Monday, February 24, 2014

Red Apple Lipstick ~ Lipstick Review and Swatches ~ Part II

Swatches on white paper, photographed in natural, indoor lighting, no flash

Today I am reviewing and swatching additional Red Apple Lipstick (RAL) colors. Unfortunately, some images (at the end of the post) came out a bit dark. The weather this time of year can be tricky.

Each item tested was from a $3.50 sample that I purchased from RAL. The full-sized product might give slightly different results. I tested all shades on clean lips, without primer, balm, or lip pencil.
  • Crush on Me. RAL describes this lipstick as "A powerful violet-based bright pink. It packs a bold punch with a hint of glitter." Here's what I see:
    • Color: Light, muted, blue-based pink with lilac undertones and icy shimmer. 
    • Coverage: Semi opaque. It applied a bit patchy, and my lips are in good condition (no flakes).
    • Texture: Slippery and soft. After I rubbed the pigment with my fingertip, I ended up with stalactites and stalagmites when I spoke, similar to what I get from certain lip gloss formulas. A shame.
    • Finish: I didn't see much sparkle, not even in the sun. The shimmer is refined. Powerful? Perhaps on people with low lip pigment. On me this lipstick is demure. When layered, the finish remains glossy, but it also takes on a bit of a 60s vibe, due to white undertones.
    • Longevity: Color fades within an hour, as this formula has no traction. 
    • Overall: If you love cool-toned lip gloss, consider sampling Crush On Me. The color looks gorgeous swatched on white paper, but it lightened my lip pigment. 
  • Boys N Berries. RAL describes this lipstick as "Violet, fuchsia, pink, berry sparkle." I see it almost the same way:
    • Color: Soft damson plum with pink shimmers. Quite beautiful, in fact.
    • Coverage: Sheer.
    • Texture: Rather oily. Less like the Chanel Rouge Coco Shine formula than a super silicon-y lip gloss. The texture reminds me of a discontinued line of MUFE lip glosses. Very slippery.
    • Finish: Standing in natural light, especially full sun, brings out the shimmer, which is even more refined than Crush On Me. If layered, the finish stays glossy.
    • Longevity: Fades quickly, as it has zero traction. If you have pale lip pigment, you might need a lip pencil to keep the color anchored down. If you have medium or dark pigment, this one might not show up on you.
    • Overall: My hands-down favorite of the eight I tried in this set. However, I might pass on the full size because I already own a few lipsticks that are the same colors that last longer: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Bonheur, Dior Fashion Week, and MAC Plumful and Milani Mode (both in the lustre formula). Each of the alternative lipsticks has better staying power, but Boys N Berries is a lovely, youthful, summer shade.
  • Petal Pusher. RAL describes this lipstick as "Satiny smooth ... hot pink." I concur.
    • Color: Mid-toned, moderately-bright geranium pink with a yellow base. Cool neutral. As I had imagined, Petal Pusher is lighter, more muted, and less red than its vibrant sister Mix & Mingle.
    • Coverage: Semi opaque.
    • Texture: Cream. Not as slippery as Crush on Me and Boys N Berries.
    • Finish: Shiny with subtle gold shimmers. If layered, remains glossy.
    • Longevity: Two hours. Fades unevenly and leaves behind a pink stain. (From my hand swatches shown later on, Petal Pusher and Rebel stained my skin—I needed to use makeup remover). When applied with a brush, lip pencil was not needed.
    • Overall: I liked everything about this lipstick except the color, which was slightly too bright and warm for my complexion. Petal Pusher might be ideal on cool/neutral skin tones (e.g., Light Summers and Bright Winters). 
  • Secrets. "A brilliant sheen with a smooth finish ... pink/fuschia ... with a deep gold shimmer"
    • Color: The pronounced gold undertones turn this pink berry to brown. Neutral, possibly leaning more cool than warm (overall temperature will depend on existing pigment and skin undertone).
    • Coverage: Semi sheer.
    • Texture: Creamy with a pronounced gritty feel. 
    • Finish: Shimmery and shiny at first but dulls to bronze.
    • Longevity: Under 3 hours. No stain.
    • Overall: For neutral skin tones that handle gold well (Soft Summer, Soft Autumn), Secrets might provide a beautiful daytime look.
  • Audrey. "Pink-based neutral shade ... has no sparkle, but amazing shine."
    • Color: Orange-based pink.
    • Coverage: Semi opaque, fairly pigmented.
    • Texture: Cream at first, but warmed up on my skin and became quite migratory. 
    • Finish: Lots of shine, no shimmer. 
    • Longevity: Lasted about 1 hour before it bled into lip lines. I'd recommend a good lip primer and pencil.
    • Overall: I so wanted to love this shimmer-free lipstick, but it was the warmest of the 8 colors I tried. Perhaps a True Autumn tone.  
  • Plum Sexy Crazy. "Rich red/plum color, it takes on a gold glimmer when applied."
    • Color: Warm bronzed plum. Very pretty.
    • Coverage: Semi opaque, fairly pigmented.
    • Texture: Satin. Dry and crumbly. (Perhaps I received an older sample.)
    • Finish: Almost metallic.
    • Longevity: Four hours.
    • Overall: I did not love this formula or texture, but the full-sized tube might perform better than the sample. This color might harmonize with higher-contrasting, warm or neutral skin tones (Dark Autumns/Winters, muted Winters) or perhaps higher-contrasting Soft Summers who can handle deeper pigments and the gold undertones.
  • Berry Blast. "Blend of raspberry and strawberry with bronze/gold glitter."
    • Color: Warm copper berry.
    • Coverage: Semi opaque, fairly pigmented.
    • Texture: Cream at first, but warmed up on my skin and became as migratory as Audrey. 
    • Finish: Metallic bronze shimmer.
    • Longevity: About 1 hour before it bled outside vermilion border.
    • Overall: Best suited for warm/warm-neutral skin tones, but use a lip brush and apply in thin layers to avoid bleeding.
  • Rebel. "Blue-based red"
    • Color: More brown than blue based, similar to MAC Viva Glam I (original) but warmer.
    • Coverage: Opaque and highly pigmented.
    • Texture: Cream.
    • Finish: Shiny unless blotted down to a stain. 
    • Longevity: Bulletproof.
    • Overall: Very pretty, not for shy types. I could see Rebel on dramatic Soft Summers and Dark Winters.
The gang, indirect sunlight
All 8 on my skin (MAC NW15/pink porcelain). Taken in direct sunlight

Outdoors, no flash

Audrey, Plum Sexy Crazy, Berry Blast compared to Soft Summer pinks/roses
Plum Sexy Crazy—purple on paper/warm bronzed plum on  my pink skin

Rebel harmonizes with Soft Summer 5.5

Red Apple Lipstick reds: Rebel vs. Cranberry Magic (reviewed here)

Petal Pusher harmonizes with Light Summer 7.3

Red Apple Lipstick's hot pinks: Mix & Mingle (reviewed here) and Petal Pusher

Red Apple Lipstick's sheer, rosy pinks (Crush on Me and Boys N Berries) look nice with the True Summer palette

Crush on Me and Boys N Berries look good with Soft Summer, too

Boys N Berries seems to be a chameleon, perhaps because it's sheer. On my lips it was cool toned, but swatched on white paper it looked more muted, though not warm.

If you were on Red Apple Lipstick's web site, you might have noticed that Boys N Berries was close in tone to Secrets, with Boys N Berries looking more sparky and Secrets looking like the lighter of the two.


That's not what I found. Swatched together on white paper, Secrets is darker and warmer, almost a tiny bit bronzed, due to the gold shimmer. It was the opposite of what I expected based on the RAL images.

For comparison, I added Pinkle Twinkle (reviewed here) to the pink parade. Pinkle Twinkle appears almost grey, by comparison.

I am completely undecided as to what skin tones these three might flatter. Possibly all cool/soft skin tones, and almost definitely the softer, more muted cool-neutral skins (Soft Summer).

Bottom line: If you can find a good color in this line of lipsticks, I think you will be happy.

All photos taken by me; all products purchased by me.


  1. I have two of these coming my way! And after seeing this I cannot wait for my lipsticks to arrive :-)

  2. swoon: boys 'n berry & secret...too bad they don't ship to Europe

    1. Ah, well, you can console yourself with Bonheur. :>)

  3. You do such thorough blog articles. The color that works best on me is Strawberry Lips as it is more of a muted red with brown undertones. I know that wouldn't suit you.

    Can't wait to read more of your posts.

    1. Thanks, Ammie, and it's so nice to see you. Strawberry is usually a tricky color for me, as can be "Watermelon." Both can lean a little warm.

  4. Hi Zuzu! I just received my first RAL order today. I'm a porcelain, dark hair & brown eyes TSu.

    Here's what the RAL lipsticks did on me:

    Pinkle Twinkle - too brownish, full-sized product getting returned
    Audrey - too orangey
    Hibiskiss - too warm

    Mauve Me - exact same color as my lips
    Vogue - cool toned on me
    Love My Kiss - almost a coral on me but harmonizes with my swatch

    Lipgloss - Bridesmaid - absolutely LOVE it on me!

    Eyeshadows -

    Pixie Dust - perfect all-over eyelid shade on me, nearly same color as my eyelids
    Clean Slate - probably the first grey that doesn't look muddy on me
    VooDoo - nice cool purple
    Violet Femme - looks too bright and sparkly in the package but surprisingly good on my lid

    Also, I love the Rallye Balm. It just feels good. Got the Exfoliator but haven't tried it yet.

    Will receive Boys N Berries later this week.

    1. Grrrrr! Google just ate my detailed reply. Here's what I can pull from recent memory!

      I share your disappointment with HibisKiss, and it looked so cool toned online. It (and Vogue and Love My Kiss) were all too warm, so I am glad I bought the samples.

      How sparkly is Bridesmaid, and what's the texture like? I have my eye on Metropolitan, but I don't normally wear gloss, I haven't bought one from RAL yet. They apparently used to make a gorgeous creamy pink gloss called Wonderland, but I think they discontinued it.

      An upcoming post will feature Pixie Dust and Clean Slate. I agree CS is the perfect grey. It's so pigmented, I have to remember to dip my brush once, and then tap off the excess. It makes a gorgeous eyeliner when used with a damp angle liner brush.

      I'm interested in VooDoo. Is it matte? Violet Femme was pretty good on me, but there's enough red in the base to make it a hint too warm. Violet Vintage, on the other hand, is my perfect RAL purple. It's a dusty mid-toned lavender, and it has more of a satin finish then the shimmer I feared. (As a Summer type, I am not overly fond of shimmering products on my skin—I leave that to the translucent Springs.)

      Rallye Balm does, indeed, feel amazing. I'd love to know your thoughts after you've been using it a while. Through a period of complete abstinence and then using nothing but Rallye, I discovered there's something in the ingredients (which they don't provide) that irritates my lip tissue. Maybe it's the sunscreen. I am currently not using it, waiting for my skin to heal, so I can try one more time. If it's a dud for me, I'll just switch back to Julie Hewett Camellia balm. And if I need something certified gluten/soy/paraben free, there's always my Tropical Traditions coconut oil balm stick. Not nearly as luxe as the Rallye texture, but it doesn't irritate my skin.

      One word about the Exfoliate--be careful. In the one I received, the granules are buffed down to a uniform size. I actually cut my lip on a sharp edge while using it, and it wasn't like I was vigorously scrubbing my lip. I actually bled. :( So just proceed with caution. Exfoliate can be a weapon!

      I hope you love the color of Boys N Berries as much as I do. I'd also be curious to hear what you think about the formula. I found it to be so vastly different from the three lipsticks I first reviewed (including Pinkle Twinkle), that I wondered it its sheerness was because it was a sample. I think not, as other samples have been quite pigmented and dense, some even a bit dry and crumbly (due to loads of shimmer, maybe?).

  5. I went back and tried all these new products again in natural sunlight, compared to my Indigo Tones TSu plume, and have revised my opinion on some.

    Vogue - looked a lot more brown so it's out, definitely matte
    Love My Kiss - too orangey today so it's out too
    Mauve Me - still looks good but I doubt I'll keep it since it's the same color as my lips
    (So unless Boys N Berries ends up looking good on me I won't be keeping any of the lipsticks)

    VooDoo - seems to show more red/brown tone, undecided as to whether I'll keep it
    Violet Femme - still like it, remained very cool tone, surprisingly very little glitter

    Bridesmaid lipgloss - still love it. I swatched it on white paper next to EB Quiet Hottie (which I love). Unbelievable how much more of a true bright pink Bridesmaid is, so much so that Quiet Hottie looked almost warm! I don't think Bridesmaid really is an exact TSu match but it's such a beautiful sheer pink I must have it. It's probably a TW color. As far as the texture of the lipgloss, I find it very silky and non-sticky and no taste to it at all. It is shiny but not glittery. I have such a dark pigmented natural lip color that I usually only wear lipglosses. I love the feel of Bridesmaid. I'd love to know about Metropolis - I can't tell if it's darker or lighter than Bridesmaid. Can't wait to hear your opinion if you try Metropolis. I don't like shimmery or shiny anywhere other than my lips.

    Tried Exfoliate and you weren't kidding, there are some very sharp edges. It did nicely exfoliate my lips though. Wonder what it could do for my heels? I didn't realize there was sunscreen in RB. Usually the only sunscreen I can tolerate is titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, no others. I'll let you know how I do with RB.

    1. I can't attest to actual ingredients, but I'd be surprised if they weren't using natural sunscreen.

      Bridesmaid sounds perfect. I might have to get it. I am not sure about Metropolis. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. I prefer pigmented gloss, more like a liquid lipstick, and I have had many disappointments with Glossimers, which can look far more pigmented in the tube than on my lips. Interesting that Bridesmaid actually made Quiet Hottie look warm!

      Exfoliate on heels! What a great idea. For my money, I'll stick with O'Keefe's. Nothing keeps my heels as smooth and crack free as their Healthy Feet. I believe we need urea to break through that scaly skin tissue. :P

  6. Lipsticks are so funny! I tried and sent back Rebel. It's FAR too loud on me. (I'm a fair Dark Winter.) I got Vogue and Audrey hoping one might be a MLBB and both are too cool. Audrey looks warm but then on it goes berry pink on - not brown at all! Barcelona is a bit too warm unless I wear it my eye color. So far, mixing Drama and Reddish Fettish seems my best bet withh RAL. I love their balm(it was the ONLY thing that helped heal my lips a a few months ago) and their exfoliate and their customer service is incredible...but I haven't actually fallen in love with any of their lip glosses.

    1. Lips/lipsticks are so variable, aren't they? I'm glad you found a mix that works!

  7. I got the RAL Boys N Berries today! It is a beautiful color, definitely the best of the lipsticks I've tried thus far. However, I think it makes my lips just too dark looking for my taste. I prefer a much more natural look. So I think I will return it and just stick to the lipglosses.

    1. Boys N Berries too dark! Wow, I guess it all comes down to the existing lip pigment. On me, it hardly shows up. I guess it's down to you and Bridesmaid. :)

  8. Aw, shucks, I caved. Boys N Berries and Bridesmaid will soon be mine. I also pre ordered Petal Pusher. I was all set to order the Metropolis gloss, but someone referred to it as a pink with nude. Thus, I didn't want to risk it being too warm on me.

  9. Zuzu, just got my 3rd RAL order. Here's my thoughts:

    Metropolis gloss - you should get it ! Of the 4 glosses I ordered this time, Metropolis has the most pigment and no glitter, just shine. A good TSu color I believe. Actually similar to EB Quiet Hottie but still different enough that I'll keep it.

    Dancing Princess - if this plum shade didn't have what looks to me like a reddish glitter it would be perfect.

    Pink Martini - way too glittery, very sheer pink though.

    Pink Peppermint - way too glittery, more of a sheer coral pink, the peppermint flavor made my lips feel like they were burning.

    Love the Indi-go-go eyeshadow. Very sheer indigo tone, no crazy glitter. Gorgeous used with RB as an eyeliner.

    Love the Mermaid Lagoon eyeshadow. Very sheer teal, not too much shimmer though you'd never know it to look at it in the pan. Also makes a pretty eyeliner.

    Hate the Buttercream eyeshadow. Looked like I just put on loads of glitter. Couldn't wait to wash it off.

    Hope this helps you and others. :-)

  10. Kim, thanks so much for the details! Metropolis sounds perfect, and I am sorry I didn't get it. I could swear I read somewhere that someone called it a pink nude. In any case, I have been enjoying Bridesmaid. The texture is divine, and it is a beautiful color, though I wish it had a touch more pigment. My lip color just gobbles it up.

    Also interesting about Indi-go-go and Mermaid Lagoon. Though I'd wear those colors in a scarf or sweater, they aren't colors I tend to purchase in eyeshadow. And then I remembered that elea blake cosmetics helped me get over my color fear, as I regularly wear Violaceous and other eb colorful colors, like Tough Cookie—and they look wonderful if I apply they sheer.

    Since I'll be placing another RAL order in the next few weeks, I'll add the above to my list (except for the glittery ones). I am currently waiting for Petal Pusher lipstick.

  11. Really great in depth review! Helps making it easier to pick what shade x3


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