Friday, October 30, 2020

ColourPop Blur Lux Lipstick in Slow Dance

Here, as promised (look at me, keeping a blog-related promise!), is my review of the second item from my recent ColourPop order: the Blur Lux Lipstick in Slow Dance.

Early in 2019, ColourPop introduced sixteen shades of Blur Lux Lipstick, a "matte lipstick formulated with soft blurring pigments." This semi-sheer formula was designed to replace the discontinued Blotted Lip formula, which I reviewed back in 2017. The Blotted Lips seem to have been popular (I often see them mentioned on "discontinued products you miss" threads on Reddit), so it's anyone's guess why ColourPop got rid of them, just as it's anyone's guess why there are only two Blur Lux shades in stock as of this writing. Is ColourPop experiencing a COVID-related supply problem, or simply phasing out the Blur Lux formula just as hastily as it did the Blotted Lip formula? It seems silly to buy or review ColourPop products while this nonsense continues, but here's my review of Slow Dance anyway, because we all need some distracting content in These Troubled Times.

Slow Dance has the standard Lux Lipstick packaging: a sturdy, star-patterned rose gold tube with a color label on the bottom.

Slow Dance was one of the five Blur Lux Lipsticks in the Come Fly with Me set from November 2019. Evidently, the set wasn't as successful as ColourPop had hoped and was broken up so the lipsticks could be sold singly. The lipsticks from the permanent ("permanent") BLL line have the usual Lux Lipstick star pattern on their bullets, but Slow Dance and the other shades from the set have smooth bullets. Slow Dance comes housed in a glittery butterfly-printed box that I can't bring myself to throw away.

No, hoarding doesn't run on both sides of my family, why do you ask?

ColourPop describes Slow Dance as a "red cocoa": for once, an accurate color description from the brand! Slow Dance is a very good match for the exposed brick walls in my apartment. If you're looking for a lipstick reminiscent of the mid-'90s or mid-'70s, you can't do much better than this. 

While I'd classify Slow Dance as a reddish brown instead of a brownish red, I notice that the more product I layer on my lips, the redder it looks. In the lip swatches below, I've applied one layer, then two (this image also reveals the flaws in the formula, but more on that later). An Instagram pal whose complexion is warmer and a little deeper than mine reports that Slow Dance looks much browner and more neutral on her, so I think this is one of those hard-to-categorize shades that metamorphose from person to person.


And some comparison swatches: from left to right, we have ColourPop Lux Lipstick in Gallop, Slow Dance, Revlon Lustrous Matte in Shameless, and Urban Decay Sheer Vice Lipstick in Lawbreaker. Slow Dance is essentially a sheerer Gallop, which is fine with me, since Gallop is one of my favorite fall lipsticks and it's nice to have a toned-down version. 


The regular Lux Lipsticks have a faint vanilla-plastic smell that I don't mind at all, so it was an unpleasant surprise to discover that Slow Dance has the same fragrance as the new Ultra Glossy Lip formula: a cloying artificial caramel. I don't know whether the other BLLs have this scent, or whether ColourPop was experimenting with something different for the lipsticks in this set. However, the fragrance seems less strong in Slow Dance than in the UGL I own, and it dissipates more quickly after application.

Unfortunately, I'm not enamored of the Blur Lux formula. Slow Dance feels very powdery and siliconey on my lips, putting me in mind of formulas like Maybelline's Color Sensational Matte and Revlon's new Luscious Matte, though Slow Dance is less moist than the lipsticks that I've tried in either of those formulas. The powdery finish makes the product spreadableI can easily diffuse the color across my lips with a fingerbut also prevents it from adhering to the inner part of my lower lip or building on itself smoothly. When my lips are in good condition, one or two coats of Slow Dance will produce a soft, velvety look; when my lips are dry, which is often, the product clings to the dry patches and clumps up on itself. It also makes my lips feel dry after an hour or two, so I generally apply it over balm. 

(Update, 11/12/20: I ended up giving away Slow Dance because it was unbearably drying and made my lips peel every time I wore it. I wonder if the strong fragrance had something to do with that.)

I was curious to see how the Blur Lux formula compared to the Blotted Lip formula, so I swatched Slow Dance beside my Blotted Lip in Bee's Knees, a bright reddish pink I still wear often. ColourPop has been accused of repackaging and rebranding old products, but they definitely haven't done that here. Bee's Knees is sheerer but also more buildable than Slow Dance, and its formula is waxier, giving it more grip on the lips. I have more control over Bee's Knees than I do over Slow Dance; I can wear it very sheer or almost opaque, or more saturated in the middle of my lower lip for a popsicle effect. Slow Dance is less dynamic; it just kind of sits there.

L-R: one and two layers of Slow Dance; one and two layers of Bee's Knees.

Here's a look that's representative of my current makeup-wearing habits (i.e. boring), also featuring Boa and Pebble Beach from the ColourPop That's Taupe palette, Tarte blush in Paaarty, ColourPop blush in Aphrodisiac, and ColourPop highlighter in Lunch Money. Almost a full face of ColourPop!

I'd also been wanting to imitate a look from 1976 that I'd seen on the makeup artist Sandy Linter's Instagram, featuring sky-blue and gray eyeshadows with deep, slightly glossy terracotta lipstick. The color combination is so foreign to current tastes that instead of looking dated, it somehow manages to look hyper-modern. I was excited to try this combination with Slow Dance, since I thought a semi-sheer lipstick might make the look less costumey than an opaque, glossy one would.

For the eyes, I used Glossier Skywash in Pebble, a pinkish taupe, as a primer. I haven't reviewed the Skywash formula on my blog, but it's a sheer liquid eyeshadow that sets to a long-lasting matte finish. Pebble is almost exactly the color of my eyelids, so I don't wear it often on its own, but it's a good base for pastel eyeshadows. Then I packed ColourPop Bassline, a slightly shimmery baby blue, onto the lid and almost up to my brows (which felt so, so wrong). I lined my upper lashline with NYX Slide-On pencil in Gunmetal, a shimmery gray, and smudged out the eyeliner with Rock Steady from That's Taupe. You couldn't pay me to put black eyeliner on my waterline (well, you probably could), but I applied Rock Steady lightly to my lower lashline. The result did look a little costumeythis amount of pastel eyeshadow always doesbut it reminded me how much fun you can have with makeup if you abandon your assumptions about which colors go well together. Pastels and earth tones: who knew?



I doubt I'll buy any more shades of Blur Lux Lipstick, but Slow Dance fulfills my longstanding desire for a sheer brick-red lipstick, so I don't regret the purchase (update, 11/12/20: I do now, lol). I should really stop buying unfamiliar lipstick formulas online, though.

Have a happy Halloween! And, if you're in the US, a painless-as-possible Election Day, which happens to be the day after my birthday! Love that for me.

Friday, October 23, 2020

ColourPop That's Taupe Palette

Earlier this month, I placed my first ColourPop order in over a year. Like many longtime ColourPop customers, I'd grown weary of the brand's constant new releases and discontinuations of older products. Last spring, I discovered my holy grail neutral eyeshadow: ColourPop's Super Shock Shadow in Truth, a satin-finish beige. I wore it almost every day, feeling comfortable with my quick progress through the pan because the shade had existed since ColourPop's earliest days and I was sure I'd be able to repurchase it. Naively, I wrote in my review that Truth "probably won't be discontinued anytime soon." A few months later, I was scrolling through the site and noticed that quite a few Super Shocks had been discontinued...and, of course, Truth was one of them. I have yet to recover from this. Fuck you, ColourPop.

However, ColourPop always manages to draw me back in somehow, and the product I couldn't resist this time was That's Taupe, a nine-pan palette focused on cool gray-brown shades. It made me nostalgic for my early days of beauty blogging, when NARS Lhasa was my daily eyeshadow. (My review reminds me just how popular taupe eyeshadows were in the early 2010s. How times have changed!) Since then, I've become more wary of grayish eyeshadows, since they can emphasize my dark undereye circles and make me look sickly. But for $14, I was willing to take the risk with That's Taupe. 

I also ordered the Blur Lux Lipstick in Slow Dance, which I'll review in a separate post. I mean, probably. You know how that goes.


That's Taupe is the cornerstone of a taupe-themed mini-collection, which is also snake-themed for some reason. I don't know exactly what snakes have to do with taupe, but I like the snakeskin pattern of the palette. If this were 2019, I'd say that I've always identified as a Slytherin, but it's 2020 and J. K. Rowling has gone turbo-TERF, so I'll say instead that the snake is a noble and beautiful animal with a rich history of artistic representation across cultures.


In my hand for scale:


Prior to this purchase, the only ColourPop palette I owned was Uh-Huh Honey, one of the nine-pan monochrome palettes. Unlike those palettes, That's Taupe is housed in cardboard, not plastic, and it closes with a magnet instead of a latch. (It also costs $2 more, oddly.) I prefer cardboard palettes to plastic because they're lighter-weight, sturdier, and more environmentally friendly, but I've run into a problem with this particular palette: the lid is so light that it doesn't stay open when I'm using the palette, so I have to hold it open or weigh it down with my makeup bag. For a $14 palette, this isn't a big deal, but it is annoying.


Now for a quick rant. That's Taupe has received some criticism for not being as cool-toned as promised. A few days after I'd ordered the palette, Temptalia published her review. She gave it a grade of B- and described all of the shades as warm-toned, which prompted an outpouring of complaints in the comments: how dare ColourPop release yet another warm-toned nude palette, do they think we're stupid, etc. However, Christine's assessment and her fans' bandwagon hate both seem somewhat unfair to me. This commenter on r/BeautyGuruChatter said it best:


In other words, many color products designed to read as cool-toned on human skin are going to be warm-toned relative to gray or black, but that doesn't mean they're warm-toned relative to other products in the same color family. In my opinion, That's Taupe is almost as cool as a neutral eyeshadow palette can get without slipping into grayscale territory (à la ColourPop's own Blowin' Smoke palette). Most of the shades look cool-to-neutral on me, which means they'll lean decidedly cool on the majority of people. That said, a few of the shadesBoa, Python, and Snake Eyes in particularhave a decidedly pinkish lean. Blush-colored eyeshadows are very much my thing, but they're not everyone's, so keep that in mind if you're considering buying this palette.


My biggest complaint about Uh-Huh Honey was the lack of variety in color valuenone of the shades is especially light or especially darkbut, fortunately, That's Taupe boasts a good range of light, medium, and dark colors. There are five matte shades (Boa, Pebble Beach, Python, Rock Steady, and Bedrock) and four shimmer/glitter shades (Cold Blooded, Slated, Snake Eyes, and Constrictor). I'm very impressed with the mattes, which have a smooth, pigmented, extremely blendable formula that can be easily built up or diffused. If you're thinking of buying this palette for the shimmers, though, you might want to look elsewhere...but more on that when I discuss the individual shades. For now, here are swatches of the whole palette. L-R: Boa, Pebble Beach, Python, Slated, Snake Eyes, Cold Blooded, Rock Steady, Constrictor, Bedrock.


Swatches with labels, if you prefer:


Boa is a pinkish beige that looks a bit darker on my lids than I expected; I think it will be a great shade to use as a base or on its own. 
Pebble Beach is the only shade in the palette that strikes me as inappropriately warm; it's a light-medium peachy brown with just a hint of gray. It looks cooler on my eyelids than on my arm, however.
Python (my favorite!) is a rosy taupe that looks like the baby of Buon Fresco and Warm Taupe, two of my most-worn shades in Modern Renaissance
Slated is a silvery beige glitter shade with an almost clear base; it feels similar in formula to a Super Shock Shadow and seems designed to be applied with a finger, not a brush. Watch out for glitter fallout!
Snake Eyes is a coolish metallic rose gold (rose silver?) with flecks of champagne glitter. ColourPop offers this shade as a single eyeshadow as well, though the palette and single versions are slightly different (more on that later). 
Cold Blooded is a shimmery gray with some larger sparkles and, consequently, a good deal of fallout. It has a dry, slightly dusty formula, but it blends out nicely. 
Rock Steady is what I'd call a true taupe: right between brown and gray, with just a touch of purple. 
Constrictor is a shimmery dark brown with a hint of green. I found this to be the most disappointing shade: it's even drier and more fallout-prone than Cold Blooded, and it emphasizes the lines and creases in my eyelids.
Bedrock is a cool-toned dark brown that's very similar to ABH Cyprus Umber.

That's Taupe seems to have been, shall we say, inspired by the Natasha Denona Glam palette, which I've never seen in person. I do, however, own a few eyeshadow palettes with shades similar to the ones in That's Taupe. Below, I've swatched most of the individual That's Taupe (CP) shades alongside shadows from ABH Modern Renaissance (ABH), Dose of Colors Marvelous Mauves (DC), Natasha Denona Mini Gold (ND), and Urban Decay Naked2 Basics (UD). All shades listed from left to right.

ABH Tempera, CP Boa, UD Skimp, UD Stark:

ND Lodge, CP Pebble Beach, UD Cover:

CP Constrictor, ND Antheia:

ABH Warm Taupe, ABH Buon Fresco, CP Python, DC Rosy:

CP Super Shock Shadow in Birthday Wish, CP Slated, CP SSS in Ladybird. Try as I might, I couldn't get my phone camera to capture the pink sparkles in Birthday Wish.

CP Snake Eyes (single), CP Snake Eyes (palette). Snake Eyes is one of my favorite single eyeshadows of all time, so I was excited to have it in a palette. The two are slightly different, though: the palette version of Snake Eyes is darker, cooler-toned, and more opaque, with larger flecks of glitter.

ABH Warm Taupe, CP Rock Steady, UD Frisk, UD Undone:

UD Undone, CP Bedrock, ABH Cyprus Umber, UD Primal (my arm was looking a bit red after all the swatching and washing):

Now for some looks! I've been wearing this palette for five days and have yet to grow tired of it or exhaust my ideas for it. Because of the variety in shades and formulas, That's Taupe can produce a quick everyday look, a professional look with a bit of sparkle, or a full-on disco glam look. Not bad for $14! In all of these photos, I'm wearing Urban Decay Primer Potion under the shadows.

Let's start with the warmest-toned look, which is still fairly cool: Constrictor on the lid (you can really see the dustiness in this shot, yikes), Pebble Beach in the crease, Bedrock in the outer corner. I'm wearing the Blur Lux Lipstick in Slow Dance here, by the way.


Cold Blooded and Slated on the lid, Rock Steady in the crease, Bedrock in the outer corner. I wore this look to vote (for Biden, obv) yesterday!


An all-matte look: Boa on the lid, Python in the crease, Bedrock in the outer corner.


Python in the crease and Snake Eyes on the lid, with Slated applied lightly over Snake Eyes as a glitter topper. My lipstick is Revlon Luscious Matte in Shameless, my favorite new lip color of 2020. Ignore the boxes of books in the background; I cleaned out my campus office in July and have yet to figure out what to do with my stuff.


While I'm not in love with all of the shades in That's Taupe, the mattes alone make the palette a satisfactory purchase for me. I imagine that I'll get a lot of use out of this palette, especially once I find another job and actually have to show my face to other human beings. For now, I'll grace the grocery store with my taupey looks and keep waiting for better days.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fenty Frenzy, Part 1: Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blush in Strawberry Drip

Fenty Beauty, like Rituel de Fille, is a brand that I started following years ago but didn't get around to trying until 2020. I always liked Fenty's bold, exuberant aesthetic, but the releases never seemed to line up with my makeup habits. Fenty's flagship products were an impressively inclusive range of foundation (I don't wear foundation), a caramel-scented gloss (I hate lip products with strong fragrance), brilliant powder highlighters (I prefer a subtle highlight), and a red liquid matte lipstick (I already owned Wet n Wild Missy and Fierce). This spring, though, Fenty launched a line of tempting candy-colored cream blushes. I'd been looking for a good coral cream blush for years, so I bought Strawberry Drip, a bright coral pink. A few months later, Fenty put its entire line of Mattemoiselle lipsticks on sale, and I decided to try one of the most offbeat colors: Pumpkin Rose, a light marigold orange. 


I was going to review both products in the same post, but my review predictably got too long, so this post will be devoted to Strawberry Drip!


Strawberry Drip's hexagonal, cream-colored compact evokes the Polly Pocket toys I loved in childhood. (Fenty's aesthetic in general reminds me of the late '80s and early '90s, which makes sense, since Rihanna and I are the same age and surely played with the same toys.) The compact feels sturdy and closes securely. Inside, there's a mirror with a protective plastic sheet that I forgot to remove before taking the photos for this post. Typical.


Like a Polly Pocket house, the compact has a tiny latch that can be hard to open if you have large hands and/or less-than-stellar fine motor skills (I have both). 


The azalea color of Strawberry Drip looks just as vivid in person as it does online. Strawberry Drip reminds me of a blush I owned more than half a decade ago: Face Stockholm's Paris. However, Paris always gave me trouble because it sat right on the border between warm-toned and cool-toned, and I couldn't figure out which lipsticks and eyeshadows should go with it. Since Strawberry Drip is warmer than Paris, I find it much easier to pair with other colors.


Some people have complained that the Cheeks Out blushes are $20 for a mere 0.1 oz. (3g), which makes them $200 per ounce. However, that price point isn't unusual for cream blushes from comparable brands: Face Stockholm's cream blushes are $28 for 0.15 oz ($186.67/oz), while RMS Beauty's Lip2Cheek blushes are $36 for 0.17 oz ($211.76/oz). The size seems reasonable to me, especially since cream blushes expire more quickly than powder ones. 


The Fenty website copy describes Cheeks Out as "a light-as-air, non-greasy cream blush that instantly melts into skin for an effortless wash of color, giving life to all skin tones with a no-fuss, natural-looking flush in ten sheer shades." This is a fairly accurate description; I can't speak to the "all skin tones" claim, but I can confirm that Strawberry Drip's formula is much less dewy and slippery than I'd expect from a cream blush. Here's a close-up of the texture (this is the most color-accurate photo in this post, by the way):


I've heard that Fenty's original foundation formula is best suited to oily skin, and that seems true of the cream blushes, too. Compared to other cream blushes I've tried, such as Illamasqua Zygomatic and Bbia Downy Lavender, Strawberry Drip looks almost matte on my dry-leaning skin, and it's harder to blend. (RIP Zygomatic: I finally tossed it last month after six years of faithful service.) However, I think the Fenty blushes would be ideal for people who find that most cream blushes slide off their skin after a few hours. 

Strawberry Drip is not as sheer as I'd expect from the description, but it can certainly be sheered out with ease. Here's one swipe on the left, and one swipe blended out on the right:


My favorite way to use coral or peach blush is in a k-pop-inspired placement: a broad flush of color on the apples of my cheeks. I think that looks so cute and youthful, though more so on YooA of Oh My Girl than on me.

scvdfv

Somewhat in that spirit, here's a look from earlier this summer, with Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Jolt and Revlon Glass Shine Lipstick in Fire and Ice. I always seem to wear Strawberry Drip with this shirt, or this shirt with Strawberry Drip. 




I've really enjoyed wearing Strawberry Drip this summer, and if I didn't already own more than enough blushes, I'd be very tempted by some of the other shades in the Cheeks Out lineup. (For the fall and winter, Rosé Latte and Summertime Wine look particularly appealing.) I wish the formula were a little dewier and easier to blend, but the non-greasy texture gives Strawberry Drip more staying power than the average cream blush. Overall, a triumph. 

See you next weekend (I hope) for my review of Pumpkin Rose!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Pat McGrath Labs Lip Fetish Balm in Noir

Longtime readers may recall that in December 2017, I celebrated passing my dissertation defense by ordering Pat McGrath Labs' LuxeTrance lipstick in Madame Greige, which remains one of my all-time favorite lipsticks. For the next two and a half years, though, I didn't pay much attention to the brand. Its price point was just too high for me, and its lip-product taxonomy was almost as baffling as Lipstick Queen's. I kept track of the difference between MatteTrance, LuxeTrance, and BlitzTrance lipsticks, but that's about as far as I got. Looking at Pat McGrath Labs' website now, I see listings for Lust: Gloss, Opulust: Gloss, and Liquilust 007 Astral Vinyl Gloss; for Obsessive Opulence: MatteTrance (is that a different formula from MatteTrance?); for Lip Fetish Astral, Lip Fetish Sheer Colour, and Lip Fetish Divinyl; and for duos and full sets of products from each of those categories. I'm just not going to devote my energy to parsing the distinction between Lust, Opulust, and Liquilustespecially not when each item costs between $30 and $40. 

But despite its aura of luxury and exclusivity, Pat McGrath Labs is not immune to the COVID-related economic downturn, and it has joined most other beauty brands in putting a wide range of its offerings on sale. And that's how I ended up with my second PMG product: the Lip Fetish lip balm in Noir, a sheer black. 

At the time I ordered it, Noir was marked down to $19 from its usual $36, though the price has since gone back up. (I heard about the sale from Makeup Withdrawal's review of four Lip Fetish shades.) I usually make myself wait at least a day before ordering makeup, since the must-have-it-now feeling often disappears overnight, but I confess I bought Noir within minutes of looking up photos of it: the goth-lite allure of a fancy black lip balm knocked all practical thoughts out of my head. 

Now let's see if we can make sense of Pat McGrath Labs' classification system for lip balms:

All right: "Lip Fetish" is simply the brand's name for lip balm. There are four subcategories: Divinyl Lip Shine, Astral, Sheer Colour, and Noir. Astral seems to have glitter or shimmer. I assume Divinyl Lip Shine is more pigmented than Sheer Colour. And then we have Noir, the only color-related category, which contains two products: Noir and Astral Blue Star. BUT WAIT! Why isn't Astral Blue Star in the Astral category? For that matter, why isn't Noir in the Sheer Colour category? Sure, an almost-clear black isn't a "color" in the traditional sense, but there's a balm called Clear in the Sheer Colour group, so...wtf. I'm sorry to complain at such length, but parsing the different lip balm categories on a beauty website shouldn't feel like studying for the LSAT.

Let's move on. I appreciate that shipping from the PMG website was free, and that the lip balm was shipped in a small cardboard box and padded with tissue paper: no plastic sleeves or bubble wrap in sight. Also, I was NOT prepared for the utter gloriousness of the sparkly midnight-blue unit carton. We're a long way from Carmex, people. 

By the way, what do you do with pretty makeup packaging that you can't bring yourself to throw away? I must have at least a dozen lipstick boxes floating around my apartment. I should suspend them from a mobile or something.

The original Pat McGrath lipstick tubesblack with gold trim around the cap and huge gold lips in the middlehave always looked a little tacky to me (though I'll take tacky over boring any day). However, I adore the Noir tube, which is cast from the same mold as the original, but in monochrome black. I wish all the PMG lipsticks looked like this! The tone-on-tone look reminds me of Louise Nevelson's sculptures.

After all this product porn, the quality of the lip balm itself might seem beside the point. However, Noir is an excellent lip balm, one of the best my perpetually dry lips have ever encountered. This feels like some sort of lesson from the universe, a cosmic joke meant to punish me for buying such a fancy lip balm: "Oh, you wanted it mainly for the packaging, did you? Well, surprise, now it's your holy grail and you're going to feel the need to spend $36 for a replacement once you run out. And if you keep buying it, you won't be able to bring yourself to throw away any of the empty tubes or boxes, and you'll have to start storing them in the refrigerator, and they'll all tumble out and embarrass you when you have guests." Well, joke's on you, universe, because I never have guests! (Seriously, though, I don't think I'd ever pay $36 for a lip balm, even this one.)

Noir is scent- and taste-free, and its pigmentation is very subtle. The Pat McGrath Labs blurb, with its usual verbosity, promises "decadent luminosity" and "lush hydration" in a "noir-tinted" formula. Noir does have a tint that makes my lips slightly darker and cooler-toned, but if you saw me on the street, you'd have no reason to assume that I wasn't wearing clear Chapstick. Here we have one swipe of Noir on the left and three on the right:

And here are my bare lips on the top and my Noir-covered lips on the bottom:

Here's a full face with only Noir on my lips:

As you might be able to tell from these photos, Noir is not especially shiny. It's not matte, but it has some grip, which gives it a few hours' longevity and makes it the ideal base for a less-than-moisturizing lipstick. When I posted about Noir on Instagram, someone messaged me to say that they hadn't cared for its "gritty" formula. I wouldn't describe it as gritty, exactly, but I do feel a bit of texture when I rub my lips togetherthe texture of finely milled flour, maybe. Looking at the ingredients list, I notice that Lip Fetish contains silicones, which I assume are the source of that slightly powdery lipfeel. The hydration in Noir seems to come mainly from shea butter; I don't see any other moisturizing ingredients. (Compare, say, the ingredients list of Fresh Sugar Lip Balm, which mentions an extensive range of moisturizing oilsjojoba, grapeseed, avocado, etc.)

In other words, Noir is not really a conventional lip balm. For whatever reason, my lips react well to it, but I think I'd describe it as a moisturizing lip primer, a product formulated to play well with lipsticks and to give lips the satiny finish of a lipstick when worn on its own. I'm curious whether Noir will be a good everyday balm for my lips in the long term, or whether I'll find myself going back to my humble tube of Palmer's. Either way, this is one impulse purchase I don't regret: I mean, look at it.