Lipstick Chronology #4: A Tale of Two Undertones, Part 1 (Revlon Colorburst Fuchsia)

Name: Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Fuchsia

Date of Purchase: May 2011

Grade: A

Notes: Just over a year ago, I went into town for some post-Thanksgiving shopping. I was wearing one of my first high-end beauty purchases: YSL Glossy Stain in Rouge Gouache, a bright pink-based red.


A middle-aged saleswoman with a Jersey accent complimented me on my lip color and complained about the difficulty of finding the perfect red lipstick. “In magazines, you read, ‘If you have yellow undertones…’” she said. “I don’t know from yellow undertones!”

Beauty bloggers love talking about being “warm-toned” or “cool-toned,” but the fact is that all of us have a mixture of warm and cool undertones. There are innumerable tricks that will supposedly tell you whether you’re warm or cool: holding silver and gold up to your face, figuring out whether your veins look blue or green. But I think it’s more instinctive than that. If you’ve shopped around for lipsticks, you’ve probably had the experience of “clicking” with a color: you put it on and it lights up your entire face. Even if you haven’t tried on a lot of lipsticks, you probably wear clothes, which means you probably know which colors are flattering on you. I gravitate toward cool jewel tones like emerald, navy, and burgundy: not exclusively, but enough that I suspect I’m more cool than warm.

In a more innocent time, before I became aware of these intricacies, I was studying with my boyfriend in the Open Eye Café in Carrboro, NC. It was a lazy late-spring afternoon; my boyfriend was working diligently, but I, true to form, was looking at fuchsia lipsticks online. There was something about fuchsia that had always troubled me. It was a little too bright, a little too different from both pink and purple. For some reason, this made me want to smear it all over my face. The local Walgreens was just a few blocks away, and I announced that I was going to go buy a fuchsia lipstick.

I returned to the coffee shop with Revlon Colorburst lipstick in Fuchsia, which I wasn’t sure about when I looked at it in the tube (shown here with Soft Nude, which I’ll review next).


It looked, dare I say it, tacky. My boyfriend had his doubts. But then I put it on and was like THIS LOOKS GREAT, and my boyfriend was like THAT LOOKS GREAT, and so I discovered the joys of fuchsia.

This past summer, my longtime Tumblr friend Anaïs and I finally met in real life and, unsurprisingly, got to talking about lipstick. She was wearing MAC Lady Danger, which, despite being a loud matte red-orange, looked surprisingly natural on her. I pointed this out, and she mentioned that cool fuchsias like Candy Yum-Yum were always “a look” on her. In the same way, red-oranges are always “a look” on me, a studied look, whereas fuchsias settle into my complexion more harmoniously:


I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s bright. No one would mistake it for my natural lip color. But it doesn’t clash with my coloring as warmer colors do. You can see this even in an arm swatch (again with Soft Nude, a much warmer color):


I’m not trying to be prescriptive: it would be silly for anyone to ignore a whole group of colors that she liked, just because they didn’t match her undertones. And, as I said, everyone has some warmth and some coolness—in fact, I think I’m more cool-leaning neutral than true cool. But knowledge is power, etc.

After I found Revlon Fuchsia, I assumed that my holy-grail fuchsia lipstick and I would live a long, happy life together. But it was not to be: Revlon discontinued the Colorburst line last year, for reasons that remain mysterious to me. The Colorbursts are still the best drugstore lipsticks I’ve ever tried: glossy, cushiony, moisturizing, but also highly pigmented. They’re like marshmallows in lipstick form. Luckily, I bought a backup of Fuchsia before it disappeared entirely, but I’ll never quite forgive Revlon’s newfangled offerings (Balm Stains, Lacquer Balms, Matte Balms, and so on ad nauseam) for bumping the Colorbursts from the shelves.


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