Sunday, 24 June 2018

Sephora #Lipstories Lipstick in Popsicle Lips and After Hours

When Sephora Collection released their new line of bullet lipsticks, called #Lipstories for what I can only assume is easy Instagramming of them, the hype was real. This was a big line - 3 finishes (matte, cream, and metallic) and 40 colours, plus they're $10. Even in Canada, this is cheap for a lipstick. Most drugstore lipsticks these days run at that regular price, and more often, $10 is your sale price. It's gotten way less satisfying to roam through the drugstore and see what's on sale. And with #Lipstories, it seemed to make the drugstore kind of meaningless. May I repeat: $10 lipsticks. At Sephora. The dream. Or a dream that I've had more than once. 

L-R: Popsicle Lips, After Hours

After a flurry of posts and reviews about #Lipstories in the online beautysphere, they quietly vanished and no one ever talked about them again. I picked up two of the #Lipstories in March, when I sent myself to the mall in my hometown during a car appointment for recalled parts. They were still relatively new and shiny, and Temptalia was either almost done swatching them all or had just finished. I weighed the decision for a moment, and then proceeded to try and swatch a bunch of them to narrow down my choice. While I appreciate that the line has a lot of unique colours (blues, greens, golds), I think we all know full well that I'm a lot of talk when it comes to the offbeat colours: I buy them and then only wear them at home. Wild. So I went for colours that I would be far more likely to wear, and ended up with two reds: Popsicle Lips, a cream-finish neutral red, and After Hours, a matte-finish neutral red. I took these descriptions from Temptalia. These are decidedly not the same at all; check this, Christine. Popsicle is a cool-leaning neutral red, while After Hours is more of a brick red. 

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

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

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. 


  1. Ugh, yeah, I'm mostly over my distaste for cardboard packaging, but it truly is SO impractical when we're talking lipstick! It's such a shame because the designs on the tubes are really cute, and I like that every tube is different. The colour of Popsicle Lips is beautiful (and great on you!), but I will stay far, far away after your review.

    1. It was so so so awful. I was horrified. And I had worn it to work which means my users had seen that godawful feathering before I wiped most of it off.

  2. I have the utmost respect for Christine and her blog, but her color descriptions drive me insane. 30% of lipsticks are "plum." She has literally described CORAL lipsticks as "plum." She also has a problem with describing cool reds like Popsicle Lips as either warm or neutral. She calls YSL Glossy Stain in Rouge Gouache an "orange-red" when it's one of the coolest, pinkest reds I've ever worn. Maybe her lighting is super-warm or something? It's so weird.

    And I totally agree about the cardboard packaging: I would never buy a lipstick with a cardboard tube, because it really does scream "disposable," and I want my makeup to look like something I can wear and enjoy for years. (My cardboard-packaged ColourPop face duo already looks gross, and it's never even left my makeup shelf.) After Hours is beautiful on you, though!

    1. I find Christine's lighting very very warm based on things I have and have compared with her swatches. So I can figure things out by comparison, but I hate when I see something I like in her photos because I know it's not going to look like that in reality. Sadly Sephora didn't bother describing the colours on their website, so Temptalia it was.


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