You Betta Werk, Bitch! Jeffree Star’s Summer Chrome Collection: Does It Slay, Or Sashay Away?!

Published on July 5, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

Save the drama for your mamas and your llamas, because today is all about the glam!  We’re diving in to the Jeffree Star Summer Chrome Collection (most of it, anyway!) and I’m super excited to tell y’all what I thought!  After I review the products themselves, I’m also going to talk a little bit about some similar shades in the line (with swatches) and the resurfacing of the Jeffree Star controversy.  Get ready, because this post is going to be PACKED!

When the reveal video came out, I was expecting the special edition packaging to be either lime green or bright purple.  While I was wrong with both guesses, the collection did include two shades of matte liquid lipstick that were pretty much identical to what I was expecting for the packaging!  This is a huge collection – in addition to the 8 liquid lipsticks (6 matte, 2 metallic) there were 5 Lip Ammunition lipsticks, 2 Skin Frost Highlighters, and 3 Velour Lip Scrubs.  And not only were all of the pieces available separately, there were 2 colltions: the You. Better. Work. lipstick collection which contained all of the liquid lipsticks, and the Lipstick Vault which contained the 8 liquids and the 5 bullet lipsticks.

I opted for the You. Better. Work. collection as it represented the best discount: 8 liquid lipsticks at $18 would have been $144 but the collection was only $105, representing a discount of just over 27%.  The lipstick vault had 8 liquid lipsticks and 5 bullet lipsticks, all retailing for $18 for a total of $234.  That collection retails for $195, or a discount of just under 17% – it’s equivalent to buying the liquid set and paying full price for all of the Lip Ammunition lipsticks separately.  I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the Lip Ammunition, but that doesn’t mean that I might not end up with one or two before they’re gone – you know how this bitch is with shopping!

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Can we just talk about this packaging?!  Say what you want about this brand or the infamous person behind it, this packaging is FIRE!  It’s sleek and elegant and looks really high end.  I don’t think there are many brands out there as utterly coherent as Jeffree Star Cosmetics.  Even with the changing packaging colors for special collections, everything in the brand looks like it belongs.  The cardboard box for the You. Better. Work. collection is solid and really lovely.  My only qualm with this collection is that any sort of plastic with that chrome finish gets all marked up and fingerprinted the minute you look at it.  It’s really hard to keep it nice looking, especially knocking around in your makeup bag.  But even if the packaging gets a little bit trashed, what’s inside will be worth checking out!

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As for the products themselves, let’s start with one of the less colorful products, but I think the best: the Velour Lip Scrubs.  If you haven’t tried these yet, they will change your LIFE!  I absolutely adore all of them and they have been some of the best lip scrubs I’ve used – and they only cost $12!  I find them better than the Glam Glow scrub, and that retails for about twice as much!  The 3 new flavors are perfect for the summertime: Blue Raspberry Sucker, Watermelon Gum, and Orange Soda.  Blue Raspberry Sucker is probably my favorite, though all 3 are really, really good!  I tried this one out on my lips and it’s the same great quality as their other scrubs and the taste is really nummy.  Yes, you can eat these (just not as a snack!).  The other ones I didn’t use as a scrub, but I gave them a little taste test.  I was thinking that Watermelon Gum was going to be just like Strawberry Gum from the regular line, which just tastes like strawberry.  But this one brough me right back to chewing those big, pillowy pieces of Bubblicious Watermelon gum!  It has that very specific flavor – if you’ve never had that kind of gum, you might not know what I’m talking about but it is amazing!  And Orange Soda – that one really does have a sort of soda flavor to it!  I’m absolutely failing at these descriptions, but it really has a sort of bubbly flavor to it, like soda coming right out of the bottle!  It’s fantastic!  I thought that Blue Raspberry would be my instant favorite and the other two would merely be ok, but they blew me away with those subtle touches!

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There were two Skin Frosts in the collection, but I decided to only order Summer Snowcone.  In a way, this shade is just another gold in a line that is already packed with them: King Tut, So Fucking Gold, Siberian Gold…even Dark Horse is a close cousin, and Eclipse from the collab has so cool gold tendencies.  But this one is strongly yellow, and true yellow highlighters are hard to find, so I went ahead and ordered it.  I didn’t get Crystal Ball because at $29, it was just too much like other shades I already have to justify that expense.  It’s a white base with a pinky purple duochrome – those are everywhere, and I just couldn’t justify adding another one to my stash.  If you don’t have one of those pinky duochromes in your collection (which I can’t imagine – if you shop brands similar to this one, they are all over the place) then it’s a good value as the 15 gram pans are easily the biggest I’ve found.  The main problem I have with these is how quickly you get that “hard pan” effect that makes it really difficult to use.  I did two swatches, which you’ll see below in the lipstick section, and with the couple of swipes I did to get the color for the finger swatch, it was already giving me hard pan – with two freaking swipes!  The brush swatch didn’t do that, but it was also really, really light and lacked the same depth of pigment.  Still satisfied with the purchase, but definitely look for that hard pan to start coming through, even with frequent brush usage.

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Now on to the main event: the liquid lipsticks!  Here are the 8 shades in the You. Better. Work. collection packaging:

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L to R: Butt Naked, Calabasas, Venus Flytrap, Family Jewels, Hunty, You Better Work, Flamboyant, and Candyass.

My first thought as I was watching the reveal video was that a few of the shades looked pretty similar to other shades.  I was mad about Venus Flytrap – duh, it’s green! – and while I don’t normally love redder-toned purples I thought that You Better Work was stunning; plus, both of these shades were very different from anything else in the line.  I also loved the two metallic shades, Flamboyant and Candyass.  Jeffree Star does a pretty good job with his metallic liquid lipsticks, which other brands fail at (I’m looking at YOU, Beauty Bakerie!); since there are only currently 3 shades in the permanent line and one of them is already a pink I would have liked to see something different (maybe even weird!) but these two bright pinks are both stunning.  That leaves the other 4 shades, and where we get into some familiar territory in a line that is just jam packed with nude after nude after nude.

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L to R: Butt Naked, Calabasas, Venus Flytrap, Family Jewels, Hunty, You Better Work, Flamboyant, and Candyass. Above: Summer Snowcone Skin Frost- finger swatch on the left, brush swatch on the right.

All 6 of the matte were very liquid-y and dried down very quickly; they all had pretty even coverage except for You Better Work, which was a little patchy but not unmanageable.  The metallics were both a bit moussier, and applied nicely though Candyass does seem to be a bit more sheer (almost like a lip topper) – I had to do two coats to get the level of coverage you see in the photo.  But the colors are all lovely and are the typical standard of quality that I’ve seen from this line.

So let’s talk about the repetitive nature of the shades.  Butt Naked and Hunty immediately looked to me like other nudes in the line; Family Jewels looked like a couple of the other browns (Daddy from the collab and Leo) but since I didn’t have either of those shades I couldn’t do a comparison of those.  But I did go ahead ans swatch pretty much all of my nudes and browns that I thought might be similar:

JS Nudes

In the center, Hunty is on the left and Butt Naked on the right.  Starting in the upper left of the circle, going clockwise, we have Posh Spice, Mannequin, Nude Beach, Pussy Whipped (metallic), Chrysanthemum, Family Jewels, Deceased, and Androgyny.  In the photo, you can see that there is actually a fair amount of difference in these various shades – though whether that amount of difference is enough to justify purchasing all/any of these shades is up to the individual consumer.  For Butt Naked, I found Nude Beach to be somewhat close (though NB is definitely brighter!) and Chrysanthemum from the Holiday ’16 collection was a close second (though a bit picker and with some glitter).  I would still love to see Family Jewels next to Daddy and Leo but I just didn’t have those in my stash.  As for Hunty, Mannequin is the closest, though it has a bit more of a pinkish tone; Posh Spice looks fairly similar in the tube but dries much more taupe.  Deceased and Androgyny didn’t look much like either of the summer shades, but I still think they look a lot like each other!

JS PinksOn to the pinks!  Calabasas is the long stripe on the left, and from top to bottom we have I’m Shook, Rose Matter, and Doll Parts.  Rose Matter is the least similar of the three.  I’m Shook is almost a dupe except for a slightly redder tone as it dries; Doll Parts is just slightly more blue-toned.  If you have either of those two shades in your stash then you’re going to have to really think about how much you might want Calabasas in your stash – it’s different, but just not that different.  All of these shades are repetitive, but they have their good qualities.  I absolutely do love this formula, so it’s not a total loss if there is some overlap.

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Here are the two metallic shades, Flamboyant and Candyass, with a couple of other shades: Dreamhouse (metallic) on the bottom, and Watermelon Soda on the top.  As you can see by including the swatch of Dreamhouse, the three pinks in the metallics are very different and all lovely; the closest dupe, if you don’t mind a change in the finish, is Watermelon Soda.  This was the breakout shade in the collection last summer, and it’s not surprising that Jeffree Star found a way to work it into the new collection in a different way.  The base colors for Watermelon Soda and Flamboyant look exactly the same, it’s just that one is matte and the other is metallic.  And I ain’t mad about it!  I love this shade – if there was any shade from any of the collections that have gone away that I’d love to see make a re-appearance in the permanent line, it’s Watermelon Soda!

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This was just for fun: you know a bitch loves herself some green makeup!  None of these shades looks that much like any other (though Crocodile Tears might look a little like the lovechild of Dirty Money and Mistletoe!) but it’s a damn shame that there is only one green shade in the permanent collection!  Where are my green shades, dammit!

Recently the Jeffree Star controversy has been rearing it’s ugly head again, and it just gets more and more extra every time it does.  It kicked off when Jackie Aina decided to dip her toes into the “Anti-Haul” trend started by Kimberly Clark (love her!) and included Jeffree Star Cosmetics (the brand as a whole) as part of it.  She claimed that because of his racist past and his treatment of fans and other recent controversies, she was just not able to support his brand.  This got everyone all chattery again, and the drama was back and flying!  But something different happened this time.  Something no one thought would ever really happen.

Jeffree Star apologized.

Now I’m not here to tell you what to think or whether or not I think this apology was genuine, or how you should spend your damn money.  I just find it interesting that the last time all of these videos and things resurfaced (about a year ago) so many people said, “If he would just apologize!”  And now that he has offered what seems to me to be a very direct and heartfelt apology, those same people are finding all kinds of reasons to not accept it – it’s not soon enough, it’s not humble enough, it’s not whatever enough.  Just enough.  There are some people who have just decided that they don’t like Jeffree Star and they don’t want to support his brand.  Fine.  Then don’t!  No one ever said you had to!  But if you’re going to spout off about how what you really need to see is an apology, and then you see it, you make yourself look like a damn fool when it shows up and you don’t take it seriously.  Because I promise you, of the people that I checked in with last time and then checked back with this time, none of them said “I need to see an apology…within this specific timeframe” or “I need to see an apology…in the specific phrasing.”  They just said they felt like there needed to be a real apology, and now that there is one they are coming up with all sorts of conditions and exceptions for why this isn’t enough.  Just be honest – say that you don’t like him and that you don’t think you can forgive him for past behavior.  If that’s true, then say that.  Don’t pretend like you might accept an apology (thinking it will never come) and then backtrack when it does arrive and put all of these other conditions on it.  It makes you look worse than petty.

Now before you go saying that I don’t know how bad things were, or if I only knew the whole story – don’t forget that I did a 3-part piece of Jeffree’s brand AND behavior last summer (if you missed it, you can find your new summer beach reads HERE, HERE, and HERE!).  I don’t really think Jeffree Star is the kind of person I would want to hang around with, but I imagine that if I started digging around into the lives of a lot of cosmetics company owners, I might find some things I’m not too pleased about.  But to make the claim that you are somehow condoning racism by buying a lipstick is ridiculous.

JStarThe worst offender in all of this was Kat Blaque, a trans YouTuber that I used to really like and respect.  I didn’t always agree with all of her points, but I felt they were well-argued and sympathetic.  Recently, she’s gone somewhat away from doing the scripted video format and likes to do more unscripted, off-the-cuff type videos, and she did a live YouTube broadcast reacting to Jeffree’s apology video.  I was absolutely shocked, and I revealed things about her character that I never would have imagined before watching the video.  Obviously she didn’t accept his apology or think it was genuine, that’s a given.  And that’s ok.  I’m not going to tell her whether or not she has to accept it.  What I took issue with was the way in which she openly mocked Jeffree when he talked about his experiences being bullied for his gender presentation and his sexuality.  She made faces and used cartoony voices when he was talking about the root of his anger issues.  If you don’t want to accept his apology that’s fine, but to mock someone’s experiences of being bullied just because you’re pissed about him filing a copyright strike on your channel (if we’re really spilling the T, I think that’s the root of her rage more than the decade-old videos for which he was apologizing – #sorrybutitstrue), that’s really disgusting to me.  If she made a video mocking anyone else for their story of being bullied and their anger problems, she would have been dragged to filth.  But because it’s Jeffree Star, the hate cult rises to her defense and nobody says anything.  It’s frankly really gross.

Like Jeffree, or don’t.  Buy his shit, or don’t.  But if you are someone who goes into the comments of YouTube videos or onto online forums and calls people racist because they bought a fucking lipstick then you have a simpleton’s understanding of the complexities of identity, and you are NOT actually doing anything helpful to further the cause of social justice.  Go sign a petition.  Try actually voting for a change so we stop getting these neocon nightmares winning all of the special elections and furthering the Cheeto-in-Chief’s nefarious agenda.  Do something useful.

As Kat Von D, who herself is no stranger to the J-Star drama circles, would say – “At the end of the day, it’s just a fucking lipstick.”  In fact, that’s exactly what she said when Sephora pulled a shade of her lipstick for complaints that it was derogatory to the disabled.  The shade name?  Celebutard.

We all have feet of clay.

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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