It hit me when I was painting (penciling?) my lips with the new NARS Train Bleu Matte Velvet Lip Pencil ($24) that it was very much like the coloring exercises of yore, where we were supposed to keep within the lines at all costs. You know how your lines would be in the line, but they wouldn't be exactly right?
NARS Train Bleu Velvet Matte Lip Pencil
A seemingly straight line within a straight line - that sums up the relationship between my lips and Train Bleu. Prior to this, I've never really owned a chubby lip pencil, so I didn't think painting my underlip would be that difficult. I mean, I've grown up a fair bit since the age of five...
Apparently, age doesn't reflect coloring ability. What you see above is the result of a lot of wiping and outlining with a concealer brush, and even then I wasn't entirely happy with the results.
My lips are naturally on the dry side, which might explain the patchiness you see around the center of my lips. I believe with proper exfoliation and ample hydration, it would look much better. However, I don't think a perfectly even application is possible, since our lips have texture and the color tends to accumulate in the lines. While I advocate a good dose of lip balm before applying lip products, I wouldn't suggest a heavy hand when it comes to Train Bleu. Even with a drier surface, the color slips around the lips. I shudder to think how it'll react to a greased surface.
I should also note it took two layers of application to achieve this intensity. I couldn't leave it at one layer because it looked uneven on me.
While most matte formulas tend to exacerbate my dehydrated lips, I've had considerable success with the items from the NARS line. While I'm not fond of the Pure Matte Lipsticks and Velvet Matte Lip Pencils, I do think they're the best out of all the matte formulas I've ever tried. I'm hanging on to Train Bleu because I don't have a similar color lying around my makeup drawer, but I'm still not entirely convinced that I should.
Tip: When removing the lip color, remember to stretch your lips to get to the color that has sunken into your lip lines.