Smashbox Out Loud + Thoughts on Liquid Lipsticks

A coworker of mine likes Michelle Phan, and she sent me a link to her new line, Em Cosmetics. There was a really beautiful and unusual burnt orange shade in Phan’s liquid lipstick collection–Faded Clementine. It’s the kind of color I want to call earthy. However, unlike regular beiges, browns, and brick reds, it’s shade that makes one do a double take, mostly because it’s so rare. Once I learned that Smashbox has a similar color, Out Loud, I knew what I would be getting at the spring Sephora sale, as I’d heard good things about Smashbox liquid-to-mattes.

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I’m truly in love with this shade. Here is a color comparison with the other orange lipstick in my collection, Urban Decay Sheer Slowburn (right). The latter is more of a fruity color, whereas Out Loud is plain rusty. It reminds me of international orange–the color of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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I am also fond of the angular shape of the packaging. As a garden variety devotee of modernism, I like keeping angular stuff around.

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(By the way, the background for the product shot is a… ummmmm… Playboy-type magazine from Hong Kong. From the 1980s. Husband and I once went to an old theater in SF Chinatown to watch a Jackie Chan movie, and the owner was giving out those mags to everybody.)

Considering Out Loud’s quality… I might not be the best person to analyze this product in fine detail. I only have two categories for liquid-to-matte lipsticks: bad and not-too-bad. The bad guys are NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams (thin and streaky) and Milani Amore Mattes (crumbly). The not-too-shabby lines are those without such problems: Kat Von D, TheBalm, Wet n Wild, and now, Smashbox. They all feel pretty much the same to me. Comfort-wise, they’re decent, but y’know…. they can’t hold a candle to my favorite sheers. They dry out the lips and get crusty as you reapply throughout the day.

I do understand, however, why the idea of liquid-to-mattes is attractive: in a perfect world, they allow the wearer to throw the spotlight on pure color, without the “distraction” of shine or creamy/waxy texture that one gets with bullet lipsticks. Which is why I still bother with liquid-to-mattes sometimes. To make sure they don’t drive me nuts, I follow these useful tips:

First–and this is a piece of advice by Russian makeup artist Olga Blik–I’ve recently started to apply liquid lipstick with a dedicated lip brush instead of the doefoot applicator. With a brush, you can do a thinner layer, which would help avoid that weathered, dehydrated look. I’ve been a lip brush convert for a long time–I use it with all lipsticks to fuzz out the lipline. (I don’t like sharp outlines on myself, as they accentuate my lower lip’s asymmetry too harshly.) Now, I bust out my brush to do the whole lip. When I reapply my lipstick after lunch at work, I dab the color in the middle and blend out with a finger.

And second, I only wear liquid lipstick on top of a balm. Yes, that messes up with the longevity, which is many people’s main reason for buying liquid-to-mattes. But I personally don’t care that much about lipstick longevity. I blot my lips before a meal and reapply after, and that’s it. I have a busy job, and there’s no way I’m reapplying after each cup of coffee or tea. So I accepted that my lips won’t look perfect all day. After all, I see women with lived-in lipstick all the time. Do I judge them? Hell no. I don’t care. So judging myself for imperfect lipstick wouldn’t make any sense!

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