So the other day whilst we were on shoot, Roz picked up my handbag and casually asked if I made a habit of just carrying a brick around. Honestly, how heavy my bags get has long been a mystery to my friends and I, right up till Roz followed up with asking if she could borrow a lipstick before we started filming..
I started pulling lipsticks out of my bag left and right and trust me no one was more surprised than me. We counted a total of nine lip products in my tiny crossbody. My producer couldn’t believe it, she asked, are you a vending machine or what. And to nobody’s surprise suddenly my bag was significantly lighter. Ohhh.
Anyway, it’s world lipstick day and it seems I am a bona fide lipstick addict. So here are my favorite lip products on rotation! I more or less decided to write this on the fly, so I didn’t have time to swatch all the products. As a result, all the photos here are pulled from a quick google images search, and I take no credit for them! Also, I wish I could include more products because honestly, so many brands have great lip products. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But here are the ones that have truly impressed me over the years:
1. Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in 01 Honey
I only recently started using Clarins because I always thought it was a more mature brand. I now see that that impression stemmed from the fact that all their strengths are rooted in solid, classic skincare practices. It’s something I’m appreciating more now, especially since I’m increasingly looking for makeup that has skincare enhancing properties. I’ve tried a bunch of products from Clarins over the last couple of months, and the ones that stood out were their SOS primers, shaping facial lift, and the water lip stains. All of them are products designed to enhance rather than stand out, so you’ll find that they’re reliably good in making you look like a glow-ier version of yourself.
Anyway, my absolute favorite product from Clarins thus far is their lip comfort oil, which is so lush. It contains jojoba and hazelnut oils, and works great on its own or as a top coat. I do a lot of camera work, and I find that the sheen, while pretty irl, looks amazing on camera. My favorite is the honey shade, which smells like a dream. Your lips definitely feel protected and moisturised after, and I find it makes for a great mid-day lip moisturiser for people who work in air conditioned office environments.
+ points for great packaging (super gorgeous metallic top with clear body.)
– points for not very hygenic applicator (it’s a doe foot applicator, which means if you’re using this as a top coat, you’ll see it being stained by other colors over time.)
2. Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in 610 Addiction
This has been a mainstay in my handbag for a really long time.. maybe too long, I feel like it might actually be expired. Haha. Anyway, the Ultra HD matte line is so great – it’s a matte liquid lipstick that really stays on forever, with a really intense color payoff, and the 610 Addiction shade is just so flattering too. It instantly makes your skin tone look cooler, and the dark pink is (i find) a more interesting look than an outright bold red.
The Revlon Matte Balm is also very good, as is their Superstay Lustrous range. Actually Revlon as a brand is just damned good, especially for lip products. The best thing is, Watsons is always having random buy one get one sales for Revlon products, so I’ve gotten the Matte Balm for as low as $10 a few times already.
+ points for sexy bullet packaging, the frosted glass style matte body really stands out
+ points for great value for money
– points for not being very hygienic with the doe stick brush applicator
3. Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
This isn’t really a lipstick, but you can mix it in with your lipsticks or use it as a primer, even. The lip sleeping mask has long been one of Laneige’s bestsellers, so it’s not like this is a hidden gem or anything, but it still bears a mention because it’s so damned good. It comes in a thick, silky consistency, which doesnt feel greasy at all. Apply a layer before you sleep and you’ll wake up with baby smooth lips, which stays nice and moisturised even post-morning cleanse. I bring it on flights with me all the time too, I find it really helpful because flight air is so drying. I like the apple-lime flavor, which approximately no one else likes, but the original is the most popular.
+ points for uniquely cornering the market in this genre – I think this is the only product that comes to mind when you’re thinking of an overnight lip product
+ major points for being so damned good
– points for not very hygienic application style – it comes with a little brush, but realistically, theres nowhere to keep the brush so it gets lost really fast and youre always dipping your little finger in the pot to get the product out anyway.
4. Laneige Stained Glass stick in 02 Rose Quartz
This is a recent release from Laneige, and i feel it’s one of their better lip products. Laneige is one of those brands that has consistently good products, including some majorly underrated ones like their quad eyeshadow palette, their silk intense lipstick range, and their eyebrow cushion cara. But the thing is, although they have great products all around, people tend to overlook korean brands in favor of their western counterparts when it comes to bold looks. Whereas when it comes to the soft, girly looks, none of the western brands can really compete with Laneige (and other korean brands).
This particular line is impressive because despite looking like a balm, it’s really a stain – the initial payoff is a smooth jewel like shine, which over time fades to leave color-stained lips. The watery finishing is very natural, it looks as if you just had a cold drink. It also smells amazing, and there’s zero tug when you apply it. It’s a good alternative to the dior lip glow – also a great product, but pushing it slightly at $48. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t like this – it’s a great product, very classy and understated, even for non habitual lipstick wearers.
+ points for cool metallic bullet packaging
+ points for the quartz like gem at the end so you know what color youre getting even before opening the product
No minus points
4. Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Bitten, Baby, and Babe
I’ll admit I have a soft spot for the crushed lip color range because I hosted their launch last year as their resident #girlcrush. Hoho. But yes, I have a lot of love for this product as well. In the same way that the Laneige glass stick looks balmy and works like a stain, the Bobbi Brown CLC looks like a lipstick but works like a balm. The finishing is really pretty too, it’s very casual and cool, like lipstick that’s been blotted and lived-in already. Because of this, you actually dont need a mirror to apply the crushed lip color, just swipe and bite your lip, and youre kind of good to go.
It’s the very definition of wearable – it sits comfortably on your lips without any of that waxy feel that comes with intense pigment. The product does not bleed at all, so it’s perfect even without a lip liner. I really like the packaging too – it’s a simple black bullet, with a color band running through the middle so you know exactly what color youre getting. Because of its effortless finishing, I find it works best in rose to nude shades.
+ points for smart packaging, with the color band
No minus points
5. Maybelline’s Color Sensational INTI-MATTE NUDES in Hot Sand, Purely Nude, and Beige Babe
Maybelline is another drugstore brand that is not-so-secretly excellent. I’ve found them to be really good for mascara and lipsticks, and their Their Inti-Matte range is actually fantastic. I do really badly with nude lipsticks, they usually wash me out and make me look really ill. I’ve only been able to wear nudes from four lines – maybelline’s inti-mattes, urban decay’s heat capsule collection (fuel), revlon’s super lustrous line (bare affair), and sephora’s house brand lipstories series (brunch date).
The Inti-mattes range are, firstly, all matte nude shades, but more than that, they’re all warm tones, so they’re very flattering. The formulation is really creamy, so you dont get dried out lips – which is normally the problem with strong mattes. If you’ve already got dry lips I would suggest layering a lip primer (or the laneige sleeping lip mask) underneath it anyway.
The only thing is, I find their color swatches to be pretty inaccurate. The product itself is great, but many times I’ve chosen a lipstick based off the printed color swatch and found the actual product to be a totally different color. Sometimes the difference is really too big to be ignored haha. So I would go to the store and try it out instead of buying it online!
+ points for punny name
+ points for great value for money
– points for inaccurate color swatches
6. Urban Decay Bad Blood Matte Revolution Lipstick
I’ll have to admit that I no longer have this because I was on my second or third tube which melted in my handbag after leaving it in the sun.. and I’m trying not to buy new lipsticks until I finish the ones I’m currently using. But as far as red lipsticks go, the UD Bad Blood has always been the most iconic red lip for me. It’s a universally flattering deep red with a cool undertone, and the matte formulation is surprisingly non-drying. Urban Decay’s strengths have always been in pigmentation, and this one gives you a great color payoff with just one creamy swipe – no need to slowly build the color up. It’s also doesnt get patchy through the course of the day, although the color does bleed a tiny bit. All in all I feel like this is the red lipstick for me, and I’ve already repurchased it several times.
+ points for great price point for a cult product
+ points for long lasting formulation
7. MAC’s SIN lipstick
Despite the Taylor Swift Ruby Woo hype, I actually find that MAC shines when it comes to their darker lip colors. SIN is a cool toned deep burgundy berry, and it’s a very sexy shade. It’s easy to apply because of it’s intense pigmentation, which gives you great color payoff in one swipe! It’s definitely a darker, bolder color than the Revlon 610 I mentioned above, but it’s not unwearable at all. I’ve grown up using MAC lipsticks because they’re one of the first brands you reach for when phasing into “adult” brands, and they’ve been consistently reliable.
*Mac is also giving away a full sized lipstick with any purchase today, in honor of lipstick day.
+ points for intense pigment, and all round iconic colors
– points for being drying, combat with lip primer or moisture balm before.
– points for not being able to tell what color youre using before you open the product, all the MAC lipsticks come in the iconic black and silver bullet so if you have more than one you wont be able to tell which is which when the cases are closed.
8. 3CE MOOD RECIPE #221 Mellow Flower
I honestly bought this in Korea because of its extremely gorgeous packaging. 3CE really knows how to market – I’m lowkey in love with all their models, and every time I see a new post from them on instagram I just want to stab myself for not being a korean. But it’s a hit and miss brand for me – I’ve tried several products from 3CE previously which I didnt like, leading me to feel like they’re more a cult brand than anything. Still, I cant help but reach for their products whenever I’m near their booth in the duty free store..
This product was really a sleeper hit for me. It reminds me of the Kylie Jenner lip collection with its sultry mauve shades meant to emulate a certain moodines, and it has a great formulation that goes on smoothly. It’s pigmented, though not as intense as the Urban Decay or MAC pigments, which means you can actually blot it out for a blurry effect. This color in particular is somewhere in between a pink and a red, and the final color kind of depends on your skin tone. For me, I find it’s a bit orangey-red (although you dont find that description anywhere on their main site), but you’ll see from their official website that it can come off cool-red or pinkish too. The kicker? Everytime I wear this, someone asks me what lipstick I’m wearing. That’s got to be a good sign.
+ points for cool name
+ points for aesthetic packaging
So those are my favorites! To be fair, I’m also including some lip products that I did not like so you know what worked and what didn’t work for me. Some of the following products are really highly raved about too, which just goes to show that there’s no one size fit all for beauty products.
Do not like:
Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink
I love Maybelline, but this line just did not work for me. It’s a liquid lipstick line with extremely saturated colors (and I actually love the packaging because it’s matte with a huge color swatch out on the front), but I really disliked the application. It doesnt dry quickly, and when it does, it settles into the lip lines, giving a kind of stretched out, dry look. I find it has kind of a patchy finishing as well as time goes by. To be fair, it is very long lasting, which is what its name promises. But overall it just didn’t work for me.
Colorpop Lippie Stix
I kind of hate the Colorpop lippie stix although I think the Ultra Matte Lip is really good. It smells funky and I’ve always found it to be a bit chalky on the lips. And when I apply it I always feel like I’m a child at risk of eating some crayons and getting food poisoning for months after. Anyway, Colorpop’s main draw is its price point, but I feel like there’s no point paying any money at all for a product that’s so weird when there are so many good alternatives.
Etude House Dear My Glass Tinting Lips Talk
Etude house has so many great products but this is just not one of them. It has a super cute interchangeable packaging, but that just makes me wish it followed up with an equally cute product. In reality when I put this on I just felt confused. It’s not an outrightly bad product, but it doesnt feel comfortable on the lips either. It claims to be a lip tint, but it’s super sheer, so it’s more like a balm? The sheer color also made me feel like there’s such a thing as a product being too buildable – you have to go over it again and again to get a pigment close to the promised swatch, and after all that fuss, the product doesnt stay on for long (which to be fair, is true of most glossy lipsticks). Also, the name is too long.
FENTY MATTEMOISELLE in up2nogood
It breaks my heart to say this because I adore Rihanna, and I love what she’s doing with her make up brand. But this is a classic case of loving the message more than the product, because nothing from Fenty has worked for me so far 🙁 I hated the foundation, felt impartial towards the highlighter, and the lipstick also didn’t impress. I found that the colors weren’t flattering, and application was just alright, a bit uneven, which required blending out.
This post has gone on for a bit too long, but there you have it – my hits and misses. I’m sure I’ll discover more products that I love and hate along the way, but for now, these are the ones that have stood out to me. Feel free to send me recommendations if you have them, and if you’ve tried any of the products above and liked them, tell me too so it doesnt feel like I’m perpetually shouting off into the void. Yeah? Yeah.
Happy World Lipstick day, yall!