Lipstick Steals: High-End Color On A Budget

It’s officially fall, and you know what that means: it’s time to update your seasonal array of lipsticks. But, as a consumer, you’ve probably learned that achieving higher quality almost always calls for shelling out bigger bucks. Sadly, we can't always splurge on the high-end lip colors. Are there drugstore steals that can help you stay within budget? The answer is yes. While pricier lipsticks do tend to bring higher quality, there are some drugstore (or “high street,” if you’re British) options that definitely deliver in pigment, hue, and pretty packaging. Keep an eye out for the following brands when shopping for new autumnal colors: 1) E.L.F. Eyes. Lips. Face. My first lipstick purchases ever were E.L.F. I bought a nude, a light pink, and a red ($1-$3). Lately I’ve been pairing Nearly Nude with a standard brown pencil liner and a brown-tinted lipgloss. The result is remarkable, in both its simplicity and its versatility. It goes with every outfit and is impervious to style or season (but, I might add, it’s excellent for fall outfits because of its earthy-toned theme).

2) L’Oreal. Target carries a line called L’Oreal Collection Exclusive Nudes ($9) which come in shades named for contemporary A-listers: Doutzen, Eva, Freida, J. Lo, Julianne, and Liya. I bought one in Doutzen, the softest baby pink I’ve ever seen, in the summer – perfect for a soft lip to balance a heavier eye. They’re made to pair with all skin tones, but the darker shades would work well as colder season staples. The line makes for an ideal transition into darker colors, if you’re not ready for a super bold lip – the pigment is very light. And their packaging is beautiful, black wrapped in delicate strands of gold cursive.

3) Wet n’ Wild. Per a Youtube video on makeup artist Kandee Johnson’s channel, I learned of a Walgreens sale for their MegaLast Lip Color line going for two dollars In the spring, I bought several shades of pink and from that batch found my favorite neon pink ever! Their pigment is also great for their price. Keep an eye out for deals under their name at places like Walgreens or CVS.

4) Maybelline’s cream lipstick shades have great pigment for their drugstore price, often a trait in lipsticks that’s sacrificed when paying less. In the warmer seasons, I paired my berry tube of Hooked on Pink ($8) with lighter pinks to bring it to life for summer, but with merely a fall-appropriate matching lip liner (like Urban Decay’s liner in Turn On, $20) it can transition into a suitable autumnal lip color.

5) Rimmel London carries an outstanding product called Provocalips 16HR Kissproof Lip Colour ($7) a double-ended tube, with “Intense Colour” on one side, and a “Lock and Shine” sealant on the other. This was one of the first reds I truly felt confident wearing. If you couldn’t already tell, I highly recommend it!

6) Sephora Collection. While not technically a drugstore brand, I felt that its competitive price rendered it worthy of this list. I just bought an item from their Rouge Cream line in Oh Oh! and I L-O-V-E it. For twelve dollars, I found my new seasonal must have, a desirable muted pinky-brown transition from brighter summer lipsticks to the vampier fall shades.

Further tips:

1) Prep and prime. Few things ruin a lip look faster than un-exfoliated lips. Take a pinch of sugar and cooking oil on your finger for an easy, gentle scrub. Once you rinse and wipe off the scrub, moisturize well, but choose a product with care. I recommend A.C.’s Prep + Prime, which wards off dryness without clinging too heavily to the lips and contains glycogen for extra hold for lip products.

2) Line. When lining the lips, darken the outer corners of your mouth slightly more than in the center to contour.

*Investing in quality liners in the same colors you use most are worthwhile for two reasons. First, lining the lips before lipstick application ensures that you stay within the natural shape of your mouth. Second, when you use a liner darker than your lipstick, it makes your lips appear fuller. This also helps with contouring it, adding gorgeous depth and dimension to your whole mouth.

3) Blot, powder, and reapply. Using a tissue, gently blot your lips, then dab powder all over your lips. Then reapply to restore whatever pigment was lost from blotting and powdering. These extra steps seal the lipstick for longer-lasting wear. Take an extra minute and a half and just do it!