Friday, September 19, 2014

Beauty Abroad, Part 11: & Other Stories Lip Colour in Droguet Purple

I've always heard great things about the makeup line from & Other Stories, an upscale offshoot of H&M that has somehow managed to acquire the URL stories.com. & Other Stories hasn't made it to the US yet, so I was excited to visit the store on Regent Street Wednesday evening. &OS skews toward an older audience than its parent does, which means that its stores and products have a cleaner, more understated look than you'd expect from H&M. The relationship of the two stores is similar to that of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie--which reminds me, I walked past the Anthropologie on Regent Street and can attest that British Anthros smell exactly like American ones. I don't know why I was surprised.

& Other Stories' extensive (and cruelty-free) makeup line contains lip, eye, and cheek products. Unfortunately, I had very little time to browse before we headed to dinner, so I narrowed my focus to the lipsticks, which were £12 each. Glancing over the ranks of tester bullets, I saw a color that I'd been pursuing since I compiled my fall wishlist: a dark purple with a satin finish. With (if I do say so myself) admirable focus, I swatched, sterilized, tried on, mulled over, and purchased Droguet Purple in the space of five minutes.


& Other Stories has named all its makeup products after textiles, a very cute touch. Droguet is a coarse woven fabric known in English as "drugget"--I can see why & Other Stories used the more alluring French moniker. I was familiar with drugget from eighteenth-century literature, where it often appears in discussions of poor people's clothes, though nowadays it seems more popular for carpets. I'm not sure what the cloth has to do with dark purple specifically, but I don't mind at all that my new lipstick has an etymological link to a Swift poem.

The lipstick comes in a gratifyingly hefty silver tube with "& other stories" written on the base. The smooth silver surface does collect fingerprints, but that's hardly a dealbreaker for me.


The lipstick itself is a dark eggplant--or should I say aubergine?--purple. It's similar to NARS Audacious Lipstick in Liv, which I've guerrilla-swatched here, though it's a bit more blue-based. (By the way, my Audacious swatches have attracted almost twice as many pageviews as my second most popular post. Now I know how bloggers who can afford all the new releases must feel! It's a sadly addictive feeling, and one I must resist.) I'd say that NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Train Bleu, Revlon Matte Balm in Shameless, and MUFE Rouge Artist Intense #49 are closer color matches.


The bullet has a pointy tip that's perfect for outlining lips.


Like most dark purple lipsticks, especially non-matte dark purples, Droguet Purple is a bit tricky to work with. It's not entirely opaque on first or even second swipe, and the formula has a lot of slip, which can make the pigment look uneven on my lips if I'm not careful. Here's a one-swipe arm swatch:


And two swipes:


Isn't the color unusual? It's rare to find a dark blue-based purple that doesn't betray you and turn plummy red when swatched. I don't own another dark purple lip color, but for curiosity's sake I swatched Droguet Purple next to MAC Up the Amp, the only comparable lipstick I'd brought with me to England. Up the Amp is lighter, brighter, and pinker; I think of it as a true purple, so I was surprised at just how pink it looked next to Droguet Purple.


For my first lip swatch, I swiped on two coats straight from the tube. As you can see, the color isn't completely even, but it's less noticeable in person than it is when you're scrutinizing a photo of my disembodied mouth.


Next I tried using my lip brush, but that didn't work very well: the formula was so thin and slippery that when I applied a second layer with the brush, the first layer started rubbing off. It seems to me that the best application method for Droguet Purple is the old apply-blot-reapply strategy; a lipliner might also help, though I don't own one. I don't have a sense of Droguet Purple's wear time, since I haven't yet worked up the courage to wear it in public, which brings me to the central question of this post:

How the hell does one wear dark purple lipstick?

I know, I know: one puts it on one's face. But that's where the difficulty begins, especially for someone as pale as I am. (I'm also sick for the third time in four months, which doesn't help.) In my brief period of trial and error, I've found that I have to be exceedingly careful what I wear with Droguet Purple, both clothing- and makeup-wise. My favorite shirt color, gray, makes me look dead when I pair it with dark purple lips. Navy, my second-favorite shirt color, isn't much better. I've reached the conclusion that Droguet Purple demands a jewel-toned, white, or warm-neutral (e.g. camel) top.

As for ancillary makeup, I'm as infatuated as any other denizen of Pinterest with the clean-face-vampy-lips look, but I'm not sure I can pull it off. For my first attempt at a look featuring Droguet Purple, I used more blush than usual, to nudge my complexion out of Marceline the Vampire Queen territory. Here we have NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla to erase undereye circles; NARS Lhasa eyeshadow layered over Maybelline Tough as Taupe; Maybelline One by One mascara; Illamasqua cream blusher in Zygomatic.


My hair has grown out to resemble Wendy's from A Fish Called Wanda. Send help.


Today I used most of the same products, but eliminated Tough as Taupe, applied Lhasa as a sheer wash, and cut back on the Zygomatic. I also defined my brows with theBalm eyeshadow in Sleek. I think I like this version better; sorry about the odd greenish cast in the photo.


I suspect that the lipstick would look better with a warmer or bolder color on the eyes--I'm thinking bronze, gold, pink, or mint. But I'm also not convinced that Droguet Purple suits me. Maybe it's just that I've never worn a lip color this dark before, and my brain has yet to recognize me-with-dark-purple-lips as me. I'll keep experimenting, and report back with further conclusions.

I haven't been able to find many reviews of & Other Stories' lipstick online, so I hope this one has been informative! I'm tempted to go back and replace every "and" in this post with an ampersand, but I'll restrain myself.

12 comments:

  1. Have you tried bronzer? I have the same problem - I have to wear bronzer if I wear colors that dark (and I have had my eye on the new Audacious Liv, actually).

    I want an upscale offshoot of H&M, what.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've actually never tried bronzer! But I agree that there's some wonky interaction between the cool tones in my skin and the blue-based purple. I wonder if a peach blush might help warm things up a bit? Ugh, part of me wishes I'd just chosen a more wearable lipstick.

      The clothes at & Other Stories seemed pretty nice! There were some floppy-brimmed hats that piqued my interest but failed to fit over my melon head. I wish I'd had more time to look around.

      Delete
  2. That is such a wonderful color. I think that blue-purple is a tough tone in general but it is sooooo sexy! I like this dramadrama shade on you, too. And I like it with the soft eyes, but I bet with something blackened and intense on your eyes, it would look amazing.

    LORRRVE Fish Called Wanda! And just because you mentioned it, LURVE you even more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it! I'm very bad at smoky eyes, but I'd like to do something '20s-inspired to complement this lipstick. I've also decided to buy a lipliner today. It's absurd that I've never even used one!

      Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement.

      Delete
  3. I think it's gorgeous! Maybe I'll go and get Train Bleu since I'm stuck stateside.

    I struggle with blurples too, but mostly because I feel like they draw attention to redness around my mouth. Hmm, have you tried something like Hourglass Radiant Light, which is supposed to have a slight warming effect? (It actually looks a bit orange on me, so I mostly wear it as blush!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about getting Train Bleu, but was afraid the matte finish might make my lips look too small. I love the formula of the NARS matte lip pencils, though, and Train Bleu seems like it would be far easier to apply than Droguet Purple.

      I know what you mean about blurples--in certain lights it seems like this lipstick pulls the redness from every part of my face. (My first full-face photo is more color-accurate than my second.) I haven't tried any of the Hourglass lighting powders because $$$, but I agree that *some* kind of warming effect would help! I'm planning a follow-up post with a few FOTDs, so we shall see...

      Delete
  4. I think all you need in the final pic is a tiny winged black eyeliner and it's perfect! An intense study session on Pinterest this morning *cough* has determined that the clean-faced bold berry lips are complemented by bold brow action on all my fave photos, so you made the trendy move. I was going to ditch Revlon Shameless as it gets patchy the more I build it up, so I ended up creating a jelly sandwich with a purple L'Oreal gloss which worked out really well to subtly blend the two purples and create the perfect hybrid texture. The technique is to basically pat on, blot, pat on, blot, pat on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Winged liner is something I've been trying to perfect for years and years, and I just haven't gotten it yet. The biggest problem is that the extra folds in my eyelids extend below the outer corners of my eyes, so I can't wing my eyeliner upward without running into those creases. I do find that my new eyeliner brush does a better job with wings than conventional eyeliner pencils do, so maybe I'll try again.

      Good job getting Shameless to work for you! I used to be oddly averse to layering lip products (I wanted to keep the colors and formulas "pure," which made no sense), but I've come to realize how much I was missing!

      Delete
  5. Ah, *sniff*, memories... MUFE #49 was one of the very first things I ever posted about on ze Blog. I look back at the photos and cringe now, of course, but it is a fantastic lipstick all the same. Shameless works pretty well, but I'm still getting used to matte finishes, and I hear what Liz is saying about the potential for patchiness - it happens to me sometimes if my lips aren't *just so* before I put the stuff on.

    All that said, what I definitely need in my life is another dark purple. I think it looks fantastic on you - kind of 'sophistivamp', which can be tricky to do, I think. I do sympathise with having to 'get used' to seeing yourself in certain colours or finishes though! Why does Middle Earth have to stock only ~5 brands of anything? I know, I know, the Internet is a place, and you can shop there, but the shipping is in full blown MA TON DIA!! territory.

    Yes, I like to exclaim things in ancient Greek. I'm just that insufferably pseudoacademic ;-)

    (Speaking of patchiness, I apologise for being so abominably behind on commenting here. I read all your posts, and then draft responses, and get distracted. Yes, you read that. Draft. This is Your Brain on Thesis, kids!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been meaning to ask you--what sort of makeup do you wear with MUFE #49? And do you wear it during the day? It's very hard for me to pull off the "oh, hey, just popping into the library while wearing my darkest lipstick" attitude, but it's not like I have many other places to wear it. Plus, I might as well wear it as often as I can before I'm no longer a grad student and people actually notice that I exist (and, by extension, care what I put on my face)...

      Delete
  6. For me, MUFE #49 demands (at a minimum), darkened/softly filled eyebrows, curled and well (but not ridiculously) mascara'd eyelashes, and good eyeliner/tightlining. The eyeliner doesn't have to be black, but it needs to be evident so that my eyes don't disappear. If I felt motivated, I would sculpt around my crease and lower lash line a bit with that taupey matte from the Naked 2 palette. Basically, the whole idea for me would be to try and *not* look like I was a disembodied pair of lips. Since you have darker brows than me anyway, I'd say you're off to a good start! :-D I'd also pop on some blush, unless you *want* to lean it in a gothier direction (which I often do). I think the nice thing about blackened purple lipstick is that it makes no apologies, and doesn't need 'dressing up'. The only two problems I ever see people having with it are:

    1. if their eyes/brows have disappeared (especially easy for blue eyed mousy types like me)

    2. if they have made insufficient effort to be precise with the outlines/coverage. Uneven/smeared lipstick might be OK for editorials and that moment after you take the first bite of the greasy burger, but generally speaking super dark lipsticks are *really* unforgiving in that respect (as you know, having just written posts about lipliner for dark purples!). One of the things I like about #49 (well, my tube at least), is that it's so smooth and opaque I can get a great finish and line out of it straight from the bullet. Paired with the one excellent lip brush I have, we're in 'razor sharp definition' territory...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The "disembodied lips and brows" look is almost as disconcerting as the "disembodied lips" look, so I think it's fair to say that I need more eye/cheek definition too...

      It's weird, but I almost never wear eyeliner! When I do wear it, I always want to wing it out, but the extra folds in my eyelids get in the way, and I just think "eff it." I'm pretty new to tightlining, but I think I'll try that next time I wear Droguet Purple--the matte black shadow in the Nude 'tude Palette seems like it would be perfect for that. I also think a sort of smudgy stained look would be interesting with a dark purple lipstick, provided that you didn't use the color at full force.

      I'm not sure I've seen more than five people *in my life* wearing a lipstick like this, and most of those people had darker skin than I did, which made the purple look more natural. I wonder when the US will ever break out of the smoky-eye-nude-lip rut it's been in since the mid-'00s. Given the ubiquitous Kardashian influence, I suspect the answer is "not soon"...

      Delete