This is an extremely wordy post. If you’d like to skip ahead to a given portion of my review, here are some jump links to do just that. You’re welcome. =)
September 11th edit: For a followup post on my LipSense experience, click here. I tested whether or not you really have to use LipSense gloss to seal the colors on or if you can get by with a more affordable gloss instead!
April 11th, 2017 update: I have gotten several questions regarding my lip care routine, and have made a post dedicated to this topic. If you would like to know about how I care for my lips, click here.
I love makeup. That is not news to anyone (unless perhaps you’ve just stumbled onto my blog for the first time!) and y’all know I wrote a beauty blog for over 10 years; obviously cosmetics and I are very well acquainted. That said I must admit that in recent years my love has waned a bit. For all the makeup I own, I rarely wear much. Even when I do wear makeup, I take a minimalist approach – soft, natural, barely there. Long-gone are the days when I would use lots of bold colors and there was never any mistaking I was wearing makeup! Sure, on special occasions I may do something a bit more colorful or incorporate glitter somehow (I just love glitter, always have and probably always will). But generally speaking, I stick to softer looks. My biggest frustration with makeup (besides the fact that I am in my early 30’s and STILL suck at applying eye liner) has always been lip products. I’ve found few lip colors over the years that I have really loved, but even when I love the color of a product there is one glaring annoyance: it wears off too quickly, and often in a not very pretty way. Lip stains have been a popular product in recent years because they are supposed to last significantly longer than traditional lip colors. My experience with lip stains has been disappointing. I’ve tried every variety possible, from both high end and low end brands. They have been difficult to apply, drying, and worst of all they don’t last any longer than a traditional lipstick anyway! I hate having to reapply lip color during the day. I hate when lip color fades and wears away in a way that leaves a thin line of color around the edge of your lips (kinda like the awful 90’s trend of lining lips with lip liner and that being the extent of it. I’m happy to say that was one trend I never participated in even when it was “in”!) or when it bleeds and smears outside your lip line. I hate leaving lipstick marks on my drinking glasses. Lip color is a fabulous thing but it’s also kind of a pain in the ass to maintain over the course of the day. Some ladies don’t mind it. That’s cool. If, however, you are like me and want to be able to just apply it once in the morning and be done with it… keep reading!
If you’re at all into cosmetics, chances are you’ve heard the buzz about LipSense. If you have not heard, allow me to introduce you.
I had heard a bit about LipSense previously but honestly did not pay too much attention to it. After all, every beauty product on the market is hyped up to be amazing but few items actually are something special. My friend Kelli recently tried it out and loved it so much she pretty much immediately decided to sign up to become a distributor. After seeing her pictures and hearing her experience with it, I decided to look for some videos and blog posts to see what others were saying. It did not take long for me to decide it was worth at least trying it out. I’m curious like a cat about things sometimes, and this was one of the times my curiosity got the best of me. It was expensive, but I HAD to see what all the fuss is about for myself!
What is LipSense
The premier product of SeneGence is patented LipSense liquid lip color. LipSense is an amazing departure from conventional lipsticks and lip colors found on the market today… This unique product is waterproof and does not smear off, rub off, or kiss off and can last anywhere from 4 to18 hours. LipSense is a non-wax, liquid lip color that stays on the skin and provides a natural, mechanical shield from the elements. – senegence.com
If you’re like me, you’re skeptical because you’ve probably tried your fair share of “long wearing” lip colors in the past that did not last the way you hoped and fell far short of the promises made on the packaging and advertisements. Let me assure you, LipSense is different! While everyone’s different so there is absolutely no one product that can be universally successful, my own experience with LipSense has been pleasantly surprising and VERY impressive! I can not say that if you try it you will definitely love it or have the same experience I’ve had – all I can say is that based on my experience this stuff is awesome!
When you first purchase LipSense, it is recommended you buy a starter kit (which they call LipSense Collections), which will contain a LipSense color of your choice, Glossy Gloss, and Oops Remover. When I chose the color I wanted to get as my “what is the fuss about” color, it was not available in the starter kit so I simply added the items individually to my cart – the price is the same either way. ($55 USD) The swatches provided on the site are NOT accurate, so I’d recommend looking for some swatches elsewhere online; with variances in monitor settings and such you still may not know *exactly* what you’re getting but you’ll get a better idea of the colors from beauty bloggers than the official swatches. Kelli has a group on FB for her LipSense customers and we share selfies so others can get a better feel for the colors, so if your distributor (if you have one) has a FB page or group set up for their business, that may be an option for you as well.
Applying LipSense colors is NOT like applying other lip color products. For me there was a small learning curve to the application. I’ve been using it daily for a week now, and feel I’ve pretty much mastered it at this point but the first couple times I did have to be more careful in the application. You want to start with clean, dry lips; Kelli suggests wiping your lips with a cotton pad moistened with witch hazel but I find just wiping my lips with a warm, damp wash cloth to be sufficient. Shake the tube of color well, wipe the excess product from the applicator (it should look like there’s barely product on it), and apply in one smooth motion from one corner of your lip to the other. Do NOT sweep the applicator back and forth! Dip the applicator back into the tube, remove excess product, and repeat on your other lip. (I like to start with my top lip, but it does not matter if you start with top or bottom.) Do NOT rub your lips together or close your mouth at this point. The LipSense color is VERY sticky at this stage. Allow the color to dry – it should only take 3-5 seconds – then apply a second layer of color. Let the second later dry, then apply your third layer. Once the third layer is dry, apply your gloss on top. Glossy Gloss is recommended for new users as it’s the most moisturizing, but they do offer other glosses that have tints of color, shimmer etc. and even a matte gloss which yes is a total oxymoron and I’ve not used it so I can’t say a thing about how it works but yes it’s a thing, and it’s on my wish list. When applying the gloss, you can sweep the applicator back and forth as you would with a normal lip color product, and once gloss is applied all over both lips, you can finally rub your lips together like you’re probably very eager to do simply out of habit!
You also have the option of layering colors to create a custom look. The application process would remain the same, you’d simply swap the color you use for the layers of color. For example you would apply two layers of color 1, letting each layer dry, then one layer of color 2, let it dry and then top with gloss.
Your LipSense lip color is meant to last, but the gloss of course is not. The gloss WILL wear off, as any gloss would. It is only the color that is long wearing. How long will it last? The product promises 4-18 hours. In my personal experience, I’ve had the color last up to 14 hours when I have then removed it to go to bed. The gloss may be long gone, but the color is still going strong; it truly does last all day long for me! It has survived all the beverages I have throughout the day and my meals, including things like pizza, bacon, and ice cream. Once you put it on, it stays put!
You can of course reapply the gloss however often you like during the day. Depending on the condition your lips are in you may feel more or less of a need to repply the gloss during the day. Since my lips are generally in good condition I tend to find I do not need to reapply the gloss, though sometimes I do just to kind of freshen up the color. My lips don’t feel dry or like they need the additional gloss applications, though, and I am happy with the matte appearance of the color once the gloss has worn off. However, if your lips are dry, or you prefer a glossy look to matte, you may want to keep the gloss on hand to reapply it during the day. Kelli recommends applying gloss before your meals, as it does provide an additional barrier to help prevent the oils in your food from breaking down the color and causing it to wear off while you eat. I would say it’s probably got a lot to do with what, specifically, you are going to be eating. If you were going to eat something that is typically more greasy (like ribs or pizza etc) you may consider applying gloss beforehand just to be sure; whereas if you’re just having a sandwich or some fresh fruit etc. you probably do not have to worry about it at all.That said, I’ve not bothered to reapply gloss before eating greasier foods and the color has survived just fine. Your call though, and you may want to just test and experiment around with it at home to learn the product’s capabilities on your lips before wearing it out and about.
I will be honest. I don’t like the Oops remover. The instructions state “Gently rub onto lip color and wipe clean.” (Note that you will want to wipe off any remaining gloss before this, if you still have any of it on.) The first time I tried to remove the color, this was what I did. I applied the remover, let it sit a few seconds, then rubbed with a dry cotton pad. Nothing happened. At all. It did not pick up even the tiniest hint of color from my lips. The next time I tried, I used a damp cotton pad instead. It did work better this time but it still did not remove all the color efficiently. Kelli had suggested coconut oil to remove the color, so I tried that but still got only minimal removal with a lot of effort. Your lips are more delicate than you may think, so you definitely do not want to have to scrub at them a lot to remove a product.
What I have found works best for me is my usual, beloved, Ponds Cold Cream. I gently rub a small amount on my lips over all the color, let it sit for a little while (20 seconds or so) then wipe with a damp cotton pad or wash cloth. It removes every last trace of color very easily, while remaining gentle and hydrating. I may have to rub a little, but not much.
General Tips & Info
One important thing to note about using LipSense is that your lips will more likely than not go through a brief “exfoliation” stage.
Yes, your lips are going to “shed”, but they’ll be healthier because they’re shedding wax product from all those pointless chapsticks and waxy products you’ve put on your lips for all these years. Stick it out, because the lip color molecularly bonds to your lips, not the wax on your lips. You’ll have healthier lips and longer wear time. – my friend Kelli, SeneGence/LipSense distributor
I tend to take good care of my lips and keep them well moisturized, so I did not expect to go through this stage but sure enough I did. It was brief and really hardly noticeable for me, but if your lips are dryer to start out with you may find this period a bit more unpleasant than I did. It won’t be fun but it’s normal, just ride it out as it shouldn’t last more than a few days. (Mine was overwith in 3 days.) I did note that during this stage, the color did not wear quite as well. I still got a solid 7-8 hours out of it those days, but I definitely did notice it wearing off a bit more during meals/snacks and would periodically have little flakes come off during the day. Once that period ended though I went straight back to the uber long wearing performance of the initial application that left me so impressed! (I used the product for 2 days before the exfoliation stage kicked in.)
The colors contain SD Alcohol 40-B. It is “used as a delivery system for the color technology; creates a germ and bacteria-free environment”. This is important to know for one really big reason: when you first start using LipSense, depending on the current condition of your lips, the alcohol may cause a tingling/burning sensation. On my first application it burned quite a bit but only for a couple seconds. On subsequent applications, the sensation lessened and once the exfoliation stage passed the sensation while applying the color stopped entirely. This is normal, but it’s something to be aware of; if you’re not aware when you first apply it will take you by surprise. You should know to expect it!
One tube of LipSense color is said to be equivalent to 4 tubes of standard lipstick. I can’t say I’ve ever paid attention to how long my lipsticks have lasted, or that I have even finished many over the years. I can think of only two lipsticks I’ve ever actually finished. This is a good thing to keep in mind from a price standpoint. LipSense colors cost $25 USD each. That is quite a hefty price tag for one tube of lip color. However, if the 4 standard lipsticks equivalent is indeed accurate (even as a ballpark figure), the price point is not bad. If you compare that to four tubes of a low end lipstick such as Hard Candy ($5 each), Rimmel (price range of $4.50 – $6.47), or Maybelline ($.495 – $7.94); or high end lipsticks such as MAC ($12.60 – $25), Tarte ($17 – $24), or Bobbi Brown ($26 – $35) the cost of one tube of LipSense is about the same or even significantly less than going with standard lipsticks! While we’re on the subject of price, LipSense glosses are $20 each, and the Oops Remover is $10.
The gloss can be worn alone if you like, and it makes a great moisturizing product to wear through the day. I’ve read of a lot of ladies wearing the gloss to bed as sort of an overnight lip balm. I mentioned above in the “wear” portion, but in case you skipped ahead to this section I will say again it is recommended to apply the gloss over the color before you eat as it helps prevent the oils in your food from breaking down the color and causing it to wear off while you eat. Hop back up to the “wear” portion if you want my full thoughts on that tidbit of information.
Overall, I am super happy with my decision to give LipSense a try! I fully intend to purchase more colors asap! I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants a truly long wearing lip color to get them through their days! The color is great. The gloss is required, and it is a really fabulous quality, moisturizing, non-sticky gloss. (I DO want to test some non-LipSense glosses with the color out of curiosity to see exactly how necessary it is, but I currently do not have my full stash at my disposal and have exactly zero of my lip glosses with me, so that’s gotta wait.) The Oops Remover, based on my experience, is not necessary; but if you’re a stickler for “they say to start out with the kit so that’s what I am getting” I won’t judge you for it. Afterall, that was what I did, and truthfully getting it is the only way to know whether or not it’ll work for you.
If you’re interested in trying out some LipSense colors for yourself, this is a link to purchase from my friend Kelli, as I like helping my friends when I can: clicky clicky
If you’d prefer to search for your own nearby distributor to purchase from, that’s cool. No pressure and no hard feelings. To do that, you can just click here instead.
This review was not solicited in any manner; my LipSense Collection was purchased by me at full retail price.