Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lipstick Comparisons: Plums

As mentioned in yesterday's teaser, here's Part 1 of the (mostly) cool-toned lipstick series. Today's spotlight is on the purples, plums, violets, and grapes.

NOTE: This topic has been updated since its original publication on 4/13 with five additional colors.

First a paper swatch of the above lineup:

  • Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Crush. This color seems black cherry, though something kept me from including it in the red group. It applies sheer from a retractable pencil (like Clinique Chubby Sticks), and Revlon wasn't kidding when they called these stains; color lasts ALL day, even through food and drink. Therefore, I apply once per day. If I reapply, the color builds up to a neon intensity. After the shine wears off (about an hour), I top the stain with a sheer lipstick/gloss hybrid in the same color family, like Chantecaille Super Sheer Lipstick, which will appear in a future lipstick series. When I want my lip color to last all day or evening, I select a color from Revlon's Balm Stain.
  • NARS Sheer Lipstick, Damage (reviewed here) is a muted grape. It's a hint too muted for me, as my lip pigment makes the color disappear. If your lip pigment is light or you coloring is very soft, check this one out.
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur (reviewed here). A weightless, long-time favorite. If I weren't a self-admitted lipstick addict (too fickle to stick to one brand the way my mother did), I could die with this lipstick in my hands. The one thing I don't love about this lip formula is that it contains shimmer. The shimmer is subtle, but I don't love it. Overall, Chanel is not an ideal line for truly cool Summer skins.
  • Dior Addict 881 Fashion Week. A juicy, sheer, cool-toned, rosy violet with blue-red shimmer. I love the way these lipsticks feel. They have a tiny bit more traction than the oilier Chanel Rouge Coco Shine formula. Dior Addict also has many more color options for cool-toned people (everyone, really). The packaging is pretty,  too, even if you can't stand the lipsticks up on its bottom.
  • MAC Lustre, Plumful. Though I've been shopping MAC products since 1993, I missed this gem until a couple months ago. Plummier and more rosy than Damage, Bonheur, and Fashion Week, Plumful has a smooth, silky formula and a slightly multidimensional finish that ends in a subtle frost (it's a lustre, after all) and settles down into a cream. Shine and color are not long lasting, but if your favorite lipstick formula is more like balm than a matte, and you enjoy the ritual of applying lipstick a few times a day, cool-toned people should not miss this one. I passed on the Limited Edition "Year of the Snake" version because: 1) Eeeuw; and 2) once the embossing wore down with lipstick use, it was just another black MAC lipstick tube.
  • Revlon Lip Butter, Raspberry Pie (originally reviewed here). This is a gorgeous red-raspberry color and quite opaque. The color is too saturated for my pale coloring, at least straight from the tube. To temper the intensity, I blot to a stain or apply with a lip brush. These methods also ameliorate the shine, which I don't mind. Raspberry Pie seems ideally suited for Winter skin tones or for the higher contrasting Summers who have deep lip pigment and dark brows. I love it anyway. It's also an outstanding value, considering you can pick one up for $5.50 or less if on BOGO. These lipsticks have been compared to Chanel Rouge Coco Shine, but I don't agree. Chanel has a far silkier formula and sheer finish, while these lip butters have an almost petroleum feel on the lips, and many are extremely pigmented, even staining. I think the packaging is adorable.
  • Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Darling. Though this color does not have a direct match on any Summer fan, I like this mauvish lilac, and it is the only one of the Kissable Balm Stains that I can reapply without augmenting the voltage. 
  • Clinique Different Lipstick, Raspberry Glace. This one is an odd duck. It looks like a plum-red berry on paper, but my lips turn it to sludge. (I included comparisons below with the fans--you don't need to see my mud lips.) This color is usually recommended for True Summers, but unless your lip pigment is light and not very rosy, I'd guess that Raspberry Glace would find a happier home among Soft Summers. I also don't love the formula/finish. It feels a gritty and applies drier than other colors in this same formula, which is overall, pretty good.
  • Chantecaille Super Sheer Lipstick, Maia. I have nothing bad to say about this lipstick, other than the ridiculous price. Maia is an extremely sheer, very cool, purple rose berry. I'd call it a tinted lip balm, not a lipstick, and its too-quick-to-fade-for-$33 is probably why it hasn't sold well and has disappeared from Nordstrom's site. It is still available at Note: there used to be many more colors available, so I assume that when this sells out, that will be the end.
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Unique (not reviewed but swatched more extensively here). It looks plummy on paper, doesn't it? Not on my lips. Chanel's ubiquitous gold microshimmer warms up an otherwise cool berry, making Unique ideal for cool-neutral/neutral-cool skin tones.
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Lipcolor Party Pink. This is an outstanding color, and if anyone knows of a department store brand of the exact same hue, value, and chroma, I would love to know about it, just so I can compare the two. You may wonder how a lipstick with Pink in its name ended up in the "Plums" article? Does it look pink to you? Not to me ... maybe if I squint, I see a deep cool rose.
By request, I will compare lipstick swatches to the 12 Tone Summer palettes. I own all three, so whether you are True/Cool, Light, or Soft Summer (or you don't know and you're curious about how these colors stack up against one another), read on.

**Note to those who care: The 12 Tone Corporate fans for True and Light Summer are on the way, palettes that include more reds. I also ordered the True Winter fan so I could see what a more saturated version of my own coloring looks like. Soon the swatching possibilities will be legion!

For those of you who care deeply about color harmonies, I hope you can see how these colors complement one another. Raspberry Pie, however, is an outlier, as it is brighter than the others. Crush appears equally saturated (it's actually sheer--I guess I glommed it on), but overall I think Crush harmonizes in tone with the group. Crush is also a close match to the 2.10 color chip.

Original photo, without the 5 added lipsticks

Below are all eleven colors with what seems to be the single most complementary sleeve in the True Summer palette.

I wondered it Raspberry Pie might lean toward Light Summer. I placed all three 12 Tone Summer fans next to the swatches. The Light Summer fan, shown below with True Summer, actually looks lonely with no color friends in the lineup, but don't worry, it will get its chance to show off soon.

Original photo, without the 5 added lipsticks

Above shows one sleeve in each of the red/rose/pink options for the two neighboring seasons. The lip colors seem obviously cool-toned in hue, mostly medium in value and medium chroma with Damage having the lowest chroma, though Plumful seems surprisingly restrained on paper. My lip pigment pulls Plumful into the bright berry arena.

Original photo, without the 5 added lipsticks

In the image above, I removed the Light Summer rose sleeve and added Soft Summer (SSu). Though Damage, Bonheur, and Fashion Week seem to harmonize with the SSu 7.1-7.2 color chips, Soft Summers would want to try these colors on first. Damage would probably be a good bet (closer photo later in this post), but the Chanel and Dior lipsticks are bright on me, probably too bright for Soft Summers (and too cool for Light Summers), but YMMV.

NARS Damage harmonizes nicely with Soft Summer 7.2

Below is Raspberry Glace compared to the Soft Summer fan. I think it harmonizes nicely with ss 7.3.

And one of the best color matches of the lot: the surprisingly pretty Maybelline Party Pink.

Below you should be able to see that the purple-based lipsticks do not harmonize seamlessly with the Soft and Light palettes, though Soft Summers might have better luck than Lights. (Soft Summer and Light Summer sleeves shown only.)

Bottom line: It seems to me that most colors in this post would work for a True Summer, probably none for a Light Summer (though Chanel Unique might be worth trying), and very likely NARS Damage and Clinique Raspberry Glace (and maybe MAC Plumful) for Soft Summer.

All photos taken by me


  1. Even though I like Damage & how it feels on my lips, I now completely understand why it just disappears into my lips. Bonheur feels fabulous on but again is MLBB. Plumful is great on me. I've tried Raspberry Pie & it was just as jarring on my lips as it is on the paper. It was gifted away.

    1. Yes, some people think I am nuts when I call Bonheur MLBB, as it is really barely a shade above my own lip pigment. Plumful has that tiny bit of extra oomph. And Clinique Fresh Watermelon (upcoming post) is about as vibrant as I can comfortably go.

      I can't get rid of Raspberry Pie. I keep hoping I have been wrong and that it really looks good on me, but you need to be Snow White to pull off such vibrancy well. My father has that coloring, but I doubt he'd want my Raspberry Pie. :)

  2. I love your articles; they are so informative.

  3. Nice comparisons. Damage, for which I had high hopes, was a rather bland medium pink on my lips. Hardly any plum at all. (I noticed as soon as I scrolled down to the Soft Summer colors, I went "ooooooooh". I'm trying to tell myself that just because I'm attracted to a palette doesn't mean it will be the most flattering on me!).

    1. I sure learned that the hard way. Even though I was 100% certain of my season when I left my PCA, that didn't stop me from lusting after Light Summer colors and trying to be a LSu. It's OK that we like colors outside our palette and that we even wear them, as long as we know those colors aren't our best.

  4. Thanks for doing this. I am a true summer and I love makeup so this blog is like so AWESOME!!! I think I need that Chanel lippie....

    1. Not to enable you, but the Bonher remains one of my favorites in the last few years, and I have cycled, worn down, and tossed a LOT of lipstick, more than any other product I put on my face, probably because it adds the most color (i.e., I don't wear particularly colorful eyeshadow.)

  5. I can't wait for the next installment!You have me wondering about Fresh Watermelon ( must run to Sephora to check it out}

    1. As I saw swatching, Fresh Watermelon seemed to fall into the Red category, though it leans strongly toward berry. So it will be coming soon.

  6. It's a pity I don't like the Just Bitten Kissables because that color is so perfect!


    1. Crush is gorgeous, but even applied at its most sheer, and even though it appears to be a perfect match to that color chip, I think it's best suited for Winter types or Summers with the highest contrast possible.

      Maybe there will be something similar when I add the other lipsticks to this post.

  7. Wow, what a thorough post! Amazing....

    Revlon Raspberry Pie is the one that keeps jumping out at me... must hunt it out!

    Nic xx

  8. This really helps a lot! Thanks :)


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