Lipstick and lip gloss often go mano y mano in the battle for dominance in the lip product market. Lipstick seems to have asserted itself in recent years and even a gloss addict such as myself has been playing with lipstick more often in the fall season, when wind kicks up and I don't want my hair sticking to my lip gloss-coated mouth. Choosing the right lipstick shade and formulation is a bit of an endeavor, since there are so many options when it comes to hues, textures, finishes, and brands. Stepping up to the makeup counter or in Sephora can be intimidating. There's also that critical matter of how much you want to spend, and I'm not even talking about those one-offs infused with precious gems and a five-figure price tag that only celebs can indulge.
There is just something so luxurious about a velvet, matte texture lipstick. They look so classic, whereas the aforementioned glosses tends be more wild, carefree, and youthful. There are several brands that are hawking luxe lipsticks with price tags over $50. If I am going to shell out that much loot for a lip product, it better do a lot more than add some pretty color to my pucker. I'm not just talking about "conditioning effects" — it better do my laundry, get me a date, pick up after my dog, and add interest to my bank account, too.
Fine. That's fantasyland and is never going to happen. So realistically, a $50 lippie has to feel, taste, and look different than anything I can nab at the drugstore.
Are these investment lipsticks by Tom Ford, Cle de Peau, and Lipstick Queen worth the spend? Are they really that much better than other, $24-or-so lippies populating the prestige counters of MAC, Chanel, Lancome, and Bobbi Brown?
I admit I felt like a glam diva yanking these heavy, designer-style, and chic cases out of my bag and applying them carefully. There was something so devilishly delightful about it. The formulas, shade ranges, and staying power proved intense, but, like, $50 intense? Let's find out.
Colors Tested: Velvet Cherry and Ruby Rush (pictured)
Price: $50, Tom Ford
Finish: It is a true, true matte. No shine. No sheen. No shimmer. Just an awesomely bold matte that's not drying like cheaper brands tend to be.
Hours Lasted: It doesn't move, no matter how many lattes (or gin and juice!) you find yourself sippin' on.
Other Special Qualities: Even if TFB lipsticks wear off, they still stain lips without leaving them dried out, so you don't need to reapply every five minutes unless you are obsessive about that. You can apply right from the bullet, but a brush and liner will allow for smoothest precision.
Worth It? With the high color payoff, moisturizing feel, and awesome matte finish, I'd say yes, without a doubt.
Colors Tested: 201/Shreveport (Silk) and 102/Jubilee Celebration (Satin)
Price: $65, Cle de Peau Beaute
Finish: Silk or Satin
Hours Lasted: I can be a little neurotic about my lipsticks, so I re-applied twice, maybe three times, throughout the day.
Other Special Qualities: The Amanda Seyfried-fronted brand Cle de Peau certainly caters to a more discerning makeupista with its classic, elegant, and expensive offerings. Not only is the lipstick bullet squared off at the head with a jewel-cut, so is the lightweight case. The formula also glides across lips, like a ballerina.
Worth It? The pale, whispery, mod pink of Shreveport gave me instantly pouty, Angelina-like lips all day. Okay, not that full, but my lips appeared bigger and more pillowy, so yes, yes, it's worth it.
Colors Tested: See Me (juicy coral); Made It (glossy grape)
Price: $50, Lipstick Queen
Hours Lasted: 2; I felt the need to reapply after phone calls.
Other Special Qualities: The color payoff is rich and intense, but the shades are glossy, not matte. They are infused with peppermint oil, so they feel super smooth and smell delicious with some tingle. The heavy silver cases mimic a skyscraper silhouette and are magnetized, which makes them feel more expensive.
Worth It? You know how beauty editors and writers always remind you that a bright lipstick in the tube is usually less concentrated and intense when swiped on lips? Yeah, that's not the case here. This stuff is intense. Only serious lipstick addicts need apply.