Date of Purchase: Summer 2012
Grades: C+, A-
Notes: Why are there so many lipsticks called Black Cherry? Can makeup companies really not come up with another name for a blackened red?
As fall 2012 approached, I began searching for a lipstick in a shade I’d often seen Carrie Brownstein wear on Portlandia:
Photo via Wired.
When multiple Google searches for “carrie brownstein lipstick” produced nothing of value, I had to come up with my own approximation. I had very specific criteria for my ideal shade of Carrie Brownstein Red. It had to be dark red without skewing too purple or, horrors, too brown. The first lipstick I tried was Revlon Black Cherry, hailed across the blogosphere as the best vampy lipstick ever, a cult classic, a dupe for Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, etc.
I can only imagine that a lot of bloggers received monetary compensation from Revlon for saying that, because this lipstick is not very good. It applies unevenly, it’s thinner and more smeary than a lipstick this dark should be, it bleeds a bit at the edges…just no. Here’s a rather gruesome close-up lip swatch to show you its unevenness:
Yes, you could make it work. You could use a lipliner or a lip brush, you could apply-blot-reapply diligently, you could have your friends squint while talking to you. My view, though, is that a lipstick should work straight from the tube. I don't have the patience to wait for the moon to enter Sagittarius before I put on my makeup.
I had better luck with NYX Black Cherry, which has a thicker, more even consistency. Here it is on the right, with Revlon on the left:
As you can see, NYX Black Cherry is warmer and browner. I actually find the Revlon color more flattering to my complexion, but I just can't with the formula. The NYX formula isn't perfect, either--shorter-lived and more slippery than I'd expect from a lipstick this dark--but it's definitely an improvement. I’ve now tried three NYX Round Lipsticks, and Black Cherry is the best of the three; the other two, Chic Red and Perfect, are waxier and more drying. It's worth noting that Black Cherry has a faint soapy-floral scent, which I enjoy but others may not.
Side-by-side face swatches: again, Revlon on the left and NYX on the right. I always end up wearing a dark lipstick with this turtleneck; I like the '90s vibe.
I know what you're thinking: the Revlon doesn't look uneven at all. You'll just have to trust me on this one.