What’s in a Lipstick? (with video)

What's in a Lipstick?

Have you ever wondered what’s in a lipstick? Obviously there’s the colouring agents that make it red or pink, but what’s all the other stuff? Let’s talk lipstick science. The video is here on YouTube, scroll down for the blog post version… What makes a good lipstick? First let’s talk about what a lipstick is. I mean, I think we …

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How Can You Plump Up Your Lips?

How can you plump up your lips?

Fat, bee-stung lips are more popular than ever. How do you get there if you weren’t born with them? Here are your options, from least to most drastic…

Hydrating Lip Care

Your lips dry out faster than the rest of your face because the skin there is very thin, and there aren’t any oil glands to produce natural sebum to moisturise them. Just like skin, lips are less wrinkly when they’re well-hydrated and moisturised!

Use lip balm (with SPF during the day)

One dermatologist (Joshua Zeichner) made the media rounds for saying that occlusive lip balms makes your lips lazy, but this seems to be just his opinion rather than a widespread one in dermatology, and isn’t supported by the current evidence as far as I can tell. The only reliable way for your lips to get oils on them is by using lip balm.

It’s also important to protect your lips from the sun – in the short term sun exposure can lead to dehydration, but long term it can reduce collagen, which is the protein that keeps your skin and lips plump. Collagen goes down with age, but it goes down a lot more with sun exposure!

My favourite lip balm brand is Hurraw which have balms based on plant oils, but I’m also quite partial to Chapstick limited edition Cake Batter balm and their Dual Action Hydration LockRevo has some cute round balms that I found much more effective than eos. Nivea has some great lip products too, especially the Repair and Protect balm which I think has been reformulated recently. Chapstick, Nivea and Hurraw all have SPF versions. Sun Bum has some nice SPF lip balms, but no plain ones.

How can you plump up your lips?

Other balms I’ve heard a lot about but haven’t tried personally: Nuxe Reve De Miel lip balm (though I can’t seem to find it stocked in many places anymore), Dr Bronner, Paula’s Choice.

Be conscious of your water-drinking habits

There’s a tiny bit of evidence that drinking water can affect your skin hydration if you don’t drink enough, but did you know that drinking water can actually dry out your lips? Wet skin loses water faster than dry skin, so flooding your lips with water too often can make them dry out faster. It can also wash away the oils, so make sure you reapply lip balm afterwards.

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The Lip Lab Custom Lipstick Service Review

The Lip Lab Custom Lipstick Service Review

The Lip Lab is a chain in Australia where you can get your own custom lipstick made to suit your specifications. There are a few similar services overseas (Bite Beauty is a big one in America), but this is the only brand in Sydney as far as I know. There are 15 Lip Lab branches across the country so far.

The Lip Lab Custom Lipstick Service Review

I was invited to the lovely bright airy Lip Lab store on Oxford St in Paddington to get my dream lipstick shade made. I’ve been in love with nude shades recently, so I wanted to get a sheer satin nude that was would essentially be the lovechild of Marc Jacobs No Angel and the discontinued-in-Australia Revlon Lip Butter Pink Truffle (“they’re not the same, they’re similar“).

The Lip Lab Custom Lipstick Service Review

The Lip Lab’s Shauna made my lipstick for me. After listening to my description and peering intently at the lipsticks I brought with me, she measured out drops of various pigments onto a plate and mixed them with the shea butter-containing base with a palette knife to create my custom shade.

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Rimmel The Only 1 Matte Lipstick: Swatches and Review

Rimmel The Only 1 Matte Lipstick: Swatches and Review

Rimmel The Only 1 Matte Lipstick: Swatches and Review

Here’s the sequel to Rimmel’s The Only 1 lipsticks which I loved: Rimmel The Only 1 Matte. Much like the original, they mix intense colour, easy application, and excellent staying power, and even feel moisturising… almost (let’s face it, matte lipsticks never truly feel moisturising!). There are 9 shades available, and all 9 shades are coming to Australia. Here they are:

Rimmel The Only 1 Matte Lipstick: Swatches and Review

  • Trendsetter (7oo) – warm pinkish brown nude
  • Salute (200) – nude pink
  • High Flyer (610) – dusty mauve
  • Leader of the Pink (110) – medium pink

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Eccentric Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lipsticks Swatches and Review

Eccentric Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lipsticks Swatches and Review

I love the look of matte liquid lipstick, but my lips are very prone to drying out so I’ve been hesitant to use them. When I heard that Eccentric Cosmetics had a line of matte liquid lipsticks that didn’t turn your lips into the Sahara, AND came in little sample vials, I had to get my hands on some!

The 1.2 mL sample vials are very cute and fun-sized – about 4 cm/1.5 inches tall, and contain a doe foot applicator. They’re not a good investment in terms of price per mL, but I’ve never ever finished an entire lipstick in my life, and I have terrible luck with lipsticks that look great in swatches but not on my lips. If you’re anything like me, this is a great opportunity to try a whole bunch of colours before buying the full sized product.

Eccentric Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lipsticks Swatches and Review

All of Eccentric’s matte lipsticks have the same ingredients listed, so I’m guessing a lot of the variation is due to the batch or the specific pigments in each.

Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Isododecane, Dimethicone, Castor Oil, Sorbitan Olivate, Candelilla Wax, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Tin Oxide, Iron Oxides, Manganese Violet, Synthetic Flurophogopite, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Yellow #5, Orange #5, Red #6, Red #7, Red #21, Red #27, Red #40, Blue #1

Here are the individual shades:

Eccentric Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lipsticks Swatches and Review

Eccentric Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lipsticks Swatches and Review

Potala Palace – Deep burgundy red. Potala Palace s a very flattering vampy shade that would suit a lot of skin tones. It leaves behind a bright pink-red stain that’s the same as those “mood lipsticks”, from the Red #27 in the ingredients.

The formula is amazing – it goes on quite liquid, spreads easily and dries quickly to a matte. It takes 1-2 thin coats for opacity, although if you put on thicker coats it will flake and crack a little. It’s comfortable throughout the day although it does transfer a little, especially when eating. The best thing is that it doesn’t dehydrate your lips as you wear it, which has happened to me with way too many matte lipsticks, where it looks great at the beginning but you flake and dessicate throughout the day.

Taj Mahal – pinkish-red. This is scarily fluorescent in the tube but goes on as a vivid red that’s bright, but not unwearably bright. It has the same great formula as Potala Palace.

I swatched all the colours in a three hour marathon session with natural lighting and the camera on the auto setting, hence the slight variation in lighting (I’ve adjusted them a bit in Photoshop to try to even out the colours, but some colours do weird things regardless). I ended with Taj Mahal and as you can see, my lips were in great condition. I wore Taj Mahal for the rest of the day through two meals – here’s what my lips looked like afterwards:

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NYX Butter Gloss and Intense Butter Gloss Swatches and Review

NYX Butter Gloss and Intense Butter Gloss Swatches and Review

I’m currently in love with NYX’s Butter Glosses. I know I’m a little slow to get on this bandwagon, but I’ve never been a fan of sticky glosses and these have the syrupy, stringy texture of honey so I was hesitant to try them. The delicious vanilla scent eventually won me over though!

NYX Butter Gloss and Intense Butter Gloss Swatches and Review

NYX Butter Gloss Swatches and Review

NYX Butter Glosses are lightly tinted glosses that leave a natural finish on your lips. They come in a clear screw-top tube with a doe foot applicator, and NYX have done an amazing job matching the colour of the plastic on the caps with the colour of the actual product so it looks a lot like opaque packaging when new.

NYX Butter Gloss and Intense Butter Gloss Swatches and Review

The Butter Glosses have a pretty stringy and sticky texture which worried me a bit, but after application, the texture is a lot less sticky and shiny. They remind me a bit of a tinted lip balm, like Revlon’s discontinued Lip Butters that I loved. They also have the moisturising power and low maintenance of a lip balm, but on the flip side they also have the staying power of a relatively long-lasting lip balm (a few hours without eating and with minimal drinking). I’ve found them very handy for layering on top of drying matte lipsticks halfway through the day, when your lip skin decides to leave the nest in highly unsexy flakes that only get worse when you try to apply more lipstick.

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Burt’s Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

Burt's Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

Burt’s Bees have launched a new line of lipsticks. I’ve never had much luck with “natural” lipsticks – the ones I’ve tried don’t glide on well and end up patchy, or have poor pigmentation, or some other issue – but these are surprisingly nice!

Burt's Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

Burt’s Bees Lipstick Swatches

There are 14 shades available – I tried 7 of them:

Burt's Bees Lipstick Swatches and Review

  • Nile Nude – pale caramel nude
  • Blush Basin – light dusty rose
  • Tulip Tide – pastel lilac
  • Fuchsia Flood – rose pink
  • Scarlet Soaked – deep bright red
  • Juniper Water – plum
  • Russet River – maroon

There’s also Sunset Cruise (orange-rose), Iced Iris (pale warm pink), Suede Splash (caramel brown), Lily Lake (purple-toned pink), Magenta Rush (magenta pink), Brimming Berry (berry pink) and Ruby Ripple (dark red).

They all have a glossy lip balm-like finish.

Ingredients: Diheptyl Succinate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Behenyl Alcohol, Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, C12-18 Acid Triglyceride, Lanolin, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Cera Carnauba (Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax), Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Sorbitan Tristearate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Aroma (Flavor), Tocopherol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Lauroyl Lysine, Citric Acid, Linalool. May Contain [+/-]: Mica, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 75470 (Carmine), CI 77491/CI 77492/CI 77499 (Iron Oxides)

What I liked about Burt’s Bees Lipsticks

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Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick swatches and review

Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick swatches and review

Here’s what I’ve been testing on my lips lately – Rimmel The Only 1 Lipstick, newly available in stores in Australia for $15.95 each. Here’s my review and swatches of 8 of the shades. Rimmel The Only 1 Lipsticks are all-in-one lipsticks that combine intense colour, smooth application, solid moisturisation and excellent staying power, and I have to say they …

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