Fenty Beauty Mattemoiselle Lipstick – Review and Swatches

Shake it off, Sara. You’ve done this for years. It’s just a blog, it doesn’t bite.

It’s been a while! My last post was a bunch of rubbish from October, and on Sunday we’ll be leaving the hellscape of 2017. I have no excuse. Actually, I have lots! No one’s here to read them, though. You’re here because I was powerless to resist the allure of Fenty Beauty’s colourful lineup of matte lipsticks with their silly names and Alissa Ashley’s honestly award worthy video on them.

It’s what kicked me back into blogging gear. No one wanted to hear another person’s thoughts on their Anastasia Subculture palette (sitting in my drafts in bullet point form). A whole new lineup of lipstick, though? From someone who delights in the strangest of shades? Released internationally on the same day with a very limited PR run? That’s an arena I can stick my head into.

 

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I’ve been working absurd hours, but I used the few hours of sleep I’d accumulated to limit myself to three shades. I was reasonably confident in the products – since my initial Fenty review, I’ve had great success with a split pan highlighter and multiple glosses (their universal gloss and a glittery christmas variation), and have become pretty confident in the brand. Nothing lures me in faster than a brightly coloured line of lipsticks, so this was the perfect launch for me. Almost all of the colours called to me – I had to put back a deep blue that didn’t seem quite opaque and a deep brown called PMS. I turned down a lipstick called PMS. After a lengthy decision making process, I ended up with colours from all over the spectrum.

The formula, overall, is stellar – with a caveat to expectations. If you’re expecting the longevity of a Mac retro matte or a liquid lipstick, with a name like Mattemoiselle, that’s not what this is. There’s a heavy emphasis on how these products make the lips look, and so there is no clinging to dry patches or skipping, there is a lot of creaminess. They are very honestly a creamy matte, more reminiscent of some newer Urban Decay comfort matte lipsticks or the creamier shades of Mac mattes rather than a retro matte or a Melt lipstick, for example. There is some inconsistency from shade to shade that I will touch on, and that I picked up with shades I didn’t purchase, but colours that are traditionally prone to skipping and tugging at the very least layer with ease. I was surprised at how plump and hydrated my lips looked in all of the shades, despite being anything but right now. Wear varies across shades, and the creamiest of shades have shorter longevity than the slightly waxier ones. The girls at Revelist were disappointed with the sacrifice of longevity to the traditional formula, but I think that the new age of all matte liquid all the time has skewed our expectations dramatically. This feels, to me, like how a good lipstick should feel. It looks nice and wears well, and you get the things from it that you lose in a liquid matte (comfort, wearing away without looking like the inside of your lip is crusting off).

The packaging is fine, I guess, but feels flimsy as anything with the metallic finish that shows any fingerprint you even think about making. They are also tiny, tiny, tiny things. It’s not that they contain a small amount of product – they’re 1.7g to a 3g Mac lipstick (obviously they are cruelty free, vs. Mac and their record in that respect), and AU$28 to the Mac’s AU$36, which isn’t the exact conversion, but it makes sense. It’s more that the actual lipstick borders on child sized. It’s nice for my little lips, but it would make for  slow application on people with bigger lips. It’s also rounded, which can make it more difficult to get precision on the upper lip.

Ready yourself for my traditional terrible swatches.

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L-R: s1ngle, one of the boyz, midnight wasabi

s1ngle

Almost all of the near-nude lipsticks that I own are liquid formulas, and recently on my days off/bold eye days, I’ve been feeling a little lower maintenance. On people with deeper skin, this looks less peachy, but I found myself drawn to just how smoothly this applied. My new silver/purple hair is also giving me more range with peach tones and I own very few of them. This is possibly the best of the lipsticks in application, despite being the lightest.

One of the Boyz

I have purple hair now, so I wanted to try lilac lipstick again. This one went on, again, very smoothly. It felt almost like a cream lipstick, even as it sat on my lips. These colours are not the most flattering on me, but I don’t really care.

Midnight Wasabi

Now, I own a lot of green lipsticks. As soon as I saw the pictures of this, I knew it was a pretty unique shade. I’d call it a muted forest green? It’s the stiffest of the three to apply, but it also lasts really well. It does also require two layers for even application, because it does tend to disperse from the upper lip.

Bonus photo of Midnight Wasabi after five hours of night time wear – no eating, but plenty of drinking. Ignore the rest of the makeup, which had been holding on for more like 14 hours at this point.

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I’m pretty pleased with that, for a creamy, comfortable lipstick.

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What’s New? Fenty Beauty Match Stix Skinsticks Review (and bonus foundation first impressions)

I wanted this to be a short review because I haven’t owned these for long enough to get too in depth, but I have a lot of things to say. Mostly, I have those things to say because everyone on the internet is in the throes of Fenty obsession. Like any good blogger, I’m always here to jump on a trend midway.

A few days ago, Rihanna’s makeup line launched worldwide. Everyone went a bit wild, and I’d say rightfully so. At launch, the foundation range had 40 shades, going far beyond the shade range of most well established foundations. There’s a heavy emphasis on wearability for darker skin tones, which is extremely rare in mainstream makeup. I know that this line is not made for me primarily, and that’s lovely. Not everything needs to be for me. So while I took a sample of the foundation – in 120,  for reference – I was surprised by the other things that caught my eye. I ended up making my own little trio of the Match Stix, a product I was expecting to walk past completely.

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I picked up one of the matte match stix for cream contouring, Amber, and two of the shimmer options, Trippin and Confetti. They magnetise together in honeycomb patterns, which is cute but ultimately just a little gimmick for fun. Individually they retail for $37AUD or $25USD. There are also premade sets of three for different skintones which are considerably better value at $79AUD or $54USD. The reason I opted out of that was that they contained a) a matte concealer/cream highlight, which is a product type I do not use, b) the shimmer highlight colours were all pretty conventional and easy to dupe. I wanted something a little more bespoke.

Here are swatches of the three I picked up.

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Top to bottom: Fenty Beauty Amber, Trippin, Confetti, and Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter Stick for comparison

First up, Amber. All of the matte shades I swatched had smoother, less stiff consistencies than the shimmer match stix. This was no exception, and it was by far the coolest of the fair contour shades. On the odd occasion that I do go for a contour, I like it to be very easy and very natural looking, so I like these very shadow-esque cool shades on my skintone. On warmer skin, colours like these can look a little odd – it’s all an undertone thing – but you all know my feelings on makeup for correction vs. makeup for fun and messing around. Do your thing. Still, this is basically the platonic ideal of a cream highlight for me, a person who does not cream highlight. I swipe it on where the hollows of my cheeks would be if I were less round faced, perhaps a bit around the edge of my hairline, and blend it out with a sponge. It takes a couple of seconds and it doesn’t leave any harsh lines. I’m wearing it in almost every photo you’ll see later. In a surprise to myself, this is my favourite thing I picked up.

Trippin is far more subtle than I anticipated on swatching it. It’s very much a peach with gold shimmer, consistent with most of the shades in the collection, while a couple are like Confetti and err more on the side of glitter. My skintone twin sales assistant at Sephora recommended this one to me as a natural glow with a bit of a twist, and I went against my instincts to take her advice.

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You can barely even see it here, on my strangely angled face with my bare skin sans light contour and highlight, but this is the highlight swiped on once and then patted out. It’s stiff on application but disperses very easily with fingers or a sponge. I wouldn’t advocate for a brush, unless it is particularly dense. Lovely for everyday, so for me, not that often. I wish highlights were easier to photograph when they weren’t blue and purple.

 

Confetti is, thankfully, a lot easier to photograph. It is spectacular to behold. I swatched it next to the Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter stick because I was immediately reminded of it. My irritation with that one is that it’s the very editorial high gloss look that I infrequently go for. Confetti is far more reliant on glitter for its purple/blue shift rather than glossy shimmery sheen, so it’s horrible for texture but I much prefer the look overall. It’s the stiffest formula of the three match stix I have, and the hardest to disperse with the most glitter fallout. That said, it’s also the highest impact. You do have to work harder to diffuse the initial purple streak on your face and the glitter atop it, but it’s not that much more work than other formulas I’m used to that are more pigmented at their bases. It is also very easy to use this one warmed up on the palm and then patted on, but I would still be very wary of glitter getting around the place.

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Better photo coming later – this is a more subtle application, but I have showed it built up in a full look below. Also, note how good Amber looks as a contour. I can see myself using this a lot on my days off. In fact, I’m using this today. Speaking of today…

 

 

Bit of a bonus look. I’m feeling surprisingly enthusiastic about these products – Trippin less so, but definitely Amber and the more I wear Confetti, the more I want to talk about it – so I based my whole look off of Confetti to the max today. I also tested out the foundation, so continue on for a first impression of that. On the off chance that you’re interested. Here’s Confetti built up, used as the inspiration for the rest of a look:

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My base is the Fenty Beauty foundation in 120 with Amber as a contour and Confetti as a highlight, topped with a bit of Mac Soft Frost for some extra intensity. I have a Moonshot Jelly Pot in Aubergine on my eyes, topped with a tiny bit of Confetti, and my lips are Kat Von D’s Ayesha topped with Black Moon Cosmetics’ incredible new matte glitter lip topper in Luna. I love how the highlight looks layered and built up, and I can’t get over Amber as a contour.

First impressions of the foundation? Someone on reddit commented in passing that it seems to have been designed for photography, and there is some kind of witchcraft going on in that respect. To my eyes, this foundation looks…average. I primed half of my face with my current favourite primer (The Ordinary’s High Adherence Silicone Primer), and neither side had any difference in application or appearance. Both look like they’ve settled into my pores very quickly and it looks very very dry, even on my distinctly normal/combination skin. And yet, in photographs – admittedly not that high quality photographs – this foundation disguises all of its flaws.

Here’s a before and after of my skin in this foundation:

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I mean, sure, it still looks pretty funky around my nose and the moustache I refuse to remove. But I assure you that in real life, this foundation looks pretty average for a foundation. The coverage is decent but not great. It doesn’t smell super strong, which it can hold over the foundation I would liken it to on the skin out of my experience in the foundation world – the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra. It’s also lighter than that, but feels similar and looks similar on the skin. In terms of making my skin look great in person, I’ve never quite topped the Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk. This is, notably, half the price. I also think that it’s no fault of the foundation: this is not a foundation for me. Or perhaps it is, but not right now. This foundation is for people with oily skin and limited textural issues. It covered my redness beautifully, but latched on to every bit of texture around and felt incredibly dry. Not every foundation needs to be for me. I’ll come back to it once more of those 30 degree days roll around and see how my thoughts evolve.

All in all, I appreciate the cohesiveness of Fenty Beauty’s branding and I don’t fault people for being unable to separate a brand face from their feelings regarding the brand in a world of fast capitalism and hyper consumerism. It’s the world we live in and we need to be conscious of it and evolve around it. I think greater diversity in shade range can only ever be a good thing, but that doesn’t mean anything is above criticism, nor is it deserving of backlash for backlash’s sake. Balance and critical consumerism at all times in an industry that profits, largely, off exploiting the insecurity of women. Let’s criticise that while we continue to enjoy the parts of it that we do, like the creative element and the opportunities – oft missed – for diversification and the copious amounts of glitter.