Being a beauty blogger allows me to post explore and review so many different cosmetics brands and beauty products. But nothing thrills me more than sharing a high quality brand that’s affordable and unique. When you can’t splurge on the latest high-end makeup line, it’s nice to stumble upon a less-expensive products. It may require you to step out of your comfort zone of familiar brands but it’s often worth it to try a budget brand. Or, if the color doesn’t work out, it’s at least some consolation that you didn’t spend a lot of money.
One brand that I’m getting to know is Nicka K New York. I’ve seen this line here and there at drug stores and supermarkets, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me next to more recognizable brands like Maybelline and L’Oréal. However, I couldn’t resist it when I noticed it once more at one of my favorite beauty supply stores. Generally, I limit beauty supply store purchases to niche hair supplies that I can’t find at big box retailers. But I made an exception when I saw Nicka K’s massive lipstick stand, presenting a dazzling array of shades and styles that I’d never seen among its supermarket offerings. The only thing more extraordinary than the variety of colors were the prices. I zeroed in on their Vivid Matte Lipstick stock, in their tiny black bullet-shaped tubes. At $1.99 a piece, I was intrigued enough to try two shades: Light Pink and Deep Pink. It was a risk as there was no real way to test the colors against my skin to assure a good match. But, again, it’s $1.99 so I was willing to gamble.
I was instantly disappointed with the first color I tried. The light pink looked like a frosty, pinkish tan accident on my lips. It highlighted the reason why these shades were only $1.99; the color was thin, requiring 3 coats for coverage. The finish wasn’t matte-like, looking more chalky than velvety soft. I wiped it off in mild irritation. Then I remembered it was only $1.99 so I let it go. You get what you pay for, I guess.
I let a few weeks pass before I tried the other shade, the Deep Pink. But this time I did some research on the expansive Nicka K brand, which boasts a range of products from lipsticks and glosses to skincare, nails, and hair products. The prices are accessible–I paid just under $2 but depending on the retailer its price varies up to $4.99–and the products inspire curiosity. But thus far, I was still underwhelmed with their lipstick offerings. I hoped that I’d have better luck with my other tube of Nicka K Vivid Matte. As the Deep Pink was closer to my natural lip color, it immediately proved to be a better look. It still has the same drawbacks as the Light Pink in terms of coverage, but it isn’t as noticeable because it’s a better color match, allowing me to get away with 2 coats max. The Vivid Matte is soft, smooth and moisturizing, so much so that it doesn’t quite feel like a matte to me. For me, its slightly creamy finish doesn’t offer the plush, petal-soft look that I’m going for with a matte lipstick.
After a few wears, the Deep Pink has started to grow on me, but the Light Pink is a lost cause. Still, despite being slightly underwhelmed with this range of lipsticks, Nicka K New York will remain on my radar. The colors are bold and daring but this won’t be my go-to product when I’m in the mood for matte. While it’s no great loss at $1.99 to discard an unsatisfactory shade, it wouldn’t exactly be frugal to let them go to waste—maybe I’ll mix them in with other colors (It’s going to take a real lipstick-blending miracle to make that Light Pink wearable!)