Monday, January 28, 2013
Review: Lipstick Queen products
I'm a lipstick addict. This probably doesn't shock you, given the title of this blog and my blatant inability to wear particularly dramatic eye makeup on a regular basis, but I just want to make that point very, very clear. I am not a casual lipstick user. I am not the kind of woman who puts on some lipstick as an afterthought to finish a look. For me, lipstick is the single most important part of my makeup, the most exciting and exhilarating step in the process of painting my face. Just the feeling of applying lipstick fills me with the warm fuzzies. Tacky leggings and uber-black mascaras are fun; lipsticks are necessary. I am a lipstick addict.
It turns out I'm not the only one. "Renee!" you might gasp. "Some bitch named Poppy King stole your 'Lipstick Queen' title!" And if we were still in the PLQ (Pre-Lipstick Queen) era, I might've agreed with you, shouting, "DAT CROWN IS MIIIINE!" But we are now in the LQO (Lipstick Queen Obsessed) era, and oh, gaddamn, Poppy King can take any crown she wants as long as she keeps making awesome, awesome lip products. Seriously, I almost wet myself when I saw this display at the Denver airport:
Now, before we get on with this review, let me just get a little something out of my system: I do not like moisturizing lipsticks. I think moisturizing lipsticks are bullcrap. In my experience, they're too oily, they slide all over my lips, they lack pigment, and they barely last past an hour. I do not need my lipstick to be moisturizing. If I want my lips to be moisturized, I'll use lip balm. End of story.
What I do expect from my lipstick, however, is that it not be drying. IE, I do not need it to add moisture, but my lipstick should not taketh mine moisture away and leave me with Sahara Desert Mouth. I also tend to shy away from sheer lipsticks and go for more opaque formulas, and while I'm not all about "longwear" products, I like a lipstick that lasts for a few hours. Everything I've tried from Lipstick Queen fits this bill to a T.
The Lipstick Queen brand, as a whole, has the kind of packaging that appeals to me: simple, elegant, and no-fuss. Lipstick Queen products generally arrive in really pretty blister packs or boxes, but because I was stupid and didn't keep them around, I don't have any pictures for you. Suffice to say that they are Super Duper Pretty (TM), and you can find pictures of that shtuff on the Lipstick Queen website. The prices are quite reasonable and fit in to mid-end category, with all of these products ranging in price from $18-22, depending on the formula.
The biggest issue with this brand is that it's a niche brand, meaning it doesn't have major production or advertising funds and therefore doesn't pop up in regular retail locations all that often. (Hence why I flailed like a maniac when I saw a Lipstick Queen stand at the airport.) I purchased Free Ride from the airport and got Sinner Pink at Beauty.com, while the Jean Queen lipstick and Chase pencil came from MakeupAlley.com users. Your best bet is usually to purchase these products online; SpaceNK, Nordstrom, and Beauty.com all carry a wide range of Lipstick Queen products.
Let's start with the lipsticks. The Lipstick Queen Jean Queen lipstick ($18) is specifically designed to compliment various shades of denim. In other words, it's a warm pink that's meant to pop against the 90% of denim clothing that's a cool blue color. The few swatches I could locate on Google made this product look like a light, slightly-coral pink, so I was downright appalled when I uncapped my own tube. In the bullet, Jean Queen looks like a rather dark rose-red color, which, hey, I'm not against, but that's not what I signed up for! Fear not: it applies as a not-too-bright, just-right warm, watermelon pink. It's what I call a "pigmented sheer," meaning it has a lot of color payoff, but you can sort of see your lips peeking through the product. (Man, it's hard to explain that concept...) The formula is glossy and smooth, which I would normally hate, but it actually stays on the lips quite nicely; after eating, for example, I notice that a lot of the shine has gone away, but the color is still on my lips. I wear this color even when I'm not wearing jeans because I think it works well with my coloring. I'd actually go so far as to call this a Holy Grail. If you prefer glosses, they make a click-pen style gloss version for the same price.
The Lipstick Queen Sinner lipstick in Pink Sinner ($20) is quite different in terms of formula. It's not glossy or slick at all, but rather creamy, opaque, and satiny, with fantastic color payoff and 4-5 hours worth of flawless staying power. This lipstick has a 90% pigment formula, meaning it's rather dense and I can feel it when I'm wearing it. This is fine by me, but those who prefer a weightless lip color will probably want to stick to Jean Queen or one of the Saint lipsticks, which are composed of 10% pigment and therefore contain more of the lighter base ingredients. The only odd thing about this product is that, while it looks like a medium beige pink in the tube and swatches that way on my hand, it has a noticeable peach tinge to it when I wear it on my lips. I hated this inexplicable color morph the first time I wore it, but I've come to love it, and I now consider Pink Sinner a "nude I can actually wear." This formula also plays well with every gloss I've paired it with, including the thicker Bobbi Brown Rich Colour Gloss in Tutu and the very thin NYX Round Gloss in Natural.
The Chinatown Glossy Pencil in Chase ($20) is the perfect option for those who found the Revlon Balm Stains too drying and the Clinique Chubby Sticks too sheer. Chase is a particularly lovely and wearable coral red. This is a another "pigmented sheer" product, and you can continue layering it until you get the color saturation and glossyness you desire. It's incredibly slick to the touch, almost greasy feeling, but it doesn't slide off of your lips or feel disgusting when applied; actually, it's quite comfortable and non-drying, and is probably the closest thing to "moisturizing" in this entire review.
Perhaps my least favorite product of the bunch is the Oxymoron Matte Gloss in Free Ride ($22), but that doesn't mean it's bad. I just had to pay a markup for it because I bought it at a duty-free airport shop ($28 plus tax), which I kinda hate, and the color doesn't quite work on my lips unless I pair it with a pencil or a gloss. The formula is reminiscent of a dry-ish cream blush, meaning it feels hard when you first touch it, but it easily warms up under your fingertip and becomes quite creamy. My first impression was that it was a matte lipstick in a pot, and that calling it a "matte gloss" was a gimmick, but it really does behave a lot like a gloss: it's lighter like a gloss, but matte and opaque like a lipstick. This doesn't have the staying power of, say, the Pink Sinner lipstick, but it certainly doesn't smear all over my mouth, it just sort of fades after a few hours. I actually prefer this as a blusher; the dryer formula can make it a bit tricky to blend in to my dry cheeks, but it looks quite natural and brightening if you apply it correctly. Essentially, it's a lovely product, but it's best for people whose tastes run somewhat counter to mine.
Overall, I am completely obsessed with this brand and would rate all of these products a standout 5 out of 5, with your personal satisfaction depending entirely on your preferences. I plan on owning a number of the Sinner lipsticks, and I'm actually considering purchasing the Jean Queen gloss and a Saint lipstick. Considering how I feel about most glosses and sheer lipsticks...well, that says something about this brand's mystical voodoo magic.
And hey, speaking of tacky leggings...guess what I'm wearing under that black tunic?