I don’t normally go for bright lip colours, I have been trying to work on this as I do love the look of a bright red lip I just haven’t been able to find any that I love. In a recent online order from HQ Hair I found they have a few products form The Balm and this Meet Matt(e) Hughes Mini Set was a bit of an impulse buy as it was on offer at 10% off as well as another offer on top at the time so for six colours to try out it seemed a good price. It’s still £19.35 there (RRP £21.50) though the second offer isn’t on any more.
There are six colours in this set and they’re all The Balm’s long-lasting lipsticks, they’re liquid and have a matte finish and I’d say that all of the colours in this set are more on the red side, there aren’t any pinks and even the brighter coral colour is a reddish coral. The six colours are: Charming, Sincere, Committed, Doting, Dedicated and Loyal and they’re available full sized, though HQ Hair only has some at £12.15 Debenhams has the full range at £13.50 if the shade you want isn’t there or you want to see them in person. The minis in this set have 1.2ml in them whereas the full sized products are 7.2g so in the end it would be cheaper if you wanted just one colour to get the full sized product, when you look at £ per ml, I like the fact you get a range of colours to try out this way or it’d make a nice little gift. There will be reviews of each colour so if you’re looking at one of these in particular you can scroll past the others.
As well as bright colours I’ve tended to stay away from matte finishes, though I have ventured into that area with the Soap and Glory lipsticks they released recently and the semi-mattes so I thought I’d dive in and try some liquid lipsticks that are bright colours with a matte finish. I have to say that I am definitely glad I did, especially choosing this product.
The outer packaging for the set isn’t all that special, it’s nice in that you see exactly what you’re getting with the window but it’s not one I’ll be keeping like I do with some of them. It has the retro style that all of the Balm products have with the names along the bottom so you know which colour is which, though these are also printed on the individual lipsticks so you don’t have to worry about losing this or forgetting. The back has the six listed again with photos of them and the ingredients in very small print at the bottom. It doesn’t give individual lipstick ingredients so I would assume that it’s just the amounts of the colour ingredients that vary depending on the shade.
As with some of their other recent products there’s a QR code you can scan with your smart phone, if you’re does this, which says it sends you to a tutorial. My phone does not want to cooperate with these codes so I can’t say how good this is but it’s a nice touch to give you ideas on what look they would work in if you’re unsure or haven’t tried the colours before.
The lipsticks themselves come in a miniature version of the full sized packaging, it’s fairly standard lip gloss packaging but I can’t tell if it’s glass or plastic. I want to say the clear bit is glass as it sounds like it when you tap it but I’m not 100%. Either way it feels pretty sturdy and survived a drop on tiles, not that I’d recommend it as it just fell off the side in the kitchen, so I’d trust it not to break in my bag. It twists closed very easily and stays shut so again, I wouldn’t worry about it opening in my bag and getting lipstick everywhere. The applicator itself is pretty fluffy as far as these go and holds a lot of product, though it doesn’t wipe the excess off when you pull it out of the bottom of the tube like a lot do which does mean you have to wipe it yourself as you don’t want too much of this or it gets messy. I also found the applicator a bit hard to get a precise line but that’s probably more to do with my inexperience with it for pigmented products, I’d still probably choose to use a travel lip brush if I had it in my bag though.
The formula for these is amazing, I was surprised at how thin it is but it’s still very pigmented as the swatches on my hand show it with one coat and you can probably see it completely covers a mole on my hand, just to know it covers darker pigmentation so I’d think they’d work well on all skin tones and still show up brightly. You do have to be careful that your lips are fairly soft, not very dry, when using it as it is matte so I found applying a lip balm a while before I wanted to use them and then waiting for tit o all completely soak in and not have my lips feeling too soft otherwise the lipstick takes a long time to dry and it applies patchier. I found that, as it’s so thin, a little goes a long way and applying too much makes it stickier and if you close your lips tightly too soon it does leave a line of more product around the edges so try to be as sparing as possible, I found it worked better having to apply two thin coats than one overly generous one.
Most matte lipsticks I find tend to leave my lips looking even dryer than when I haven’t been using lip balm and can tend to make them peel but I found these didn’t give me this problem. They looked fine from a distance and not too bad close up, they did show any lines on your lips but didn’t make them look especially dry. Also, when I had removed the lipstick, a quick coat of lip balm and they felt fine, my lips didn’t soak up anything applied to them like they sometimes do so I’d say the conditioning and moisturising claims I found on some sites aren’t too far off. These won’t make your lips feel better or moisturised but they won’t make them feel like a desert which is an improvement on a lot of completely matte lip products. When I was wearing the lipsticks I found that, after the initial half an hour, I forgot I had them on. I did find myself unconsciously licking my lips at times but it didn’t effect the lasting power or smudge them. I guess that means they may have felt slightly dry but not at all tight or uncomfortable, just like my lips normally are but I couldn’t apply any lip balm. If I was wearing these for any longer I might apply some lip balm before reapplying.
These did have a true matte finish, they felt nice and soft when I touched my lips too, not powdery or dry but a similar feel to my bare lips. When you apply them you have to wait maybe ten or fifteen minutes for them to become truly matte and then another ten or fifteen for any slight stickiness to completely disappear but after that they stuck. When I first applied them I did notice a bit of tingling, but in that fresh peppermint sort of way rather than the tingling you get with lip plumping products. That is another positive for these, the main scent you get is peppermint, there’s something else in there but it’s not a plastic scent.
When it comes to staying power I was very pleasantly surprised with these. I tried all of them out with eating, drinking and washing my face and after four hours they were all still there. Some of them had flaked a bit in parts but it wasn’t obvious unless you were close as they were the colours closer to my lip colour anyway. The main part that showed it more obviously was where my inner and outer lips met, so there could be an obvious line depending on what face you pull for a photograph sort of thing rather than when you’re talking. The only things that made them transfer, after the first ten or fifteen minutes, were when I had a hot drink, I think it melted it a bit, or when I had oilier food but both times they dried back and were fine afterwards, I didn’t reapply for any of the photos. Also I took a photo of the swatch on the back of my hand three hours after applying it and after hand washing and pulling on and off a jumper. It took quite a bit of scrubbing to remove it with makeup remover as well. I guess that is one negative thing with these, when it comes to removing them the makeup removal products I normally use took a bit of scrubbing unless you did it before it set so it would be hard to change colours when you’re out without layering on top.
For each of these I took a photo in natural light to get the closest finish in the picture to what I saw in the mirror and then took a second photo four hours later. I did forget to take the first photo at the same time as the second and I’m not that precise with the applicator to start with if you see any difference in the shape of my lips, that’s why. I think I’ve got better as I went on but it took some practice to start with! One thing I noticed with a few of the colours in this set is that they made my teeth look yellower than normal. I won’t say I have perfectly white teeth but they aren’t that bad and a couple of these made them look a lot darker than they actually are.
Charming is described as a rich mauve and I’d agree with that. It’s a warm reddy brown colour and not too far off the colour of my lips, just darker. It does stand out well but I found that it’s a colour that made my teeth look more yellow than they are so that might be something to consider if you don’t have truly white teeth.
Sincere is a slightly lighter version of Charming, I can’t find a description of it but I’d go for mid light mauve maybe. It’s another reddy brown base but with more terracotta so it’s got a slightly warmer, more orange tone to it. This one did make my teeth look slightly yellower but not as bad as Charming. Of all of them this one applied the least evenly, it wasn’t obvious but did benefit from a second coat in parts of my lips.
Committed is a pinky nude and an almost exact match for my lips so I’d say this is a more subtle shade if you have pale skin. It looks a lot brighter in the tube than I found it dried down to. This was one that didn’t make my teeth look yellow but it was the hardest to remove of the lot I think.
Doting is probably the brightest of these colours and the least red of the bunch as I’d call it an orangey based coral. Probably the most pigmented of the lot it didn’t have the yellowing effect on my teeth as much as most of the others.
Dedicated is probably the one that stands out the most to me. It’s a more blue toned red, could possibly be a very dark magenta and definitely a lot pinker than it appears on any online stores which make it look like a pure dark red. Very bright, hard to remove at the end but meant it didn’t slide at all which is great for a red as it would be more noticeable and it didn’t have the yellowing effect on my teeth.
Loyal is a pure bright red, online it says a dark red but I’d say it’s just a classic red lip kind of colour. Probably the most even when it comes to application and doesn’t need much at all for a really bright lip. Unfortunately this was the one that made me notice the yellowing effect on my teeth as it seems to be the worst for that on my lips.
Having tried all of these I will definitely get use out of all of them. I’m slightly less likely to use the ones that made my teeth look yellower but I’ll see if it’s something that other notice maybe before I judge them too much as I know sometimes we see these things more than other people do. I just thought it was something worth noting in a review of a lip product. I think that I will probably be purchasing a full sized version of at least one of these when the mini run out, committed and sincere are definitely ones I’ll use as everyday colours. Dedicated is gorgeous but I don’t use reds that much, I might start to now I’ve found one I like though.
If you’re looking for a matte lipstick then I’d definitely recommend these. I found them easy to apply, very pigmented and the staying power was beyond what I expected. I could probably have got another hour out of them before I really needed to reapply for some but I wanted to give them all the same time to compare and four hours was the best window I had on some days. I have worn these for the past six days and my lips aren’t in any worse condition than when I started, which did worry me going into this. In the future I’ll be looking at more of their lip products I think, have any of you guys tried their other lip products, especially the liquid ones? Are they worth looking at too?