Ballpark Estimate: $5 to $10 for drugstore brands; $20 to $35+ for designer brands.
One of the easiest – and perhaps most cost effective—ways to update your look is to buy a new lipstick shade. For a small investment, you will have something that you can wear again and again and it can really serve to brighten your face.
An Easy Update
If you can’t afford to splurge on new clothes and footwear this season, but are still eager to give your wardrobe a remake, try on one of the latest lipstick colors. Simply changing the tint you select to stay up with the latest makeup trends can be a great way to feel on the cutting edge.
Better yet, some of the lipsticks on the market today are so affordable that you can splurge on a few different types and experiment depending on your mood and your plans each day. In fact, many columnists have devoted great space to the fact that when the economy is bad and women have to cut back on other purchases, lipstick sales have historically increased, since this small item can give the wearer an instant lift without the cost threatening to break the bank.
The Low High Range
Before you shop for a new lipstick, it can be helpful to understand the price range, since there is a wide variation in what you can spend on this item. It boils down to two basic categories: drug-store brands, which are less expensive, and designer lines, which charge more for their products. Many women admit that they aren’t sure if the lower end items are just as good, or if the higher priced lipsticks are worth the extra expense. The experts say it’s a personal preference and really just depends.
On the low end of the spectrum, some of the most accessible lipsticks you can find are stacked on the shelves of most drug stores, grocery stores, discount houses and lower-end specialty cosmetic stores. They come in a variety of finishes and usually can be had for about the price of a sandwich or pizza. On the higher end of the scale, you can find many upscale cosmetic lines lipsticks packaged in shiny cases and selling for between three and ten times the price on their drug store rivals.
Several years back ABC’s Good Morning America informally put different makeup price points to the test to see if women could tell the difference in brands. To this end, volunteers had half of their face professionally made up with the high-end cosmetics, while the other half sported drug store brands. This included a $22 lipstick versus a $2 lipstick. Despite the wide price differences, the participants were equally split on their preferences, which goes to show that high price isn’t always better.
While you may be able to find a large selection of inexpensive lipsticks that you like, you may still decide to splurge on the designer buy. If so, you are certainly not alone. Many women feel it worth the extra money to purchase at the cosmetic counter in a high-end store. There can be several reasons for this decision. First, cosmetic counters usually allow you to try on the color before you buy. Since what you see in the tube and how it looks on your face often are not the same, this can save you some bad lipstick mistakes. In addition, cosmetic counters usually have makeup artists working at them who recommend shades that will work best with your lip texture and coloring. Finally, some of the more expensive brands do tend to stay on better and keep your lips more conditioned. But this is not a given fact. There are numerous examples of inexpensive lipsticks that last all day and keep your lips moist, while some of the designer brands may wear off right away. So you may have to experiment to find the right consistency and ensure it will stay.
Regardless of what you spend, when you think about lipstick, you probably think about the color and how moisturizing it feels. But in fact, in recent years there has been some attention focusing on what your lipstick is actually made from. Some widely circulating reports have called attention to the fact that lead, crushed beetle shells and even cow brain tissue is contained in some of the popular lipstick formulations you can find on the market today. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the lead amounts are minimal, the brain tissue is no longer true and beetle shells are quite safe. All in all, the word is that most lipsticks being sold today are very safe. If you feel concerned, though, you can find many natural or eco-friendly alternative lip products.
Putting Color to the Test
If you aren’t sure what color to try, some professionals suggest trusting that Mother Nature knows best and therefore, sticking to a color that is quite close to your natural shade, only a bit deeper or more enhanced. When shopping in a drug store where the package is sealed, your best bet is if there is a color swatch or the lipstick lid, to hold this up to your face near the door, where the most natural light shines in. Then look in a mirror to see how it works on you, or better yet, ask a friend.
What to Pick
In addition to the wide range of colors you can find when it comes to lipstick and the different price points, the finish you prefer can also give you a variety of choices. Here are some of the popular formulations you can find:
This lipstick is rich with pigment, which makes it a good choice for darker shades. It also deflects the light and has more staying power than some of the shinier formulas, which means you don’t have to continually touch it up throughout the day. However, if your lips are older or very dry, this may not be the best option to buy.
This lipstick is a bit creamier than a matte because they contain more wax. This allows them to go on well but they can also make lips feel somewhat dry.
Frost or Shimmer Lipstick
This lipstick contains pearl, mica or silica particles, which reflect the light and give a shimmery shine that can be appropriate at night.
Lip gloss is a lipstick that is heavy with oil and often contains flavors and scents as well, making it appeal to a younger audience. This product usually gives a transparent look with lots of shine. It wears off very quickly, though, but make your lips feel great each time you reapply.
This usually comes in two parts: a base formula that contains the color and a cover gloss. Generally you apply the base first and allow it to dry, then use the gloss to seal in the results and help them last for a long time. While this may sound like an appealing option to keep your lipstick on all day long, the formula can be very drying and may not work for every skin type.
Lip Plumping Lipstick
This contains ingredients designed to irritate your lips and make them swell. While this sounds like a strange attempt, the results can be similar to getting collagen injections to achieve fuller, pouty lips. You can find lipsticks that contain lip plumping products right in the formula so you only need to use one product, or you can buy a lip plumping gloss that you can apply on top of whatever lipstick color you buy.
In addition to selecting the right color and formula lipstick to meet your skin tone and your needs, how you apply the lipstick can also contribute to the final effect you achieve. For instance, outlining your lips with a nude liner can help give you a very polished look, while filling in your lips with a darker liner shade can actually tone down a bright color lipstick. Using a lipstick brush instead of applying directly from a lipstick tube, can also change the finished look. The brush gives you additional control and can help to prevent going outside your natural lip lines. Finally, if you have dry lips or lips that are creased or lined, consider using a lip primer to create a clean slate before the lipstick is applied.
What It Costs
The great thing about lipstick is that no matter what your budget, there are sure to be some options that you can afford to buy. If you are happy with drug store quality options, which include brands like Rimmel, Loreal, Clairol and Maybelline, just to name a few, there’s no reason not to buy.
The majority of the lipstick choices you can find in this group will be in the $5 to $10 range. In this price point, there are plenty of fine quality lipsticks in great colors with results that most people seem to really like. (You can also find a few trendy lipsticks selling for as little as $1 and $2 each and some higher-end drug store buys that may be as much as $15.)
When it comes to department store brands, there are a host of better choices that can find in the $20 to $35 range, which is what most women are willing to spend on these items. There are also many other high-end options with special effects that can sell for as high as $100.
The bottom line is that you can spend from $1 to $100 on a lipstick, but the majority of them fall between $5 and $35, no matter where you shop or what you buy.
Looking for a Bargain
If you like changing your lipstick as often as you change your shirt, but you can’t afford to spend a ton on too many lipsticks, you can also become a regular at your local dollar or bargain store, where last year’s color may be your perfect find. You might also shop the clearance bin at your favorite discount houses and drug stores. Since many over-the-counter lipstick companies change their colors quite often, the discontinued products go on sale. This can enable you to get a $5 or $10 lipstick for considerably less. The only catch is that if you find something you like, keep in mind that you may not be able to get it again. Therefore, if possible, buy multiples when the price is right.
The Most Extravagant Buy
On a final note, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to buy makeup without even asking the price, consider the most extravagant lipstick that money can buy. One amazing lipstick available through Guerlain is encased in a tube of 18 gold encrusted with 199 diamonds. The price for this luxury is $62,000. Now that’s one lipstick that better make your lips shine.