I’ll admit that I don’t normally shop at H&M – I’m not a huge fan of fast-fashion, nor do I usually have spare time to wander into a mall for a day of shopping. But I was recently in Las Vegas, and had a couple of hours to walk through the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. H&M was one of the few stores that I actually felt like wandering through, as I wasn’t in the mood for high-pressure sales tactics. Having been in the retail industry for years, I knew that H&M had launched their own version of cosmetics back in 2015 – in the race for capturing impulse buys and becoming a one-stop-shop destination, it made sense that they would directly compete in this space. Old Navy fought back in their own way by launching e.l.f. Cosmetics in stores to directly compete against H&M, but they never really made that much noise about it. I’m an avid e.l.f. consumer myself (per my love of their $3 Mineral Mascara and blushes), so I was curious enough to see what H&M was bringing to the table to directly compete with one of the more respected, inexpensive makeup brands on the market today.
Before I talk about the actual product that I bought (H&M Cream Lipstick in “Penny Red”), I do want to talk about the merchandise presentation, and how it varies from what I’ve experienced in Old Navy stores, or even Target. Within H&M there is a designated beauty section, which is near the checkout counters (similarly to Old Navy’s set-up). But the shelving, packaging and self-service / try on stations are elevated in their appearance and functionality. As a customer, you’re free to test, try and take your time – not interrupt or shuffle through the line at checkout. I’ll admit that I was a bit surprised with the display presentation – it did not look or feel like most of the products within the shelves were roughly $15 and under. During the time I was at the H&M store’s beauty section, I sort of forgot that I was actually in an H&M! The gold / black / cream colored packaging is pretty and elegant, the displays were well-lit, and the textures of the products were true to color and vibrant. When I researched more about the product resourcing on H&M’s website, it does list several cosmetic manufacturers in Europe (Germany especially) that are designated suppliers. H&M is a European brand itself, so this made sense after researching a bit more. The presentation of product, and the products themselves, do not feel like an inexpensive brand.
And now for the product! I love lipstick, and I was impressed by the large range of shades and finishes available to test. I love cream lipsticks most, as I’m not a fan of glitter or sparkles – I want more of a moisturizing, glossy look with the opacity of a true lipstick. I also wanted a shade that was closer to a soft wine color for winter – and I found it! I have a true cherry red lipstick from Clinique, but I definitely wanted something a bit tamer for every day. “Penny Red” is a beautiful cross between red, light plum, and a deep rosy pink. The formula is silky, easy to apply, and hydrating. I also found that it wears well during the day – it doesn’t dry out or get cakey. This is also a total beauty-geek thing for me to say, but I love that the cap clicks shut – I hate packaging that can’t stand up to the day-to-day stress of riding around in my handbag, and there have been a few other lipsticks that I’ve had to toss after caps fell off and made a mess. After wearing this shade for the past few weeks, I’m really liking it, and I am impressed with the quality of the $9.99 formula. I also appreciate that it looks chic and yet is a very wearable color, even during the day. A side benefit of red lipsticks is that they make your teeth look whiter, and this one definitely delivers that!
I’ll keep this shade in mind for the future, as well as potentially testing out other H&M cosmetics. If you happen to love shopping there, give their beauty line a try – I’ll give them credit and say that they definitely put thought and quality into their product line, as well as a great variety of options in formulas and finishes.
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