Along with crayon-type eyeshadows that are becoming all the rage lately, you’ve probably noticed a new trend coming out of the woodwork as well: chubby lip pencils. Of course we know this is not really a new thing: Tarte’s super popular LipSurgence pencils have been around for a while. It seems, though, that Clinique really put the product on the map a few years ago with the ever-popular release of their Chubby Sticks. They’ve recently added a Chubby Stick Intense as well as their Chubby Stick Shadow Tints, but the original version will always hold a special place in many a heart (and makeup bag). Since then, there has been a slew of other brands jumping on the chubby stick trend: Revlon, Soap & Glory, Laura Mercier, Dior, Sally Hansen, and, of course, Neutrogena.
Neutrogena’s version stood out to me because, in my mind, no drugstore brand does sheer, moisturizing lip color quite like them. Their glosses and tinted balms have always been a favorite of mine so it was the natural choice for me to go with their rendition of the Chubby Stick in a sea of so many others.
According to the brand: “MoistureSmooth Color Sticks instantly moisturize lips, while continuously conditioning them so they are softer and smoother in just 3 days with nothing on them. Made with fruit extracts along with mango and shea butter, the balm-like formula glides on easily, providing a sheer wash of moisturizing color that lasts for hours.”
The MoistureSmooth Color Sticks are available in 8 shades: 10 Juicy Peach, 20 Fresh Papaya, 30 Sweet Watermelon, 40 Bright Berry, 50 Warm Caramel, 60 Soft Raspberry, 70 Plum Perfect, and 80 Rich Raisin. I have all the shades except Warm Caramel and Rich Raisin. Juicy Peach is a pale, soft fleshy-peach. Fresh Papaya is a light-medium pinky-peach. Sweet Watermelon is a cool, pearly petal-pink. Bright Berry is a brightened fuchsia berry-pink. Soft Raspberry is a medium plummy reddish-pink. Plum Perfect is a medium-dark muted mauvy-plum.
Ingredients: hydrogenated polyisobutene, phenyl trimethicone, polybutene, petrolatum, hydrogenated lanolin, pentaerythrityl tetraethylhexanoate, ozokerite, cetyl lactate, myristyl myristate, polyethylene, bisbehenyl/isostearyl/phytosteryl dimer dilinoleyl dimer dilinoleate, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, silica, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax, _avor, stearoxymethicone/dimethicone copolymer, ethylhexyl palmitate, mangifera indica (mango) seed butter, silica, silylate, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl hydroxyhydrocinnamate, tribehenin, maltodextrin, sorbitan isostearate, lactic acid, punica granatum pericarp extract, palmitoyl oligopeptide. May contain: mica, synthetic wax, titanium dioxide, calcium sodium borosilicate, iron oxides, red 7 lake, yellow 5 lake, red 6, red 33 lake, isopropyl titanium triisostearate, blue 1 lake, tin oxide, yellow 6 lake, carmine
The twist-up plastic crayon-type packaging makes this product super easy to use and very convenient for toting around. To use, you simply grab a hold of the silver base at the bottom of the pencil and twist. The product swivels up and down very smoothly–piece of cake.The shades are all obviously pretty sheer, so even the darkest plum shade is rendered quite easily wearable. That’s the beauty of sheer lip color and why I prefer my lip products that way: no matter how dark or scary looking a shade is, when it’s sheer, just about anyone can pull it off! All 6 shades contain a fine micro-shimmer and have the same sweet, peachy scent. It doesn’t smell bad, per se, but it is really quite sweet and artificial-smelling and it does linger on the lips for quite a while. I definitely could have done without that.
These Color Sticks have a very creamy balm texture. They’re super smooth and glide on the lips easily, distributing opaque color with one pass. I did notice a big discrepancy in the quality between the different shades, however. 3 were a bit of a mess and 3 performed nicely–the 3 lightest shades (Juicy Peach, Fresh Papaya, and Sweet Watermelon) were under-performing while the 3 darkest (Bright Berry, Soft Raspberry, and Plum Perfect) were quite decent.
–click image to enlarge–
With the lighter 3, the color did not apply evenly at all and had a tendency to streak horribly and bunch up on itself. It looked a lot better once I’d kinda smoothed the product out with my fingers a bit. They also accentuated dryness horribly. My lips have been a bit drier than usual lately for some reason and the first time I applied it, I literally cringed. They find every little miniscule amount of dryness or uneven texture and just cling and cling. I even wiped the product off, exfoliated my lips thoroughly, then tried reapplying. No cigar–better yes, but still. Even I couldn’t see any flakes on my lips but apparently they were there because the Color Sticks rooted them them out and then hung on for dear life.
The 3 darker shades weren’t as soft or creamy as the lighter ones and therefore didn’t melt and clump as much product onto the lips. They were much more pigmented and had more of a waxy texture. The color applied smoothly and evenly. There was just a hint of dry texture showing through but not much at all, really. The difference between these shades and the lighter 3 was like night and day.
Swatches L to R: Juicy Peach, Fresh Papaya, Sweet Watermelon, Bright Berry, Soft Raspberry, Plum Perfect
–Direct sunlight (click image to enlarge)–
–Shade with flash (click image to enlarge)–
Thankfully, all 6 shades were nicely moisturizing. As I said, my lips have been quite dry lately and the Color Sticks left them feeling comfortable and moisturized for a little over 3 1/2 hours before wearing off–not bad for such an emollient formula. Maybe if I continued to use them every day I’d see some improvement in the condition of my lips but I just don’t want to walk around with…messy looking lips until then :/
I don’t know how the other 2 shades that I didn’t purchase will perform but I think it’s a safe bet, considering the quality of these 6 shades, that the darker the shade in this collection, the better it will perform. All in all, I’m a bit disappointed and really should have just gone with those damn Clinique Chubby Sticks like I’ve been wanting to for a long time. I’ve spent way more money trying to find suitable drugstore alternatives than just buying the originals. *sigh* Don’t you just hate that? I would recommend the darker shades; no way would I recommend the lighter ones.
»»Pricing: $6.49 MSRP*/0.11 oz. (3.1 g.)
*product retails for $8.99 at all the locations listed below except Neutrogena’s site
»»Recommended for: those with perfectly flake-less lips
»»Overall Rating: C for 3 lightest shades/B+ for 3 darker shades
What about you? Has anyone else tried these Neutrogena Color Sticks yet? Did you experience similar results?