Twenty-year-old Instagram model Alexis Ren has been slowly taking over the internet since she was 15, when a series of swimsuit photos surfaced on Tumblr, sparking a web-wide obsession that's only continued to grow. Today, with a follower count of 7.9 million, Ren embodies a breed of "aspirational" social media models, whose dreamy lifestyles consist of international travel, colorful açaí bowls, and impossibly fit figures. She's about as close to a real-life mermaid as a person can get, and the internet has taken notice.
Though Ren's fame still primarily exists on Instagram, she recently told The Cut that she has ambitions of transitioning to a more mainstream modeling career. "I look up to Gigi Hadid," she says. "I love where she's taken herself, I love what brands she's working on. … Girls like her open the doors for girls like me."
Ten days ago, Ren took one more step toward her goal by collaborating with Colourpop to create her own six-piece makeup collection: two liquid lipsticks, three traditional lipsticks, and a bronzer/highlighter palette, all of which represent Ren's sultry attitude. Ren's millions of young fans went giddy over the partnership (in fact, one of the products is already totally sold out). But according to true beauty experts, are the products worth all the hype? To find out, we spent more than a week with these products and have some thoughts to share.
Keep scrolling to read our honest review of each product in Alexis Ren's Colourpop collection.
"Let's take a moment to appreciate the packaging of these lipsticks: The little black-and–rose-gold tubes are very chic, and the tip of the lipstick itself is small enough that I can get pretty precise when applying.
"As far as pigmentation, Exotic is an electric orangey-red that looked right up my alley; but in practice, I was expecting it to deliver a teensy more color payoff. That said, I can imagine that someone who isn't used to wearing bold lipstick might appreciate that you can wear the color sheer or build it up for more drama.
"The consistency of the lipstick is a bit waxy—not terribly drying—but my main qualm is that it didn't adhere to my lips very well, and over the course of the day it definitely slid off. Of course, the product is $5, so I'm being nitpicky. But IMHO, if you're going to buy one of the three shades available, go for the brownish-nude, Deja Vu, because it won't look so obvious as it fades." — Amanda Montell, associate features editor
"The Deja Vu lipstick was immediately my favorite product from the collection. It has a mauve-y undertone, which is perfect for the days when you want a wash of color without too much drama. (I have an olive skin tone, and it was super flattering on me.) I don't struggle with dry lips, so the product's consistency felt pretty hydrating, but the finish was still matte enough that I did not have to constantly reapply." — Ariel Ornelas, editorial intern
"In the tube, this color looks brick red (à la '90s Naomi Campbell). However, as soon as it's applied, it transforms into a bright raspberry hue. Personally, vibrant pinky-reds are the lippies I usually stray toward, so I wasn't disappointed. But if you're looking for a dark, vampy color this isn't it. The formula is pigmented (but not shockingly so), and if layered, completely opaque. My only complaint is that the lipstick has a stiff, rather thick texture and doesn't feel particularly nourishing.
I've also been dealing with some dryness on my lips lately (thanks, winter), so it didn't hold up as well as I'd hoped and faded from the center of my lips within a few hours, leaving just a rim of color at my lip line." — Kaitlyn McLintock, editorial intern
"At first glance, the Bare Necessities satin lipstick looks to be a subtle nude with a slight pink undertone. But when applied to my lips, it went on a lot pinker than expected. (It's a pretty shade, but be aware that if you're going for something closer to nude, you might want to try Colourpop Echo Park, $6, instead).
"The 'satin' consistency of this lippie was lightweight and not overly drying like many other liquid lipsticks, which I appreciated. It didn't dry down completely matte, so it felt a little tacky, but it was a fair trade-off for not feeling like the product was sucking the life out of my lips." — Ornelas
"The liquid lipstick in this orange-red hue worked really well for me, and it was my second fave from the collection. It's really hard to find a classic red lip that I don't have to worry about reapplying or getting all over the place. The color went on in one single swipe and stayed on for about five hours without having to touch it up. I'd recommend using a satin consistency like this for a night out when you want some drama without the high-maintenance of a cream formula (or the super-drying feel of a matte)." — Ornelas
"If you couldn't already tell, I have a weakness for good packaging, and the Alexis Ren collection delivers. I was instantly a fan of the huge mirror and sizable pans of product in this palette. So much fancier than $15.
"The highlighter is so gold and sparkly it triggered an instant ooh la la, and it certainly brings a lovely warm shimmer to the face. There's a bit of fallout from both the bronzer and highlighter, but nothing a little tap of your brush can't fix. The only issue is that the bronzer was too orange for me, especially when creating a subtle contour. (In person, it's far warmer than what you see online.)
"Currently, the product is totally sold out. (I'm telling you, the packaging is hard to resist.) But if you want something similar for a drugstore price, I recommend E.l.f. Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in Turks and Caicos ($4) or Essence Contouring Powder ($4)." — Montell