During last fall and early this winter, I kept reading recommendations for Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry from reliable sources and seeing Instagram posts of people wearing it and looking stunning. I became convinced that I needed it, despite my previously less-than-stellar experiences with two of the lipsticks in that line: Elusive (reviewed here) and Striking (reviewed here). Surely if so many sensible people liked Sultry, there must be something to it. And indeed, the performance of Sultry is vastly better than the other two matte balms, both in terms of application (not streaky) and wear (not patchy).
But when I got it home and put it on, something seemed eerily familiar. Oh shit, I bought a dupe! Why did I want this when I already had the very similar Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice? You can see from the swatches below that they are quite close.
They're not identical, but they fit into the same basic category. Touch of Spice (left) is a more brown/neutral with a little grey, while Sultry has some more plummy-red in it.
On my face, the difference is subtle, but one lipstick is noticeably more flattering on me than the other. The second time I wore Sultry, I had also been playing around with some subtle contouring. When I looked at my face in the bathroom mirror, it looked kind of dirty, and I thought I had messed up the contouring. But then I got to thinking about how similar my new lipstick was to Touch of Spice and decided to remove Sultry and replace it with the Maybelline lipstick to compare. All of the sudden, my contouring looked fine. I looked healthier. As it turns out, the subtle difference in the two lipsticks makes a real difference when I wear them.
I don't know how much the effects are visible in the brightly-lit photos below (not taken on the day I did the contouring), because I think the Revlon lipstick (in the second photo) looks better here than it does in person. Sultry is okay on me, but it tend to makes my skin appear a bit sallow while bringing out redness at the same time, and it makes my dark circles darker. It's not the most flattering. I can get away with it, but it's not ideal.
|Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice (and smudgy glasses)|
|Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry|
Since I already owned Touch of Spice, and Sultry is so similar, it was an unnecessary purchase. The fact that Sultry isn't very flattering on me makes it doubly so. So while my first impression was that I had made a mistake because these two lipsticks were practically dupes, it's actually the differences between them that make one or the other especially redundant. I would suggest that if you already have one of these, and you like it, there is no need to buy the other--you might be disappointed. If you are thinking about replacing one with the other because you prefer a different formula or packaging, you might find that the difference between them is enough that you won't be satisfied with the other one. If you have one of these and don't love it, however, but you still want something in that general color family, you might find that the other works well for you. (Is that clear?)
These two lipsticks are similar in formula and finish. I love the formula of the Maybelline Creamy Mattes, which I find easy to apply straight from the bullet, and which stay in place for a long time. Revlon Sultry is a bit thinner and slipperier, so Touch of Spice wears better for me. Sultry is also slightly more drying. The Maybelline lipstick has a light scent that reminds of Play-Doh for some reason, but isn't like the gross fragrance of the Vivid Matte Liquid, and I only smell it while I'm actually applying it. The Revlon lipstick is a bit minty and tingly.
Do you have either or both of these lipsticks? I'm especially curious if anyone has had a similar experience to mine with Sultry. Maybe you can help me narrow down what I need to try to avoid in lipstick shades--or help me to understand my undertones better. In the meantime, I'll have to keep buying lipsticks at stores with good return policies. (Though I never returned Sultry, because it kind of works and is such a lovely color. I can usually only be motivated to return truly terrible products).