Sunday, February 7, 2016

Changes to Revlon Balm Stain, Lacquer Balm, and Matte Balm Lineups

After reviewing Revlon's newish Matte Balm in Fierce, I realized that I hadn't yet seen a comprehensive roundup of the recent changes to the popular Balm Stain, Lacquer Balm, and Matte Balm lines. So I returned to my local CVS today to do some reconnaissance, and here's what I discovered:

Revlon is now referring to its Colorburst Balm Stains, Lacquer Balms, and Matte Balms as the "Revlon Crayon Collection." Instead of being separated by finish, the three lipstick ranges are all jumbled together on the shelf and arranged roughly by color instead. There are now ten Matte Balms, eight Balm Stains, and just four Lacquer Balms. That "new shades" boast is hilariously misleading—far more shades have been discontinued than added, and the new additions are all in the Matte Balm line.

The current lineup of nudes and pinks (again, these are the Balm Stains, Lacquer Balms, and Matte Balms):

L-R: Enchanting, Demure, Elusive, Honey, Cherish, Sweetheart, Showy.

The current lineup of plums, oranges, reds, and browns:

L-R: Passionate, Smitten, Crush (though that's actually a tube of Unapologetic), Fiery, Sultry, Standout, Rendezvous, Unapologetic, Striking, Provocateur, Romantic, Enticing, Adore, Fierce, Coy.

The shades that have escaped the purge, listed by finish:

Balm Stains:

Lacquer Balms:

Matte Balms:
Enchanting (new)
Fierce (new)
Fiery (new)
Passionate (new)

This means that Revlon has discontinued the following shades:

Balm Stains: Charm, Darling, Lovesick, Precious (I know some of these were discontinued less recently, but I'm not sure which ones)

Lacquer Balms: Coquette, Flirtatious, Ingenue, Tease, Vivacious, Whimsical

Matte Balms: Audacious, Complex, Mischievous, Shameless

Why the sudden changes? Well, here's a clue. Revlon has been struggling financially for years. The brand expanded into China in 2013 (thus losing its longtime cruelty-free status), but pulled out of the Chinese market by the end of the year. This Forbes article notes that Revlon reported revenues of $2 billion in 2014, as opposed to $10 billion for Estee Lauder and $30 billion for L'Oreal. Color cosmetics is not Revlon's only concern, but it's the most public, and we've seen Revlon introducing and discontinuing products like mad in the last year or two. The Matte and Lacquer Balms were only just released in the fall of 2013! Every beauty brand does this sort of thing occasionally (Bite Beauty has just discontinued its entire Luminous Creme line, for instance), but Revlon's products have seemed particularly prone to upheaval recently. I'm curious what will happen to the brand going forward, and whether we'll see more discontinuations this year. I'm not above stockpiling Sultry if I have to.


  1. I hope Revlon doesn't go under. I really only like their lip products--but I really like their lip products. I don't know if discontinuing shades is necessarily a sign of trouble, though? I think in addition to getting rid of things that sell poorly, it can actually be a good move to discontinue products, because then if your favorite disappears, you might buy three more to try to replace it. I remember reading about that as a strategy on the Beauty and the Bullshit blog, which was written by someone who had worked for L'Oreal (I think?). Sadly, she doesn't seem to be blogging anymore.
    And I should send you my Sultry. It's just not quite right on me.

    1. Yeah, I doubt this signals imminent catastrophe (and if catastrophe is imminent, discontinuing a few lipsticks won't help). But it does seem that Revlon has much less money for research and development than comparable brands and is now just scrambling to keep up with trends. I've lost count of the number of new lip products they've launched in the past couple of years: Moisture Stains, HD lipsticks, HD glosses, the new "liquid matte" lipsticks that aren't actually matte, etc. It feels like they're randomly throwing products at the wall to see what sticks.

      I have lip-product tunnel vision for Revlon, as well! None of their other products have ever tempted me, except for a few nail polishes (Elegant is one of my HG neutral shades).

  2. You know, I've been really disappointed by Revlon lately. I really loved the Colorburst line, but they basically replaced it with these balms--which don't play well with my dry lips OR last more than an hour. At least they haven't discontinued the Super Lustrous ones yet...

    1. The Colorburst lipsticks were my favorite drugstore lipsticks EVER. So luminous and moisturizing! I wish I'd had a chance to try more shades before they were discontinued, but I did manage to grab a backup of Fuchsia. I do wonder if they're going to discontinue some of the Super Lustrous line next--there are just so many shades and they can't all sell well.

  3. I did really like the scented nail polish line too! Wintermint is my HG nail polish hands down no contest, but I lost my bottle after 1 mani :B

    I feel like they've been trying too hard to do their lipsticks recently, the HD lipstick line seems really bad. Revlon just doesn't seem to hit the trendy mark anymore. But then again, if indie brands can do decent liquid lipstick (I'm talking real indie 1 person operations) it shouldnt be difficult for a GIANT corporation to come up with something halfway decent right? Idk. They had a few gems in non lipstick related stuff, like the Coral Reef cream blush and rhe lash potion liner nonsense, that was somehow all DCed. Who knows what shenanigans they are up to.

    1. I wish they'd improve their existing formulas instead of releasing a bunch of mediocre new products, but I guess they've decided that the 93578th iteration of HD Lip whatever will get more attention. I did think it was cool that they re-released several vintage lipstick shades back in 2014. They have a rich history that they should play up more!

    2. Yes, I loved that collection! I have Icy Violet and lost it and liked it so much I repurchased. It's just that in 2015 they didn't do anything right...

    3. I was so excited to hear about that collection, but none of the lipsticks really appealed to me--either they were too close to colors I already owned, or they were too shimmery/frosty for my tastes. They should do another vintage collection now that '90s shades are so popular!

  4. I have a bunch of Revlon lipsticks but now that I think about it I haven't bought anything from them in years.

    1. I think I feel a certain loyalty to Revlon because it was the first beauty brand that really grabbed my attention. I was intrigued by their historical lipsticks like Cherries in the Snow and Persian Melon, and I still think Revlon makes some of the best drugstore lipsticks out there...but also some of the worst. The number of products they offer has become overwhelming, yet they don't seem to be innovating at all.

  5. I'm sad they discontinued Lovesick - that was my first lipstick love back in 2013. Now I don't feel bad about having a backup of it!

    1. It seems that a lot of people liked that one! I remember hearing about it often on xoVain a couple of years ago.

  6. If they ever did discontinue Sultry, I've seen swatches of Maybelline's Touch of Spice being a perfect dupe. Touch of Spice also happens to be one of my top 5 favorite lipsticks!

    1. Honestly, I'm not too worried about any of my favorite lipsticks being discontinued: even if I don't get a backup, there are SO many out there right now that I'm sure to find another favorite someday. I've heard good things about the Maybelline matte line!

  7. It's funny how people look at things differently, when I saw the 2billions revenue compared to Lauder's 10, it seems that Revlon is doing great since EL has so many subsidiaries...Of course l'oreal is an even bigger conglomerate. So I wouldn't compare them side by side.

    When Revlon entered China, it probably failed to realize that there is already huge market of individual sellers/business hoard them in US drugstores and just ship the products straight to China. Unless they are coming up with items that are drastically better. They are essentially selling the same products with a much higher tax, the same thing people can get off taobao...

    To me, I think Revlon's product has always been solid but the colors has n't been too buzz-worthy until they get Gucci Westman. Now they got a new artistic director who just throw out whatever is trendy on instagram...

    To make shelf space for the trendy items they have to get rid of the older items. At least they also managed to help their failing daughter brand Almay (I think 90% of the Almay butter lipstick are straight-up recycled from the discontinued lip butter/same thing with eyeshadow...But I guess it's a good thing now that I get back-ups at a cheaper price).

    I wonder who Revlon is going to hire next because I don't thing the current dude is selling it...

    1. You're right, those articles didn't take into account that Estee Lauder and L'Oreal have WAY more subsidiaries than Revlon does. (I didn't take that into account, either...) I'm curious whether rushing those trendy items onto the shelves will help Revlon at all.

      I knew that Almay was owned by Revlon, but it never occurred to me that the butter lipsticks were just Lip Butters in different packaging! I wouldn't be surprised, though.

  8. Is there any dupe for their lacquer balm in ingenue 145??? Because that is the only nude that suits me...������