Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Let's Talk About Colourpop

It did take me a really long time to figure out what exactly bothered me about Colourpop - I never picked up on the U in colour since that is appropriate spelling in Canadian English - and two small orders in, and reading loads of reviews, I think I've finally nailed it. Colourpop is the Forever21 of makeup. Or, I guess, in my case, the American Eagle of makeup, since American Eagle was all the rage in my middle and high school years. We didn't have a Forever21, so something else had to rise to the top of the heap.

Colourpop is trendy as fuck.

There's not anything really wrong with that, and I acknowledge that is a legitimate position to hold. In fact, Colourpop does fill a hole: it produces popular colours and products at an inexpensive price. While yes, Colourpop does do this by having less product in an item, so cost per ounce-wise, it's not a great deal, but I've never really considered that to be a good indicator of value in makeup communities. Most people in makeup communities have loads of makeup and having smaller amounts of product means that there's a distant chance of actually being able to finish them. And who is buying Colourpop? I don't have data or anything, but I don't think it's your friend who owns one lipstick and one blush. It's the people who are makeup enthusiasts, who seek out new products and brands, who follow Instagram trends or at least are aware of them. I don't think Colourpop is looking to provide you with a set of staples. They're providing you with what's cool now. Disposable beauty, as it were. 

The reality is that I'm just a contrary brat and have been since the days of American Eagle dominance. I've toned it down considerably, however, which is why I gave into my curiosity last summer and ordered a highlighter in Monster, after Auxiliary Beauty reviewed it. I've had it about 11 months now and it hasn't noticeably dried out - a concern with the consistency of their eyeshadows and face products. And I gave in again in the spring, and ordered an Ultra Satin Lip in Frick N' Frack, a gel liner in DTLA, a sheer Lippie Stix (does anyone like this name? God) in Peacocky, and two highlighters that are really better suited as blushes for me in Butterfly Beach and Sticky Sweet.

All of the goods, featuring awkward afternoon lighting.

And I like most of these things pretty well. They're not like the best ever, except maybe the gel liner, but I haven't really tried a gel liner before so who knows, but they're solid. I like them. Not one of these was a truly devastating disappointment or overhyped - though I didn't buy any shadows, I nabbed a satin lip before they'd been out that long, and I don't really frequent a lot of places that would review tons of Colourpop. Nor did I have a lot invested with these orders. They're the scoping search version of makeup buying.

Swatches! L-R: Frick N' Frack, Peacocky, Sticky Sweet, Butterfly Beach, Monster, DTLA

The Ultra Satin Lip is the newest addition to their line, so I'll start there. It's also the one product I didn't like half as much as the others. I've been pretty staunch in my hatred of matte liquid lipsticks, but this formula caught my eye because it wasn't matte. And so I think it looks better, but the less stark finish comes with a price to pay: this doesn't set and transfers a ton. Frick N' Frack is described as a "rosy terracotta," but is much browner than I anticipated on me. 

One swipe.

Full disclosure: I totally hated this the first few times I wore it. It was so brown and dark and transfers like crazy. While I'm usually not too fussed about transfer, the darker color + the liquidy texture meant that transfer was noticeable. The applicator also made it way too easy to get too much on your lip and then have it glop all over the place - like the stopper doesn't wipe it off at all when you pull it out of the tube. If I brushed my lip. If my hair brushed my lip. It didn't bleed, but that's about all I could say for it. And then...I don't know. I put it on, and looked in the mirror a few hours later, and the colour had faded slightly, and looked far more flattering. But the transfer is way too much for me. I don't know what I'm going to do with this. 

It looks rosier here than it does in real life. 

Keep it until I find a colour dupe, I suppose. I swatched next to a few of the rosy brown lip colours in my collection and came up short.

L-R: Frick N' Frack, Revlon Fierce, MAC Viva Glam VI, Limnit What Lies Beneath, Revlon Coy

The gel liner is the standout of the products, though. Ugh it is so good. I almost hate Colourpop for making a gel liner that I like so much. DTLA is a matte navy blue, it sets quickly on my skin, doesn't smudge, doesn't flake, and lasts all day with minimal fading. 

I used my Zoeva 317 Wing Liner brush to swatch.

I picked a relatively inoffensive colour for my first crack at the can, but now I want more, as evidence by my first no-buy report. It works well. I've used it 4-5 times a week since I got it a few months ago and that should tell you all you need to know, particularly when I own a dozen Urban Decay pencil liners. 

DTLA after a work day.

Surprisingly, DTFA is my only plain, navy blue liner. The rest are bright blues and teals, sparkly and unusual. 

DTFA after nine hours of wear. Still looking sharp, though I don't actually do wings or anything. But it holds up well over a day. 

The sheer Lippie Stix in Peacocky is a bright blue-based red. It's comfortably, easily buildable if desired, and doesn't dry out my lips. It does smell rather strongly of fake vanilla, but I've noticed that fading somewhat since I got it, and the scent doesn't linger. 

I also really like the packaging of the Lippie Stix (THAT NAME WHY). I like the sleek white case with the colour on the bottom. The bullet was narrower than I expected, but it's a nice case. Nicer than say, the Glossier Generation Gs, or the mixed material look of Clinique Almost Lipsticks, of which I have an irrational hatred.

The only unfortunate (or fortunate) thing is that Peacocky is almost an exact dupe for HelloWaffle It's Pronounced Zed. Zed was a limited colour from last summer, so Peacocky will fill that hole, but I'm not yet close to finishing Zed, so I currently have two colours that look exactly the same. 

L-R: Peacocky, HelloWaffle It's Pronounced Zed, Rituel de Fille Love-Ache, HelloWaffle *Sigh*, HelloWaffle The Secret Room

And lastly, the highlighters/blushes/Colourpop can't seem to really choose categories and the naming and organization of their face products is weird. I got Sticky Sweet, described as a deep violet with pink duochome; Butterfly Beach, a a soft peach with highlights of gold and silver; and Monster, a light pink with highly opalescent duochrome finish. I don't think that Colourpop understands what duochrome means, seeing as Monster is and Sticky Sweet isn't, but hey. They're all really lovely colours, even though I anticipated Butterfly Beach would be lighter than it really is. 

Top: Monster, Bottom L-R: Butterfly Beach, Sticky Sweet

They all have that famous kind of squishy, cream to powder texture that Colourpop became known for, and are best suited to being used with your fingers. The texture really is fascinating. Also easy to repress into the pan, which was fortunate after a mishap with Sticky Sweet.

Top to bottom: Sticky Sweet, Butterfly Beach, Monster

I haven't really figured out a good way to apply Sticky Sweet and Butterfly Beach as blushes. I don't have a brush that I think would work best, and using my finger doesn't really seem to work very well. I do like the luminous effect of Sticky Sweet, while Butterfly Beach is beautiful but also has a tendency to look a little bit like I got both a sunburn and got something smudged on my face if I'm not careful. It's a fine line to walk. 

Monster is by far my favourite, though, because LOOK AT THAT PINK SHIFT. It's amazing. It's completely unlike anything else I own, as evidenced by my highlighter inventory.

I took about forty pictures of Monster on my face and this is as good as it got. Trust me, it's incredible.

You win this time, Colourpop. I guess. Though I won't be getting another Ultra Satin Lip.


  1. IT IS THE FOREVER 21 OF MAKEUP. I haven't been able to quite put my finger on the core of my distaste for Colourpop (white packaging, uber trendy names, "Lippie Stix," limited shelf life, surplus of heinous liquid lip products, etc ). You've nailed it though; disposability. I'm softening toward the gel liners because I love gels and the color range is just unbeatable, but they haven't been available long enough to assess how quickly they'll dry out, and "Best O" isn't necessarily something I want to put on my face. Nars can't reel me in with that one either, sorry.

    1. Lippie Stix will always be the worst product name EVER.

      In the twoish months I've had my gel pot, it seems to be holding up, but yeah, they really haven't been out long enough to give a good guess. The jars are of a nice glass with a lined lid, so that bodes well.

      Why can't makeup companies give shades names that don't embarrass people. Why.

  2. I recently got my first Colourpop order and YES the eyeliners are so good. I have two of the wind-up pencils and there is no amount of time, sweat or humidity that can make them budge. I think it's funny that they're known for their lip products and eye shadows when I find their eyeliners to be their best product.

    1. I was so impressed by the gel liner! Everything else was fine, but not worth the hype. The one product that deserves some hype has none. Of course. They are newer, but still...


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