Foundation shade references: MUFE Y425,MAC C6 and Matchmaster, NARS Syracuse, Fenty Profiltr' 300 usually mixed with either 320, or a very slight 360 to get the right undertone without it being too dark or light.
When I heard about Rihanna's uber inclusive Fenty Beauty line coming out with this, I was eyeing this big time. I looked at a bunch of people recommending this on youtube, along with the several swatches on both models and Instagram brown girls (the mistake I made was not asking people about things in the comments). I figured my struggles as a Brown girl on the prowl for the Perfect True Red was finally over, since my biggest fears for a red lippie are usually that it's too bright and orange, and this shade looked pretty deep, even on Rihanna who is a shade or 2 darker than me usually. Around this time, I struggled to figure out my undertones since I leaned towards cooler shades and looked really good in those rather than warm shades according to most people I've spoken to, but at the same time, I was told that my skin is quite golden or yellowish. I only used dark colours, berries or purples (both warm and cool), so my best guess was that I was Neutral-cool, or just neutral, and thus a lipstick that's a 'Neutral Red' would be highly likely suit me according to 'theory'. The only other red I tried out before this was MAC's Retro Matte Liquid Lipstick in 'Fashion Legacy', which was very clownish and bright orange on me. When I finally got to wear this lipstick, I was trying my best to not freak out because somehow, wearing this made all my discoloration pop up and my chin look greyish and much darker than the rest of my face. It made me hyper aware of all of the flaws on my face and was somehow worse than what I remembered Fashion Legacy was on me, and this made no sense to me because everywhere online this lipstick shade is known to be a 'neutral'. I took some pictures with this on and it also ended up looking alarmingly different on camera (the orange was toned down, but it was still a bright red) than in reality (bright orange red). I spent many a days putting this on and just sitting at home with this on, but even after 8 months went by, I couldn't warm up to this shade. If I lived near the Sephora this was purchased from, I'd have returned this for anything else, as this felt like a total waste of $22. Why bother with something so expensive when you'd constantly need to tweak the colour with liner, a darker shade or gloss? I also ended up asking several Instagram users around my shade about how the shade is so different on everyone, and I started ti hear more and more that most people wear this with liner, or use a filter to make this look different. That's when I REALLY felt like my money had gone to waste. Never again am I purchasing anything that claims to be a perfect fit for everyone, at least not without asking people around my shade/undertone a bunch of questions regarding the product. Since this lipstick, I also realized how amazing drugstore lippies are, and I reccomend anyone with an undertone or shade finding struggle to experiment with those first, before trusting online influencers, campaign or Instagram pictures. Any brand claiming inclusivity should really stop manipulating colors of their products with filters or additional products.
After a year and several red lipsticks later, I found a variety of reds that suit me, including a True Red like Stila's Beso, which might be bright for many, but this type of brightness actually makes my skin look brighter and thus is my ultimate Bright Red that isn't too jarring. Then there's Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink 'Pioneer', which is more-so a Cool red but extremely flattering. Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipsticks in 'Baswe' and 'Disorderly', Colourpop Creme LUX Lipstick in 'Liquid Courage', Wet n Wild 'Spotlight Red' (another bright shade, but it's a cool bright red), Wet n Wild Liquid Lipstick in 'Missy and Fierce', NYX Suede Cream Liquid Lipsticks in 'Cherry Skies' and 'Kitten Heels', MAC Matte Lipstick in 'Russian Red' and MAC Amplified in 'Dubonnet'. Some Limited Edition Colourpop Lipsticks that get me a lot of compliments are The Colourpopx Kathleen Lights collab Ultra Satin Liquid Lip 'Lucky Star', and the Becky G one called, 'Besame'.