Indie Friday: Portland Black Lipstick Company (review & swatches) | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

06 December, 2013

Indie Friday: Portland Black Lipstick Company (review & swatches)

Bought It

So today I'm really excited to introduce a new series on HelloPrettyBird: Indie Fridays! I haven't decided yet if this will become a weekly or fortnightly feature, but going forward I'll being doing regular posts focusing on smaller, independent purveyors of goods and their wares (or just general information about indie cosmetics). You can expect to see a lot of makeup and fragrance in particular because that's what I tend to buy for myself, but perhaps I'll branch out a bit if another type of indie company strikes my fancy. :P

For my first-ever Indie Friday (yay!) I'll be talking about Portland Black Lipstick Company, which makes "All-Natural Makeup For That Un-Natural Look."




One could probably guess from that company name that PBLC makes black lipstick - and that guess would be correct. But they sell about 20 other shades of lipstick in addition to black, many of which are "unusual" or at least have amusing names. You'll see what I mean in a minute. They also make some face products, but I've never tried any of them so we'll just be talking about lipstick in this post.

 Full-sized lipsticks from PBLC cost $10 for 0.15 oz and come in a lip balm-style tube like this:


Image from the Portland Black Lipstick Co. Etsy Shop


They also sell sample baggies on their website for $1 apiece, so being the wild sample-fiend that I am I decided to try out seven of their shades. I've had these in my stash since October but didn't get around to swatching them until now... oops.


Portland Black Lipstick Company samples


They also included an extra sample of one of their natural glitters. I haven't tried it yet so I can't review it, but it's always nice when companies throw in something extra to play with. Let's flip those baggies over:


Portland Black Lipstick Company samples


Product names and their descriptions from the PBLC website:

Top row:
  • Undead Red: A dark, dark red that wants to be called ‘plum’ or something

Middle row (L-R):
  • Chaiborg: This futuristic lipstick is a cross between the metallic silver gray of industrial robotics and the warm light brown of milk tea. Neither too warm nor too cold, Chaiborg is a cosmetic life form all its own!
  • Irony: The rouge to our noir, Irony is a warm, metallic, red lipstick that derives its color from cosmetic grade iron oxide red (Get it? Iron-y!! Ha!)
  • Gilded Lily: Remember your postmodern culture class? You are text, and what text couldn't benefit from some illumination? This shiny, beautiful gold will highlight your every discourse

Bottom row (L-R):
  • Black: The best ever! A perfect blend of black iron oxide and mica in a moisturizing base, this color is opaque and long-lasting 
  • Lux et Voluptas: Lux et Voluptas is a two-toned lipstick. It has a top layer of metallic gold backed by a charming carmine-based pink. It is somewhat more translucent, light and sparkly than most of our other colors, which works well for those who prefer more subtle lip wear than we usually offer. And, yes, this is a personal tribute to the restrained decadence of the 1990s, to Hakim Bey, and to this year's long awaited spring season in Portland. Look forward to the launch of our new autumnal color -- 'Nox et Veritas'!!! 
  • Indigo Bridge: This is a dark, metallic blue that verges on black


Can I just say that I love the product names and descriptions? Most of them are clever and highly amusing. Obviously the text above only represents about a third of their catalog, so I recommend checking out the rest if you're in need of a smile.

OK, so pictures of baggies are nice but sort of useless. Let's get our swatch on:


Portland Black Lipstick Company swatches
Left: Lux et Voluptas - Middle: Undead Red - Right: Irony


 All swatches photographed in indirect natural light.


Portland Black Lipstick Company swatches
Black - Indigo Bridge - Gilded Lily - Chaiborg


It looks like a got the tiniest smudge of blue on the Black swatch thanks to my messy fingers, but rest assured it is a 100% black black.

Now let's see how these look on an actual mouth. Please note: I suck at taking photos of myself, so feel free to laugh at the awkwardness. :P


L: Black - R: Undead Red


PBLC's Black shade (left) totally lives up to the hype. It's very opaque, easy to apply and not drying at all. I found it a bit fussy to apply with a lip brush, but if you have a full-sized tube that's not going to be an issue  because you can just smear it right on.

Undead Red (right) probably qualifies as one of those "fall colors" we're all been hearing so much about lately. It's sort of a plummy color with a bit of a brownish undertone... I wasn't sure if this would suit me but I think it works OK. Definitely a dramatic color, but totally wearable. Also, special cameo appearance by the new e.l.f. BB cream that doesn't really match my skintone! (I'll be posting a review of that this weekend.)


L: Lux et Voluptas - R: Indigo Bridge


Lux et Voluptas (left) is a rosy pink with a bit of gold in there, and holy shit it's pretty. It's definitely the most natural of the PBLC colors I've tried, but at the same time the gold makes it sort of unusual. This is probably the color I'd be most likely to purchase in full size.

My application of Indigo Bridge in the photo above (right) was a bit messy, but that's the fault of my shaky hands, not the product. This is a wonderfully opaque dark metallic blue - if you're fond of blue lipsticks definitely check this one out.


L: Irony - R: Gilded Lily


Irony (left) feels like a classic pinup red with a slightly goth edge to it. I love it.

Gilded Lily (right) was the only one of the PBLC shades I had trouble with... I couldn't really get it to be consistently opaque with a brush. That, and it's just not a very flattering shade for me, I think. It would probably look cool layered over something else though.


Chaiborg


Honestly, I only bought Chaiborg because the name and description made me laugh, but it turned out to be a lot more wearable than I expected. And as a bonus you get this second picture of me being a ham.



Formula and overall impressions:

The formula of Portland Black Lipstick Company's lipsticks is very smooth and - dare I say it - perhaps even a bit moisturizing? The texture is more like lip balm than traditional lipstick, and I feel like I even detected a bit of Chapstick-esque mintiness in there. In any case, they're non-drying and apply smoothly. Some of the lighter colors require a bit of building to get up to full opacity, but they don't look nasty or waxy when you do so. They also have reasonably good lasting power - I could wear all of these for a few hours before needing a touch-up. None of the shades would survive through a meal on me, but few lip products do.

I think that PBLC does "weird" colors very well, and their more traditional colors have a dark or unusual vibe that sets them apart from standard drugstore fare. Or if you just want to stick with a classic black they do that very well, so yeah.

My only complaint about PBLC is that they don't really have a comprehensive set of swatches on the site - there are pictures of people wearing some of the colors, but I don't want to know what some of the colors look like, I want to know what ALL of them look like before I choose, haha! So unless you're buying up the whole range you'll probably want to search for some other blog reviews and swatches. I recommend checking out this post at Brightest Bulb In the Box for that because she swatched all of the colors that were available as of a couple of months ago.

I think I will buy the full-sized tube of Lux et Voluptus (and perhaps some of the others) in the future, and when I'm done with my little holiday on Spending Ban Island I will probably pick up more samples as well - Difficult Island and Artificial Amethyst are calling my name.


Where to buy: You can find samples and full-sized tubes on the Portland Black Lipstick Company website, plus a limited selection of their full-sized tubes on Etsy.


Have you ever tried any lipsticks by Portland Black Lipstick Company? What are your favorite lipstick brands for crazy or unusual colors?

26 comments:

  1. I love me some black lipstick! I totally need to show this post to my cousin whose favorite matte lipstick is just about done for.

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    1. I'd say she should give it a shot... not much to lose with $1 samples!

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  2. Wow these are intense!! I don't think I can pull off the super dark colors though :S

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    1. Not sure how you feel about gold, but Lux et Voluptas is pretty subtle.

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  3. I did a post on them several months ago. I LOVE PBLC. I bought Irony, Artificial Amethyst, and Undead Red. All the colors look great on you ;)

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    1. Thanks! I will check out your post... I'm considering Artificial Amethyst as part of a future purchase. :)

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  4. I really want to try this brand out! It's on my wacky lipsticks to try list already. Chaiborg looks surprisingly good on you! It is very 90s looking though.

    http://mattekat.blogspot.ca/

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    1. That's exactly what I thought about it too, hah! I'm sort of tempted to buy it in full size but I'm not 100% sure yet. I have yet to use up my sample baggie though so there's time to decide.

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  5. If it wasn't for shipping, I'd have tried them already. Thanks for the swatches. They're lovely. Irony in particular looks like a winner. :3

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    1. It's only $3 within the US, but I can see how international shipping would be prohibitively expensive, especially for samples. I agree about Irony... I actually loved all of these except for Gilded Lily.

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  6. Beautiful colors... but sadly I am not living within US...

    I am so upset... recently I found so many brand that I want and many aren't even shipping outside of US or with damn expensive shipping fee XD

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    Replies
    1. PBLC does seem to ship internationally, but the prices are a bit expensive. Postage rates have gone up a lot in the past few years and it's now VERY expensive to ship most stuff outside North America in general, unfortunately :(

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  7. Those are actually very pretty. Your swatches almost look like shadow though, I was confused as to what post I was reading! Lux et Voluptas is probably my favorite of the bunch.

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    1. These swatches could be neater, lol. All of the lipsticks did look much "softer" on my arm than they did on my lips. I think you're right though... especially with the bottom set of swatches, because those colors look more eyeshadow-y to begin with.

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  8. Great hat! <3 I like the red one the best :)

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  9. Lux et Volupta is a beutiful shade :) I'm not really into wearing black blue or dark tones,
    The brand seems really nice tho!

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    1. I can understand, black and blue certainly aren't for everyone! Color choices aside, I'm impressed with how pigmented these lipsticks are and how comfortable they are to wear. :)

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  10. Ohh Lux et Voluptas is right up my alley. Thanks for the swatches (especially lip swatches)!

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    1. I think you would probably love it! I highly recommend picking up some samples if you have a few extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket.

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  11. these look goooood! i want to try the black

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    1. It's definitely worth a try! A lot of the other blacks I've used have applied sort of patchy but this one is pretty easy to work with.

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  12. These look really interesting. I love especially the packaging. I'll definatively have a look.

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    1. If you do end up getting some I hope you blog about it! ;)

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  13. Love this idea for a feature!! I look forward to reading more. :)

    I like Undead Red more than I thought I would. But I really like Lux et Voluptas. I would probably buy it to layer over things. I think it would add really interesting depth, especially to dark colors.

    Shani x
    http://shedreamsinperfectfrench.com

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    1. Me too! I wasn't sure if Undead Red would look good, but it actually looks sort of normal. Amazing given the name. :) I think Lux et Voluptas would be great for layering... I still have some of the sample left so I should probably experiment!

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