I love lipstick, in any brand, any formula and more or less any colour (me and orange, we are yet to find common ground). And I’m a sucker for packaging, so I’m often drawn like a moth to a flame when I see a shiny, luxury lipstick. Can you imagine though, the crushing disappointment of spending £25 on a lippie that you realise is a dud? Here’s my comparison of luxury versus high street lipsticks; which was a waste of money? Let me waste my £25 so that you don’t have to.
The Contenders - Luxury versus high street lipsticks
Group 1: Burbery Lip Cover in no. 20 Hibiscus, and Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Lipstick in no. 107.
Group 2: Chanel Rouge Coco in no. 20 Rose Comete, and Topshop Lips in Pillow Talk.
Group 3: Guerlain Rouge G in Madame Batifole, and Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in no. 440 Cherries in the Snow.
Burberry versus Rimmel
So the first pair of lipsticks I’ve chosen are both bright reds. Packaging-wise, the Burberry looks and feels impressive. It’s a weighty, glossy chrome with the classic Burberry pattern etched into the cap. There’s a magnetic closure, which is always fun. All this packaging has its downside though; it’s big. Too big to fit into any of my lipstick holders (clear acrylic), which is a pain in the arse. Plus the chrome picks up fingerprints and scratches and will never quite look perfect. The Rimmel on the other hand, is red plastic with Kate Moss’s name printed on the cap. There’s no bells or whistles, it’s just functional.
Both lipsticks are bright blue-based reds, with the Burberry being slightly darker in colour. The Burberry finish has a sheen, whereas the Rimmel is matte, and the pigmentation is great on both lipsticks. Being matte, the Rimmel can feel drying after a long period of wear, so the Burberry really wins here in terms of comfort. It’s far more emollient and feels moisturising on the lips. Scent-wise, the Burberry wins again with a slightly floral sweet smell. I find all Rimmel lip products tend to have the same unpleasant plasticky smell, and it lingers for ages.
Rimmel Lasting Finish lipstick is currently £5.49 at Boots. Burberry Lip Cover is £25-£26 on the Burberry Beauty website.
Chanel versus Topshop
The Chanel lipstick has a sleek, glossy black outer with the Chanel logo printed in white on the top. It feels well made and it has a reassuring weight without being massive like the Burberry. The Topshop lipstick has brown plastic packaging with Lips Topshop printed in gold. It doesn’t feel as weighty as the Chanel, but it’s certainly not flimsy.
Both of these lipsticks are light pink shades, that I tend to wear if I’m going for dramatic eyeshadow. The Topshop lipstick shade is a slightly warmer pink, and the formula is creamy and comfortable to wear with good pigmentation. This is the point where the Chanel really falls down. This particular shade seems to have far more frosty shimmer than pigment, and I find it really emphasises any lip lines or dryness. I may have just picked a bad shade, as I haven’t tried any other Rouge Coco lipstick, but to be honest, this one has put me off bothering. The masses of shimmer feels just a tiny bit gritty on the lips, and the discomfort means that I rarely reach for this lipstick.
Topshop lipsticks are currently £8 on their website, Chanel Rouge Coco is £26 on the boots.com website.
Guerlain versus Revlon
The Guerlain Rouge G packaging is ridiculously luxurious. It has a high shine metallic finish and is very weighty in your hand (it makes the Burberry feel cheap in comparison!) When you take the lipstick out of the holder, the holder flips open to reveal a small mirror for application on the go. Why they thought they needed another shiny thing when the whole thing is shiny incarnate is a bit of a mystery. The major downside of this lipstick is the shape; because of the curved edges it won’t stand up like any other self-respecting lipsticks. You actually have to lie it down on its bottom, and so it sits outside of my lipstick holders, next to the other packaging outsider (Burberry).
The Revlon packaging always reminds me of a slightly smaller, rounded version of the Chanel Rouge Coco. It does feel significantly less weighty, but the cap is still secure and there’s a clear plastic porthole in the top so you can search for the right shade without taking the lid off.
Both of these lipstick formulas are very moisturising and comfortable to wear. Colour-wise, these are deep pinks, bordering on red, and the Guerlain is slightly less blue-based than the Revlon. The pigment is fantastic, but because they are quite emollient you do need to be careful that it doesn’t smear.
Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick is currently £7.49 on the boots.com website, and Guerlain Rouge G is £35(!) on the House of Fraser website.
So, were the luxury lipsticks worth the extra money? The truth is that high street brands have upped their game so much that you really don’t need to spend £25 to get high quality, comfortable, long-lasting pigment. If you’re in the market for a new lip colour and aren’t sure if you will like the shade, I’d recommend saving your money and going for a high street brand (maybe avoid the Rimmel if you’re sensitive to the reek of plastic). Makeup Revolution also have a great lipstick formula, and the packaging is quite similar to MAC although not quite so sturdy.
Out of the six on this list, the only ones I have reservations about are the Rimmel (because of the smell) and the Chanel (because of the overuse of the frosty, gritty shimmer).
Will I stop buying luxury lipsticks though? Probably not. As sad as it may be, sometimes nothing beats a bit of beautiful packaging, If I see something I love in a shade I’m going to get a lot of wear out of, then I’ll probably cave. Or if there’s an unusual colour that I can’t dupe in the high street.
What are your favourite luxury brands? Are there any that have seriously disappointed you?