If you like a matte or matte-ish lip look, but hate the dried-paint feel and reapplication difficulties of most liquid mattes, a great matte bullet lipstick is the HOLY GRAIL. Not shiny! Good cling! Longer wear! Relatively easy to reapply!
Alas, this new one from Anastasia Beverly Hills ($18/.12oz at Ulta) doesn’t even come close. If you’re a Monty Python fan who played the PC game based on the movie, this is maybe the Holly Grail, or the Hilly Holly, or perhaps the Moldy Tail. If you’re an Indiana Jones fan, it’s the chalice Julian Glover’s Walter Donovan drinks from and then rapidly ages to DEATH.
So, yeah, it’s … not good.
I haven’t tried Anastasia’s liquid mattes, because of the whole “dried paint” thing, and I mean why bother when there’s ColourPop Ultra Mattes for six bucks? But this? Yeah, I was down for this! I watched the whole swatch video multiple times, narrowed down my color selections, and chose “Cool Brown” because in the vid it looks like a nice rose-toned taupe, pink enough to be wearable as a “dark neutral” for me. I was hoping for basically a longer-wearing matte version of my Uslu Airlines “KIV” (Kishinev) lipstick … what I actually got was the yellowy-grey brown of elderly potting soil.
Which, hey, we’ve all been unpleasantly surprised or disappointed when a makeup shade doesn’t at all match the swatches we’ve seen! When that happens, I’m usually happy to just pass it on to a friend with different coloring from me. But this? This shit is getting returned.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
First off, the price is very reasonable — $18 for .12 oz is perfectly fine, and a middle-of-the-road price point. And the case, although plastic, is fairly hefty and feels sturdy and secure, and is rather nice-looking. It’s got a thick glossy black plastic cap with ABH embossed in the surface, a rose-gold chrome base, and some nice detailing. It closes securely and operates smoothly, so all in all I’d be totally content with it even if it IS a hideous fingerprint collector. Bonus (or not, depending on your preferences) : there’s no scent. I would’ve enjoyed a floral or tart fruit, but no fragrance >>> vanilla / frosting / desserty bullshit.
HOW’S IT DO THO?
Listen : lipsticks — especially thicker or drier, more matte formulas or anything with a high wax content — often have more wax in the outer surface of the bullet, presumably due to how the product cools and settles and crystalizes in its mold. So your first application or two will not necessarily be indicative of its “normal” performance. (This is why Bite Beauty came out with those “hand-cut” lipsticks a while back.) On this one, the first two applications were so awful I immediately resigned myself to returning it, which I almost NEVER do — I feel awful returning a used product, even when I’ve pretty thoroughly researched it. But I remembered the “waxy upper surface” thing, and gave it another try.
And you know what? It’s still effing horrible.
That’s not after four hours of wear. That’s five minutes after application and pressing my lips together a few times. I KNOW, RIGHT? This stuff is THICK, and while it doesn’t feel like it’s sucking all the moisture out of my lips, it does feel very very dry — like I’m pretty sure I could mix up a similar concoction in my microwave using some some powdered modeling clay, an old candle, and maybe a couple crayons.
It applies fairly well from the bullet, and it was easy to get a clean lipline with, but it doesn’t stick to the inner lip area at ALL (and as noted before, the default “set” of my mouth has a fair bit of inner-lip on display at all times, so I super-extra-hate things that don’t adhere there). And obviously, after minimal action, it starts to gather and pill up into crusty chunks. Which, “crusty chunks” is maybe ideal for croutons or toasted cheese, but less so for a lip product.
THEN I tried drinking some water from a glass, and pressing/rubbing my lips together to redistribute color, as one does. This at least had the advantage of leaving much of the crusty-chunkitude behind on the glass (which is gross, but at least it’s not on my damn face anymore?), but it also lifted the color off the corners of my mouth and much of my bottom lip, and the press-rub technique didn’t accomplish much in the way of smoothing or evening the color.
Below, some comparison swatches with a few of my other brown lipsticks :
Yeah, it looks kinda similar to Kishinev in the swatches, but on my face, in most lighting? It leans WAY yellow/ochre — KIV has a balance of warm-brown to rose tones, which makes it fairly wearable for my annoyingly-pink skin tone. But the ABH literally looks like dried mud. The warm undertones are STRONG with this one.
IN CONCLUSION : This is bad. Bad and gross and also bad. I do not like it. At all. It’s getting returned. If you’re dead-set on trying one of these — nice case! non-crazy price! no grody scent! — then I’d suggest getting one that’s not too far off your natural lip color, in order to minimize the contrast when it rubs off, or where it doesn’t stick, or where it builds up into crunky ridges, urgh.
Tried this one? Got a favorite matte bullet? Been catastrophically disappointed in a makeup product recently? Share! Share my pain!