Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lipsticks
The Soft Velvet Collection featuring Velvet Fawn, Velvet Beauty and Velvet Muse
November 2019 saw the release of six more True Velvet lipsticks from Lisa Eldridge. I passed on the reds again because I need another red lipstick like I need a hole in my head but I'm a sucker for pinks and nudes so I picked up three. I don't like to wear vampy shades nor do I like really browny nudes so I resisted the FOMO and stuck to just three. The Soft Velvet Collection featured her three lightest lipstick shades in Velvet Fawn, Velvet Beauty and Velvet Muse.
I had purchased her Summer Pinks Collection a few months earlier which I reviewed here on my blog but I found them underwhelming and a tad disappointing. I was particularly critical of the funky undertones on warm-toned Asian skin so I was glad to see a South East Asian model featured with this release as well as information about the bases and undertones of each lipstick on the reveal video relased on Youtube. Again, I don't think any of the lipsticks look the same on my face as the models but everyone is different and my lips are very saturated in colour anyway. I'm happy to say that my purchases have worked out well for me shade wise but you can see for yourself below.
Price, packaging and shipping
I purchased a trio with the velvet pouch for £75 which equated to AUD$144.60 in November 2019. The lipsticks were bundled in trios that featured differing undertones but after many people asked for bundles of the more traditionally wearable shades, Lisa Eldridge announced she would be adding more options for sale. Due to a number of system mix ups with the Summer Pinks Collection, Eldridge decided to utilise a pre-order system this time so orders would ship two weeks after the initial payment. On top of that, she announced that she would only be releasing the True Velvet lipsticks once a year as they were immensely difficult to manufacture. Of course most of the lipsticks sold out within hours.
Regarding packaging, it was posted in the same cardboard box that came with my previous order but this collection came with a cherry red makeup pouch. The gold bullet casing closes with a magnetic cap as is the case with all the Lisa Eldridge lipsticks released thus far.
My Velvet Beauty lipstick didn't arrive. It required a song, dance or blood sacrifice to summon customer service via the provided email address on L.E's website. Finally, I heard that people contacting Lisa on Instagram were getting through so I tried that route. Lisa responded to my comment almost immediately and her team were wonderfully professional once I got through and dispatched me a tube of the Velvet Beauty lipstick. I'm in Australia though so it took another week or so to arrive from England.
The True Velvet Formula
"Saturated and highly pigmented lipstick with a beautiful, true velvet effect on the surface of the bullet which looks exactly like velvet fabric.
Now that I have them in my hands, I see why Lisa compared the manufacturing of these lipsticks to childbirth. Each bullet has an imprint that mimics the tiny little lines on velvet fabric. It's difficult to capture in photography because modern cameras smooth over these lines which look like out of focus distortions to the lens.
This imprint is definitely discernable to the naked eye however but if you play with the camera's aperture, you can just capture the tiny little checkered pattern on the length of the bullet.
The formulation is a creamy, hydrating matte with a slight sheen - it's not a flat matte. The colour is long wearing and non drying to the lips."
The formula is not a new release for Eldridge but it's new to me. I took a risk in buying these lipsticks because I wasn't a fan of the Luxuriously Lucent lipsticks but I did enjoy the Insanely Saturated formula. This formula is very creamy and smooth to apply from the bullet. It's a tad dry to the touch because it has almost a cream to powder formulation but it's not as dry as something like Pat McGrath's Matte Trance lipsticks which I find to drag upon application. By comparison to the Insanely Saturated formula, these are creamier while those are drier and more powdery in texture. I'd recommend going in with a lip balm before using the True Velvet lipsticks as with all matte lip products. You can get away with not using a lip scrub but I still like to use one before applying because if you layer these lipsticks or reapply them, then they can cling to small patches. They're definitely matte but not flat mattes which is nice.
As for pigmentation, these True Velvets are very nicely saturated so you can achieve opacity with one swipe. What you can't do is achieve a nice shape with one swipe. I'd say that most people usually go back in with a second or third swipe to define their lip shape but they tend to cling if you run the bullet back and forth. I'd definitely recommend using a lip liner or lip brush to define shape. All of my photos in this review have me applying the lipsticks straight from the bullet without wearing a lip liner. I'd also recommend using a lip liner if you don't have a full lip because my upper lip is very out of balance with my bottom lip. I'm also wearing the same foundation of Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Water Fresh in 1N2 Ecru in all of the photographs which are taken indoors using only natural sunlight.
"A pretty and delicate fawn shade inspired by the classic 90’s shades in Lisa’s vintage makeup collection with the addition of skin lifting, lively undertones to make it extra flattering."
The name really gives away the shade. It's a fawn colour which I'd say photographs darker in the bullet than it appears to the naked eye.
It's a light browny nude colour that has enough white and pink in it to pull it away from the 90s brown supermodel look.
I have very pinky coral lips as my natural colour so Velvet Fawn is both lighter and whiter than my normal lip colour. My lower lip is fuller than my top lip as well as being more naturally pigmented.
Velvet Fawn pulls a fraction brown yet warmer or not as dirty dark brown as the lipsticks of the 1990s because of what I believe to be an addition of an orange or light terracotta clay pigment in the lipstick. The lipstick also features a slight pink undertone so it's not as deadening on the face as other brown nudes can be. I typically need to wear a pink blush to draw out the pink tones in the lipstick because a light browny nude or a sun-burnt blush paired with this lipstick on my complexion makes me look dull and tends to drag my face downward. I like this shade but it's the one in the trio that I need to be most careful with because light nudes don't tend to suit me normally.
"A beautifully vibrant light pink berry, inspired by the rosy lips in pre-Raphaelite paintings."
Velvet Beauty is my favourite shade of the trio. I love a pink lipstick and this blue based pink really brightens up my face. An added bonus of a blue based lipstick is that it whitens your teeth and I have large teeth.
Lisa said that she took inspiration from pre-Raphaelite paintings but again on my lips and with my complexion, Velvet Beauty actually skews to look like the pinkish lips of the Madonna from Raffaello's works - or at least from the ones I saw in Europe, so more Raphael-like and less pre with my face.
Splitting hairs aside, this is just a pretty pink colour. It's vibrant, lively and everything I wanted it to be in terms of the shade.
Velvet Beauty is a true beauty and if it helps, I definitely feel as pretty as a picture.
This Velvet Beauty lipstick is also the one that broke my heart. I wore it once, popped it the small zippered compartment of my handbag and went off to lunch with my best friend. I heard it rattling before I opened up the tube so I knew it had broken. Lo and behold, the whole thing had snapped at the base below where the bullet fully extends. The whole velvet imprint was completely ruined.
I've tried to squash the lipstick back together but it still rattles and hits the side every time I use it. Due to the fragility of the bullet, I refuse to take any of them out of the house now. I've read that this is a common experience of many users of the True Velvet formula. At the £26 price point, this should not happen.
"A sensual, smoky rosewood shade with the perfect mix of pinky brown and dirty rose undertones to make this shade super wearable across a wide variety of skintones."
In her YouTube video, Eldridge compared this to a fragrance where the top notes are rose, the middle notes are cedar, saffron and sandalwood and the base notes musk and wood.
Of the three shades I purchased, this one is the most complex with shifting undertones and colours.
Overall, it pulls darker on me which is why I knew I wouldn't wear any of the other three darker offerings from this release. This kind of shade is as 'vampy' as I am comfortable wearing. I don't like browns nor dark mulberries much.
I said that Velvet Fawn looked like a light terracotta, almost akin to the terracotta pots you see at a homewares or gardening store where there's just a fine dusting of white powder on the earthenware. Velvet Muse on my lips looks like the clay earth after it soaks up rain or for anyone who knows what the Australian red soil looks like after a bit of watering, this is it. Muse is Fawn's older, darker, grungier, smokier and sexier sister.
The photo above shows off the darker browny wood tones that bend the pink tones to almost a dark slightly vampy berry while the photo below shows off the brown smoky rose tones. The second photo also shows more of its saffron to terracotta orange notes. The small shifts makes Velvet Muse a complex browny pink shade that is more accommodating to the other makeup worn.
You can see from the photographs above, that my natural lip colour does skew Velvet Fawn and Velvet Muse to be different shades once it's worn on the lips but I have provided bullet swatches on my arm below. Velvet Fawn and Muse look to be almost identical when swatched but on the lips Muse pulls markedly darker.
My skin tone is a true neutral. Using the 'what colour are your veins?' test, my veins are blue and purple in the morning after I wake up and green in the afternoons so I have a combination of cool and warm undertones in my skin. I've photographed the arm swatches with both occurrences.
The takeaway of this one is that I really enjoy the Lisa Eldridge True Velvet formula. Is it the best that I've tried? No. Is it the worst? Far from it. I'm not happy that the lipsticks themselves are so fragile. The formula is creamy without being too powdery to strike a good balance of pigmentation and smoothness. It has great lasting power through meals and doesn't suck all the moisture out of your lips but my criticism is that it can have the tendency to cling to any dry spots if you run the bullet over your lips back and forth. You will need to pat it out with your finger if that is the case.
Is it worth the money? Yes and no. I think the shades are complex enough and the velvet imprint is unique enough to justify the price tag along with of course, Lisa Eldridge's expertise in the makeup industry. I would happily buy more from the line if Eldridge is able to somehow stabilise the core of the bullet itself. I may eventually cave and buy the Red Velvets. I've now heard that many other people had their bullets snap and some even happened on a few YouTuber's unboxings of the lipsticks. This is where I don't feel that it's worth the money. I need my lipsticks to be able to survive a simple trip in my structured leather handbag and I've never ever had a lipstick snap on me before in such a situation.