Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 25 Coral Sunset

Surprise! I’m allowing myself to write one quick post during this hiatus. Today I’ll be skipping over my backlog of unreviewed products to take a look at my most recent purchase, a new product that hasn’t yet received much attention online.

Sephora massively expanded its Cream Lip Stain range last month, adding twenty-seven new shades, mostly trendy browns, purples, and taupes, plus some offbeat colors like black and teal for the goth mermaids out there. The Cream Lip Stain formula has been around for at least a few years (you’ve probably heard of Endless Red and Marvelous Mauve), and it tends to garner positive reviews. Being generally indifferent to liquid lipstick, I’d never taken much interest in the Cream Lip Stains, but that changed during a visit to Sephora at the end of December. While glancing over the new shades, I found myself drawn to one in particular: 25 Coral Sunset, which looked a lot like my platonic rusty orange. A swatch proved me right. Forth reaching to the fruit, I plucked, I bought.

The Sephora Cream Lip Stains are $14 for 4 ml. Their packaging makes them look smaller than they are; here’s Coral Sunset next to a NYX Liquid Suede, which actually contains slightly less product (3.8 ml):

I think it’s cool that Sephora has minimized the amount of plastic per unit; this also means that the Cream Lip Stains are lighter and more portable than other liquid lipsticks. The cap twists shut very securely, with an extra little catch to hold it in place. The applicator is a small, slanted doefoot that would make it easy for a less clumsy person to get in all the corners, but I’m just not great at applying liquid lipstick and I don’t think any shape or size of applicator would change that.

The name “Coral Sunset” is rather misleading. Coral isn’t the easiest color to define, but I think of it as containing at least some pinkness and some brightness. Coral Sunset, however, is a deep russet, sitting squarely on the border between orange and brown. I expected it to be similar to Marc Jacobs Rei of Light (another milestone in my quest for the perfect rusty orange), but Rei of Light is brighter and redder. In fact, Revlon Matte Balm in Fierce is the closest match for Coral Sunset in my collection:

L-R: Revlon Fierce, Coral Sunset, Marc Jacobs Rei of Light, Topshop Matte Lipstick in Rio Rio.

I’ve heard great things about the Cream Lip Stain formula, specifically its longevity, but Coral Sunset has disappointed me on that front. Having worn it twice now, I can conclude that it looks like a matte liquid lipstick but doesn’t quite act like one. Though it dries down to a flat matte finish within a minute, it transfers onto cups and doesn’t stand up to food at all. On the plus side, it’s not patchy, I don’t find it particularly drying, and it’s easy to remove before eating. Basically, it has the same longevity and lipfeel as my MAC matte bullet lipsticks, and that’s fine; it’s just that I expected something different.

(Update, 1/9: On a suggestion from reader Clara, I tried applying the thinnest coat possible of Coral Sunset, and I’m pleased to report that it barely transferred at all onto cups and glasses. However, it did still feel a bit tacky when I pressed my lips together, and I could still smear it easily with my finger. It may be that the new shades have a different formula from the original ones, or just that the formula varies from shade to shade.)

(Update, 9/11: All right, I think I’ve finally figured out the best application method for this lipstick. After I remove the applicator, I wipe the excess product on the rim of the tube, then apply a single swipe to my bottom lip. I mash my lips together, use the applicator to add a bit more lipstick to each lip, and then blend it out across the entire lip with my finger, repeating as necessary. This not only gives a more natural, lived-in look, but also ensures that I get the thinnest, least tacky layer possible. The thinner the layer of Coral Sunset, the brighter and more orange it will look.)

Today I wore Coral Sunset with some orangey shades from my new ABH Modern Renaissance palette, which I’ll review eventually. For now, suffice to say that I’m delighted with it so far, and grateful to all of you who encouraged me to get it! I blended Burnt Orange and Realgar into the crease, then placed Antique Bronze on the outer half of the lid and along the lower lashline, and finally added Raw Sienna to the inner half of the lid. I’m also wearing Illamasqua Zygomatic blush and ColourPop Lunch Money highlighter on my cheeks. (I wore Zygomatic for about two weeks in a row while traveling last month, and never once felt the need for another blush. Now, that’s a holy grail.)

That’s my collection of enamel pins held up by a pants hanger. Classy. My earrings are from American Apparel.

And a closer look at the eyeshadow:

Orange is still a difficult color for me to wear, but it’s clear that I do better with dark, earthy oranges than with bright, white-based ones. I love how easy it is to diffuse the Modern Renaissance shadows into a relatively subtle wash of color.

Overall, Coral Sunset is a nice lipstick, but I’m not exactly dashing to my nearest Sephora to pick up more Cream Lip Stain shades. I bought Coral Sunset specifically for the color, and if there’s a shade you love in the Cream Lip Stain range, I wouldn’t discourage you from getting it. But don’t order the 40-piece vault, people. Come on. You know better.

19 thoughts on “Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 25 Coral Sunset

  1. Happy new year, AB! You look stunning! Coral Sunset is a beauty, but I am more in love with your eye makeup. I haven't gotten into liquid/creme lip colors with opaque coverage. I ordered a L'Oreal Infallible lip paints today out of curiosity. It doesn't seem to stain or set like Sephora Cream Lip Stain, though.


  2. I love your eye makeup! I have the MR palette so I want to try to recreate it in the future.The color of that liquid lip is gorgeous. Like you, I find the sephora cream lip stains leave something to be desired. They look smudgy on my by the end of the day, even if they start out surprisingly comfortable and crisp (in terms of getting a defined lip shape using them). Not my faves, though I wish I could see the hype as much as so many other people do, especially with the expanded shade range!


  3. Oh, I'm glad you've found a good burnt orange! Every time I see a shade like that I think of you and your quest, haha. I'm glad to read a dissenting review of the SCLS formula, actually; I've been interested in them for quite some time but do NOT need more liquid lipstick, so now I feel I can safely resist.Count me in as another member of the fan club for your eye makeup look – it's beautiful and goes perfectly with the lip colour. I finally bit the bullet and ordered the MR palette (it shipped today) because I got a Sephora gift card for Christmas. (Uh, a $30 gift card which I applied to a $124, 2-item order…) I'm SO excited to finally play around with it! I think the orange in the MR palette is quite wearable; it certainly looks gorgeous on you.


  4. I love your look here. I did something similar today with Miami Fever and warm eyes, but a much less-inspired eyeshadow creation as per usual. I have a couple of the Sephora Cream Lip Stains and I can't fathom them not being transfer proof. Maybe you're putting it on too thickly for it to dry down entirely? I've literally worn them through a couple meals, a night out and then woken up the next day with it perfectly intact and still smudgeproof, (not like I recommend putting lipsticks through this, nor lips for that matter…) I'm curious if there's discrepancies in the new line…


  5. Beautiful look! I don't do well with bright orange either, but burnt/rust shades, yes please. And that lip colour is really lovely. (A John Lewis just opened where I live and everyone was in a frenzy but all I could think was, \”Why all the fuss? It's not like it's a Sephora.\”)Also, I am a bit late but Happy New Year!


  6. I love your makeup look here! I am jealous of how good you look in these warm, orangey colors. I can never get anything much more orange than copper to work on my eyes.


  7. I really love how you did your eye makeup here. The colors are wonderful with your eyes. And the lip color is good on you, too. Oranges are super-difficult for me to wear in a flattering way. I think you've done brilliantly here.


  8. Happy new year to you too, Lena! I'll be honest, this review was largely an excuse for me to share my eye makeup, haha. I was feeling really uninspired with my eyeshadow until I bought the Modern Renaissance palette.


  9. Thanks! After I exhaust my own ideas for using the palette, I'm definitely going to research how other people use it. There are just so many options!I actually find it hard to get a defined lip shape with Coral Sunset, but I think that's my lack of skill instead of a flaw in the product. I'm almost relieved I don't adore the formula, since that will discourage me from buying a bunch of those pretty new shades.


  10. I try to resist getting drawn into these searches for the perfect color/formula/whatever, but sometimes I just can't help it. Now that I have Coral Sunset and Rei of Light, though, I'm calling off the quest for the foreseeable future.Ooh, I can't wait to see what you do with the MR palette! It's been a lot of fun for me so far.


  11. I think you might be right that I'm applying the lipstick too thickly. I'll try a thinner coat and update this post if I get different results. I know that my NYX Liquid Suedes don't set if I put down a thick coat, and the same might be true for the Cream Lip Stains.


  12. Haha, the British certainly do get excited about John Lewis! One just opened in the Birmingham train station and it was a huge event. They've even hung up the ceremonial shovel with which they broke the ground for the John Lewis. I find that JL does have a nice selection of makeup and fragrance, but you're right that it doesn't hold a candle to Sephora.Happy New Year to you too!


  13. I've been half-eyeing the new shades in the line, but everyone who writes about the cream lip stains doesn't share my total aversion to liquid lip colours. So this has been very helpful!Everyone already commented on your eyeshadow – and I'm glad the MR palette has inspired you again! – so I'll just say I like your earrings. 🙂


  14. Orange is definitely a tricky color to wear on the eyes. I don't think Realgar would look very good on my lids, but it seems to work as a crease color with something less orangey close to my actual eyeballs.


  15. Thank you! What you see here is the result of a five-year quest to conquer orange makeup. Orangey lipsticks were massively popular when I first got into makeup, and it took me some time to figure out that I couldn't wear most bright oranges and corals.


  16. I do think liquid formulas work well for weirder colors: the black in the Cream Lip Stain range looks a lot more opaque than most black bullet lipsticks, for instance. And thanks! 😀 I don't have a lot of earrings, but I do love the ones I have.


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