is lipsense a scam?
lips, products

Is Lipsense a scam?

Have you been hearing all of the hype about the long-lasting Lipsense lip colors and wondered if it’s all a scam?

Lipsense is made by a company called Senegence and, yes, it’s an MLM. Along with their lip products, they also have a whole bunch of skincare products. I haven’t had any desire to try out their skincare products yet because I already love what I am currently using.

However, I did try the Lipsense colors and glosses. Note: I am NOT a Lipsense distributor and am not affiliated with Senegence in any way.

But before I get into the lip products, I do want to address something that bugs me.

The wax buildup claim

Many distributors claim that you must ONLY use Lipsense products because you have to get rid of years of wax buildup from using chapsticks. They say that your lips need a bit of time to detox and then you must keep using Lipsense and ONLY Lipsense for the all-day color to actually work.

Well I think that is a whole bunch of crud!!

Like come on, our lips exfoliate naturally, so you’re not going to have “years” worth of wax on them. And if you do think you have a bit of product buildup on your lips, then give them a good scrub at night.

Plus…and here’s the zinger that really gets me about the “wax buildup” claim…some of the Lipsense glosses HAVE beeswax in them!!

Edit: Most of the glosses actually use “synthetic” beeswax which the company says acts totally differently from natural beeswax. However, I do have certain glosses (like Pearl) that simply list “beeswax”. Looking it up at CosmeticsInfo and the EWB database shows that the properties of synthetic beeswax are “generally indistinguishable” from those of natural beeswax.

beeswax and synthetic beeswax in lipsense gloss

While that in no way makes the company or the products a scam, I think it is unethical advertising that some distributors choose to utilize. They want to push more sales and have you using their products all day, every day. They also might have heard other distributors touting that claim and simply be misinformed.

I personally have days where I just don’t feel like wearing any lip color. And I find glossy gloss too sticky to bother with on those days and the matte gloss not as satisfying as slathering on my Burt’s Bees.

And you know what? My Lipsense color goes on just fine the next day! AND lasts all day as expected.

I do exfoliate my lips regularly and use a good moisturizing night serum, so that may help, but I’m here to tell you that you DO NOT have to divorce yourself from every other lip product for your Lipsense to work.

My Lipsense Review

After my little rant, I can finally get into my experiences with the products.

Yes – it stays on all day. I can’t tell you exactly how long because I always end up scrubbing it off before I go to sleep. At least 15 hours.

Yes – it stays put and won’t budge! The lip color, that is. I did a smudge test when my gloss had dried and didn’t get any color on my face or my finger. And incredibly enough, when I apply the gloss immediately after applying my lip color, the color never rubs off onto the applicator. I always expect the applicator to start turning pink and it never does! However, the gloss itself will rub off if you try to smudge it.

And the color is super vibrant when you apply 3 coats as suggested.

I do experience a bit of peeling when I have not been diligent about keeping my lips exfoliated. And it feels uncomfortable when you first put the color on because it feels soooo dry. The very first ingredient is denatured alcohol, so that probably plays a big part in that. But once you apply the gloss, it feels great.

You definitely do need to reapply the gloss several times during the day because it will dry out. And putting chapstick ON TOP of the Lipsense color will actually hinder it’s staying power.

I loved my first color so much that I ended up being 10 more and a couple of the glosses. It seems expensive at first, but I have yet to run out of any of my colors and it’s been nearly a year. What goes quickly is the gloss, so that will probably need to be repurchased fairly regularly.

As for the Oops Remover, I have never really been able to use it well. I’m always pretty careful when applying the color, so usually don’t need it. However, there was one time that I got some color outside my lips and it was a bugger to fix it with the remover.

I also tried to use the Oops Remover at night and I didn’t feel like it really helped take the color off at all. So I always just end up scrubbing the crap out of my lips to get that layer of skin off. So I guess wearing Lipsense kind of forces me to exfoliate my lips extremely well haha.

How to buy

Colors and glosses can be purchased online through a distributor’s Senegence website.

Beware of blindly ordering it from Amazon or eBay, especially if the price seems to be too good to be true. What you end up getting could be a knockoff and might actually be unsafe to use.

You can also generally find Lipsense distributors at local wedding expos, craft fairs, barn boutiques, etc.

If you want to purchase Lipsense products from a Facebook group or the marketplace, I would suggest purchasing from someone you know and trust or from someone who is local where you can pick up the products in person and hand them cash or a check.

However, it is possible to be scammed by a distributor or someone who claims to be a distributor. If someone is claiming to sell steeply discounted Lipsense, ask for their distributor ID and look it up on the Senegence website. They may just be running a promotion to gain more customers, but it’s possible they might be running a scam and only pretending to be affiliated with the company.

Edit: Not all distributors can be looked up based on their distributor ID. Use your best judgement when reaching out to people that you don’t know.

Inventory Issues

So I happened to find out about Lipsense right about the same time that everyone else in the world was hearing about it and “the craze” was in full swing. Even though the company, Senegence, has been around for a long time, Lipsense suddenly blew up in popularity recently.

Because of that, the company has had a really rough time keeping their products in stock.

The colors people wanted always seemed to be out of stock. At one point, ALL of the glosses were out of stock!! (and you really, really need those)

As a distributor, that made it hard because you couldn’t collect bulk orders and then place them online without risk of pissing people off when their color suddenly wasn’t available.

So many distributors turned to the cash-and-carry model. They would stock up on large quantities and just sell what they had on hand.

And that compounded the problem even further. When a popular color came back in stock, those distributors would snap up all of the inventory within minutes, leaving nothing for the newbies or the people trying to order online.

Eventually, Senegence decided to significantly cut down on the number of colors offered to try to fix their inventory issue.

After I stocked up on colors initially, I really haven’t purchased much more since then (with the exception of glosses) because I just kind of got annoyed with everything being out of stock. I also felt bad because I wanted to support my friends, but sometimes the only person that had what I was looking for was a random lady at a craft fair

The Company

No, it’s not a scam.

Yes, it is an mlm.

No, it is not a pyramid scheme.

As a distributor, you are entitled to discounts off the retail price of Senegence products. So you earn the difference between the price you sell the products at and what you paid for them. And that sounds like an very typical retail model.

You can either collect a bunch of orders first and submit a bulk order, or you can purchase inventory to have on-hand.

You can earn even more from commissions when you sign up other Senegence distributor underneath you. Again, it’s a very standard MLM model. And you can actually be profitable whether or not you choose to recruit other distributors.

There is a monthly charge to have your own franchised Senegence website where customers can directly order. Because of this, it seems like a lot of distributors opt to create private Facebook groups and make sales through a series of direct messaging and paypal transactions.

I personally think the market is pretty over-saturated as a network marketing opportunity. At least in my area, I do a quick search on the Facebook marketplace and the list of people selling what handful of colors that they have is endless. There is always a Lipsense table at the craft fairs and pop-up boutiques.

However, you could still probably do well with it if you found a really clever way to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there.

But there are definitely newer companies out there to get started with, some with less than 500 active distributors in the entire U.S.

An Alternative

If you are uncomfortable with the mlm model but still want smearproof lip color, then there is actually another option.

Lip Ink is a company in California that makes lip color products that are very similar to Lipsense. They don’t budge!

All ingredients are hypoallergenic and the products don’t have any wax (not even synthetic beeswax), animal fat, cholesterol, glycols, parabens or preservatives.

The formulations are all herbal and botanical based, so the products are actually healthy and nourishing for your lips.

It works similar to Lipsense where you need 3 things to get started, a lip color, a moisturizer and an OFF remover. And the prices are identical, $25 for a color and $20 for a moisturizer (which works like the gloss)

Check out my recent review of Lip Ink here

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32 Comments

  1. Great article! I’m a distributor and I don’t tell my customers about the wax build up, etc. etc. I just tell them to use a sugar scrub to exfoliate a few times a week. However, I only use LipSense gloss and all on my lips because it makes them feel soft instead of waxy like my chapstick did. But, I don’t think using other stuff will affect how the LipSense goes on as long as you are putting it on clean, dry lips. 🙂

    It’s a great MLM company and that is why I joined besides loving the products! I think people should do research on companies before they sign up. Also, you are right…I would not buy from people online like Ebay or Amazon because some of those are clearly illegal knock offs. )-: Look for a distributor that has an ID number before you buy!

    You had some great points! Thanks for the review…Lisa Thalleen, Independent SeneGence Distributor ID #210083 http://www.mylovelyladylips.com 💋

    1. admin

      Thanks for your comment Lisa. That’s definitely a good idea to encourage your customers to use a scrub for their lips. I definitely notice a difference in being able to apply the colors evenly when my lips are exfoliated well. Good luck with your business! 🙂

  2. Bella

    I also am a distributor and love ur review except we do not use bees wax it is synthetic bees wax it’s vegan

    1. Thanks Bella – that’s a good point. I can see that my Glossy gloss does specifically list “Synthetic Beeswax” while the Pearl gloss simply lists “Beeswax”. For anyone looking for vegan-specific products, it’s probably a good idea to check the ingredients list since some will definitely meet those requirements. 🙂

  3. Awesome review thank you and I agree. I have divorced myself
    from all others due to the no animal testing element of SeneGence but everyone is free to choose 💙 I would love you to do a review on our ShadowSense eye shadows, thye are waterproof and budge proof too.

    1. Oh yes! My friend was just telling me about the ShadowSense! My eyelashes totally cover my eyelids, so I haven’t been wearing much eye makeup lately, but I’ve been really interested in trying it out. I ‘m really curious to see if it really has the staying power, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it really does work since the Lipsense products are true to their claims.

  4. Lisa

    I’m with you on the wax buildup point, being that wax is the second ingredient in their glosses. I like to use Bath and Body Works “My Favorite Night Balm” at night and it doesn’t seem to interfere with LipSense, as long as my lips are freshly cleansed.

    1. Thanks Lisa! Oh, I’m totally going to have to look into that night balm. I’ve been using a super hydrating lip serum at night, but I tend to layer gobs of it on so it soaks in all night. It might be really nice to alternate between that and a balm. Thanks for mentioning that product!

    2. Martha

      Use a soft toothbrush ond baring soda to exfoliate.

      1. That’s a really good idea! And affordable too. I don’t like a lot of consumer lip scrubs because they are too oily, but baking soda would work very well while still allowing anything you out on afterwards to be effective.

  5. Marisa

    Thank you for your honest review.

    Curious about what serum you use at night.

    1. Hey Marisa,
      Thanks for checking out my blog. I use {link removed}
      It has peptides, so it’s individually packaged into capsules to preserve the quality of the ingredients. A jar lasts me 120 nights since I get 2 uses out of each capsule.

  6. Jenn

    It claims to “molecularly bond” with your lips, but that doesn’t really mean anything. All types of bonds are molecular, one can say that everything is molecularly bonded. If it really means TO your lips it is saying your a layer of your lips is becoming something else, like when sodium and chlorine bond to form NaCl table salt.

    1. lol, yes, I’m quite sure what Senegence is getting at when they say that.

  7. Roxana

    Great article, however, I must say that our wax is not an animal byproduct. It is engineered to be unlike natural wax, in that it moisturizes the lips, without sealing the moisture out, like natural wax would.

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog! Yes, some of my glosses list “synthetic beeswax” in the ingredients, so it’s definitely not natural. Thanks for your explanation of why that’s beneficial! 🙂

  8. Bree

    I inquired about the beeswax because I was under the impression that it was a vegan product made with no animal product or biproduct and that’s important to me. I was informed by the company and my seller that the beeswax is synthetic. Synthetic wax is made by minerals and a quick Google search explained to me how is manufactured and used regularly in many vegan products. Big game changer for me! I bought two colors a a gloss and I’m very happy. It’s my go to lipstick now.

    1. Yes, several tubes of gloss that I have specifically say synthetic beeswax in the ingredients. Thanks for clarifying how it’s made! 🙂

  9. Hildepink

    I was just looking at their website and it’s so very sad and looks so outdated. I’ve not tried the products yet but if they are as fabulous as everyone says and they are having good sales it’s sad they don’t spend a few dollars on their U.S. website to make it nice. The U.K. one is dandy, with nicely sized photos of the product and the pages all open without errors; they are obviously promoting that market more than their U.S. market.

    One of these days I’ll give the lips a go if I can find a color I like!

    1. I totally agree! I never bother with their website. It looks like most sellers in the US sell through private Facebook groups and do booths at local events. The biggest problem right now is that everything is always sold out! The company is really struggling to keep inventory in stock. I’m glad I stocked up when I did, but I feel bad for the consultants who can’t make sales right now because there aren’t any products to sell.

  10. Riley

    Does Senegence “claim” to be out of stock to get their distributors to purchase certain colors at certain times? To build hype? That’s the part that seems like a scam to me! They only have about 5 colors in stock at a time when they have 72 shades.

    1. To be honest, I have wondered that too!! However, I have literally no evidence to suggest that’s true. And even if it’s not, they have SERIOUS issues with their supply chain and sales forecasting strategy. It makes it really hard for their distributors to keep their businesses going. My friends who sell Lipsense say that their customers want to buy, but by the time colors come back in stock, they have changed their minds. I work with a different direct-sales skincare company (not Senegence) and am so relieved that I haven’t had to deal with that!

    2. Yeah Riley I’m a distributor for a year now. I’m in TX. DFW area and last June when I signed up they had everything in stock because it had just begun catching on a few months before in 2016 … so by like October of 2016 it was spreading like wild fire 🔥 times a thousand and the company was having a hard time keeping up with demand. The company owner has wanted to be financially responsible and not go into huge debt so …. things are finally beginning to come back in stock but to be honest , demand just keeps increasing that it’s hard to keep things in stock. All of the distributors have a great network of trading each other though. So we have ways of getting you what you need. They have decided to downsize the color selection by about 1/2 of the Lipsense colors to try and keep up with demand. I adore the bionic power of the Lipsense product. Been using them all for a year now. I bought like 70 different colors to have them all for testers. So I wear different colors every day. It is more than some lip colors out there. But it lasts better than anything else I’ve tried … and my lips stay so exfoliated and healthy !!! If you have any questions etc let me know my distributor ID is 199376 😀

  11. Thank you for writing this! I too found the wax build up claim to be such a lie. I had to roll my eyes everytime someone mentioned that in our facebook groups.

    I was a former distributor and I wrote a post on my blog about being a former distributor. Truthfully I did not like being a distributor and I found a lot of things wrong with how the company was run. I think the LipSense products are good (most of them) but not enough to pay $55 everytime! Overpriced.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Diana! Do you mind if I ask for the link to your blog post?

      Yeah, those $55 starter kits! I see how it’s valuable to get the whole kit once when it’s your first purchase, but I talked to one distributor who would only sell the whole kit (even to repeat customers). I was like….def don’t need that many oops removers!!

  12. Becca

    I know this is an older article, but just wanted to point out a few things.
    Yes, as someone else mentioned, the wax used is synthetic so that it doesn’t seal the lips, and allows moisturizers to penetrate.
    The OOS issue is largely created by the boom of distributors who are trying to get orders in, and sometimes panic ordering when something comes back in stock, and should hopefully be taken care of as the manufacturing capacity increases.
    If you are looking for a distributor, yes, try to go with someone you know first, but if someone claims to be a distributor, don’t just look up their number on the site. Any distributor without a SeneSite (such as myself) will not come up on a search on the SeneGence website to find a distributor. And yes, that is problematic in more ways than one. I’d like to know how many distributors are *actually* in my area.
    I don’t find the price to be out of the realm of reasonable, because I’ve learned to compare the price per ml between LipSense and other brands on the market that boast the same duration claims, and on that front, they’re very similar.

    Personally, this is the best brand of long wear lip color I’ve ever used, so I’ll be sticking with it. (And seriously, my lips haven’t been this soft in years.)

    1. Thanks Becca! That’s really interesting that not all distributors can be verified and good to know that there are a lot of legitimate distributors out there who won’t come up in the search. Yes, I do see that some of my glosses say synthetic beeswax in the ingredients. Some actually do list just “beeswax” though. I’ll update the blog post to reflect that. 🙂

  13. Ashlyn

    I just wanted to point out that distributors are not allowed to discount more than 15%. I think it has something to do with their discount structure for distributor’s ordering and making it fair for lower volume distributors. That’s my best guess. The point though of telling you this is anyone selling on Amazon, Ebay, even facebook at crazy low prices might not be a distributor or maybe they aren’t anymore. If they aren’t then you may not get a refund on a color you don’t like. So beware of a super good bargain on Lipsense!

    1. Oh that’s really good to know – Thanks for sharing that info Ashlyn!

  14. Sha

    Have just become a distributor and completely agree with your article. I still like the product and “sell” it as if I’ve discovered a new product that I want to share with my gfs. This includes being honest with how the product works and not regurgitating all the marketing materials given.

    1. That’s awesome! Yeah, the lip products really are very good. And that’s really cool that you are approaching it in a real, down-to-earth way. Good luck with your new business!

  15. Maren

    Just an FYI, the $2 Neutrogena bar soap that’s kind of yellow-orange takes it right off!!

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