I Resurrected My Favorite Discontinued Lipstick with an iPhone App

The future is here, and it's as matte as you want it to be.
Publish date:
February 2, 2016
Lancome, technology, discontinued, apps, lipstick, Signature Color

I'm not the type of person who downloads games on my computer or even catches on to popular interactive apps like Dubsmash or that one that makes you do animated pole dancing. But when it comes to technology that integrates my interests into my life (like beauty, duh), I'm all ears.

Remember that girl who invented a 3D makeup printer? Everyone was flipping out because HOW COOL would it be to snap a pic of a flower you like and then just hit "print" to make it your next blush? Other than the clunky factors of having to actually purchase the printer and supplies, which could be an investment for makeup of questionable quality and performance, it's a pretty neat concept.

It was only a matter of time before that same concept was simplified into something as accessible as your phone, which is where this app, Flawless, comes in. It sounds like an upgrade for Perfect 365, but it is, in fact, a color-sourcing app to create your own lip color.

But other than snapping hues and hitting "go," there's the additional option to recreate a discontinued lipstick color. Which is exactly what I did with it.

I've had in my possession for over a decade a tube of Lancôme Cognac Velvet lipstick. It belonged to my mom, who never wore it, so I borrowed it when I was a teen — indefinitely. I actually believe it was one of those gift-with-purchase items from spending over $100 at the Lancôme counter at Bloomingdales that got thrown in her vanity drawer only to see the light of day for evening events and fancy stuff. It's the perfect '90s brick-brown with a semi-matte finish, and in all honesty, they just don't make 'em like this anymore!

This lipstick being the age of a post-pubescent teenager, however, means it's also taken on that dusty old-lipstick scent/flavor and the texture went from creamy to chalky. The color, however, remains. It's just a matter of getting over the fact that I'm wearing extremely expired lipstick, which I'm told is not a totally OK thing to do.

So, if technology can theoretically recreate this discontinued and coveted lip color, why the hell wouldn't I take advantage of that?

Now, $45 sounds steep for a lipstick, but considering I regularly see lipsticks going for $50, being able to create a custom one (that you can name) doesn't seem so bad.

But the real question is, now that I have both the OG version and the clone, how do they compare?

You can probably tell from this side-by-side that there is a notable shade difference. The clone is a bit rosier and less chalky on the rub. For the most part, I'm not a big swatcher because, honestly, makeup isn't going to look the same on your hand/arm as it does on your face — not only is skin texture different, but the color and context is, too. I'm attributing the small differences to the fact that I'm basically looking at a fresh lipstick versus a way expired/oxidized lipstick. That doesn't mean I don't love the way the original looks and wears, though.

What's interesting is that the clone lipstick is actually the same Lancôme formula, according to Flawless. It's the same idea as finding a "dupe" except you can pay for an exact dupe in shade and formula. The nature of copycatting is a bit unique in the beauty industry, since lots of beauty companies outsource to cosmetics manufacturers which use similar/same formulas for their clients, so the concept of "stealing recipes" gets hazy. Unless a formula is patented, it's a bit of a free-for-all in the cosmetics game.

Of course, nothing compares with a brand's packaging and experience which can't be replicated via duping, but in the case of a discontinued color, you at least can have your coveted shade, even if it's in different packaging.

OK, so here's the original — kind of a rosy brick with a semi-matte finish on my mouth.

The texture is dry AF even though it does have a slight reflective quality that doesn't appear to be fully matte. It's basically the texture and look I love, but not the feeling I love.

And here's the Flawless clone.

It's a bit rosier, right? The texture feels much creamier while retaining the same semi-matte finish, but the color is slightly sheerer and a lot less chalky.

After wearing for a while and reapplying, I realized that the difference became a lot less apparent. And then I tried wearing both at once, on different lips.

Annnnd this is where I lost track of who was who. I am not sure what this time-released magic is about (perhaps another result of oxidization) but the clone actually did look identical to the original, save for textural differences.

Considering this is the same original Lancôme formula, these lipsticks are rather identical. Hell, they even smell and taste the same. I can finally chuck this old relic for fear of possibly growing some fungus or whatever freakish thing happens when makeup is way past due.

I guess this means that lots of people no longer need to fret when their favorite lip color gets discontinued. Or if you're just really into self-branding and want your own truly signature lip color, that's easily doable, too. It's all in your mobile phone.

  • What are you favorite discontinued lip colors you'd want to resurrect?
  • What signature lip color would you want to create for yourself?
  • What's the most money you've paid for a lipstick? I splurged on a Christian Louboutin (and regret nothing!).