Milani Color Perfect Lipstick – review & swatches

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At just 5 bucks a pop, lipstick lovers can stock up without breaking the bank!

Milani Color Perfect Lipstick collectionphotos: we heart this

If there’s one thing I always buy too many of, it’s lipstick. I have drawers filled with them, and I can never manage to get rid of any! What if I need that deep red for a night out, or party? What if I take a vacation and need a shimmery nude, or hot pink, to go with my tan? Inevitably, they stay tucked away in drawers, and I stick to my main 3-5 favorites, but they’re there, just in case. It’s nice to have options…

So, if you’re like me and can never have too many lipsticks, Milani is a great choice. Here at wht we’ve been loving Milani Cosmetics for awhile now, because of their vast array of affordable makeup in quality formulas and of the moment colors.

I had the pleasure of testing out their Color Perfect Lipsticks ($4.99), and must say I found another product from Milani that I will be buying more of! The Color Perfect Lipsticks are their classic lipstick option, with a creamy, full-coverage formula, that come in a wide variety of different colors.

Six new hues for Summer 2012 have recently been added to the Milani line:

Milani Color Perfect Lipstick collection swatchesRed Label, Red Velvet, Brown Suede, Plum Deluxe, Barely There, Nude Creme

Closer look of Milani Color Perfect Lipstick collection swatches

Red Label – bright orange red
Red Velvet – deep blue-based red (that looks great on Mel!)

Closer look of Milani Color Perfect Lipstick collection swatches

Brown Suede – bronzey medium brown (perfect for fall)
Plum Deluxe – deep, shimmery plum

Closer look of Milani Color Perfect Lipstick collection swatches

Barely There – light pink nude
Nude Creme – medium peachy nude (my favorite of the bunch and a great segue into nudes!)

The packaging is a solid, light gold tube, which I thought was a nice size, not too big, but not so tiny that you lose it in your purse. The lipstick also turns really well in the tube, which I’ve found sometimes is not the case with other brands.

I was surprised when I opened my tubes to find a really neat, contoured tip on the lipstick, which gives you a lot more control and follows the shape of your lips. It made the lipstick a lot easier to apply and I can honestly say I’ve never seen one quite like it…pretty impressive for the price!

Milani Color Perfect Lipsticks collection

What I was probably most impressed with in the Color Perfect Lipsticks was the formula. It has really good pigmentation, it’s super creamy, slides right on, and it lasted a decent amount of time. It almost feels like a lip tint on, and turned to a more dry stain after awhile. This was unusual since creamy lipsticks tend to disappear pretty fast, so I actually liked this discovery. Compared to other brands, I would say it’s one of the nicer formulas I’ve tried.

Finally, the scent. For the life of me, I couldn’t quite pin point it, but it almost had a subtle grape scent, that was just the right amount, not overpowing, but not totally bland either.

Great price
Solid packaging
Nice creamy formula with some staying power
Big variety of colors

Could be drying in the winter months
Some of these lipstick formulas contain carmine for coloring (but kudos to the transparency of Milani listing their ingredients on their site)

So, if you need an affordable lipstick, or hit the drugstore and want to try something new, I think you’ll like these lipsticks a lot. I have a feeling my lipstick drawers will be getting fuller, because they have a few more colors I’m anxious to try!

we heartsters – are you a lipstick hoarder too? Testers – did you find Milani’s Color Perfect Lipsticks worthy of hoarding?

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • Erin

    Erin is a secondary science teacher who adores makeup and fashion. She spends her free time pursuing her other passions which include cooking, antiquing, and decorating. skin tone: NC30 skin type: oily to normal favorite beauty product: lipglosses and bronzers

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  1. That’s what it is, @spitfire77 – grape! I couldn’t figure out the scent for the life of me, so good job!
    Lucky me, I got to test three of Milani’s Color Perfect Lipsticks. You wouldn’t think I would love both the orange-red, Red Label, and the blue-red, Red Velvet… but I do! Somehow, both reds work with my skintone. I’m afraid to check for carmine on the Milani site just yet, because that would diminish my love for sure…
    I also tested Nude Crème, the peachy nude, my favorite of the three. In fact, it’s been in my makeup bag since the day it arrived. It’s the kind of pretty neutral that would look good on anyone, perfect for daytime.
    I agree with everything you said about the packaging, the lipstick’s contoured tip, and the formulation. While the formula is a bit on the dry side, this makes for long wearing time. So far, I haven’t found the lipstick to be drying to my lips, but you’re right, it might be an issue in colder weather. I wish it was just a tiny bit creamier.
    For around $5, Milani has created yet another hoard-worthy product. 4 stars.

  2. I really like these lipsticks and have been pretty happy with Milani’s vast array of products! It is a great nude, @turboterp! I give the lipstick a solid four stars.

  3. Oh gosh, this is the first Milani product that I was not over the moon for. Of course, some of their eyeshadows aren’t as pigmented as I like and their blushes can be a little thin, too…but overall Milani is an incredible value. In my mind, though, not these. First off is the scent–it reminds me of something unpleasant from my childhood–maybe Noxema and sunburns? I’m not sure, but the scent is strong and doesn’t seem to fade until the lipstick does. I tried the Plum Deluxe and it didn’t fade for a long, long time. That would be good–but for the scent. The application didn’t seem too smooth, either–kind of like rubbing a crayon on your lips–not that bad, but you get the picture. Mostly, though, I think it was the color that I didn’t like most…maybe a different shade would have me singing higher praises, but the plum is dark, dark like a Cabernet–with shimmer. Too much. This is from a gal who thinks too much is never enough. I’m so sorry Milani, but you can’t be great all of the time. 2 stars because it does last forever.

  4. So, I just revisited this lipstick to smell again. I don’t get grape, but it sure isn’t Noxema. I feel like I’m on the right track with 70’s sun care products…Coppertone anyone? BTW @turboterp, I do think this stuff works well as a stain–it’s the only way I wear it, topped with a swipe of sheer gloss.

  5. I tested Milani’s Color Perfect Lipstick in Nude Creme –It is super pretty on but I found myself wanting to add a gloss over it.. Maybe that’s because I’m used to glosses more than lipstick alone..Nevertheless, the color lasts for hours and is such a nice color peach for the office and the summer. It is super nude in shade which is so up my alley! My lips are in good shape, not dry at all so this went on well.. I also like the pointed tip for easy application.. I can manage to apply without a mirror.. I am thrilled about the price for such quality too. Really, five bucks for lipstick? Come on! I give this product five stars and hope that they put out more colors!

  6. That’s a great opening paragraph @spitfire77, and I couldn’t agree more – I have a huge drawer full of lipsticks all for those just-in-case occasions, even though I almost always wear just 3-5 mainstays, too. But, I’ll never get rid of the rest, just in case! Yes, I love my red lipsticks and was thrilled to be able to try both Red Label and Red Velvet – and they both work for me, which is a real treat. Red Label is perfect for spring and summer and Red Velvet for fall and winter. I’m in love with the thin tip – especially for a hard to apply red – just ingenious and I can’t believe other companies haven’t thought of it earlier. These go on very creamy feeling, but shortly thereafter they kindof dry out on me – I agree it seems to be more of a stain in that way, but I would like it to remain creamy – I find myself wanting to put a gloss over the top for that reason. They last quite a few hours, though. For the dry feeling I have to take off a star, but only for that. Everything else is top notch – incredible value for the price. Four stars!

  7. Generally, I think Milani is a pretty great brand in terms of quality, especially with the variety and price point that they offer. But I agree with @sherrishera about the scent…I can’t stand it. Even though the texture is smooth and creamy, it’s decently long wearing, the color (Nude Creme) is one of the prettiest and easiest to wear nude lipsticks I’ve ever seen, and the packaging is decent (although a touch dowdy in my opinion), I can’t get over the scent. I find it kind of perfumey, but not fruity. I kept waiting for the scent to fade after I applied it, but it never did. It got to the point where I had to wipe it off. For me personally, it’s a two star product because of the scent. But I’m really particular about fragrance in my makeup though, so although this product didn’t work out for me, I don’t necessarily want to tell you not to buy it, but I do want to warn y’all so you can sniff it beforehand!

  8. I got to try Plum Deluxe & I can’t wait for winter to come around so I can wear this out. It really makes my teeth look white and it glides on sooo smoothly. Until then, I may pick up Nude Creme, Barely There, and Red Velvet based on the reviews & swatches. Those are beautiful shades that’ll work any season. I agree, Milani really needs to update their packaging. I didn’t try them for a long time because the packaging just didn’t appeal to me. They’re so nice though. Their consistency is so much better than many high end beauty companies (I’m looking at you MAC!!!) have been recently.

  9. Great post @spitfire77! The Red Velvet is a very rich, deep red that is perfect for special occasions. It works well with my complexion (fair skin, dark features) and really gives an extra pop which would be perfect for a more formal occasion.

    It went on really smoothly, but unless you have a very steady hand, I would recommend snagging a liner to go along with this.

    Overall, definitely a keeper and can’t wait to have an event to wear this! Also looking to try Barely There and Nude Creme before the end of summer!

  10. I was given brown suede to test out. The texture and fluidity of the lipstick was fantastic. However, the color was sooooo not me. Being blonde with pale skin a brown lipstick just doesn’t work for me. I am so willing to test out the barely there or red velvet colors. A nice product once again Milani.

  11. I got to test out Red Velvet and Red Label. The colors are a deep red with a hint of pink (on me, anyways) and a bright red with a hint of pink (again, on me–your body chemistry may react differently), respectively. Both gave a pop of drama–the colors are lovely. The staying power is fairly decent, too, though this is the ONLY lipstick I’ve ever had “feather” on me. I’ve never had a lipstick do that before and I didn’t know what was up with that–this seriously traveled on me. Also, I’ve had a series of allergic reactions to a few Milani products now and this one made my lips burn and then when I took this off, my lips were very dry–like the moisture was sucked out of them dry. Then there was the smell–artificial grape and some perfume-y chemical smell–like grapes and detergent. It made me nauseous. I’m giving this 3 stars for great colors and wearing power and for price, deducting 2 stars for feathering and the smell. Sadly, this was not a “win” for me :(

  12. I got to test “barely there”. I like the color and the staying power was great for a drugstore lipstick. I was grateful it did not slide off my face when drinking and eating like some of its drugstore cousins.

    I have allergies so I will admit I cannot smell as well as some of the testers. ( @lipglossandspandex –I am talking about you!) However, even I could detect the faux grape scent. It reminded me of a faint grape scratch and sniff sticker.

    All in all, the price is great and liked the color of barely there. I will admit there were times when I wanted to kick it up a notch, so I layered some lipgloss on top.

    4 stars.

  13. I tested out “Barely There” and “Brown Suede.” While I’m not wearing “Brown Suede” very much right now (it’s just too dark for summer, but you’re right- it will be perfect for this fall!) I’m LOVING “Barely There.” For those office days when it’s just too nice to get really dressed up but I want something polished and professional it’s the perfect lip color for all my crazy summer eye makeup.
    The scent is a little weird (a mix of sunscreen and something fruity?) but not something that really bothers me, pregnancy nose be damned! I find it a little too drying to wear for more than two days in a row without some exfoliating and heavy lip treatment at night. The staying power is pretty significant for a nude lip color (it’s just too easy for them to slide off without noticing, hah!) and for an inexpensive drugstore lipstick it’s amazing! For $5 (barely more than half the price of similar drug store lipsticks) it’s a fantastic bargain with a great pay off. At this price point it’s a great pick me up for days when I just need a little more color in my life.
    Overall I give Milani Color Perfect Lipstick 4 stars. Layer some Milani gloss over the top and you have the perfect lip combo!

  14. I like the color of the Milani lipsticks but the scent was a turnoff.The allergic reaction on my lips was unacceptable and I will not buy this lipstick again.

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