Review and Swatches: Kosas Cosmetics Lipsticks

This review is a long time coming. Kosas Cosmetics is undoubtedly one of the most hyped brands right now, at least from what I’ve seen on Instagram. They came onto my radar maybe…2 years ago…?…when they were still a fairly new brand that only sold lipsticks. I remember being drawn in by the sleek black packaging and the fairly small collection of shades.

To me, Kosas Cosmetics is like that cool girl brand that you want to be seen holding. It’s a cool girl brand that has everything you need for a 5 minute look that still makes you look like you’re about to take over the world.

Now, I am definitely not the type of person to throw on a 5 minute look, but I definitely have an insatiable love of lipsticks, and these lipsticks almost made me believe I could be satiated.

Upon my first application of the lipsticks, I was hooked. The formula was unlike anything I had ever tried, and the shades just filled all the gaps in my collection that I didn’t know I had.

Now, the range includes cream and powder blushes, a foundation, and a new lip balm. It’s still a pretty edited range of products compared to most brands, and I love that about them. While I love options, it’s refreshing to not have to stare at a wall of 50 lipsticks to choose from. Kosas does one shade from each color family of lipsticks – pink, nude, MLBB, red, etc – really well. I can’t speak for everyone, but each shade somehow manages to be flattering on me.

The lipsticks retail for $28 for .14oz/4 g of product, which puts them squarely in the mid-range of lipsticks for me. They’re available on the Kosas Cosmetics website, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, an awesome DC boutique, Ivy Wild Boutique, and a few other places. Those are just where I shop for the brand the most.

Before we get too deep into talking about formulas, let’s talk about their packaging, which I adore.

They come in a square black tube that actually have some weight to them. They are definitely sturdy, and the closure has a very strong magnet that honestly makes it so satisfying to open and close. Black packaging is my favorite so it’s no surprise that I love this.

As for the formula, they truly are unique in terms of feel and finish. They have a buildable medium coverage that are slightly glossy, but not ultra shiny. They’re more glossy than a satin or standard cream finish, but after a couple hours, they do settle into more of a satin finish. The texture is almost like a gel-cream. They feel super lightweight and nourishing, and almost cushiony on the lips. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tried, and I’m pretty sure my description could not give you an accurate idea of what it’s like unless you try it for yourself.

Kosas is also a natural brand and there are plenty of moisturizing ingredients like: mango seed butter, shea butter, rosehip seed oil, and many others.They also don’t contain any mineral oils, and are fragrance free. These moisturizing ingredients make the lipstick comfortable to wear throughout the day, although I do find that after about the 4-6 hour mark, my lips do start feeling a little dry. Not parched dry or dryness that feels tight, but just the feeling that I’ve lost some moisture. But that happens with about 95% of the lipsticks I wear due to my very dry lips, It’s easily fixed with a bit of balm or gloss, so I don’t have a problem with it. If your lips are more on the average/normal moisture side of the spectrum, I think these would probably work well for you.

Also around the 3-4 hour mark, the lipstick fades into a much more lived in look. The shine settles down, the edges have faded slightly (but not bleeding into my lines), and it’s not quite a stain, but almost becomes like a tinted balm. The darker shades like Fringe definitely last longer and have a bit more of a staining effect, but it still fades into a beautiful more muted version. I absolutely love how they wear and how it just settles.

Although it would be quite easy for me to own all 8 ( + a couple limited edition shades) of the lipsticks, I own 4 of the permanent shades and 1 of the limited edition shades – Violet Fury – which is still available from Neiman Marcus the last time I checked. The shades I own are:

  • Rosewater – a midtone cool pink-mauve
  • Stardust – a midtone peachy beige neutral
  • Undone – a deeper pinkish brown
  • Fringe – a deep rusty red
  • Violet Fury (LE) – a bright purple pink magenta shade

I definitely wear Stardust the most, although Rosewater is a close second. Undone is great for those days I want to look super polished and professional. Finge is one of my favorite deeper reds to wear, and it is really a beautiful tone for me. Violet Fury is such a fun shade, and it’s the type of bright shade that I love wearing on a night out. It’s bright without being too out there for boring ol’ me, and is just a little different from most pink lipsticks.

Honestly, I find the shades to look drastically different on everyone, so I highly suggest swatching them in person to see how they look on you.

Here are swatches of all the shades on me:

L-R: Rosewater, Stardust, Undone, Fringe, Violet Fury

I also tried to find comparisons for all 5 shades. As you can see, I really  love shades like Rosewater, Stardust, and Undone. And I found close shades for all of them, but none of them are really exact dupes… obviously I can justify having all of them, right?

L-R: Maybelline Almond Rose, Chanel Abstrait, MAC Brave, Bite Fig, Rosewater, Tom Ford Indian Rose, Charlotte Tilbury Blushing Dream, Charlotte Tilbury Rose Kiss, Charlotte Tilbury English Beauty

The closest dupes for Stardust are Tom Ford Indian Rose and Charlotte Tilbury English Beauty, but they are both not exact dupes. Indian Rose is just a touch warmer and sheerer, and English beauty is more matte and full coverage.

L-R: Lancome L’asbolu Rouge in Beige Sensational, MAC Velvet Teddy, Charlotte Tilbury American Sweethear, Stardust, Bobbi Brown Brownie Pink

Charlotte Tilbury American Sweetheart is close to Stardust, but it is a little lighter.

L-R: Revlon Rose Velvet, Rimmel #47, MAC Twig, Chanel Mademoiselle, Undone, Dior 843 Ultra Crave, Pat McGrath Omi, Bite Pepper, Bite Chai

I thought I would have more dupes for Undone, but I don’t have anything quite like it. Rimmel #47, Dior 843 Ultra Crave, and Bite Chai are almost there, but not quite. The tones and finish are just a bit off, but they give similar vibes.

L-R: MAC Retro, YSL Matte Tatouage #8, Fringe, Shiseido Shizuka Red

Shiseido’s Shizuka Red is almost like Fringe, but I think Shizuka Red has a bit more brown in it, and it is much more opaque.

L-R: Bite Aubergine, VIolet Fury, Wet n Wild Sugar Plum Fairy
L-R: Bite Aubergine, VIolet Fury, Wet n Wild Sugar Plum Fairy

I don’t really have anything like Violet Fury, although Bite Aubergine and Wet n Wild Sugar Plum Fairy are kind of in the same color family. The sheerer finish of Violet Fury does make it easier to wear, though.

I’ll say it again – these lipsticks are fantastic. I think Kosas has filled a real niche in the market for creating a sleek, luxurious lipsticks with a curated shade range that isn’t overwhelming. The formula also lives up to its claims of being weightless and nourishing, and it feels innovative in a sea of lip products and formulas that seem to blend together. I think all the shades are super versatile and could work for a wide range of skin tones. All around, this is a winner in my book, and these lipsticks are some of the most worn lipsticks in my collection.


Shades: 10/10
Formula: 9/10
Value: 9/10

Have you tried Kosas lipsticks yet? What do you think of them?

As always, thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “Review and Swatches: Kosas Cosmetics Lipsticks

  1. This is so helpful! Thank you 🙂 I recently bought Fringe and wanted something with a touch more brown so am thinking about Shiseido Shizuka Red. Problem is I have extremely dry lips and I heard the Shiseido formula can be drying. Can you tell me which of the two you find more moisturising? Many thanks.


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