For the past few weeks I’ve been indulging my tendency to want to dress like a fancy old lady. Old ladies have it made. You think you’re free in your 20s? Imagine how much more free you’ll be when you’re old enough that you no longer have to worry about career advancement or “having it all” or if some dude on Tinder thinks you come off as “shrill.” And when you’re so old that people just think it’s adorable when you drink in the morning, instead of just thinking you’re a sloshy mess who left her future in Cabo on Spring Break.
When I think of “old lady” beauty accessories, I tend to think of Guerlain. That’s probably unfair to Guerlain, but Guerlain is such an old-school brand and has such intensively luxurious, vintage-style packaging, it always makes me think of an old lady with a pristine dressing table.
Also their makeup is extremely expensive. I don’t know many young women spending $54 on a tube of lipstick, unless they managed to get their hands on a limited edition shade by Tom Ford.
A lot of people argue that the main difference between luxury cosmetics and drugstore cosmetics is the packaging, and that could well be true, but Guerlain’s packaging is gorgeous. Heck, that packaging is specifically why I decided to finally try this much-hyped “Rouge G” lipstick.
The Guerlain Rouge G line comes in heavy silver compacts with built-in mirrors. They look like silver bullets and feel weighty and significant in your hand. (Though that weight could be getting an assist from the emotional impact of thinking, “Holy crap, did I just spend $60 on a tube of lipstick?”)
Tucked in a compact that marries beauty with high design, with one click, you will have a luminous lipstick and mirror at your fingertips. Designed by Lorenz Bäumer, the most talented jeweler from the Place Vendôme in Paris, it is the ultimate accessory of mystery and seduction.
The wildly posh packaging caught my attention at the store the other week, and I tested one on my hand–#25, Garconne, a bright, true red–it looked pretty, but still it was $54 so I walked.
Two days later, I still had a faint red mark on my hand, and I have a baby so I wash my hands a lot. This stuff was sticking to my skin like Sharpie. If it stayed stuck that long, maybe I should give it a try. (I am a recovering designer makeup addict. I’ve been trying to embrace drugstore products more, but apparently I am susceptible to a packaging-induced slip up every now and then.)
I went with Garconne, because I am a hoarder of bright red lipsticks.
In my hand, the packaging feels intimidating. Like, I don’t think I’m good enough for this lipstick. My handbag is too messy; the silver case might get scratched. Should I get it a little velvet pouch to protect it? Should I buy a nicer handbag so my lipstick won’t be mad at me?
Once on, Garconne is a gorgeous bright, true red. It’s an excellent option for those of us who are always looking for a perfect vintage red. This one is a bit shiny and slick, which is nice because I already own like 20 fabulous matte reds and I was a little nervous that I had just spent $54 (plus tax) on a lipstick that exactly duplicated one I already owned.
It stayed put pretty well, too.
It feels slippery but moisturizing and has a nice, subtle sheen without looking like a lip gloss. It does have a tendency to bleed into lip lines, though, and that’s a big problem.
As for staying power, I literally can’t take it off. Underneath all that slippery gloss, it’s almost a lip stain. I rubbed my lips with tissue paper, and they still look pretty darn pink. This might be what I look like forever, but I’m OK with that.
I like it, but is it worth $54 (plus tax)? Ehhhhh. I don’t think so. I’ve spent too much of this review thinking, “What was I thinking?! That is too expensive!”
Other things I could have bought with $54 (plus tax):
One really good cocktail night
Two weeks of Starbucks
Two sushi dinners, delivered
1/3 a vintage dress I’ve been eyeing
That ModCloth romper I want that just came back in stock
1/12 of an antique ruby ring I keep fantasizing about buying
7 Revlon lipsticks
I’m starting to wish I’d just applied the tester directly to my mouth in the store so I could try on the lipstick without actually paying for it. (Low risk of catching something weird from the tester vs. $54 (plus tax.))
The packaging is, of course, spectacular. But I think any lipstick would be hard-pressed to be worth $54 plus tax, especially when Revlon makes wonderful lipsticks for $8 and MAC makes them for $12.
The lipstick is good, but basically I am thinking I really just spent $54 (plus tax) on a lipstick compact. I’ve always wanted a lipstick compact, but I could have found a vintage one on Etsy for about $30 or so. If I keep this one nice, though, maybe I’ll be able to de-pot a Revlon lipstick into the container when the Guerlain runs out. I’ll just have to keep it from getting scratched up before that happens.
(Photos: Elizabeth Licata/The Gloss)