Can Revlon be saved?

Originally posted: April 10, 2021

I dashed into my local Rexall the other day to grab a few adhesive bandages to heal the wounds caused by bad hand eye coordination while cooking.

I passed by the Revlon counter and I came across a few relatively new products that they’ve released (they were released a year ago in the US). I had watched WSJ’s video on “How Revlon lost its Lustre” on YT and I was curious to see if Revlon was successful in their final stab at relevance before giving up. A beautiful swan song if you will. I picked up a few products that were attractive and decided to try them.

My experience with Revlon

Revlon seems to be a 70’s favorite. I say ‘seems’ because I haven’t lived in 70’s nor was I born in it. But my mom used Maybelline and Revlon makeup back in the day – the cake mascara, the thick eye liner, the layers of foundation and powder, the whole 9 yards. But back then there wasn’t much competition, just Maybelline and Max Factor in the Drugstore category.

I’ve used Revlon before because I bought Pink in the Afternoon in the mistaken belief that it was the lipstick Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (Sidebar: Come on Lisa Eldridge, release the Kracken… I mean the lipstick. Don’t tease us any more, re-release Go-lightly). I had tried the Revlon quads and even bought the Revlon pot shadow aka ColorStay Creme in Pistachio and I was disappointed by the quality. They weren’t pigmented and the pot shadow would just slide off my oily shadow without primer.

So when I came across the bright colors and the flashy highlighter, I had to try the new releases.

The New Releases

I did a sweep of the Revlon aisle at Rexall and picked up products that caught my eye. I’ve included the price in CAD without tax. Remember, I hadn’t watched a review before I purchased these products, so they’re truly an impulse purchase.

  1. So Fierce Prismatic Eyeshadow palette in 964 Clap Back – 14.49
  2. Revlon Skin Lights Prismatic Highlighter in 201 Daybreak Glimmer – 15.99
  3. Super Lustrous Matte Lipstick in 004 Wild Thoughts – 9.99 (Discount of 2$, Originally 11.99)
  4. Colorstay Satin Ink Liquid Lipcolor 020 On a Mission – 15.99

Here’s a deep dive into the products I purchased:

So Fierce Prismatic Eyeshadow palette in 964 Clap Back

The eyeshadow looked very pretty in the pans. They had a dotted texture on the surface and looked pigmented… emphasis on looked. The product is made in Italy and none of the shadows have names, so I’m going to call them Shimmer Beige, Semi-Matte Dark Brown, Shimmer Navy Blue and Shimmer Lavender.

When I call these shadows shimmer shadows, they’re more like a hybrid of shimmer and glitter. The size of the shadow particles are larger than shimmer but smaller than true glitter. The Shimmer Beige and Lavender caused fallout. They aren’t very pigmented and need to be built up. I would suggest using a setting spray or a glitter glue to fix that problem.

Note: The eye swatches are without a primer. The finger swatches are in the image below the highlighter section.

eye swatches
L: Shimmer Lavender | R: Shimmer Beige

  • Shimmer Beige: I was least impressed with this shadow. It was the least pigmented and not easy to work with.
  • Shimmer Lavender: This is a unique color that I haven’t seen in many or I think in any palette. I think I’ve seen something similar to this in maybe an ABH palette. To me, this and the beige shadow – in the pan – looked similar to the Essence Melted Chrome eyeshadows. But as you can see from the swatches, the chrome shadows are so finely milled, they are blinding.

Revlon shadows vs Essence

  • Semi-Matte Dark Brown: This shadow was the easiest to work with. It’s a Semi-matte i.e. a matte with a bit of shimmer in it.
  • Shimmer Navy Blue: This shadow is such a beautiful blue color. It reminded me of the VB Lid Lustre in Midnight; this is the closest shadow to that Lid Lustre (apart from Bobbi Brown’s Gemstone Shadow in Royal Sapphire). I struggled with this shadow a bit because I tried to use water to build it up. My makeup skills aren’t great; a person with decent skills should be able to make this work.

eye swatches
L: Shimmer Navy Blue | E: Semi-Matte Dark Brown

Revlon Skin Lights Prismatic Highlighter in 201 Daybreak Glimmer

The highlighter looked so pretty in the pan and when you buff it into the skin it looks almost metallic. The problem is, it looks like Revlon turned up the pigmentation to a 100 and then turned it down to make it wearable. That’s the impression I get with the eyeshadows too.

It is a shimmery highlighter so it does emphasize texture. They have 3 shades in the range but this was the only shade available at my local Rexall. This shade is the best for light skin and if I were impressed with the highlighter, I would’ve considered picking up the rose gold shade. While I liked the design of the highlighter, I didn’t find it particularly outstanding. I don’t think it’s worth the price. It reminded me of the ABH Amrezy highlighter though. The highlighter is made in Italy

Finger Swatches

Super Lustrous Matte Lipstick in 004 Wild Thoughts

The packaging on this one is beautiful! The lipstick tube has a fun velvet matte texture, and the black and the gold color combination makes it look and feel luxurious. The shade card in the store and the sticker on the lipstick, were inaccurate and I thought I chose a dark pink lipstick but it turned out to be almost nude. The matte was comfortable and it reminded me of Lisa Eldridge and Urban Decay Vice lipsticks. I had to build up the pigmentation but I prefer that in my lipsticks. Like most matte lipsticks it grabbed onto dry parts of my lips. Surprisingly, this lipstick lasted the entire day! I wore it under a mask and I ate with it on, and it lasted so long. I’m impressed.

The lipstick is made in US with US and Non-US components

Colorstay Satin Ink Liquid Lipcolor 020 On a Mission

Something is up with Revlon’s shade cards. In the bottle, the shade looked like a warm red but it turned out to be more of a strawberry red. These liquid lipsticks were the most impressive of the collection – it lasted an entire day without moving. I would use a lipliner next time because it does move around when you apply. The glossy veneer doesn’t last the entire day and fades to a pigmented lip stain. The color stays put the entire day.

Remember to use a lip scrub to remove the dry skin, else the liquid lip grabs at the dry skin flakes.

Satin Ink reminds me of the UD Vice Wired liquid lipsticks in the way they fade to a beautiful pigmented lip stain. If you missed out on the Wired lipsticks, you need to pick this up.

The shades available in the US seem to be a bit different from what is available in Canada, but there are some overlaps. There was no mention of where it is made. has some lip swatches:

Final thoughts

Overall, the packaging and the design of the collection is A+. I loved the lip products, but the highlighter is a pass. The eyeshadows were a 50-50. As I mentioned earlier, it looks like Revlon turned down the pigmentation on their powder products.

What would I repurchase?

I’d definitely buy the liquid lip color. If you can’t afford to purchase a high-end lipstick like UD or Lisa Eldridge, you should pick this up instead because it is a very good dupe.

I don’t regret buying the eyeshadow palette because of the blue and the lavender. I love that blue and I’m going to try and use it again. Would I recommend it? Yes, but only if you have decent makeup application skills and the patience to work them. If you’ve been eyeing the VB Lid Lustre in Midnight this is a decent dupe. It’s not an exact dupe; this eyeshadow is a bit more purple.

I don’t understand what Revlon’s differentiator is. Apart from the liquid lipstick, nothing in the collection is revolutionary enough for the consumer to pick Revlon over others. I don’t understand their positioning and pricing strategy either. All the products were expensive and not drugstore prices.

I think Revlon should lean into their history. Maybe, release a best of the 70’s collection with a limited edition bright 70’s packaging but with updated formula. And while they’re at it, they should do a better job of messaging.

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