A Joint Review by Rachel & Emily
In Part 2 of our overview of Pat McGrath’s newly-launched LuxeTrance lipsticks, we’ll be covering six of the ‘Blitz’ (translation: bright) shades along with four of the Vicious Venom (that’s a dark to you and I). For those of you who haven't read Part 1, which covers the ‘Skin Show’ shades aka the nudes, we recommend giving that a read first. It includes my comprehensive breakdown of the LuxeTrance formula, as well as Rachel’s comments on Pat McGrath’s choice of packaging. We won’t be repeating those parts in this installment but since formula and packaging are essential components of any lipstick review --- our advice is to give Part 1 a thorough read here.
To those of you who’ve already read the first installment, well done you! Just like before, we've divided up the LuxeTrance shades into several different groups - plums, reds, corals, and a vampy category for those four Vicious Venoms. Read on for our brutally honest, uncensored take on even more of Pat McGrath’s LuxeTrance lipsticks. Before you ask - the answer is yes. Between the two of us, we really did buy every single one of these shades. Blind. Just another beauty blackout, welcome to our lives. What's more- we're not finished! We've added swatches of more recently acquired shades- with reviews to come (eventually).
To skip straight to the swatches, click on the shade names below:
Rather mystifyingly, there seems to be a great deal of confusion in the online beauty community over the degree of similarity (or lack thereof) between Beautiful Creature and Sorry, Not Sorry. So I'm here today to deliver the final - and definitive - verdict: THEY ARE NOT THE SAME SHADE, PEOPLE.
Beautiful Creature is a reddened plum which, while objectively lovely, is rather hampered by the grandiosity of its name. When you name a lipstick ‘Beautiful Creature’, it better make me look downright otherworldly. Unearthly. Ethereal. You get the drift. But Pat McGrath’s Beautiful Creature has a distinctly of-this-world feel. It’s a shade that I feel I've seen countless times before, in a hundred different variations. I think - and I say this tentatively - that most of us have seen a lipstick - perhaps even own a lipstick - like Beautiful Creature. And if you remain in doubt - well, the comparison swatches above are there for your perusal.
Now, with all that said, don’t let my personal biases put you off this shade. If pinky-red plum lipsticks really do get you all hot and bothered, then Beautiful Creature is a no-brainer add-to-cart pick. And I concede defeat.
Now unlike Beautiful Creature, this shade has a great name - 'Sorry, Not Sorry'. Heck, it almost provides you with an excuse to buy the lipstick in itself! Just picture this scenario: you get your monthly credit card statement, and - inevitably - are confronted with the considerable damage you’ve done on Sephora/Pat McGrath’s website(s). BUT - fear not - all hope is not lost. Here's what you do next: you pull out your tube of Sorry, Not Sorry, you swipe it confidently onto your lips, and (after taking some time to admire your reflection in the mirror) you toss aside the aforementioned pesky credit card statement with an insouciant shrug. “Sorry, not sorry,” you say aloud with absolutely zero remorse.
If you’re still not sold on this shade, I’ll attempt to describe it to you in less flowery language. Sorry, Not Sorry is a cool-toned, jammy berry - purple rather than red in its undertones. Not only does it make your teeth look Colgate commercial white, it wears down over the course of the day to a grape popsicle-like stain.
I think it’s pretty clear which side of the Beautiful Creature/Sorry, Not Sorry debate I fall on. It's now your call to make...
Of course this shade was going to be a slam dunk winner. I mean, hello. It has Pat’s name in it, what stronger endorsement could you possibly ask for? I think this lipstick is an absolute must-have. It’s definitely the red to get from the LuxeTrance range (oops...a rather belated spoiler alert...)
McGrath Muse is a brilliant, fire-hydrant shade of red with subtle orange undertones. Make no mistake though: this is definitely a red. It never crosses the threshold into orange-red territory, although it does dance awfully close. Instead, the warmth of its undertones softens its brightness, keeping it a youthful rather than stark. It’s a shade best worn with a smile and you're practically guaranteed to make everyone else in the vicinity smile too. They can’t help it - you just look so darned charming wearing McGrath Muse. Case in point - it looks good on both of us! Disagree? No? We thought so.
Sedition is your classic blue-based red lipstick, only it’s the Pat McGrath (i.e.: perfected) version. Is Sedition the most exciting shade in the LuxeTrance lineup? Well...no. Does the name make complete sense to me? Again...no, not really. Quite to the contrary, Sedition is a well-behaved, sophisticated red, the sort of red that Carolyn Bessette Kennedy favoured back in her haughty, camel-coat-wearing heyday (R.I.P., Carolyn). Seditious? Not so much. (Although if you disagree, the comments section below is all yours to expound in, just FYI).
Seriously speaking - Sedition is an excellent red lipstick. And since everyone needs a red lipstick for the upcoming holiday season, why not make this year's Sedition? (Hint: if you’re secretly a holiday-hater, a Grinch, or an Ebenezer Scrooge about Christmas...then Sedition is the perfect pick for you. Think of it as your own little private act of rebellion when you're trapped - inevitably - amidst the seasonal festivities.)
This is my favourite shade in the range so, um, there’s your disclaimer. With that out of the way, I’ll now proceed with waxing lyrical about this gorgeous, gorgeous coral. Btw, if you love corals, stop reading now and go order Apricult immediately. You can come back to this post after and read the rest of this review/rave, basking in the knowledge that you made a very, very wise decision.
How to do justice in mere words to perfection? Apricult is the kind of colour that can only be described as happiness in a tube. A $38 tube but come on, for happiness, $38 is peanuts. On the coral spectrum, Apricult falls firmly on the orange side. It’s described as a ‘bright coral’ on Pat McGrath’s website, whereas Tropicalia is called a ‘neutral coral’ (I’m not sure that 'neutral corals' exist. Thoughts?) But back to Apricult. I am ALL about Apricult, and I advise you to buy this lipstick, like, now. Forget the fact that it isn’t a seasonally appropriate winter colour. You’re just getting a head start preparing for summer! This is my top rec from the LuxeTrance range (for whatever that’s worth). Buy it. And, um, no pressure.
So now we come to the inevitable set of questions: is Tropicalia just a more muted version of Apricult? They can't be that different from each other, can they - not when we've grouped them together in the same family? My answer(s): (a) NOPE and (b) um, yes, they definitely can be....the groups are just there for ease and convenience. Should have mentioned that earlier, I guess. (Although refer above to Beautiful Creature and Sorry, Not Sorry, if you still harbour any doubts).
While Apricult is vibrantly, unapologetically coral, Tropicalia is a coral-toned pink at best - at its core, it remains a pink. Is this a bad thing? Not at all! It's January Jones in Mad Men - the exact shade of lipstick a WASP-y 1950s housewife would have sported with a matching manicure. But Apricult is what came next - the ‘60s, aka the fun decade - sex, drugs, and rock and roll. My advice: save Tropicalia for days when you feel feminine and dainty and demure. It's in those moments when this lipstick will shine (and believe it or not, I do have days when I feel like that...not many, but they aren't unheard of.)
Rachel: Just popping in here to say that this is a great example of how subjective personal preference is. Why? Because Tropicalia is my favorite shade in the LuxeTrance line-up (....okay, so McGrath Muse may be giving it a run for its money). Also, just for the record, I fucking love January Jones. Remember when she shot the neighbour's pigeons in Season 1 because he was a total dick to the Draper kids? If that's not badass, WTF is?
Emily: Yeah, that was pretty awesome. I miss you, Betty Draper.
The Vampy Vicious Venoms
What’s so strange about Strangé? Honestly, not much except for: a) the fact that it’s described as a ‘brick red’ when really it’s more of a cool berry red; and b) the misleadingly placed, very French-sounding accent aigu on the e at the end. As it happens, ‘strangé’ is not a word that exists in the native French-speaker’s vocabulary - they would find its use rather étrange, perhaps even singulier or bizarre.
Strangé? Okay, I know I'm being rather tough on this shade for its name, but, as someone who already despises the cosmetic industry for its predilection for sprinkling product names with unneccesary French words...I must admit that I find 'Strangé' rather grating. And hell yes. You bet I pronounce it ‘stran-JAY’. (Sorry, Pat, but you sort of asked for it.)
Name-ridiculing aside, what is there to say about Strangé? Well, there's the fact that I look like the Bride of Dracula wearing it. I honestly don’t mind the look, it’s just not really an everyday sort of thing, you know? To be honest, I wish my rather dull life had more room for Strangé in it. Why?
Because Strangé is a wonderfully vampy burgundy red with just the barest hint of warmth in it. Imagine gazing into a crystal glass of claret - that deep, rich shade of red filtered through the amber glow of a candle-lit drawing room at midnight.
Strangé, dumb name aside, is a lovely lipstick. I’d be lying if I told you that I see myself wearing this one often. But absolutely no regrets. Strangé is my film noir shade of red - the only pity is that it doesn’t come packaged with a long jade cigarette holder, and someone tall, dark and handsome ready to proffer the requisite match.