The Cult of Ruby Woo Retro Matte Lipstick: Lip Swatch and Color Comparisons!
You know I previously posted about how I keep going back to the MAC counters to swatch Ruby Woo. (And thank you to those of you who sent me messages about how I could get it to work better!) Well, I hated the texture of those display lipsticks but I kept suspecting that they got that way because of how MAC staff sterilize their lip product by dipping them into beakers of alcohol.
Note on sterilizing lipsticks: Please, everyone, just wipe the top with a sheet of clean tissue to remove most of the dead skin cells, dust, etc that might have settled there, and then use a spray bottle to mist the top of the lipstick with alcohol (everywhere it might touch the lips). This kills the bacteria. THEN, wipe on a clean section of tissue once more to remove the last bits and the bit of lipstick at the top that might have been “changed” by the alcohol.
Don’t dunk the whole thing into alcohol because over time, that’s going to screw with the natural oils in the lipstick and change its texture.
As it turns out, I was right, and a fresh tube of Ruby Woo is NOT hard, dry, crumbly and a pain to get on. It IS more dry than MAC’s other mattes, because this is a “retro matte” texture, but I don’t find it any more drying than most mattes. It’s not as lightweight as Revlon Really Red, but I don’t really love those because they contain too much silica (what makes it more silky feeling) and aren’t as pigmented and opaque as I like. The silica and lower pigment content is also the reason why many shades go on patchy and uneven, or quickly become so as the day wears on.
To illustrate, I swatched it with 2 other of my favorite MAC reds; (L-to-R) MAC Diva, MAC Russian Red, MAC Ruby Woo.
If you’ve tried many modern matte lipsticks, you’ll know they are still quite creamy feeling since most people do not enjoy a really dry lip. On their own, they look matte, but there is still often a tiny bit of sheen when you just apply them (see Diva and Russian Red).
Well, Ruby Woo has zero sheen. It’s a true, powdery, fire-truck, red-red, as opposed to a deeper red like Russian Red. MAC describes these 2 as blue-reds, but I really beg to differ. They are red-reds, which means they lean neither towards yellow (coral undertones) nor blue (magenta undertones). This means it can appear different on different skin tones. If you’re more yellow-toned, it will look more yellow. On porcelain pink-toned skins, it will look like a blue-red.
The best thing about this lipstick is that it’s so matte but it doesn’t look dull (it looks darker in the tube than against the skin due to the natural visual contrast against skin). In fact, it almost glows and lights up the face. (I don’t wear blush with it.)
Lip swatch: MAC Ruby Woo
Tips for wear:
- Prep your lips to make sure it’s not flaky and chapped. Remove any excess lip balm prior to application.
- If you have a dark lip line, make sure to cover the lip line with a little bit of concealer or flesh-colored lip primer.
- Apply a coat (you can use a lip brush but I love just applying it straight from the tube) and gently blot. Stop right here if you just want a light layer of color.
- [Optional] Apply red lip pencil to shape and define the lip if you need.
- [Optional] Apply a second coat of Ruby Woo if you want a super-intense red lip. Blotting again at this point is optional.
You can also top it with a little clear gloss for a Maraschino cherry lip but I love how it looks matte.
One More Lipstick Tip:
All lipsticks will go on creamier and then “set” slightly more matte after a couple of hours, as the environment and your lips will draw away the emollients/oils in the product. What you’ll be left with is more pigment. Always get a slightly creamier formula than you intend as what everyone will see an hour later is different from what you see when applying.
So it may not be necessary to blot a lipstick like Ruby Woo a second time, unless it’s for the sake of making it bullet-proof (aka super-long-wearing). It will end up very matte as the day wears on.
Many people think Revlon Mattes are more moisturizing and less dry than traditional lipsticks because they apply smoother, but that’s a misconception caused by the “silky” feel of silica. If you check the ingredients list, they actually don’t contain the emollients present in most lipsticks, and contain mostly wax, silica and pigment. Combine that with the fact that silica absorbs oil, and you have lipsticks that are in fact more drying for your lips over time.
It’s a convenient (and cheap) way for companies to make something smooth and matte without having to increase the pigment content in their lipsticks.