Revlon Colorburst Matte And Lacquer Balms: The Review

You wanted it, and you got it! Everything you need to know about the new kids on the lip colour block.
Publish date:
November 26, 2013
lipsticks, shimmer, Revlon, favorites, lip balms, matte

It’s no secret that I am a total Revlon fangirl and am HUGELY, MASSIVELY in love with Revlon’s Kissable Balm Stains. Lovesick has totally become my go-to trademark pink, to the point where I feel a little guilty for not wearing any of my other lip colours.

So when I started to hear rumours that Revlon was coming out with matte and extra-shiny chubby pencils, I was PSYCHED. And so were you guys! I think I got more emails and comments about these new formulas than about anything else, save my haircut.

Now for the disclaimer portion of the article: Even though I have worked with Revlon in the past, this is not a sponsored post. I bought these products with my own hard-earned dollars, and as always, I’ll never tell you to buy anything if I wouldn’t spend my own money on it.

Today, I’m going to review the two formulas. I’m going to tell you EVERYTHING, and then I’m going to get creative with them.

That’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s begin!


I bought two colours: Showy (a bright pink, natch) and Shameless (a deep, rich purple).

And here are the swatches, which are important, because these colours look very different out of the tube:

The Packaging: I am a huge fan of these chubby little pencils, and I wish all lip colours came in them. They’re big enough that you won’t lose them in your bag, but not SO big that they won’t fit in a pocket should the need arise. You don’t have an applicator to mess with, AND you never have to sharpen them. Just twist the base! This could not possibly be improved.

The Formula: For a product that costs less than eight bucks, I am deeply, DEEPLY impressed. Fans of the Kissable Balm Stains will recognise the slightly pepperminty smell and attendant lip tingle, which even I find pleasant. The colour goes on smoothly and richly, and feels very soft and comfortable on the lips. That is pretty awesome, and sadly quite rare, for matte finishes.

Speaking of: the finish is wonderful. So often these combination lip products are too heavy on one thing and too light on another--in this case, you’ll feel the balm but all you’ll see is the matte.

The Colour: I found that the bright pink needed a little more going over for maximum colour payoff, whereas the purple was perfect with just one coat. This is often the case for relatively light colours versus darker ones, so I am not going to fault these for that.

Initially I thought that Showy would be my favourite colour of the two, being that it is so completely in my wheelhouse: a really bright, cool-toned pink.

But when I tried it on, I realised that although it was pretty, it was just a little bit too cool-toned for me to fall in love with. Were I looking for a way to wear the bubblegum pink colour that was so popular back in spring and summer, this would have been perfect. But I like my pinks a little warmer and deeper, especially this time of year.

The REAL surprise was Shameless, which I fell head-over-butt in love with. I wore it to see Thor 2: Loki Is A Babe, and I’m in love. It’s the dark purple I’ve been dreaming of and searching for, but was never able to find.

It definitely skews more of a pink-purple, which makes it really wearable. Cool-toned purples are generally harder to wear if you’re not on a red carpet or in a costume, and require a lot of adjustments to the rest of your makeup so that they don’t make you look like you’re dying.

This colour can be worn with whatever other makeup you choose. I would probably suggest keeping the colour palette fairly neutral, though, so that your eyeshadow isn’t competing with your lipstick. Otherwise, have at it. Smoky eyes! Mascara only! Liquid liner! All absolutely delightful options.

The Wear: Because these aren’t long-wear lip colours, you’re going to have to touch them up throughout the day, and because they’re a matte finish, you’re going to have to be especially vigilant about it.

While I was testing these out, I found that I needed to reapply colour every two hours or so--more often if I’d been eating. Like most matte lipsticks, the colour tends to settle a little bit in the creases of your kisser, but in general they wear off very evenly and don’t leave any staining behind. They also don’t leave your lips feeling super-dry or flaky, for which I thank the balm.

Another plus is that they don’t feather or bleed out around your lips, as so many balm hybrids do. They will smudge a little, though, so these are not the lipcolours for heavy duty makeout sessions.

The Comparison: Some of you guys specifically asked how these stack up against the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils. I think that it depends on what you’re looking for in your matte lipstick.

If you’re looking for something that you can apply in the morning and not think about again all day, the NARS Pencils are for you. If you’re looking for a comfortable lipstick in a great colour that also has a matte finish (and is a drugstore price), the Revlons are what you want. These aren’t Velvet Matte killers, but they also aren’t trying to be. You have to appreciate them on their own merits, rather than comparing them to other non-shiny formulas.

The Verdict: So, should you go out and spend your money on the Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms? Yes. Yes, you absolutely should. There’s a bunch of great, fun colours, they’re really well-priced for what you get, and they look FANTASTIC.

I will definitely be buying all of the colours of these, if you can ever pry Shameless off my face, which is doubtful.


I bought two colours: Vivacious (a bright cherry red, almost a coral) and Whimsical (a shimmery pink-wine).

And here are the swatches:

The Packaging: The same as the Matte Balms. I am a HUGE FAN of these wee chubby pencils. They’re adorable and easy to use.

The Formula: Once again, fans of the Kissable Balm Stains will recognise the not-overpowering or fake minty smell right away. I really can’t overstate how much I hate 99% of smells in makeup, but this has never bothered me.

On your lips, they feel lightweight and very moisturising. As we head into the colder months, this becomes increasingly important to those of us living Beyond The Wall, aka in the Midwest.

The Lacquer Balms all seem to be varying degrees of shimmery. From what I’ve been able to tell, there’s a sort of continuum in this line ranging from Total Sparkle Motion to Practically No Glitter.

Whimsical is VERY VERY sparkly, but because it’s a deeper colour, the shimmer gives it depth and really works in its favour.

On the opposite end of the sparkle-spectrum is Vivacious, which only shimmers a tiny bit. I had to really study it to see any glitter at all; mostly all you see is the bright colour and shiny finish.

It seems to be hard to tell which colours are extra-sparkly, and how much sparkle they really have from pictures online. This isn’t unusual, but it looks like the variation in shimmer between individual colours in this line is pretty huge. Because sparkle in lipsticks is one of those tricky things that you are either ALL ABOUT or HATE FOREVER, I would advise that you try them out before you buy them if you can.

The Colour: No pun intended, but this is where these guys REALLY shine. The line has truly spectacular colours, and picking out my favourite two was really, really hard.

Whimsical looks like it would be a dark pinkish-berry, something kind of staid and buttoned-up. It’s much brighter on the lips, though, and the glitter REALLY works for it.

I really enjoy how the Lacquer Balms build so nicely. One coat of Whimsical gives a cool-toned pinch of colour to my lips; two brings out the magenta tones and really makes the most of the shimmer.

Vivacious is so much fun. If you’re looking for a festive lipcolour for holiday parties, start here. It’s a bright cherry red with lots of pink tones and minimal sparkle, and I think it’s a colour that would work on a lot of skin tones.

Like I said, there’s not much obvious glitter in this one. It wears like a shiny lipstick in a great, vibrant colour. Vivacious is the perfect name for it.

The Wear: Wear is pretty standard for a balm-lipstick hybrid--you’ll have to do minor touch-ups every couple of hours. I found that I had to touch up the not-so-glittery formula more frequently than I did the glittery one, which may just have been a function of my day, but worth mentioning.

Because these have a shiny finish, it’s not SO essential that you keep them looking as immaculate as a matte lipstick. They wear off slowly and evenly, without feathering into the creases of your lips. Keep a mirror handy and expect to reapply every couple of hours.

The Comparison: The only thing I could compare these dudes to is the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains, which are my favourites forever. But even so, it’s not really a contest because they both do such different things--if you want a longwear lip product with shine only, go for the Kissable Balm Stain. If you want some shimmer and depth in some especially fun colours, go for the Colorburst Lacquer Balm. As far as I’m concerned, they’re equal in quality. And since the Kissable Balm Stains are THE BEST, in my opinion, this is high praise indeed.

The Verdict: Should you go and buy these? Yes, if you like sparkle. The colours are great, they feel wonderful on your mouth and they’re totally holiday-party ready.

If this was all a little TL;DR, allow me to summarise...

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balms: Unreservedly awesome. PROS: Matte finish, feels amazing, purple is to die for. CONS: Not long-wearing, requires frequent touch-ups. SHOULD I BUY?: Yes, for the love of god.

Revlon Colourburst Lacquer Balms: Fantastic, if you like sparkle. PROS: Fun colours, feels great on lips. CONS: Wide variation in the amount of glitter present. SHOULD I BUY: Yes, if you are committed to Sparkle Motion.

Now, how else can we wear these lip colours for maximum awesomeness?

By layering Whimsical on top of Shameless, I ended up with a glittery deep purple lipstick that made my green eyes look even greener.

By using Shameless as a lipliner and feathering it slightly in towards the middle, then applying Showy in the center, we have a two-toned look that is really dramatic but also pretty.

And finally, applying Showy all over the lips and then putting Vivacious right in the middle, we end up with a pink and red lip look that is heavy on contrast while also looking really pretty. Like you’ve been eating heaps of maraschino cherries.

So what do you think? Are you going to try these lip colours out? Are you freaking out over the dark purple as much as I am? Have you seen Thor 2 yet, and if so, can we please talk about the moral dilemma inherent in having to choose between Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and Idris Elba in the Who Do I Fancy More Olympics?