Urban Decay Monarchy is a very cool-toned, medium-dark purple with a glitter finish. It is a permanent lipstick that retails for $18.00 and contains 0.16 oz.
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Urban Decay Monarchy Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat ($18.00 for 0.16 fl. oz.) is a cool-toned, sparkling purple with blue and purple glitter. It had larger and finer particles, so the result was slightly metallic with visible sparkle. Alone, it looked a little rough, as the formula clung to lips as it dried down and made them appear slightly shriveled. It had semi-sheer coverage that deepened my lip color while adding shine and sparkle. This was a shade that applied best over richer, brighter, or darker shades (like fuchsia, raspberry pink, purple, black). It lasted three hours on its own and was moderately drying.
The brand describes the formula as a "shade-shifting topcoat" that can be used over their "cream, metallized, and matte shades" of Vice Lipstick or any of the Vice Liquid Lipsticks, but--wait for it--"or wear these shades alone." They're supposed to be a "comfortable, gel-cream formula that dries down quickly and provides long-lasting wear that never feels sticky" while also creating a "water-resistant barrier that seals in the color underneath." The brand also warns that your lips might "feel tingly just after applying."
As a topcoat, I think they perform the best; it can be hit or miss depending on the underlying shade, and some topcoats are more versatile than others (sheerer ones tended to work well with anything, more opaque ones could be hard to apply). I did not feel like they truly locked the underlying lipstick in, as they transferred and still lasted about as long as the lipstick did on its own. I also felt that it was lightly tacky, and it varied, but a few shades would lift color in places. The tingling effect was least pronounced when layered. In general, layering over very light shades was often where they missed and any unevenness became much more visible.
On their own, they often struggled to go on evenly. The application over bare lips was similar to trying to apply some of the darker topcoats over very light or dissimilar colors, which just made any application shortcomings highly visible (compared to say, blue shimmer over a blue lipstick). They had a very strong, lingering tingle where my lips felt like they do after being numbed (like from the dentist)--almost too big, swollen, and a mixture of tingling, cooling, burning. This effect lasted between two to three minutes before subsiding. I wouldn't say it's water-resistant, as it seemed to transfer after drinking water, but if I did not drink anything, it was fairly transfer-proof. The wear has been between two and four hours and drying.
The packaging on these doesn't make sense to me; they have a very thin, brush-type applicator that is terrible for spreading product across the lips, but the formula was often sheerer so getting crisp lines with the included applicator seemed like an exercise in futility. I think a squeeze-tube or more typical doe-foot applicator would have worked here, but I like the idea of a squeeze tube, which would "force" one to use a separate applicator would make more sense, as using it directly on top of another lipstick would result in lipstick transfer to the wand and back into the tube.
FURTHER READING: Formula Overview, which is a detailed review of the range as a whole.
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Go from all-business to party-all-night in one swipe with Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat and transform any lip color from beautiful to beyond. Apply this shade-shifting topcoat over cream, metallized, and matte shades of Vice Lipstick or any Vice Liquid Lipstick to instantly morph your favorite colors. Make it look like you spent hours crafting an Instagram-worthy lip look or wear these shades alone. Our i nnovative, comfortable formula provides long-lasting wear that never feels sticky and creates a water-resistant barrier that seals in the color underneath.