There’s been some great new drugstore makeup releases over the last few months, including some new liner and liquid lipstick products. Even though I’ve found my favourite makeup products that I reach for time and again after 4 years of wearing winged liner and red lips, I still regularly find myself curious enough to try new drugstore products of this ilk.
I often get asked what my favourite red lipstick is and my reply of ‘Saigon’ or ‘Creeper’ Ultra Mattes by Colourpop isn’t as accessible for many, especially European readers, as a brand available on the high street or in your local mall, so I’m pleased to bring you great news today about Rimmel’s StayMatte liquid lipstick range. Their Wonder Wing liner pen, though? Hmm, that might be more of a mixed bag review. Let’s get to it.
This liner pen is a cheaper, simpler and easier answer to the eye liner stamps that have popped up on the market in the past year or so (such as the Vamp Stamp £22.50.) Rather than having to paint your liner colour onto a wing shaped stamp that you then apply to your outer corner, this liner pen offers that stamp function in all the convenience of a standard felt liner pen. The pen nib has a thin pointed edge for lining the bulk of your lash line as usual, but by turning the pen by a quarter you can work with the pointed flat side of the nib, the stamp side that is crafted to create the wing shape that many ladies struggle to draw by hand.
That’s the theory. So how easy is it to use? Well, it’s still up to you to place the stamp at the correct angle so that you get symmetrical wings, and if you’re someone who has heavily folded or uneven lids that might not be as easy as it first seems. Additionally, the fact that you have to angle the entire pen across your face/eyes to place the stamp at the correct angle is also quite cumbersome and might make that angle judgement harder for some. Personally, the first few times I tried it I got the angle off or didn’t press the stamp down fully and ended up with just part of a wing. Not ideal.
So, even overlooking that it might take you a few tries to get the angle and placement correct, does it work?
The answer is…yeah, sure, if you like a chunky, short wing. The idea is that you go back in after using the stamp to join the wing to the line on your lid to create a smoother wing, but if you’re someone (like me) who likes an incredibly sharp wing tip, the kind that you can basically only create with a fine winged liner brush, this pen is going to feel difficult to weild and the line it produces is going to be too thick. I used it several times to do the main lining of my eye, but every time I used it for creating my wing I ended up going back in with my favourite liquid eyeliner to smooth the line out, add more of a gentle curve to the underside of the wing, and finish the wing with a sharp, fine line. (For reference, my favourite liquid liners are Makeup Gallery in Black £1 from Poundland or ELF’s Expert Liquid Liner in Jet Black £3.)
The only way I found to create exactly the kind of elongated sharp wing that I like was to use the stamp end more in a sweeping motion back towards my eye to form the bulk of the wing in a larger sweep, rather than a single placed stamp motion, and then to use the thin edge to sharpen the end of the wing and smooth out the angle of the line. This worked to get the shape I wanted, but I found it harder to get an equal wing on both eyes (I have uneven lids) than when working with a liquid liner brush. For me it made a tricky process more difficult and made me feel like I had taken a step backwards in my winged liner skillset.
I do think, though, that this pen can be useful. If you like using liner pens over every other eye liner type then you could probably get this pen to work for you better than I can, as I have always found them too awkward to use for a fine wing. If you can’t use liquid eyeliners because you find them too unforgiving or messy, you’ll probably find a use for this pen. And if you’re still learning to do your winged liner as a beginner and can’t yet create an even, clean, sharp wing on your own without a ‘cheat’ step (which is totally fine and we’ve all been there) then this liner will probably be useful for you. Just make sure you use the thin side to balance out the shape of your wing because the stamp alone produces a very clumsy looking wing.
The formula itself is fine, akin to many other drug store offerings. On bare skin it isn’t very pigmented, needing two coats to build up to true black, but it produces a better pigment on top of a primer and a base of eyeshadow. It’s not waterproof or smudgeproof, so the way it wears depends entirely upon your application and how much you ask of your liner, but as I said, it’s on par with most other drugstore products and I’ll be using it up in future by pre-lining my lashline before finishing my look with liquid liner.
This new liquid lipstick offering, though, is a definite winner. I’m very particular about the liquid lipsticks I like; I don’t mind them being dry as long as they don’t crack or become rubbery after being introduced to moisture, because most of all I care how well they last. The whole point of wearing a liquid lipstick, for me, is that it doesn’t smudge when touched or need a complete reapplication after eating. If a liquid lipstick wears off of half of my mouth as much as or more than the best long-lasting bullet lipsticks available then I may as well not bother wearing it.
So considering those standards, I absorbed the enthusiastic, almost boundless recommendation of my friend Carly with the use of a suspicious side-eye emoji and picked up the shade Firestarter from Superdrug. It didn’t even wear off at all after she ate her dinner, she said. It was kiss-proof (to a point. No lipstick will last a full makeout session, as I’m sure we’ve all messily learned) and transfer proof, as well as being soft and comfortable, apparently. My lipstick recommendations to Carly had mostly provided less successful results for her than for me, so I tried the Stay Matte with the assumption that our lips took to different formulas and that her new Holy Grail product might not work so well for me.
I was wrong. It’s awesome.
Creamy to apply, it’s up there amongst the most lightweight formulas I’ve tried, making it incredibly comfortable and not very drying. It dries down quickly (within a minute I’d say) to a soft matte look, with good pigmentation that looks softer and less bold than more drying liquid lipsticks tend to present. It’s transfer proof, does soften during eating and drinking depending on what you consume, but can last well enough that you don’t even need a visible touch up.
If you’re a liquid lipstick hater the Stay Matte’s comfortable formula, long-lasting wear and budget-friendly price make it a candidate for being the only liquid lipstick you can stand to wear, and if you’re a liquid lipstick lover those same facets will make it a welcome addition to your no doubt plentiful but selective array of lip products. I begun by purchasing Firestarter and declared I didn’t need any of the other shades because I already owned similar shades in my other favourite formulas, but I have since predictably and needlessly added 5 other shades to my collection because Superdrug’s 3 for 2 offer is the best.
Available in 15 shades for £5.99, ranging from all manner of pinks to more unusual choices of grey and blue, there’s probably a shade in the current range that will suit your skintone and colour palette preferences. Personally I’m eagerly awaiting future additions that I hope will include warmer or more neutral bright pink tones, as Heartbeat is too purple toned for my liking, and richer deep reds, as Firestarter is more of an orange toned red for me, with my light cool toned skin and dark red dyed hair.