I’m tired of the world being on fire and am instead going to talk about a recent makeup purchase I made, which was Lipsense.

For those who are unfamiliar, Lipsense is a product made and distributed by Senegence, a multi-level marketing (MLM) company like Amway, Avon, those stupid diet shakes, everything you hate, and that one girl who you didn’t really know in high school but tried to get all buddy-buddy with you on Facebook recently.

Here’s the color I bought, Apple Cider, on my keyboard to prove I really tried this stuff. PS I’m sorry this pic is the size of the sun and maybe sideways.

Because Lipsense is an MLM product it is really difficult to find reliable reviews. I tried and I found almost nothing despite the fact that the product’s been around since like 1990. Almost all the reviews are hawking the product... even this Youtube review, which is based on the idea of being an unbiased MLM review, sends viewers to the reviewer’s friend who is a distributor. Suspect!

I personally think the above review is good-intentioned but extremely dumb. For one, the reviewer apparently didn’t bother to research the product at all, which is a giant pet peeve of mine, so she applies it wrong.

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Probably the best info I found about Lipsense online was on Reddit’s MakeupAddiction sub, but even that was mostly people who haven’t tried Lipsense talking about their thoughts on it, on MLMs, and then distributors poking their heads in to “clear things up.”

So! I’m here with my regular person who uses makeup opinion on Lipsense, so there will be hopefully some info for those curious.

Where I’m coming from as a makeup user: I’m an ex-Sephora VIB Rouge — downgraded this year to regular VIB, wallet says ‘thanks!’ — with a Birchbox sub who lives 5 minutes from an Ulta. In my purse I currently have lipsticks by: Clinique, the Body Shop, Marc Jacobs, and Fresh (colored balm). I know my way around makeup and I’m familiar with lots of brands. I’m not a makeup wizard or anything, but I probably know more than someone who doesn’t invest a lot in product. My fav lipsticks normally are less long-wearing and more creamy. I have chronically chapped lips because my whole body is dry, like a lizard.

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How I got roped into buying MLM lipstick: My cousin is selling it (online) and she invited me to a Facebook group that she sells to months ago, that I ignored until two weeks ago. Then I noticed a video of her drinking coffee and the lipstick not budging and I got interested. (I drink a lot of coffee.) I told my husband it was partly a MLM pity purchase, but mostly I was just interested in the product.

My first impressions of Lipsense: It is thinner than most liquid lipsticks and has an alcohol smell (I was warned about that by Youtube). The color in the tube looks almost exactly how it appears on the lips after being applied correctly.

Quick aside here — I am a big person on the correct application of all things. I hate when people don’t read directions, especially if they then complain about the thing not working that they used wrong. (I’m also a DevaCurl products user and sooooo many people bitch about products not working that they then describe using wrong on curly hair forums and blogs that I see fire.)

There are some reports that to apply this stuff directly is a pain in the ass. It is not something you can, say, apply at a stoplight while driving (like the average lipstick). To start, you have to exfoliate and then clean your lips with soap and water, then apply two to three thin coats of Lipsense allowing them to dry 20–30 seconds between each coat, with lips stretched out (mouth open). Then apply gloss. One thick coat doesn’t dry right and looks like shit (I tried).

Below is a video of a distributor demonstrating correct application that I used as a reference. I don’t know her, didn’t buy from her, etc. But this is how I applied and it did work.

When applying, the first two layers look really odd, worse than in the above video. I had read that they often do so I was undeterred, but had I been the type of person not prone to obsessively researching products I might have been pissed and stopped the application. For my color to look good, I needed three coats.

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Once applied correctly (including the gloss on top) it looks even and opaque. It needs the gloss, otherwise it looks kind of chalky and is uncomfortable.

How Lipsense wore for me: I wore my first color for around 8 hours with great success overall. I even left it on while I showered, to see how it would do (it stayed on). The color wore on the majority of my lips the entire time, with some flaking around my center waterline (the inside of my bottom lips near my teeth. I also discovered that the color does scratch off, so if you’re a person who chews your lips, that can be an issue.

Getting Lipsense off: The remover that ships with Lipsense’s starter kit DOES NOT WORK. Full stop, period, do not buy it. I got mine off through a combination of miceller water, soap, scrubbing, and then exfoliatiing with Fresh Sugar Scrub. It is a beast to remove. I’ve read online that glycerin soaps are best, so I’m planning on grabbing one, but I haven’t tried that yet so I can’t recommend.

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My current opinion on Lipsense: I like it and I have already ordered two more colors. Yes, it is expensive... especially from what looks like (to my snobby ass) a not-that-great company. But taking the ugly packaging and MLM issue out of the equation, it works better than every other long wearing lipstick I’ve tried, including some popular very higher end ones like Kat Von Dee and Makeup 4 Ever. They have a million colors and because it is truly opaque, anyone can wear them. As far as I’m concerned, Lipsense is in the same price/premium class as most lipsticks I’d buy from Sephora and it stays on better.

Some of the downsides:

  • It is an MLM and there’s no way around that. Personally, I feel fine about MLM products so long as I genuinely like the product. Not everyone feels that way.
  • It is not fast to apply, and not applying Lipsense as directed pretty much makes the product not work.
  • It’s obnoxious to buy because it’s sold only MLM (there’s some on Amazon and Ebay but I don’t trust that).
  • There’s no way (for me, anyway) to test colors, so it’s kind of a shot in the dark.
  • All their testing images that I’ve seen use white models, which is a huge oversight, especially considering the opacity of the formula.
  • Lipsense marketing is based on the concept that Lipsense “molecularly bonds” with your lips which is very dumb, to say the least.

One downside that can be completely ignored: The company promotes not using any other products besides Lipsense, which is 100% for marketing purposes despite what they claim and can be ignored. So long as you wash your lips before applying, you are fine, it wears the same.

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