What’s your process for testing a new lip product?

As a reviewer, I like to test a mixture of light, medium, and darker shades across finishes to get a good, big picture overview of how the formula works out. Light shades often under-perform compared to deeper shades, just like matte finishes tend to wear super long compared to a glossier one, so only testing one type can be limiting!

My actual process is swatching through everything once, for photos, and I’ll make notes about anything that might standout (like a really stiff texture or terrible application) but tend to just work through them quickly for photos. After that, I test a variety of colors and finishes, and if a formula is on the drying side, I will alternate with glosses or something more hydrating. I apply and wear, checking every half hour to an hour (depending on the type of formula) to see how it is wearing. When it gets to the point where the product has started to wear away noticeably, I mark that point in time.

— Christine
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Because I’m not a reviewer, just an ordinary consumer, I am basically interested in how well a lipstick sits and wears on me personally. That said, I do make the majority of my purchases based on reviewers op-eds and recommendations. Usually this works out perfectly fine. But not always. For example, I’ve found that some Bite lipsticks, both tube and one Liquified, are just too slick and slippery for me, winding up going outside my lip line or creeping into the sides of my mouth where I have deep expression lines. In other cases, I’ve had good experiences where others hadn’t. Rare, yes. But, it happens once in awhile.

Because I am not a reviewer I really only have two criteria for lipstick and those are shade and comfort. I would rather apply more frequently than suffer with something that is uncomfortable. So, to determine whether I am going to enjoy a lipstick formula I rely on reviews here on the blog that give me an idea of how comfortable or not, a particularly formula wears. I know that most liquid lipsticks are not comfortable to wear but if I particularly love a shade I will try and work with it by applying a balm over or under. So, final thought, I don’t have a process!!

I’ve tried enough red & nude lipstick over the years to know what I like, so even a hand swatch is enough for me to be able to tell if the shade works for me; the same goes for “vampier” shades, although I’m far less picky, and as long as they don’t turn pinky/Berry when applied, I’m fine. I really don’t stray from the aforementioned shade ranges, and have never had any real “method” aside from trial & error many years ago. “Longevity” has never been an issue, as lip products are so easy to reapply/touch-up, take so little time, and are very portable, so I don’t care either way. The main thing besides color is whether or not a formula actually irritates my lips, which has only happened once, and is likely why I tend to shy away from “Luxury” lip products…

If I am seeing the lipstick in store, I swatch it myself to see what it looks like on my skin. If I am buying it online, then I will look at the swatches from either you Christine or on the models. I do prefer to see it myself, but sometimes I just have to trust the online photos – especially with Colour Pop.
What is essential for me is that the lipstick be creamy, hydrating with a slightly shimmery or glossy finish. No mattes, lipglosses or liquid lipsticks for me. The formulas have to be easy to apply and not dehydrate my mature lips. This is why I find the Colour Pop’s Lux lipsticks to be so good.
I have found over the years that it doesn’t matter how expensive the lipstick is, it doesn’t mean that it is going to work on me. Using the dupe list here helps me to find the shade I want at a more reasonable price with a brand that I know suits my lips.

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