Dates of Purchase: September and October 2013
Grades: A-, A-
Notes: Wet n Wild's MegaLast lipsticks make me ask myself hard questions about my aesthetic threshold for makeup packaging. I'd like to believe that I'm the sort of person who cares more about the formula of a lipstick than the sleekness or uniqueness of its case. After all, we've all heard of lipsticks that look cool but perform badly (Kat von D's new Studded Kiss lipsticks come to mind). But what about the other extreme: a great lipstick in an ugly tube too short for the lipstick itself?
In other words, which is preferable: pure form or pure function? And if you chose the latter, would you enjoy carrying this around all day? Be honest.
Over a year after buying these lipsticks, I've come to accept that my tolerance for homely packaging is lower than I used to think. At first I was reluctant to confess this to myself, fearing that it would make me "shallow." Well, maybe it does, but lipstick is the sort of thing one likes for shallow reasons. There's no point in pretending otherwise. Stoplight Red and Purty Persimmon are long-lasting, pigmented, relatively non-drying satin-finish lipsticks, but I don't reach for them often because their appearance turns me off so much. When I wear a bold cherry red or red-orange lipstick, I want to think of myself as a bold bitch, and nothing destroys that feeling of boldness more quickly than touching up with a smeary, cheap-looking tube. A good quarter of the product juts out from the tube even when the lipstick is fully retracted, which makes it almost impossible to replace the cap without mashing lipstick all over it. And because the cap is clear, you can see the mess you've made. It's just kind of depressing. I mean, maybe it's cool in an I-don't-give-a-damn-I-just-want-red-lips way, but the fact is that I do give a damn. It's time I admitted it.
|I cleaned them up before taking this photo, of course.|
If you give less of a damn than I do, the MegaLast lipsticks are a great choice, especially for the price ($1.99 each, though I actually got Stoplight Red for $.99). Here are some swatches in natural light: Purty Persimmon on the left, Stoplight Red on the right. Check out that pigmentation!
Stoplight Red was part of my journey to find the perfect red lipstick, preferably matte. (I found it eventually in NARS Mysterious Red, which you already know because I wrote that installment of my Lipstick Chronology out of order.) Stoplight Red is a standard blue-based red, the sort of red that most of us own already. There's nothing truly special about it, but if you're missing this color in your collection and you're on a tight budget, you could do much worse.
I might have left Stoplight Red on the shelf had I not been drunk, but I was a couple of margaritas past caring whether it was too similar to Maybelline On Fire Red, which I'd bought a few months before. (This was also the CVS trip when I bought Wet n Wild Bare It All, a very unflattering nude: see this post for the full story.) Below, some comparison swatches:
|Left to right: NARS Mysterious Red, NYX Bloody Mary, Wet n Wild Stoplight Red, Maybelline On Fire Red.|
In the last couple of years, I've learned that I'm not crazy about most bright blue-based reds. I don't find them unflattering, but they always make me feel like I'm playing pinup. I've considered getting rid of Stoplight Red, but it has a tremendous amount of sentimental value: I wore it to a Janelle Monáe concert in Philadelphia in October 2013. Seeing the Electric Lady in person was overwhelming, especially as I'm not a concert-goer in general, and I don't want to lose my one physical memento of that night. As for digital mementos, I have quite a few blurry shots of the stage...
|Her signature quiff came undone as she danced. It was adorable.|
...as well as a very classy pre-concert bathroom selfie.
From today, a better photo of Stoplight Red on my face. Yes, I am aware that I desperately need a haircut.
Purty Persimmon was a more thoughtful purchase, as well as a sober one. I didn't have a full-coverage red-orange lipstick, and I didn't want to pay too much for a color that might not suit me. My experience with Stoplight Red had made me optimistic about Wet n Wild's brighter lipsticks, so I picked up Purty Persimmon when I was in Washington for my monthly dissertation seminar. I've spent many a post bitching about the shortcomings of my local CVS, and one of those shortcomings is that it doesn't carry Wet n Wild. During the year of my seminar, I ended up making a ritual of buying lipsticks at DC-area drugstores. The big CVS in Dupont Circle stocked all the new lipstick releases months before they showed up in my town; the small, dingy CVS near Eastern Market may have had a ceiling leak right above the Wet n Wild display, but at least I found Purty Persimmon.
This is as orange as I'm willing to go with lip color. I actually wore it quite often last summer (here, for instance). When I bought it, I was expecting more of an orange-red than a red-orange, but I don't find it completely unflattering (though it doesn't mesh perfectly with my skintone, either). Here it is with a few similar lipsticks:
|Left to right: Milani Sweet Nectar, Wet n Wild Purty Persimmon, Revlon Candy Apple, Revlon Fire and Ice.|
And on my face:
Purty Persimmon is more matte than Stoplight Red, and I find it to be slightly more drying, too. As for longevity...well. I'm honestly never sure how to report on lipstick wear time, since very few lipsticks last more than a few hours on me. These lipsticks also last a few hours, and I don't detect much staining as they fade. They're pretty comfortable to wear, though it's hard to forget you're wearing lipstick when you have them on.
I'm planning to keep both Purty Persimmon and Stoplight Red for the foreseeable future, though writing up this review has made me resolve never to buy another Wet n Wild lipstick. No matter how enticing the price or how pigmented the formula, those tubes will always make me sad. Do you find that you have an aesthetic cutoff point for packaging, too?