Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Red: ColourPop Lux Lipstick in Liquid Courage

Inspired by Renee's recent post on her upcoming yearlong no-buy, I've been thinking about how to reduce my own beauty consumption in 2019. I was particularly struck by Renee's observation that her "interests are varied, but the blog is relatively linear--how might that change if I created more of the kind of content I really wanted to create?" This resonated with me because, while I do enjoy reviewing beauty products, those aren't the posts I have the most fun creating. Review posts are formulaic, and though there's nothing wrong with having a formula, it can get old. My real passion lies in writing bigger, more holistic posts about cosmetic history, or trends in the beauty industry, or Glossier's ridiculous marketing gambits, or whatever. As a result, I currently have a backlog of at least fifteen products that I bought in 2018 but have put off reviewing because it felt more pressing to, say, snark at length on Bite's zodiac lipsticks. I probably won't do a no-buy for the entirety of 2019, but I think purchasing fewer new products will push me to be more creative with my blog content (and with the makeup I already own).

In the meantime, how to blog about the stuff that has piled up on my shelf in the last six months? I've considered different formats for reviewing these new products (group them into posts by brand? review one lipstick a day for seven days?) but laziness and entropy have had their usual effect, and I've decided to just write the reviews in whatever order and at whatever rate takes my fancy. So, basically, no change whatsoever from blog business as usual, except that I'll try to keep the rambling to a minimum so I can post more often. (I'm off to a great start with this review, clearly.) 

Today is Thanksgiving, and if there's one makeup item that encapsulates late fall and its revelry for me, it's brick-red lipstick. It's a little more aggressively festive than most fall makeup, but less sparkly and dramatic than traditional holiday makeup. For almost four years, my go-to brick-red lipstick was NYX Alabama, but I destashed it earlier this year after its texture changed. I didn't want to repurchase it when there were so many other tempting reds out there (plus, I'm over NYX's cheap lipstick packaging), so when fall rolled around, I began searching for the perfect brick red. One of my favorite makeup purchases of 2018 was ColourPop Lux Lipstick in Dream Easy, and there happened to be a promising-looking brick red in the Lux Lipstick formula, so I ordered Liquid Courage on the last day of my August no-buy.


I like the Lux Lipstick packaging a lot. It's a sturdy rose-gold plastic tube with little stars all over, and the lid snaps on securely. I'm a little worried that the rose-gold coating will rub off eventually, but I've carried both Dream Easy and Liquid Courage in a crowded makeup bag several times each, and both tubes still look almost new.


The bullet is fairly wide, but with a rounded tip that makes it easy to outline lips. Oh, and it's imprinted with stars as well! That's the thing about ColourPop: sometimes they totally half-ass packaging and design, even in their pricier products (exhibit A: the blush/highlight duos from this spring), and sometimes they put a surprising amount of thought and effort into a $7 lipstick.


(The star design brings back strong memories of the Hollywood Hair Barbie I got when I was five, in 1993. She came with a hair stencil so you could spray-paint pink stars on her hair. The neon/rhinestone/lamé wardrobes of my childhood Barbies had more of an effect on my adult aesthetic than I feel comfortable admitting.)


To my relief, Liquid Courage turned out to be exactly the color I wanted: a bold red with a slight brown undertone. (As every veteran ColourPop customer knows, website swatches mean nothing, and you never know exactly which color will pop out of the box. I assume that's the origin of the brand name.) In direct artificial light or sunlight, Liquid Courage looks close to a true red...


...but otherwise it's a perfect '40s brick red, perfect for wearing with a houndstooth suit and a shiny shoulder-length mullet-y hairstyle that doesn't move when you turn your head (I watched The Third Man recently). I wish I'd kept Alabama so I could do comparison swatches, but if my memory doesn't fail me, it was basically identical to Liquid Courage. Here's Liquid Courage swatched with four other dark and/or brownish reds, in direct sun (left) and shade (right):

Top to bottom: NARS 413 BLKR, Maybelline Smoking Red, ColourPop Liquid Courage, NARS Cruella, Marc Jacobs Rei of Light.

The Lux Lipstick formula is one of my favorite beauty discoveries of 2018. In finish, lipfeel, and longevity, it reminds me very much of the Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme formula. Liquid Courage is opaque in one swipe, with a faint cake-batter smell. It's quite shiny when first applied, but it sets within ten minutes to a semi-matte finish. It's also very long-lasting: I wore it to dinner last night and it looked almost intact after drinks, salad, fish, and light blotting with a napkin. Unfortunately, Liquid Courage's extraordinary longevity comes from the fact that it stains the lips for hours. I went through several tissues and applications of lip balm trying to remove it last night. (For the record, Dream Easy doesn't stain at all.) Like most very pigmented lipsticks, Liquid Courage isn't moisturizing, but it's not drying, either. Here are a couple of lip swatches in different lighting:



And some full faces! Outside, with nondescript makeup on eyes and cheeks, sorry:


In bright artificial light, with ColourPop Tea Garden (a fabulous duochrome that I promise I'll review before the end of the year) and ABH Golden Ochre on my eyes:


Finally, a rare well-lit photo taken inside my apartment, in natural light. My eyeshadow is Glossier Lidstar in Cub.


More reviews to come soon! Until then, happy Thanksgiving, enjoy the upcoming sales if you're planning to take advantage of them, and stay strong if you're not!

6 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of these lipsticks too! I almost bought another one during the current sale, but I've resisted so far, and free shipping is over now. I also don't often feel inspired to write straight review posts. I always feel like I need a hook or an angle to be motivated, even if it's something as minor as a comparison (but the more elaborate the better). You do a great job of not making your product reviews formukaic though.

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    1. I feel exactly the same way about writing reviews. There are so many blogs and review channels out there with better photography, better lighting, better makeup skills, etc, so I ask myself constantly: why would someone turn to my blog instead? (Frankly, not enough bloggers ask themselves this question.) I think independent, low-budget reviews are useful for a brand like Glossier, since most reviews for their products are written by reps. But if I'm writing a straightforward review for a product that's been covered already by trustworthy sources and that's easily accessible to most of my readers, I find it hard to get motivated or inspired.

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  2. I own a lot of lipsticks, and Liquid Courage is by far my favourite. The colour and formula are just perfect for me. Hi Striker is another classic red of theirs that is very bright and blue-based, with a more matte finish. Looking forward to seeing your review of Tea Garden as that is another of my faves! It just looks so neutral despite being obviously green and red?

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    1. That's the thing about the two CP duochromes I've tried (Tea Garden and Glass Bull): they're not neutral shades, but they somehow *act* like neutrals because they're sheer and they go with so many other colors. I can wear Tea Garden with mustard shadows, or red, or orange, or brown!

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  3. I think you look great in that lipstick. Also, I've always enjoyed your "more holistic posts". There's something so cheerful (for me) reading the writing of a smart woman having fun being a smart woman. So, I look forward to such posts.

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    1. "A smart woman having fun being a smart woman" is one of the most delightful compliments my blog has ever received! Thank you so much. <3

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