Do you get swept up by trends? I get swept up by the “season”. (In quotation marks, because the where I’m from isn’t exactly a seasonal place. But I digress…) If I see all those gorgeous seasonal shades, I start obsessing. And even before fall officially started, I was already into the idea of the ultimate vampy lip that I have always been a little self-conscious of. Its the color that will push me to my limits, short of going all-out black. My Pick for 2016: MAC Instigator (PHP 1,000; USD 17).
Quick Specs: 3 g / 0.1 US oz ; made in Canada
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I am under the notion that it’s always better to pick a matte finish for dark lipsticks, because they tend to migrate less around the corners of the lips. In the case of Instigator, I do feel like it is okay to put on without lip liner as it stays firmly in place. The color on the center of my lips doesn’t move to the edges, either. The matte finish is neither particularly drying nor particularly moisturizing, especially when compared to MAC retro matte lipsticks. But it’s always best to start with moisturized lips.
Instigator, described on the MAC website as a “deep blackened plum” is like the mature cousin of MAC Rebel. It is in the plum family, but smokier and more purple. It’s not as dark as Cyber, but close. I find the shade of this lipstick to be bold, bordering on editorial or Instagram makeup. And it definitely stands out on my NC15 or NC20 skin. (Again, not unlike Cyber or Antique Velvet.) It leaves a pretty plum stain, but immediate wipe-off or reapplication is still required after meals due to the lipstick ring it forms. The color held steady after 3 hours, the length of time before I usually eat. I experienced no fading, but the lipstick isn’t transfer-proof.
Verdict: Instigator gives me vintage vibes, kind of like in the 20’s and 30’s when everything was sepia or black and white. That’s how I pair my palette to match it. I go for lots of browns and nudes. It can also take on a gothic look when paired with smokey black eyes. So that’s why I think this shade is quite versatile, albeit challenging. If you are ready to take on the seriously deep or vampy, go ahead and give Instigator a swatch.