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Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: L'Oreal Color Riche Balm SPF15 in Plush Plum

I really, really, really didn't want to turn this review into a L'Oreal vs. Revlon "Battle of the tinted lip butters", but since both lines came out at roughly the same time, how could I NOT do a compare/contrast? At this point many people seem to have their feet firmly planted in the Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter Camp or the L'Oreal Color Riche Balm Camp, so read on to see if I'm Team L'Oreal or Team Revlon in this debate:

 L'Oreal Color Riche Balm SPF15 in Plush Plum
(retail: $5.99, 0.10 oz)

Luckily for me, this compare-and-contrast will be a bit easier since I opted to purchase the shade Plush Plum when I spotted these at my local Bed Bath and Beyond a while back. Later on in this post, I'll be comparing Plush Plum to the comparable shade in the Revlon Lip Butter line: Sugar Plum.

Like the Revlon Lip Butters, these fully retract into their casing, which is always nice. 

The ingredients were broken up into four parts on the tiny label on the side of the tube, so here are the best photos I could get:

So here we go with the comparison:

 Top: L'Oreal Color Rich Balm in Plush Plum
Bottom: Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in Sugar Plum

In terms of product, you get a bit more in the L'Oreal Balm (0.10 oz vs. 0.90 oz in the Revlon Lip Butter) and the price of the L'Oreal Balm is less ($5.99 vs. $7.49 for Revlon). 

Value: L'Oreal wins.

But I would like to add that there are eight shades in the L'Oreal Balm range, while there are 20 shades in the Revlon Lip Butter range.

Looking at the image above, you can see that the actual stick of the Revlon Lip Butter is a bit wider than the L'Oreal stick, although the L'Oreal case is a bit longer.

There's an obvious difference in the inner case color (gold vs. silver) and looking at the colors in the tubes, the L'Oreal shade contains a lot more visible gold sparkle and looks much warmer in tone (more on THAT in a bit).

I've heard people say they think the L'Oreal packaging looks more elegant, which I can totally understand. But for me personally, the Revlon case wins because of one simple feature:

See that tiny groove where the base and the lid have to "lock" into place? This has always annoyed me in the Color Riche lipsticks, and I wish they wouldn't have brought it over to the Balms too. I'm ALWAYS in a hurry when I'm applying lip color and I simply don't like to have to look down and make sure things are lined up correctly in order to close my lipstick case. I like to open and slam my lipsticks shut without even thinking about it, and I can't tell you how many times I haven't had this groove aligned properly and tried to force it closed. 

Packaging: Revlon wins.

I should note that I do like the narrow stick of the L'Oreal Balms because it feels like application is more precise vs. the wider stick on the Revlon Lip Butters, but that groove in the packaging trumps more precise application.

Here are some pics of both shades swatched on my arm. I used one swipe of each shade with the same level of pressure for both colors:

Remember the pic I showed you above of these colors in the tube and how much warmer L'Oreal Plush Plum looked next to Revlon Sugar Plum? SURPRISE! On the skin, Plush Plum is MUCH cooler than Sugar Plum. How weird is that? I'm looking at both shades here at my desk right now and I promise you, I did not get these swatches mixed up.

One swatch of each shade does yield very similar results, so there's no clear winner here in terms of pigmentation. BUT, I do know for a fact that other Revlon Lip Butter shades (Red Velvet, for instance) have much better pigmentation than the two shades in this post. I don't know for sure if other L'Oreal Balm shades have better pigmentation than Plush Plum, because I only own Plush Plum. However I can tell you that I've heard from several readers who believe that the L'Oreal Balms are more sheer and less pigmented than Revlon Lip Butters. On the other end of the spectrum, not all Revlon Lip Butters are created equally and some shades are more heavily pigmented than others.

Color (Plush Plum vs. Sugar Plum): tie

When it comes specifically to Plush Plum, I found no problems at all with building for better pigmentation.
L'Oreal Plush Plum on my lips:

And from my original Revlon Lip Butter Review,  Revlon Sugar Plum:

In person, there's more visible sparkle in the L'Oreal shade, which is also darker and cooler than Revlon Sugar Plum. On my lips, Plush Plum looks more like a cool berry-raisin shade, while Revlon Sugar Plum is more of a "My Lips But Better" type of shade that's more of a mauvish-brownish-berry rather than a true plum. So for color, I'd say it's a tie. Both shades are deceiving and it really depends on what you prefer: a warmer, brownish-berry shade, or a cooler, deeper, berry-raisin shade.

Now let's talk about texture. This is obviously completely dependent on your personal taste and I know PLENTY of people who prefer the L'Oreal Balms. But I personally find that the texture of this L'Oreal Balm is too thin and not very moisturizing. Revlon Lip Butters feel like butters to me (creamy and buttery), while this L'Oreal Balm doesn't feel like a balm. It feels like a sheer lipstick on my lips. 

Texture: Revlon wins.

Now on to staying power. I've been using Plush Plum for several weeks and I can say with 100% certainty that I cannot get this product to last more than one hour on my lips. It fades much too quickly for me, whereas Revlon Sugar Plum tends to last about three hours on my lips.

Staying Power: Revlon wins.

As far as fragrance and flavor go, again, this is personal preference. The L'Oreal Balm is not as heavily scented or flavored as a Color Rich lipstick, but it does contain what I would call a milder version of the signature Color Riche fragrance and flavor. I've heard some people say that the flavor of L'Oreal Balm tastes plastic-y and I would have to agree. The "plastic" note seems to come to the surface the longer I have this product on my lips. Revlon Lip Butters are made with vanilla absolute and they have a very mild, natural vanilla fragrance and flavor to them.

Fragrance and Flavor: Revlon wins.

Once again, these are just MY personal opinions and I don't expect everyone reading this to agree with me. Like I said at the top of this post, everyone seems to be Team L'Oreal or Team Revlon when it comes to these particular lip products, and I personally am Team Revlon.

PS: I want to also call to your attention that L'Oreal Balm contains SPF15, whereas Revlon Lip Butters do not contain SPF. So that might be a factor for you regarding which one you'd like to try.

Do you own any L'Oreal Balms or Revlon Lip Butters? Which do you prefer?

L'Oreal Balm in Plush Plum was obtained with personal funds. Revlon Lip Butter in Sugar Plum was given to Nouveau Cheap directly from the manufacturer for a previous review. All reviews on are the honest opinion of its author and editorial samples do not, in any way, affect the outcome of product reviews.


  1. Thank you for the review+comparison! I actually saw the Loreal Balms for the first time yesterday.

    I was curious about them, but I think I'm not in a rush to get those. The SPF 15 is a good factor tho!

    I've been wanting Revlon's lip butters for a while now and I will get some really soon. ^^ Too bad they don't have SPF.

  2. Great comparison, thank you! You know I was so excited about the L'Oreal Balms, but I've looked and passed on them several times. I don't know why, probably because I'm just really happy with the Revlon Lip Butters. Like you, I find them to be very moisturizing and I love how they feel. Afte reading your review, I think I would be a little disappointed in the L'Oreal.

  3. I own both and find Revlon just AWFUL compared to Loreal. Revlon accentuates every single dry skin on my lips and actually dries them out super fast. It's literally THE WORST lip product I currently own. I am SO disappointed... And I am going to post pictures on my blog soon, so if you're curious I'll be happy to let you know when it happens. Anyway - Loreal is the total opposite and I absolutely love it. My HG product. The only downside - both of them are over $8 in NYC :/

  4. Really? Wow, I have had totally different results! I actually think the Loreal ones blow Revlon out of the water! But. that just shows that everyone tests things differently and different things work for different people!

    Thanks for the review G!

  5. I want to try these this... love the colors!

  6. Super helpful comparison--thanks so much!!

  7. For me, Revlons win outright, even though I have not tried the L'Oreals- I don't buy from L'Oreal because unfortunately they test on animals, and Revlon does not :)- but not just because of that, because I have been so pleased with the Lip Butters! I have 3 shades so far: Strawberry Shortcake, Lollipop and Sweet Tart and I adore them, can't think of a single complaint. So I'm Team Revlon too! :)

  8. The blogs that I follow all seem to prefer Revlon. I'm still waiting for a really nice coupon to come out to try one, as $7 pains me.
    Fortunately I love, LOVE the Wet n Wild megashields. I've purchased five and raved to everybody I know to stock up. Paying $10 for five is so lovely on the mind, soul and wallet.

  9. Thanks for the review! Could you possibly compare the formula on the L'oreal balm and the old L'oreal Colour Juice Sticks sometime? I know you have one of those because you had a review for it aaaaages ago.

    Also, I wanted to tell you that during the big sale on the Revlon lip butters at CVS this week I got Sugar Plum specifically because of your review, and I was super scared of it when I opened the tube (looked waaaay too purple for me) and I almost returned it, but I trusted you and tried it on...and it's my go-to tinted balm now. XD Great color, and I'm especially looking forward to it for next Fall when I wear those types of colors most often. Thanks for the review on that one!

  10. Great Review! I've tried them both, but I love the L'oreal one,sure package is a pain but so fancy!!!, I dont know why but the Revlon makes my lips very dry, weird I know :-(

  11. I really like these. I really did not like the Revlon. I got the Tender Mauve and the Rose Elixir. I think they feel great and moisturizing, whereas the Revlon stuff was just really dry and opaque.

  12. J'adore your lippy deathmatch! Well done.

  13. I definitely prefer the Revlon Lip Butters to the L'Oreal Colour Riche Balms, but I don't feel like they compare exactly. L'Oreal claims their balms only provide a sheer tint of color, and that's what they do. Perhaps since one is a balm and one is a butter, that's why they perform differently? I like them both, but I really love the lipstick-like pigmentation of Revlon Lip Butters.

  14. I hate the Loreal lip balm...when i first got it i applied it before going in to a store and by the time i was out it was completely gone.

  15. I'm team L'oreal. They are everything I wanted the Revlon lip butters to be. Way more moisturizing, they have a more balmy slip to them, more sheer but buildable color.. They smell/taste amazing! You do need to reapply more often but I find that to be the case with lip balms. So overall I'm extremely satisfied with these. I actually like them better than the Chanel Rouge Coco Shines. Revlon lip butters feel thick and are a bit drying. As a sheer lipstick they're pretty descent but I was expecting a lip butter.

  16. I agreed with your review 100%! Plush Plum is actually the most pigmented of the l'oreal balms that I tried (i picked up three) and I was hoping they would be similar to the old color juice sticks. The other two shades I bought went on completely clear (granted my lips are somewhat pigmented), and Plush Plum applied streaky and unevenly. All shades wore off completely within 10 minutes, leaving my lips feeling dry and flakey. I also thought the texture was too thin and I can't stand the plasticky spf taste.

    I was sad to find the L'oreal balms can't begin to compare to Revlon's wonderful lip butters, and are actually the worst product I've tried in a very long time.

  17. I guess I like the Revlon better because I keep seeing negative reviews about the Loreal. But , if I were to buy a shade of the loreal , Plush Plum is the only one I would be interested in. So , I went ahead and bought it today after seeing your review last night. I keep hearing how sheer they are ,but I did like this shade. What I am actually looking for is a Clinique "Black Honey" or Loreal H.I.P. Jelly Balm "Luscious" dupe. I actually have one old pot of "Luscious". I should probably throw it away but I haven't yet. I love that color! This isn't a dupe for "Luscious" and I've never owned the Clinique, but I do like the shade and it is more pigmented than I thought. I'm glad I bought it for the color alone. I have the "Sugar Plum "shade of the Revlon Lip butters and I have to say that Loreal's "Plush Plum" is the shade I wanted the Revlon to be. I also have "Red Velvet" and "Fig Jam" and I love both of them.

  18. I'm not sure why these two products have so many people all fired up like this. I mean there are lots of products out there that work for some but not for others and they prefer something else, so why so contentious over these ones? I guess it's just so odd that when people love the lip butters they really love them, and when they hate them, they really hate them! I happen to love them so I have no inclination to even try the L'Oreal ones when I could just get another color of the lip butters instead. Although, I still want to try the Jordana ones!

  19. I suspect a lawsuit from The Balm in 3...2....the font "Balm" is in looks way too much like The Balm's logo:

  20. Guessing maybe a typo on size because wouldn't .9 be more than .1? Maybe supposed to be .09? Just curious what it is... Haven't tried the L'oreal yet, but considering it. As always, love your blog! :)

  21. I've returned every Revlon lip butter I've tried. They're actually too pigmented for me and look so garish. I hadn't tried Sugar Plum, but Pink Truffle turned a gross dark pink/brown on me.

    Funnily enough, I just picked up L'Oreal Plush Plum and I love it. Sheer lip colors just look better on me. The L'Oreal balms remind me of Boots No. 7 sheer lipsticks. I do REALLY HATE that stupid little tab, and the scent is meh.

    Anita: It may be hard to tell, but L'Oreal and the Balm use totally different fonts. Probably just different enough to avoid a lawsuit :)

  22. I've returned every Revlon lip butter I've tried. They're actually too pigmented for me and look so garish. I hadn't tried Sugar Plum, but Pink Truffle turned a gross dark pink/brown on me.

    Funnily enough, I just picked up L'Oreal Plush Plum and I love it. Sheer lip colors just look better on me. The L'Oreal balms remind me of Boots No. 7 sheer lipsticks. I do REALLY HATE that stupid little tab, and the scent is meh.

    Anita: It may be hard to tell, but L'Oreal and the Balm use totally different fonts. Probably just different enough to avoid a lawsuit :)

  23. Thanks for doing this comparison. I saw the L'Oreal balms finally in my local drugstore yesterday and I was intrigued but it seemed like a waste of money considering I have the Revlon Lip Butters. Your post proved that more or less it truly would have been a waste of money. Thanks for sharing!

  24. I've bought several of the Revlon and only one of the L'oreal, and unfortunately, I don't think I'll be getting more of the L'oreal. I feel like they really aren't comparable; they seem like two different approaches to lippies to me. The Revlon is really buttery, it's thick. The L'oreal balm is like a thin, balmy texture. Both of them look really nice to me, but for different reasons. But I'd have to say that I vote for Revlon in the end because of the taste of the L'oreal balms. When you first smell them, they have a lovely fruity, rosy scent and that lasts a little while on the lips, but then it tastes purely of sunscreen. Gross. I can hardly stand it. Idk if that's what others are experiencing when they say "plasticky" but it's awful.

  25. I own several Revlop lip butters and just purchased a L'oreal Balm. I must say I prefer the lip butters over the balm. Lip butter has more color pay off. The balm has a "taste" that's really bothering me. I had to apply it about 3x to get some color. It's very sheer. I don't mind the sheerness butI may have to return this because the "taste" isn't so pleasant =/

  26. I've tried both the Revlon and the L'Oreal and they both work about the same on me-- that is to say, not very well at all. I have the Revlon shade Creme Brulee, and the L'Oreal shade Caramel Comfort. In the tube, one looks pinker than the other, but on my lips they are indistinguishable. They don't moisturize (in fact, they're a little drying!) and they don't stay on very long. They're all right for a quick, sheer bit of color, but...I don't think I'll be buying more of either one. They cost too much, for one thing (I bought mine on sale though). In my area, these are around $8 a piece.

    Also, am I the only one who hates the Lip Butter packaging? I cannot open the damn thing half the time! I'm always dropping it or accidentally denting the product itself because I can't get a good grip on it. Maybe I just have slippery fingers or something. Bah!

  27. I own both of these, and I have to say I prefer the L'oreal Rich Balms. Revlon Lip Butters are drying for me, most of all on the outter corners of my lips, if I wear the Lip Butters the whole day, there's a moment when I can't smile anymore because my lps hurt, and it happens with every shade, so I'm guessing is not a deffective one.
    The L'oreal ones in the other hand, are very soothing, I love the smell and last quite a while for a lip balm testure, I don't need a mirror to applied them, and the 2 shades I own (Caring Coral and the plum one) are very very flattering.
    I've yet to try the maybelline whispers... I hope they arrive to Mexico soon!!

  28. I prefer loreal. Revlon lip butters always accentuate the cracks in my lips even though it has "better" pigmentation and texture. I also found that sangria starters by elf is pretty similar in color to plush plum except it doesn't have shimmer and it's less glossy.

  29. I prefer the maybelline color whispers and the loreal riche balms. Although the revlon lip butters has slightly better pigmentation (depending on the color) it usually accentuate the cracks in my lips. I don't like the texture really. I also found that e.l.f.'s jumbo lip gloss stick in sangria starter is very similar to the color plush plush except it doesn't have shimmer and it's less glossy.


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