Lipstick Comparisons: Under $12

Lipstick Comparisons: Under $12

The first part of the Lipstick Comparisons series features lipstick formulas available for less than $12.  (These are all actually less than $8, I believe!)

One of the easily detectable and distinguishing ways that more affordable lipsticks vary from higher end lipsticks is in the scent.  I have yet to find a lipstick in this price range that doesn’t tend to have a synthetic scent, and if not syrupy sweet or floral, often a nauseating mix of plastic and play-doh.  Sometimes they can also have an off-taste, too.  Both scent/taste are highly personal, though, and both dependent on your sensitivity.

Wear time can sometimes differ (noted below), but while I rarely find lipsticks that wear well for six or more hours, there are some that do wear for the average time for me (four hours is my average).

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick (~$8.00)

  • PROS: Decent shade range, wearable shades that tend to be more universally flattering (mass appeal), smooth, opaque, wears for 3-4 hours, color-coded packaging
  • NEUTRAL: Mostly “wearable” colors — nothing really out of the box, synthetic/generic sweet scent on some while others have a more plastic scent
  • CONS: Some shades tend to cling, which make them less suitable for those with drier lips
  • MY REC: The scent can be pretty bothersome for some, but it’ll depend on how adverse you are to certain smells. For a drugstore lipstick, they might feel a little pricey, so it may be prudent to wait for a sale. It doesn’t dry my lips out, but it’s not at all moisturizing, so those with dry lips should take note.

Milani Color Perfect Lipstick ($4.99)

  • PROS: Wide range of shades, creamy, moisturizing, opaque
  • NEUTRAL: Both neutral and brighter shades, synthetic/waxy scent
  • CONS: Frost finish shades are drier and less opaque, dated packaging
  • MY REC: The creamier shades are the best of the line; they’re incredibly pigmented and apply really well. The frostier shades tend to emphasize any dryness on lips.

NYX Round Lipstick ($4.00)

  • PROS: Ridiculous amount of shades, variety in finishes, opaque, creamy, affordable
  • NEUTRAL: Scent-free but strong plastic scent on some
  • CONS: Wears off after 2-3 hours, darker shades bleed
  • MY REC: When it comes to trying out shades, NYX is definitely a go-to brand. The creamy, smooth texture and the huge shade range helps it stand out amongst other budget-friendly options. NYX also occasionally has crazy bundled packages–I remember buying 30 or 40 lipsticks for around $50 one time.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick (~$5.00)

  • PROS: Good shade range, creamy, doesn’t dry lips out, affordable
  • NEUTRAL: Synthetic fruity scent
  • CONS: Wears off within 1-2 hours requiring frequent reapplication
  • MY REC: It’s a decent option if you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind reapplication.

The Lipstick Comparisons series is designed to provide a quick reference summary sheet for some of the many available lipstick formulas. It seems like most brands have at least a couple of formulas, if not half a dozen, and it can be difficult to find the formulas that will work best for your budget, coloring, style, or taste.

This is not necessarily a best of list, and it’s not exhaustive–it is based on actual lipsticks that I’ve tried; they are all, however, decent to excellent lipsticks. (And perhaps, some day, it will be an exhaustive list.)  I have summarized my experience based on pros and cons, but also some “neutral” factors that may be pros or cons, depending on your preferences.  I will update this series as I try new lipstick formulas.

(And yes, I recognize that the series photo does not include any of these brands! The image represents the series, not individual posts.)

Rimmel Dizzy Lasting Finish Lipstick

From the get-go, this lipstick has all the makings of a great lipstick. My issue with this lipstick has to do with the claims it’s making about how long it wears. Rimmel says that it “locks colour to lips for up to 8 hours of wear.” Try one, maybe two. I typically get four hours of wear out of the average lipstick, but with Rimmel, I find the color has faded substantially by hour two. We don’t even get close to eight.

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Rimmel Dizzy Lipstick

Rimmel Burgundy Lustre (540) Moisture Renew Lipstick

Rimmel Burgundy Lustre (540) Lipstick ($5.99 for 0.14 oz.) is a semi-opaque berry wine with soft raspberry shimmer.  It has a glossy finish and feels lightweight when worn.  It reminds me a bit of MAC’s Odyssey lipstick, though not as shimmery.  The Moisture Renew formula applied smoothly, but the scent reminded me of a synthetic floral that was caught between perfume-y and wax-y–not particularly appealing but doesn’t last beyond the tube.  Wear time is between two and three hours–just a little below average for me.  The color itself is beautiful, and I love that it’s almost opaque without being heavy.

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Rimmel Eyeful Eye Glistener

Rimmel Eyeful Eye Glistener ($7.29) are great in theory, terrible in practice. I don’t usually use the word “terrible” to describe beauty products, because I don’t come across too many that merit such a negative descriptor. These are glossy pencils to give lids “vibrant, yet transparent” colour, and Rimmel says you can use it as an eyeshadow or eyeliner.

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Rimmel Eyeful Eye Glistener

Rimmel Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadow

These are definitely some of the better textured eyeshadows from mass that I’ve encountered recently. They’re also quite pigmented without having to maneuver in certain ways, like packing it on, using sponge-tip applicators, etc. Glam’Eyes Mono Eyeshadows work best with brushes, as the eyeshadows are quite silky. I found a sponge-tip felt a little rough on the shadows–like it was causing the shadow to break apart a bit.

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Rimmel Glam'Eyes Mono Eyeshadow