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Why You Might Think Twice Before Buying Color the World Lipstick

Inside: My honest Color the World lipstick review

Until recently, if you had asked me what I thought of Color The World lipstick, I would’ve said it was my favorite all-natural lipstick brand.

Pinterest pin design - woman with long gray hair wearing Mystery lipstick by color the world

I would’ve said that because I love their lipstick shade Mystery. I love the color, I love the packaging, and I love the price point!

But having recently bought six more lipsticks from them, I realize now that Color The World has a problem and it’s a concerning one for an online makeup retailer: The colors you receive often don’t match the colors depicted on their website.

Now that’s a big issue since they have a no-refund policy, but actually, it turns out that’s only one of the issues.

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

My Color the World Lipstick Review

So today I’m going to walk you through all of the pros and cons of Color The World lipstick so you can make an informed decision and not end up with some colors that you can’t use (like I did).

What I Love About Color the World

I first discovered Color the World last year when my friend Joli Campbell of QuickSilverHair.com and the QuickSilverHair YouTube channel shared some images of herself wearing Mystery.

I fell in love with it and I simply had to have it, and (luckily for me) once I received it, it was perfect. I knew that this was going to be one of my favorite lipstick shades ever, and it is!

woman with long gray brown hair and pinkish lipstick, wearing a black sweater
Mystery – my favorite lipstick!

On top of loving this particular shade. I was super happy to find out that Color the World lipsticks are:

To top it off, many of their lipsticks come in these cute little cardboard tubes that are better for the environment than regular old plastic and metal tubes:

image of 4 colorful color the world lipstick tubes

Color the World lipsticks are hand-poured, go on smoothly and don’t seem to feather too much, which is great for women of “a certain age” like me.

A big bonus is that Color the World lipsticks are reasonably priced. They’re about the same price you’d expect to pay for a drugstore brand lipstick.

And what’s really admirable is that CTW gives 10% of their profits to charity – and a lot of the charities they choose are ones that I myself support!

It’s like they checked all the boxes of everything I would ever want in a lipstick company!

Once I received Mystery and loved it, I thought that I’d found an all-natural lipstick company that I could fully embrace.

Note: When I bought Mystery, I also bought Mary’s Fabulous Plum. It’s a pretty color, but it’s just not for me:

image of Katie wearing Marys Fabulous Plum Lipstick
Mary’s Fabulous Plum – it’s pretty, but not a good fit for me

What Changed My Mind

Because I love Mystery so much, and I love Color the World’s brand values, I went back to their site this year and bought five more lipsticks.

I felt confident that I would receive accurate colors because Color the World does this cool thing where they show you how their lipsticks will look on three different shades of skin.

Naturally, I chose the pale Caucasian skin as my guide since I have a very fair complexion.

I also took their color quiz, which is supposed to ensure that you receive colors that will look good with your skin tone.

I felt pretty good about my order and I waited eagerly for my lipsticks to arrive. So I was a little disappointed when I opened up the box and noticed that some of the lipsticks I received did not quite match the colors on their website.

I texted Joli and she confirmed that she’d also noticed that.

After we talked about it some more and started comparing notes, Joli became so bothered by this color issue that she removed her (very positive) Color the World lipstick review from her YouTube channel.

Color Comparisons: Real Life vs. the Website

Joli was kind enough to share her images with me. So today I’m going to share screenshots of the website images versus how the lipsticks look on Joli and me.

But before I do that, let me just point out that I’m a former photographer, so I always calibrate the colors on my laptop (the machine that I used to view the Color The World website when I placed my order).

Also, I took all of my images using a daylight-balanced ring light to try to make sure that my colors were as accurate as possible.

Now, having said all that, you might look at these pictures I’m about to show you and say, “I don’t see the difference.” But I can tell you that (in “real life”), Joli and I both notice the difference.

Lipstick Colors that Didn’t Match the Website Images

Let’s start by looking at the colors that didn’t match (scroll down to the next section to see the ones that did).

Please note: The lipstick photos and lip photos are screenshots from the store site so you can accurately compare the colors on the site to the ones we’re modeling.

Dragon Fruit

comparison photo of two screenshots of Dragon Fruit vs. Katie wearing it in real life.

This one was so disappointing to me. I love the way Dragon Fruit looks on the website, but in real life, it’s not for me!

Compare the lips screenshot to the lipstick screenshot and then compare both to the image of me wearing the lipstick. We’ve got three different shades going on here.

The lipstick image looks a bit more like the one I’m wearing, but the lips photo is a whole different shade.


comparison image showing Posh lipstick screenshots from the website vs image of katie wearing it in real life

As you can see, Posh is more of a hot pink on me than what is pictured in their product photos. I kind of like it, but it’s not what I thought I was buying.

Diane’s Shimmery Burgundy

comparison photo of two screenshots of Diane's Shimmery Burgundy lipstick vs. Joli wearing it in real life.

Diane’s Shimmery Burgundy: I like this one! I told Joli that her lips looked like Christmas (kind of a red-gold).

But that’s not what she was expecting. She was expecting a burgundy as depicted.

Dawn’s Go-to Pinkish Red

comparison image showing Dawns Pinkish Red lipstick screenshots from the website vs image of katie wearing it in real life

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I honestly really love this one, but once again, I’d say the colors aren’t well represented. In real life, it’s much more pink than pictured.

However, I like it – it’s a gorgeous color!


comparison image showing Speechless Color the World lipstick screenshots from the website vs image of katie wearing it in real life

Unfortunately, they didn’t have an example of it on fair skin and the only photo they had of a woman wearing it was taken in very warm lighting conditions. So it’s not super useful.

But, as you can see, in real life it’s much more pink than red. It’s a great color, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as red as pictured on their site.

Brenda’s Pink Berry Fuchsia

comparison image showing Color the World's Brenda's Pink Berry Fuchsia lipstick screenshots from the website vs image of katie wearing it in real life

I love the subtle pink color in the screenshot, but in real life, once again, it’s more of a hot pink. You can see a bit of the hotness in the lipstick image, but not in the lips photo.

So, as you can see, none of the five lipsticks I bought matched the website images very well.

Unfortunately, Joli didn’t have a chance to take pictures of most of the shades that she bought (that didn’t match) before she discarded them.

Lipstick Colors that DID Match the Website Images

Joli found three lipstick shades on the Color the World site that matched the website images very well.


comparison image showing Orchid lipstick screenshots from the website vs image of Joli wearing it in real life

Jennifer’s Striking Mauve

comparison image showing Jennifer's Striking Mauve lipstick screenshots from the website vs image of Joli wearing it in real life

Pretty N’ Pink

comparison image showing Pretty N Pink lipstick screenshots from the website vs image of Joli wearing it in real life

Colors that Joli and I are Keeping

Despite the issues we had with some of the shades not matching the product images, Joli & I both decided to keep some of the lipsticks we ordered.

I’m keeping Brenda’s Pink Berry Fuchsia and Speechless:

diptcyh image of katie wearing two different shades of lipstick - Brenda's Pink Berry Fuchsia and Speechless

And I’m also keeping Dawn’s Pinkish Red and Mystery (my fave!)

diptych photo of katie wearing two different shades of Color the World lipstick - Dawn's Go To Pinkish Red and Mystery

And here are the ones that are keepers for Joli: Jennifer’s Striking Mauve, Mystery, and Pretty N’ Pink.

triptych image of Joli Campbell wearing 3 different shades of lipstick: Jennifer's striking mauve, Mystery, and Pretty N' Pink

What I Wish I’d Done Before I Placed My Order

Now, here’s what I’d do if I could do everything over again:

I wish I’d checked Color The World’s refund policy before buying so many lipsticks at once, and I wish I had Googled them beforehand to read more reviews.

If I had Googled a bit more, I would’ve seen reviews on external sites from women who noted the color disparity in the images and who pointed out that the quiz results aren’t quite accurate for certain skin tones like mine.

Whoops, lesson learned!

I also wish I’d noticed this article on their website all about how to pick the correct colors for your skin tone because if I had, I would’ve noticed that 10 of the 13 shades they recommend for cool skin tones would look horrible on me!

Color The World has a very different idea of what colors look good on cool skin than I do.

Will I Buy Color the World Lipsticks Again?

So will I buy lipsticks from them again? The answer is a resounding maybe.

I love their brand values, I love their packaging, and I love a lot of the colors I received – even the ones that didn’t quite match the website images.

But, and this is a big but, I think Color The World should take note of the fact that a lot of women have noticed this color disparity.

I think they also should update their quiz to better match women with colors that suit their skin tone, and they need to reconsider the photos they use for their website. The product images (both the lipstick image and the lip images) need to accurately represent the colors.

In a perfect world, I think Color The World should rethink its no-refund policy. I know that’s a lot to ask of an independent makeup retailer, but until they update their photos to represent the shades that we think we’re getting, it would be the right thing to do.

I have to throw out at least three of the seven colors I bought, and that’s bad for the environment. And that makes me sad!

Until some of these changes happen, I’m going to be very cautious about buying their lipsticks. At the very least, I won’t buy multiple lipsticks at the same time from their site.

Have you tried Color the World lipsticks? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments!

VIDEO: The Hidden Problem with Color the World

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  1. Kay Clark says:

    Hi – came here after a google search as I’ve been waiting for my order for over a month and today I received a notification that a product is coming that I did not order. :/ The one product I have is one of my favorite lipsticks, so I’m bummed about their lack of customer service. Will I order from them again? I already did! lol. Am I dumb?

    1. Not dumb! That’s weird, though, about their mixup! Their customer service is usually kind of OK. I hope you get your favorite lipstick in exchange!

  2. I actually have the three that you say DO match the online colors, and like them very much. BUT I bought a second orchid to stick in my purse….and it’s not quite the same as my other orchid! I noticed right away that it’s not as pigmented as the first. So it seems that’s an issue too. I wish they’d offer at least free exchanges, as I’d be way more inclined to try more.

  3. I love Color Your World’s Dragon Fruit and have bought it for several years. I think it looks true to the website color on me. It is the only lipstick brand that doesn’t turn reddish or orange-ish on my lips. Chemistry, maybe? I will try Posh, also.

    1. Hi, Victoria – good point, it could be body chemistry. Also, my friend pointed out that your natural lip color will affect how lipstick looks on you. My lips are almost white – they are SOOO pale. So lipstick colors tend to look vivid on me.

  4. I’ve had a similar problem. I ordered 4 lipsticks based on the results of the quiz. I’m fair cool toned skin. I felt they all leaned a bit warm on me. Pretty N’ Pink was the best fit although maybe a tad orange. Surfberry is pretty but a HOT PINK and was unexpected based on the reviews. I am possibly looking to order Malibu and Flawless but also don’t want to keep spending money on things that aren’t a color fit.

  5. Diane Steverman says:

    Like you and Jolie I have had similar experiences with my Color the World Lipsticks. I have cool tone, fair skin with blue eyes. My natural hair color is very similar to yours.
    I have bought at least a dozen colors recommended for cool or neutral tones and have only really been happy with one! Pretty in Pink. None of them looked like they did on models or photos. So disappointing! You would think I’d given up!
    I just ordered 2 of the “mystery“ lipsticks that I’d been wondering about, since I like how it looks on you. At least they were on sale.
    Thanks for the great post and video! Sorry I’m really not one for sending pictures of me.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m sorry you had the same experience. I hope you like Mystery, though. Joli and I LOVE that one!

  6. You also have to remember that your own lip color and skin chemistry affects how lipstick looks on each person. A person who already has a lot of color in their lips, compared to someone with pale lips, will wear colors very differently.

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