Prior to this year, I felt ambivalent about Milani. It was the only cruelty-free brand with a decent selection in my local CVS (no NYX or Wet n Wild for this backwater), but its offerings included heavily fragranced, drying lipstick, sticky lip gloss, coarsely milled eyeshadow, and too-shimmery baked blush. 2015 has changed all that. I don’t know what changes took place behind the scenes at Milani HQ, but my purchases in the past year have turned me into, if not an ardent fangirl, at least someone who appreciates the brand’s presence in the beauty aisle. Matte Naked lipstick and Coral Cove blush are two of my favorite beauty buys of 2015, and Milani’s clear eyebrow gel has become a daily staple despite its too-large applicator. The matte liquid lipstick I reviewed a few weeks ago was a letdown, but I’d recommend it for anyone who likes that sort of thing; it just turns out that I don’t.
So I had high hopes for my latest Milani purchase, one of this fall’s new additions to the matte-lipstick line launched early this year. Matte Fearless is a very dark purple that looks fearsome in the tube:
Colors like this, especially in matte or semi-matte formulas, have been everywhere in the last few years. NARS has Liv (swatched here) and Train Bleu; MAC has Instigator (swatched here) and Smoked Purple; YSL has its Glossy Stain in Violet Edition; & Other Stories has Droguet Purple, which I bought at exactly this time last year. But it’s rare that a deep, gothy purple makes it to the drugstore: the only comparable drugstore lipsticks I can think of are Wet n Wild Vamp It Up and NYX Simply Vamp Lip Creme in Temptress. Since I hate the packaging of the Wet n Wild Megalast lipsticks and the formula of the NYX Simply Vamps, I’m glad I ended up with Matte Fearless.
MF has the same chunky gold packaging (not my favorite, but I don’t hate it) and vanilla scent of the other lipsticks in the matte line:
Swatched on my arm—you can see that it suffers from the slight patchiness of most lipsticks in this color family, no matter their price points:
Swatched between MAC Eugenie (left) and & Other Stories Droguet Purple:
Eugenie looks similar to Matte Fearless in the tube, but it’s much brighter and redder. Matte Fearless is browner and darker than Droguet Purple: goth plum as opposed to goth violet. Ah, these fine distinctions we make to justify our hoarding.
Out of curiosity, I swatched Droguet Purple and Matte Fearless side by side on my lips; that’s DP on your left and MF on your right. I was glad to discover that the color difference held up here too. Droguet Purple is a brighter, bluer, clearer purple, while Matte Fearless is a smokier, more subdued color.
Matte Fearless by itself on my lips, which have been rather dry this past week; I’m blaming the powerful a/c unit in my bedroom and my failure to apply lip balm every single night before bed. Despite the dryness, I think Matte Fearless looks pretty damn even, especially for a dark purple.
Outside, in evening light:
As with Droguet Purple, I’ve had a hard time figuring out how to wear a lipstick this dark. I should also warn you that the photos in which I got the best lighting and the most accurate colors were the ones in which I was making the most insipidly coy expressions. Isn’t that always the way? For my first attempt, I used a matte gray eyeshadow from my new theBalm palette and layered the mint green from NARS Habanera on the center of my lids. I think my blush was Illamasqua Zygomatic.
I wore this out of the house but felt a little awkward about it, especially as it was the day when everyone flooded back into town for the new semester and I ran into a couple of people I hadn’t seen in a while. By this point, though, everyone in my department has seen me wearing weird lipstick at least a few times. It’s part of my persona, for better or worse. I wore Matte Fearless for a few hours with no touch-ups, and it felt comfortable, thought slightly drier than Matte Naked. I’m afraid I can’t speak to longevity, since drafting job materials makes me bite my lower lip nervously, which is death to any lipstick. At least my eyeshadow looked nice.
My second attempt was for my own eyes, and yours, alone. I came back this afternoon from a meeting with my advisor, at which I’d been wearing toned-down makeup: bronze and brown eyeshadow, a bit of ColourPop Lunch Money highlighter, and Urban Decay Rapture lipstick. To make my face more hospitable to Matte Fearless, I added more highlighter and darkened my eyeshadow for a slightly Jazz Age effect. By this point the sun was low enough in the sky that I got very few color-accurate photos, of which this, alas, was the best one:
This angle makes me look like I’m on my way to a My Chemical Romance concert in 2007 and am taking a few minutes to post on MySpace before I head out. Whatever, I can’t keep putting off this post in hopes of getting a perfect photo. This will have to do for now.
Overall, Matte Fearless is fine. Not as stellar as Matte Naked, but a perfectly decent drugstore vamp; hell, a perfectly decent vamp for any price point. I’d like to thank Carolina for coining the term “Gothademic” on Instagram; it’s the aesthetic I’m pursuing as summer shades too slowly into fall and freedom shades too quickly into responsibility.