Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Red Apple Lipstick Cranberry Magic, Mix & Mingle, and Pinkle Twinkle ~ Lipstick Review and Swatches ~ Part I

Today's review features three lipsticks from Red Apple Lipstick lipstick ($23.50, 4.5g), a mineral-based brand in Texas.

I had my eye on Boys N Berries and Petal Pusher, but those colors have been out of stock for a few weeks. Instead, I chose what appeared to be three cool-toned shades:

  • Red (Cranberry Magic)
  • Deep pink (Mix & Mingle)
  • Muted pink (Pinkle Twinkle)

(L-R) Cranberry Magic, Mix & Mingle, and Pinkle Twinkle photographed in natural, midday light, no flash

(L-R) Cranberry Magic, Mix & Mingle, and Pinkle Twinkle photographed in indirect sunlight

I believe all three of these lipsticks, which are newer in the RAL lineup, all have the same formula. They are reported to be free of gluten, soy, fragrance, and parabens. There is no ingredient list on the box.

Texture: Smooth and creamy with a satin dry down. My lips felt moist for the first couple hours.

Finish: Satin. I'm not sure now many formulas Red Apple Lipstick makes, but from what I have read, some of their lipsticks are glossy, some are sheer, and others have enough shimmer to make them appear metallic or bronzed. Some are also lightly fragranced, but you can filter results for nut and fragrance free lipsticks of those ingredients bother you.

Longevity: When the color faded, it did so fairly evenly, not from the center. A single application lasted around 4 hours before the color needed refreshing. The two darker colors left a modest stain with no bleeding or feathering; however a couple samples I purchased did feather—badly. I will describe them in an upcoming post.

RAL suggests applying their lipsticks at 1/4 to 1/2 intensity (e.g., not straight from bullet to lips), but I found that difficult to do with Cranberry Magic and Mix & Mingle, as both are extremely pigmented.  Using a lip blush and blotting put to a stain left some seriously vibrant color. I found the easiest way for me to wear the darker shades was to dot the bullet a few times directly on my lips and then blend/sheer out with my fingertip and some balm. I used their Rallye Balm (reviewed here), but I prefer Julie Hewett (here).

The following photo shows Cranberry Magic, Mix & Mingle, and Pinkle Twinkle blotted on white paper, to show the colors and undertones as accurately as possible.

None of the three lipsticks matches my 12 Tone True Summer palette, but I do like the colors, all of which are cool or at least cool-neutral. Cranberry Magic, a red berry, seems to harmonize best with TSu hues, but its saturation pushes it over to the Winter side. It also has the most shimmer of the three, but it isn't that detectable when worn sheer.

Mix & Mingle is fuchsia, whereas I prefer a clear hot pink. Yes, there's a difference. Fuchsia has red undertones, which add warmth. Mix & Mingle does not harmonize well with the True Summer roses above, but it fits in fairly well with the Light Summer pinks below. Applied full strength from the bullet, it might even suit higher-contrasting Bright Winter/Bright Spring complexions. I wish I had Petal Pusher to compare, as I have the feeling Petal Pusher might be more flattering on cool, low/medium-contrasting complexions.

Compared to one of the Light Summer sleeves, Mix & Mingle is fairly good at the mid range of the sleeve. However, the deep pigment makes me think it's more suitable for the Bright seasons.

Lipsticks compared to 12 Tone Light Summer fan

Pinkle Twinkle is a mid-toned, blue-based, greyed-pink lavender. I was disappointed in the gold shimmer, which adds warmth. The color reminds me a bit of Dior Lip Addict Extreme in Incognito, although I see no obvious beige in Pinkle Twinkle, so it isn't quite a nude. Overall, this color seems to harmonize best with the more muted Soft Summer palette. Its gold overtones definitely direct it toward the autumnal season.

Pinkle Twinkle compared to the 12 Tone Soft Summer fan

Next to the Soft Summer pinks and roses, only Pinkle Twinkle harmonizes. Cranberry Magic and Mix & Mingle look garish by comparison.

Lipsticks compared to 12 Tone Soft Summer fan

Buying lipstick sight unseen can be hard, though most of us have done it. Red Apple Lipstick lets you create your own sample pack. Each pack comes with an instruction card and a brush. I found the brush useless, though I did use the non-business end to scoop the lipstick out of the bubble.

Red Apple Lipstick samples cost $3.50 each. They are 1/8" thick and contain slightly more product than a sample from White Rabbit Beauty, which Jean sends in an airtight pot for $1. One RAL blister is enough for one day if sampling a sheer color. Theoretically, I could have gotten a few days usage out of the more pigmented RAL lipsticks, but the "seal" on the blister is just a paper sticker. Once peeled off (easy to mangle/doesn't re-stick), the lipstick is exposed to the environment. If you have empty screw-top pots, such as sample jars used by most mineral brands, consider transferring your RAL lipstick samples to the pot to keep your $3.50 sample from drying out.

Bottom line: A worthy new entrant to an ocean of lipstick choices. I wish the company were more transparent with their ingredients—especially as the are claiming to be a certified gluten-free company. No ingredient list forces consumers to take it on faith, which is not an ideal business model.

All photos taken by me. All items purchased by me.


  1. I am also a True Summer (Sandra TSu) and received an email from Red Apple Lipstick's Jay Harper about the new thing he has going on. I submitted a photo and he sent back his recommendation's for lipsticks.

    He said:

    You have correctly identified that soft reds are AMAZING on you.

    This would be Love My Kiss or Ruby Slippers, both amazing.

    You might also want to spend a minute expiring the middle pinks.

    Audrey (this is a no brainer!)
    Flirt with me
    Vogue (the darkest I would go before fearing it making your mouth look harsh)

    Depending on how playful of person you are, you would easily power color on Crush on Me and Petal Pusher. Both worn 1/4 to 1/2 intensity and blotted.

    Boys N Berries would also be great.

    And let's not forget the corals…

    Push Pop
    Coral Crush
    Fire Fly

    YIKES! I already know the corals are out for me but I was wondering if you have an opinion about the other colors. Love your blog!

    1. Hi Sandra, thanks! :)

      Jay and Andrea and Ashley at Red Apple Lipstick are really nice and so willing to help. As for our dilemma with makeup, few people truly understand how uncompromising "true" seasons are when it comes to wearing color on our faces, even those in the makeup business.

      Aside from the three lipsticks I purchased above (which I truly lucked out on, considering I bought the full sizes sight unseen), I bought samples of Love My Kiss, Vogue, and Hibiskiss. Although all looked beautiful in their packaging (especially Hibiskiss), all were too warm on me. When I wrote my review, I looked for the samples so I could swatch them, but I think I threw them out immediately after realizing they were not flattering on me.

      The top 5 RAL lipsticks on my MUST try list (all of which I will test first with samples):

      - Boys N Berries: Highest hopes for this, despite "sparkle", which I dislike
      - Petal Pusher: Hoping this will be a less bright, less red (cooler) sister to Mix & Mingle
      - Secrets: Everything sounds perfect ... except the "deep gold shimmer"
      - Crush on me: Again, contains glitter but applied sheer and blotted might work
      - Audrey: High hopes, but I fear it will be too warm/peachy because it's described as "neutral."

      As for Jay's other recommendations for you:

      - Ruby Slippers: Contains gold and looks warm online; I see orange undertones. I'd sample or pass.
      - Audrey: "Neutral" lipsticks are generally too warm for True cools. Sample first.
      - Flirt with Me: Has a pink-orange base (their description). Pass.
      - NO corals! Mix & Mingle every so slightly leans toward coral land but I still like it

      Here are the samples I have on order, which I will swatch shortly after arrival: Audrey, Berry Blast, Boys N Berries, Crush on Me, Petal Pusher, Plum Sexy Crazy, Rebel, and Secrets. That said, if Boys N Berries and Petal Pusher came back in stock before my samples arrived. I'd order the full size, sight unseen. I'd probably choose a third from my top 5 list to get the discount, probably Audrey because I am interested in another lighter pink that isn't lavender based.

      Give I haven't seen any of these other colors yet, I hope that helps!

  2. Hey Zuzu! These sound lovely! I'm going to have to look into these as I've been looking for a cool red lipstick. Crossing my fingers they ship up north!

    1. Hi Tracy! If they don't ship over the border, just tell me what you want. I can order and ship to you.

  3. Great review and photos. Thanks! I'm gonna have to try that Cranberry Magic.

  4. They sound really good, I'm liking the look of pinkle twinkle :)

    1. I bet Audrey would look good on you, too. I can't wait for my sample colors to arrive.

  5. Just thought I'd let you know that Boys N Berries is back in stock as of just now when I looked and they're having a VIP sale through Sunday ........ :-)

    1. The internet ate my reply because I could swear I replied to your comment, Kim. Anyway, now I have more to say. Thank you for the info. I spent the morning testing and photographing 8 new colors, one of which was Boys N Berries (sample), and it was, by far, my favorite of the lot.

    2. My first RAL order should arrive tomorrow - I can't wait! The BNB lipsticks haven't shipped yet so I'm very glad you liked it. I ordered 3 since they seem very popular and I'll just store them in the fridge. Looking forward to seeing your swatches.

    3. I hope you like BNB. I'd have caved in if I didn't already have several in almost the same color. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the formula. I have only the three lipsticks in this review to compare it to, all of which have a satin finish. BNB has a much juicier finish. Post with new swatches is scheduled to go up at 1AM EST.

  6. Hey welcome back :-) I have two of these coming my way, and I can't wait to try them! Pinkle Twinkle looks so pretty.

    1. Which two are you getting? I am considering Crush On Me and Boys N Berries. The only thing holding me back is that BNB is a lot like several lipsticks I already own and wear often. Do I really need another sheer juicy plum?


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