So, I was going to call it quits on the whole Pat McGrath Labs limited release free-for-all thing this time round and not buy Lust 004. I mean, we started at ‘Batch: Gold 001,’ so at what point does it end? ‘Batch: Ecstasy 999?’ Thats more product than even I can handle.
I had told myself I wasn’t going to buy into the hype. The stress of camping out on a website that keeps breaking down on release day and the expense of express international shipping is just not worth it. That is, until I wandered on to Instagram and Ms McGrath had posted this shot of Naomi Campbell wearing lips like Dorothy’s Slippers (if Dorothy wore McQueen’s rather than Mary Janes).
I bought into the hype.
It took literal seconds for me to dig out my credit card, head to patmcgrath.com and check out with Vermillion Venom in my cart.
HOLY HELL. Nevermind about Phantom 002 and Skin Fetish 003. Lust 004 is where its at! I can’t believe I nearly let myself miss out on this one. The product releases just keep getting better and better!
I am a self confessed makeup collector, but I actually see myself wearing Lust 004. Glitter lips are surprisingly wearable! Lust 004 is possibly McGrath’s only launch where you don’t have to be a professional to use it and make the product look good. I am clearly not a makeup artist, photographer or model. Somehow, a statement lip is a lot easier to pull off than a magenta eye or slicked glossy skin.
So what can you do with Lust 004? Well, I’ve been having some fun playing with it over the last two weeks, recording the fruits of my labour in different lighting and taking some notes on the formulas. (Click the images to view the gallery in full size and if you are interested in the whole unboxing experience including on-arm swatches, you can view that here)
How To Wear Lust 004: Vermillion Venom
Look 1: Vinyl Nude
Featuring: Clear Vinyl Gloss
The formula: Is it bad that in a kit of so many spectacular looking goodies its the clear gloss that I love the most? Well, I do. For a multitude of reasons.
The formula is unscented and has ZERO taste. I absolutely can not stand lip glosses that are scented/flavoured (Buxom) or leave you with that weird chemically after taste in the back of your throat (Lancome and Estee Lauder I’m looking at you!). This gloss is exactly what it says it is, with no extra surprises.
That is, no extra surprises, other than its MAJOR plumping and smoothing ability! I’ve had chronically dry flakey lips since the day I was born. Do they look dry or flakey here? No! They look as smooth and as shiny as glass. And I have to add, they look plumper here than they did when I was half my age.
I suspect this is because the formula is so thick and unctuous it physically builds out your lips about a millimetre. You feel as though you are actually sculpting new lip contours when you apply with a lip brush. Also handy for smoothing over the gritty texture of glitter – see below for more on that.
Love. This. Gloss.
How to get the look: This couldn’t be an easier look. Its just gloss. I will confess that I did use a lip liner close to the natural colour of my lips (MAC Dervish) before I slicked them with the Clear Vinyl Gloss.
I’m in my mid 30s and as I’ve gotten older the colour has slowly started disappearing from the outer edge of my lips. So I colour them back in. To be clear, I’m not overdrawing or exaggerating the outline of my mouth. I’m following the natural contour adding the colour back where it once was.
I also wasn’t sure if the gloss was very fluid and going to bleed out into my skin. It does. Lip liner is necessary. The longer I wore the red lips (further below) applied without liner and with the gloss on top, the bigger the outline of my lips got. So, build a dam with your liner, then flood with gloss. Use a lip brush to build up the density but maintain a crisp outline.
Look 2: Gilt Nude
Featuring: Metallic Gold Pigment
The formula: It looks like a finely milled gold pigment, but what it really is is magic. When this stuff settles onto the Clear Vinyl Gloss some kind of voodoo happens. What was once a glass like surface turns into white hot molten metal. You really need to see this stuff in action, and you can right here.
Disturb that mirrored surface though and the magic spell is broken. The bright shine of liquid gold darkens and dulls. This makes it a challenge to work with. I can see its uses with editorial photography and catwalk shows where the effect does not have to last for more than a moment. This is not something you could wear on your lips and chat and eat and drink – or even just press your lips together.
How to get the look: Here I’ve built on the previous look by adding a random dusting of the gold pigment over the clear gloss on my top and bottom lips at the inner edge. Take a fluffy blending brush (I used a MAC 217) and dip it into the loose Metallic Gold Pigment. Tip your head back and tap the ferrule to create fall out that will settle on to the gloss and perform its magic trick. For a look that might last a little longer, apply the affect to the outside edge of your lips before applying your base makeup (you will need to clean up a lot of ‘over spray’). That way pressing your lips together won’t disturb the gold effect.
Look 3: Lips Like Ruby Slippers
Featuring: Venom 1 Lipstick & Venom Microfine Glitter
The formula: Venom 1 is not your ordinary red lipstick. Not too yellow, not too blue, the truest of True Reds. It’s intensely pigmented, yet doesn’t stain. It’s perfectly matte, but also very comfortable, smooth to apply and non-drying. And for a matte lipstick, its strangely luminous. It amplifies the contours of your lips by somehow bouncing light from its velvety surface. Its a delicious conundrum.
Venom Microfine Glitter is the same perfect true red with absolutely no colour variation. Its sparkle doesn’t really come out to play until it captures the light in a dimly lit space. The darker the room the better.
While its texture is superfine and undetectable to your fingertips on your lips, with all their sensitive nerve endings, it can still feel a little gritty.
How to get the look: While I didn’t use a lip liner, I really wish I had. If you opt for a matte version of this look (e.g. sans Clear Vinyl Gloss) then the coloir shouldn’t travel too much. So, if using gloss, outline lips first and fill in with Venom 1 Lipstick using a lip brush to maintain a neat outline. The lips brush does double duty. Now that it is tacky from the lipstick it will pick up more glitter and drop a whole lot less fall out. Use you lip brush to pat pat pat the glitter into place. You want to pack on more than you think you need. Subtly is not the idea here.
Use scotch tape to pickup and remove any glitter fall out. Follow up with a small brush and concealer, using them like a magic eraser to clean up any lipstick that has migrated.
Then, with a clean lip brush, gently lay a thick coat of gloss over the glitter, sealing it in place without disturbing it.
And go find yourself a dimly lit corner from which to mesmerise your victims with your hypnotic glimmering.
Look 4: Burnished Vamp
Featuring: Venom 2 Lipstick
The formula: Venom 2 Lipstick is the same kind of creamy, yet matte, intense but non-staining formula as Venom 1. This time though, the colour is a deep raisin brownish red. The kind I’d imagine on a silent-movie era flapper. The right mix of gothic, vintage and chic. Surprisingly, it does not make your lips look thinner.
How to get the look: Similar to Look 2, but with Venom 2 Lipstick layered on first. And again, I’d recommend lip pencil, although i did not wear it here.
Follow with Clear Vinyl Gloss. Then a dusting of Metallic Gold Pigment. Here I only applied the gold to my lower lip. The longer I wore this, the more diffuse the gold spatter pattern became. You can see in the pictures the gold seems to have taken a different shape every time I took a photo like it was continually moving and remixing on my lower lip.
This is the stuff of dark stormy nights, firelight and glamour of the Old World kind…
Lust 004 in Vermillion Venom – in all its incarnations (Singles, Kits, ‘Everything’) – is now completely sold out on both patmcgrath.com and Sephora.
BUT, if you’re a fan, then I highly recommend you register your details here because hints are already dropping on social media that a Silver pigment, partner to Gold 001, will be releasing soon. And lets face it, despite my best intensions to not get caught up in it all, I know I’ll be camping out online with the best of them refreshing my screen and waiting for the minute hand to drop.