Lipstick Chronology #26: Revlon Plum Velour

Name: Revlon Super Lustrous Shine Lipstick in Plum Velour

Date of Purchase: July 2013

Grade: A-

Notes: I’m usually indifferent to sheer lipsticks. No, let me phrase that another way: I like to think of myself as indifferent to sheer lipsticks. I’ve been wearing bold lip colors for over three years now, so putting on anything daintier can feel like a cop-out. But then I reach the bottom of another tube of sheer lipstick and realize that I have to reassess my loyalties.

I feel a missionary zeal building in my breast as I write this post. Plum Velour is one of my most beloved lip colors, but it’s sadly underappreciated. In fact, I think Revlon’s Shine lipsticks are sadly underappreciated in general. They came out in the spring of last year, but caused very little stir–nothing like the frenzy that greeted the Lip Butters or the Matte and Lacquer Balms. Part of the problem, I think, was that the Shine lipsticks didn’t have a cute new design, which made them seem like an afterthought. They come in the same (dated-looking, in my opinion) black-and-gold tubes as Revlon’s other Super Lustrous lipsticks, but the sticker on the bottom of each tube is shiny instead of matte. (As you can see, my tube of Plum Velour is well-loved indeed: during fall and winter, it rarely leaves my bag.)

I think it looks like a telescope here. That pleases me.
Revlon also did a bad job of communicating that the Shine lipsticks were meant to be sheer, so quite a few people complained about their lack of pigment and poor staying power. To avoid any further confusion, let’s all acknowledge that these are in fact sheer lipsticks. They fade after a couple of hours. Don’t expect a dramatic burst of color or a finish that stands up to food and drink. Plum Velour stops looking like a vamptastic dark purple once you swatch it. Left, one layer; right, two layers.

Revlon has long distinguished itself in the field of muted plummy lip colors, and it turns out that I own two Super Lustrous lipsticks that are quite similar to Plum Velour. Mauvy Night (left) is a dustier plum with brown and pink undertones; Berry Haute (right) is a brighter, truer purple. Mauvy Night is more or less opaque, but Berry Haute is almost as sheer as Plum Velour.

Plum Velour’s formula is thin, slippery, and emollient; it feels like a water-based gel. That doesn’t sound terribly appealing, but the lipstick is comfortable, even hydrating, on my lips. Top to bottom: bare lips (so dry, so sorry), one coat of Plum Velour, two coats of Plum Velour.

The shine wears off within a couple of hours, leaving a berry-pink stain. Reapplying the lipstick over the stain will make the plum color even deeper and richer. It really is a product that gets better as the day goes on.

But what if you want something more opaque? Well, if you’re me, you can reach for one of your 586,734 opaque plum lipsticks. Or, if you’re not me, you can layer Plum Velour over a neutral lip liner like Milani Color Statement Lipliner in Nude, a dark pinkish mauve. The Milani liner glides on more easily than Barry M Plum, but its finish is still very matte, and its color and finish together are exceedingly ’90s. Top, Nude alone; bottom, Plum Velour layered over Nude.

Despite my newfound interest in lip liner and color layering, I think I’ll always prefer the messier look of lipstick, sheer or opaque, on its own. But it’s nice to have another option.

Full face! Here’s two coats of Plum Velour indoors, in morning light. Other makeup: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla, theBalm Sleek eyeshadow to define brows, NARS Lhasa eyeshadow, CoverGirl LashBlast Length mascara, and NARS Coeur Battant blush. Yes, this is a rare appearance of my face’s elusive bad side…

Same makeup, but outside, and with Milani Bella Charcoal in place of Lhasa. I am indeed carrying one bookbag on each shoulder.

In short, Plum Velour is my cold-weather version of NARS Dolce Vita: comfortable, easy to apply, and suitable for all social situations. It’s bold enough to perk up an otherwise neutral outfit, but subtle enough not to clash with brighter colors. Best of all, it never makes me look like I’ve tried too hard. And in academia, where women who put obvious effort into their appearance still attract the lofty side-eye of the patriarchy, a casual, unassuming lipstick is a nice thing to have.

Plum Velour is not a perfect lipstick, but I still prefer it to many of my bolder and longer-wearing lip colors. You know those books and movies that have made such a huge emotional impact on you that you’ll always defend them fiercely, despite knowing deep down that they have significant flaws? That’s how I feel about Plum Velour. I’ll admit that it could last longer, in the same way that I’ll admit that Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor could be less disgustingly self-referential or that Velvet Goldmine could have a more discernible plot. But also, I really don’t care. For what I want Plum Velour (or Ada, or Velvet Goldmine) to do, it’s perfect.

I haven’t tried any of the other Shine lipsticks, but I’ll almost certainly buy another tube of Plum Velour once I run out. Do you have any experience with the Revlon Shine formula? And what imperfect book or movie or beauty product will you always stand up for?

11 thoughts on “Lipstick Chronology #26: Revlon Plum Velour

  1. Oh, it is so beautiful – look how well loved and carefully shaped down your Plum Velour lipstick is!Honestly, I have the very opposite experience and do not love it, but I did retrieve it from my purge pile after reading this post. ;D My lips are slightly more pigmented than yours and I usually don't feel comfortable wearing full coverage lipsticks. For me, it is too pigmented for a lipstick that is supposed to be sheer. I'm still interested in trying other shades since I like how it feels on and Revlon lipstick formulations often vary even within the same range.I am quite jealous how natural yet sophisticated this color looks on you. Plum Velour is even prettier paired with more dramatic eye makeup, too. 😉


  2. I just looked up your review of Plum Velour, and I really love it on you! I know that what we like and don't like about lipsticks is very subjective, but if an outsider's opinion counts for anything, I don't think you should purge it. I see that it pulls darker and browner on you, but it still doesn't look quite opaque to me…?I think I'm the opposite of you: I'm very comfortable with bright, opaque lipsticks, but less comfortable with dramatic eye makeup. I've been trying to push myself out of my eyeshadow comfort zone recently, though!


  3. I agree, this is a great cold weather option for you. :)I think the thing with the vintage Revlon lipsticks are that we all dabbled with them in our younger days and have since moved on to new shiny pretties. I actually really liked their ColorBurst Lipsticks until they were yanked off the shelves rather suddenly after only about a year or two while the horrid Lip Butters and Glosses remained. After that I decided to break with Revlon lipsticks no matter how tempting their sales were. I took a departure from sheer formulas because that was pretty much all I ever used to wear, but lately a few have drifted back in because they are so easy and reliable. And LOL @ missionary zeal!


  4. I bought so many Revlon Super Lustrous lipsticks back in the day! They're cheap and accessible, with a huge range of colors–perfect for someone who's just getting into makeup and didn't know what suits her. I'm glad it was a Revlon lipstick that taught me to avoid salmon pink, and not a $26 NARS lipstick. I miss the ColorBurst lipsticks, too: they had such a lightweight, moisturizing formula. I managed to buy a backup of Fuchsia before they vanished forever, but I've always resented the Lip Butters for taking their place…I think Revlon has tweaked the Lip Butter formula since they first came out, because the first one I ever bought was mushy and melty, but the more recent ones have felt like regular lipsticks. I wore Candy Apple constantly this past summer, and I just bought a replacement of the Red Velvet I lost last winter. I don't think the Lip Butters are a miracle product by any stretch of the imagination, but a handful of them have worked out nicely for me.


  5. STOP MAKING ME WANT MORE LIPSTICKS! Especially ones I can get here… ;-)This is such a great colour on you, and I agree the humble Super Lustrous Iipsticks are kind of underrated. I personally have been getting good milage out of my Pink Sizzle in recent times (as far as the shine formula goes) and Fire and Ice will always be a favourite for its WOWyoujustpunchedmeintheface factor.Ah, that lofty side-eye of the patriarchy. The one I'd like to make into the black eye of the patriarchy…yes, that one… *cracks knuckles, while holding a lipstick in her fist* 😛


  6. I STILL haven't figured out a way to wear Fire and Ice! I think the problem is that it's so opaque but also so shiny. If I want an opaque orange-red, I reach for Wet n Wild Purty Persimmon, which is a similar color but semi-matte; if I want a shiny warm red, the Candy Apple lip butter is forgivingly sheer. And Fire and Ice is such an in-between color, too: it's cooler than both PP and CA, but juuust on the warm side of neutral, so I can't figure out what makeup and clothes to wear with it. You've reminded me to give it another try, though.Pink Sizzle is a nice one! Though limited edition, right? I've thought about trying Fuchsia Shock, but one of my weird personal makeup rules is that fuchsia lipstick must be opaque…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s