Review & Swatches: Etude House Play 101 Pencil in #21

Etude House Play 101 Pencils have a gel base, but have a variety of textures ranging from matte to shimmery. Depending on the pencil and formula, they mostly can be used on the eyes, cheeks, and lips. #21 is a glossy neutral bright red and can be used on the lips, cheeks, and eyes. The price depends on where you can buy it, but I bought it for $7-8 from this ebay seller. I also used this blog post to help me decide what colors to buy since I couldn't find color descriptions or even a lot of swatches online. 

Warning: this is a very long review! I was going to include the review on #28 too, but it's already too long. 

#21 is the top shade
#21 was hard to get the correct color to show because my white balance is a bit off sometimes depending on the time of day. The above swatch and the first lip swatch are pretty accurate. It's a bright red and it does have shine to it, but it's not like a gloss. 

Bare lips
As you can see, I do have some dry flakes on my lips. My lips are still slightly sensitive and I didn't want to aggravate them by using a lip scrub. 

The application was easier than a normal lipstick because of the pencil format. It glided on my lips without any tugging and it was even slightly too smooth. Because of the pigmentation, any small mistake showed and so I just cleaned it up with a cotton bud. I didn't use any lip primer or lip pencil so that it wouldn't affect the staying power. 

After 3-4 hours
The finish is a bit more matte, but not fully matte. It still has a satin finish with some slightly more shine on the edges of my lips. 

After 5-6 hours
The color still stayed on by 6 hours, but I had to take it off since I was meeting up with a friend. The rest of my face was looking gross because of the hot days we've been having and so it looked weird having such a bright red lip on. By 6 hours, the color had faded more in the inner parts of my lips due to repeatedly drinking water. It wasn't too faded that I needed to rush and fix it, but I could tell that it wasn't as pigmented as the initial application. 

There was no bleeding at all, which was surprising to me because the product did have a slip to it. It felt really comfortable on the lips and I even forgot it was on until I went by a mirror and became surprised by it. I didn't see that much transferring onto the cup I was drinking out of either. It isn't kiss / transfer proof, but it was nice to see that it wouldn't leave crazy marks all over my cups. 

The packaging includes a hidden sharpener at the bottom too. I don't think you'll need it for the eye application, but it'll be nice to have for the lip targeted pencils / colors since it'll help create precise lines. 

#21 as a blush looks pretty good too. It has a more dewey finish and does not dry down to a matte/powder finish like a lot of cream cheek products do. I made some small lines on my cheeks and blended it in using my ELF Small Stipple Brush. I have it on my right cheek (the left side of the above picture). I had to put on more than my comfort zone to make it show up on camera though. I didn't do a wear test on this because I get pretty paranoid on putting products on my face that isn't specifically targeted for the skin. 

[ I do have some Benefit high beam mixed in with my foundation on the high points of my cheeks. ]

The last part of this very long review is how it can be used on the eyes. I recommend not using it on the eyes though because it's so creamy. It just slips and slides and it did crease after a few minutes. You can use primer underneath and shadow on top to prolong the color, but I really recommend using this mostly as a lip product. 

Final thoughts: I highly recommend this product and this color. It's such a neutral red that it'll fit any complexion, but the brightness might make some people feel uncomfortable. I personally prefer darker reds, but this red is very lovely. It can be used on the lips, cheeks, and eyes and that is the order I like to use them. It has a slightly shiny finish and the shine fades to a more satin finish. 

Bonus ingredients picture !

#21 is on the right



  1. That red looks so gorgeous with your skin tone Hao! I feel like reds and corals really suit you. Great post girly! xo

  2. Thank you! It makes me so happy to hear that :D I'm still having issues wearing certain coral lip products. I think it's just a comfort zone thing though