Sephora+Pantone Universe: Marsala Layering Lip Collection

It’s hard to adequately describe how excited I was about this set. I know that being excited about a nude lip set is akin to being excited about different sheets of off-white paper, but I don’t care. I spent too much of my life afraid to rock a nude lip so I have a lot of lost time to make up for. This was going to be the Naked Palette for my lips (a few of you felt that way about the Tarte Kiss & Belle set).

It’s part of Sephora’s 2015 Color of the Year (marsala, or as I say, “red…ish?”) but I haven’t heard as much about it. Most of the attention has been on the eyeshadow palette and that’s understandable. I’m not much of an eyeshadow girl but even I was almost swayed. So many pretty colors! I’m sure you could get a dozen looks out of it but I don’t know how, so I’m sticking with what I’m good at.

The packaging of the set is pretty sleek but probably not worth keeping. If you’re ridiculously into packaging, it’s small enough that it won’t take up a huge chunk of your vanity or counter or what have you should you decide to display it. But it’s just cardboard and plastic. Not exactly a work of art. Random issue: it is really hard for me to get the sticks out of the box. I had to wedge an eyeshadow brush underneath and pop them up. Not sure if that’s the case with every set or if I should stop skipping arm day.

2015 Color of the Year Product 1 2015 Color of the Year Product 2 2015 Color of the Year Product 3

Sephora describes these as “layering lip pencils” and I have no idea what the hell that means. Context clues and an English degree lead me to believe that these pencils are intended to be layered but…why? Why would I do that? That’s silly. Weirder still is that the “layering” thing is mentioned in the title of the product and nowhere else. So, I’m calling bullshit. I’m down with layering lip colors (especially OCC) to achieve a cool look. I just don’t get it when it comes to sheer, nude pencils.

Another odd thing: The site says they come in “refined finishes like matte, cream, metallic, and lacquer” which, no they don’t. For me, there were 3 formulas: cream, super cream, and god awful. More on that later. 4 out of 5 of the products have the exact same ingredients, so I don’t know what they’re trying to do here. They are all sheer coverage lip products and that’s exactly how I’d describe them. Metallic? Get outta here.

Swatch breakdown!


Sephora Pantone Marsala Sephora Pantone Dusty Cedar Sephora Pantone Canyon Clay Sephora Pantone Rose Dawn Sephora Pantone Muted Clay

I made them tiny so they’d fit on one line. Click them to make them disturbingly large.

1.) Marsala (Pantone 18-1438): The titular lipstick is one of the more disappointing in the set. The appeal of Marsala as color of the year is it is both neutral and vibrant, but this lipstick is so sheer that you lose all the punch. The formula was also much creamier than the others. It almost felt like Vaseline. This is, at best, another reddish pink MLBB shade.

2.) Dusty Cedar (Pantone 18-1630): This shade is beautiful. It’s a traditional pinky nude that I think would flatter a variety of skin tones. The formula is creamy but not overly soft, like “Marsala.” It’s not the most exciting shade in the set but it’s incredibly pretty. Can’t go wrong with this one.

3.) Canyon Clay (Pantone 16-1431): This is one of my favorites in the set. It’s a beautiful nude with a reddish brown undertone. Again, the formula is creamy and the color is sheer (but can be layered up). OH GOD IT JUST HIT ME. Does the “layering” in the title refer to layering up one pencil to build color?! MY BRAIN!

4.) Rose Dawn (Pantone 16-1522): God in heaven, this one is terrible. The formula is thick and chalky. It dragged and immediately filled in the cracks of my lips, where it refused to smooth out. The color is a sickly pale pink that made me look like a corpse. I know I’ve made a Tyrone Biggums joke on the blog already, but this is some Tyrone looking lipstick. They really, really dropped the ball with this one.

5.) Muted Clay (Pantone 16-1330): This is my absolute favorite from the set. It is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a traditional brown nude with a very slight gray undertone. It looks incredible on the lips. I kept staring at myself in the mirror. I don’t know if this will work for everybody but I sincerely hope it does. Everybody deserves to rock this shade. It would look killer with smudged and softened black liner. Love love love!


All in all, I’m super happy with this purchase. If you’re a nude lip lover it is definitely worth checking out. And for $28 it’s a pretty good deal. Buy it here!

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