A perennial—possibly too perennial—topic on r/muacjdiscussion is that of the “white whale”: the product or collection that you missed out on and will forever pine after.
My white whale is unquestionably MAC’s Give Me Liberty of London collection from spring 2010, released less than a year before I got seriously into makeup. It might as well have been designed to appeal to me, especially to the me of eleven years ago. William Morris-inspired Liberty florals! Whimsical birds! Lipsticks and blushes in mauve, magenta, and plum! I would particularly have loved to buy Petals and Peacocks, described by MAC as “creamy bright magenta pink” (LOOK AT THE LIPSTICK PACKAGING OMG). So far as I can tell, what made Petals and Peacocks special was, to borrow MAC’s word, the creaminess of the color. Most magenta lipsticks, like NARS Angela or MAC Rebel, are deep, rich colors, but Petals and Peacocks seems to have had a white base, meaning that the color looked lighter and closer to pastel. It’s on the far right here:
I would also have been tempted by this $95 scarf, so it’s probably for the best that first-year-grad-student me was unaware of the collection.
In an early blog post, I wrote about my general distaste for the practice of hunting for dupes, and I still agree with the points I made back in 2014. If I want a specific product that’s on the expensive side, I’d rather go ahead and buy it than waste time looking for cheaper dupes that likely won’t satisfy me. But what if the problem is temporal, not financial—what if the desired product no longer exists? Then, I think, my brain hunts for a dupe whether or not I’m even aware of it. I never set out deliberately to find a dupe for Petals and Peacocks, but some part of my subconscious must have been on the lookout for years. I think it was some faint memory of Petals and Peacocks that drew me to Dramatic, one of the Super Lustrous shades released in Revlon’s under-the-radar shade expansion in 2019. I bought Dramatic in Walmart right after receiving my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, so it was a nice little souvenir, but only when I tried it on did I realize that it resembled my long-lost white whale.
I think we all know what a Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick tube looks like, but in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a reminder. This is actually the first traditional Super Lustrous lipstick I’ve bought in several years! (I should mention that a few days after I took the photo below, I dropped the tube on the bathroom floor and the cap cracked.)
The label on the bottom is a very close color match for the lipstick, which isn’t always the case with Super Lustrous labels. Yeah, I know, this is fascinating stuff.
Dramatic, like Petals and Peacocks, looks different in every photo (even in every photo that I take). Here it appears to be a light hot pink…
…but here (same day, same room, still in natural light) it looks almost mauve:
Electric + natural light, exposed brick:
I’ve tried many Super Lustrous crème lipsticks over the years, and Dramatic is typical of the formula: completely scent-free (why can’t other brands accomplish this with their lipsticks?), fairly moisturizing, softly shiny when first applied but semi-matte after a couple of hours, and not quite opaque in one layer. (Interestingly, Petals and Peacocks seems to have had a similar sheerness.) Like every other magenta and hot pink lipstick I’ve ever owned, Dramatic stains my lips, but not too badly.
One swipe of Dramatic on the left, two on the right:
Two layers of Dramatic on my lips:
I have more than a few lipsticks in the berry-violet-fuchsia-magenta color family, and here they are with Dramatic. The closest color match is Maybelline Shine Compulsion in Berry Blackmail (second from right), which, however, lacks Dramatic’s white base. As you can see, Dramatic is more shiny than the true mattes (far right and far left) but less shiny than Berry Blackmail.
And here’s two swipes of Dramatic (right) next to one swipe of MAC Candy Yum-Yum, remnants of which I’ve kept in a little container for swatch purposes. Candy Yum-Yum is brighter and redder than Dramatic; it’s a very cool-toned hot pink, but not quite purple enough to qualify as a true magenta. Yes, I’ve given much thought to what constitutes a true magenta.
In the two and a half weeks that I’ve owned Dramatic, I’ve gravitated toward using it in monochrome looks. One day I’d like to go full editorial ’80s and wear it with purple or blue or orange eyeshadow, but right now I’m enjoying this softer (though still ’80s-inspired) vibe. In the photo below, I’m wearing Wake Me from the ColourPop Lilac You a Lot palette on my eyes and Zoned Out, also from Lilac You a Lot, as blush.
Same eyeshadow, different outfit, different blush (Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze):
The first photo in which I actually managed to capture the blue shift of Wake Me:
Finally, a flatlay featuring a page from Martin Harrison’s Beauty Photography in Vogue (1987), my inexhaustible source of makeup inspiration. The photo is by David Bailey (1980); the book doesn’t name the makeup artist, unfortunately.
I have a feeling Dramatic will be my official lipstick of summer 2021—along with NARS Red Square, of course. If you were lucky enough to own Petals and Peacocks back in the day, please let me know if Dramatic is the close dupe I suspect it is!