The other day while I was cleaning out my drugstore lipstick collection I noticed I had dozens of lipsticks in the same colours: mauve/dusty pink, wine red/bordeaux, creamy peach and blue-based red. I started rummaging through my entire collection – drugstore, high-end, proper luxury and even liquid lipsticks and, to my horror, I had more than a hundred lipsticks fitting into each of those colours. And the worst part is that I had nothing but those colours! I mean, how many semi-matte classic blue-based reds can a girl own? Wait, no, don’t quote me on that.
So I took it upon myself to experiment, and go where at least this girl had never gone before. I made a list of colours I wanted to try: orange reds, chocolate browns, any shade of nude (as in, near to my skintone, not just another type of dusty pink that I can justify as ‘just brown enough’) and warm, chai/mocha colours. I wanted to try creamier, shinier lipsticks since almost everything I had was either matte or a satin finish. So I grabbed my Boots points, did some online research and in-store swatching and ended up with a massive lipstick and lipliner haul from Sleek Makeup.
Now, Sleek is a fairly inexpensive high street/drugstore UK brand that you can find at Boots and Superdrug and, at least back home, in Sephora as well. They’re quite well-known for their eyeshadow palettes, which are far creamier and more pigmented than anything else at the drugstore (especially the metallic shades). I’d had many of those palettes in my lifetime but I had never tried the lipsticks; while I was swatching all the chai-latte-coloured lipsticks in the store a little voice in my head (which sounded a lot like Caterina) was saying ‘Oh I only had one lipstick before I got the Charlotte Tilbury ones, and it was from Sleek. It was great.’
So I did it. I bought Sleek lipsticks. Mind you, the one I tried at the store, called Liqueur, I absolutely fell head over heels in love with – it’s a creamy, almost shiny but not pearly light nude with a hint of pink. It’s right at that threshold between a pink nude and a brown nude; it’s not peachy, as it’s quite cool-toned, and quite moisturising. Out of all the lipsticks I got, this will be my go-to for the rest of the year.
Don’t be fooled by the ‘Sheen’ formulas; it’s not comparable to MAC. These are extremely pigmented, almost dangerously so in the case of O.M.G., a bright slightly warm red that is so pigmented I barely touched it on my lips and it went everywhere. It didn’t feather, but it’s so creamy it’s hard to control, with a high shine finish. Succumb is another of my absolute favourite colours that I’ve only ever owned in a matte formula and looks amazing with that patent-like finish of the Sleek Sheen formulas. Mulberry like O.M.G. is so pigmented and creamy it ends up being slippery and hard to control; it’s actually a bit… oily? So you have to build it up a bit so it doesn’t look patchy. It’s an almost blackened purple, which I love. My favourite of the dark colours is Smoulder. I can’t even begin to describe it. It’s like a brown wine colour, or burnt earthy red. The shiny finish is growing on me. Regardless of the colours, all of the Sheen formula lipsticks feel amazing on the lips.
I had a bit of a problem with the Matte formulas. Dare is a stunning colour and, though it drags a little bit, after it warms up it slides on a little easier. Reddy to Sail is a great warm-toned red that is so close to O.M.G. except on the other side of the finish spectrum. I had a bit of a dragging issue with that too which also went away after it warmed to my lips (English Winter, maybe?), but I absolutely hated Bare All. In theory it’s a lovely colour – a less-saturated peach nude. But it’s way way way too drying and it doesn’t even look matte in pictures, it actually reflects light a little bit, which is the opposite of Dare – it went on fairly smoothly for a matte and looks very matte without looking crackly. Bare All looks and applies patchy.
I also got four lipliners. Now, don’t get me wrong, the colours are all amazing. And I have to say Lingerie is everything I could ever want in a lipliner – colour and formula. It glides on fairly easily for how matte it is and the colour is beautiful. The colours of Rouge and Raisin are gorgeous and I wish they weren’t as painful to apply as they are – they’re dry and hard, which means they’ll last quite long on the lips! but it genuinely hurts to fill in your lips. So with those I’d stick to lining. Not a fan of Red Sky Night, the colour didn’t look at all like the one on the packaging – it comes out as a barbie pink instead of a dusty rose (okay, sue me, lipliners don’t count).
Here are the swatches!
The lipsticks are £4.99 each at Boots and on Sleek UK website.
I highly recommend you grab a couple, especially the Sheen formulas. Be very wary of light colours in the Matte formulation, but Dare is a safe bet. Lingerie lipliner is an absolute must-have.
Remember to let me know if you purchase any of these!