I recently reviewed the Nars Powermatte lipstick, a product I love but simply cannot bring myself to use for daily-wear because I am stingy and £25 for 1.5g of product makes my heart sad. So, imagine my delight when I heard rumours that Kiko Milano (admittedly, I brand I had never heard of) make a matte lipstick that performs as a Powermatte dupe, and at only £8.99 for the same 1.5g of product. Obviously, I immediately ordered one in red, and was thrilled when it arrived as I found I loved it just as much as the Nars Powermatte. I ordered a few more shades to add to my collection and so here I am, writing you a review and ready to show you 5 swatches from their shade range of 24 colours
Packaging: This is a stylo lipstick in a silver metal packaging with a gold toned brand logo clasp in the centre, with the brand name printed in frosted type on the front bottom. It’s lightweight but feels more luxe than your standard drugstore lipstick. My only criticism is that the rounded ends of the tube don’t allow for a shade name or colour sticker to be printed on the base; additionally there is no window into the product that would allow you to discern which colour is inside the tube. To fix this issue the product comes with a coloured sticker and its corresponding number applied to the back of the tube, but to me that sticker ruins the sleek look of the packaging. Therefore, if you end up buying several shades but want to remove the shade stickers so that the tube looks prettier, you’ll have to open up every tube to find the colour you want to apply. Just a minor annoyance.
Application: The formula is thin and creamy, so it glides on easily with no dragging. It’s pigmented so only requires one swipe for full colour payoff. The stylo has a rounded tip, which I found made it a bit less accurate to apply than a flat or pointed tip, but that will wear down soon enough, and won’t be a problem for those who use a lip liner or apply with a lip brush as a rule.
Once applied, it takes a couple minutes to dry down completely into a transfer-proof finish. Even once it feels dry I found that my first few presses of my mouth to a tissue or my hand came away with a little residue, but this didn’t happen after touch ups, so I think I over-apply during the initial application as a result of trying to perfect the shape of my lips, not that the product has an excessive drying down time. Giving it a gentle blot after its dried following that first application is all that is needed to ‘seal’ the finish, so to speak. After that, it has a matte and lightweight finish on the lips, but it does feel a little dry. Nowhere near as dry as matte liquid lipsticks tend to feel, like my Holy Grail Maybelline’s Superstay Matte Inks, so if you can’t stand liquid lipsticks for that reason this might be a more bearable option for you.
Wear: Once dry, I experienced no transfer from drinking or any small brushes of my mouth, for example by hand or cheek kisses, etc. Even when I blew my nose, which would typically smudge my Cupid’s bow in a lipstick that isn’t transfer-proof. Upon eating a snack of crisps/chips drunk alongside a soda by straw, there was minor wear on the centre of my lips, as expected. The product touched up beautifully after that, layering without piling or feeling claggy or thick. When I ate a meal a few hours later, it wore away in the centre as I would expect any lipstick to do, and performed similarly to the Nars Powermatte lipstick. Scroll past the upcoming swatches section to see the wear test in full–below it I’ve added my wear test photos of the Nars Powermatte from my past review so you can compare their performances.
10 – Universal Rose
15 Classic Red
17 Cherry Red
You can see below how this lipstick performed for me throughout a day’s wear. Please do note, however, that I don’t adapt how I eat or drink at all when wearing lipstick, with no delicate peeling back of the lips to avoid cutlery or any similar dainty behaviours, so I’m sure careful and lipstick-conscious eaters will find these perform better than my wear tests suggests–consider this a worse case scenario for the lipstick’s performance, really.
For my wear test below, I ate the same kind of snack and meal that I test all my lipsticks with when I review them here on my blog, so you can more easily compare how lipsticks perform against one another.
Overall: I love this lipstick. I wear Maybelline’s Superstay Matte Inks for almost all circumstances, but I will happily wear these Kiko lipsticks for almost any occasion when I would usually rely upon the Matte Inks to give me smudge-proof wear. If you hate the dryness of liquid lipsticks, this lipstick is a great long-wearing option instead. If you love the Nars Powermatte lipstick but can’t afford to repurchase it regularly because the amount of product you receive for the price is too steep, this works as a near perfect dupe in performance, with that initial blot on a tissue to ‘seal’ the finish the only difference I noticed between them. Likewise, if you want to try the Powermatte’s but just can’t justify the price, this lipstick is a great dupe at just over a 1/3 of the price. It will certainly become a staple in my makeup routine now, and I’ll happily purchase other shades.
There are 24 shades of the New Unlimited Stylo and Kiko Milano offers a discount code if you sign up to their newsletter for money off your order. I didn’t get hit with custom fees when my order of 4 lipsticks arrived from Italy, and I also found most shades available on Amazon UK, which were eligible for Prime delivery.