Lipstick Comparisons: $13 to $25 (Part 2)
In this price range, lipsticks tend to be more pigmented, have less synthetic scents, and wear an average of four hours. I’m not typically disappointed beyond belief with a lipstick formula in this price range. Brands from MAC to NARS to Smashbox fall into this price tier, while designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL are in the next tier. There are really SO many brands and formulas to choose from in this category that I had to split this post into two parts!
MAC Lipstick ($14.50)
- PROS: Ridiculously large shade range, variety of finishes, wears from 3 to 6 hours (depends on finish/shade)
- NEUTRAL: 0.10 oz., Depending on finish, shades range from sheer to opaque; similarly, more matte shades are drier while lustre shades are more moisturizing, vanilla-scented
- CONS: If you’re not familiar with the MAC range and finishes, it can be overwhelming and difficult to choose the right shade; not all shades are great or consistent against other shades within a finish family
- MY REC: I like MAC lipsticks quite a bit. I think they have some incredibly flattering shades as well as fun colors in their permanent line, but without having some MAC product knowledge, I can imagine it being daunting trying to figure out which shade is opaque, which is sheer, what finish might be best, and so on. There is a lot of variance between shades and even within finishes. Lustres and glazes tend to be sheerer, while amplified cremes and satins are creamier and more opaque. Mattes are on the drier side with some being exceptionally so (Ruby Woo, I’m talking to you).
- PROS: Long-wearing (5 to 6 hours on average), pigmented, wide range of shades
- NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., range includes wearable shades as well as out of the box shades, scent0free
- CONS: Shades are a bit one-note, texture is a little dry (but it’s not drying)
- MY REC: If you have pigmented lips and struggle to find true-to-tube color translate onto your lips, Rouge Artist Intense is a good line to try out, because the colors really are opaque.
NARS Lipstick ($24.00)
- PROS: Long-wearing (4 to 6 hours on average), moisturizing, creamy, good shade range
- NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., scent-free, some really sheer shades while others are opaque
- CONS: Can smell waxy, lighter/sheerer shades fade in 1 to 3 hours
- MY REC: Though NARS’ lipsticks are unscented, sometimes the waxiness of the lipstick itself comes through, and it’s not so pleasant. It’s a more moisturizing lipstick than your average lipstick, though if you have ultra dry lips, you may still want to prep lips with some balm. I’ve also found that their sheerer or lighter shades don’t last nearly as long as their medium to dark shades.
Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick ($25.00)
- PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, glossy, semi-sheer to opaque, wears 2 to 4 hours, good shade range
- NEUTRAL: 0.14 oz., scent-free
- CONS: Numbering system can make it difficult to determine colors
- MY REC: I feel like I rarely see mentions for Shiseido’s Perfect Rouge lipstick line, and it’s really a top notch line. They’re creamy, smooth, and richly pigmented.
Smashbox Photo Finish Lipstick ($22.00)
- PROS: Creamy, glossy, moisturizing, semi-opaque to opaque colors, wears 3 to 4 hours
- NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., vanilla-scented
- CONS: Limited shade range
- MY REC: It’s a shame that Smashbox doesn’t expand their lipstick range, because I’ve liked several of the ones I’ve tried from it–but there just aren’t many colors available. These are moisturizing with a glossy finish and creamy texture. Similar to Laura Mercier Stick Gloss and Korres Mango Butters.
Urban Decay Lipstick ($22.00)
- PROS: Creamy, moisturizing, wears 3 to 5 hours
- NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., burnt sugar scent (“caramel” or “creme brulee”)
- CONS: Sheer to opaque variances make it difficult to buy online or sight unseen, sometimes has an off-taste
- MY REC: I know that one of the biggest drawbacks to Urban Decay is inconsistency in the scent and taste of their lipsticks. The more shimmery shades seem to have a stronger averse taste than creamier shades. I don’t notice the scent when I wear them, so it’s not a deal breaker for me.
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.
Smashbox for Holiday 2010
Eye Wish Palette ($45.00)
A limited-edition mega eye palette that includes 12 shadows, four cream eyeliners, and mini versions of Photo Finish Lid Primer and Mini Lash DNA Mascara, all in an elegant, gold, mirrored keepsake box.
Wish for the Perfect Pout ($29.00)
A limited-edition set of six, sheer gorgeous glosses including exclusive holiday shades.
The Gold List ($49.00)
This set features everything you need to add instant glamour to your everyday look. The fetching, gold-weave cosmetic bag includes a travel-size Photo Finish Luminizing Foundation Primer, Photo Op Under Eye Brightener, Fusion Soft Lights eye and cheek luminizer in Baked Starburst, and O-Gloss Gold, an ideal combination for looking red-carpet ready in an instant.
Burlesque Beauty Collection ($35.00)
Designed to re-create theatrical looks featured in the feature film “Burlesque,” premiering in November 2010 about a small town gal who makes it big in Hollywood, this provocative collection of sexy shades will bring out your inner drama queen. Includes Jet Black Limitless Liquid Liner Pen, Peep & Show Double-Ended Lip Gloss, Risque Shadow and Liner Quad, and Burlesque Loose Shimmer powder.
Wish for the Perfect Pencils ($16.00)
These creamy, long-wearing, waterproof Smashbox eyeliners provide bold color that doesn’t smudge or budge for up to eight hours. Includes Onyx, Orchid, Graphite, and 14K.
Wish for the Perfect Primers 9$39.00)
Includes 1 oz. Photo Finish Foundation Primer, 0.0 oz. Photo Finish Lid Primer, and 0.375 Travel-sized Photo Finish Targeted Pore & Line Primer.
Availability: Now @ Sephora
See more photos…
Smashbox Masquerade Collection for Fall 2010
A fantasy of illusion. Intrigue. Mystery. Desire. Who’s behind the mask? To reveal or disguise is up to you. Smashbox Cosmetics invites you to intoxicate and seduce the senses with the Masquerade Collection, a labyrinth of provocative hues with entrancing allure for eyes, cheeks, and lips. Just remember—things aren’t always as they seem. . .
Masquerade Eyeshadow Palette ($35.00)
From subtle to ultra dramatic, the shades in this enticing palette disguise your eyes with a veil of magnetic color. Organized in complementary trios, the shades create coordinated looks for maximum intrigue.
- Includes matte soft peach, shimmering black plum, matte taupe, metallic khaki, shimmering gold, bronze, metallic cabernet, shimmering navy, matte bone)
Illusion Baked Fusion Soft Lights Palette ($32.00)
Create the illusion of a lit-from-within glow with this palette of shimmering shades, designed to illuminate cheeks, nose, forehead and décolleté.
- Includes champagne, soft gold, rosegold
Intrigue Creamy Cheek Color & Brush ($29.00)
Formulated with antioxidant Vitamin E, this luxurious creamy cheek color will give cheeks a “just blushed” look—the perfect innocent disguise. Glide the creamy formula over the apples of cheeks, then blend with the brush for a flawless pop of color.
- Shade: Warm pink
Liquid Liner & Lash Overlay ($19.00)
Cloak eyes in an air of mystery with this innovative two-in-one formula for lash line and lashes. Just line the eyes and then sweep the specially designed rod over a coat of mascara to “tip” the ends of lashes for a subtle yet intriguing look. Available in Teal and Bronze.
Lip Enhancing Gloss ($19.00)
- Reveal Golden nude
- Disguise Golden pink
Noir O-Gloss ($22.00) (Sephora Exclusive)
This disguise transforms before your very eyes—the sultry lip formula glides on black, then evolves into a custom bold berry hue tailored to your specific skin tone. Formulated with Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract and Goji Berry Extract to boost microcirculation as well as moisturizing Avocado Oil antioxidant Vitamin C and Pomegranate Seed Oil, O-Gloss Noir interacts with your personal skin chemistry to create a shade that’s unique to you.
Availability: August 2010 at Sephora, Sephora inside JCPenny, Ulta, Nordstrom, sephora.com or smashbox.com beginning August 2010