RIP Kosas' OG Lipstick and what I'm using instead
Every once in a while we get a Kosas lipstick (new and old formula) listed. Shop now and favorite the product for later (to get a notification when there's a new listing) at Glou.
Kosas lipsticks became a holy grail favorite as soon as I discovered them. They launched with ten beautiful, super flattering, wearable shades in sleek black and white packaging. It was luxe, yet approachable. Now when you walk through the Kosas aisle in Sephora it's an explosion of see-through neon plastic sending despy, "plz love us Gen Z" vibes to the back of your retinas.
It's a classic move of a company trying to expand their customer base, and leaving their original customers, who put them on the map, behind.
On the re-launched lipstick's product images, Kosas has suggestions for what shades to try if you loved their previous top three best selling shades (Rosewater, Stardust, and Undone).
Rosewater - Cool tone sheer pink
Stardust - Warm tone sheer neutral
Undone -Warm tone pinkish brown
Royal - Cool tone berry
Violet Fury - Fuschia
Thrillest - Warm tone red orange
Electra - Cool tone red
Phoenix - Warm fiery red
Fringe - Warm tone reddish brown
Darkroom - Cool tone purplish red
Vegas - Warm beige
Sugar high - neutral baby peach
Fantasy Life - neutral baby pink
High cut - warm rosy pink
Beach House - warm vibrant pink
Daydream - cool pink
Turned On - warm pinkish brown
Deep Talks - neutral brick red
Star Power - cool burgundy
Subsconscious - Rich warm brown
Kosas kept two of the old shades:
Vegas = Vegas
Fringe = Deep Talks
The re-launch may feature the same formula, but they are all very pigmented shades. I think what worked so well with Rosewater and Stardust was that they were sheer-ish. I guess we can be grateful that perhaps they learned the lesson from Bite Beauty's vegan-ization-reformulation that maybe killing off your best formula and staple product is a bad idea?
But everyone in the comments on their socials and on Reddit is begging for Rosewater. Stardust is the next most requested shade. And people are mad about it.
Journey to trying to find a similar shade within the Kosas line
I made two trips to Sephora where I left with swatches along my entire left arm desperately trying to find something that would hit the spot. I started with swatching all the Kosas lipsticks and the new "Wet Stick" lipstick-balms, and there just wasn't anything that was similar.
I made a second trip just to re-swatch the shades that Kosas suggested. If you liked, Rosewater, try Daydream. If you liked Stardust, try High Cut. If you liked Undone, try Turned On.
The new Kosas lipsticks don't have enough shades that are casual, everyday shades that are outside of the beige/light pink family (aka shades that will wash me out). The darker shades are great, but more pigmentation requires more precision - I loved that I could apply Rosewater/Stardust without a mirror. The Wet Stick shades are largely in the nude family. Which is great, but it doesn't hit the MLBB (my lips but better) spot for me. It's just ML. No BB. It also doesn't have the longevity of the lipstick.
The new color palette is clearly for a completely different customer than the old palette.
I thought that Merit Beauty's lightweight lipstick had a great sheer, buildable formula, but while the formula is great, the shade range is bleh.
Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks are a tried and true staple, so I was hoping I'd find a similar shades, but the shades were all too "lipsticky" (too pigmented or matte).
I just really wanted something that would have the my lips but better (MLBB) effect. The right shades with flexible coverage is key.
Rituel de Fille's Lip Sheer fills the Kosas shaped hole in my heart
I feel like people are sleeping on this brand!!! Their witchy aesthetic didn't appeal to me, but I've been following them on social, swatching their products whenever I see it in stores, and I'm LOVING what I've been trying.
What I love most of all, besides the fab, clean formulations, is that they are always actively seeking feedback from their customers during their product development process, and iterate based on that feedback! It's literally so obvious, but also, not the way the industry typically works.
More brands should sell lab samples because it would be so good for building brand loyalty. You know what's terrible for brand loyalty? Influenster and incentivized reviews. But that's a whole other conversation I don't have time for today. (Stay tuned though.)
These lip sheers don't have as buttery of a formula as the Kosas lipsticks, but they have great buildable coverage and a great shade range. There is a strong lavender scent that I don't love, but don't hate.
Wear time is pretty good, and wears evenly. The skinny bullet is the perfect size for me to make an 'X' shaped swipe to get the perfect cupids bow, all without a mirror.
The shade range in general is reminiscent of Kosas' 10 original shades. Or maybe it's just the lack of beige?
I got three shades, Whitethorn, Datura, and Bittersweet, which I swatch in the TikTok linked below.
They're not perfect shade dupes, but they are a great alternative to achieve the same vibe.