When budgets are tight, a drugstore lipstick can be just the cheap and cheerful pick-me-up one needs, and in this category, few surpass Revlon for their innovative formulas, wallet-friendly prices, and flattering shades. Their latest, the Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick ($11.99 at London Drugs), boasts a wax-free gel base and is available in 20 gorgeous shades, including HD Gladiolus (the poppy red you see above, also worn by Emma Stone at the SAG Awards recently) and HD Orchid (the cool fuchsia).
True to product claims, the Ultra HD Lipstick delivers highly pigmented colour in a single swipe. The gel formula is curiously light with plenty of slip but no creaminess. It feels good on the lips when first applied and goes on with a slight shine; that shine dissipates as the gel base is absorbed into the lips, leaving behind bold colour that doesn't settle into fine lines, bleed, or feather. (Yay!) I noticed slight colour transfer on my morning coffee cup, but my first application of the day lasted through lunch and afternoon snack, only requiring one or two minor touch-ups in between to maintain intensity.
Formula-wise, the only downside about the Ultra HD Lipstick is also its main selling point: that wax-free gel-based formula. The gel is too light and absorbs too quickly to provide much relief for someone prone to dry lips. By mid-afternoon, I didn't need more ultra-pigmented colour because it hadn't budged, but I did need something creamy and moisturizing to keep the tight-skinned feeling at bay. And so—ironically enough—I reached for the clear beeswax-based balm in my bag and applied it on top. Several applications of beeswax lip balm later, the colour pigments mellowed out into more of a pretty stain.
The packaging also gets demerits. The lipstick bullet doesn't retract all the way, so until it's used up I always risk smushing product into the cap when I put the cap back on. The cap is not great either; I always end up getting hairline cracks in thin clear plastic caps like these, and cracks were already appearing in the caps after only one day of use.
But in the end, these are minor quibbles. Who really buys a drugstore lipstick for the packaging anyway? It's all about the colour, the formula, the wear, the price. And in all these categories that matter, the Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick is a winner.