Review: Are Just B Cosmetics' lipsticks worth their Rs7,000 price tag?

Published 24 Jan, 2022 10:19am

Images Staff

Bina Khan's range of Lip Spectrums has been touted as a must-have by beauty gurus. We put them to the test.

Composite artwork: Pernia Mubashir
Composite artwork: Pernia Mubashir

Bina Khan’s Just B Cosmetics lipsticks have been winning the hearts of makeup enthusiasts around the world ever since their release in October 2021. In the span of three months, her Lip Spectrums have been touted as a must-have by beauty industry gurus in Beauty Independent, Cosmopolitan Middle East, Essence and Forbes, all of whom love the versatility that the 2-in-1 lipsticks offer to those looking to create countless looks with just one product.

We decided to test out the lipsticks as well and see whether the products were worth the hype (and the hefty price tag). Khan — one of the most well-known makeup artists in Karachi — described her lipsticks as a "love letter to desi women" when Images spoke to her back in October.

"We're trying to make everybody, whether you're fair, whether you're white, brown, green, a girl or whatever gender, I don't care — everybody should have the facility of waking up in the morning and going I'm fine, I'm beautiful, I'm awesome or if you're not feeling great, have a product that says yes you are, just put me on, I got you," Khan said about her cosmetics line.

Just B's line of lipsticks features five shade spectrums — red, peach, pink, champagne and magenta — and all of them come with 'not just' before the name. That's because each lipstick has two separable ends — one featuring a lipstick or pigment glaze and the other featuring a liquid lipstick or pigment fluid. The idea is that you can wear either end on its own or mix them together to get your own perfect blend.

Each lip spectrum is priced at Rs7,000, which is pretty steep considering the average price of lipsticks available in Pakistan is around Rs3,000 to Rs4,000. Are Bina Khan's lipsticks worth the investment for Pakistani makeup lovers? Khan certainly thinks so, and we checked out all five of the lip products to test that claim. The lipsticks were tried on by different team members with different skin tones and requirements.

Red Spectrum — Ruby Slippers/Poison Apple

The Not Just Red Lip Spectrum features two shades; Ruby Slippers (Pigment Fluid) and Poison Apple (Pigment Glaze), both of which can be mixed to create a shade of red to your liking.

Pernia: I love a red lipstick and I love wearing a fire-engine red to spice up a formal look, which goes given my wheatish skin with pink undertones. The Not Just Red Lip Spectrum gave a deeper shade of maroon to my lips instead of the bright red that I usually opt for. While it did look good on my skin (my friends loved the shade on me), it might not be my Holy Grail red lipstick primarily because of my 'I want a bright red' fetish.

I did love how easy it was to wear the lipstick, especially when you softened your lips up with the Pigment Glaze first, which has a very lip balm-esque effect. The Pigment Fluid application wasn't messy (a real danger when applying dark coloured liquid lipsticks) and it didn't dry out my lips after it was on, something that happens often when I wear liquid lipsticks. It lasted for two to three hours, until I had something to eat for lunch. That is when a good amount of it smeared off the middle of my lips.

Siham: This wasn't the red for me. Funnily enough, unlike Pernia, I like more maroon lipsticks but when I tried this one on, it was a bright fire engine red. Unfortunately, that's my least favourite shade of red.

Zahrah: This started as a bright red when applied fresh that deepened into a maroon three hours in. I wore this for a straight six to seven, without any touch ups, while consuming a burger for lunch and wearing a mask to and from the restaurant.

The good: It stayed put for hours. The bad: It transferred onto the mask, the burger bun and the napkin.

The bad didn't necessarily put me off but compared to my go-to NARS red/maroon, I was surprised that the shade was transferring hours after I had put it on. And I wouldn't normally compare a local brand with NARS, but hey, the price makes it fair game!

While I liked the red as well as the maroon on myself, I prefer the shade to look the same as when I apply it. I don't mind if it fades of course but a perky red or a rich maroon are two completely different moods.

Would I use it again? Sure. Would I buy it with my own money for my beauty arsenal? No.

Champagne Spectrum — Ruby Cocoa/Kashmiri Chai

The Not Just Champagne Lip Spectrum features two shades; Ruby Cocoa (Pigment Fluid) and Kashmiri Chai (Pigment Glaze), both of which can be mixed to achieve a dusty pink shade.

Pernia: This stayed on my lips for hours. I'm talking about a good five to six hours without reapplication, when I mixed both the Glaze and Fluid. I LOVED the shade the Champagne Spectrum left on my lips, a gorgeous brownish pink that reminded me of my much-loved MAC Mehr, but this one looks even better. Again, it didn't dry out my lips and was easy to apply (I'm thinking wearing the Pigment Glaze first has a lot to do with that) Wearing the Kashmiri Chai Glaze on its own also worked well for me; it gave this subtle flush of dusty pink to my lips. The Glaze needs to be frequently reapplied though.

This one is definitely a repurchase for me, despite that hefty Rs7,000 price tag.

Zahrah: The glaze — Kashmiri Chai — won me over. The shade was nothing out of the box and that's exactly what I liked because it closely matched all my reliable ones yet stood out (if I dare say, a love child of Huda Beauty's Trendsetter and Kat Von D's Lolita).

The liquid doesn't change the shade too much, only solidifies it. It's something I would wear to the office, whenever I need a nude which has a kick to it and that doesn't make my face look pale, or when I'm travelling and can't be bothered to carry multiple shades with me.

It's subtle enough to be noticed and elevate your look, and isn't that what we're all looking for in daily usage?

Magenta Spectrum — Bougainvillea/Anaar

The Not Just Magenta Lip Spectrum features two shades; Bougainvillea (Pigment Fluid) and Anaar (Pigment Glaze), both of which can be mixed to achieve a purple and rosy hue.

Ignore the messy application please!
Ignore the messy application please!

Siham: If there was one lipstick I would definitely pay Rs7,000 for, it would be this one. The colour looked great, it stayed on forever (and I do mean forever) and it wasn't drying. I initially made the mistake of layering on too much product but once I fixed that, it was smooth sailing. I pushed this lipstick on my sister and friend and it looked great on them too!

When I say this lipstick lasted forever, I mean it. It was put to a taco test (minimal smudging), wedding test (didn't budge) and all day test (faded in the evening to a slightly lighter colour but didn't need reapplication).

I also felt like I could wear the Glaze and the Fluid separately for this one, which was a plus.

Pernia: The shade of the Magenta Spectrum didn't exactly wow me like the Champagne Spectrum did, mainly because it was a deeper shade of magenta than what I usually opt for. I usually like my purples bright and with a fair bit of drama. So it all boiled down to personal preference really. While this felt comfortable to wear on the lips, much like the others, I don't think I'll be investing Rs7,000 in a shade that wasn't love at first sight. Also sadly, it only stayed on my lips for around two to three hours.

Peach Spectrum — Teakwood/Pink Grapefruit

The Not Just Peach Lip Spectrum features two shades; Teakwood (Pigment Fluid) and Grapefruit Pink (Pigment Glaze), both of which can be mixed to achieve a brownish peach shade.

Pernia: Love this one. Hands down, this is my favourite lipstick out of the entire range. I've been on the look for the perfect peach for a long time; nothing I bought looked good on my skin tone. The shades I got either left me looking sickly pale or orange-lipped. This one gives me that dreamy shade of brown and peach when I use both the Pigment Glaze and Pigment Fluid.

For a darker brown look, I only use the the Fluid and for a bright peachy tint on the lips (great for a casual day out), I use the Pigment Glaze on its own. Sometimes using the Fluid alone can dry out my lips a little, but that almost never happens when I wear the Glaze underneath. Again, the Glaze on its own doesn't last very long though and needs to be reapplied, especially after you eat something. Topped with the Fluid though, it lasts easily for five to six hours.

Siham: This one was confusing for me. I liked the natural look it gave but because of the colour of my lips, the Glaze just didn't cut it. I needed both the Glaze and Fluid to get the look. Overall, it was a nice peach and looked very natural. I think I would buy it if I was an everyday lipstick wearer but I'm not. I also have a NARS lipstick that gives the exact same look.

Pink Spectrum — Mondays/Sundays

The Not Just Pink Lip Spectrum features two shades; Sundays (Pigment Fluid) and Mondays (Pigment Glaze), both of which can be mixed to achieve a nice shade of pink.

Left shows the lipstick right after an admittedly messy application and right shows it after wearing a mask for about half an hour
Left shows the lipstick right after an admittedly messy application and right shows it after wearing a mask for about half an hour

Siham: This was another winner for me. The pink was light but not too light and covered my lips rather well. When it eventually faded because of the mask, it wasn't blotchy or patchy. Usually, pink fades to an awful colour on my lips and looks too bright, but I liked the way it looked before and after the mask. Again, I couldn't use the Glaze separately, but I've come to accept that as a side effect of having darker lips.

Zahrah: I'm very picky with pinks because I feel they don't suit me as much as browns and reds but this Just B shade took me by surprise — the good kind! It's very close to the one I use by Tarte (Happy) which I strongly suspect the company has stopped making so I was happy (ah, coincidental pun) to find something local which does the trick.

It's a bright pink which eventually dulls but stays true to the colour you applied. An incentive for splurging 7K on this for me is that I'd use Monday as well as Sunday on its own. It's a great shade for when you want a slightly bold look (anything not in the nude sphere for me is bold) — or a pop of colour without putting in too much effort on the rest of the face.

The final verdict

Pernia: For me, the Not Just Peach and Not Just Champagne Lip Spectrums are definitely worth the purchase and that hefty Rs7,000 splurge (there goes a big chunk of my paycheque), primarily because a good peach and pink shade that works well for desi girls is hard to find. The fact that I'm getting two lipstick products on one stick kind of eases my conscious a little when it comes to the price (technically, I'm getting four products instead of two).

Siham: I would definitely buy the Not Just Magenta Spectrum as well as the Nor Just Pink. I'm still debating about the Not Just Peach. I don't mind spending on lipstick if I'll definitely use it and I know I would use those colours. While all the colours might not be for me, I did feel that they were very flattering on everyone who tried them (we made a lot of our colleagues try them on too). Bina Khan seems to be on to something when she says these are made for desi people, because I didn't think the colours looked bad on anyone.

Zahrah: The big debate in the office when trying out these colours was would we spend 7K (nearly $40) on Just B when we could get MAC, NARS, or even the iconic Dior Rouge in the same amount. But the good bit is it all boiled down to (after four days and 10 shades) the quality and not the label. Personally, I'd like a set of the five Just B liquids and that's something I see myself buying! (And if the artist is reading this, I'd love the packaging of that set to be a little more sleek and perhaps not white as lip application can be messy.)

One tip: definitely use a balm or Vaseline before application to avoid lips feeling dry afterwards.

Disclaimer: These lipsticks were sent to us by the team of Just B Cosmetics as a PR package at the time of their launch.