Retro Essentials: Red Lipstick

wpid-20150707_195503.jpgRed lipstick should be in everyone’s makeup bag, it’s the ultimate min-max product.
But does the price really matter? Is this a product worth investing in or are the high end brands just overrated?
The one way to find out is to test them and I’ve graciously *cough* decided to volunteer.

This time I’m testing three products from three different price ranges.

Representing drugstore brands: Rimmel’s Provocalips in Play With Fire (55) which retails for 8.97 at Priceline (Currently on sale 50% off, regular price approx 17 dollars)
Representing mid-range brands: Etude House’s Etoinette Crystal Shine in Sip of Wine  bought for 18.95 at W Cosmetics
Representing half a week’s rent: Guerlain’s Rogue G de Guerlain in Garconne for 63 at David Jones*

First impressions:
Rimmel – Someone decided to put this inside a puzzle, it’s got at least three sections of plastic you need to unwrap it from. It also doesn’t want to be opened after that. This is a two step product where you apply the colour first and the finish after, logical. For some reason this seems to be really popular with drugstore brands. It has a lovely smell. It’s a very dark red with a blue undertone that makes it look almost burgundy.

Etude House – Etude House products look almost like toys because they’re so pretty and pink. Thankfully this packaging is white, but it still looks like it belongs to Barbie. The colour is incredibly pretty, it’s a classic red with subtle sparkles. It’s got quite a strong scent, still smells wonderfully but if you’re extremely sensitive to smells you might want to take that into account.
Guerlain – This lipstick means business. It’s packaged in metal and reminds me of a big bullet. It’s so shiny you can use it as a distorted mirror. The product contains two(!) mirrors at different strengths, which is bloody amazing for touching up on the go. It’s a classic red, shiny to the point where it looks like a recently washed car. The scent is subtle but luxurious, for this price it better be.

Rimmel – good idea, horrible execution. After having struggled to open it the first time, neither side seems to close properly and I’m rather weary of putting it in my bag because I can’t be certain it won’t leak. Both sides contain sponge like applicators that are rather sizeable. It works decent for application but can be tricky for precision work. The multiple layers of plastic I had to pull off have left a sticky residue all over the package. Not cool.

Etude House – more practical than it looks, the cap stays on, and it’s easy to hold. It’s a classic lipstick packaging with a princess twist. Nothing extraordinary but not bad either.

Guerlain – Brilliant except for one detail. The cap tends to come off if I keep it loose in my bag. As long as you keep it in a smaller compartment, it’s fine. It’s on the heavier side, but that seems to just be a part of its image. It’s luxurious and…powerful. I realise I’m talking about the packaging of a lipstick, but this is the lipstick equivalent of a pair of Louboutain black stilettos.

Order of colours in the photo: Rimmel, Etude House, Guerlain x2 (new to the left, old to the right). Also why does my hand look so masculine in this photo?


Rimmel – it’s a bit clumsy to apply but not too unreasonable. It just takes some concentration. The top coat applies like a gloss and I don’t like glosses. It’s a similar product to Maybelline’s 24h lip products, but stickier. This is the only product I haven’t worn for a full day, so I decided to test it and the others. I watched them on the back of my hand and left them to settle for a few minutes. Then I pressed my other hand against them to see how it transferred. The Rimmel one? Nothing. I did it twice to be certain I hadn’t missed it. Still nothing. I poked it. Still no transfer. I poked it as if I were playing cookie clicker. It did not budge. I rubbed over it as if trying to rub it out. It stayed. I can’t 100% say that it will last all day, but it is at least very resistant to outside interference. Very very promising. There’s a chance I might write an update on this product once I’ve worn it more.

Etude House – Easy to apply. Takes a few layers to get complete coverage. Sadly, this product transferred off immediately and from just pressing my hand against it, about 50% of the colour was lost. It rubs out quite easily. When I’ve worn this lipstick, I’ve had to reapply several times through the day. It’s pretty, but it’s not long lasting.

Guerlain – apply with care. This is a very pigmented product and if you’re not used to applying lipstick, you might want to use a brush. This lipstick is unbelievably creamy, pigmented beyond belief, and very moisturising. Unless your lips are obviously chapping, it will make them look perfect. This product does something that I’ve never seen another product do. It multiplies. I did the transfer test and at first glance it looked like it had transferred almost completely. The previously clean hand now had a thin but still full-coverage layer of lipstick on it. Surprised, I looked at the hand where I had applied it originally. Almost no change. It had lost some of its shine, but it’s still fully opaque. This matches what I’ve experienced from wearing this product. It has survived coffee, sushi, burgers, water bottles, and full day wear. Only occasionally have I needed to touch up, once per day. I’ve accidentally fallen asleep with this on, woken up, brushed my teeth, applied a small amount of lip balm (rubbed my lips together to even it out), left the house, and been complimented on how my lips look. I mean daaaaymn.

Value for money:

Rimmel – the only downside with this product is that the packaging is annoying. It’s pretty, bold, resistant, and cheap. It seems to be a great product for <10 dollars. Awesome so far. This was bought on sale and the original price is more similar to the Etude House product. If you’re looking for a lipstick that is always <10 dollars, please see my review of Designer Brands’ Moisturising Lipstick for 8.99 here.

Etude House – No. Just no. Etude House has some amazing products, but this just isn’t one of them. It just doesn’t stay on your lips, if you’re not careful, it will bleed and end up anywhere. It’s just not worth the money. It would be a disaster to kiss someone with this on, but it would look funny to the rest of the world.

Guerlain – I love this product, it’s one of my all time favourite beauty products. However, it’s really freaking expensive. On the plus side, it will last for years even with very, very frequent use. I went through a semester where I wore this almost every day. It lasts forever, looks amazing, and is easy to apply. If you’re looking to find that one amazing product to spend your savings on, this is it. If you are budget conscious when it comes to your signature lipstick, don’t. As much as I love it, there are other awesome lipsticks out there that cost way less. Even Mac lipsticks cost about 35-45.

Would I repurchase these products?
Rimmel – I haven’t used it enough to be able to tell if I’d purchase this particular shade again. However, the next time I drop by priceline, it is very likely that I’ll pick this product up in another shade.

Etude House – No.

Guerlain – I already have. I bought one years ago and when it threatened to run out on me, I bought another one. The new formula has changed slightly, with it having a slightly stronger blue undertone. They’re both pure brilliance, but I still prefer the first one I tried.
*I own what seems to be two versions of this, a new and an old formula where the new one has a bit more of a blue undertone.
It is the new version that will be reviewed since it is the one currently for sale.


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