Friday, February 7, 2014

Is e.l.f. Essential Hypershine Gloss ($1) a dupe for Stila Lip Glaze ($8)?

Disclosure: This post does not contain affiliate links.

You may have noticed that e.l.f. regularly makes products that look like more expensive products from other brands. They imitate the packaging, sometimes the name, and the basic type of product in an apparently attempt to attract people who want the higher-end item but aren't willing or able to spend the extra money for it. A good example is the crazy cream blush I reviewed a while ago. Their strategy seems to work fairly well, because you'll often see e.l.f. products suggested as cheaper alternatives to similar-looking higher end cosmetics.

It's important to be aware, however, that often what e.l.f. is replicating is just the appearance of the product - that is, the packaging. They don't necessarily try to recreate the formula of the more expensive inspiration: the texture, pigmentation, scent, wear, finish, etc. That means that they are not necessarily a reliable source of real dupes. It's marketing, not SWFing.

e.l.f. Hypershine Gloss has been around forever and has been a favorite of mine for years. Though there are other brands that sell glosses in this click-brush type of packaging, Stila seems to me like the most likely reference point for e.l.f.'s version. But until just recently, I had never tried Stila's very popular Lip Glaze. I ordered several tubes of it in an attempt to find something to compare with the two e.l.f. glosses that I already had (and also because they were pretty, and so I bought a few that definitely weren't going to be comparable shades). In retrospect, I went overboard, because it turns out that I am not a huge fan of the Stila glosses. Let that be a lesson to you (me) here: whether you're looking for an e.l.f. dupe or a dupe for an e.l.f. product, proceed with caution.

So to answer the question in the title before I go on to a more detailed comparison of these two products: No. They are not dupes.

I didn't successfully find Stila glosses that were close in finish to the two e.l.f. colors I had, which have a shimmery and very pearly finish. Instead, I chose two of the ones I bought that looked closest in color. The similarity in color and finish is really not very close at all, and so in the end this comparison is really more about how the two products perform and feel when you use them than about how they look.

Here are swatches. The top row is Stila Lip Glaze in Passion Fruit and e.l.f. Hypershine in Joy. The bottom row is Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidoscope and e.l.f. Hypershine in Bare.

Swatches of Stila Lip Glaze in Passion Fruit and e.l.f. Hypershine in Joy,  Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidoscope and e.l.f. Hypershine in Bare.
Swatches of Stila Lip Glaze in Passion Fruit and e.l.f. Hypershine in Joy, Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidoscope and e.l.f. Hypershine in Bare.
You can see from the photo that Kaleidoscope is basically clear when worn, though it has a ton of iridescent sparkle that shows up better in person than in my photos. Some of it is visible in the photo with flash below (and Scrangie has an even better illustration).

Swatches of Stila Lip Glaze in Passion Fruit and e.l.f. Hypershine in Joy,  Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidoscope and e.l.f. Hypershine in Bare.
Swatches (with flash) of Stila Lip Glaze in Passion Fruit and e.l.f. Hypershine in Joy, Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidoscope and e.l.f. Hypershine in Bare.
The way these click pens work is nearly identical. You know, you click it 58 times and nothing happens and then you click it one more time and an enormous fucking blob gushes out. Not my favorite. The best way to handle it is to look down at the top of the brush while you turn the clicky end. Then you can see when it's starting to come out and avoid disaster, because the gloss will push the brush apart in the middle. 

The other thing I don't like about this kind of applicator is that it makes brushing it on the lips kind of annoying. The gloss comes out in the middle of the brush. When you press the brush against your lips to apply it, it squishes out the opposite side. Then you have to flip the brush around to use the shit that's on that side. And it squishes out the opposite side. And repeat. It's not a horrible ordeal, but it's irritating.

In all of the above ways, the e.l.f. and Stila glosses are indistinguishable. One distinction is that the Stila brushes are quite a bit stiffer, which, combined with the thickness of the gloss described below, makes even application more difficult. The main difference, though, is in the actual gloss itself. When it comes to that, I really prefer the e.l.f version. Here are lip swatches:

Stila Lip Glaze in Passion Fruit
Stila Lip Glaze in Passion Fruit.
e.l.f. Hypershine Gloss in Joy.
e.l.f. Hypershine Gloss in Joy.
Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidoscope.
Stila Lip Glaze in Kaleidoscope.
e.l.f. Hypershine Gloss in Bare.
e.l.f. Hypershine Gloss in Bare. 
The Stila gloss is very thick and sticky. That texture makes it laborious to spread on the lips. If you use a more pigmented version, it's hard to get an even layer of color. It tends to be patchy, and if you press your lips together, the stickiness messes it up further. If you go out in the wind with long hair, your hair will definitely get stuck to your mouth. I also find it a bit drying. Overall, it's just not pleasant to use.

The e.l.f. glosses are a lot slipperier and easier to apply. They feel better on, aren't as sticky, and aren't drying. Despite not being as thick, they seem to last just as long for me. I also personally really like the pearly gold shimmer in the two shades I have. So pretty. Really nice gloss all around.

I do like the scent of the Stila glosses, though. They each have a light, pleasant fragrance that goes with the name of the shade. Passion Fruit has a tropical fruit scent, and Kaleidescope (the only I tried not named after a fruit) smells like candy. They have no flavor, and the scent isn't overpowering and doesn't last long. The e.l.f. glosses all have the same scent: a light vanilla. It's subtle and also fades quickly. It's nice, but just not as interesting as the Stila scents.

Overall, I'd say that if you are already a big fan of Stila Lip Glaze, you are not going to find an exact dupe in the e.l.f. Hypershine Gloss. You might be better off doing this 3 for $15 deal from ULTA (which is where I got mine) if you are determined to have exactly the same thing.

On the other hand, if you just want a really nice, soft, pleasant, pretty lip gloss, the e.l.f. version is excellent and costs $1. I totally recommend it. I definitely would not buy the Stila gloss again, personally.


  1. One thing I hate about E.L.F is their deceptive marketing. I hate, hate, HATE getting the emails that are like "a $300* value for $24!) *Compared with department store brands.

    Yes, E.L.F has some great products, but I really dislike when they compare themselves like that. With department store products, you're usually getting better quality ingredients, better packaging and better customer service and, in my experience, usually better quality overall. You can't just take a brown eyeshadow and say it's comparable to another brown eyeshadow when all they have in common is the colour and type of product.

    1. Oh, I agree. As if there is some kind of intrinsic money value to makeup anyway (besides the production cost). Is this e.l.f. lip gloss actually a $10 product, because I like it better than the Stila one? Those claims are meaningless. But then I tend to hate pretty much all cosmetic marketing. It's usually particularly deceptive.

      I don't know about better quality ingredients in department store stuff, but the packaging is usually sturdier or fancier, for sure. I think it depends how important that is for each person. I know some people are really into nice packaging, but I don't usually care unless it interferes with the performance. In this case, the e.l.f. packaging is actually slightly better than the Stila (brush works better).

  2. I've actually never tried the Stila ones. I got some of these Elf ones years ago for Christmas, and found out I greatly dislike the whole click up+brush thingy. That's one thing I love ELF for. If you're trying new colour/format that you're not sure if you're going to like, at least you only waste a few bucks to find out you hate it. Yay cheap!

    1. Yes! Click pens are actually my least favorite type of makeup applicator. My cat's transdermal medication came in one of those (with a sponge tip), though, and so I figured out that they do actually serve a purpose: you can measure out an exact amount of product by counting the clicks. That's totally unnecessary for makeup, of course. Here it's mostly a gimmick, I think.

  3. " You know, you click it 58 times and nothing happens and then you click it one more time and an enormous fucking blob gushes out. " --> so true. I bought that Maybelline lumitouch highlighting perfection concealer thingy and it was the same fucking deal. I feel like the product runs out super fast, too.

    Interesting to hear the elf glosses are better. I actually thought the Stila ones were pretty moisturizing, so I guess I just have really dry lips. I really hate sticky lip gloss though, so I won't be buying either.

    1. I don't tend to find most lip colors moisturizing, and I'm really picky about balms too, so keep that in mind. I actually don't think the e.l.f. ones are sticky. They're a totally different texture from the Stila glosses. But you may have a lower threshold for stickiness than I do!


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