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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lip Colors

If you haven't already, I think you're probably going to see a lot of "love it" or "hate it" reviews when it comes to this new lip color line from Revlon. When I heard the name Ultimate Suede, my mind immediately went to Revlon's fabulous matte lipsticks, and I was really hoping that these new lip colors would be a variation on that theme (just like Revlon matte lipsticks but with maybe even better staying power and a bigger shade selection). 

But then, I remembered the original Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Lip Colors (discontinued a few years ago). Thinking back to those, it's worth noting that Ultimate Suede has essentially the same packaging as the original, except now the base of the tube is not black; it matches the actual shade of the lipstick. 

So I think it's important to remember that ColorStay = long-wear. And if you've ever tried a Revlon ColorStay lip color before, then you know what that's about. And guess what? These are no different...

I purchased four shades from this new line at Rite Aid a few weeks ago, so here's my take on them.

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lip Color
(retail: $7.99, 0.09 oz)

Keep reading for my full review...


When perusing the counter display for this collection, I tried to select two shimmers and two mattes. But when I got these colors home and took a closer look, the two shades that I thought were mattes actually contained some shimmer. So I don't think any of the shades in this range are mattes, but I could be wrong.

 Here are the four colors I purchased:


Backstage is a deep blue-based red with subtle sparkle.

Iconic is a warm peachy-nude with pink undertones and fine gold shimmer.


Preview is a cool, dusty mauve with subtle shimmer.


Muse is a blue-toned fuchsia with subtle shimmer.


It's hard to see the shimmer in any of these shades when these colors are on the skin. In real life, the color with the most visible shimmer is Iconic, because the shimmer in that shade is gold and provides a nice contrast to the base color. It doesn't have as much orange to it as these pics may lead you to believe. The photo below is a bit more accurate:


Basically, the shimmer in all four of these colors is very subtle, which is why you can't really it in any of my swatches.

Instead of doing my normal breakdown of the texture, pigmentation, etc. that I do for most of my reviews, I'm going to do things a bit differently because I really want to try my best to describe the overall "experience" I've had with these lipsticks.

During initial application, this product glides across the lips very easily and feels lightweight, smooth and slick. The color is sheer, but it's easily buildable and I like that you can really control the pigmentation to your liking. After about two minutes on the lips, I notice that the texture changes dramatically. It goes from feeling like a regular, sheer lipstick to a traditional long-wear lipstick (the type that usually comes in a two-step system of base color and clear glossy top coat). If you've ever used CoverGirl Outlast Lip Color or any other product like that, then you know what it feels like before you apply the clear gloss. The texture is very sticky and a bit heavy. Well, that's exactly how Ultimate Suede lipsticks feel on my lips within two minutes of application. 

I absolutely feel like I'm wearing a long-wear lip color, but without the clear glossy top coat, whenever I wear these lip colors. The stickiness is undeniable and the best way I can describe it is if you took the sticky side of a Post-It Note and pressed it against clean, dry lips. The feeling of pulling the Post-It Note away from your lips is what it feels like when you smoosh your lips together while wearing this product. 

In addition to the change in texture, the finish of all four shades that I purchased changes too. After a few minutes on the lips, the colors morph from being sheer and glossy to dull and muddied. In fact, I think that's where the "suede" part of Ultimate Suede kicks in--when this lipstick sets, it's not so much matte but more suede-like in appearance. You really can't see any shimmer, but things just turn kind of dull. The colors are no longer vibrant or rich--they just seem faded.

The sticky texture seems to stay around on my lips for the duration. It's quite sticky for the first few hours, and then into the third or fourth hour, it's only mildly sticky (but I can still very much feel it on my lips). It never quite morphs into that dry, crumbly texture that is common in older-generation long-wear lip colors. And my lips don't feel nearly as dry as they did when I wore the older-generation long-wear lip colors.

But the thing is, the color doesn't stay around as long as the long-wear lip colors of yesteryear. In particular, the two lighter shades I purchased (Iconic and Preview) only lasted on my lips for two hours. After two hours (and no eating or drinking) the color was completely gone from my lips, although I could still feel that slightly sticky/tacky texture. That is something I very much didn't like about this product because, if I can still feel something on my lips, I darn well better SEE it too, or what's the point?

The two darker colors that I purchased had better staying power, lasting between four and six hours on my lips. I ate and drank and could still a soft stain on my lips after six hours of wear for both Backstage and Muse

There is virtually no fragrance or flavor to these lip colors.

FINAL VERDICT: If you are a fan of 2-step long-wear lip colors (L'Oreal Infallible Never Fail Lip Color, Revlon ColorStay Overtime Liquid Lip Color, CoverGirl Outlast lip Color, Maybelline SuperStay 2-Step Color, etc.) or if you're a fan of second-generation long-wear lip colors that don't require a separate clear top coat (Maybelline SuperStay 14HR Lip Color, Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick, etc.) then there's a chance that you might like Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lip Colors--especially if you're used that heavier, sticky/tacky feel on the lips. I loved a few shades in the original ColorStay Ultimate Lip Color line, but the biggest difference between those and the new Ultimate Suede Lip Colors is that the originals applied like mattes or cremes. There was no element of surprise and you knew what you were getting into from the get-go. With Ultimate Suede, I find that the initial look and feel (sheer, glossy, shimmery color) changes so dramatically (and so quickly) that it's kind of a let-down. I absolutely LOVE the "my lips but better" look of Iconic, but only for the first 30 seconds or so that it's on my lips. It goes from a gorgeous, sheer peachy-nude-pink with golden shimmer to something far more flat and blah within just a few minutes. And then it fades completely after two hours. I obviously can't speak for all of the colors in this collection, and the darker shades do seem to have better staying power, but it's nothing that I can't achieve with one of my existing lipstains or matte lipsticks, and then I don't have to deal with the stickiness. Again, if you're already a fan of long-wear drugstore lip colors, then you might like these if you can find a shade that works for you. But if you are not a fan of traditional long-wear lip colors and all of the stickiness that comes with them, I think you might be better off skipping these. To sum it up in one sentence: Every time I wear one of these lip colors, I have the nagging feeling that I should apply the clear gloss/balm that came with it to add some shine and moisture to my lips; and then I remember that it didn't come with a clear gloss/balm.

Whew! I think that about covers it, folks. If I neglected to describe something in this review or you have a question that I didn't answer above, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to help you out.

In the meantime, have you tried any of the new Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede Lip Colors? Were you a fan of the original ColorStay Ultimate Lip Colors? Either way, I'd love to hear from you.

39 COMMENTS:

  1. I haven't even seen these! I love my revolt lip products :)

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  2. I'm glad to read your review; I just went to CVS yesterday to check out the Revlon deal & was tempted by all these! I'm glad I just went for more balm stain shades instead!

    Thanks for your hard work on this blog!

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  3. Thanks for the review. I haven't seen these yet in stores.

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  4. You nailed it on the head G. The beautiful glossy color at first, and then...it morphs into frankenlipstick. Sticky, muddy, dull and irritating. Thank goodness I only bought one. When I do wear it in the future, I'll be putting a gloss over it.

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  5. I've read reviews of this product so far and they aren't great. I have those original lipsticks in the black tube. They were called Colorstay Soft and Smooth Lip Color. I bought all the shades I could until they discontinued them. It's such a bummer that they're not the same as the Soft and Smooth. Maybe I'll purchase these new ones for a try, but I don't think I will until there's a major sale. Thank again for your review!

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  6. I almost bought these when I stumbled upon a full display at Rite Aid. But I'm glad I waited. I don't think I'd like that sticky feeling.

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  7. Just have to comment that the current version of Maybelline 24hr lipcolor does not have that texture you are describing, unless for some reason you neglect to put on the top coat. Even after hours of wear it's still not sticky, at the worst a little dry.. and all you need is a quick swipe of top coat or a smidge of lip balm in a pinch (many balms will reduce the lasting time though, especially if they contain oil, the top coat is best) and you are right back to the smoothness. My nine year old daughter wore it tonight for Halloween.. and even she said it felt like there was nothing on her lips.. and she is extremely critical and picky about her comfort level.

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  8. Thanks for the very detailed review! Wow. It's a shame some of the colors look flat upon application. I would always feel like applying the shine coat on, naturally.

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  9. I loved the previous version of these - they didn't feel near as heavy, and had decent staying power. I can't remember the two shades of this revamped lipstick that I bought, because I returned them ASAP. But they had an unflattering, almost frosty, metallic look. Then it sunk into the cracks of my lips and looked like a crackle lipstick - horrible!! I suppose with the recent release of so many great products that Revlon was "due" for a dud, but I'm definitely disappointed. They could make it up to me with more Kissable Balm Stain shades!

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  10. I saw the display at my local rite aid and since I usually love revlon lipsticks, and they were on sale buy one get the other half off, I looked through the colors and bought a dark pink called couture. Seriously, I love it! I didn't feel any of the tackiness, and the color looked soft and pretty on my lips for hours.

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  11. I picked up three of these (amusingly, two were Iconic and Preview, and my other was Socialite) and they feel really great going on...and then they just dry down and dry out my lips. I don't know how well the color lasted on me, and I didn't really notice the sticky feeling so much, but they just *parched* my lips. Sucked out all the moisture and I had to scrub them off and go find balm.

    One of mine has apparently lost the cap, but I can't be bothered to find it. I have too many lipsticks as it is that I like to wear; these aren't getting added to that collection.

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  12. So glad I read this.I saw full displays and was tempted by the CVS deal. Good thing I waited.

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  13. Great review! I had a fairly different experience with these - I didn't find them uncomfortable or sticky, and Backstage lasted about 7-9 hours on me. I did have the texture change you talk about, I agree - I don't like the finish. So, ultimately, I didn't really like them either.

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  14. Great review. I bought one in Fashionista -- and really like the color, as it is close to a brick red. At first application it is really moist and smooth, but wow, does it dry, but with a touch of that stickiness I'm not a fan of. I couldn't help but be reminded of the original ColorStay lipsticks from the mid-1990s, in that long slender black tube, but I don't remember those feeling sticky. For $10 I'm not sure I'd want to buy more of these, though. I like the matte formulas better, and love the butters and the balm stains. What irritates me, though, is in the store these suedes are really hard to read, color-wise, if they're shimmery, etc. I don't want to get one hoping for a pinky brown and get something else. I don't think people are falling in love with these, from what I'm reading, and I bet these will show up at Big Lots down the line.

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  15. Awwww I'm sorry you didn't like these! I actually bought five of them (!) which I never do, because I bought one and loved it so much! I guess I like the stained, dull matte look on my lips and they actually lasted all day on me! I got Socialite, Iconic, Catwalk, Supermodel and Backstage. :)

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  16. I returned mine! It was so uncomfortable and looked gross on my lips after a few hours.

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  17. Mmmm. Thanks for the reality check on these. I really don't like drying mattes, so these are probably not for me, even though I love Revlon.

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  18. Holy Efficient review, Bow:)TY so so much, you are THE best!

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  19. FANtastic thorough review, You are the best!

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  20. These look amazing but there is concern with wear...those long lasting lippies on me look dry and cakey and my lips are dry to begin with!

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  21. thanks for the review !think im going to skip on these doesnt sound like my cup of tea
    and pheww i got alot of blog post to catch up on had no power since monday crazy how much you miss in a couple days

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  22. I got so close to buying one of these, but I ended up passing & I'm really glad I did. I don't like how you said it feels sticky, that's a dealbreaker for me! (:

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  23. I agree, I'm not a fan of these. And the SMELL. The one I got smelled AWFUL. Like... rancid elmer's glue. Is that even possible? Yuck.

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  24. Thanks for the review, G! The shades look really nice, but the dull, sticky factor, short wear time, etc etc. is disappointing.

    I'm gonna pass on these. I kept thinking of my beloved Revlon lip butters while reading this review. Lol

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  25. Ah!! You have saved me some money on this one!

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  26. Aww, everyone seems to hate these but I really like mine! I bought two of the brighter hues, a warm bright pink sort of like Impassioned and a warm bright red. I've always been a major fan of super matte bright lipsticks (my all time favorite lipstick is Ruby Woo, which is about as dry and matte as you can get xD), and these just work so well for me. I like the feeling that a product is stuck to my lips, and that I can press my lips to the back of my hand and nothing will transfer, and that's what I get with these, but honestly I don't find them uncomfortable to wear at all. I do have the habit of blending lipsticks in with my finger, though. Maybe that has something to do with the comfortable result I get?

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  27. Thanks for the great review G! I think I will pass on me as that texture that you described would drive me crazy. I always want to like long-wearing lip products but it never seems to work out.

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  28. I ALMOST bought one of these tonight but decided against it and was thinking about picking one up tomorrow, but I am so glad that I read your review! I think this is going to be something I totally pass on!

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  29. Man, and Preview looks like such a perfect color! I'malways looking for that soft mauve-y MLBB color, and still haven't found one. Do any of you ladies know of a product that is like this? So far I've tried CG lipstain in 420 sassy mauve (way too red!), a whole bunch of other drugstore brands I can't recall or no longer have in my dusty "used once" drawer that were either too opaque or too dark/bright, and most of the original mark. glow baby glow and Avon glazewear glosses. The closest I came to MLBB was with the mark. glosses, between pink crush, sizzle and chic. To date Avon/mark. are still the best glosses to me (glazewear/glow baby glow) but since Avon still hasn't sworn off animal testing I don't shop with them anymore, much as I love those glosses. I keep hoping maybe I'll find a drugstore dupe for them but either I'm not really looking as well as I should be or there isn't one... In the meantime I just use chapstick/balm style products that have no color, and concentrate my color on my eyes.

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  30. Thank you for your review on the new Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Suede. I was/AM STILL a huge fan of the OLD, discontinued Revlon Colorstay Lipcolor, to the point where, when I found out that they had discontinued it, I went online and found my colors and bought about 5 sticks of each. I am running low now and fear that very soon, I will be completely out of the old ones with no good replacement in sight. The old one was perfect--not sticky AT ALL, and doesn't get dry/crumbly, stays on for hours and well... perfect. WHY REVLON....did you discontinue the BEST stay-on lipstick?? ;o( Still sad about it. LOL And very thankful for your review because I was about to go buy every color of this new line, thinking (hoping, wishing) it would be just like the lipstick of yester-years. Thanks for saving me the hassle.

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  31. I'm one of the women that this lipstick really works for me. I bought Finale and can't wait to get another. The texture and color both work for me and stay on a really long time. I didn't notice a smell and I didn't have a problem with serious color fade. I'm in my late 50s and I like that this lipstick does not fade into the little lines around my mouth. That's a GOOD THING. :)

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  32. Hi, appreciate your review. I'm another that did not have this sticky experience at all. I have Iconic and Catwalk. Love both. For me, the color lasted a bit longer than a regular lipstick but did not have the staying power I expected. However, I didn't have the morphing/tacky situation in the least. I found this lipstick to be very smooth and almost glossy; in fact, it rather plumped up my old (59 years) lips to a small extent. Went back to Walgreen's to get more colors but couldn't decide which just yet. Did enjoy the review and blog.

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  33. I just bought "backstage' today , and let me tell you I was fully disappointed. Not only did it bleed, and way to moist for my liking, but it dried out way too fast. Do not like this product .

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  34. I'm so sad. I was getting ready to go on a hunt for backsatge for an upcoming wedding as it was out at the last two places I looked. I am looking for a semi matte finish but it sounds like the pigmentation is much lighter than it looks on the marketing material on Olivia Wilde. Any suggestion on finding something that looks like the pic?

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  35. I finally broke down and got one today. Catwalk, a very nice shade, but OHHH the SMELL. I can't take it.

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  36. I just bought "catwalk" today and I love the color. But I cannot handle the smell.

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  37. Disappointed by the lack of colour payoff..I think Maybelline's 14hr Wear is superior.

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  38. I bought two today from cvs. I loved it for the first minute of wearing and then it became sticky and thick. Washing it off wasn't easy either. Too bad this company isn't creating what they used to.

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  39. I actually *did* try one of these and I found my experience of the product to be very similar to yours (as you can see in my blog post: http://emsieinwonderland.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/review-revlon-colorstay-ultimate-suede.html ). The stickiness was particularly annoying and I've only worn the lipstick a handful of times as a result! I wonder whether this will be something they work on? I do hope so, because it's a shame really, considering the initial application is lovely. x

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