Beauty Abroad, Part 12: Experiments with & Other Stories Droguet Purple and Barry M Lip Liner in Plum

I’m generally reluctant to buy extra tools to make a beauty product work. I delayed buying an eyeshadow primer and lip brush for ages, because “I shouldn’t have to.” A good eyeshadow or lipstick, I thought, wouldn’t need extra help. My stubbornness in this matter has softened since I started this blog, but there was one thing I still refused to buy until last week: a lip liner. This is the inevitable result of reaching pop-cultural awareness in the late ’90s, when the de rigueur lip combo was brown liner and lighter brown lipstick. The reign of MAC Spice has long since ended, but my wariness lingered–that is, until I bought & Other Stories Lip Colour in Droguet Purple, reviewed in my last post.

Droguet Purple, a dark blue-based purple lipstick with a shiny finish, presented me with two problems. First, its slippery formula prevented me from getting even coverage on my lips; second, oh god so dark so purple I look crazy how do I wear this without looking crazy. The first problem seemed easier to solve than the second; so, true to form, I tackled it first. (During a dissertation meeting last year, one of my advisers quoted another professor in our department: “All work is the avoidance of other work.” That goes for makeup, too.)

What I needed, I decided, was a lip liner in roughly the same color as Droguet Purple. I scoured one Superdrug and two Boots for a dark purple liner, which proved harder to find than I’d anticipated. Finally, at Superdrug, I settled on Barry M Lip Liner #11 (Plum). I usually think of Barry M as a purveyor of cheap nail polish, but the brand makes quite a few lip products as well, including something hailed widely as a dupe for OCC’s Lip Tars. The lip liner was £3, and I think it’s remarkably attractive for a budget product. Look at that gold flourish!

True to its name, Plum is slightly redder than Droguet Purple. Still, it would be hard to find a better match at this price point, considering how many drugstore lip liners fall into the nude-mauve-rose category. Here’s an arm swatch of Plum (left) next to Droguet Purple.

To give Droguet Purple a surface to cling to, I used Plum to outline and color in the entire surface of my lips. Plum is an old-fashioned lip liner, bone-dry and thoroughly matte, and it took a surprisingly long time to cover my lips with pigment. Plus, the liner tasted like a pencil. It tasted like first grade, in fact: I was a big pencil-chewer back in the day. Not exactly a luxury product, but it got the job done. Hey, I look insane!

See, this is why I didn’t want a matte dark purple; my lips look so much smaller than usual. I’ve had a slight complex about this ever since someone I dated in college told me I had “thin lips.” You don’t say that sort of thing to a person, especially one as vain as I am; you just don’t.

With a base of Plum, I needed only one coat of Droguet Purple. The liner changed the color of the lipstick, making it more of a blackened eggplant than a vivid blue-purple. Left, Droguet Purple without lip liner; right, layered over Plum. See how much more even the color looks?

Since buying Plum, I’ve worn Droguet Purple twice in public, with two different eye/cheek situations: one for night and one for day. I confess that there’s not a tremendous difference between the two. No matter what you use to complement a lipstick this dark, your mouth will always be the star of the show.

For my first attempt, I took Belly’s advice to add “something blackened and intense on your eyes.” Real smoky eyes are still difficult for me (I have a lot of eyelid real estate to cover, and the extra fold in each lid makes it hard to get even color distribution), so I kept it simple with a base of NARS Lhasa and a smudgy overlay of Serious, the matte black shadow from theBalm’s Nude ‘tude palette. Serious layers beautifully; you can wear it semi-opaque or build it up to full opacity (none more black!). My models for this look were Edward Gorey’s Interbellum-inspired illustrations of murderous vamps and recently deflowered girls.

I added Serious to the outer halves of my upper lids, blended an extra layer into the outer corners, and used my e.l.f. eyeliner brush to smudge Serious onto my lower lashlines. For blush, I swapped out Zygomatic for Sleek Flushed, a red-plum powder blush. I also added my new magenta scarf, purchased on Portobello Road on Thursday, so that the combination of black blazer and eggplant lips wouldn’t wash me out. Other, less apparent, products: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla, Maybelline One by One Mascara, theBalm Sleek eyeshadow to define brows.

The result, complete with self-indulgent Theda Bara stare:

A better view of the eyes:

My second attempt, from today, involved warmer tones. Larie had suggested that I try bronzer with this lipstick; since I don’t own any bronzer, I did the next best thing and used bronze eyeshadow! I applied Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze to my mobile lids and part of my browbones, lined my upper and lower lashlines with theBalm eyeshadow in Silly (warm brown with copper glitter), and used Illamasqua Zygomatic on my cheeks. The idea was to create a more casual look, though I’m not sure this lipstick is capable of conveying “casual.” I’m fine with that. Apologies for the washed-out photo–the watery English light just wouldn’t cooperate with my vanity. The eye makeup was more pronounced IRL.

I wore this look on a tour of Aston Hall, a stunning 17th-century mansion outside Birmingham. Built between 1618 and 1635 for a man who had bought a baronetcy from the cash-strapped James I, the house is a beautifully preserved example of Jacobean architecture. It’s also a nice background for awkward tourist photos…

The lipstick/liner combo lasted for a couple of hours before it began to fade. Droguet Purple is just not a low-maintenance color, and it’s going to come off on coffee cups and surrender entirely to apples or sandwiches. Frankly, I don’t mind. There’s a lot of emphasis placed on effortless, low-maintenance makeup these days, and I think it’s no coincidence that women themselves often feel pressured to be socially and emotionally low-maintenance. Sometimes I want to wear a lipstick that attests to the amount of effort I put into it. Sprezzatura is overrated.

15 thoughts on “Beauty Abroad, Part 12: Experiments with & Other Stories Droguet Purple and Barry M Lip Liner in Plum

  1. I can totally relate to your sweet efforts. Droguet Purple is definitely a unique beauty that one just cannot abandon for its imperfections. I think it is even more beautiful on you without the liner. It's probably because I prefer softer almost smudged lip lines when I wear dark shades like this. With the liner, it transforms into a totally different color, which is cool, too.I see other makeup pairings work well for each looks, but I've noticed your outfits play quite a big part as well. Love that yellow top on you. 🙂


  2. I see what you mean–it's a much softer color without the liner. I thought about buying a nude or MLBB liner for Droguet Purple instead of a dark purple one, and maybe I'll do that eventually and see what happens! And I agree that clothes make a big difference. Most of my tops are gray or black, but I need to wear more color with a lipstick this dark, or I'll look completely washed out. That yellow shirt is one of my favorites. 🙂


  3. I think you're pulling it off beautifully 🙂 I think Belly's tip is spot-on, as well! Sometimes it also helps to pull a similar shade onto your cheeks. If you don't have a blush like that, maybe stipple some of the lipstick on!


  4. I love both looks and can see how the softer version of the look is very wearable. But GUUUURRRRRLL, your killer vamp look is killer! The darkened purply black tones over the Barry M liner really makes this lipstick look better and oh so more dramatic. 🙂


  5. It's nice to feel that I've thoroughly sated my desire for a specific color! That is, until the next one comes along. WHICH IT WON'T, because I have self-control. Sort of. Have you tried the YSL Glossy Stain in Violet Edition? It's shiny enough that it probably won't have the lip-thinning effect!


  6. Someday, when I have an official academic business card, I swear I will find a way to list 'murderous vamp' among my qualifications/research areas. I will do it. I will. It must happen.Both looks are gorgeous, but that second one in the yellow top is just, UGH. Three degrees and literally all I can come up with is UGH. It's a *good* UGH though, rest assured! As I mentioned in another post that you made later but I commented on earlier (it's gotten wibbly wobbly), you need to stop looking so effortlessly like the heroine from a Poirot film. Either that or I demand that you post those pictures of yourself zooming through the Mesopotamian desert in an open topped car, wearing a linen suit, a stylish hat, and keeping the company of detectives with egg-shaped heads and obsessively curated moustaches.Re: 'thin lips' (*snort*): I can't believe the things some people will say to the people they're ostensibly in a relationship with. I guess it helps sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were, but it really is astonishing what some people will allow to fall out of their mouths. I had a boyfriend who told me once (critically) that my backside had gotten bigger. Emphasis being on *had* a boyfriend there… 😉


  7. In this person's defense, I had asked her (in a late-college oh-shit-my-youth-is-waning moment) whether I should get my lip pierced. Her advice, along the lines of \”hell, no,\” was perfectly sound. The problem was that she felt the need to add \”You have thin lips, so it wouldn't look right.\” What she really should have said was, \”What if you become a compulsive makeup hoarder in the next few years and stockpile over 60 lipsticks? Won't a lip ring cramp your style?\” (Because it totally would, and I'm grateful I didn't get one for that reason alone.)I've never seen a Poirot film–it's sad how cinematically illiterate I am. But now I want to, for egotism's sake. 😀


  8. Oh, you are perfectly channeling the flapper. And I hear what you're saying about not shying away from \”high-maintenance\” looks, despite my aversion to touching up while I'm out because I'm inherently lazy. There's something special and oh-so-grown-up about whipping out that lipstick bullet and making your mark.


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