A social media superstar (in terms of beauty products), LipSense is, according to the brand, “unlike any conventional lipstick, stain or color” you’ve tried before. You’ve probably had a friend or two ask you to buy one on Facebook (the products are sold by independent distributors under parent company SeneGence International).
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Its claims to fame are that it’s waterproof, does not come off (or even slightly budge) for up to 18 hours—even when you’re eating, drinking or kissing—and comes in more than 50 shades with a variety of layering and finish options. Rather than buying a single shade, you get a kit ($55) that comes with a lip color of your choice, a topcoat (glossy or matte) and a remover—yes, you need a special remover to help take it off.
There’s some serious science behind mastering the application, too, so be sure to read the directions carefully. (Note: Identifying the border of your lips can be tough. If you have a shaky hand and your lip line looks uneven, it’s nearly impossible to fix. You also have to make sure you apply it on the inside area of your lips, too. If not, it will show when you smile.)
I can honestly say, just like the brand suggests, that LipSense is unlike any other product I’ve tried—it feels like a liquid matte lipstick as it goes on, but when it dries and you top it with the gloss, the staying power is unrivaled. I brushed my teeth, drank my hot tea and went about my entire day without having to reapply (I was wearing the shade Blu-Red, pictured above). If you work in showbiz or you’re going out on a date and looking for a way to avoid reapplying your lip color all night, this is definitely the product for you.
However, the process to remove it is a tough one. It comes with a special product called Ooops! Remover, which goes on like a lip oil to take the lipstick off—I had to apply it twice to get the color off, and even scratch off a bit of the border (the long-lasting factor is no joke!) with my fingernail. Then, for a day or so afterward, my lips felt pretty dry.
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To find out more about this unique formula (I couldn’t help but wonder if it was safe), I sought cosmetic chemist Rhonda M. Davis. “The ingredient lineup lends itself well to the long-wear and transfer- and water-resistant properties that make LipSense so unique. At first glance, consumers may be wary of the alcohols found in the formula, but as a chemist, I totally understand why these are used,” says Davis. “Denatured alcohol is an odorless diluent that helps balance the texture of the formula so it isn’t too thick and viscous. Once the product is applied to the lips, the alcohol should evaporate quickly, leaving behind the moisturizing and conditioning ingredients isostearyl alcohol and butylene glycol. Coupled with the skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory extracts in it, I think this is a cool formula worthy of trying out! And for those who are prone to really dry lips, I would suggest using a moisturizing lip balm when you’re not wearing LipSense to provide nourishment and moisture to lips.”
The bottom line: It’s great for special occasions (and it really does it what it says it will!), but because the application and removal involve a bit more time and effort than I typically have time for, it’s not something I’d reach for every day.