Ulta and Sephora have both been working to expand their brand selection over the last year or so, but I have to say: maybe it’s just because so many of the brand’s they’ve acquired were already some of my indie faves, but Ulta definitely seems to be winning. Their commitment to providing brands at all price points, rather than focusing on luxury like Sephora does, may be the key to their success, or Sephora’s close ties to troubled retailer JC Penney could also be contributing. Whatever the reason, Ulta has added some indie darlings like Juvia’s Place and Storybook Cosmetics, and now bright, highly pigmented makeup fans can rejoice: SugarPill is the newest acquisition for the beauty chain.
And with their debut, they brought out a capsule collection of three liquid lipsticks with a unique teal shift: The Arctic Sparkle Collection.
Can I just say how excited I am that cool tones are finally having a moment? After the last couple of years where every-damn-thing has been a warm neutral palette with a pop of bright color (or sometimes just the neutrals – I’m looking at you, tarte!), we are starting to see some greens and teals and turquoises (though a lot of the green releases have been yellowy, swampy greens, but it’s still a step in the right direction!).
I think that greens are going to be the trend of 2019, starting with the swampy, acid greens like the Juvia’s Place tribe palette and the Morphe 35M Boss Mood palette, but I’m hoping it will also result in some really good emeralds and kellys and grass shades as well. Maybe even a few ultra cool mint shades, like the last one on the right in the Melt Smoke sessions palette. But you heard it here first (or maybe not – a lot of people are predicting greens for 2019!).
Anyway, back to SugarPill. What I love about this collection is that all of the shades have a teal sparkle, and that the combinations are very different from what we usually see. Would I have loved a teal or a blue shade with this sparkle? Sure, but I already have their metallic liquid lip in Chill. These are much different than just pairing blue on blue on blue.
Here are the swatches in both natural and artificial light, with and without flash:
Top row: sunlight. Bottom row: artificial light.
Left: no flash. Right: with flash.
Hijinx is a bright fuchsia berry color, more purple/pink than red, and the blue definitely plays up the cool undertones of this shade. This one goes on a little patchy, and seems to maybe be a little thinner than the other two, but it doesn’t take much to finesse it into place. Sub-Zero is a pretty standard black with the teal sparkle. I didn’t try the SugarPill black shade when I was doing my black liquid lipstick Thunderdome (round 1 or 2), but I really like the way this one paints on and while I don’t know if it would have unseated either of the winners, it could have been a good contender. Vertigo is a mauve-y purple and the teal sparkle with this is the least glaring, but I think it might be my favorite. It’s still fun and unique, but that slight subtlety makes it a very surprising shade. If you’re nervous about the glitter being “too much” but still wanted to try one, this might be the shade for you. The glitter stands out much more in the other two, but with this one they coordinate a little more closely.
This type of formula has been around for a few years; the first one I remember was Jeffree Star’s Rich Blood, but there may have been others before it. Anyway, the application is pretty simple: paint it on, wait for it to dry for a couple of minutes before blotting, and then once it seems pretty well dry, press your lips together and the glitter will appear. The swatches above show the glitter after about 3 minutes of drying time and 15-20 seconds of finger manipulation to try to mimic the lip blotting. As I’ve been sitting here typing, I’ve continued to fiddle with them, and the glitter has become even more visible.
I’m getting ready to go on a low-buy year (look for a post coming soon about that!), but I wanted to snap these up right away and I have no regrets. They are shades that I don’t already have in my collection (and with the size of my collection, that’s saying something!), and SugarPill’s formula is pretty good. It’s not in my top 3 in terms of the kind of performance I need for shows and photoshoots (those would be Jeffree Star, Makeup Monsters’ mattes, and Pretty Zombie Cosmetics), but it’s pretty solid.
Now’s your chance to sound off in the comments: are you excited that SugarPill is making its way to Ulta? What products from the brand do you want to see show up next? Are there other indie, luxury, or mass market brands you’d like to see make their way to Ulta or Sephora? And which of the “big two” beauty retailers do you prefer? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!