THE BEAUTY BLACKOUT



Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder Fall 2017 Collection: The Finale/Part 5 - The Lip Products


This post is the final installment in The Beauty Blackout's comprehensive overview of the Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder Fall 2017 collection. Today, we'll be discussing the only products we haven't covered already - the lip products. Specifically, we'll be reviewing the Lip Pencil in Victoria; the Matte Lipsticks in Burnished Rose, Victoria, and Black Cassis; and Desert Heat Lip Gloss. If you've been reading The Beauty Blackout for a while, you probably know that this blog owes its existence to Victoria Beckham and her Java Sun Bronzer (okay, hyperbole - but only slightly). Bonding over bronzer was how our friendship started, believe it or not. And it wasn't long before our shared enthusiasm for Java Sun spiralled into an increasingly obsessive fixation with all things VB x EL related.

When we first started The Beauty Blackout, one of our main goals was to review Victoria Beckham's makeup collaborations with Estée Lauder. And not just 'review' the products the way a typical beauty blog would. We wanted to go in depth. Really in depth. Basically, we wanted to write THE definitive guide to everything Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder related. And naturally, we decided to start with the Fall 2017 collection, which was conveniently released around the same time we hit peak crazy (as evidenced by the increasingly frantic emails we sent to each other as the launch date drew closer).

Now, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little surprised that we actually managed to accomplish this feat i.e. review the entire collection. Are we allowed a moment to pat ourselves on the back?

Readers, we don't think it's an exaggeration to state that this multi-part series is the most exhaustive resource on the internet for information on the Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder Fall 2017 collection. And it should be because writing it has been absolutely exhausting. Since we’re apparently gluttons for punishment, this isn’t the last guide we plan to do. Stay tuned for our wrap-up post at the end of the month; we'll be giving you a sneak preview of what’s on The Beauty Blackout’s agenda for 2018. We would also love your input on what you’re interested in reading that we haven't yet covered; what posts on the blog you've most enjoyed and would like to more to see more of, and - if applicable - what posts you have absolutely, downright despised.

We'll soon be adding a dropdown menu of links to our various overviews of/guides to various brands, products, and collections. In the meantime though, we’ve saved you the trouble of clicking back several pages to hunt everything down. Links to all of our posts on the Fall 2017 Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder collection are below:

Part 1: The Bronzers in Java Sun and Saffron Sun, and Modern Mercury Highlighter HERE.

Part 2: The Eye Foils in Blonde Gold and Burnt Anise HERE.

Part 3: Morning Aura Illuminating Creme, The Aura Gloss in Honey, The Skin Perfecting Powder and Blonde Mink Cheek Creme HERE.

Part 4: The Eye Matte Duos, The Eye Quad, Black Myrrh Eye Ink, The Eye Metals in Bitter Clove and Burnt Anise, ALL of the Eyeliners and the Eye Ink Mascara HERE.


The Lip Pencil in Victoria

Emily: Since neither of us managed to try last year’s Lip Pencil in Victoria, we’re unable to tell you just how ‘new’ ‘Victoria’s new cool take on a nude lip’ is. Was last year’s nude lip liner really a warmer colour? (Let us know in the comments if you’ve sampled both.)

In any event, Victoria - the lip pencil - was new to both us, despited being a returning 'hero product'. Having been a diehard VB x EL junkie for much longer than Rachel, I’m not ashamed to say that I'd spent the better part of a year subscribed to eBay alerts for listings of this lip liner. So to say I was eagerly awaiting - finally - laying my hands on Victoria would be a vast understatement. I ordered two in my very first order. Yep, that's how confident I was in its awesomneness, even though each Lip Pencil is priced at an eye-wateringly expensive $US 34. (On the bright side you can actually use the entire 1.1g of product included in this pencil, unlike the Eye Kajals where there's one half you might as well just throw away.)

So was it indeed love? Was Victoria everything I had imagined it to be, everything I had longed for in a lip liner? Yes.

There isn’t much to say about the Lip Pencil in Victoria other than that it delivered on all but one of its claims - I’m just not sure I’d call this 'cool-toned'. To my eyes, at least, this appears to be more of a fleshy beige. However. that’s a small detail that I’m willing to let go off since, otherwise, Victoria ticks all my boxes for the perfect nude lip-liner. It even satisfies all the remaining claims in the ad copy.

Many lip liners tug and pull. Even Charlotte Tilbury’s much lauded Lip Cheats (which we've covered extensively here, btw) have a tendency to drag and pull at (my) very dry lips. Victoria, however, is genuinely creamy and it’s this velvety smooth consistency that helps one easily achieve the “smooth, even application" that the official product description promises.

Like most lip liners in the world, Victoria does indeed have a 'matte finish.' (Was including this detail really necessary?) Usually matte = drying and since most lip liners = matte, it follows that most lip liners = drying. Yes, I did indeed pass algebra with flying colours.

Victoria is different though - it's not uncomfortable at all. I often just wear it alone, or else I top it with Desert Heat Lip Gloss (great pairing). If I'm having a particularly bad dry lips day, I like to dab a little bit of the (otherwise useless) Morning Aura Gloss on top, or usually just plain old lip balm.

The shade itself is a fantastic versatile nude that will play well with all your warmer nude and peach-toned lipsticks. It’s become a staple for me. I love Victoria (the woman and the lip liner) and I hope that VB and EL keep it exactly the same (no re-formulations please! Not necessary.) I would be shocked if it didn't come back in future collaboration(s) - hopefully, there will be many - but, in the meantime, it’s now time to stock up. I'm definitely ordering a few backups this week. It's better to be safe than sorry.

P:S: For whatever it's worth, Victoria recently disclosed in an interview with Allure Magazine that her favourite lip product in the collection is the Lip Pencil in Victoria: “It's the perfect not-too-mauve, not-too-grey nude color — and the most-used item in my makeup bag right now." If that's not a sufficiently strong endorsement, we don't know what is.

The Matte Lipsticks


The Matte Lipstick in Burnished Rose

Emily: For Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice, Burnished Rose was definitely a step out of her comfort zone (that would be nudes and gloss). Described as a “soft rose” with “highly-pigmented colour for a youthful, pink-nude lip”, Burnished Rose is more of a pink than a pink-nude. It isn't bubblegum pink - so don't start running away - but this is definitely a rose-coloured lipstick with a decidedly cool petal pink cast.

As she did with the original 2016 Collection, Victoria divvied up all the products into various ‘looks’ inspired by her favorite cities (congratulation, New York, London, and Paris). Victoria's new favourite locale, according to this year's collection anyway, is Miami and you can buy the entire ‘Miami Look’ for a ludicrous amount of money in a set (no savings, sorry). I have to admit, I'm a little confused why a matte cool pink lipstick was deemed most befitting of representing Miami. But what do I know? I'm no native of Miami. If you are, let us know below - here's a lip swatch for your reference.

As you can see, Burnished Rose is a neutral-cool rosy pink, slightly brightened and very youthful looking. While it's more matte than Black Cassis, it's not quite as matte as the lipstick in Victoria (yes, their degree of matte-ness does differ).

The Matte Lipstick in Victoria

For the TL;DR crowd, quick word of advice: err on the safe side here and swatch Victoria in person. This is not a nude lipstick (although it's a pretty one).

Emily: I'm going to start off by saying that this is probably not 'the ultimate neutral for all skin tones' as the offical description (misleadingly) claims. It's an extremely grey, medium-dark brown, and I confess that I recoiled at the sight of my reflection when I first tried it on. Unless you're Kylie Jenner trying out the latest grey-toned filter for your new Snapchat video, this is NOT a nude lip.

Net-a-Porter has the inside scoop on the makings of Victoria (the lipstick) which I'll just quote in its entirety: 'For her Fall '17 Estée Lauder collection, Victoria Beckham has updated the signature 'Victoria' lipstick so that it's neither too red nor too yellow, just the ultimate neutral for all complexions. "I love this new nude," she explains, "it's a cool-toned shade that is both sophisticated and modern, and now comes in matte." Creamy smooth in texture and highly pigmented, it works perfectly with the smoky smudged-eye look that defines the designer's own makeup aesthetic.'

I've been following the collaborations between Victoria and Estée Lauder practically since the first one launched back in September 2016. And, to my knowledge, there has never been another Victoria lipstick before, whether it's 'the signature 'Victoria' lipstick' or not. I mean, all of this is rather odd and if you’re able to shed light on this mystery (or work at Net-a-Porter; btw, we'd also be delighted to discuss working with you too), comments section is below.

Rachel: As the Matte Lipstick in Victoria and the Victoria Lip Pencil share the same name, naturally the question is: are they also the shade? My answer: No. These products are definitely not identical. However, they do pair well together (in fact, the warmth and soft rosy tones in the lip liner counteract the almost-corpse-like greyness of the lipstick, and make it - well - wearable). To my eye, the Victoria Lip Pencil is also half a shade or so lighter than the lipstick.

The Matte Lipstick in Black Cassis

Emily: Rather confusingly, the sole lipstick from this year's collection that was deemed worthy of a “golden fluted case” was Black Cassis. Shouldn't that honour have gone to the eponymously named ‘Victoria’? Black Cassis would have done very well in a black tube, one would think. Quibbles with packaging aside, Black Cassis is an impressive lipstick. Neither myself or Rachel own anything quite like it, so it's genuinely unique in our lipstick collections (a hard feat to accomplish). Described as a “bold, deep Bordeaux” (or, alternatively, a “velvety French wine shade”), I'll cut right to the chase.

Make no mistake - this is a full on vamp. Think Theda Bara and the coterie of femme fatales that prowled the silent silver screen in the '20s. This is not a lipstick we'd have expected from Victoria - she loves her nudes, we know (and we get it!) - and so credit to her for delivering something unexpected. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Victoria provided my mum (unwittingly, but still) with some peace of mind: '"It's a very Paris Vogue, not goth or costume-y," Beckham says of the deep Bordeaux hue.' See, Mum? Not goth! Darkest nightmare happily averted. (I think?)

Black Cassis is the lipstick that comes in the 'Paris Look' set (still available to purchase in its entirety on the VB website). There's nothing particularly French about this lipstick other than the fact that it has the word ‘Cassis’ incorporated into its name. And unfortunately, since crème de cassis liqueur is produced in Burgundy - not Bordeaux - the official ad copy is ripe for ridicule (excuse the pun). If you couldn't care less about vines and verbiage, scroll on (you're just a typical teetotaler...missing out on the fun.)

It's so odd to describe a lipstick as a “Bordeaux” when ‘burgundy’ fits the bill just as well, and is the more conventional term used to describe this kind of colour. And that's before we even touch upon the real problem. Who on earth would opt for a bottle of Bordeaux over a bottle of Burgundy, other than someone with absolutely no appreciation for terroir, embarrassingly loud taste, and an exceedingly unrefined palate? Exactly.

(Moral of the story: if your job is to write ad copy for Estée Lauder- don't try and be too clever. You end up achieving quite the opposite result. Moving on.*)

So having established that crème de cassis is a product of Burgundy, not Bordeaux, we're glad to report that the name (if not the description ) of the lipstick is quite suitable. Black Cassis is a cool, dark purple with the barest trace of red - just like a blackcurrant at its best, in other words. Black Cassis is described as “luxuriously comfortable” and, indeed, it does seem to have a less matte finish than Victoria, which comes close to being too matte. And for such a dark colour, Black Cassis has remarkably even coverage (albeit it's not quite full coverage in one swipe.)

All in all, is Black Cassis "sumptuous"? All the Matte Lipsticks are described as "sumptuous", which is an adjective that grates on my nerves, if I'm being honest. I will concede that if we must call lipsticks "sumptuous", Black Cassis deserves the annoying adjective. Perhaps too much so for everyday use. It's very, very dark.

*We'll ignore the possibility that Victoria may prefer a glass of Bordeaux to a glass of Burgundy. It's not possible. The woman has taste.

Lip Gloss in Desert Heat

Emily: Let me preface this review by saying that I despise lip gloss. Absolutely despise. I got Desert Heat anyway because…...Victoria. (You guessed it.) And I’m now regretting skipping Fired Crystal too. Damn it. Lesson learned: buy the whole collection next time around.

The official description of Desert Heat is one I can't entirely get behind, if only because it doesn’t itself seem quite sure of what it's claiming. I mean, is Desert Heat a "high-shine nude gloss” or a “high-shine lip-gloss in a new, cool soft rose shade”? (The second sentence literally follows the first, and yes, literally.) Feel free to jump in and comment on which sentence should have been eliminated. Wrist and lip swatch for your reference below.

Does Desert Heat look like a ‘cool rose’ to you? No? Yeah, we’re confused too. This would be more aptly described as a honeyed nude, a soft caramel - throw ‘tawny’ in there too for good measure. It’s not a rose though.

As for the ‘high shine’ finish, that’s obviously subjective but you can probably hazard a guess based on the lip swatch photo. My two cents: nope, Desert Heat is not a ‘high-shine’ formula. And that’s a good thing because if there’s one thing I hate with a passion, it’s the gloopy lacquered lips that you see most commonly on Fox News presenters and adult film entertainers. (In general, the overlap in appearance between these two delightful groups of women is absolutely uncanny.)

But in general, Desert Heat is lip gloss at its most palatable. Well - time for a caveat - as long as you don't just abhor the scent of figs. Because it was this tube of gloss that made me finally understand the whole Estée Lauder-makeup-smells-like-figs-ew-vom thing. It’s....not untrue. Desert Heat smells sweet enough and feels sticky enough to make you wonder if it might give you a cavity. I really wish VB and Esteé Lauder had had gone with an unscented formula for the lip gloss (they pulled it off for the lipsticks) but, obviously, I took what I could get. Beggars can’t be choosers.

I can testify to the veracity of the remaining claims, Yes, Desert Heat is decently ‘hydrating’ and definitely ‘non-drying.’ And I agree that the vial is sleek. Overall, I'm a fan of Desert Heat. Who would have guessed?

In conclusion, Desert Heat is an A+ lip gloss for all the people out there who, like me, generally hate lip gloss (small caveat above). It was also one of the collection’s top sellers this year so I'm hopeful it will reappear further down the line*. In the meantime, hunt it down quickly to avoid potential disappointment.

I personally predict Desert Heat will return because it epitomises the VB look - glossy tawny-nude lips, gently bronzed skin, and smokey eyes. If you're going to buy any of the lip products from the collection, my top recs are Desert Heat Lip Gloss and the Victoria Lip Pencil. My favourite VB x EL lip product remains the Nude Spice Lipstick from the February 2017 capsule collection. I wisely bought a backup. If you ask me, it should have been the one called 'Victoria'.

*Don't be like Rachel, who actually IS a fan of lip gloss but somehow missed the boat on Desert Heat and is crossing her fingers it makes a return in the future, fig scent be damned.

We hope you've enjoyed reading our overview of the Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder Fall 2017 Collection. We do plan on covering the unicorn products that didn't get brought back this time around at a later point. Have you bought anything from the collection? Have we persuaded you to buy anything? Let us know in the comments below!

--Emily & Rachel