What is it about fall that makes the wannabe goth in me come out? With Halloween closing in, pumpkin spice lattes on every Target run, and velvet oxblood flats filling every fashion roundup, I start itching to wear deep, broody lip colors in the hopes that I can pull them off better than I think I can [but mostly I just end up with deep, broody lip colors on my teeth].
So what’s more appropriate for our first edition of Drugstore Smackdown than an epic battle between two affordable, long-wearing, velvet-y matte color-stay lipsticks from brands that are pulling out all the stops when it comes to dark and moody fall shades? After all, I don’t know about you, but I have time for approximately half of one lipstick application each day, and I want to put it on then forget about it [not to mention not worry about getting it all over my kid’s clothes, which are way nicer than mine].
The competitors: NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick ($6.99, available at Target, CVS, Ulta + Belk) vs. Hard Candy Velvet Mousse Matte Lip Color ($6.00, available at WalMart)
NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick
I’m not gonna lie, I have a ton of these, mostly because they carry them at Belk and I have a Belk charge card. Plus, when NYX burst onto the scene they blew my freakin’ mind with high quality products at obtainable prices. Yes, please! Going in, my expectations are high because I already know and love NYX.
Hard Candy Velvet Mousse Matte Lip Color
Hard Candy was the cheap-o makeup brand of my pre-teen nightmares, but word on the street is they’ve turned over a new leaf, so I’m willing to give them another shot. At first I thought the packaging for these was a little extra, but actually I kinda love it. Adorable tiny little coffin-like tins for each of my lipsticks? How delightfully appropriate for my Halloween-induced makeup frenzy. I can’t bring myself to throw them away, and it feels like opening a present each time I grab one.
Round 1: Shades
NYX:Oh man. There are 24 shades of this lipstick and like 90% of them are insane and weird and I love them but I also am far too self-aware to actually wear them. Looking for an electric blue lippy? They’ve got one. Every time I wear one of these colors, my toddler exclaims how “bootiful” my “vampire mouth” is.
Buy them here
I love Brooklyn Thorn, for which I waited three weeks to get restocked at my local Belk [instead of just ordering it online like a normal person]. It’s described as a depp brown with purple, but it’s almost like a dusty purple-gray. Half of me feels like I look like a zombie in it, but the other half feels super badass.
[Also, if you’re going real hard, Alien is a pure black with great color payoff. I own it but am scared to wear it because hello. It’s real dark.]
Hard Candy: Hard Candy’s color options are much more limited and decidedly more tame than NYX’s, and while on one hand that’s a bummer [tryna be dramatic over here, HC], it also feels slightly more pull-offable for little ol’ closing-in-on-30 mom-of-two me. Still moody, still pretty, but less of a statement.
Buy them here
Spider Orchid is my hands-down favorite, and is one of those shades that would look great on just about anyone. You also get the feeling that with some lip liner trickery, you could pull off a Kylie Jenner look with it [You could. Not me. Ain’t nobody got time for that in this house.].
The winner of this round, easily, is NYX. From mild everyday colors to gothic perfection, they’ve got every base covered.
Round 2: Application
NYX: Full disclosure here: I usually skip the lip liner, even though I know I shouldn’t, especially with darker colors. With NYX, this is a problem. Especially in the corners of my mouth, the colors seeps out and stains my skin. This would not be a problem, except that it’s really hard to get off!
As an aside, for dark colors, you have to push the color a tiny bit more onto your inner lip so that your natural lip color isn’t weirdly visible if you purse your lips. Unfortunately, with NYX, this ends with me getting Brooklyn Thorn-colored spittle streaked across my teeth.
Hard Candy: It’s like Hard Candy intuited my laziness and created a lip color to protect me from myself. Thanks, bro! As long as I am careful on the first few swipes to stay within the proverbial lines, this one goes on pretty clean. I’m pleasantly surprised with the color payoff after one application, too. Added bonus: it’s never ended up on my teeth!
The winner of this round is Hard Candy. NYX feels just a little more watery and therefore a tiny bit harder to control. Long-lasting color is great, but not when it’s on places other than my lips. Props to HC!
Round 3: Staying power [aka the Pumpkin Spice Latte Test]
NYX: It’s touted as waterproof, but the proof is in the pudding- or rather, on my Starbucks lid. After a few hours, or a meal, you have to re-apply to keep it looking clean. It’s also pretty flaky, literally, in that by end of the day your dried-out yet colorful lips are actually peeling off in tiny pieces that give you that leper chic look.
Hard Candy: All long-wear lip color dries out your lips a bit, and this one is no exception, although not to the extent of others I’ve tried. It also flakes, but again, not as badly as others [including NYX]. It stays and stays and stays, though. I reapply after meals, but it’s not absolutely necessary. This may be due in part to the fact that Hard Candy’s colors aren’t as far from natural lips colors as NYX’s and so fading isn’t as noticeable, but regardless, I’m impressed.
That means overall, the victor is Hard Candy! My inner 12 year old is finally vindicated [and a little shocked].
P.S. Wanna go straight for the really good shit? Velvetines by LimeCrime is my tried and true favorite. At $20 a pop, though, you have to be choosey about which of their 46 [!] matte shades you want to invest in.