Heart Of Darkness: In Search Of The Perfect Black Liquid Lipstick

Published on July 16, 2016 by   ·   4 Comments

Hey there, World of Champagne readers!

Black 02You know that your girl Miss Jaye loves herself some seriously vibrant colors.  Pinks, Greens, Yellows, Teals – she’s all over it!  Why am I talking about myself in the third person?  Because today I feel a little bit like a different person, and this post is going to be a little bit of an oddball.  This post is all about laying down those vibrant colors for a while, not tasting the rainbow, and instead working to find the best “black as my soul” black liquid lipstick to make all of your goth glam nightmares come true!

I’m honestly not sure how this little idea cooked itself up in my brain, because black is definitely not something I normally think about putting on my lips (I’m going to leave that opportunity for racially inappropriate sexual innuendo open for those of you who wish to take advantage of it) but as I was preparing to go to Indianapolis for Days of the Dead and thinking of fun Halloween/horror-type looks, I just kept coming back to the black lipsticks.  There were great options from Makeup Monsters (Darkness Prevails), Lime Crime (Black Velvet), and Jeffree Star (Weirdo), but it was impossible to know which one would be the best possible option for coating my lips in the deepest black of night.  Obviously there was only one sensible thing to do: buy all three and put them through several rounds of intense Thunderdome-like competition to see which one would take home the crown as the best of the best!

For this challenge, I decided I would rank them in several categories, and then come up with my overall favorite.  The criteria for judging were as follows:

  1. Packaging and Presentation
  2. Smell Test
  3. Single Swipe Swatch Test
  4. Removal Test
  5. Lip Application Test

Let’s do this thing!

Black 03PACKAGING/PRESENTATION

For this category I definitely had to go into some of the more minute details because all three of these companies have a very strong brand presentation, and I like them.  Makeup Monsters has a cute, pastel cartoon-y type packaging with buxom monster girls.  Lime Crime’s current packaging is a red foil with a rose design.  Jeffree Star’s packaging is his signature neon pink with the J-Star logos.  All of them are great, but I feel like I have to give an early edge to Jeffree Star because his branding/packaging is so consistent across products.  Makeup Monsters is cute, but it feels a little out of place with some of the darker colors.  Lime Crime’s is clean and pretty, but it doesn’t have the edge that I would expect given their color selection.

Once we open the boxes and get to the lipsticks themselves, here Lime Crime falters a bit.  It probably doesn’t matter as much for the black (I mean, black is black, right?!) but I don’t like the frosted tube as it doesn’t give you a very accurate read on the actual color.  Makeup Monsters and Jeffree Star clearly get their vials from the same place, with MM being slightly larger than the JS.  Both have their names printed down the front of the vial, over the color; the MM has a metallic purple ring and a neon green top with no printing on that portion of the bottle, while JS has his neon pink color for both the ring and the removable top, and has metallic printing of his J-Star logo as well as just regular stars around the ring.

In terms of the applicator, LC and MM have pretty traditional doe-foot applicators, though the MM is longer than LC.  JS has a doe-foot, but it has an odd shape to it and the end is quite thin, and I found this really affected the application (in a negative way!).

THE WINNER: Jeffree Star takes round one.  Even though I sort of hate the applicator wand (we’ll talk about that more in a later section!), you have to give Jeffree Star credit for the solid and coherent brand statement.  Everything is consistent, it’s bright and vibrant while also being clean and attractive.  The Lime Crime is pretty but it feels a little incongruous with the shade selection and doesn’t give off a real sense of what the brand is all about.  The Makeup Monsters is super adorable, but the pastel cartoons on the box and the green/purple colors of the packaging don’t coordinate well with all the shades.  Neon pink isn’t a perfect match to everything either, but Jeffree Star is saved by being simple and absolutely consistent: the lids are pink, the boxes are pink, everything is pink!  Jeffree Star takes an early lead in the competition!

Black 01SMELL TEST

Everyone with a basic understanding of biology understands that your lips exist just south of your nose, so if a liquid lipstick has a stank smell, that’s definitely going to impact your overall experience!  Most lip products will smell the strongest during application and then the smell gradually fades, but even that short time can be important.

Here is where Lime Crime really shines!  Their Velvetines all have a sort of light vanilla cupcake smell that is very pleasant.  Nothing too strong, nothing harsh, just a nice little whiff of fragrance as you are applying the lipstick.  Makeup Monsters has a vaguely chemical smell, sort of like White Out (which is not something I necessarily want to put on my mouth!) but without being overly unpleasant.  But oh, how the mighty have fallen: Jeffree Star’s Weirdo absolutely fails in this category.  The JS lipstick has a very aggressive chemical smell that reminds me of burnt plastic.  It is very strong and hard to ignore as you are applying the lipstick.  For his newer shades, he has started adding a root beer float fragrance to combat this stench; one can only scratch their head and wonder why he hasn’t gone back to add this fragrance to all of the shades.  I’ve seen him comment in videos that the smell is just the “natural” smell of the ingredients, which I think is an interesting choice of words – if it smells like burning plastic, there is nothing natural about it!  Definitely scores a “needs improvement” in that area!

THE WINNER: Lime Crime is the clear winner of round two.  As the only brand to add fragrance, they’ve guaranteed a positive olfactory experience during application whereas the other two contenders can only promise mild annoyance (Makeup Monsters) to downright stank (Jeffree Star).  Once they dry, the smell is pretty much gone, but MM and JS would do well to remember that the overall experience is made by small details like this.

SINGLE SWIPE SWATCH TEST

For this test, I shook up all three liquid lipsticks and then placed them against my hand and did a single swipe (see video below).  The formulas for all three are really good and they all applied beautifully, so once again the winner is going to come down to some of the details.

THE WINNER: Makeup Monsters was the standout for me here, and it all had to do with precision application.  The Lime Crime applicator is smaller and…fluffier?  I don’t know if that’s exactly the right word, but the fibers definitely dropped product outside the bounds of the swatch.  Not great.  The Jeffree Star applicator also made it much less precise and lead to a sloppy application.  I think that ballet slipper look to their applicator is meant to provide more control, but I found that it actually provides less and was a huge drawback for me.  Makeup Monsters went on easily, stayed where I put it, and dried to a gorgeous matte black.  It also had the least wasted product around the edges of the swatch.

REMOVAL TEST

In addition to application, one of the most important things about a liquid lipstick is how easy it is to remove.  No one wants their lipstick to stick with them day after day!  For this test I painted double-coat swatches onto my hand and let them dry for about 5 minutes.  To remove, I put two drops of Josie Maran Argan Oil, rubbed it lightly, and then swiped with a Tyra Beauty Pop It Clean wipe.  Here’s the video:

THE WINNER: Once again Jeffree Star was the big winner for this category.  It was all but gone after two swipes and didn’t need much in terms of cleanup.  Lime Crime was a close second; again, two swipes almost took care of all of it, but it needed a little bit more finessing to completely remove.  Makeup Monsters was in last place, needing a bit more scrubbing and leaving behind lots of chunky pieces and a little stain of color.  None of them were particularly hard to remove, even MM with it’s issues, but JS definitely had the most painless removal.

LIP APPLICATION TEST

Here is the final, and perhaps most important test: how well did they apply to the lips?  I made sure to exfoliate my lips and then moisturize them before starting.  I used a Jeffree Star lip scrub (but don’t think that will influence my decision!) and a Tony Moly blueberry lip balm (yummy!).  Here’s the video:

THE WINNER:  All 3 gave great black, and dried to an amazing color on the lips.  Makeup Monsters was perhaps the best of the bunch as it bled the least (though all 3 would have benefited from an initial layer of lipliner!) and Lime Crime did a pretty admirable job though it bled the most.  I did like that LC actually got better when I blotted my lips together, as I seem to be genetically programmed to be unable to stop myself from doing that!  The Jeffree Star was great, and I loved the finished look, but that applicator just isn’t easy to work with.  Very close competition in terms of the final applciation, but MM barely edges out the other competitors.  Let’s take a look at the final standings to see who will take home the crown!

FINAL RESULTS

The good news first – all 3 of these liquid lipsticks gave a great performance, so if there is a brand you are diehard devoted to, you will get a great black lip look regardless of which one you buy.  I didn’t wear them long enough to really comment on the longevity, but in terms of the testing that I did, they all did a great job.  However, there are some details that pushed me to choosing the final winner.  And that winner is…

Makeup Monsters – Darkness Prevails

What really pushed this one ahead for me is the ease of application.  It went on smoothly and for the most part stayed exactly where I put it.  The smell wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as the Jeffree Star and it didn’t impact my overall experience that much.  I wasn’t thrilled with how it removed, but I will always prioritize the actual look over how it removes at the end of the day (no one is going to be in my bathroom with me when I take it off!).  Another factor that I haven’t mentioned until now is price: you get the most product (.2 oz compared to .08 for LC and .19 for JS) and the least expensive price point ($16 compared to $20 for LC and $18 for JS).  For the money, for the quality of application, and for the matte-est look of them all, Makeup Monsters is definitely the black liquid lipstick that your evil little heart desires!

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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Readers Comments (4)
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  3. […] from Makeup Monsters, tarte, Kat Von D, and other great brands in the much-anticipated sequel to my Black Liquid Lipstick Thunderdome!  But I was most excited about a bundle deal they had which included 5 of their “Black […]

  4. […] Makeup Forum, you probably saw my series on black liquid lipsticks, trying to find the very best.  Part One compared three brands: Makeup Monsters, Jeffree Star, and Lime Crime – with Makeup Monsters emerging as the […]





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