Review & Swatches: Milani Cosmetics Lip Flash Full Coverage Shimmer Gloss Pencil

I’m always super intrigued by gloss pencils—the idea is so appealing, but I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why.  Perhaps because they’re pretty much an anomaly, breaking the rules of everything we know and love about lip gloss.  For now, I’m going with that theory!  I recently put Milani’s Lip Flash Full Coverage Shimmer Gloss Pencils to the test, and here’s what I discovered…

Lip Flash is available in eight shades—from the lightest baby pink to a deep copper:

  • Star Flash (pastel pink with violet shimmer)
  • In a Flash (violet with blue-violet shimmer)
  • Flashy (hot pink with pink shimmer)
  • Hot Flash (red with red shimmer)
  • Photo Flash (fuchsia with gold and fuchsia shimmer)
  • Flash Light (coral with red shimmer)
  • News Flash (purple with violet shimmer)
  • Lip Flash (copper-bronze with gold shimmer)

Check out the swatches!

They’re about the same size as the Sonia Kashuk Lip Crayons, and a lot less chubby than the Lipstick Queen Gloss Pencils.  As lipgloss pencils go, these definitely pack more of a full-coverage color punch than other gloss pencils I’ve tried—some of which only give a wash of color, for more of a stained/transparent look.  Not so with the Lip Flash pencils!  While all eight of these apply with a great amount of pigment and shimmer, I found the texture of colors News Flash and Lip Flash to be slightly different than the remaining six shades.  They seemed to be a little more easily smooshed than the others when applied, but still glide across the lips with ease.  Since these are pencils, if you don’t already have a larger sharpener to fit these (one that fits the standard-size chubby pencil), you’ll definitely need one!  I use the larger end of my Benefit Dual Sharpener (which fits perfect), but I notice Milani has one on their website as well, here.  (Since I haven’t seen it in person, I can’t say it fits with 100% certainty—but my Spidey Sense tells me it will since they need something for their product!)  With those two colors feeling considerably softer, I’d take extra care when sharpening them, or they’ll wind up a mess…especially News Flash.  When sharpening any of these, I recommend popping them in the freezer for a few minutes prior to sharpening, so they end up actually being shaved instead of smooshed—it will help out quite a bit!

Even if all eight didn’t look great with my skin tone, I found several that I felt suited me.  In a Flash, Flashy, Photo Flash, and Hot Flash took me by surprise!  Hot Flash had the most pigmentation of all eight, it’s an intense red that looked more like a liquid lipstick than any gloss pencil I’ve ever seen.

What I liked…

  • They glide across the lips with ease without skipping or dragging.
  • They’re not drying.
  • They wear for about the same amount of time as the average lipstick (and longer than the average gloss).
  • They don’t contain any fragrance or flavor.
  • They feel moist without being too tacky-feeling.
  • The color payoff is fantastic!

What I would change…

  • The consistency of colors News Flash and Lip Flash.

Availability & price:,, CVS; $6.49

An editorial sample was provided by the company and evaluated to determine our opinion of the product in this post.  Please see the Disclosures page for further information regarding our policies for using editorial samples.