Even if I didn't work at a beauty magazine, I'd still be unrealistically picky about my lipsticks. I'm picky about virtually everything — I'm a Virgo, sue me — but lipstick? Finding one I'll wear more than once a week feels impossible at times. It can't be so creamy that it transfers onto my entire life, but it can't be so matte that it dries out my lips, either. Most formulas I try fall into one of those opposite yet equally infuriating camps, and that's before I take the actual shades into consideration. So when It Cosmetics launched a collection of 28 lipsticks called Pillow Lips, I was reflexively skeptical. It's the brand's first foray into color cosmetics, and therefore it was just begging to be put to the test by my idealistic standards.
The Pillow Lips collection features 14 lipstick shades, each of which come in both cream and matte finishes, that cover all your basic lipstick needs. There's a crop of nude shades fitting for many skin tones, neutral and vibrant pinks, a few reds, and a couple deep purple hues, too. It took me one cursory glance at the shade range to pinpoint my favorite: Stellar. In my opinion, it's a perfect red (at least for my pale-as-hell skin). It's not too bright, not too vampy, and isn't overpowered by its undertones. I snagged both the cream and matte versions for a balanced experiment, beginning with the cream iteration.
Inside the quilted package design of Pillow Lips lies a classic bullet-shaped lipstick with a pointed tip and a swooping concave dip that fits against lips' curves like a puzzle piece. One solid swipe of Stellar in the cream finish delivers full pigment that I can personally attest lasts a damn long time. What puts me off most creamy formulas is their penchant for fading, feathering, and transferring; Pillow Lips solved two of those issues. This cream lipstick does transfer onto coffee cups and the like — that's plain physics due to the fact that it's not supposed to dry down — but the pigment stays put for the most part. Throughout a full day of wear at work, the edges remain intact, and I only need to reapply once after eating lunch — maybe again in the evening if I'm not heading straight home.
This cream finish, might I add, is absurdly comfortable. The sensation of wearing it is very similar to a lip balm slowly sinking its way deeper and deeper. Still, it doesn't look extremely glossy, another issue I run into with most cream lipsticks. It totally won me over, I'll admit it. Now, about that matte finish...
As you can see by the first set of selfies in my signature what-am-I-doing-with-my-hands pose, Stellar's matte iteration is visibly brighter and a little more pink-toned than the cream iteration. Other shades in the line don't have nearly as much tonal difference, so I take it this has something to do with the formulation of red pigments specifically. Though matte Stellar looks a little different than cream Stellar, their high pigment, comfort, and durability are all but identical. Sadly, this is not one of those matte lipsticks you can swipe at with a finger and still see no smears. This matte doesn't dry down the same way that a liquid formula would, and therefore it will transfer from time to time. But what it lacks in that department, in wholly makes up for in comfort. I love the retro feel of a matte lipstick but have always hated the way many of them settled into the fine lines of my lips and curdled at touch-ups. This one lets me have the look without sacrificing comfort.
After trying just a handful of shades of the It Cosmetics lipsticks over the course of a week, I've yet to find one I don't like. Because the shade and finish selection is so wide, you truly could put them all in front of you, close your eyes, and blindly pick one to wear on any given day. Whether it's a nude or a plum or a red, and whether it's a matte or cream finish, you're going to get full-coverage pigment that's actually comfortable. So, um, It Cosmetics... can you put out a liquid lipstick next, please?
Pillow Lips retail for $24 each and are available now on itcosmetics.com.
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Originally Appeared on Allure