Ipsy Review: Mellow Cosmetics Matte Lipstick

Full size lip products from indie brands? Yes, please!

If you take a look at my makeup collection, I’m clearly addicted to lip colors. I enjoy everything else, but lip colors are where it’s at. When they’re the makeup item that pop up in my subscriptions, I get extra excited.

Despite the matte liquid lip dominating the recent trends (and still sticking around, despite gloss’s latest comeback), nothing beats a good traditional lipstick. You don’t have to worry much about precise application or ending up with butthole lips. An oldie but goody, lipstick isn’t going anywhere.

Ipsy included this Mellow Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Nude (USD $13.00, full size). This is an independent cosmetics company from New Zealand, but they do provide free shipping to the US if you spend $40 or more. Please note, that even though the company is from New Zealand and the products are designed there, this is manufactured in China. A lot companies do this. Now, I haven’t been able to find another company that has an exact or extremely similar lipstick ingredient formula, so this may not be a company that uses private labeling. However, I’m not 100% positive.

Update: I’ve looked around their site and see that they have IP and copyright patents on their “products and methods”. This leads me to believe that they are not using private labeling.

I’ve seen Mellow Cosmetics pop up in different subscriptions, but this was my first time trying something from the line. Lately, I have been really digging nude lips. I wasn’t always a fan of the nude lip. Throughout high school and college I tended towards the berry shade. When I was 15, someone at Sephora told me that berry would best flatter my skin tone. They weren’t wrong and for a while that meant I basically only wore shades in the berry/purple family.

But nudes have been heavily dominating my lip collection since the spring.

Beautiful packaging.

For the $13.00 price point, I was extremely impressed with the packaging. The price point puts this at high end drugstore. It’s slightly more expensive than lipsticks from L’Oreal or Maybelline, but not quite as expensive as the lipsticks you’ll find in Sephora. For reference, Urban Decay’s recent Vice Lipstick relaunch prices their lipsticks at $18.00. The tube is a higher quality plastic with a gold finish around the upper part of the tube. It has some weight and is very sturdy.

Though the color is just straight Nude, it’s definitely not a true “practically concealer” color nude. This is a nude that have mauve undertones and is a bit on the cooler end of the spectrum. Personally, I really enjoy mauves. Not only are they super on trend (like the rest of 90s nostalgia), but the cooler tone plays really well off of my medium tan, neutral complexion. The pictures below are at the beginning of the summer, when I was more on the medium side of medium-tan.

Back when my skin was three shades lighter, at the beginning of the summer.

I wanted to give you a good description of the color, because on the website the swatch offered definitely looks more like a cool toned pinky nude. It could be that that’s what it looks like on other skin tones, but on me I found this to pull more of a mauve color.

Application was absolutely gorgeous. I got full color pigmentation in one swipe. I did use a matte lip liner on the outer areas of my lips, as I tend to do with all of my traditional lipsticks. It just helps everything stay inside the lines. Here, I used Milani’s liner in Most Natural. It paired beautifully with the lipstick.

The color didn’t move around too much, as can happen with some lips and felt really nice and hydrating. In the tube, it has a slightly chemically vanilla smell, most comparable to that of the Maybelline Creamy Mattes. However, that fades away so you’re not stuck with an overwhelming scent all day.

The hydration factor is here and made my lips look so healthy.

One thing I noticed is that when this lipstick is initially applied, it is not a matte finish. It looked more on the side of a creme. However, as the hours ticked by, it did settle on the lips into more of a velvet matte finish. Either way, I was really happy with the way it looked on. But it’s worth noting so you’re not bummed out if you were expecting a super matte looking lipstick.

The brand boasts this as long-wearing, which it is if you don’t eat or drink anything. As expected, I definitely had to touch up after lunch. But in the hours between lunch and dinner, this lipstick kept looking lovely.

A small note, this formula does contain mineral oil in the formula. If you have any sensitivities to that particular ingredient, you may want to pass on this as it’s the third ingredient listed.

Bottom line: Private labeling product or not, I absolutely loved the formula of the creamy matte lipstick from Mellow Cosmetics. It’s incredibly flattering on the lips, is nondrying, and has great pigmentation. The price point is good on face value for the product you’re getting. They currently have ten pretty shades (and some liquid lipsticks).

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April 2016 Ipsy Review #5: Tarte LipSurgence in Wonder

An oldie, but a goody.

If I could name a brand that brought my interest back to makeup, it would be Tarte. The two items they were selling in 2013 that slowly sucked me back into beauty were their Amazonian Clay Blushes (still some of my faves) and their LipSurgence Lip Cremes.

Before I was brave enough to try more adventurous colors, the naturally pretty shades from Tarte’s Lipsurgence line (USD $24.00, full size) called to me. I own two full size and a couple that I divided up with my sister and mother from a holiday gift set. I love having these around when I want a lip color that’s on the more natural side.

Tarte made a shade especially for Ipsy subscribers called Wonder, a poppy pink shade, in a deluxe size. I have to give Ipsy credit. This is a universally flattering color without being too “safe”. Everyone could use a pop of pink in their lip collection.

So soft and pretty.

What I love about these LipSurgence crayons is that, in today’s world of liquid lipsticks and hyper pigmented lipsticks, Tarte is offering a softer alternative. By no means are these not pigmented. Believe me, there is absolute color pay off. But I have to say that the finished look is just softer than a lipstick. You want a “no makeup” makeup look? These are a great way to polish it off.

If I have one tiny gripe, it’s that these contain peppermint oil. I find that on my lips peppermint oil is a wee bit drying. It’s not sucking the life out of my lips, but I do notice at the end of the day that my lips are a bit more chapped. For me, it’s not a deal breaker, but those with very chapped or sensitive lips may need to test these out first before buying one.

Now, I have some sad news…

I’ve checked Sephora’s website, and it looks like almost all the original formula LipSurgence are gone, save for one color. They’ve been marked down to half price, which probably means the current line is being discontinued. Sephora is still selling the Lippy Lingerie version at full price (though personally, I don’t like those as much as the original). I really hope they’re just updating it and will be bringing it back! This is a great product for both seasoned makeup junkies and those just getting into makeup.

Bottom line: These LipSurgence crayons are tried and true. Stronger than a tint, but softer than a lipstick, Tarte has made some truly wonderful shades that are very easy to wear, especially for those looking to dip their toe into the makeup world. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’re just going to see a product relaunch, à la Urban Decay lipstick style, instead of a complete discontinuation.

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March 2016 Birchbox Review #5: Milk Makeup Lip Color

Actually not the worst lipstick sample I’ve seen.

Everyone has been talking about the latest makeup brand to launch: Milk Makeup. I took a look at their website and it’s the epitome of hipster makeup. I could see Portlandia doing a spoof on something similar. Check it out for your self.

Regardless of how much Milk’s website made me chuckle, I was curious to sample what they had to offer. Birchbox announced that they’d be including a sample of their Lip Color in the shade C.R.E.A.M. (USD $22.00, full size) in the Ready For Anything box. Excellent. I love trying before investing in a new brand.

The price point puts these lipsticks in the range of Urban Decay lipsticks (moment of silence for the recently discontinued Revolution Lipsticks). These had better perform like Urban Decay.

Milk describes these lip colors as having a 30% increase in pigmentation over other lipsticks, giving you fully opaque color in one swipe. The finish is a demi-matte and has some natural oils for added hydration. I love super matte finishes, but those can beat up my lips so I appreciate a good demi matte formula. Initially the boosted pigmentation claim seemed a little gimmicky, but there are high end lipsticks that have boosted color payoff so I kept an open mind.

This swatch came off a little more pink than the actual color.

C.R.E.A.M. is a described as a true nude color. I’d say this is accurate, though it has just enough pink in there so the color isn’t completely flat. I had to be really careful swatching this because the sample packaging is, quite frankly, awful. Not only do you get a dinky amount of lipstick, but this is one of those cheaply packaged plastic cases where they just plop a mini lipstick bullet on top. It doesn’t make for the most stable packaging. My sister also got this and the lipstick fell out of the packaging almost immediately. Come on, Milk. You’re not making a very good first impression.

Bad packaging aside, the initial swatch was very promising. I did see a good amount of color payoff, though not quite as color boosted as more expensive lipsticks, like the NARS Audacious or Bite Beauty’s Amuse Bouche. Still, it was about the same as Urban Decay’s Revolution line, which is what I’m looking for at this price.

Really, this is a great nude.

The nude shade itself is incredibly pretty. On my tan skin tone, it looked like a “your lips but better”. It wasn’t so brown that it made me look dead and didn’t have so much white that it was too light. I think I could get away using this color during the summer when I’m darker.

On the lips, this did apply well. With one coat I did get opacity, but I still felt the need to go back and add a second coat to get a more polished look. The finish is gorgeous. It gives you the matte trend you want without being so over drying. I think this is a great option for folks who want to rock a matte lip but need the hydration of a cream lipsticks. It’s a good compromise.

Rating: 4/5. I would give this a perfect score if it weren’t for the horrible sample packaging. This is just one step above those annoying foil package lip samples. Bad packaging aside, the lipstick itself is beautifully formulated and pigmented. You’re getting your money’s worth when you purchase this, though I’d have to see the packaging in person to make sure it will protect the product. All in all, not a bad launch for Milk! I’d love to see what else they offer.

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