Hooker Lips: Werking The Makeup Aisle At The Dollar Store

Published on February 29, 2016 by   ·   1 Comment

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about Dollar Store makeup, and since I’m busy saving up my pennies for some very exciting projects coming up (you know you’ll see them here at the World of Champagne as soon as I can announce more details!) this seemed like the perfect time to bring it back.  And since lip products are my guilty pleasures, I figured why not focus in on some luscious lipsticks and totally glam glosses?

One of the challenges of scoping out bargains at the Dollar Store is that you never know what’s going to be available – while they always have a pretty wide variety of products, it’s hit or miss as to what kind of color selection they’ll have, what brands will be available, etc.  For this post, I hit up the Dollar Tree stores on Washington and 32nd; there is a new store over in East Grand, but I haven’t had a chance to get over there yet (maybe a future post?!).  I found a total of 15 products that piqued my interest (18 if you count that 3 of them are two-in-ones!):

DS Cosmetics

The biggest representation is from L.A. Colors (5 products, with 2 of them two-in-ones) followed by Milani with 3 products.  There are 2 each of Wet ‘N Wild and e.l.f., with one-offs from NYC, Color Mates, and a brand I forgot to write down before I threw out the package (though it doesn’t really matter – more on that below!).  I’ll review them in groups of 5 with swatches; in addition to swatching them on my hand I also tried them on my lips.  I’ll rate them with my totally arbitrary scale of blech, bogus, basic, bargain, and bangin’ (with blech being the lowest rating and bangin’ being the highest).

The first group is the 5 L.A. Colors items:

Clockwise from top right: Lip gloss and lipstick duo in Charmed; Lip gloss and lipstick duo in Twinkle; Lipstick in Sorbet; All-In-One (lipstick, blush, and shadow) chunky pencil, no color name on product.

Clockwise from top right: Lip gloss and lipstick duo in Charmed; Lip gloss and lipstick duo in Twinkle; Lipstick in Sorbet; All-In-One (lipstick, blush, and shadow) chunky pencil, no color name on product, Moisturizing lip gloss in Fruit Punch.

Lip Gloss and Lipstick Duo – Charmed:  The darker of the two duos, I actually really loved the lipstick – except that it was broken off and fell out when I took off the cap.  The color was rich and pigmented and went on nice and smooth.  It had a scent – sort of bubblegum, maybe? – but it wasn’t overpowering and unpleasant, and it didn’t smell waxy at all.  The gloss had a nice glitter too it, but was super sheer, meant to go over the lip color or to just add a subtle tint if worn alone.  I would prefer the lipstick alone; the gloss was sort of a throwaway.  By itself, I’d say the lipstick was a bargain (might have been bangin’ if it wasn’t broken!), the gloss by itself is basic, with a total overall rating of bargain.  Definitely worth a look, especially for a buck!

Lip Gloss and Lipstick Duo – Twinkle:  You’d think this would just be a repeat of the last one, but the lighter pink shade wasn’t as good as the red shade – the lipstick didn’t have as smooth or consistent coverage as the darker shade, and the gloss was basically colorless when applied.  Scent was the same, still good, but nothing to die for.  Overall, this one is just basic.

Lipstick – Sorbet:  This one is one of the best of the whole group.  This was a great coral/peach shade that doesn’t get too harsh, perfect for glowy summer looks.  It went on nice and smooth with good pigmentation and covered evenly.  It’s maybe a little sheer for stage makeup, but I would totally put this over a lip paint; people who are going for a more everyday look can use it as is.  This is the first product to get a rating of bangin’ – if you are looking to explore Dollar Store lip products, the L.A. Colors lipstick is a good place to start!

All-In-One Lipstick, Blush, and Eyeshadow Chunky Pencil – No Color Name on Product:  There may have been a color name on the packaging, but I was so disappointed with this one that I didn’t even bother to try to find it.  Just like cheap 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner products, this one tries to do too many things and does none of them well.  It’s super waxy and almost has a little bit of a slick, petroleum jelly type feel.  The smell is waxy and the color, while vibrant, sheers out and didn’t apply evenly on my lips.  Definitely blech.

Lip Gloss – Fruit Punch: This gloss is not as good as the glosses in the duos – the color is too pigmented to really sheer out well but no pigmented enough to really be a solid color unless you totally goop it on.  Might be ok layering over a lip paint of a similar color that will boost the overall color payoff, but I just wasn’t having it.  This one is bogus.

Next up – Milani and e.l.f.:

Center, top to bottom: Milani Lip Gloss, Color Name Missing; Milani HD Advanced Lip Color, Vivacious Fuchsia; MIlani HD Advanced Lip Color, Sweet Grape.  Left: e.l.f. EX-tra Lip Gloss, Scott.  Right: e.l.f. Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick, Tiki Torches.

Center, top to bottom: Milani Lip Gloss, Color Name Missing; Milani HD Advanced Lip Color, Vivacious Fuchsia; MIlani HD Advanced Lip Color, Sweet Grape. Left: e.l.f. EX-tra Lip Gloss, Scott. Right: e.l.f. Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick, Tiki Torches.

Milani HD Advanced Lip Color – Vivacious Fuchsia:  Milani is a staple of drugstore makeup aisles, so I’m not surprised that they had pretty consistent quality for the 3 products I tried.  This hot pink lipstick (the very middle swatch) had nice pigmentation and wasn’t as terribly 80s as I feared (fuchsia is a dangerous word!).  I would have liked a little glimmer or shimmer, but this was still a bargain as it applied nicely and felt good on the lips.

Milani HD Advanced Lip Color – Sweet Grape:  This one surprised me – pleasantly!  The way it was in the package, I couldn’t see the color name; when I opened it and saw “Sweet Grape” I imagined some really tacky bright purple, like Kool-Aid.  What I got instead was a lovely deep berry pink with lots of gold shimmer – if the fuchsia had the same level of shimmer, maybe in a silver, it probably would have reached the level of bangin’ – this one totally did!

Milani Lip Gloss – Color Name Missing:  I know that Milani always names their colors, so I think the sticker was just missing from this one.  It’s similar to Fruit Punch from the L.A. Colors group above, maybe slightly more coral.  This one has the weirdest smell – it totally reminds me of Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly jellybeans!  And while I love those delicious little beans, there is something off-putting about smearing something that smells like butter all over your lips (which are inconveniently located just under your nose).  The color is a bargain, but the smell is blech, for a final rating of bogus.

e.l.f. EX-tra Lip Gloss – Scott:  Ummm, what the actual fuck kind of name for a color is Scott?!  That’s the first time this product went south…but not the last.  In the tube it looks like sort of a beige-y pink with subtle gold shimmer, and I was hoping that it would turn out something like SugarPill’s limited edition lip gloss from this year’s IMATS L.A. which sold out in like 2 seconds (not that I’m fuckin’ bitter or anything).  This was…not like that.  It looked like someone had melted down a Barbie and thrown some cheap micro-glitter in it.  Totally blech.  My lips still feel violated.

e.l.f. Jumbo Lip Gloss Stick – Tiki Torches:  The last product was the bad news for e.l.f., so now for the good news – I can’t believe how much I loved this product!  It’s orange-y and a pencil, so I sort of expected to hate it right out’ the gate.  But it applies smoothly and has great pigmentation.  Because it’s a gloss, it’s a little sheerer than I would like for show makeup, but this over a ColourPop Ultra Matte lip paint?  Heaven.  Plus it has this very subtle minty smell, and how fun is the name Tiki Torches?!  100% Bangin’.  I might actually keep this one!

And now, as Paul Harvey would say, for the rest of the story:

DS Swatch 03

Clockwise from top right: NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain, Unstoppable Red; Wet ‘N Wild Lipstick, Dark Wine; Wet ‘N Wild Lipstick, Light Beige Frost; Color Mates Lipstick and Lip Liner Duo, Dark Pink Frost; Random pink lip gloss….ugh.

Wet ‘N Wild Lipstick – Light Beige Frost and Dark Wine:  Wet ‘N Wild is another staple of drug and discount store makeup, and the lipsticks from this line are ok for everyday wear.  I don’t love them, but there’s nothing really to hate, so they both fall into the basic category.  The Beige Frost was a little bit creamier than the darker shade and seemed a little melt-y as I was putting it on, but both had pretty good pigmentation, and a scent that didn’t seem like an added fragrance, but wasn’t technically unpleasant.  Just meh.  Or, going back to my scale, totally basic.

Color Mates Lipstick and Lip Liner Pencil Duo – Dark Pink Frost:  The liner included was a mini pencil in a white that went on sheer, but seemed to maybe have a sort of mattifying effect?  The pencil was a throwaway, but the lipstick wasn’t bad.  Color Mates is a brand I’ve never noticed at the Dollar Store before, but there was a lot of it, so I may try some of their other products.  The lipstick was on par with Wet ‘N Wild, but the plastic tube felt a little shabbier.  Still, basic.

Random Pink Lipgloss:  I think there was a brand and a color listed on the packaging, but I threw it away without writing it down, assuming it would appear on the packaging.  I almost with I still had, if for no other reason than so that I could prevent myself from ever buying the brand again.  This was by far the biggest disappointment of the group.  The gloss had no pigmentation and applied clear but streaky, and the glitter wasn’t enough to really make any effect.  Not enough payoff to wear over a lip paint.  All the blech.

NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain – Unstoppable Red:  This one has me so conflicted.  In fact, my own rating system is breaking down, and I’m giving this one a rating of “bagged” – as in this is the biggest mixed bag for me!  First, it has a felt tip applicator, like an eyeliner marker (or a Sharpie!), and was somewhat random to apply.  That part is bogus.  The color, when swatched on my hand, was close to the packaging: a yellow-y red, almost coral.  Basic.  But on my lips, it turned this stunning tomato red that was matte and bright and totally bangin’!  And since it’s a stain, i had to scrub the shit out of it to get it off (I made sure to put it on last, to not mess up my other trials!).  Removal was definitely blech!  How do you combine that into an accurate rating?  It’s all the things – ALL THE THINGS!?

So there you have it – another adventure werking the aisles at the local Dollar Store!  The e.l.f. pencil and the Milani Sweet Grape are going into my kit; the rest are going to their new home at the Fire Hall Theatre (maybe one of these goodies will makes its stage debut in an upcoming production!).  As always, I love that the Dollar Store is an opportunity to play with makeup with little financial investment; I always tell aspiring queens to go to the Dollar Store and get some makeup and just play while they’re deciding if drag is something they actually want to do.  Look at all the fabulous playtime I got spending less than a single lipstick from pretty much any brand sold at Sephora!

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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Readers Comments (1)
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