L-R: Popsicle Lips, After Hours
Top: After Hours, Bottom: Popsicle Lips
Top: Popsicle Lips, Bottom: After Hours
Before I get into the formulas, let's talk about the packing. All of the #Lipstories have really cute, different pictures on their tubes for the different shades. It's adorable. But the tubes are also cardboard. CARDBOARD. Listen, if I'm paying any amount of money for a lipstick, cardboard packaging is not going to make me happy. A palette is one thing - chances are that it'll spends its life sitting on my vanity anyway. A lipstick travels with me, and I'm kind of hard on most of my belongings that leave the house on a regular basis. These are not going to stand up to a life of hanging out in a makeup bag, you know? And the display at Sephora didn't fill me with a lot of faith: a lot of the caps had been pounded a bit, smeared up, and generally giving a good example of what a lot of use would look like on that packaging...and it was not pretty. Cheaping out on the packaging is probably how they sell that whole "Sephora lipsticks for $10!" but these are not good for your every day lip colour that you carry around everywhere.
Popsicle Lips, the cream formula, is a beautiful red but that's the only positive thing I can say about it. Oh, and the picture on the packaging is really cute. Based on Popsicle Lips, I can't recommend the cream (or satin; Sephora's website is a little vague there) finish. This is bright, saturated, and easy to apply, but it is a trash lipstick. I don't normally have issues with feathering, but this feathered so badly you could see it standing a few feet away from me. It was awful. I attempted to photograph it but it was such a mess that the photo couldn't capture it all. I have worn Popsicle Lips over lip liner and lip primer, both of which did cut the feathering problem, but I don't love the glossy finish that the cream finish has in Popsicle Lips, nor is it such a unique red that I'm going to always wear it with a primer or liner to make it wearable. I won't even pass this on to someone else. It's that bad.
With some similar reds in my collection, L-R: Bite Amuse Bouche in Flag Red, Besame Lipstick in Red Velvet, Popsicle Lips, Besame Lipstick in Victory Red, NYX Super Cliquey Matte Lipstick in In the Red
After Hours, on the other hand, is a very lovely lipstick and I would recommend it. The matte finish on this is a demi-matte, it lasts most of the day with minimal wear and makes it through lunches on the less greasy side, it's a little drying but not uncomfortable, and it doesn't feather all over my face. It's more red than most of the red browns I have in my collection, and it feels very versatile - I've worn it with a more wintery wardrobe and a summery one, and it looks good in both seasons. Excellent. You do need to be sure you don't have any dry skin flakes on your lips, because it will catch on them, and can be very noticeable if you reapply over an old layer.
With some similar lipsticks, L-R: 3CE Mood Recipe Matte Lip Colour in Smoked Rose, After Hours, Besame Lipstick in Chocolate Kiss, Bite Matte Creme Lipstick in Braised Maple
Were these worth the hype? I don't have a great sample size, but I think it was way overblown. Certainly there are gems in there, but cardboard tubes, guys. And while I think there's a great range of colours for an affordable price, drugstore brands have already cornered that market - though in Canada, #Lipstories may come out cheaper if you can't wait for a sale. We do live in a world where NYX thinks their lipsticks are worth $12-13 regular price. It is telling that most people have since ceased to talk about their #Lipstories - and the cardboard tubes scream "I am disposable!" (Yes, I really hate cardboard tubes.) I like After Hours, but I won't be seeking out more of the #Lipstories and I definitely would beg you to not use the cream finish ones.