NYX expanded its matte lipstick line at the beginning of this year, adding some trendier colors to its extensive but mundane collection of reds, pinks, and nudes. The new shade that immediately caught my eye was Up the Bass, a medium purple with a large dose of gray. Because we were heading into spring at that point, I decided to wait and see if I still wanted it in the fall. It turned out that I did (of course I did: it’s a purple lipstick), so I picked it up at Ulta last week.
Like other ’90s lip colors, this shade of grayish lavender is having a moment right now. I believe its first 2010s iteration was the NARS Audacious lipstick in Dominique, but other brands have since produced variations on the theme. True gray lipsticks are also becoming more popular (MAC Halsey comes to mind), and as someone with cool grayish undertones, I couldn’t be happier. Up the Bass is poised exactly midway between gray and purple, making it a flattering color for me, but I have a feeling that people with warmer complexions may find it a bit tricky.
Most people think of brown lipstick when they hear “’90s makeup,” but as proof of just how ’90s Up the Bass is, here’s an old Revlon ad (I’m guessing 1998-ish?) for a matching lipstick and nail polish in a shade called LavenDare:
I found this image on the tumblr Fuck Yeah Nostalgic Beauty Products just a few days after buying Up the Bass, which was a nice coincidence. LavenDare has a frost finish, but the two shades are very similar in color. You can still find LavenDare on Amazon—two reviewers, seemingly ignorant of how old the tubes are, mention an “odd odor” and “nasty taste”—but if you prefer lipsticks manufactured after the Clinton presidency, Up the Bass will fulfill all your ’90s cyborg dreams.
Here’s a swatch of Up the Bass on its own. It’s not quite opaque in one pass, and it’s closer to semi-matte than true matte:
As these comparisons will show, the last thing I needed was another purple lipstick. Well, maybe the second-to-last thing.
|L-R: ColourPop Trap, NYX Castle, NYX Up the Bass, Milani Matte Fearless, & Other Stories Droguet Purple, MAC Up the Amp.|
Unfortunately, Up the Bass has a less satisfactory formula than my other NYX matte lipstick, brick-red Alabama. I have to apply a couple coats of Up the Bass for full opacity: below, you can see where the color is a bit uneven at the edges of my lips, and this is right after application! The formula is comfortable to wear and even slightly hydrating, but it transfers like crazy after just a sip of water. And it wears off first at the inside of my lips, leaving a pinkish stain, so I have to be vigilant about touching it up throughout the day. If you have a lip liner that would go with Up the Bass, I’d recommend using it.
It’s been pretty hot here, so I haven’t felt like recreating the smoky purple eye look from the Revlon LavenDare ad (later this fall, I promise!). Instead, here’s Up the Bass with NARS Lhasa and both sides of Habanera on my eyes, and Illamasqua Zygomatic on my cheeks:
By the way, I just picked up RealTechniques’ starter set of eyeshadow brushes and am relishing being able to use more than one brush to apply multiple eyeshadows. I should have done this ages ago.
Overall, I’m fairly happy with Up the Bass. The formula could be more pigmented and longer-lasting, but the color is retro-cool without looking dated. That said, I bought Urban Decay in Backtalk on the same day, and the difference between a $7 lipstick and a $17 one is very evident. I’ll be wearing Backtalk a lot more often than Up the Bass, though, so no harm done.
Because I have such a terrifying backlog of products to review, I’m planning to write shorter posts like this one in an attempt to save a little time and still, you know, actually blog. I’m also continuing the process of testing and destashing lipsticks I haven’t worn in a while, so expect another post about that fairly soon. Wish me luck!
P.S. Is it me or should the phrase “up the” stay out of lipstick names? I’ve mentioned before that my mom once misheard “Up the Amp” as “Up the Ass,” and “Up the Bass” is even closer to that orthographically if not phonetically. I almost admire Urban Decay for cutting out the linguistic middleman and naming a shimmery brown lipstick “Backdoor.”