Drugstore Dupes For My Favorite High-End Lipsticks

Whether you’re a NARS nerd or an Essence enthusiast, your best spring lipstick shades are comin’ right up.
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Kate F.
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Whether you’re a NARS nerd or an Essence enthusiast, your best spring lipstick shades are comin’ right up.

I have many fond memories of following my mother into Walgreens, and my heart always leapt at the sight of the lipstick aisle. Maybelline, CoverGirl, Rimmel--I was free to roam the colorful variety while my mother waited on whatever prescription we were there to retrieve. From these experiences, one of my firmest lipstick beliefs was cemented: If you can't find the perfect lipstick in the drugstore aisle, you're just not looking hard enough. 

Over the past few months, I've been on a mission to find the best drugstore copies of my favorite high-end lipsticks (because as I grew older I definitely learned to appreciate a little luxury). 

Let’s just say that, as usual, good ol’ Walgreens didn’t let me down. 

DUSTY ROSE: Givenchy vs. Essence 

Oh, Givenchy, how I love thee. The brand’s Rose Plumetis Le Rouge is quite possibly the most gorgeous, flattering rose shade out there. But at $36 a pop, you can bet that this was a one-time splurge for me. 

givenchy rose plumetis lipstick

Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Plumetis ($36).

Enter a nearly identical option: Essence Longlasting Lipstick in Barely There, which is, I kid you not, $3. Even better, this is one of those rare occasions in which more money doesn’t equal better quality. I’m fairly certain that if I applied these blindly, I would have no idea which was the pricier option.

essence rose barely there lipstick

Essence Longlasting Lipstick in Barely There ($3).

NATURAL CORAL: NARS vs. L'Oreal

When I first tested out NARS’ now-legendary Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte, the perfect nude-y coral, I thought I’d never look back, $32 price tag or not. Um, yeah, that dream went down the drain the second I started having to save up for my big move coming up in May. 

nars audacious lipstick brigitte

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte ($32).

All I can say is thank god for L’Oréal Pop Balm in Caring Coral, which, at $8, is a super similar, slightly more glossy option.

l'oreal caring coral lipstick

L'Oréal Pop Balm in Caring Coral ($8).

HOT PINK: Charlotte Tilbury vs. NYX 

Yeah, yeah, we get it: Charlotte Tilbury is the makeup queen and we are but mere peasants at her feet. That’s why I was so excited to shell out a little extra for her K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Velvet Underground, a flawless, spring-y hot pink with a stunning sheen. Because it was $32, I only swipe it on for special occasions. 

charlotte tilbury velvet underground lipstick

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Velvet Underground ($32).

For everyday, though, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Addis Ababa, just $6, has my back. It’s slightly lighter and a lot more matte, but still screams, “I am woman. Hear me roar!”

nyx pink matte cream lipstick

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Addis Ababa ($6).

CLASSIC RED: Lime Crime vs. Rimmel

My beauty friends like to poke fun at me for my somewhat insane obsession with *Lime Crime Velvetines--they're beautifully matte and super long-lasting. I own every shade. My all-time favorite has got to be the classic Red Velvet color. Too bad I tear through the tube so quickly. At $20 each, it's not exactly a cheap habit. 

lime crime red velvet velvetines

Lime Crime Velvetines in Red Velvet ($20).

Color me amazed, then, when I tried Rimmel London Provocalips in Kiss Me You Fool, which is $7. It’s a bit more orange than the Lime Crime option, but somehow at least twice as long-lasting. After eating a muffin, drinking coffee and downing a sandwich, not even a smudge. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

rimmel provocalips kiss me you fool

Rimmel Provocalips in Kiss Me You Fool ($7).

SWATCHES

spring lipstick dupe swatches

L to R: Givenchy Le Rouge in Rose Plumetis, Essence Longlasting Lipstick in Barely There; NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte, L'Oréal Pop Balm in Caring Coral; Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Velvet Underground, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Addis Ababa; Lime Crime Velvetines in Red Velvet, Rimmel Provocalips in Kiss Me You Fool.

Now, tell me about your lipstick loves!

  • What are your HG drugstore lipsticks of all-time? 
  • Were you as mesmerized by the lipstick aisle as I was when you were young? 
  • And what high-end lipsticks do you always re-buy because nothing else compares? 

*Editor's Note: Lime Crime has been in the news (and on social media: #boycottlimecrime) for failing to alert customers to a credit card hack. While we didn't pull Lime Crime from this post, we didn't want to NOT mention it. Get informed here