Monday, October 11th, 2010

Lipstick Comparisons: $26 to $34 (Part 1)

Though often lumped into high-end, this is a tier made up of designer brands like Chanel, Dior, and YSL. Most higher-end/designer lipsticks are scented, usually with floral or fruit. Rose seems to be the most prevalent scent found in brands across the board; sometimes it’s subtle (Chanel), while other times it’s heavy (Dolce & Gabbana). I find designer range lipsticks to be non-drying to moisturizing with more opaque formulas overall.  Packaging is often nicer, but it’s not always the case and is, inevitably, very personal.

Burberry Lip Cover ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), universally wearable shade range
  • NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., no out of the box shades, heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: Hard to find in stores
  • MY REC: One characteristic that I think is noteworthy is Burberry Lip Covers are exceptionally well designed with a lot of attention paid to the details, from the gunmetal packaging to the magnetic closure to the etched check pattern on the lipstick itself. The shade range seems very flattering across skin tones with a good variety of pinks, nudes, and reds.

Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Semi-opaque to opaque, moisturizing, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), nice shade range
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., slightly rose-scented
  • CONS: Mostly cream/satin finishes
  • MY REC: I love how pigmented Rouge Allures are, and I find them comfortable wear; they wear for several hours and never leave my lips feeling dry. Sometimes I wish they’d make more (or some) Rouge Allures with shimmery finishes, too; it is a range dominated by satin/creamy finishes.

Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Lightweight, smooth, semi-opaque, many shades available but mostly wearable shades, wears 4 hours on average
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., slight rose-vanilla scent, no out of the box shades
  • CONS: Mostly shimmery/frosty finishes
  • MY REC: This is probably the least moisturizing lipstick by Chanel, though it’s not at all drying, but it won’t heal up dry or cracked lips by any means. Rouge Coco excels in being a very wearable shade range with a lightweight formula that doesn’t quite feel like your average lipstick.

Chanel Rouge Allure Laque ($32.00 for )

  • PROS: Glossy, creamy, opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours), easy to apply
  • NEUTRAL: 0.20 oz., slightly rose-scented
  • CONS: Short shade range, limited finishes
  • MY REC: I almost didn’t include these, as they’re more of a liquid lipstick than the traditional bullet lipsticks that dominate this series. It’s one of my favorite lip formulas of all time, though, because it’s very comfortable to wear.

Dior Dior Addict Lipstick ($26.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, semi-sheer to semi-opaque, wears for an average of 4 hours
  • NEUTRAL: 0.12 oz., heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: Short shade range with mostly pinks/reds
  • MY REC: The lipstick doesn’t feel drying but not overly moisturizing, and it only wears for an average length of time on me (4 hours), so for a higher-end lipstick, I’m not totally sold on it.

Dior Serum de Lipstick ($32.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, glossy, moisturizing, semi-opaque, several shades available (mostly wearable)
  • NEUTRAL: 0.07 oz., scented but it’s quite faint (indeterminable)
  • CONS: Very little for the money, wears off within 1 to 2 hours
  • MY REC: These are comparable to Cle de Peau’s Extra Silky Lipsticks (which retail for $52); they’re not quite as good (particularly when it comes to wear), but they’re still very similar. It’s a moisturizing formula, but given that you get very little in each (just 0.07 oz., a little over half your average lipstick) and it needs frequent reapplication, it’ll add up quickly.

Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, opaque, long-wearing (4 to 6 hours)
  • NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: Mostly cream/satin finishes
  • MY REC: Not as moisturizing as the Shine formula but more pigmented in return. It also wears a little longer on average. The Classic Cream formula has the same heavy rose-scent, though.

Dolce & Gabbana Shine Lipstick ($30.00)

  • PROS: Creamy, glossy, semi-opaque to opaque shade range with wearable and some “fun” colors, moisturizing, wears 4 hours on average
  • NEUTRAL: 0.13 oz., heavily rose-scented
  • CONS: May be difficult to find in-stores
  • MY REC: Other than it being harder to check out in person (and worse yet, Saks doesn’t have a great cosmetic return policy last I checked), I’ve had a lot of success with their Shine Lipsticks. They’re moisturizing and have lots of color pay off. I think the biggest complaint I’ve seen from others who have tried this lipstick is the scent (very strong).

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.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

16 thoughts on “Lipstick Comparisons: $26 to $34 (Part 1)

  1. serene

    Christine, I made my way down to the Chanel counter today and got 2 Chanel Rouge Allure Laque, thanks to you! I love the formula. Maybe you could make a list of your all time favorite lip formulas so that I can have a good zoom-in to get quality lipsticks. I’m sick of buying stuff that are nice, yet have a failing or two.

    • Yay! My favorites are Guerlain’s Rouge Gs, Chanel Rouge Allures, Cle de Peau Extra Silky… I like a LOT of lipsticks, but those are my top three. I really like MAC lipsticks for their affordability and variety.

  2. Great picks def interestedin Illamasqua.

  3. BethM

    I am actually relieved to read that most of the lipsticks you’ve mentioned in this price range are rose-scented. I’ve always wanted to try a higher-end lipstick, but rose is one scent that I just can’t tolerate on or around my face. I’ll just have to stick to my vanilla-scented price range.

  4. Cathy

    How about Rouge Dior? The new line is absolutely gorgeous :)

  5. baby in a corner

    What I don’t like about nars is a lot of the lipsticks are very brown toned, supposed influenced by the 1990s. If you are cool toned like me the only ones that would suit would be roman holiday or funny face.

  6. Mamavalveeta03

    Thanks! This was a great feature post and had to have taken LOTS of time. I appreciate it!!!

  7. K

    I’ve been waiting for this post as I only own Chanel lip products. (Well, I have others from GWPs but I’ve only ever bought Chanel myself. Part 2 reminds me that I have a Lancome lipstick I still need to try.) I am disappointed that the Aqualumiere Lipshine wasn’t included though. I guess you might not own any since I don’t recall you featuring them on here. Also, your other readers may not like them as much since they are more sheer by nature of the line (something I really like myself — love the way the colors blend with my natural liptone to add subtle but beautiful color). SPF is an added bonus, too!

    I’m looking forward to seeing the high end lipsticks. I still need to check out Cle de Peau! And Guerlain Rouge G in Gillian (I’ve tried others but haven’t found one that works for me yet).

    • I didn’t include Aqualumieres because they’re being phased out last I heard…

      • K

        Oh no, I hadn’t heard that. I know the Aqualumiere glosses are going to be phased out due to the new Rouge Allure glosses, but I wasn’t told anything about the lipsticks. I was planning on doing my next Chanel haul at Nordstrom’s big beauty event, but I’ll have to try to remember to ask about the lipsticks before then. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. Kimmie

    Hey Christine!
    I’m not quite sure where to post this, but I figured a lipstick post would be fitting.

    I’m looking for a red lip for this holiday season (preferably MAC). My problem is I’m not sure which would be best suited for me. I hate frosty/glittery lips, but matte, cremesheen, lustre, amplified, etc. work well! At this point about all I know is to avoid Ruby Woo, haha. Could you give me a recommendation? I’m warm toned and fairly tanned (NC 45 according to your foundation matrix) although I will lighten up a bit by the time winter comes. Thanks for all you do, especially replying to all of the comments :)

  9. poisonrouge

    Really excellent series, Christine. This is my go-to site for beauty information.