I’ve been in a long-term relationship for more than 5 years…with Dior Lip Glow. I love it so much that my review of Dior Lip Glow was one of my first blog posts. But I like to keep my options open, so I was delighted to receive the NoTS Lip Shimmer Gloss for review from Q-Depot. The NoTS is just one of many “customized pink” lippies (i.e., uses that fancy mood-ring technology) knocking off the Dior–and just one of many that I personally own.
So how does this Korean lip balm compare to the beauty that started it all? Read on, and for good measure, I also compare it to the e.l.f. Studio Gotta Glow Lip Tint, a recent budget entrant.
The Dior has been a repeated purchase since my friend first turned me onto it 5 or 6 years ago. By now I’ve repurchased it probably 15 times. Back in my day ::adopts shaky grandma voice:: Dior Lip Glow was only $27 and I had to walk through 2 miles of snow to get it.
Today, it’s a whopping $33! It goes up a dollar every year or two. ::shakes fist:: Furrr-rugal tip: Stock up during one of Sephora’s BI/VIB sales, or buy a duo of Dior Lip Glows (one pink and one coral) for $52 total at a duty-free store at the airport (spotted at LAX).
In comparison, NoTS is $31 on Q-depot (on sale for $26.47 right now) and e.l.f. is a mere $6 (and e.l.f. has frequent sales).
Dior Lip Glow works (1) as an emollient base for lipsticks and gloss; (2) on its own as a moisturizing, natural pink balm; (3) on top of lip color to refresh the lips; and (4) as a casual gradient lip. For the gradient lip, apply a watery lip tint along where your lips meet, let dry, and top off with a coat of Dior Lip Glow all over. Not quite as dramatic or polished as a true gradient lip, but it works and is reportedly a reason for its popularity in Korea.
My standards for judging NoTS and e.l.f. are mainly whether they’re able to fulfill the same roles as Dior, but I’ll also get into packaging, color, and other qualities.
As to be expected from a “customized” product, YMMV–oh does YMMV–when it comes to these glow balms. For every person who loves these, there’s someone who complains that the shade turns fuchsia and looks unnatural. Heck, I gave Renee a Dior Lip Glow and she was like, “Meh. Fresh does better lip balm.” (I respectfully disagree.)
NoTS Lip Shimmer Gloss
First off, the name is misleading: it’s not shimmery and not especially glossy. The initial glossy finish eventually settles into a semi-glossy look, much like Dior does. Although it’s the palest in the tube, it develops within seconds into a natural light-to-medium pink that falls in between Dior and e.l.f. It feels balmy and smooth going on, without excessive waxiness (my gripe with Fresh lip balms).
The packaging is high quality, surviving a few weeks in my purse. The moisture lasted for 2-3 hours on my lips. When it wears off, reapplication is easy because there’s no waxy residue left behind. It worked well as a base for lipsticks and, with SPF 10, it also worked well on its own. It made for an easy gradient lip as well.
Comparison/Dupes?: Dior Lip Glow v. NoTS v. e.l.f.
Once applied, Dior is the lightest pink, e.l.f. is the deepest pink (almost mauve), and NoTS falls somewhere in between. Dior does show up with a little more color on my lips than the arm swatch shows, definitely enough to take away my usual zombified appearance.
I’ll cut to the chase: Dior still comes out on top. However, depending on what you’re looking for in a glow balm, NoTS might be a better option. I don’t recommend e.l.f.
Some points of comparison:
- Function as a Lip Makeup Base: Dior and NoTS come out on top, creating an emollient base that’s not too slippery for lipsticks and gloss. They work even better if allowed to sink in for 10 minutes first. Dior’s texture seems to be just slightly cushier, so it smooths lip lines better under lip color. The super glossy, super slippery e.l.f. causes lipsticks to slide around and turns too dark, causing sheer or light-colored lippies to take on a deeper pink hue.
- Function as a Standalone Balm: Well this partly comes down to color preference. My personal preference is still Dior, but NoTS and e.l.f. give a stronger look of “wearing a lip color.” e.l.f.’s color is buildable, deepening with each coat, which I dislike because it looks unnatural on my lips. The color of NoTS and e.l.f. both develop almost instantly, whereas Dior takes about 5-10 mins. to see the full effect. As for lasting and moisturizing power, Dior is the best (although I still reapply every 3-4 hours; more frequently if I’m drinking and eating), NoTS comes in second, and e.l.f. is a distant last place. Having the glossiest finish and thinnest, most slippery (almost oily) texture, e.l.f. superficially feels as if it moisturizes the most, but I find it disappearing from my lips faster than I can spell e.l.f. None are moisturizing enough to suffice as overnight lip balms.
- Function as a Lip Color Refresher: All work decently well, but e.l.f. comes in last due to its brief lasting power and its darkening of light-colored lippies.
- Function as a Gradient Lip Balm: This again partly comes down to color preference. Personally, e.l.f.’s darker color results in less contrast between my lips and the hot pink tints I use. On the other hand, Dior is sometimes too light, making it look like I just did an incomplete job of applying lip tint. NoTS is a nice medium.
- SPF: Dior and NoTS both have SPF 10 (chemical sunscreens) so I feel comfortable using them alone during the day. e.l.f. has no SPF.
- Packaging: Grrrr, BIG fail by e.l.f. here and the second biggest reason (after the too-dark color) why I would not rebuy e.l.f.–despite being the cheapest by far. I carried it in my purse and within a few days, the wording and silver paint around the tube wore off and the cap fell off multiple times, resulting in mushed balm. Last week, the entire bullet fell out, leaving an unusable stub. Dior and NoTS have sturdy, quality packaging–surviving weeks in my purse with no deterioration or loose caps. The photographic evidence:
NoTS Lip Shimmer Gloss is a high-quality alternative to Dior Lip Glow that is cheaper, cruelty-free, and leaves a slightly deeper pink (which I think most would prefer in a MLBB lip balm). As a longtime Dior user and frequent lipstick wearer though, NoTS will nots be replacing Dior in my stash. I still prefer Dior’s lighter pink shade and its slightly longer-lasting life.
As for e.l.f., I don’t recommend it at all. Even if you’re seeking a deep pink, glossy lip balm and will be storing it on a pedestal, I’d recommend looking for something that lasts longer.
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OMG, e.l.f. This is what's left of my #elf Gotta Glow Lip Tint balm after the cap fell off for the 100th time in my purse. I chucked this in the bin two seconds after I took this pic. The weird part is that I have yet to find the bullet in my purse. Where did it go??? Is my purse lining moisturized and customized pink now? #elfcosmetics
P.S. If you register for a free account on Q-depot (there’s an award points program), Q-depot will email a coupon code for $5 off your first order of $69 or above.