Back before I was a beauty nerd, I owned a plum Revlon Street Wear lipstick, which seemed soooo cooool and adult goth and risqué. Now that I’ve got some fortitude for makeup shock value, dark shades are just another option, not a symbol of edginess. Lately, I’ve had my interest in dark lipstick rekindled thanks to insanely beautiful actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who portrays Avasarala in The Expanse TV show.
NYX’s Liquid Suede line includes cool-looking darks and medium darks such as the grey Stone Fox and the purple Amethyst. Those two have achieved a semi-iconic status among Internet beauty lovers. However, I settled on the more office-friendly Vintage, a color that I would describe as “deep brown seen through a purple screen.” The name Vintage is apt: the shade brings to mind old somber houses, dried flowers, and musty antique furniture.
Some compare Vintage to 90s brown lipsticks. But I think it also fits into the mid-2010s trend for complex colors that involve brown, purple, and/or grey (thanks Auxiliary Beauty for describing this trend). Such shades are usually described using verbal contortions like “mauve-infused greige” or “antique rose mocha.” I split them into full-on zombie and sophisticated zombie, and Vintage is the latter. It definitely makes me look kind of pallid, but oh well, whatever. My Instagram name is gothleesi, and 99% of my wardrobe is black, so I’m hardly a picture of Californian wholesomeness anyway.
Here are the swatches of my complex brown-ish shades. Vintage and Kat Von D’s Lolita in particular make me go “Yeah, brown lipstick” when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, but on closer look they have obvious rosy (Lolita) or plummy (Vintage) vibes to them.
Finish-wise, Vintage is not too conventional. It’s somewhat like liquid to matte lipsticks… but not matte. It seems to me that the main idea behind ultramatte liquid lipsticks is to throw all the focus on the color, without the play of light that you get with more creamy lipsticks. But in practice, the ultramattes’ dry formula accentuates all lines, complicating the canvas for the pure color. Enter the Liquid Suedes, which create a smoother surface to show off the color without being too creamy and reflective. The obvious tradeoff is that the Liquid Suedes transfer more easily than their matte cousins.
The problem with the Liquid Suede formula would be familiar to anyone who has used the popular NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams. Going in, I was expecting Vintage to be viscous and gooey, à la other hypersaturated, non-matte liquid lipsticks such as OCC lip tars or ColourPop Ultra Satins. However, the Liquid Suede formula is thin. The lipstick becomes streaky the first chance it gets, and sheers out very easily, making it difficult to create a neat fade when blending out the edges with a brush. To deal with the blending issue, I would recommend coating and fluffing out the color one lip at a time, before the product dries down–the sheering out is less stark this way.
Brown or brown-ish lipsticks look so damn good with rosy eye makeup. For the look above, I used Lorac eyeshadows: Rose Gold (Pro Metal) as the main color, plus Burgundy to line the outer corners and Pink Mauve to blend (both from Pro Matte).