Everybody has their favorite makeup products. I know Mari is totally obsessed with highlighters, as is my partner Danny. My drug of choice, though, is the honorable lip product, or “lippie” as I call it because I’m annoying. Lip glosses, lipsticks, liquid lipsticks, lip cremes, lip pencils, lip toppers… matte finish, satin finish, sheer finish… lip pencils, lip balms, lip masks… #obsessed
I think there’s something magical about how even with nothing else on your face, throw on a bold lip and you look like you really did something. Sometimes if I’m farting around my house doing fuck all or feeling ugly, I’ll throw on a gloss or a bright color just ’cause. Why not, right?
It also helps that lip products have a low barrier to entry and are hard to fuck up unless you overdraw into insanity or really heck up your lip pencil. Even low-quality lip products can work if the color is pigmented enough that they look good from afar, Monet-style. Who’s checking to see if the color has settled in the lines of your lips except for you, anyway?
I live right by a Marshalls and a TJ Maxx, so I have been seduced by the siren call of many a pack of cheap lip balms, liquid and matte lipsticks. If you were wondering about all those Ellen Tracy and Jena Taylor sets… well… let’s keep reading about The Purge, shall we?
This is the full lip collection as of a month ago, grouped mostly by colors except for the glosses and balms groups. Top row from the left: berries, then balms, then glosses, then wine/plums. Second row from the left: reds and pinks.
For me, this is a LOT of lip products. Who can even use this many products?! Worse, a lot of it was either old, or it was cheap garbage just as I was dipping my toe into higher-end products. I really wanted to sort the wheat from the chaff, and I was sick of looking at the same old increasingly tired-looking lip products.
There’s a BIG difference between affordable and cheap, and I felt like most of what I had was just cheap. Or, like I said old. It didn’t make me feel good to look at all this old, cheap crap. It didn’t make me feel good to wear, either. It made me feel cheap.
But this purge was not only a way to improve my mental health by decluttering products that made me feel bad to look at, let alone use. I needed to take a look at my whole collection all at once so I could see what colors I had a ton of and stop buying those colors. It was also a time for me to try on many of these lipsticks and confirm what colors looked good or bad on me.
After dividing the products into manageable groups, it was time to swatch them.
First up was the reds. Bold, bright reds look amazing on me, so I’m always buying repeat reds and was especially eager to purge this group. Ignoring the Nyx palette, from left to right:
- Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Tannin: I miraculously found this at Marshalls and it was my first intro to Bite Beauty. The formula is so creamy and hydrating and the color is a beautiful, dark, deep red. LOVE.
- Ruby Kisses Creamlicious Triple Butter Matte Cream in RSMC01 My Prerogative: I got this at the local hood beauty shop. It’s actually suuuuper hydrating and crazy pigmented and very bright! Unfortunately, not every color in the line acts like this, but if your local beauty shop carries this line, the more “normal” colors are worth the buy.
- Electric Intense LipCreme Estee Lauder in 723 Radar: PURGED! This lipstick is literally like 15 years old. I wore it down to a nubbin. It was my first expensive lipstick and looked so gorgeous on me I hated to let it go, but it was way past time to go.
- Jenna Taylor Matte Liquid Lipstick: This cheap liquid lipstick from TJ Maxx came as part of a set and doesn’t even have a name. It’s not bad, but I’m holding onto it til I find a better replacement.
- Maybelline Color Sensational On Fire Red 895: PURGED! The color’s not bad, but honestly, these don’t have a long shelf life. I find the formula for the Maybelline Color Sensational line to be rather dry and need a lot of reapplication for not a lot of payoff.
- Rimmel Moisture Renew in 505 Red Alert: I like the formula and I like the color. It’s a bright, siren red that doesn’t tug when you apply. Sold!
- Ellen Tracey Matte Lipstick: The dark wine red color wasn’t bad, but this piece of shit fell apart when I opened it the first time. When will I learn not to spend my money on these no-name brands at TJ Maxx?
- Loreal Colour Riche 317 Ruby Flame: PURGED! I didn’t like this formula at all. By “colour riche” they must just mean “sparkly,” but not even in a cute way. And it’s dry, girl!
- Milani 67 Matte Confident: As far as a matte red, this one is fine. It’s a muted red and doesn’t suck all the moisture out of my lips.
- Ellen Tracey Matte Lipstick: PURGED! This wine-tinged red is more or less the same color as the Bite Beauty lipstick, and the Bite Beauty is FAR superior even if the formula isn’t matte.
- ELF Bordeaux Beauty 82645: I love this color, I love this formula, I love the drama!
- Ellen Tracy Super Shine Lip Gloss: PURGED! Super shine?!?! Bitch where, she is matte, girl.
- Maybelline Color Sensational 645 Red Revival: PURGED! Not only is the color dry and faded, it feels dry and faded when you put it on, too.
Swatches from top to bottom:
Successfully purged 7 out of 13 lip colors, making me less overwhelmed by choice fatigue and more likely to enjoy any of the reds I pick. Sweet!
Next up, we have the pinks:
Unlike reds, pinks are more… aspirational for me. Many pinks are too frosty to look good on me. I basically have no concept of which pinks will look good on me, and some of these products I purchased on clearance and never even tried on, so the pinks was another group I was really looking forward to. I love pink! I want to wear pink! But I don’t want to look like a frost-rimmed corpse, so…
- Rimmel Moisture Renew 705 Let’s Get Naked: I like Rimmel’s Moisture Renew formula and this nude is just my lips but ever so slightly lighter.
- Ellen Tracy Matte in Nude: I was surprised by this one and its sister after it. They looked and felt… fine?! The deeper pink looked nice on me, and the matte didn’t tug at my lips.
- Ellen Tracy Matte in Stripped: I liked this mauve-pink nude a lot more than I thought I would.
- Palladio High Intensity Herbal Lip Balm: I actually like Palladio’s formulas and this was no exception. The color was a berry pink that looks like a more flattering nude on me, and the formula felt good too.
- Ellen Tracy Super Shine Lip Gloss: PURGED! Not only was it unflattering and too pastel, it was also really sticky and uncomfortable.
- The four Ellen Tracy lip glosses with the gold tops: I kept these little cheapos to use as low-effort lip toppers. They don’t feel awful and have barely any pigment so they’re great for just adding some shine on top of whatever, and they’re small enough I feel I might actually go through them.
- Max Studio: PURGED! This radioactive peachy-pink made me look sallow and jaundiced. Not a hot look for me. And I hate when the lip colors don’t even have names. Nothing feels cheaper.
- Ellen Tracy Matte Naked: This deep berry probably should have gone with the berry group, but oh well! Like its sisters above, it both looked and felt much better than I thought it would.
- Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon Carolina Coast 423: PURGED! Oh girl! This color was all wrong for me. Far too icy and pale with all the wrong undertones for my complexion.
- Ellen Tracy lip gloss: PURGED! Another pink that was too frosty for me.
- Urban Decay Vice Waterproof Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Tryst: Um, screaming much? It has the same radioactive brightness of the Max Studio lip color I had to boot, but in a hot pink that is not only crazy flattering on me but very fun to wear.
- Palladio HL860 Precious 787727: I don’t know why this color works for me when the Ellen Tracy lip gloss right before it didn’t. You can see they have similar levels of frosty sparkle, but the Palladio edges more towards red than the pastel shade of the Ellen Tracy, and I think that’s what makes me able to wear it. I’m really relieved that I found a sparkly pink lip shade I can actually wear.
- Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Guava: PURGED! Alas, yet another pink that was too icy for me (those sparkles didn’t help), but I want to note: the Burt’s Bees lip shimmer line has a refreshing minty feel I enjoyed, and if I ever spotted the line in a color that suited me better, I’d definitely give it a try.
Swatches from top to bottom (skip the top color, I think it was one of those Jena Taylor nightmares):
Purged 5 out of 13. I did better than I thought! The next groups are all MUCH smaller, but this post is already super long, so I’ll wrap it up next time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: what’s your favorite type of makeup product? What color do you find yourself gravitating to over and over? What colors just don’t work on you no matter how much you love them? Have you tried those Ellen Tracy and Jena Taylor lip products at Marshalls and TJ Maxx, and which of them have worked for you? Does the idea of a product purge sound good to you? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.