Sunday, December 4, 2016

Colourpop Lip Haul (+ Rant)

Colourpop recently had free international shipping, so I caved and put in a modest order. My friend however, showed no such restraint, and ordered 18 lip products. That's right, 18. She chucked whatever took her fancy into her cart without the requisite, thorough research us beauty bloggers might do, and based her choices purely on the product photos on the Colourpop website. BIG MISTAKE. When the goods arrived, it didn't take long to realise many of the colours on the lips were much deeper than how they appeared in the tube. Soon I found myself the beneficiary of some of her discarded shades: Ultra Matte Lips (UML) in Beeper, Wild Nothing and Teeny Tiny, Ultra Satin Lips (USL) in Frick N' Frack and November, and mini USLs in Stud, Mess Around and Toolips. In my own order, I bought just Matte X Lippie Stix in Hotline because I'd heard raves about the Matte X formula.

Matte X Lippie Stix in Hotline

Colourpop lip haul, Beeper
November, Wild Nothing
Teeny Tiny, Frick N' Frack
Mess Around, Toolips
Stud, Hotline

Beeper is a dark plummy brown. November is a medium warm rose pink. Wild Nothing is a deep chocolatey plum. Teeny Tiny is a darker, more purple version of Wild Nothing. Frick N' Frack is a deep, mauvey berry. Mess Around is a dark brown grey. Toolips is a blackened plum. Stud is a fractionally browner/darker Frick N' Frack. And I mean fractionally...

Top lip Stud, bottom lip Frick N' Frack

Come on. They're basically indistinguishable. They're both also the Ultra Satin Lip formula so not even different in finish!

l-r: Wild Nothing, Teeny Tiny, Frick N' Frack, Stud, Beeper, Mess Around, Toolips

l-r: Wild Nothing (UML), Teeny Tiny (UML), Frick N' Frack (USL), Stud (USL), Beeper (UML)

Here we can see just how similar these colours are. Sure, Teeny Tiny is more purply and darker than the rest, Beeper is a bit lighter, Wild Nothing is perhaps a touch deeper and browner than the redder Frick N' Frack and Stud, but the differences aren't enough to justify half of these shades being separate and distinct. You'd hope that a brand would consciously avoid having dupes or near dupes within their own collection, but maybe Colourpop has other priorities.

This was also my first time trying out the Ultra Satin Lip formula. I find them a lot more comfortable to wear than the Ultra Matte Lips which are drying and suck all the moisture from your lips. The fluffier applicator on the USL is noticeably more plush and cushiony than the UML which feels harder and not as giving, perhaps to facilitate a harsher, more precise edge. The Ultra Satin Lip dries down to a more matte finish anyway, so they just feel like a more moisturising version of their Ultra Matte Lip. I find the Ultra Matte Lip colours fare better with a coat of lip balm underneath, an initial layer of product that's dabbed on with the fingers, then a second coat applied the same way after the first has dried. This helps create a more even finish and gets around needing a super precise application. If given the choice, I would abandon the Ultra Matte Lip in favour of the Ultra Satin Lip for any future purchases.

Top to bottom: November, Hotline

The Matte X Lippie Stix was pretty much what I was expecting: a full coverage but lightweight, extremely matte lipstick. I bought Hotline after seeing this blog post because it looked so perfect on the blogger. It's not as love-at-first-sight on me, but it's a nicely done warm peachy nude. Probably what I'd hoped Revlon Matte lipstick in Smoked Peach would be. Reminds me of a more orange, lighter Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Bare It All or Maybelline Color Drama Intense Velvet Lip Pencil in Nude Perfection.

I was kind of excited for November since it's distinctly not like the other vampy shades and I do like KathleenLights. But I think it's a bit too syrupy for me? There's something simultaneously neon yet old-fashioned about it. Not the hugest fan, but could work if not at 100% opacity.

Once again, I'm not particularly thrilled with Colourpop (see previous posts here and here). I do stand by what I said before, which is they're a good place to go if you want to try out trendy, daring, bold, fun shades at an affordable price point. I mean, I'm probably never going to wear Toolips or Mess Around out, but at least the option's there and I've seen what they look like on. I also give them props for making colours that look great on darker skin tones. But I was majorly annoyed by 2 things with this latest batch of products. These observations seem to be more a criticism of their business model than the quality of their products per se.

First, not every consumer will be bothered or savvy enough to properly research the colour accuracy of their shades. If they purchase, like my friend, based upon photographs of the products on the Colourpop website, they will be sorely disappointed. The colour in the tube isn't the colour on the lips, and that's a problem. See for example, reviews on Frick N' Frack and Toolips respectively:
One complaint is that Frick N Frack (and pretty much all ColourPop's lipsticks) look much darker in reality than in their pictures. I'm giving 4/5 because I think it's beautiful, but they need to be more honest with their pictures, because it does disappoint some people. For example, I would rather have a lip colour like the picture than the actual frick n frack but it's still beautiful (oh_yeez_itzz_kylizzle on Nov 7, 2016)
I was super excited about this beautiful fall/winter color, but ended up being disappoint with how dark it turned out. It turned out to be dark brown when applied and even was mistaken to be a black lipstick by my friends. However, the color does last without rubbing off for almost the whole day. Just was not what I was expecting from the pictures. (Sav on Oct 27, 2016)
Yes, they do have swatches on their website as well, but when you have so many colours in your range, it would be much more helpful if similar-appearing colours were swatched together (a la Makeup Geek eyeshadows), rather than disparate shades in a "collection". That way, at least people have a chance at avoiding duplicate colours, or at least will be more aware of the differences, no matter how small.

Secondly, I don't think a company should be producing nearly identical colours like Frick N' Frack and Stud under different names in the first place. The fact that those two shades, plus Wild Nothing, Beeper and Teeny Tiny were just so similar, leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. Sure, no one put a gun to anyone's head to buy them all, but you'd hope if you bought FIVE different colours, they'd at least have some point of difference on the lips to not make it all feel like a massive waste of money. This coming from someone with a gazillion same pink lipsticks and bronze eyeshadows.

A third minor complaint I have is the lettering on the packaging of their products fades unbelievably quickly. I'm talking in a matter of days with ordinary handling, or after a single trip in the handbag. What's the point?

I think Colourpop could be so much better if they sorted their shit out. I haven't experienced any of these issues with any other brand. Perhaps these problems arise because they favour pushing out fresh new product even if the formulas, shades or aspects of packaging aren't perfected. Having said all that, somehow I've accumulated a sizeable collection of their stuff even though I'm not super happy with most of it. I guess they must be doing something right.


  1. You fully exceeded yourself with this post! I love reading honest reviews! I do myself like Colourpop, but refuse to pay for custom charges and only managed to find a British stockist that stocks it. But I do think they all look gorgeous on you.


  2. I DEFINITELY AGREE! OMGGGG THEY SWATCH SO MUCH DARKER!! And not in a flattering way... Colourpop lippies are def a miss from me. On the other hand I love their highlighters!!

    Wendy xxx

  3. I really love the Ultra Satin Lip formula - they seem to have gone back to a normal applicator for their latest releases thank goodness because I hate that fluffy wand they have on some of them! Although I find the shades look different to how they do in the product photos, I actually find it really helpful to see the swatches on different skin tones. I've been disappointed with shades a couple of times out of about a dozen orders though, however that's not too bad compared to some online experiences I've had!

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  4. I just recently did an order of colourpop lip products, and I love them so much I'm waiting for another one to come it that I did on black friday. I love how comfortable their lip products are their ultra matte feel like you are wearing nothing on your lips. I wear a thin lip balm underneath and that seems to stop from drying out like a dessert. The satin lip are so comfy to wear and even the glossy lips are so comfy as well. I'm really impressed by their lip products, I haven't heard to much about their shadows and heard somethings about their highlighters.

    Katie |

  5. I agree!! I ordered three different lippiestix and was slightly disappointed that the two i ordered where so similar!

    Jess xo | Jessica Ann ♥

  6. I agree! That's why I was quite cautious in choosing what colours I wanted! I did however quite enjoy the Matte X Lippie Stix, which feel very light on the lips!

    Jessica || Of Purity and Simplicity

  7. Thank you for the great review and swatches. Loved reading your criticism on the brand. I quite dislike Colourpop and have never been really interested in the brand. I didn't know why but always thought they were a bit gimmicky. I don't know if they are still doing it, but I don't like that they heavily rely on SNS marketing and utilize the pictures on it, which is bound to misinform the buyers. On a brighter side, I think Stud and Frick N Frack are the prettiest and most wearable from the bunch. ;)

  8. YESSS TO THE LABELS RUBBING OFF QUICKLY!!! That's what annoys me the most! As for the little differences in colour, I don't mind it as much as you since people tend to say "I'd like this colour more if it had more pink in it" and so on. So maybe they based their colours off of that mind-set. But seriously the pretty label rubbing off is what annoys me the most. :))

  9. ColourPop does have a lot of really similar shades in their collection. I once went through and counted all the trendy mauve-y brown shades in the line and there were a lot. I think they're just banging out a lot of trendy colours and hoping some of them stick. I've generally enjoyed the products I own from them, but their marketing and business strategy turn me off.

  10. I agree with you on there about Colourpop's shades appearing much darker than the swatches on the website. I researched extensively on blogs and vlogs for swatches before making my choices, and I went with Beeper and Hype Girl (lippie stix). Beeper turned out a mauvey shade on my lips and made me look much older, specially when it made my lips looks like a cat's pincer. I didn't much fancy the leathery texture it had when worn. Hype Girl, on the other hand, is a lovely shade, but it leaves a white line on my lips T_T the lipstick also has a white, powdery cast on it when it's too cold. I haven't bought from them since, and I don't really like their marketing strategy either.

    Stephii Mattea xx

  11. This is such a great post! I love haul posts and lipstick. Combined together? Whoosh! Mindblown. Anyway, I have yet to try Colourpop anything. I wish to try one of their UML and their highlighters though!! To. Die. For.

    Lenne Zulkiflly

  12. I've not tried out the colourpop lipsticks before but I have been meaning to give them a try. Its such a shame that the online colour swatches are not accurate and I can see that most of these colours are pretty dark. My favourite however is 'hotline' - seems like a really wearable everyday shade.

    Lovely swatches and great informative post! ♥

    Ying | * Y i n g c b e a u t y *

    X x X x X

  13. I just ordered myself and did the same your friend did. I wasn't too disjointed in my color choices and liked the colors but some of the formulas aren't the same for the ultra matte lips and I wasn't a fan of that. I like the colors you choose and good info for new customers. Wish I read this before I ordered.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale |

  14. Hm, now I'm nervous. Waiting for my first order of Satin lippies and they're all dark as yours. We'll see, you're always right with makeup :)

  15. Beeper looks darker on me than swatches online so I kinda feel meh about it and never wear it outside. Too bad though x

  16. Now you've got me worried. I just paid the customs on huge colour pop order (I should get it tomorrow). I based most of my choice on live swatches from youtube, but threw in a few that just caught my eye, too.
    Thank you for this warning, hopefully I won't be too disappointed.
    Laura xoxo

  17. I have to agree, everything turns out to be darker in real life! But somehow their Peach collection was the opposite, they are way lighter in real life. I can understand why a lot of people are disappointed, especially the ones with darker skin tones! Ugh not cool, Colourpop.

  18. Could not agree more! You're lucky to have ended up with some hand-me-downs though haha. But yes, the inconsistency kills me and they do have a tonne of similar shades, I just didn't realise how similar they were! I think I will be steering clear of the UMLs from now on. I much prefer the satin formula - I just wish they brought out better shades in that range! I need to try the Matte X lippie stix! They sound good. And yes omg the lettering rubs off in 0.3 seconds it's infuriating!

    Tasha // shiwashiful.

  19. Oh yeah! Those totally are very very much darker on the lips! Even over your natural lip color it looks like two completely different shades! I've since received my first order. I ordered one matte, two satin and one glossy lipstix and one...ONLY one ultra matte liquid lippie to try as I usually don't do liquid matte lipsticks at all. I got the shade Midi and so far the two times I put it on, I'm still not feeling it just yet but I think I do need to put some effort into a look to make it work. Thanks for the honest and great review, really appreciate it!

  20. The Colourpop hype continues to astound me - none of their formulas have blown me away and although they seem to be pushing the boundaries a lot, so much of their business practice and product design is based on hype and their existing following rather than spending the time to develop an awesome formula. The USL formula is much better than the UML but there's still something not quite right... but you're right - it's amazing that they produce so many shades that look exactly the same while also having so many gaps in their shade range!

  21. I really wanted to try out some of ther Ultra Satin Lips in order to figure out if they are that good or not. (I've seen some really nice kits)
    I think Colourpop is nice in terms of having a really big shade selection at an affordable price point.I'm also really happy that they no longer have the ridiculous 25$ shipping rate they had. No one would order from them because in some cases it would be cheaper to use Shipitto ( I believe that's the name of the service)

    And I totally understand your point. I mean I sometimes tend to get similar shades from different brands without noticing it...but getting 5 or more lipsticks with the same shade from the same brand and order would make me really mad.

    Also...have you heard that they starting to launch pressed eyeshadows? I'm still thinking if I should or not try one of them but I might leave the pressed versions aside. Mostly because I probably would rather use MUG shadows.

    Take care*


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