This fall of 2012, I was really bowled over by a shortlist of lipsticks, not necessarily coming from the top luxury brands, except for one by Dior (pictured above). In fact, the lower-brow ones were better than the big-names contenders. Their color, texture, lastingness on lips, comfort factor, ability to hem the lips in a physically coherent fashion get top marks from us...
There are lipsticks that have WOW colors but dry your lips too quickly or disappear too quickly, god knows where. There are lipsticks that are luscious but not elegant and even, unfortunately, vulgar in their particular quality of sheen making you look like you don't know how to put makeup on and slapped some pigments on instead. In some cases, a lipstick can suck out the light from your face instead of helping you look more glam.
We could also rate lipsticks according to their capacity to age gracelly in their cases, and allow themselves to be picked up again a year later without feeling like they have turned into crayons. But that's for another time. So, here we go.
Above is Dior Diorific Marilyn from the Grand Bal collection, a red lipstick with raspberry-pink tones. This is our favorite tint of the Dior lot. It is apparently very popular at the points of sales we've seen it, as the testers got stolen! Texture is amazing. Won't dry your lips. Will stay put faithfully through trials and tribulations. Great, rich color. Two critical remarks nevertheless: 1) This is a fool-proof lipstick on many levels, but we would not call it completely elegant. It is luscious, yes, but lacks a bit a je-ne-sais-quoi in the restraint and finesse departments. Marilyn, after all, was a come-hither pin-up; 2) the casing feels cheaper than in the past as it is more lightweight. It's a limited-edition (30€).
Next, we have Lush Emotional Brilliance Liquid Lipstick in Decisive. This is a retro, very rich, yet elegant red which offers impeccable spread, color, durability, luminosity, etc. The brand describes it as a "vintage cherry red". You apply it with a soft tip. The formula, as befits Lush, has natural ingredients like rose wax, a product derived from the concrete of rose absolute. The color and texture when tried in the tester bottle was actually better because the formula had aired and was drier than in a new product, the latter being more liquidy. This is an amazingly good quality red lipstick (17€).
BoHo is a French natural and organic makeup brand. Boho Rouge à Lèvres 103 couvrant mat Groseille is a red inspired by the fruit redcurrant, after which it is named. The formula is 100% natural and 78% organic. Again, rich, layered color with a luminosity factor to it. Great contouring properties. When you wear this lippie, your lips come out softer and taken-care-of from the experience, instead of feeling parched and wrinkly, as with your average, indifferent lipstick. Formula is scented with grapefruit essential oil and contains active ingredients of castor oil, apricot oil and wax, candelila wax, and muscat rose oil (8,90€).
Rimmel Rouge à lèvres lasting finish matte by Kate is a collection designed by supermodel Kate Moss for the British brand. The no. 106 in particular offers a stellar, vivid pink-red, slightly neon-like color. Great light-bulb-from-within factor. It's vivid and vibrant without being garish and offers impeccable texture, lastingness and comfort. Despite being sold in drugstores, this lipstick won't stain and abuse your lips just because it is cheaper. On the plus and idiosyncratic side, the formula is enriched with ground ruby-stone powder to create more compelling sheen and pigmentation (from 7,50€ to 9,50€)