost about as much as a coffee. The MaxFactor giant pen I mentioned above was a really pleasant surprise, the flipsticks proved that they still deserve a place as a staple product in my collection, and the clicksticks from TonyMoly seriously impressed me and are an amazing budget friendly option. However, the one product that just floored me with how awesome it was turned out to be the Bésame 1946 Red Velvet lipstick. It’s very close to the Guerlain one in quality but costs about 40% of the price. If there is one single product out of all the ones I’ve tried for this challenge that I’m truly comfortable recommending, then it’s that one.

The Misses.
I don’t know why I even bought the Revlon lip gloss. It’s not a bad product, I just hate lipgloss and don’t know if I’ll ever wear it again. Out of the weird NYX colours I tried, Immortal was probably the one I was the least impressed with. Oh and that fucking 36 dollar waste from Lipstick Queen… Man what a scam. It’s just a gimmick that doesn’t pay off. Spend some time matching products with real colour to your complexion and you’ll see far better results. Hell, even the photo of me wearing it looks bad because I can’t form an actual smile… It’s more like a grimace.

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