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Which lip color is best?
For me, lipstick has always been so fun. I love trying different colors and brands – it’s such an easy way to completely change your mood and look for the day. The only thing I don’t like about lip color is how it transfers onto other things — your food, your loved ones, the rest of your face.
In a totally selfless act, I’ve decided to test three different lip products for wearability, price point and general quality — NYX High Voltage lipstick in the shade Twisted, LipSense in the shade SheLaLa, and Revlon ColorStay Overtime in Ultimate Wine.
This review is not sponsored or an ad, I paid for all of these products and I am in no way a makeup professional. I just dabble.
APPLICATION: I waited until I was at work and seated at my desk to apply my lip ‘look’ today. LipSense needs to be applied with a PROCESS. There is no way that I’d apply this on the bus or in a car. I read in a review that “unlike any other lip kit, it requires an undergraduate degree to apply it correctly.” Obviously an exaggeration … but not far off.
Why? “This unique product is waterproof and does not smear off, rub off, or kiss off and can last anywhere from 4 to18 hours. LipSense is a non-wax, liquid lip color that stays on the skin and provides a natural, mechanical shield from the elements.”
This is why LipSense requires you to apply 3 layers of color plus gloss. First, you’re instructed to clean your lips and dry them. I normally just wipe them with my fingers and I haven’t had a problem (real life here, y’all). The color needs to be shaken, then the doe foot applicator needs to be wiped off so the excess product is removed, and THEN you can swipe on your lips. But you need to apply in the same direction each time as to not remove the previous layer AND stretch your lips taut as each layer dries so it doesn’t settle into the lines of your lips.
Tired yet? After applying 3 layers, you then need to apply the gloss to ensure the color stays on your lips, then you can press your lips together. You basically need to have your mouth open with your lips stretched and have hands as steady as a cake decorator for a few minutes to assure yourself an #onpoint lip.
There is a slight burning sensation as you apply your color. LipSense says that it uses cosmetic grade alcohol, so that’s probably why. But I ask myself if it’s really necessary that my makeup hurt me when I apply it.
Fair warning: LipSense has a SMELL. It’s potent at first and fades away a bit as you go on, but the chemical smell lingers. Do not buy this if smelly makeup bothers you. The lipgloss feels hydrating and covers the stickiness of the color. I think it doesn’t have a scent but can’t tell since the color has such a strong odor.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY: The gloss sinking in makes the lips a little tacky, but I’ve eaten an unsliced apple at this point and the color hasn’t budged. The color crumbled up at lunch a bit around the sides of my mouth and on the waterline of my lips, but I had only reapplied the gloss once since I’d applied the color. That middle photo is after I’ve eaten chips and shrimp scampi leftovers, all while drinking water all day. Not bad!
AFTER 5 PM: I had to run home to do some errands and I was not able to reapply the gloss. The color started to recede from my inner lip line and dried out considerably. Gloss is really the key in keeping LipSense indestructible. When I removed it with the brand’s ‘Oops remover’, I left the product on for about a minute so it could soak into the LipSense. My tactic worked for the top lip, but I had to scrub my bottom lip, which left it sore and dry. When I woke up the next morning, I could still see where the LipSense was. This stuff doesn't mess around. I've seen suggestions to use a Neutrogena bar instead of the Oops remover.
WEARABILITY: Does it transfer and fade? No, as long as you reapply the gloss. The gloss gets on things that your lips touch, but I think that’s to be expected.
REAPPLICATIONS FROM 8 AM TO 5 PM: No color reapplications, 4 gloss touch ups.
PRICE POINT: I'm friends with a Senegence makeup independent distributor. A color alone is $25, but as we all know by now, we need the gloss for the color to stay; the gloss is $20, and the remover is $10, a total of $55 without tax and shipping.
GENERAL QUALITY: I like LipSense but it has its downfalls. How is it staying on my lips for so long? Also, it’s pretty pricy for me at $55 to get started with a single color. Depending on your distributor, you could potentially swap a color you don’t like. But that means more shipping. All that said, this stuff is basically bulletproof and I can count on it when I know I want color on my lips, but also need to do things but can’t reapply or bother with mess.
NYX High Voltage Lipstick (Twisted)
APPLICATION: I started with a cheap pink lip liner that I got from H&M some time last year: I always find that my lipsticks last longer with some kind of base. Anyway! When I applied the NYX lipstick, the color stayed true to what was in the tube, it didn’t mix with the lip liner, which is what I was expecting. It has a creamy consistency, no real smell, and felt hydrating on the lips.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY: I don’t know about you guys, but when I wear lipstick that I KNOW will transfer, I hold my lips in a different way and act in a different way. I’ve been known to sip water through my Nalgene with a disposable straw before. That’s sort of how the first few hours went. To make this a fair review (and also to stay hydrated), I forced myself to start drinking water out of my bottle (without a straw) and had some tea from a teacup. The lipstick transferred to the containers but my drinking and usage didn’t seem to affect the color at all. Staying hydrated AND colorful? Bonus.
When it came to lunch, I had a half sub sandwich. The color definitely transferred to the bread, but I didn’t taste it and also didn’t mind how the color looked on my lips after it had faded. I reapplied and went on with my day, which included walking to other businesses and asking if they’d hang up a promotional flyer for an event. I got tons of compliments on my lip color, which is always fun! As I was walking around, I stopped to get an iced tea — with a straw. I noticed my lip color on the straw, but as I had found earlier in the day, it didn’t fade.
AFTER 5 PM: I started to remove the lipstick with a paper towel and it really stuck to my lips. I ended up wetting the paper towel to remove it a little better, but noticed that the lipstick had stained my lips. The stain had no transfer and after a couple hours, dinner and normal no-lipstick activities, my lips were back to their normal color. My lips were not dried out by this product at all.
WEARABILITY: Does it transfer and fade? Yes, and it bled a tiny bit. But I like how it looks as it fades.
REAPPLICATIONS FROM 8 AM TO 5 PM: One, a simple swipe.
PRICE POINT: Target, on clearance. I believe it was under the $2 mark. The lip liner I used was probably a dollar. Hey, big spender!
GENERAL QUALITY: I enjoy this product a LOT. It’s a pop of color that makes me feel happy, it fades away beautifully through the day, has no smell, and the whole ‘kit’ was well under $5. Fantastic quality, especially for the price point. Would recommend.
Revlon ColorStay Overtime in Ultimate Wine
APPLICATION: This is a two-part product: color and gloss that claims to offer "16 hours of comfortable color and moisturizing shine." It's sold as one wand with two twist off sides. This product was easy to apply. The color applied very wet but dried down quickly, then I added the gloss and it felt moisturizing. I’m not sure if the LipSense from yesterday left my lips dry, but when I added gloss I could feel some texture on my bottom lip. Easy to apply.
THROUGHOUT THE DAY: Today I gave blood, so I was snacking and drinking water and juice the whole time I was at work. ColorStay Overtime feels a little tacky, but not annoyingly so. I think the texture I was feeling before was either the tiny pieces of glitter in the product or the product wearing off on my waterline. I barely noticed that I was wearing anything on my lips, and the red showed minimal wear. I wasn’t focused as much on my lips today, so maybe I would have reapplied on another day whereas today I just let it go.
AFTER 5 PM: I left it on the rest of the day and it was feeling a little dry and tacky at the same time (how is that possible?), so I took it off. The lipstick comes off completely with makeup remover — awesome. I will say that I don’t love the glitter in the product.
WEARABILITY? Does it transfer and fade? No transfer, fades a little but not so bad.
REAPPLICATIONS FROM 8 AM TO 5 PM: One gloss.
PRICE POINT: I found this in Target for $8.59. Lots of colors, super easy and accessible.
GENERAL QUALITY: I think this stuff is great. It definitely holds up agains LipSense: This does basically the same with no annoying smell, no stinging and all at a fraction of the price.
All in all
I'm writing this ending some time after I wrote the original article and I can say in the time since that I have worn LipSense more than ColorStay. It seems like more of a process which somehow makes it fun for me, and maybe I am more inclined to use LipSense since it cost more. In the end, it's all about fun and what makes you feel the best. Let us know if you have a favorite!
Kaitlin Ungs is a graphic designer for Minnesota Parent who dabbles in writing, makeup, and more.
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