In 2015, Laneige sparked the craze for effortless ombré lip with their Two Tone Lip Bars across Asia and even though more than two years have passed since that game-changing debut (which would have been obsolete by now in this fast-moving industry), it was only in recent months that dual- or multi-tone lipsticks had finally caught on in the Western market. Not only has Maybelline leveraged the innovation, Givenchy has also come up with their own version of the concept, thus reaffirming South Korea as the leading trendsetter in the global beauty scene once again. Now that there are already brands dedicating to the mass and premium markets, you may be wondering who is going to fill the void to cater to most of us (I assume) – the mid-tier consumers.
Well, ponder no more, Benefit is your answer!
Launched last fall, they’re real BIG sexy lipstick set includes four 2-in-1 lipstick liners in complimenting colours named Flame Game, Pink Thrills, Revved-Up Red and Lusty Rose. These lipstick liners – subsequently known as They’re real! double the lip when they were upsized to singles earlier this year – has a tip shaped like a teardrop to ensure precise placement along the edges and throughout the lips for the appearance of volume and dimension. They are also advertised to have an 8-hour longevity which I was very sceptical about.
Presented in a light metallic box, each of these miniature They’re real! double the lip is loaded in a reflective fun-sized retractable twist-up tube with a net weight of 0.75 g / 0.02 oz (S$51 / S$12.75 each) vis-à-vis the 1.5 g / 0.5 oz of product contained in every single (S$35). If my math doesn’t fail me (because not all Asians are math prodigies 🙃), this set should be cheaper by more than S$6 per gram. But the price was further marked down for me (at 20% off!) because this was purchased at a Sephora private sale not too long ago.
Since these lipsticks serve primarily as a sneak preview of the actual product, don’t expect them to last an eternity. Each bullet measures only about 1.5 cm (approximately 0.6 inches) long when twisted up to its maximum length which, with daily use, should deplete within 2 months. But the good news is that there are four lipsticks in every set, so you get four times the maximum length of use 😭
Truth be told, for a lipstick that promises visibly fuller and sexier-looking lips after usage, I was not entirely pleased with the swatches. They appear too muted to achieve that sort of result and will most likely not show as prominently on darker skin tones. But until I tried them on my lips, I thought I should give them the benefit (no pun intended) of the doubt. Body chemistry works in mysterious ways and for all you know, they might turn out differently upon skin contact. So let’s see…
At the time of trial, my lower lip was still recovering from a scab (blame my itchy fingers) which I would be using as a means to assess the opacity and consistency of the lipsticks. Ha, striking while the iron is hot 😝
#1 Flame Game
Flame Game is described as a fiery orange-red. It is a brightened, medium orange with red undertones which complements Asian skin tone (even those with olive and dark skin) very well. It has a satin finish and glides on the lips with some tug, leaving an uneven and streaky payoff which becomes more conspicuous after several hours of wear. It offers medium pigmentation with a slight sheen. Although sheer, it is buildable to a semi-opaque coverage. The product settles into my lip lines and around my scab while accentuating other imperfections of my lips but generally it feels hydrating and lightweight. The lip liner, however, camouflages into the main colour and cannot really be seen.
#2 Pink Thrills
Pink Thrills is described as a real pink or to be more precise, a very flattering shade of cool muted pink which lends the lips a soft, diffused look. Lightweight, it has more of a matte finish to it with very minimal shine. This shade is slightly drying so it glides on the lips with some tug. It does not discernibly settle into my lip lines but does bunch up at some edges of my scab, though not as pronounced as Flame Game. It has medium pigmentation with mostly sheer coverage that lends a more seamless colour payoff and the lip liner is also noticeable enough to give the lips some depth. This shade leaves an unattractive ring around the edges of my lips after about five hours of wear.
#3 Revved-Up Red
Revved-Up Red is described as a cherry red. It is a muted cool red with pink undertones and has a satin finish with a soft sheen and a creamier, stain-like consistency. It applies with some tug and although the lip liner appears a lot darker than the main colour on the bullet, it does not translate into the desired ombre appearance on the lips. In fact, it looks a tone lighter close up which doesn’t quite does it job in defining the lips. The product settles slightly into lip lines but not as noticeably around my scab. It has medium pigmentation with some patchiness and is mostly sheer but buildable to a low-medium coverage. This shade, on the overall, feels hydrating and lightweight but budges upon contact with water and food, leaving with just a hint of colour.
#4 Lusty Rose
Lusty Rose is described as a rosy neutral. It is a muted cool mauve with pink undertones – the most flattering MLBB shade in the set which, I feel, goes well with any skin tone. This shade gives the lips a sophisticated look without appearing too overdone, making it perfect for any occasion – be it making a quick run to the grocery store or work. It has more of a matte finish to it with a soft sheen but like the other shades, it also applies with some tug.
Out of all four shades, this is perhaps the only one with a visibly deeper liner colour (I mean, it’s rather telling just by looking at the swatch) that contrasts enough again the main colour to give that intended depth. It has medium pigmentation and a medium-but-buildable coverage that enables it to conceal my scab entirely with a layer of solid colour. It has a slightly patchy consistency and feels slightly drying and heavier as compared to the other shades so you may need to exfoliate before application. Still, it is comfortable to wear and is also probably the only shade that lives up to the 8-hour longevity claim (but with some flakiness). Hands down, Lusty Rose is my top pick from this set and I’m already planning on getting the full size once I exhaust this.
All in all, if you take Benefit’s over-the-top guarantees with a pinch of salt (if you’ve been a Benefit user long enough, you’d be familiar with their marketing style so this is nothing out of the ordinary 😅), this set actually makes a pretty good and worthwhile buy. The colour selection is very varied and wearable in my opinion, and the compact and handy size also makes it convenient to carry in your pocket or purse wherever you go. I recommend getting it if you’re not ready to commit to the full-size version, or if you want more bang for your buck while still being able to try out more colours from this range.
What do you think about this new lipstick kit by Benefit? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or take a quick poll!
Thanks for reading!