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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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!”


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.

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.


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.