Monday, November 25, 2013

Lipstick Comparisons: Pinks

Long promised (and long overdue) to the True Summer Sisterhood Facebook group, I present the pink lipstick swatchfest. Pink might seem like an odd color to feature this time of year, but it should not matter. Some of us do not wear autumnal shades well, and as long as the color harmonizes with skin tone, the color cannot be wrong, no matter how warm or cold it is outside, because it looks like YOU—only better.

But if pink seems too springlike, you could choose your version of plum or berry or red or rose.

This will be a pictorial review, not a product review. If I've already featured a lipstick mentioned in this post, I'll include a link to it. Most of those posts will have their own swatches and comparisons.

TOP ROW, left to right:
  • YSL Rouge Volupté Spicy Pink 20
  • MAC Matte Lipstick, Please Me
  • Revlon Revlon® Just Bitten Kissable™ Balm Stain, Honey
  • MAC Matte Lipstick, Pink Plaid
  • Maybelline SuperStay 14HR Lipstick, Perpetual Peony
  • MAC Matte Lipstick, Snob
  • Revlon Matte Lipstick, Pink Pout 002
  • Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter, Berry Smoothie 050
  • Maybelline ColorSensational Lip Color, Pink Wink 105
BOTTOM ROW, left to right:
  • Revlon Matte Lipstick Sky Pink 012
  • Chanel Boy Rouge Coco Shine, Boy 54
  • Chanel Boy Rouge Coco Shine, Fétiche 52
  • Chantecaille Super Sheer Lipstick, Venus
  • Estée Lauder Signature Lipstick, Chelsea Rose 51
  • MAC Lustre Lipstick, Syrup
  • MAC Lustre Lipstick, Lovelorn
  • Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Color, Cherry Pink
Two swatches that did not make the above group photo will be compared at the bottom of this post:

  • Dior Addict Lipstick, Millie 680
  • MAC Lustre Lipstick, Sweetie

If you're wondering why so few of the above colors have their own post, it's probably because I didn't like them enough to give them that much space. Elea Blake's Dreamy should have made the list, but you can see it here. Perhaps later I can update this post to include some of my newer additions: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Rendez-Vous (posted on Facebook here), Trish McEvoy Sheer Lip Color, Vibrant Pink, and a couple more from tarte.

All three Summer palettes

As in the recent past, I will include comparisons to the three SciART-based, 12-Tone Summer palettes. I often find that more important than seeing a good match is seeing a bad one because it helps me unlearn misinformed habits.

After I'd arranged all the swatches and assembled the fans, I was surprised by the number of pink lipsticks that harmonized with the Soft Summer (SSu) palette, shown above.

The same lipsticks did not fare so well with the Light Summer (LSu) fan, a palette that is brighter and more clear than the muted tones of Soft Summer (above).

Though not perfect against the purely-cool hues of the True/Cool Summer (TSu) palette, there were a couple keepers.What I see against the TSu fan is too much brown (I don't see how they can call that YSL lipstick at top left pink). Even more unfortunate for the uncompromising True palette, the brown I see leans orange. Finally, how unfair is it that both SSu and LSu get THREE pink/rose/red strips and True Summer gets only two.

In any case, it is fascinating how a color I  think I see looks completely different in context with other colors.

Soft Summer

I'll start by comparing the pink lipstick swatches to the SSu fan deck, since those colors seem to harmonize best.

MAC's Please Me and Bobbi Brown's Cherry Pink are the the biggest outliers in the above SSu comparison, with the former being too orange and the latter too blue.

Revlon's Sky Pink might be too warm for Soft Summer ... though, as always, existing lip pigment can vastly change the way a lipstick appears. For example, in Facebook's True Summer group, the litmus test lipstick for a TSu color, MAC Plumful, was perfect for some and barely showed up on others.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Boy is described as a blue pink, but it doesn't have enough blue for me. It looks perfect next to the Soft Summer 5.1 chip. Fétiche might be a tiny bit too cool for SSus; it's a shade I wear when I want a no-makeup look.

Chantecaille Venus, Estée Lauder Chelsea Rose

MAC Syrup above center, which is often another recommended color for True Summer, is too muted for me. It's a sheer, slightly shimmering, cloudy pink. Ideal for Soft Summers, who do so well enrobed in shadowy mist.

Estée Lauder Chelsea Rose is another soft lipstick, possibly good for Soft Summers, though perhaps too cool. You'd have to try it on to be sure.

MAC Syrup against the ss 5.1 chip. Not too bad.

MAC Lovelorn might be too cool for Soft Summers, but it wasn't cool enough for my True Summer self.

Above are some of my warmest pinks: MAC Please Me, Revlon JustBitten Honey, and MAC Pink Plaid. You could color right over that ss 4.3 chip with Honey. What a great match.

MAC Pink Plaid was a surprise. It looks so cool in the tube, but look at it compared to the 5.5 brick pink of the SSu palette above. It's a bricky (browned) pink to be sure.

The matte MAC Snob looks like a great color for Soft Summers.

Maybelline Perpetual Peony, MAC Snob, Revlon Pink Pout ... all good

Light Summer

And now let's have a look at the lipsticks compared to the Light Summer palette. These will not be as good, but we have to try for our sunny sisters.

No great matches here; the LSu palette is far less muted than SSu

Not so much

MAC Syrup and Lovelorn

MAC Lovelorn

Chanel Boy and Fétiche, Chantecaille Venus, EL Chelsea Rose

Revlon Sky Pink, Chanel Boy and Fétiche, Chantecaille Venus

Revlon Sky Pink + sl 5.1 ... OK, but ...

Revlon Sky Pink + sl 6.2 ... better?

Revlon Berry Smoothie and Maybelline Pink Wink—the best of the bunch

True Summer

Now for the True Summer comparisons.

Chanel Boy and Fétiche, Chantecaille Venus, Estée Lauder Chelsea Rose

Above (and on me) Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Fétiche (second from left) is a good match. Chantecaille Super Sheer Lipstick in Venus looks like it should be good match, but for a "super sheer" product, it has a white base, so it doesn't work as well against my True Summer skin as it might on a Soft Summer, but your mileage may vary. My existing lip pigment is moderately dark and somewhat blue.

Chantecaille Venus ... decidedly not sheer on me

MAC Syrup

MAC Syrup looks pretty good compared to the sc 2.7 chip, but it's too muted for my lips and coloring.

Bobbi Brown Cherry Pink
I like Bobbi Brown's Cherry Pink, but it contains a whisper of warmth (as do 99.5% of BB products), so I'd almost push this into the coral category. On me. What looks cool on most people isn't always the case on those of us with cold skin tones, where any warmth whatsoever is broadcast in a most unflattering way. This item is also NOT a sheer lipstick, quite vibrant, in fact, so it might move out of Summer altogether into Winter territory.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Fétiche ♥
Millie and Sweetie below.

The above two swatches did not make it into the group photo. The horror, because they are so lovely. They are (left to right) Dior Lip Addict Millie 680 and MAC Lustre Sweetie.

Quite harmonious against the TSu palette

Compared to Soft Summer 

And Light Summer (perhaps too blue, though Millie might be OK per sl 7.3)

Sweetie and Millie find a happier home in the True Summer palette.

Though I prefer the Lip Addict formula and packaging, Mille is warmer than MAC Sweetie. In truth neither shows up on my lips much at all, but aren't they pretty? They'd be a good option for the pale lipped, low-contrasting faces among you.

Perhaps there is too much blue in the lipsticks to blend with the SSu  pinks

MAC Sweetie—too cool? Apparently no cool could ever be too cool

Dior Millie—slightly warmer than Sweetie

I hope you enjoyed this post. For other groups of lipstick swatches see the following:
Still to do: Roses and "brights."

All photos taken by me


  1. Thanks, a very good information. I ask for more.

  2. I get so excited at new posts from you. Really enjoying this series and peek into your wardrobe and seasonal analysis. While I own a few products from your coral post, none of the shades here work for me despite having tried on quite a few! Possibly because I am as suspected a Bright/Clear Winter / clown for lyfe, possibly because my extremely cooltoned lips would make most of these read as blues!

    1. Hi Kate! Never a clown, more a pulchritudinous peacock, one of the most beautiful birds on the planet (as long as you don't' sound like one). I had always wondered if you might be a Bright, given your natural ability to wear the neutral-leaning lipsticks so perfectly. And you certainly do own a pair of seriously-pigmented lips!

  3. Fascinating. What a great way to understand one's coloring. I'm clearly a Soft Summer, and am pleased to see that by now I can pick out the colors that are going to work, very quickly. Thank you.

    1. My pleasure. I had wondered about your coloring after you said NARS Damage was an MLBB shade. I love its grapey goodness but it turned out to be a hint too muted on me (it's more of a ML shade without the BB).

      Soft Summer is such a gorgeous palette, so rich and velvety. I envy you cool-neutrals who can handle a bit of warmth; it certainly makes makeup and clothing selection easier. We True seasons have such an uncompromising palette.

  4. Whew. As usual, a hugely impressive and comprehensive post. I've missed you, Zuzu. Glad to see you back!

    1. Thanks, Susan. It feels very nice to be here.

  5. Oh wow, so much time and effort must have gone into this post, incredible! Thanks a bunch, this is most helpful!

  6. Seeing Everyday Beauty in my email inbox always makes me break out in a huge grin!!! I am absolutely loving your comparison posts. And I agree, sometimes it is more helpful to see what colors don't work as opposed to those that do. And the explanation of why it works or why it doesn't is so helpful. I can't fathom how long it took to put these posts together - it is truly a labor of love that is very much appreciated! Thanks Zuzu!

    1. Thanks, lov2 ♥ I can't believe I left Clinque Fresh Watermelon out of all the comparisons. Despite the unfortunate bullet mushiness, it is THE perfect color for True Summers. I'll have to include it in the future "Berries" comparison, because it really does seem more berry than pink. Lipstick truly is a labor of love. Without question, it's the single makeup item I could not live without.

  7. Seeing Everyday Beauty in my email inbox always makes me break out in a huge grin!!! I am absolutely loving your comparison posts. And I agree, sometimes it is more helpful to see what colors don't work as opposed to those that do. And the explanation of why it works or why it doesn't is so helpful. I can't fathom how long it took to put these posts together - it is truly a labor of love that is very much appreciated! Thanks Zuzu!

    1. My pleasure, truly! And apologies for the late reply. It looks like my notifications were not working for a while.

  8. As long as I see Chanel logo in my hand, I'm happy.

  9. you put SO much work into this post!! it really shows. i love how you linked the colors with paint swatches b/c it really clarifies the difference AND you can probably justify having all those colors (lol) since they're are so obviously different (here is where my bf would roll his eyes at me)
    A Beautiful Zen

    1. Clearly these men don't realize how different those eleventy billion shades of mauve are!

  10. What are the lipsticks featured in the picture at the very top of the post? t

  11. We both love this post! :) We didn't know which lipstick to buy and after reading this, we both found one which looked lovely so we brought them !!


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