Mass Appeal: Testing Out 3 New Brands Of Bargain Liquid Lipsticks

Published on June 13, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

In a world of beauty gurus constantly shoving more and more luxury beauty items down your throat with ever-increasing price tags, don’t forget: there are a ton of great discount and drugstore brands that are really stepping up their game and bringing you some fantastic products!  Recently I brought you a review of Crown Brush, with its line of amazing eyeshadow palettes (and brushes, obvi – though I didn’t test any of those!), and now I wanted to bring you a post about affordable products that I truly love: liquid lipsticks.

Confession: I am a total liquid lipstick addict.  I have so many shades from so many brands that I could never possibly use all of them up if I tried.  At least it feels that way!  But the heart wants what it wants, and so I went out and tracked down three brands and bought some of their liquid lipstick shades to test and review!

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Here are the three brands that I picked up:

The Classic: Revlon

Revlon is a well-established brand that has been cranking out high quality lipsticks for like a million years.  They are known for some of their classic red shades, like Cherries In The Snow and Fire & Ice, that were featured in full page ads in Vogue throughout the 50s and which they still produce to this day – I just had to buy both of those shades!  But they also have a line of Ultra HD Matte Lip Color that I found at my local CVS for less than $10 a tube (plus I had a coupon!).  I picked up two different, vibrant reds appropriately called Love and Romance.

The Guru Favorite: Milani

Even gurus that don’t regularly talk about drugstore brands will usually have something from Milani stashed in their kit that will make regular appearances in their videos.  The brand has a full line of makeup and they put out special collections from time to time, all of which get generally positive reviews.  I’ve used a couple of their blushes and other powdered face products before, and while I’ve picked up one or two of their regular lipsticks in the past I’ve never tried their Amore Matte Lip Cremes.  When I saw they had put out a bunch of metallic shades, I decided it was time to spend a little time getting to know this brand a little better.  I ended up with three shades: a bright cherry red metallic (Mattely In Love), a medium rose pink (Cinematic Kiss), and a champagne nude (Chromatic Addict).

The New Girl In Town: Kokie Professional

I was at Walmart stocking up on Hard Candy products for a separate piece (coming soon!) and I noticed that they had added a new brand with huge ranges of shades and cute black and white striped packaging featuring an elephant logo.  I had never heard of Kokie Professional before, but with Kissable Liquid Lipsticks running a mere $6 I was ready to take the plunge.  I bought two shades, a deep red shade called Boss Lady and a Coral Peach called Havana Nights.  If I had picked up a third shade, I would have gotten triple the product for what I normally pay for a single Jeffree Star liquid lipstick!  I was definitely hoping this brand would deliver!

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Smell Test:

A lot of higher priced liquid lipsticks don’t include scent in their formula (though some do, and I personally appreciate it as the smell of liquid lipstick ingredients is sometimes a bit…pungent), so I was interested to see if mass market brands would also skip this ingredient (and the extra costs associated with it!) or if they would use this as a possible selling point for people who don’t appreciate the natural ingredients smell of other lipsticks.

The Revlon lipsticks definitely had something going on – sort of a fruity candy kind of smell?  It reminded me of strawberry gummies!  I really liked it; I thought it was a nice, yummy smell but wasn’t overpowering. The Milani lipsticks were a bit inconsistent.  They all seemed to have some sort of smell, and the one that was most prominent (Chromatic Addict) seemed to be a kind of vanilla buttercream smell.  The other two had faint traces of the smell but it wasn’t as easily identifiable.  As for the Kokie lipsticks, they didn’t have any added fragrance that I could detect, but they also didn’t have any of that smell of the regular ingredients.  It was just sort of a neutral smell, nothing to be upset about.

Swatch Test:

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The Revlon lipsticks weren’t too impressive for this one.  The formula is a little moussey, and it painted on pretty inconsistently.  It had a strange sort of flat doefoot applicator that I found hard to work with for the swatches – we’ll see how it does on the lips!  It was also very slow to dry; in fact, it never completely got there in the ten or so minutes between when I painted it on and when I shot the swatch photos.  I painted these shades on first, but both of the other brands were dry while these were still shiny and wet.  I’m hoping for magic on my lips, otherwise these will be getting the thumbs down!

The Milani painted on like a dream!  They are light and watery, similar to the formula for Lime Crime’s Velvetines or Makeup Monsters.  They also dried really quickly, and while metallic liquid lipsticks can be challenging, the coverage was consistent and even, and it dried down super fast!  The pink shade, Cinematic Kiss, did have a couple of slightly patchy spots in the swatch, but I touched them up with a single swipe and everything was coming up roses!

Kokie Professional was the thickest formula and also took a fair amount of time to dry.  It took some work with the doefoot applicator to get a consistent and even coat, but it is achievable.  Overall I’m not really impressed with this yet; bargain or not, it’s not a very fun or easy-going formula to work with, so I’m not sure if it can totally win me over on pricepoint alone!

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The Lip Test:

Here’s where we get down to business and see how these actually look on my lips, what the application was like (you can only learn so much painting on your arm!), and whether I would actually recommend any of these bargain divas!  For my process, I shaved (you’re welcome!) and then I used some Tyra Beauty Flawsome Face tinted moisturizer in Sugar Cookie just to even out my skin before taking the picture.  Between coats, I’d wipe down with my beloved Pop It Cleans and then apply a little more of the Sugar Cookie to make sure it was still even and looking good.  Sorry if the lips got a little bit ham in some of the pictures.  I’m a big drag queen – it’s in my nature to paint clown mouth!

First, the Revlon:

I liked these a lot better on my lips that I did on my arm, though they never really did seem to dry down.  I felt like these are a good option if you wanted to wear a regular lipstick but just adored these colors.  I never found them to really approximate the experience of a true liquid-to-matte lipstick.  The colors were gorgeous, and I loved the cheeky pairing of love and romance.  I would recommend these, but again, only if you aren’t looking for that true matte liquid lipstick experience.

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Next, Milani:

These were every bit as wonderful as I expected from the swatches!  They painted on smoothly and dried down quickly and the metallic is really lovely.  I’m sorry that I’m such a dope with the camera on my phone – the metallic really only shows up well in the last image, but I promise these do have some nice shine to them!  The red is probably my favorite but the other two are good as well.  This time around it was the Chromatic Addict that gave me a little bit of trouble, and I had to paint on two coats to get full even coverage, but the end result was really beautiful so I ain’t mad about it.  These retail for about $8 each, so they are definitely a recommend, especially when you consider that other brands have really been struggling to put out metallic liquid lips that aren’t patchy or cracky or crumbly, and they charge a lot more!

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Finally, Kokie Professional:

These were still my least favorite, but they performed a lot better on the lips than I anticipated after the swatching.  It’s a really thick formula, but I wouldn’t call it moussey – it was just thick!  I had to really work to paint this across my lips; it felt like I was painting with a softened lip liner instead of an actual liquid.  You can get a pretty decent color payoff (and it’s hard to argue with $6).  If there are a couple of colors that really strike your fancy don’t hesitate to add them to your collection, but I wouldn’t be in any hurry to snatch up all of them.  Also, they look a lot lighter on the lips than they do in the tube, especially Boss Lady.  In the tubes, Boss Lady looked about two shades darker than Romance, but I found the colors to be pretty similar.  If you love that true, deep red I would recommend you spend a couple of extra dollars and just get the Revlon.  This brand wasn’t a total dud though, and with those affordable prices, I’m willing to poke around and give a few more of their products a chance to really shine – look for more reviews coming in the future!

LLL 05I loved this little foray into bargain brands – I remember what it was like when I was a young broke queen and I didn’t have the same sort of makeup budget I have now (hell, even now I don’t have the makeup budget I have now, I’m just willing to sacrifice some creature comforts to feed my need for glam!); it’s really important to remember that beauty doesn’t come in a tube and hope doesn’t come in a jar.  You are gorgeous just as you are, but if you like playing and creating new versions of yourself, then you can do it and be fabulous at really any pricepoint.  A sexy red lipstick is going to make you look fierce, no matter where it came from.

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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