You can't always get what you want: Sephora lip product review and swatches

It's been almost a year since I started my life afresh in London, and I've done some major damage to my bank account in various European cities. To wit: three Sephora own brand lip products, and a dilemma -- what do you do when you love a lipstick colour, but the formula is shite?

Sephora own brand lip products: Cream Lip Stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed, Rouge Infusion in 19 Peony, and Craig & Karl Lip Color Last in West End Swirl.

Sephora own brand lip products: Cream Lip Stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed, Rouge Infusion in 19 Peony, and Craig & Karl Lip Color Last in West End Swirl.

I visited one of the smaller Sephora stores in Barcelona during my recent trip, and picked up:

  • Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 03 (aka Strawberry Kissed in the States), a matte bright berry red
  • Sephora Rouge Infusion Lip Ink in 19 Peony, a neutral dusky pink
  • Sephora Craig & Karl Color Lip Last in West End Swirl, a matte orange-leaning red.
Swatches, top to bottom: Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed, Rouge Infusion in 19 Peony, and Craig & Karl Color Lip Last in West End Swirl.

Swatches, top to bottom: Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed, Rouge Infusion in 19 Peony, and Craig & Karl Color Lip Last in West End Swirl.

Bloggers and Youtubers alike rave about the Sephora Cream Lip Stains, and I feel like in this case it's justified: this is easy to apply, comfortable to wear, and fades evenly with a stain. Number 19 Peony is opaque and creamy, and the doe foot applicator is perfectly sized and shaped. Liquid lipsticks can be a hassle to apply perfectly, so I often end up blotting them on with a finger and wearing it more casually rather than as a precise lip. With the Cream Lip Stain I don't find it to be much of a problem.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed: berry nice!

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed: berry nice!

The Rouge Infusion in Peony was sitting in the Aisle of Doom, i.e. the cattle run leading up to the checkouts where perfectly priced samples suck every last penny out of you. This was the mini version (0.068 fl. oz. compared to the 0.152 fl. oz. full size), and almost made me drop my delicately balanced pile of goodies when I picked it up. (Do you do that? Don't get a basket when you go shopping, whether it be groceries or makeup, because you're "only getting a few things" and then regret it when you almost smash a dozen eggs?) This is a gloss-lipstick hybrid which strongly reminds me of the YSL Glossy Stains -- glossy, non-sticky, and has that slightly cooling sensation when you apply it. I like it.

Sephora Rouge Infusion in 19 Peony: don't ask what was going on with my hair. I was cleaning.

Sephora Rouge Infusion in 19 Peony: don't ask what was going on with my hair. I was cleaning.

I had to look up who Craig & Karl were, but props to them on the eye-catching design and colour choices for their collection. I chose the Color Lip Last in West End Swirl because I'd been wanting to try more orange-leaning reds, and this one just perks up my face. I love it! But (and this is a big one (haha butts)) the wearing is torture. Application is fine; I really like slimline lipsticks because the bullet is a good size, and it applies evenly without tugging, unlike MAC's Ruby Woo as an example. I don't usually have dry lips and often go without balm, but this just sucks every last bit of moisture out of them. It's very long lasting -- drinks and meals -- and there is only very minor transfer, but when it does wear off it does so patchily. It pills as you rub it off as well, so reapplication is a bitch.

Sephora x Craig & Karl Color Lip Last in West End Swirl: I'm smiling now...

Sephora x Craig & Karl Color Lip Last in West End Swirl: I'm smiling now...

I found that it helps if I put something like Clarin's Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector over the top, but then that takes away the impact of the colour. It's so reminiscent of MAC's Lady Danger, though, so all is not lost -- the satin-matte finish might suit me better. 

What's your latest product disappointment? Coral and orange lipstick fans, any other recommendations for me?

Sephora own brand lip products