*This review is for the Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Harlow Red*
Multitasking products, in general, seem like gimmicks to me. Lip-cheek products either dry the lips or refuse to blend on cheeks, foundation-concealers go on cakey, balm-lipsticks transfer everywhere and always leave the party early.
Bobbi Brown, on the other hand, works quite hard to seem less gimmicky. They're always on about wearable colours, the right match, looking natural and practical stuff.
Their Art Sticks - chunky sharpenable pencils (each come with their own sharpener) - are supposed to be a lipliner and lipstick and cheek colour. That's a chunky claim!
Thankfully, they work! The sticks are softer than a lip pencil, but with more give than, say, a MAC Retro-Matte lipstick. So they go on smoothly (like an oil pastel crayon) as you outline and fill in, and stay put comfortably for 6 hours without transferring on to your coffee cup.
Speaking of Retro Mattes, Harlow Red is supposed to be some kind of competitor for Ruby Woo, a strong matte red that leans slightly blue. It's easier to apply for sure, and more comfortable. But my lips somehow never look as suede-y, which is really what makes MAC's finish so unique. It's still a heavy-duty red, though, and a non-glossy red that doesn't crack or fade unevenly after a long day at work. That I think is some intelligent formulation by Bobbi Brown.
I do wish that the company walked the talk in their packaging as well as they do in their products. Most of their range is aimed at the time-strapped, fuss-intolerant woman, right? Which of those women has the patience to keep sharpening a lipstick in the morning? Wouldn't those women save more time if they didn't have to rummage through 20 identical-looking eyeliners, lipsticks, and other whatzits on their vanity (or in their handbag) to find the shade they wanted? Why can't the product indicate its shade clearly on the outside like a Stila Convertible Color (great multitasker, incidentally)? I'm all for a smaller, smarter makeup stash, but not if I'm wasting time reading shade names or looking for the right colour-strips on black containers every day.