Now for a Crush Worth Crushing On: Revlon Balm Stain in…You Guessed It

What were the odds that I’d review two lipsticks named “Crush” in three days? Pretty good, actually, since drugstore beauty brands love to name their lip products “Crush.” There doesn’t seem to be any color theme linking them together, either. Milani’s Amore Matte Lip Creme in Crush is dark brown; Maybelline’s Coral Crush lipstick is, well, coral; Rimmel’s Crush lipstick is a peachy nude; and my most recent beauty purchase, Revlon’s ColorBurst Balm Stain in Crush, is a vivid magenta plum. I swear each brand has a hat full of names evoking positive and vaguely romantic/sexual emotions—”crush,” “flirt,” “kiss,” “embrace,” “tease”—and a bored-to-hell intern assigns each new product one of those names at random, then goes back to posting on Kik or whatever the kiddos use in 2015. We’re a long way from NARS’ Goodbye Emmanuelle lipstick.

Whatever induced me to buy this particular Crush last week, it wasn’t personal experience. I’d tried two Revlon Balm Stains previously: lavender Darling, which was almost invisible on my pigmented lips, and fuchsia Smitten, which I found horribly drying. I’ll be honest: the primary reason for my purchase was a $3 CVS coupon for Revlon. But the secondary reason was legitimate: I’m heading into a semester in which I might not be able to touch up my lipstick every hour (that is, a semester with actual responsibilities). I’ve always valued comfort over longevity in my lipsticks, but recently I’ve found myself gravitating toward formulas that promise longer wear. I don’t expect my lipstick to look pristine for an entire day, but I do like to feel confident that it hasn’t smeared onto my chin or faded into the Ring of Doom on the outer edges of my lips.

Oh, and there was a third reason. Nearly two years of k-pop fandom have brainwashed me into wanting a lip tint for the gradient look, as seen here on one of my favorite k-pop ladies, Hani of EXID:

On a recent visit to San Francisco’s Japantown, I was stunned to find three new Asian beauty stores: Tony Moly, The Face Shop, and a third shop that sold both Korean and Japanese brands. I came very close to buying a Peripera lip tint at the third place, but I couldn’t find a salesperson to ring me up, and so they lost the sale. I think I’ll wear Crush more often than the bright pink tint I almost bought, anyway.

You know the drill, but I’ll go through it anyway: the Revlon Balm Stains, like the Matte and Lacquer Balms, are housed in chubby twist-up tubes that match the color of their contents. I know that some people find the crayon format childish, but I quite like it. I don’t have the steadiest hands or the most patient approach to lipstick application, and I welcome any product that caters to these weaknesses. All of Revlon’s crayon balms (“balms,” rather) are mint-scented, but Crush smells less strongly of mint than the matte and lacquer balms I’ve tried. It applies very smoothly and evenly, with a lightweight, almost waxy feel; the shine lingers for a couple of hours (less, if you happen to eat during that time), and the stain for a couple more.

Beauty bloggers can’t seem to agree on Crush’s exact color. I’ve seen Crush described variously as “deep, berry wine,” “pinky-red…cranberry or burgundy,” “darkish purple-y pink,” and “deep berry red.” To my eye, Crush is nowhere near red. It looks like a dark purplish plum in the tube and a brighter pinkish plum, almost magenta, on my lips. I have lipsticks in many different shades of fuchsia, purple, and plum, but I swear they all seem to verge on magenta when I wear them. Luckily I like magenta.

There is a fine shimmer visible in the tube and in arm swatches, but it completely vanishes on the lips, so the sparkle-averse need not avoid Crush. I don’t know why Revlon bothered adding shimmer to some of the balm stains if they look identical to their shimmer-free siblings when worn.

Left, one pass; right, two passes. I wanted to make the arm swatches wider than usual so you could see the tiny sparkles and the difference in color opacity, but they just look sloppy. Oh, well.

Now for lip swatches! One layer, freshly applied:

Two layers:

Two layers three hours later, after salad and iced coffee:

Six hours later; by this point, I’d had some water and used a clear lip balm.

As you can see from the last two photos, Crush is a bit drying. All stains are, though; it’s just their nature. The nice thing about the Revlon stains (as opposed to, say, matte liquid lipsticks) is that you can apply some clear lip balm over the stain after the shine has worn off. And despite being drying, Crush doesn’t emphasize my vertical lip lines or cling to dry spots. The color does shift to a brighter pink as it fades, but I don’t think the change is as dramatic as some have claimed.

Here’s Crush with no other makeup except concealer; I love how this shade of pinkish plum brightens up my face. By the way, my skin has been a lot better recently. After reading Monika’s recent skincare post, I’ve begun double cleansing at night, and I think it’s made a difference! (The light in my new apartment is also better, I’ll admit.)

And here’s Crush with two shades from the custom palette I made at theBalm’s San Francisco store (review to come!). I’m also wearing ColourPop Lunch Money highlighter.
This is more color than I usually wear on my face at one time, but I just couldn’t wait to try that duochrome blue/purple.
I also tried out a gradient lip with Crush, but couldn’t get it quite right. I need practice!
In other news, I’ve been feeling so acquisitive recently. I’ve bought four lipsticks, two nail polishes, and an eyeshadow palette in just the last five weeks, and I still want MAC Antique Velvet and Essie Leggy Legend. I need to reread Liz’s excellent post about her no-buy, or just gaze meditatively at this Jenny Holzer installation piece:

11 thoughts on “Now for a Crush Worth Crushing On: Revlon Balm Stain in…You Guessed It

  1. This is a great color for you! If I could look that amazing wearing just a lipstick and concealer!I had 4 or 5 of these but gave all away but Smitten. I suspect there are some formula inconsistencies in Revlon chubby sticks in general, because I don't find Smitten drying at all and even easier on my lips than Lacquer Balm Vivacious, for example.I think the Peripera tint you almost picked up would be more hydrating and longer lasting than the watery ones I just reviewed. I still like those L'Oreal Wet Shine Stains better in terms of longevity and comfort, but the effect that I get from these watery stain is something totally different that I overlook the fact they are a bit fussy.


  2. Literal LOL at the Holzer piece!Okay, so I have this Crush and it's staying. For now, anyway. I really really like it despite the weird minty smell – even better than some of the luxury lipsticks. I would categorize it in the plum/purple family as well but on me there's definitely more red while on you it reflects a lot more pink! I just tried it on and have to declare it a shifty bastard.


  3. I love the wet shine gloss stain loreal thing! I had a few, and they were all reasonably hydrating, not too sticky, and long lasting. I like the jelly finish. AB, maybe you could check those out!


  4. I think these Revlon balm stains may be my favorite lip products ever. Though the lighter ones don't show up on me either. On me, Crush is pretty dark and vampy and purplish. But still wearable for everyday. I didn't realize it was so changeable!


  5. You might be right about the formula inconsistencies even between tubes of the same color! I have noticed, though, that my lips have been in better condition recently. Still tending toward dryness, but not cracked or peeling. Maybe that explains why I found Crush so much more comfortable than Smitten.Those Wet Shine Stains are similar to the Revlon Moisture Stains and the YSL Glossy Stains, right? I was looking at the Peripera tints and the balm stains because I wanted a stain effect with a gentle sheen instead of a hyper-glossy finish.


  6. Wow, I'm impressed that Crush has survived your great lipstick purge of 2015! From the photos I've seen online, it seems like Crush leans redder on warm skin tones and more purple on cool skin tones. I actually wish it were closer to red on me, since I have so many plum/magenta/fuchsia shades, but I guess it's not to be.


  7. I expected it to be darker on me, since my lips usually pull colors darker, but it's not even close to vampy on my lips. Go figure. And I'm glad I finally found a balm stain that worked for me; I think I'll get a lot of use out of it this fall!


  8. I LOVE CRUSH. I LOVE IT. It's my only Revlon balm stain, and I agree that it's a bit drying, but the color (especially after it fades a bit) is sooooo niiiiiice. I have a lot of lip territory and I've found that \”deep\” lipsticks tend to show up brighter on me than on others, so for me Crush is a bright plum that fades to a berry and then to a bright cool pink. Seriously I love it so much for the color change fade alone. Definitely in my top underloved drug store items.


  9. I had no idea Crush had so many devotees! Smitten is the one I've always heard about; I think it's been featured in no fewer than three xoVain articles. And I agree that the color change is a positive, not a negative.


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