Beauty Review: Glossier Generation G Lipstick vs. Colourpop Blotted Lip

NB: I purchased these with my own money and all links in this review are non-affiliate. If you would like to support this blog by using an affiliate link to shop at Glossier (or other stores), please see this page.

Last month, I posted on my Instagram about receiving two different lip products that are often compared to one another. I did a little unboxing and first impressions, and even shared some swatches. You see, I’ve been curious about the “blotted lip” idea for a while. The basic idea is that it’s a sheer lipcolor, but it has a matte finish instead of being creamy or glossy like most tinted balms. It’s an interesting idea, particularly for someone who always feels the need to have some color on her lips, but doesn’t necessarily want to deal with the upkeep of a full-on saturated lipcolor every day. So when I splurged on Glossier’s Birthday Balm, I also got one of their Generation G lipsticks. Then, I decided, hey, why not do a little comparison, so I hopped on over to Colourpop’s website and got two of their Blotted Lip lipsticks.

I got the Glossier lipstick in the color Zip, which is a warm red color, and the Colourpop lipsticks in Lolly, which is a berry-wine color, and Lexi, which is a neutral-cool red. They’re not color dupes, although Lexi and Zip are quite similar. Lolly seems like it might be similar to the Glossier Jam color. In terms of value, I got the Glossier lipstick for $18, and got free shipping because I bought it with the Birthday Balm. The Colourpop lipsticks were $5 each, but I had to pay shipping, so both Colourpop lipsticks cost $15 with shipping. Still, I got two Colourpop lipsticks for less than the cost of one Glossier. If you find friends to go in on a Colourpop order, you could probably get free shipping without buying ridiculous amounts of makeup. Even though the Glossier lipstick is 2g of product to the Colourpop 1g, the Colourpop is still the clear winner in terms of amount-for-the-money.

So, are they formula dupes? I had high hopes. I love to hate on Glossier, despite the fact that they make the only cleanser that I love. And the Generation G lipstick is so easy to rag on. I mean, it looks so cheap. When I first opened them, I already thought the Colourpop tube felt heavier and more expensive than the Glossier. And they’re basically the same product, in concept. How hard could it be to make a cheap, low-pigment lipstick?

Pretty hard, apparently. Despite my high hopes, I have to say, I definitively prefer the Glossier formula to the Colourpop. Actually, one of the reasons this review has taken so long to write is because I really didn’t want that to be true. But I took the two Colourpop lipsticks to a conference and wore them every day for a week. I found them difficult, patchy, and dry to apply, not great-feeling on the lips, and patchy when they wore off. There’s just enough pigment to highlight dry lip areas, but not enough to cover any lip variations. It’s like the worst of both worlds. Add in that the formula itself dries your lips out, and I actually went bare-lipped on evening rather than try to reapply. You can’t apply them if you have too much lip balm on already, but if you haven’t moisturized your lips, they drag and catch. It’s not fun and it’s really fussy for what is supposed to be a low-maintenance product.

Irritatingly, the Glossier formula lives up to their cool girl, effortless beauty aesthetic. Like the Colourpop, it doesn’t give much color if you apply it directly on top of lip balm, but it goes onto dry lips with a satisfying glide. It doesn’t add moisture of its own, but it doesn’t steal it from your lips. I never tested it out over a consistent week like the Colourpop ones, but it’s the lip product I find myself reaching for when I’m going out somewhere and don’t want to look too “done,” but want to look nice. I wore it to a baby shower this weekend. I threw it in my purse to wear after the gym. I actually felt a little bit like a cool-girl Glossier model when I finished my barre class, washed my face, threw my hair into a messy braid, and applied just sunscreen, concealer, mascara, and Zip before going to work. I mean, I’m about 10 years too old, and wasn’t wearing a minimalist-chic outfit, but you get the idea.

So the bottom line is that in a battle of Colourpop vs. Glossier in blotted lip products, I found Glossier to be the winner. That said, I probably wouldn’t rebuy the Glossier lipstick if only because I would rather take a little extra time and sheer out an existing lipstick of mine than spend $18 on unpigmented lipstick again.

Lips in Bloom: Pink and Coral Lip Colors for Spring

As I mentioned before, springtime has me eschewing my usual red lipsticks for lighter, sheerer shades to match the lightening of the days and warming of the weather. While sheer pinks and corals are a bit less fraught with the need to find just the perfect shade, there is still a joy in finding something that fits you well. Here are a few of the shades I’ve been enjoying lately. Unfortunately, adhering to my recent lack of time to invest in blogging, I haven’t had a chance to photograph swatches of these products, but look for swatches on Instagram this weekend!

Pinks are a shade that I’ve been wearing since I started wearing lipstick. Most of my pinks are of the “My Lips But Better” variety. I tend to get sheer shades that let my own color peek through. One of my earliest go-to shades was Gabriel’s Sheer Rose. It’s a very warm pink, and almost borders on coral. But lately, my absolute favorite pink is Urban Decay’s Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Ladyflower. It’s a lovely rose pink, gives a subtle blush to lips without being either too unnoticeable nor too bold, and the lilac-colored metal tube just fits the whole aesthetic of a spring lipstick. Plus, the formula has a somewhat sticky emollience that stays on my lips and doesn’t leave me reaching for lip balm after a few minutes.

Coral is a color I’m trying to like. I like the shade in and of itself. The set of the play I was in last year was painted a rather garish salmon-coral-pink shade that I mocked along with the rest of the cast, but secretly loved. But I’ve had trouble finding a shade I like on my own lips. My first foray into the shade was Nyx Cosmetics’ Life’s a Beach, which is fabulous and bright, and people say looks lovely on me, but I feel like it makes the rest of my face look washed out. It’s veering into Malibu-Barbie territory, which is not bad, but not me. I feel not-tan enough to carry the shade off, and that is a situation which is unlikely to change. In order to ease myself into the idea of coral on my lips, I’ve also found Wet ‘n Wild’s Balm Stain in Coral of the Story. It’s nice and sheer, but provides a lovely pop of coral and really helps get me used to seeing orange on my face.

While I don’t reach for full-on red lipstick as often, I do still like my cherry lips during spring. And what a perfect time to try out a Korean lip stain! I’ve recently tried Etude House’s Fresh Cherry Tint in RD301, a somewhat warm-pink, softened shade. It looks red at first, but stains the lips a popsicle-red-pink shade that looks healthy and lush. It will cling to the center of my lips and wear off unevenly if I’m not careful, but it has a lovely feel and color for casual weekend days in spring. I especially like it for Sunday morning coffee dates because it does not transfer much, if at all.

(Please not that all products were purchased by me and none of the links are affiliate links)

Five Things I’ve Been Enjoying Recently

I still have a backlog of photo-editing and post-writing to deal with since I’ve been busy and stressed, so here’s another quick, unplanned post. Spring has definitely sprung in the city! Trees are fluffy and pink and white and yellow and purple. There are hyacinths and daffodils out on my walk from the train station to my office. And it’s even getting a bit warmer. So I thought I’d share some of the things that I’ve been particularly enjoying the last couple of weeks as we move into spring.

  1. Magnolia Oolong tea from Simple Loose Leaf: I’ve talked about this before, but this really is a lovely tea. It’s the same Jade Oolong I reviewed a while ago, but with a very light magnolia floral scent and flavor added. I love it as a daily cup when the weather is warm, but not hot, and the sights and scents of spring are everywhere. It’s very seasonally-appropriate and helps remind me that the rich, warming black teas of winter are no longer needed.
  2. Hada Labo UV Perfect Gel: Sunscreen, guys! Since it is now fully light for both my morning and evening walks to and from work, it’s the perfect time to mention my new favorite sunscreen. It’s Japanese and unfragranced and sinks in beautifully. It does leave a bit of shine initially, but I give it 20-30 minutes before applying makeup and it settles right down. It’s a lovely gel texture and I think the hydrating ingredients offset the alcohol that gives it its lovely texture and ability to absorb weightlessly into skin.
  3. Pink and coral lip products: I love a red lip. But lately, I’ve been reach for spring-y lip colors, which means pinks and corals. Coral has been tricky for me, as I’m not generally a fan of orange, but I’ve found some products to help ease me into the look. I’ve also been loving sheerer lip colors for the spring, as it’s a much fresher look. Plus, my lip color matches the azalea bush that’s already started sprouting buds: Coral Bells.
  4. Pink clothing: I own a lot of black and dark-colored clothing. It’s rather a go-to color for me. But the warm weather has me feeling light and youthful, and to me, this means pink and pastels. I wore a pink chiffon dress from Mod Cloth the other day to work and got so many compliments, I wore it again a couple weeks later!
  5. Veggie noodles: One of our most unexpected holiday gifts was a Veggetti from Boyfriend’s parents. I’d looked at spiralizers before, but never decided to actually buy one. So when we got this, it seemed like a neat way to try spiralized veggies without shelling out for an expensive machine. But who wants to eat a lot of raw veggies in the dead of winter? Plus, a lot of the good veggies for spiralizing aren’t available until spring. Well, the zucchini and cucumbers are here and I’ve started spiralizing. We had a spiralized cucumber salad with sushi on Saturday and spiralized zucchini and carrots as a base for grilled chicken yesterday after a heavy Easter lunch called for a light dinner. It’s a lovely way to eat raw veggies, especially now that the warmer weather has me craving fresher food.

What is everyone else loving for spring?

On Applying Lipstick in Public

Apparently it is poor manners to touch up one’s makeup in public. And yet, as a woman who favors a bold lip, I find myself reapplying lipstick at least once a day, after eating my lunch. So am I banished to the restroom for such touch-ups? Must I close my office door if I wish to rebrighten my pout? I say no.

And apparently Sali Hughes agrees with me, though apparently not many others. She specifically addresses applying full makeup on the subway train, which is not a skill I’ve mastered. I once saw a woman applying mascara at on a moving train in the seat in front of me and I had to marvel at the steadiness of her hand and the delicacy with which she picked out each lash and enhanced them. Personally, I was proud of myself for managing to develop the skill of putting on lipstick. I find that if I shape my Cupid’s bow at a stop, I can apply the rest of the lip as the train leaves the station.

But what about those who say that applying even lipstick in public is a social faux-pas, akin to picking one’s teeth? To them, I would point out that the first wave of women applying makeup in public came in the 1920s, when women started publicly embracing makeup in general, and when makeup became less taboo for women outside of the less socially-acceptable professions. It is no coincidence that women started becoming more brazen in their public displays of femininity around the same time that campaigns for equal rights for women started paying off.

For there is the idea that women are delicate, and that therefore anything that differentiates them from men is part of what makes them unfit for the public eye. A woman applying makeup in public is making a statement that says “Look at me; I am a woman who feels the need to use cosmetics to enhance my appearance in a way that men don’t.” Saying that she shouldn’t make this statement is similar to those who think that woman should only wear natural-looking makeup, particularly in the workplace. You don’t want to give away that you need makeup. But how is that different than saying you don’t want to give away the ways in which you are different from men (although that’s not to say men never wear makeup!)?

To those who say that applying makeup in public is disgusting, I would ask what is disgusting about it? Unlike clipping one’s nails or picking one’s teeth, there is no removal of body waste that needs to be disposed of. One might perhaps have a small tissue that one uses to blot lipstick, but this is easily folded and pocketed in a way that clippings and pickings would not be. No, applying makeup is no different than putting on a bit of hand cream or uncolored lip balm, something that people do without worrying about running off to a private area. I would argue that those who are disgusted by public application of makeup can ultimately trace the disgust back to the idea that women should not make public that they use makeup.

Personally, I reapply my lipstick wherever I happen to be when I notice it needs reapplying. If that is at the table at a cafe, so be it. If it is in my office, I don’t worry about someone walking by and seeing me. No, I wouldn’t reapply lipstick in an interview, but then, I wouldn’t wear a lipstick that would need reapplication from the rigors of sipping water and talking. I wear a bright lip; everyone knows that those don’t just happen naturally. So it should come as no surprise when they see me pull out a lipstick bullet and swipe on a coat. And I will often check my lipstick in a small compact mirror because I consider it far less gauche to check one’s makeup than to have a smear of lipstick on one’s chin. Even the most matte formulas can be defeated, and it’s not an enjoyable experience to be told you have lipstick where it ought not to be.

And so, I say put on your lipstick in public. It is unobtrusive and unlikely to cause damage to your eyes the way a hasty eye makeup application might. There is a minimum of danger, and you will find yourself keeping alive the spirit of women who made makeup a mainstream thing for a woman to care about in public. I say that’s good company.

A Cooler Lipstick for Autumn and Winter

As we move into the cooler days of autumn and winter (albeit slowly, as we’ve had some unseasonably warm weather here lately), I find myself reaching for cooler tones of lipstick. Part of it has to do with losing that tiny bit of incidental sunshine I might get despite my adherence to sun protection. Part of it is the cooling of the colors of the landscape around us. As the leaves fall, their reds and oranges no longer cast a warm tone on the surrounding world, and the cool greys of snowy skies instead chill the color palette as well as the air temperature.

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On days such as these, I find I want a nice cherry red without the orange tones that make my warmer-weather lipsticks so cheery. Continuing my love of the brand Bite Beauty, I pull Pomegranate from my bag.

Even the name recalls winter, with the myth of Persephone eating four of the kernels of the pomegranate, corresponding to the four months of winter when she must stay in the underworld. And, indeed, pomegranates are a winter fruit, showing up in the markets just in time to make an appearance in holiday fruit displays and decorations.

Yes, Pomegranate is an appropriate shade for cooler weather. I love its creamy consistency and its chameleon nature. With a bit of blotting, it becomes a very rosy pink, and with a couple of coats, it’s a full-impact bright red. It does not stay on as well as some of my lipsticks, but the texture is such that I adore reapplying. Now if only Bite Beauty would consider releasing an attractive, vintage-style bullet.

Rainy Day Red

As is well-documented, I enjoy a good red lipstick. Recently I found what might have been my Holy Grail of red lipsticks except for one thing: it’s a limited-edition shade, and therefore could be gone before I know it. It is sad, but I’m doing my best to both attempt to talk the manufacturer into adding the shade to their permanent line, as well as resigning myself to the fact that it is an ephemeral love in my life.

This lipstick shade is Bite Beauty’s Luminous Creme Lipstick in Mimosa. It’s listed rather innocuously as “warm red” on Sephora’s website. Now I’ve been disappointed in Bite’s warm red before, when Apricot turned out to be a little more brick than I usually enjoy in a lipstick. Mimosa, however, is more than just a warm red. It is a warm, vivid, bright red. It applies creamily and stays on well. I wore it to a crab feast and it lasted through three critters. I’ve taken to just applying one coat and blotting, and it still maintains its vigor.

I like to think of it as my rainy day red because it is so bright and cheerful. We’ve had several grey, gloomy days lately, and I think a nice swipe of bright lipstick livens up the day. Every time I catch a glance in the mirror, my lips make me happy. And I just feel more confident on days when the weather might bring me down.

Even when I don’t need to reapply, I sometimes just twist the bullet up to gaze at its lovely shade. A little odd, perhaps, but then, you haven’t seen this color in person. It is certainly not a shade for the shy, unless the shy are looking for a good way to assert themselves. But it is definitely a shade for a rainy day.

And, as always, Bite Beauty lipsticks are food-grade, gluten-free, and leave my mind at ease about the lipstick prints on my lunch.

Image source: sephora.com

The Ritual of Putting On Lipstick

I’ve talked at length about my personal requirements for a perfect red lipstick. It has to be the perfect shade for my pale-but-warm complexion and look true red even on my lips that tend to pull everything into the pink. It has to be the right consistency; it can’t settle into the lines that have become more defined as I stride more definitively into my thirties. It can’t melt off my face. It has to last through a cup of tea, if not a light lunch. It can’t have too strong a scent or taste. It can’t leave me worried about eating a little bit of it.

But I’ve discovered that, by far, the biggest deal breaker is the format of the lipstick. I mean, the color is pretty important, but I’ve found lippies that are the perfect color, but lack the experience that comes from putting on lipstick from a tube. Even my new Besame lipsticks are starting to feel lacking because I dislike the shape of the bullet. It’s not the experience I’ve come to enjoy.

Because there is a ritual for me when I put on my lipstick. I do it in a specific way. I trace out the Cupid’s Bow and perfect the points of my lips before swiping on the rest, filling in my lips and perhaps wiping away the odd overdraw with a clean finger. It’s a fluid motion, or at least a series of fluid motions. I’ve gotten to the point where I wouldn’t mind being filmed applying my lipstick because I feel deft when I do it. It feels womanly to be so comfortable applying bright lipstick. I no longer worry about where it might end up when I apply it.

So this is my ode to the lipstick bullet, with its rounded shape and single, angled tip. Yes, this tip will blunt and change over the lifetime of a tube, but it changes with the idiosyncrasies of the user and reflects the ritual rather than detracting from it. Here’s to the ritual of lipstick.

Channeling Agent Carter’s Strength

It’s been a busy week for me. I’ve been moving into a new role at work, and it comes with a lot of new skills to learn, a lot of things to take care of, and a lot of people with whom I must interact. I’ve talked about the confidence boost that red lipstick gives me in the past, but I thought I’d mention a new lipstick I bought, along with a new television show I’m watching.

I finally started watching Marvel’s Agent Carter last week, and I love it. From the opening sequence of each show, they make it clear that this show is about a strong woman who’s been relegated to the background by a chauvinist society, much the same way I talked about the women of The Bletchley Circle found after the war. I mean, this was a woman who fought with Captain America, and now she’s mostly getting coffee in the SSR office.

I could talk about the plot, but it’s such a comic-book-perfect blend of intrigue and action that I leave it to the reader to check out this show. Also, I was unfortunate enough to wait until only the final five episodes of the 8-episode first season were available for free. So I came into the plot in the middle, but still found it gripping.

No, instead, I think I’ll talk about Peggy Carter’s faces. She makes the most amazing disapproving faces whenever she’s ignored or talked over. The show is faithful enough to the ethos of the era that she can’t just shout out and say “Hey guys, I know what I’m talking about and you’re being a bunch of jerks!” She has to keep her mouth shut and find a way to subtly maneuver situations to her advantage. It’s eye-opening, but also familiar in a way. When she finally saves the day and that is taken from her by a pompous colleague, she is able to maintain poise, even while another colleague becomes indignant on her behalf. And she does it all with her signature dark-red lip.

Hayley Atwell, the actress who plays Carter, announced last December that Agent Carter’s lip color is none other than Besame Cosmetics’ Red Velvet. While on my search for the perfect red, I happened to email a rep at Besame asking about their lipstick, and Red Velvet was one of the shades they recommended, along with Red Hot Red, a bright, warm red inspired by Marilyn Monroe. Well, when I saw Besame lipsticks were now available at Sephora, I jumped. I’ve been dissatisfied with the feathering of my go-to Poppy red, and Red Velvet is different enough from anything I currently have.

I have to say, I love the formula, the packaging, and the experience. I also love the color. It’s a very serious red, and makes me feel like a serious person, which has been fantastic this week, when I have to hold my own in meetings. Sometimes I have to keep my mouth shut when a superior is talking, even if I disagree with what he or she is saying. But just because I’m quiet, doesn’t mean I’m submissive, just like Peggy.

And I’ve gone ahead and ordered Red Hot Red, too!

Red Lipstick Challenge: Final Wrap-Up

This month has been interesting. I was tempted today to wear a light lip color (or no lipstick at all!) to see if anyone made a comment in the absence of red lipstick when they made no comment on its continued presence. But in the end, I chose to start June by keeping my new favorite as my daily wear.
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My new, go-to, every day red lipstick is 100% Pure’s Pomegranate Anti-Aging Lipstick in Poppy. It’s a lovely true red, dark enough to be striking, but softens when I’ve been wearing it for about a half an hour to a lovely, wearable red. I swear it changes shade slightly depending on what I’m wearing that day, looking cooler on days when I’m wearing blues and purples, and growing warmer when I wear warmer colors. One thing I do know is that it never looks magenta, even in cool fluorescent lighting at the office.

Oh, and it’s creamy. It’s a delightfully smooth, lightweight, but moisturizing lipstick. And because it’s tinted with fruit extracts and contains only natural ingredients, I feel no strangeness when I inevitably eat it along with my lunch. It stains enough that my lips remain vibrant through my many cups of tea, and even some snacks. That said, it is a pleasure to reapply from its adorable pink metal tube.

All-in-all, I would call this month’s experiment a success. I certainly figured out what I really want in a lipstick, and was able to purchase just one more for which I find myself reaching again and again. And I’ve totally overcome my fear that my red lips are too conspicuous.

Has anyone else thought of doing a red lipstick challenge, either to acclimate themselves to the look or to find a favorite?

Red Lipstick Challenge: Week 3

This week, I focused on wearing just one lipstick every day to see how I liked it. I dropped off taking selfies every day because it was the same color, and I didn’t have many new notes. I decided I liked the balanced red color of Lipstick Queen’s Red Sinner, so I stuck with that one to see if the scent really bothered me that much.

Now, I’ve also been plagued with some seasonal allergies the past week, so maybe I was just congested, but I didn’t notice the scent bothering me as much. That said, I did find myself feeling a bit icky every time I ate and knew I was eating some of the lipstick. It was just kind of a weird feeling knowing I was eating pigments and ingredients that are not meant to be eaten, no matter how small the quantities. That said, Red Sinner is a lovely color. It fades a little pink, but it’s warm enough that it never looks magenta on.

But then this weekend, while heading out on a short trip to the shore, Boyfriend stopped off at a mall with a 100% Pure store. I’d read about them and even ordered one of their sheer lip glazes online before, but I’d never tried their lipsticks. I figured lipstick is a bit like foundation: I really need to see the shade on my skin before I buy. The deal with 100% Pure is that in addition to using all-natural ingredients in their products, they also use only fruit-derived pigments. In fact, the sheer lip glaze I have just has a light fruity smell from the pigments! I knew they had a red lipstick that gets some good reviews online, so I talked Boyfriend into stopping on our way out.

Oh my gosh, it’s a small store, but so full of lovely beauty products. I tried the lipstick, which the sales girl (an adorable 20-something with purple hair) sanitized in front of me so I could actually try on instead of just swatching, but I also tried some face makeup. I wanted to try their foundation because it’s supposed to be a matte, full-coverage finish, but they didn’t have my shade in stock. I did try their tinted moisturizer, which was interesting. I might look into getting some after I run out of my Bare Minerals, as it seems like a slightly less dewy finish.

But, the lipstick. The shade Poppy is their red, and it is a very true, bright red. I goes on opaque with one coat, and when I blot, most of the pigment stays behind. It wears well because it stains a little. I did see that it feathers a bit, but that’s probably because of how creamy the actual lipstick formula is. It’s based on shea butter, pomegranate oil, and vegan waxes, so it feels more like a balm than a lipstick. And it’s absolutely weightless on. The most I feel is a little moisturized slip when I press my lips together. It’s really lovely. I actually find that if I add a light second coat after blotting, it keeps the color truer, and the lipstick base kind of melts into my lips so I don’t feel it sitting on top.

The color is maybe just a hair cooler than Red Sinner, but it’s really, really similar. So I’ve cheated just a bit and been wearing Poppy for the long weekend, but only because I really love it! And I can feel confident eating while wearing it because the pigments are just fruits. It also comes in an adorable red/pink metal vintage-inspired tube. It looks like it’s much smaller than a normal lipstick, but the weight is the same as most lipsticks, and when you swivel the bullet all the way up, you can see it’s just as much lipstick as normal, just in a more compact container. It makes it great in a purse because it’s no bigger than a lip balm.

So this week, to round out the challenge, I’ll probably continue wearing Poppy. I still like Red Sinner for occasions where I’m not necessarily eating messy food, but I’m seeing Poppy as my go-to every day red. That said, I’m kind of looking forward to rocking a nice soft rose pink lip come June.