Max Factor Marilyn Monroe Lipsticks: Review & Swatches

Red lipstick is always a good idea in my book.  I often compare the experience of wearing one to a pair of killer heels; somehow elevating from the outside in, adding a spring to my step that's particularly welcome in January.

Max Factor has released a new collection of four Marilyn Monroe inspired red lipsticks, designed to suit every skin tone, thanks to undertones of orange, blue and purple.

If you've always wanted to wear a red lip, this is a great place to start. Not only can they be matched to your colouring, but they are unusually wearable for a red lipstick. Grapeseed, avocado butter and light reflecting pigments deliver a lightweight, nourishing formula that can be applied semi-sheer or built up for a more intense look.

This took me completely by surprise as I'm used to red lipstick that's either heavily pigmented (most of them) or properly sheer for a wash of colour. This lies somewhere in between, making these perfect for both beginners and regulars. Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wishy washy about the pigmentation, I'm just noting that it can absolutely be built in layers, making it a lot less daunting than most. Just me who usually has to psyche myself up before going in with a red bullet?!

The formula is lightweight and moisturising; I'm not scared to eat in these and the colour doesn't migrate on me, even without lip liner. The finish is sheeny at first and the colour wears nicely, leaving an allover stain rather than a dark outline. Two layers, blotting and another layer gives me decent wear time.


These are swatched in order of shades 1,2,3,4 from the bottom up and each swatch is 2-3 passes of colour.

1. Marilyn Ruby Red - the original shade loved by Marilyn, this is a bold, true red and the one that suits me best. The most neutral of all four shades, I'd choose this if you're unsure which would work best for you.

2. Marilyn Sunset Red - an orange red for warm or olive skin tones.

3. Marilyn Berry - this has blue undertones to complement pale or cool complexions. I assumed this would work best on me but found Ruby Red more flattering.

4. Marilyn Cabernet - a rich deep red with purple undertones for darker skins. Again, I was really drawn to this and assumed I'd find it flattering, but the thinking behind these shades clearly works as it wasn't so good on me.

Saying that, there are no rules here and the rest of your makeup, hair colour etc will affect how each shade looks, so go with whichever you prefer. While I wasn't matched on counter for these, I do find the girls on my local Boots Max Factor counter particularly helpful (and non intimidating!) if you do need some advice.

I snapped these on my phone this morning to give you an idea of how the product looks applied. 

Left in glasses, wearing one layer of Ruby Red #1; Right, wearing two layers. The sun also came out for the second pic (a minute later), slightly annoying but at least you can see the sheen!

See what I mean about how versatile these are? One layer looks everyday while two looks more made up. Ok, enough raving already...

 Max Factor Marilyn Monroe lipsticks are £7.99 each HERE.
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