What Jenny's Reading

{May 6, 2014}   Red Review: MAC, Stila, Urban Decay, Butter London Red Lip Colors

I am obsessed with finding the perfect red lip. I try, buy, and discard red lip color like it’s going out of style. Do you watch 2 Broke Girls? You know Kat Dennings and that absolutely perfect red lip she always has? That’s what I want! Actually, I own the color she apparently wears: Tart LipSurgence in Envy. I looked it up and bought it specifically because it looks so good on her, and I have similar coloring, so I thought it would look just as awesome on me. And it looks…fine. Nice. Not as perfectly red as hers, though. More berryish.
Unfortunately, one of my main issues with red lip color is that if a red is too blue-toned, it turns very pink on me almost immediately. In fact, sometimes they still turn a pinky color anyway. Very disappointing. I’ve tried everything I can think of to prevent this, but I guess some people’s lip chemistry just turns reds into pinks. And I’m one of the lucky ones! Ugh.
In the last few months I’ve bought several different reds to try. I’m reviewing five of them today.  Pics are clickable:


Left to right: Stila Stay All Day Lip Vinyl in Scarlet Vinyl, Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Gash, Butter London Lippy in Come to Bed Red, MAC Lipstick in Dubonnet, and Stila Stay All Day Lip Vinyl in Merlot Vinyl

Swatches, same order (natural morning light from a window):


I tried taking pictures of what they looked like on me when I’m wearing them, but it didn’t really work out.

Stila Stay All Day Lip Vinyl in Scarlet Vinyl: This is amazing, seriously. It’s a great scarlet-toned red that stays true and LASTS. It survived coffee and breakfast and was still visible after lunch. It’s a gloss, not a lipstick, so there were no feathering issues, and it kept my lips feeling nice and moisturized for hours. It stained a little, but that’s never been something that bothers me. And the color is great. If I was forced to pick just one lip color to wear for the rest of my life, I think it would be this one.
Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Gash: This is a limited edition that I had to get directly from the Urban Decay site (as of this writing it’s still available). I got it because in college and grad school, Gash was my go-to lip color. I think I had read it was Gwen Stefani’s signature red, and I love her, so I bought it. As you can see from the swatch, it looks kinda berry-ish rather than red. It does turn red after a second swipe across the lips, but it’s unfortunately one of those that goes pinkish. I guess I never noticed before? Another thing I noticed with Gash is that it dries out and flakes very fast. I honestly think it’s the color, because the Gash I owned way back when in the old-style purple tubes did the same thing, and other colors I had didn’t. Wear time is average; it lasts through coffee and breakfast if I am careful, but it usually mostly gone (or gone pink) by lunch.
Butter London Lippy in Come to Bed Red: Another gloss. Goes on shinier than the Stila. Nice color, good clear red. It looks really similar to Scarlet Vinyl in the swatches, but it’s actually not. Stays on pretty well, but not as well as Stila, and can go kinda pink by lunch. Overall I like it, but if I’d already owned the Stila I probably wouldn’t have bought it.
MAC Lipstick in Dubonnet: Like Gash, this one’s a real lipstick, not a gloss. I’m not a big fan of lipsticks, I find them drying. I also bought the lip pencil in Brick, on the advice of the salesgirl, and wear them together. This is another great color, a darker brownish-toned red. Has pretty good wear time, not as good as Stila but better than the Urban Decay and Butter London. Feathering is pretty minimal, but I have to be careful even with the lip pencil. It’s not drying like the Urban Decay, which is a huge plus. I like this one, but I wish they offered the same color in a gloss. (I asked. They don’t.)
Stila Stay All Day Lip Vinyl in Merlot Vinyl: This one surprised me. In the tube it looks like a deep, brownish red, but it’s actually a really dark wine purple. Get it? Merlot? I should’ve realized. Anyway, everything I said about how great Scarlet Vinyl wears and feels applies to this one too. The color is nice too, it just wasn’t what I expected.

So, there you have it. I have several other lip colors I’ll review at some point, and I’ll do a comparison of Dubonnet and Nyx Snow White when I get the chance.

What’s your favorite red lip color?


Ally says:

I’m thinking of getting scarlet Vinyl for both me (Asian, olive skin) and for my best friend (a ginger). How neutral is it and would you recommend it? Also trying to decide between the poppy vinyl and the merlot vinyl….. Any thoughts? I loved this post!

Jenny says:

Scarlet is pretty warm, I think, but I can wear it with both dark hair and my new red hair. I’ve never tried poppy but I love the merlot – I’d recommend trying them out before purchase if possible just to make sure they work with your coloring! Sephora has a great return policy if they end up not working for either of you though!

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