Lately beauty brands have been dropping new products left, right, and centre. No joke - this whole thing has become downright exhausting. Beauty is meant to be an escape from the stress of daily life, not a cause of it. It follows, therefore, that I prefer online shopping to in-store shopping (limited interaction with other people, impulse buys are but a mere slip of the finger away, it can be done lounging in bed, there is zero need to walk, and a heightened sense of money being abstract.) My relationship with beauty is probably best summed up as escapism through consumerism. If you're my therapist, we can talk about this during our next session; if you are not my therapist, please keep your gob shut and refrain from telling me that I have issues. Trust me: I know I do. (I'm also prob way smarter and more self-aware than you are but whatevs.*) Back to the topic at hand. Online shopping. More specifically, shopping on Sephora’s handy mobile app.
Scrolling through the new arrivals page on Sephora is one of my favourite things to do when I am bored, which is depressingly often. It’s also - surprise! - a great way way of keeping tabs on new product releases. Case in point: the brand new Burberry Lip Velvet Crushes.
Burberry Beauty counter at Tangs Plaza, Singapore
Touted as a "sheer matte lip stain", the marketing team responsible for promoting Burberry's Lip Velvet Crushes took a page out of Burberry's traditional naming playbook: aim for maximum customer confusion and minimal product differentiation by simply recycling an existing formula name with an extra word for variation.
*Joke. Sort of.
Stop it with the Kisses, Burberry
Case in point: KISSES. Burberry has a whopping FIVE lip products which have the word 'Kisses' incorporated into their names. We have:
Kisses Gloss; and (last but not least),
First Kiss Fresh Gloss Lip Balm.
(It's all a bit much, and this is coming from someone who's generally a fan of kisses, IRL.)
Burberry has been more circumspect with 'Velvet' but based on historical trends, I don't think it'll be long before we encounter the eord again. The Lip Velvet ramge is Burberry's signature lipstick formula, boasting a "creamy, soft-matte finish" and "full coverage in one stroke". I find them a solid 4 out of 5 stars in terms of quality but that's just me. The Liquid Lip Velvets are an absolute win though, and happen to be one of the few liquid lipstick formulas that gets my stamp of approval. True to the ad copy, the formula really does combine a "whipped, creamy texture" and "bold velvet finish" with a "comfortable, non-drying" texture. I own three shades and would have bought more if there were only more neutrals available.
But back to the Lip Velvet Crush stains. I've always been intrigued by lip stains and obviously I have a keen interest in anything categorised under the 'new releases' section on Sephora's website. So I took one - or rather, two - for the team and impulsively bought a couple of Lip Crushes at approximately 4:15am on a Tuesday.
Packaging Matters (Pun Intended)
When I received my Lip Velvet Crushes a couple of days later, I can't lie - the packaging left a lot to be desired. If you’re a regular reader of The Beauty Blackout, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that, yes, packaging really does matter. Fuckin’ duh. We pride ourselves on the fact that, even at our most blackout (and we go hard), our discriminating sense of taste never fails us. We are very discerning snobs about product packaging.
*A fistful of my Confessions - they overfloweth...
Approximately 75% of the reason I bought over 20 Hourglass Confession Lipsticks was because I loved the bougie AF, old Hollywood style, cigarette-holder packaging. (Btw, I am referring to the Confessions that come in their own proper tube, not the refills you're meant to switch in and out of one tube 'interchangeably'. Where do you think I buy my furniture? Ikea? I am not a DIY person, as longtime readers will know. I mean, just look at this bloody diagram for Christ’s sake.)
What, am I trying to put together a BJÖRKSNÄS??
Unlike most of Burberry's products, the Lip Velvet Crushes don't have the requisite weight and shine to fall into the category of 'luxe'. These are decidedly non luxe. They look like the felt marker pens you might buy at some dollar store that's finally gone bust and is having an epic clearance sale. Okay, that was harsh but these really are shockingly cheap in every relevant tactile respect (they weigh approximately nothing; they have a gaudy coloured cap; and the tube is literally plastic begging to be gnawed on if you are a habitual gnawer of pens.) Another pet peeve is the shade names are not easy to see and will get worn away quickly (refer to the pic below to see what I mean.) I sincerely hope this is Burberry's low point (as far as packaging anyway.) That said, they aren't tacky which is the most important thing. Also, the price makes the packaging more justifiable - these stains perform pretty well on the value for money scale (US$30 / SGD $47 for 0.08oz/2ml.)
Quick heads up - if you are a habitual Vicks inhaler user, do note that the cap of a standard Vicks inhaler has exactly the same dimensions as the cap attached to a Burbery Lip Velvet Crush. Try not to do what I did, which was to cheapen the packaging even further by carelessly jamming my Vicks cap onto my favourite Lip Velvet Crush. Yes, this really did happen.
What Shades Did I Pick?
Top to bottom: Copper Pink sheer, Copper Pink built up, Cinnamon sheer, Cinnamon built up, Rosy Mauve sheer, Rosy Mauve built up.
Copper Pink worn sheer in the photo on the left, and built up on the right.
Copper Pink was the last (but let's be realistic, probably not my last) lip stain I purchased. It was sold out online but available at the counter where I swatched the entire series on video but failed to take any actual pictures. Sorry. Anyway, Copper Pink is the stain that gets me the most compliments and is probably the safest colour to buy blind online, without any regrets after opening and trying on.
Cinnamon worn sheer in the photo on the left, and built up on the right.
Cinnamon and Copper Pink look very similar worn very sheer but I prefer to wear these built up because while I am a wuss about bold colours, I'm not THAT much of a wuss. If you really do want just the barest hint of colour, the lip stains will do the job but I'm happy to report that they are versatile enough to work across the entire coverage spectrum.
Cinnamon is my favourite but I do have a soft spot for these rosy brown, '90s-redux type of shades. (I have garnered a fair number of compliments on it too). If you like the Liquid Lip Velvet in Fawn 05 or Dark Rosewood 17, this is the one to go for. It feels very Christy Turlington, if you get what I mean. Not sure why, it just does.
Rosy Mauve worn sheer in the photo on the left, and built up on the right.
Rosy Mauve is more of a grape than a mauve in my opinion but semantics aside, I have no quibbles with this shade. It's very cool toned so it will clash with your Golden Goddess makeup, if that's how you tend to roll. It will, however, work with The Ingenue look. (You're welcome for the shout out, Charlotte Tilbury!)
The Ingenue edged out The Golden Goddesss as your preferred look in my extemely entertaining 'This or That' series on Instagram!*
Close-up of Copper Pink, you can see how buildable the formula is.
For those sensitive to scent (and there's no getting around the fact that Burberry's cosmetics are generally scented like the back of Grandma's linen closer with not-so-subtle accords of candied violets and talcum powder), then I have good news for you. When Burberry decided to skimp on packaging, they evidently decided to skimp on the perfume too. These have no discernible scent (as far as I can tell - my sinuses are occasionally congested) or taste. My lips are very sensitive - Charlotte Tilbury's Hollywood liquid lipsticks nearly destroyed them and I'm only 50% kidding - but I find these comfortable to wear and, unlike most lip products they don't leave my lips in worse condition afterwards.
Texture wise, these are very lightweight and have a slightly spongey texture upon initial application. BTW: I recently rewatched an old instalive I did and noticed to my horror that I had Rosy Mauve stains all over my teeth - not a great look. I'd applied the stain on camera for the benefit of my live audience, whose number luckily never surpassed the double digits for the extent the video was left up. So, take-home message: these are transfer prone upon immediate application but you should be fine if you're not applying them in front of your iPhone while gabbering away about the number of baths Tom Ford takes a day. (It is pretty impressive, check out this interview for the lowdown.)
I actually think that the sponge applicator does a surprisingly good job - with the darker shades, I imagine it would be trickier but overall I think it worked as well as any doe foot wand would have. As the formula is quite liquidy, it tended to settle in certain areas a little bit more but any unevenness was easily corrected by blending out with the foam applicator. The stains are very buildable and that's where they really shine, in my opinion. You have complete control over how intense you want the color to be, which isn't common in lip products. Swatching these is a bit unfair as indicating how many 'swipes' and 'coats' are shown doesn't show how they can be dialed up and down. I have a feeling that the paler shades like Honey Nude would perform less impressively in this regard, whereas Dark Russet, for example - which is OOS and on my wishlist - is totally different when built up.
Beauty Blackout Grade : A-
Poor packaging accounts for the minus sign. I honestly wouldn't mind paying an extra few bucks for a non plastic tube, just to avoid feeling like I'm colouring in my lips with a knock off Sharpie. However, I love the formula of these lip stains and just wish that the colour range was a bit more extensive because I would totally buy more. My recommendations are Cinnamon, Copper Pink and Dark Russet if you can still find it in stock. Verdict - you need at least one of these Crushes.
P.S.: Good job, Wendy Rowe, but please get a new team to advise you on product packaging.