Alright chickadees, let’s settle something up front: I know that a lot of people dislike Jeffree Star for all kinds of reasons, and that’s fine. I’ve done a lot of research on him and his brand over the years, I’ve flipped and I’ve flopped about whether or not I was going to review his brand or purchase his products, and while I’m currently willing to purchase from Jeffree Star Cosmetics, that doesn’t mean that I’m not aware of his problematic past and all of that is stuff that could be discussed and rehashed in a separate forum. So many people will “critique” a brand but their only contribution is “X is a terrible person”; while that may be true, it has nothing to do with the quality of the products. If we’ve learned anything from JK Rowling in the last year, it’s that shitty human beings can create great products. That’s right, Potterheads: I said it and I meant it. This post is going to review some new JSC products and talk about their quality, not about the owner of the brand. We good on this?
Now that I’ve alienated pretty much my entire audience, for anyone who is left, let’s get started! I’ve picked up a few things from Jeffree Star Cosmetics’ most recent launches and I can’t help but wonder…
Guuuurl – are you ok?!
First, I picked up 10 shades of their latest lip formula, Supreme Gloss. This is a highly pigmented gloss, not quite a liquified lipstick but definitely not sheer. There were 28 shades, and I decided to try some of the light and bright shades, a few reds and pinks, one nude, and one black. Let’s dive into these first, and then we’ll talk about the latest collection.
Before we even get into the swatches, let’s talk about the doe foot applicator on these. Jesus H. Christ on a cracker, I hate that applicator, and let me tell you why. In the reveal video, Jeffree talked about how it had a tulip shape that helps bring more product out of the tube. Great. But it’s also asymmetrical as fuck. And you know what is basically symmetrical? Your fucking MOUTH! I’m not claiming to be a guru makeup artist or anything, and I have enough challenges trying to get lips that look even from side to side, but this made it almost impossible. On one side, the product glides on smooth and even…which is great, if you can ensure that people only ever see you in a strict 90 degree profile at all times. You can turn the applicator to use the same side, but that gives a much more rounded shape, or you can try to use the back, but that will rub away some of the product you’ve already applied and leave bald patches. And because it’s such a fussy formula, I was still having to dunk in 4, 5, even 6 times to get my lips fully coated and even. That applicator is straight up trash.
For swatches, I used the applicator and fussed to get the best look that I could. Arm swatches are first, with lip swatches following. The top photo is under my studio lighting with no flash, and the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
L to R: No Apologies, Blue Balls, Gloss’d In Paradise, Urethra, Blow My Candles
No Apologies is a gorgeous blue-leaning purple. Blue Balls is a bright medium cyan blue. Gloss’d In Paradise is a Tiffany blue turquoise. Urethra is a sheer pale yellow. Blow My Candles is a peachy nude that is very close to my skintone (I’m a light leaning to medium with pink undertones, Fair Lady T3C in Uoma Beauty Foundation and 3.5 in Naked All Nighter).
L to R: Weirdo, Red Affair, Pink Vault, Blood Sugar, Watermelon Soda
Weirdo is a glossy vinyl black. Red Affair is a rich blue-toned cherry red. Pink Vault is an electric fuchsia pink. Blood Sugar is another cool-toned red, a little lighter and leaning a little more pink. Watermelon Soda is a bright coral pink.
Let’s get into these lip swatches. I did foundation around my mouth and then wiped foundation off my lips themselves to as close as possible appriximate the conditions under which I would use them. I don’t often do lip swatches, but I thought it was important for these.
No Apologies looks a bit more purple on the lips, though it still has a strong blue undertone. I was able to get pretty good opacity with this, though you can kind of see some streakiness around the edges where it came in contact with the foundation. This was one of the better shades in the bunch.
Blue Balls is one of the more inconsistent shades, and while I’m used to blue glosses being somewhat sheer and temperamental, I feel like this one went above and beyond! It looks goopy on the lips, and it’s definitely thicker than I would have expected. All of these glosses have a little bit of a mousse-y texture that is decidedly un-gloss-like and the smell is a little too thick and cloying; there were times where it felt like rubbing margarine on my lips.
Gloss’d In Paradise has ok opacity, but this is one of the shades that tends to settle and get pushed to the edge of the lips, and it’s hard to get full coverage on the inner part of the lip. It’s a pretty color, and with one this light and bright I’m not surprised to see some inconsistency.
Yikes. Say what you want about Jeffree’s choice of shade names, calling this Urethra isn’t even close to the worst thing about this product. It’s gloppy and clumps up like a muthafucka, and it’s impossible to get an even application. This is the best I could get it, after more than 5 minutes of applying, finessing, reapplying, etc. I have a very small bump on my lower lip that you can see in the left side of the pictures. A lot of the glosses emphasized this bump, but this shade made it look like a crater. I hate this so much.
Brief diversion: I wanted to see if I could make this shade at all presentable by wearing it over another lip color. In the top left photo, I mixed up a custom light yellow lip color using the yellow and white shades in the Makeup By Mario custom Lip Palette (review coming soon!) and in the bottom left I put on Honey Mustard liquid lipstick from Coloured Raine. The top photo right over the Makeup By Mario is better but still not great. I don’t know that this is going to be great over a traditional lipstick. The best result was paired with the liquid lipstick. The gloss does reactivate the liquid lipstick formula, and things get a bit goopy, but the coverage is there so if you are really wanting to make this work I would suggest finding a yellow or white liquid lipstick to wear this over and hope for the best.
Blow My Cnadles is a pale peachy nude that is close to my skintone. It’s not so pale that it gives me corpse lips, but it’s inconsistent enough that it just sort of makes my lips look…raggedy? I mean, even more raggedy than usual. It’s a nice color that I could see wearing over a nude liquid lipstick a la Urethra, but it’s a little odd on its own. Which is a shame because this one was one of the slicker shades in the bunch and went on a little easier than the others.
Weirdo is a nice black vinyl look, and when you can get the full benefit of the applicator, it’s a gorgeous color. But the other side of my lips, where the applicator didn’t lay nicely, looks like a faded charcoal gray. Again, perfect for anyone that can guarantee they are only viewed in extreme profile, but for those of us that exist in all three dimensions simultaneously, this one is bound to disappoint unless worn with something underneath to reinforce the black.
Red Affair is a gorgeous red, and one of the best shades in the mix. It’s still a pain to apply with that fucking applicator (no, I will NEVER not be salty about this!) but the color is much more consistent and very opaque. This is definitely a favorite, and I used this in the WandaVision Face Friday look from a couple of weeks ago.
Pink Vault is a bright pink that is fairly pigmented and mostly consistent, though it does tend to collect on the edge of the lips. In general, the pinks and reds were the best of the group that I bought. This is nice, but it’s going to be much better with a liner on the lips or over a liquid lipstick. It’s just too messy on its own.
Red Affair is a gorgeous cool red, and I love it…at least, I love half of it. Again, because of the applicator, I get amazing coverage and color on the left side of the pic that I just couldn’t replicate on the right side of the pic. Maybe if you used the applicator to put some on your hand or on a palette and painted it on with a lip brush? That’s one way that you could do it, but it’s a lot of work for something that’s nice, but not nicer than other products that will give you a similar look with much less work.
I love the color on Watermelon Soda, but when you can get this exact same shade in a liquid lipstick…just, why? This shade tends to get clumpy and settles around the edges of the lips, although the pigmentation was easier to even out from one side to the other than other shades.
I get that pigmented glosses are still super in right now (even with the need to continue masking in public…IN THIS ECONOMY?!) and this is on trend with that, but that’s it’s biggest downfall: there are many other brands that you can get pigmented glosses that are slicker, more glossy, less clumpy, and that have applicators that you can actually use. I never tell people how to spend their money, but I definitely can’t recommend these glosses. Even if you are a gloss person (which I generally am not) the work involved in getting a decent application is a lot. This isn’t a grab-n’go gloss by any means. If you have a lot of time and don’t mind fussing and fighting, and you can re more about getting the final look exactly how you want, these could be for you? I mean, good for you, Miss Patience & Fortitude.
So the glosses range from unimpressive to straight up trash – but let’s talk about the absolute the absolute fucking clownery that is the latest Jeffree Star Cosmetics release: Blood Sugar…again?!
I just had to link the video to the collection reveal so you could see the fuckery for your own damn selves. First up is the Blood Sugar palette, the same palette that was launched three years ago. What’s the twist? It’s not in white packaging with red lettering instead of red with white. Jeffree himself calls out in the video that the white packaging is going to get dirty pretty much immediately, and has the audacity to refer to it as a “display piece.” Ummm, what the actual fuck? So you’re trying to sell me the EXACT palette that you sold me three years ago, except you’ve updated the packaging so that I can’t use it without it getting immediately filthy, and you would like fifty two of my American dollars for this? I know this is a loaded question here, but…ARE YOU HIGH?
The mini palette is just as bad. I generally like the mini palettes. I thought the Mini Orgy was a nice complement to the mattes of the larger palettes, and I think the Mini Breaker is one of the most coherent color stories offered by the brand. But instead of making an interesting extension of the Blood Sugar palette, they took EIGHT GODDAMN SHADES from the original palette, with one new shade, a deep red shimmer, plunked in the middle of that mess.
I mean, I wish I could be in the room sometimes, and just hear how these decisions are made.
Before we get to the two items I did pick up, we can mention the red lipstick vault. There are 16 new shades, which I guess is better than what happened with the palettes, but you still have to buy that monster collection, and I feel like the shades in his minis dry out much faster than the full size. If you don’t have any of these shades already and you just want to play – and you have the exorbitant price tag – then go ahead and indulge, but not in this household.
The mirror is a cute design, but I have a lot of these mirrors – seriously, an unhealthy amount! – and this one feels cheaper and flimsier than every other mirror in my collection. It’s one of the soft touch; I have three other soft touch mirrors (the light green leaf, the green blood money logo, and the holiday tie dye look) and none of them feel as thin as these, and the soft touch is way less smooth. If I’m being generous, I guess I could assume that the process to do the color fade requires a slightly different material, but this wasn’t an issue with the tie dye mirror, so I’m not sure that’s it. I think there is something else at work here…but we’ll get to that after we swatch out the highlighter palette!
If I can have another moment to be petty, JStar has the continued audacity to claim that people have been asking him to put himself on more of his packaging. Look, creit where credit is due: Jeffree Star’s promo images are generally hot fire, and they are really well produced. And if you want to put yourself on your packaging, just do it. That’s the joy of owning your own brand. But can we stop with this narcissistic fantasy that people are begging you to put your face on more things? Okay? Perfect, thanks.
I definitely think of this more as a glowy blush palette, but the lightest and maybe even the bright pick shades are probably light enough to be a highlight on my skintone. I don’t love the Skin Frost formula (especially compared to his other two formulas, the Supreme Frost and Extreme Frost), but it’s serviceable and I did really like this selection of shades. I decided to swatch these over bare skin; normally I try to do cheek products over foundation to better simulate use, but I was in a hurry. Lighting is the same as described above.
L to R: Icing IV, Candy Frost
Icing IV is a pretty yellow gold shimmer with some pink reflect. It’s like a lot of the candlelight shades that I love, but it has that added pink element that is really beautiful. Candy Frost is a gorgeous blue-toned bubblegum pink with a pale golden shimmer mixed in. This is another gorgeous shade, like Barbie’s dream highlighter!
L to R: Rose Cold, Frozen Prick
Rose Cold is a rosey brown shade with some pink reflect. This one is probably the most neutral of the shades, though it does have a nice shine to it. But you could easily blend this into a peach or browned pink blush and glow it up. Frozen Prick is the reason that I wanted the palette! It’s a bright coral red base with a bright orange reflect. This looks like it’s going to be a gorgeous complement to the deepest shade in the Trixie Cosmetics Mod About You palette (Review HERE if you missed it!) and I can’t wait to use them together. This is very bright when applied witha finger, but diffuses nicely, so don’t be intimidated looking at it in the pan.
Alright, so the palette seems to be a banger, but it’s the one bright spot in a truly dismal release.
Now, let’s all put on our tinfoil hats and try to figure out what’s going on at Jeffree Star Cosmetics.
I know that ever since Becca Cosmetics announced that they will be closing for good in September, it’s become every “beauty guru’s” favorite thing to predict that every brand that they don’t like or use is going under any minute. I’m not there. Jeffree Star is still buying ranches in Wyoming and showing off that flex culture that made me unsub from his channel a long ways back. But if we look at the brand’s releases over the last year, I think we can see some obvious cracks in the usually flawless facade.
First, look at the Mystery Boxes: the “exclusive” items have been really sad in the last few sets of boxes, and they are almost exclusively merch items. In fact, if we look at the Blood Sugar anniversary collection, that almost feels more like a merch drop than a legit product release – I mean, they only formulated one new shade of eyeshadow and four shades of highlighter. The Halloween boxes had one cosmetic item that was a lip balm that clearly was packaged to be part of the Cremated collection (which was launched early on in the pandemic, before businesses really had a handle on how the pandemic was going to impact production, shipping, order fulfillment, etc.). Second, we’ve been seeing lots of re-releases of products. This plays on nostalgia and can catch people who felt FOMO over palettes that were discontinued, but no new development is required. Also, packaging overall has taken a dip over the last year. Blood Money got the full trunk treatment (and it really was beautiful – check out my REVIEW if you want to know my full thoughts) but we’re seeing a lot more of the standard cardboard packaging (Cremated, Orgy, Mini Orgy, and the new Mini Blood Sugar). Third, compare the packaging between the original The Gloss and the new Supreme Gloss. And yes, stans, I know that he explained in the video that he wanted a sleeker, more sophisticated look, and that could really be the driving force, but on the other hand, no one is going to come on YouTube and say, “Well, things are getting a bit tight and I didn’t want to cut into my Birkin budget, so we dumbed these down!” The re-release of the Lip Ammunition lipsticks had a decent packaging upgrade, but the things that are more lux almost serve as the exceptions that prove the rule: quality of packaging and presentation has been taking a dip from the brand over the last year.
If you’ve stuck with me this far, you’re probably saying: so what?! Why does this matter?
Well, to me it matters because people like me – people who aren’t relentless JStar stans but have continued to shop from the brand despite the reservations we have – have stuck around because in the past, the one thing we could count on from this brand was quality. The aesthetic might not be for you and some things do toe the line of tacky (I’m thinking of The Gloss and the Magic Star Concealers) but there was a feeling of quality from almost everything. The plastics were heavy and sturdy, hardware was good quality, and the products were pigmented easy to use. But with this drop in packaging, and especially the performance of these new glosses, I’m starting to wonder if the quality can be maintained. Is it cancel culture finally coming to call, is it the global shitshow we’re all still living through more than a year later, some combination of the two, or maybe even other factors that we don’t know about?
It’s hard to say, but it does make me much less likely to jump into purchasing a new release if I have any suspicions that the quality is going to be dodgy. And if the brand really is declining in sales, a big loss in the non-stans is going to just make a big problem bigger.