Happy spring! It’s been a while.
Last summer, I decided to try Urban Decay’s new shiny-but-long-lasting lipstick formula, Vice Lip Bond, which seemed to be along the lines of Revlon Satin Ink and YSL Glossy Stain. Since the lipsticks were $27 each, more than twice the price of Revlon’s perfectly good version, I limited myself to just one. The color lineup looked pretty basic overall—a cool red, a warm brown, a Barbie pink, a bright purple, etc.—but PDA, described by UD as a “warm rose” (more on that in a second), stood out as unusual. “Rose” has to be the least creative color descriptor for lipstick, yet shades described as “rose” are, paradoxically, often the most complex.
The Lip Bonds, like the new Vice lipsticks, come in pewter-toned rectangular tubes with sharp angles and rippled surfaces, but the Lip Bond lids correspond to the color inside. I’m not a huge fan of the clunky, chunky packaging, which takes up too much space in my beauty storage and collects more fingerprints than Philip Marlowe. However, the applicator is a standard doefoot that applies the product smoothly and is neither too big nor too small.
As I suspected, the Lip Bond formula is very similar—almost identical, in fact—to that of Revlon Satin Ink: a near-opaque gel that sets to a tacky, shiny finish and loses a bit of shine as the day goes on. (One improvement over the Revlon formula: I can’t discern any scent or taste.) You’re supposed to shake the Lip Bond tube for five seconds before application, something I occasionally forget to do, but it does make a difference in how well the color sets and stays on my lips. The formula is comfortable and non-drying even after several hours, but it never stops feeling tacky when I press my lips together—not a dealbreaker for me, but not especially pleasant, either. I think the slight stickiness is just a necessary evil with these glossy, long-wearing formulas.
PDA is the kind of shade that will look dramatically different on everyone. In the arm swatch above, it’s a deep, warm-toned rosy coral. On my lips, however, it looks almost orange. In some lights, the color is earthier and more muted; in other lights, it’s brighter and more vivid. You can get some idea of this effect from the two selfies below, taken in different situations, but both in natural light. (In the first, I’m in my mom’s apartment in SF; in the second, I’m on the Golden Gate Bridge, which I walked across for the very first time last August! If you go, bring a hair tie.) On the left, PDA leans brighter and more coral; on the right, it’s closer to the “deep rose” of UD’s description.
As you can imagine, PDA is extremely hard to dupe. Having been at this beauty-blogging thing for nine years now, I was confident that I could find a similar shade to PDA in my hoard of seventy-one lip products. However, my first assay went roughly as well as my recent attempt to make my post-spring-break second-semester seniors appreciate the labyrinthine postmodern fiction of Jorge Luis Borges. Here’s PDA next to some orange and coral shades that, frankly, aren’t even close. L-R: ColourPop Gallop, Urban Decay Olvera, PDA, MAC Smoked Almond, and Revlon Kiss Me Coral.
I was so dissatisfied with this set of swatches that I made a second set, using shades in the old-rose family. L-R: NARS Falbala, MAC Spice It Up!, PDA, Revlon Silky Sienna, Bobbi Brown Blackberry. PDA is closest to Spice It Up!, but not all that close.
Fortunately, finding an exact dupe for PDA is not the point of this post. The point of this post is to test the longevity of the Vice Lip Bond formula, which, according to Urban Decay, provides “intense, saturated color for up to 16 hours.” We’ve all seen these hyperbolic blurbs before. Brands can claim 16- or 24-hour wear with impunity because they know no one is actually going to test the claim by wearing the same lipstick for 16 or, God forbid, 24 hours. What brands are never going to claim, however, is that a lipstick can stand up to the legendary breakfast burrito from Pasadena’s Lucky Boy diner. That might be the ultimate test for any long-wear lip color, and over spring break last month, I put PDA to that test.
(Technically, I ate half the burrito. Still a formidable challenge, I think.)
As you can see from the cross-section below, the burrito contained egg, potato, avocado, bacon, and cheese, all sworn enemies of lip color. It also required a lot of napkins, though I tried not to wipe off more lipstick than necessary.
Here’s the lipstick before my burrito encounter…
Conclusion: PDA held up better than a conventional lipstick would have, but it was no match for LA’s (arguably) best breakfast burrito. It was, however, a pretty good match—in the color sense—for this majestic aloe flower I saw later that day at the Huntington Botanical Gardens.
I know I say this almost every time, but I really do hope to start posting here more often, at least after the school year ends in late May. I’m still entertaining the possibility of making my blog posts available as a Substack newsletter, and maybe also creating newsletter-specific content? I’ll let you know.
6 thoughts on “Urban Decay Lip Bond in PDA vs. Lucky Boy Breakfast Burrito”
I haven’t followed Urban Decay’s releases for several years now, so I had no idea about this Lip Bond thing. I don’t think this is something I’d like though, especially if the formula stays tacky even after drying down.
Totally agree about “rose” being a confusing shade description – and wow what a difference the light makes for how the color comes across on you!
Lastly, that breakfast burrito looks epic and I want one.
Yeah, I’m not in love with this formula, especially because there are very similar lipsticks available for half the price. Urban Decay really seems to be shooting itself in the foot recently. I can’t believe it hasn’t capitalized on the virality of the Moondust shadows by releasing more shades, for instance!
I love their Moondust shadows! I totally agree that Urban Decay seems to have lost their way: their releases seem unfocused, and it’s like they’re always trying to catch up to the trends versus setting them. I get the feeling they’re trying to recreate that lightning-in-a-bottle hype they captured with the original Naked palette, but they just keep missing the mark.
All the lipsticks look beautiful on you. 🙂 Could you describe the diference between dolce vita and falbala? can’t decide which one to get 🙂
Of course! Dolce Vita is a pretty straightforward creamy-looking pinky brown. Falbala has a deeper, cooler-toned base (closer to plum) with some fine gold pearl. The two don’t look hugely different on me, but Falbala is a little more dramatic, which I prefer.
thank you! ♥ Just bought falbala, can’t wait to get it 🙂