Whatever induced me to buy this particular Crush last week, it wasn't personal experience. I'd tried two Revlon Balm Stains previously: lavender Darling, which was almost invisible on my pigmented lips, and fuchsia Smitten, which I found horribly drying. I'll be honest: the primary reason for my purchase was a $3 CVS coupon for Revlon. But the secondary reason was legitimate: I'm heading into a semester in which I might not be able to touch up my lipstick every hour (that is, a semester with actual responsibilities). I've always valued comfort over longevity in my lipsticks, but recently I've found myself gravitating toward formulas that promise longer wear. I don't expect my lipstick to look pristine for an entire day, but I do like to feel confident that it hasn't smeared onto my chin or faded into the Ring of Doom on the outer edges of my lips.
Oh, and there was a third reason. Nearly two years of k-pop fandom have brainwashed me into wanting a lip tint for the gradient look, as seen here on one of my favorite k-pop ladies, Hani of EXID:
On a recent visit to San Francisco's Japantown, I was stunned to find three new Asian beauty stores: Tony Moly, The Face Shop, and a third shop that sold both Korean and Japanese brands. I came very close to buying a Peripera lip tint at the third place, but I couldn't find a salesperson to ring me up, and so they lost the sale. I think I'll wear Crush more often than the bright pink tint I almost bought, anyway.
You know the drill, but I'll go through it anyway: the Revlon Balm Stains, like the Matte and Lacquer Balms, are housed in chubby twist-up tubes that match the color of their contents. I know that some people find the crayon format childish, but I quite like it. I don't have the steadiest hands or the most patient approach to lipstick application, and I welcome any product that caters to these weaknesses. All of Revlon's crayon balms ("balms," rather) are mint-scented, but Crush smells less strongly of mint than the matte and lacquer balms I've tried. It applies very smoothly and evenly, with a lightweight, almost waxy feel; the shine lingers for a couple of hours (less, if you happen to eat during that time), and the stain for a couple more.
Beauty bloggers can't seem to agree on Crush's exact color. I've seen Crush described variously as "deep, berry wine," "pinky-red...cranberry or burgundy," "darkish purple-y pink," and "deep berry red." To my eye, Crush is nowhere near red. It looks like a dark purplish plum in the tube and a brighter pinkish plum, almost magenta, on my lips. I have lipsticks in many different shades of fuchsia, purple, and plum, but I swear they all seem to verge on magenta when I wear them. Luckily I like magenta.
There is a fine shimmer visible in the tube and in arm swatches, but it completely vanishes on the lips, so the sparkle-averse need not avoid Crush. I don't know why Revlon bothered adding shimmer to some of the balm stains if they look identical to their shimmer-free siblings when worn.
Left, one pass; right, two passes. I wanted to make the arm swatches wider than usual so you could see the tiny sparkles and the difference in color opacity, but they just look sloppy. Oh, well.
Now for lip swatches! One layer, freshly applied:
Two layers three hours later, after salad and iced coffee:
Six hours later; by this point, I'd had some water and used a clear lip balm.
As you can see from the last two photos, Crush is a bit drying. All stains are, though; it's just their nature. The nice thing about the Revlon stains (as opposed to, say, matte liquid lipsticks) is that you can apply some clear lip balm over the stain after the shine has worn off. And despite being drying, Crush doesn't emphasize my vertical lip lines or cling to dry spots. The color does shift to a brighter pink as it fades, but I don't think the change is as dramatic as some have claimed.
Here's Crush with no other makeup except concealer; I love how this shade of pinkish plum brightens up my face. By the way, my skin has been a lot better recently. After reading Monika's recent skincare post, I've begun double cleansing at night, and I think it's made a difference! (The light in my new apartment is also better, I'll admit.)
And here's Crush with two shades from the custom palette I made at theBalm's San Francisco store (review to come!). I'm also wearing ColourPop Lunch Money highlighter.
This is more color than I usually wear on my face at one time, but I just couldn't wait to try that duochrome blue/purple.
I also tried out a gradient lip with Crush, but couldn't get it quite right. I need practice!
In other news, I've been feeling so acquisitive recently. I've bought four lipsticks, two nail polishes, and an eyeshadow palette in just the last five weeks, and I still want MAC Antique Velvet and Essie Leggy Legend. I need to reread Liz's excellent post about her no-buy, or just gaze meditatively at this Jenny Holzer installation piece: