Editor’s note: With this article, the Sunday Gazette-Mail Life & Style team launches a new, regular segment we call Fashionably Awkward, featuring two of the most fashionable, least awkward people we know: staff writers Carlee Lammers and Anna Taylor.
Together they will explore the world of ever-changing fashion and beauty trends, delving into the mysteries of what works, what doesn’t work and how to get a high-end look from head to toe at bottom-of-the-barrel prices.
You can find the information here, in the Sunday Gazette-Mail. But to really get their take, you need to see the videos. Go to video.wvgazettemail.com and find it under “Latest Gazette-Mail Videos.”
Maybe you’ve seen those ads for LipSense, or the videos on Facebook promoting the long, long-lasting lip wear. Fellow staff writer Carlee Lammers and I decided to check it out. And we quickly learned there’s a bit of a trick: it takes a light hand to get it right.
LipSense is an “up to 18-hour” liquid lip color from the SeneGence personal care company. It isn’t sold in drugstores or at specialty stores like Sephora or Ulta, but it’s been prominent on Facebook, so you sort of have to know somebody. The product comes in more than 70 colors, is waterproof and isn’t formulated to rub off or budge, regardless of circumstances that occur throughout the day.
It seemed too good to be true. All lipstick ends up on the side of your coffee cup or wine glass and fades within a handful of hours, no matter what the price point is, right? Isn’t that like a scientifically proven fact of life?
Carlee and I were curious to try LipSense for ourselves.
We discovered a local expert and distributor.
Elizabeth Walters, a stay-at-home mom in Nitro, started selling the makeup in December 2016. She took a chance on it after a video caught her eye on Instagram around Thanksgiving.
“It was a suggested video of this beautiful blonde girl,” she said. “She has these black lips and is rubbing her lips with her fingers and nothing is coming off. Then it’s different women showing that it doesn’t come off on a wine glass and scuba diving and rubbing it, and I was like, ‘What is that?’”
It seemed too good to be true for her, too.
When she tried it herself, she said goodbye to the other lipsticks in her collection. These aren’t like your typical lipsticks or lipstains. Application, for one, is a unique process.
“You put them on in three thin layers,” Walters said. “You let it dry for 10 to 15 seconds in between each layer, and then you put the gloss over top. Once that gloss is on, that’s what seals and hydrates the color. It permeates through those three layers. The reason why there are three layers is because the first layer bonds to the lips. The second layer is for the color, and the third is an environmental protectant, like food, drink and anything else.”
Once you’ve mastered how to apply it evenly, the long-wearing product stays pristine on the lips throughout the day. The gloss finish is a bonus moisturizer but an essential part of the magic trick to keeping the color vivid.
The lip colors are $25 each, the gloss is $20 and the Oops Remover is $10. The remover is great for getting rid of any mess ups after application and to take the color off at the end of the day, or before, if desired. It’s like a gloss that serves as an eraser.
To purchase the lip colors and other similar makeup products, you have to buy through a distributor. It’s similar to the principles behind Avon or Mary Kay cosmetics. Instead of printed catalogs, potential customers explore options and place orders through social media communities created by distributors.
“This gives me something of my own, and it’s just fun,” Walters said. “I get to make women feel really pretty, and I get to make money doing it.”
She also recruits sellers and helps get them up to speed.
“I train all the time, so it’s really nice to be a part of changing their lives too,” she said.
Aside from LipSense, the company sells skincare, face makeup, eye makeup and body care in addition to its top-selling lip colors. We only tried LipSense.
Walters’ favorite is B. Ruby, a shade she compares to Dorothy’s ruby red slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”
I tried a shade called Napa. It’s a deep red and bolder than the usual nude or light pink I like to wear. I wear natural, subtle makeup every day. The bold color I wore that day was different, and honestly, it looked good.
It felt good, too. There wasn’t a tingling sensation, and the gloss was not sticky.
With her dark hair, Carlee selected Violette, a berry pink that looked bomb. I think we chose the right colors.
When you apply each of the three layers of color, it’s important to do one swipe and not to go back and forth like you might do with a regular lipstick. This makes the color heavier in those areas and uneven. This is not a good look.
You have to apply gloss over the third layer of color and then reapply throughout the day to help preserve the color and also to keep your lips from feeling dry.
The real test was rubbing it with Kleenex after it dried and we applied the gloss. There was nothing on the tissue.
We did the same test four hours later and had the same result. The only issue I had was uneven fading throughout the day. It didn’t fade quickly, but my application errors were obvious.
With more than 70 shades of lip colors, beauty lovers can layer colors and mix them to create shades similar to their favorites from other brands. Walters said she could color match a favorite lipstick from a different brand with LipSense products.
The products are vegan, wax-free, lead-free and aren’t tested on animals. The acrylates, or salts from acrylic acid, use a molecular formula of varying ingredients to hold the lip color in place all day.
“Before this, I never really wore lip color,” Walters said. “But I now know how big of a difference it can make with not only your whole look but with your confidence. A good red lip will make you feel like nobody can mess with you. So it’s really cool whenever I can give somebody that boost of ‘yes, I’m ready to take on the day, and I’m going to look good doing it.’”
We definitely felt like we looked good.
LipSense application instructions
1. Make sure your lips are clean, exfoliated and dry.
2. Shake tube well, and, with lips parted, place color applicator on corner of bottom lip.
In a smooth motion, brush applicator to the opposite corner of lip without lifting the stick.
Do not swipe back and forth. Keep lips open, as lip color will feel sticky prior to gloss application.
You may feel a slight tingle or warmth when applying color, which is the cosmetic-grade alcohol that deposits the color.
3. Repeat color application two more times allowing five seconds of dry time in between coats.
4. Finish with LipSense gloss to seal in the color. Re-apply gloss as needed. Other brands of gloss will break down the color.