Before I start this product review I think I should let you know that I’m a huge fan of Benefit ‘They’re Real!’ mascara, and currently have three in my make up drawer (just in case something happens to the other two…) Naturally, I was really excited when I heard about this lipstick concept, and I was super excited when I heard that Birchbox subscribers would be getting one in their March boxes.
On Valentines Day Birchbox subscribers were notified that they would have 12 days to choose their favourite shade from Lusty Rose, or Pink Thrills to receive in their March box. I chose Lusty Rose as it looked like something subtle I could wear to work, and I was lucky that I received my chosen colour. I’ve read a lot of unhappy posts from Birchbox subscribers online saying they had been sent the wrong colour, mainly from customers wanting the Lusty Rose shade but also customers wanting Pink Thrills. It’s such a shame as I think people were really looking forward to this item and must feel disappointed – hopefully Birchbox has learnt from whatever went wrong for those customers to avoid it happening again in the future. My Birchbox card says about the Lipstick:
“Featuring an innovative custom teardrop tip, with a liner at the top and long-lasting lipstick at the bottom, this two-in-one formula delivers vibrant colour for visibly fuller lips.”
This lipstick is a sample size product containing 0.75g of lipstick. Full size lipsticks are double in size at 1.5g, and are widely available for £16.50, including benefitcosmetics.com. If my sample is based on a similar pricing structure as a full size lipstick then it is worth £8.25.
The lipstick is boxed in a grey box, with shiny silver and orange coloured writing on the front to make the product name really pop. The top of the box has the shade ‘Lusty Rose’ and the bottom of the box has a barcode, and notes that the lipstick isn’t for resale. Working my way around the box anti-clockwise the next side of the box has bold orange writing that explains that lips can look fuller in one easy step, and contains small white writing in different languages below it. The back of the box contains the ingeadients in two languages and the company contact information. The next side of the box contains some interesting customer feedback statistics:
“91% said lips look visibly fuller and sexier. 92% said it instantly grabs and defines the lipline*. 8 hours of BEYOND BELIEF colour!** *consumer panel survey of 110 women after one week. **Instrumental test on 20 panelists.”
The lipstick looks quite different to other lipsticks, the ends are circular like most other lipstick designs, but where the cap meets the lipstick it flutes out into a four sided design. I’m not sure if it’s meant to look different or be more comfortable to hold by giving something to grip during application. The lipstick is glossy black plastic, and the brand and product are written in silver and orange writing in the same fonts as used on the box. On the bottom of the lipstick is the shade name and colour swatch, and the label is peelable to reveal more information. One peel reveals the product weight of 0.75g, and anther peel reveals the company contact information.
It took me ages to work out how to use the lipstick as it doesn’t twist from the neck like most lipsticks, it does twist but from the very bottom (I.e. The part that’s resting on the table in the photo above.) I twisted the lipstick as far as it would go to show me how much product is inside (see above photo) and I was pleased to see that it’s quite a decent sample size. I saw some feedback from Birchbox subscribers who were unhappy that this isn’t a full size product. Good housekeeping (goodhousekeeping.com) recommends that after two years we bin out lipsticks – partly as they dry out, and partly for hygiene as they store bacteria from the lips. I tend to have many shades of lipstick, and aside from my favourite shade “Clarins Red” which I choose two out of every three make up applications, I tend alternate the colours I wear. This means I very rarely finish a lipstick before two years is up, and it seems so sad throwing away a beautiful (and expensive) product that I didn’t finish. With this in mind I’m happy to have a sample as there is less chance of me wasting it.
The lipstick is definitely the iconic teardrop shape that’s described on the packet, the top of the teardrop being similar to a plum in colour and the bottom is a really natural looking pinky/red colour. Rose is the perfect name for this bottom shade which makes up the majority of the lipstick. On first glance I’m worried the two colours are too dissimilar and won’t blend well, but swatching the lipstick on my hand and going back and forth a few times to build up colour I’m pleased to see that there isn’t a visible difference between the two colours.
I start applying the lipstick to my top lip, and the formula glides on effortlessly. I turn the lipstick around to do my bottom lip too and it feels really unusual using the lipstick upside down on my bottom lip. I’m sure it’s the sort of thing that feels more natural with practise. I take a look at my lips, and they look the same. I must say I opted for the Lusty Rose as it was a subtle shade, but I don’t see the point of wearing lipstick unless there is some difference to my natural lip. Wanting to build up more colour and enhance my lips I blot off any excess lipstick and repeat the application of lip colour. I do this several times to achieve the result above, it’s still very subtle but my lips have slightly more colour. I head out to do some shopping, but I’m disappointed to notice an hour and a half later the small amount of colour I managed to build up has disappeared, and I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything since the application.
Overall to say I’m a little disappointed with this product is an understatement, and it seems to have created a stir in the Birchbox community for a variety of reasons too. To summarise it as fairly as I can, if you were to treat this as a normal lipstick that doesn’t promise to do anything special except add a little bit of natural looking colour then this would be a pretty decent option to go for. For me it just overpromises; I didn’t get 8 hours wear, it didn’t double my lip size, it definitely still needs a liner with it, and the time I saved not lining my lips I spent reapplying the lipstick to build up some colour. I’ll totally finish this sample, but I’m not tempted to buy anymore. The mascara though… oh wow that’s amazing stuff.