Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen

This lipstick did not appeal to me when it came out a year or so ago. I find "universally flattering" claims to be both tiresome and grossly overstated, and I was not interested in a sheer lip product. However, after recently noticing that matte, pigmented lipstick makes my aging lips appear thinner, I renewed my efforts to find a MLBB* shade in a less opaque finish. Out of the depths of my subconscious bubbled up a memory of Lipstick Queen Jean Queen ($18) lipstick.

I began reading reviews and asking around. "Universal" colors are almost always too warm for me, and all of my intended MLBB purchases have been failures, ending up too muted or too light. Why was it so hard to find a sheer, clear rose? I wondered if Jean Queen might be similar in value, saturation, and finish to Lipstick Queen's Medieval, a formula I like but whose color is too warm. A friend thought I might not like Jean Queen because it wasn't clear, but I wonder if she formed her impression based on the darkish color in the tube and did not swatch it.

I bought it, anyway and prepared myself for disappointment. When it arrived, however, I felt a little jolt, that inner woo hoo I think we all know about. What I saw was a mid-toned rose. Could this be it?

I also liked the clean and spare blue metallic tube, which feels weighty in the hand.

I'd call Jean Queen's color a rose that contains equal amounts of blue and yellow undertones. The color appears so rosy cool in the tube, even dark, but when swatched (and worn on my lips), I detected a moderately-bright, sunny clarity that lends the pigment some warmth--but not so much warmth I cannot wear it (no orange or brown).

Sheer rosy goodness
The following images show Jean Queen in indirect sunlight and in natural light, no flash. The sunny shot better shows the warmth, which is likely what allows many skin tones to enjoy it.

The lipstick is unscented and the finish is sheer, silky, and does not sit on top of my lips. It applies with plenty of shine but no shimmer.

Jean Queen wears about the same as Medieval and most lip glosses. The shine lasts 30-45 minutes, very much like Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine formula. What made me happiest is this lipstick is not drying over time, as many lipsticks can be that start out moisturizing. For three days, I wore nothing but Jean Queen from early morning to just before bed, and my lips felt great. Lipstick that is drying is my #2 deal breaker, right after an obviously bad color match.

I also bought Jean Queen Lip Gloss because it was all I could initially find. It does not appear cooler than the lipstick, as some reviews claim, but it is more pigmented, which I find perplexing. The goo is dispensed through a squeeze tube. I see the same clear rosy color, decent pigment, and not too sticky a finish, generally unobjectionable if somewhat redundant. If you prefer lip gloss over lipstick and are interested in this color, the Jean Queen Lip Gloss formula is the way to go.

Jean Queen lipstick and lip gloss comparison
If your lip pigment is light, Jean Queen will be moderately bright and rosy; it could be a good red alternative if you found Medieval to be too vivid. My lips are a medium-pigmented mauve, and Jean Queen boosts my own color by a half shade.

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen -- lipstick only
As silly as I initially found the go-with-denim claims (especially as I almost never wear denim), Jean Queen seems less "matching" jeans than a sheer, non-nude alternative to Poppy's deeply-pigmented signature lipsticks, making Jean Queen a casual lip product I can grab without too much thought or planning and apply without a mirror. Since denim is the epitome of a casual look, I think her marketing is actually inspired.

Bottom line: A natural, juicy color that's an obvious choice year round. Rosy and not too vivid, think of Jean Queen as a tinted lip balm, only much much nicer. Jean Queen is double plus good.

* MLBB = my lips but better
All photos mine


  1. I've always wondered about this shade! It looks lovely on you!
    I've been enjoying rose shades lately as well.
    I have Medieval and love it. Next time I'm in the US I will have to pick one up!

    1. Do! We have similar coloring, so I think you might like it.

  2. Oooo. The comparisons in texture to Medieval (so moisturizing!) and in color to Edward Bess Night Romance (so pretty!) makes me want to give this a try. Thanks for the helpful review!

    1. BlackCat, Jean Queen might not be pigmented enough for you. The end result is along the lines of Revlon's Berry Smoothie. How do you feel about the color of Medieval? If it's barely just dark enough, then JQ will probably be too light, not that you shouldn't run out and try it anyway! I was certainly predisposed to dislike it, and it pleasantly surprised me.

  3. Thank you for this review!! I've been wondering about this one for some time. I'm lately going with much less makeup for everyday, and have been looking for something a bit more subdued. My lips are very pale, so this sounds like it might be just the thing for me!


    1. Shan, I was exactly where you are now, going from my beloved pigmented lipsticks to a more subdued variety. Pigmented lips used to be "a look" for me; in fact, I was wearing the bright lips/minimal eye makeup look like Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy before I knew of her existence. If your lips are pale, you have an ocean of opportunity!

  4. lol @ "inner woo hoo"

    This looks like a lovely colour. :)

    Have you tried Laura Mercier Babylips? It's a sheer pink-toned MLBB shade that I find a touch too cool for my liking.

    1. Hi Liz, I have not tried Baby Lips, though I have often wondered if I should. I read reviews ages ago and might have come to the conclusion that it would be too warm, but I don't think I have ever seen it in person to try on. I will look at it the next time I am in Sephora or wherever else LM is sold. I have Healthy Lips (which is oddly not sheer at all), and I like it well enough, but it has too much brown in it for me these days.

  5. That color is lovely! Interesting packaging:) I have never heard of it.

  6. I like these colors of lipstick.


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