Is this Fake Love? A BTS fangirl tries out VT Cosmetics’ BT21 Collection
In the (paraphrased) words of fellow PV girl Stacie Chan, KPop fangirls have money, and makeup companies know it. Hence we've seen collabs like Nature Republic’s EXO hair dyes, The Face Shop’s GOT7 rebrand, and The Saem’s partnership with Seventeen.
One collaboration, however, stands out for being extremely hyped and also extremely hard to buy locally. VT Cosmetics, endorsed by BTS, has up until recently been largely inaccessible to Philippine fans. Makeup junkies have had to resort to pasabuys or long shipping times through smaller KBeauty e-tailers to get their hands on the coveted VT Cushion Compacts, VT x BTS Cosmetics, and most recently, the BT21 x VT Cosmetics Collection, which features a full range of makeup items branded with BTS’s LINE Friend alter-egos, BT21.
The struggle is apparently over! Just a few days ago, news rocketed through social media that VT Cosmetics and BT21 were both coming to Philippine shores, launching at Robinson’s Place Manila on December 1st. But before you Go Go and fill your carts with Tata face base and Shooky lippies, let this ARMY-unnie give you The Truth Untold on which products are yas, and which may be a pass!
I bought my batch of BT21 x VT Cosmetics from the VT Pink House in Hongdae, Seoul while I was on vacation last month. Due to a limited budget and some items being sold out, I was sadly not able to get a complete range of products, but I did my best to get one item for every character. My haul included the Tinted Foundation, Tinted Shimmering Luminizer, Cheek Cushion, Fit On Sticks (contour and highlight), and Lippy Sticks.
BT21 features a “tinted” face base range that includes luminizer, foundation, and color correctors termed as “color base.” Of these, the Tinted Shimmering Luminizer (KRW 18,000 or approximately P844) in Shooky is probably the best buy: the sheer, lightweight primer feels slightly lotion-like to touch, but once blended and set gives you a dewy glow as well as SPF 25 PA++.
Unsurprisingly, the Tinted Foundations (KRW 25,000 or approximately P1,172) had a really awkward shade range, coming in only four shades from extremely light to a light-medium. Despite being someone with a fairer-most-Pinays skin tone, I was surprised I could not get an exact match. Instead, I resorted to mixing Shade 01 (RJ) and Shade 04 (Van) in a 2:1 proportion to approximate my skin tone. Considering the hassle to match my shade, the foundation itself was…okay. Providing what I’d call a light-to-medium coverage, this initially creamy formulation blended down sheer, and had to be layered on for any kind of concealing to happen. I suppose that’s why it’s called a “Tinted” foundation: it’s more of a skin tint than anything else, with a dewy finish and a slippery consistency. Drier-skinned girls might like this formula, but my oily-combination skin needed setting spray to get any sort of long wear out of it.
If the foundations were a disappointment, the Fit On Sticks (KRW 16,000 or approximately P751) in Kooky (highlight) and Chimmy (contour) were a dream! The contour stick was my favorite of the two, gliding on and being very easy to blend out with a damp beauty sponge. On me, it provided a visible yet natural definition. However, the shade may only be useful if you’re fair to light-medium in skin tone; otherwise, the highlight might be a better, universal buy. The pearlescent stick was neither too pink nor too champagne, but was instead a happy medium that provided natural, chok-chok illumination.
My “problematic fave” of the bunch has to be the Cheek Cushion (KRW 19,000 or approximately P891), which comes in three shades: Papaya (Koya), Raspberry (Shooky), and Fig (Mang). Of these, early reviewers say Fig is a clear favorite, and I can see why: this dusky rose shade looks like a natural flush, and can be layered across the nose bridge for the subtle, dewy “drunk blush.”
The catch? It’s extremely sheer, and with only 0.21 oz of product, it runs out fast. Still, I’m a sucker for both the adorable packaging and the “fresh” effect of the product, so I’m probably still going to end up hoarding it, but more discerning beauty girls might give this a pass.
Finally, the Lippy Sticks (KRW 13,000 or approximately P610) come in eight shades, of which I scooped up three: Brown Dawn (Shooky), Red Pool (Van), and Deep Orange (Koya). To be honest, the shade range and formulas of these are nothing special; I only bought them to complete my character range. That being said, if you had to get anything from the collection, these are probably the most accessible and universally wearable items. The creamy matte-satins are not budge-proof, but appear to stain the lips over time. Shooky, Van, and Kooky flatter the most skin tones, while Koya and Tata are best for fans of “KBeauty colors.”
I wear-tested a full face of the BT21 makeup during a packed day of classes and errands. As mentioned earlier, the products - especially the foundation - seem better suited to cooler climates and drier skins. The tropical heat necessitated applying setting spray to get any sort of security, but all things considered, the finish was nice: a hydrated, dewy glow that had me feeling like I had a SNOW App filter on.
At the five-hour mark, the lipstick had faded with eating and drinking, but the stain left behind was still very wearable. The foundation was sliding off my nose, but not in a way that looked patchy. Overall, I still looked fresh and naturally dewy with even the cheek cushion still visible, however faint (but then again, it was sheer to begin with).
At the eight-hour mark, which included sweating through a dance number I had to perform for class, the makeup still looked relatively unchanged from five hours. There was definitely more build up of shine on my nose and the center of my jaw, and the foundation started to feel a little heavier, but otherwise it was still bearable. I was pleasantly surprised to see the lipstick, while definitely not intact, had stained my lips a soft nude that had me confident enough to skip a retouch!
After 12 hours, I was ready to call time. While the makeup itself more or less still looked like it was intact, I was definitely feeling the buildup of grease. All things considered, half a day is pretty decent wear, though keep in mind that I did use setting spray, because otherwise I feel the product might have been too greasy for tropical weather.
After all that, then is the BT21 x VT Cosmetics Collection worth it? Well, like most idol-related collabs, that depends on who you ask. Truth be told, you aren’t 100% paying for performance: most of the collection is solidly middle of the road quality-wise, with the foundations especially being easily eclipsed by more affordable alternatives from other brands. In terms of performance, the Fit On Sticks and Tinted Shimmering Luminizer stand out as being more-or-less worth their price, while the Lippy Sticks make for a great stocking-stuffer for the ARMY beauty geek in your life (or yourself).
That being said, if your budget is as big as your love for Bangtan, then the full range is wearable and worth collecting, with surprisingly luxe and, of course, adorable packaging.
What about you? Which products have you singing wonhae mani mani (I want you a lot)? Sound off in the comments below!
BT21 x VT Cosmetics is available at Glorietta 3 and Robinson’s Place Manila, and will be available in Robinsons Galleria and Robinson’s Magnolia within the month.