Let's start with the best part: free stuff. I got the lipstick I'm reviewing here as compensation for doing some L'Oreal Consumer Testing. You sign up at that link, fill out some questionnaires, and they send you unlabeled products to test. Then, a few weeks later, they send you some other shit as compensation for doing the testing and reporting on your results.
It took over a year before I got into any trials. You will probably get disqualified from a lot of surveys before you get into one. That's normal. They also rarely notify you when there are new questionnaires, so you have to remember to check the site often to find them.
The things you test (and the compensation) could be from any brand under the L'Oreal umbrella, and could be makeup, skin care, or hair care. I've tested several mascaras and a couple of hair mousses (I think that's it). I have also heard about people testing eyebrow products, lipstick, foundation, and contouring kits, among other things.
The above photo shows some of the stuff I've got as compensation. Usually you get 1-3 products in return for each test you do, though the size of the compensation depends on the length of the trial, etc. In addition to the brands below (L'Oreal, Maybelline, and Lancôme), I've received a Garnier face wash and some other L'Oreal products, as well as a second Lancôme eyeshadow quint. I know other people have got Kiehl's as well. No Urban Decay, as far as I am aware! Too bad.
It can be a fun way to try new things, if you like surprises, and you're willing to risk using a product for a few days - or even a couple of weeks - that you don't love. (Of course, if you have a bad reaction to it, you stop using it immediately and notify them.) You also have to follow the rules: no discussing what you're testing online (or at all?), sometimes you have to return the test product when the testing period is up (though not usually), and you can't sell or trade your compensation products. Oh, and obviously you have to be a willing cog in the whole evil cosmetics marketing machine.
The lipstick I'm reviewing today is one that I got as compensation for doing L'Oreal testing. It's one of my favorite things I've been sent. The whole thing is a bit of a crapshoot - the Maybelline lipstick in the photo above looks like this. I'm guessing the products they send are overstock in most cases. But I'm glad they had extras of this one.
I posted this photo of Choco-Lacque on Instagram last month, because I wore it to speak at a symposium, and it was great for that purpose. It's your typical work-friendly rosy-mauve or pinky-neutral or MLBB or whatever. It's also really comfortable to wear (not drying) and it lasts a long time. That's important for teaching or anything else where you're going to be talking for a long time. It won't survive greasy food, but that's a long shot anyway. It's sort of thick and sticky, but in a good, comfortable way, and I expect it's that texture that makes it last. I also like the packaging. I find lipsticks in crayon form or anything with a smaller tip and a longer case to be easier to apply neatly.
L'Oreal has two variations in this line: Colour Riche La Lacque and Le Matte. The latter is oviously supposed to be matte, but it was never quite clear to me what La Lacque was supposed to be. And now that I have one . . . still not totally clear. The Revlon Lacquer Balms are a little sheer and shiny, which sounds about right for "lacquer" to me. This La Lacque lipstick is neither. It's not matte, but it's also not particularly shiny. Satin at best.
Here's Choco-Lacque compared to some other products in the same general color family - demonstrating that I have too many, but they're just so damned easy to wear (except when they're too easy):
Revlon Balm Stain in Honey is very close to the same color, but less opaque. Lord & Berry Crayon Lipstick in Intimacy is darker with more brown in it, with a similar finish, but not as good wear time. Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands is sheerer and more beige/nude. Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice has more reddish-brown in it, is much darker (very similar to L&B Intimacy), and is, of course, more matte. Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Lust for Blush is cooler and more matte.
If you like Revlon Honey as much as I do, Choco-Lacque is like a more opaque version of it, and equally comfortable to wear, in my opinion. I don't hate having them both on hand. These are exactly the kind of lipsticks I like to wear when I want to feel like a competent, serious adult, without boring myself.
Here's the potential dealbreaker: The floral fragrance in Choco-Lacque is really fucking strong, and it lingers for a long time. I'm not the best at identifying scents, but to me it's a combination of rose and violet. This is (apparently?) my only L'Oreal lipstick, but I believe it's the usual L'Oreal scent. I happen to be a big fan of rose-scented lip products, so I completely love it. And it doesn't have a perfumey taste, from what I've noticed, so that's good. If you hate scented lipsticks, however, stay far away from this one.
Anyway, this was a pleasant surprise for me, and free! (Well, technically I paid for it with my time and labor testing whatever it was I tested.) I don't know how easy the La Lacque lipsticks are to find in the drugstore at the moment, because I haven't really been looking, but I believe they are now permanent. ULTA has them online, though (they mislabel this one "Coco-laque"). Have you tried any of the La Lacque or La Matte lipsticks? Are the others as good as this one? Can you handle the (beautiful) stench?