I’ve been testing out quite a few new luxury lipstick launches and a couple of them are really quite fabulous. Comfortable, creamy, immensely flattering lipsticks that manage to retain a real punch of colour and (at least in the case of the Becca lipsticks I’m about to show you) do a good job of staying put. The first new-ish launch that impressed me no end is the Becca Ultimate Lipstick Love range and the second, the Bobbi Brown Crushed Liquid Lipsticks.
I’m going to review the Bobbi Brown lipsticks separately because they are very different to the Becca ones – they’re liquid, for a start. But I also want the Ultimate Lipstick Loves to have their own dedicated post because there’s something rather clever about them that’s rather unique. (I think.)
The clever thing is that rather than having a mass of lipstick shades covering every possible colour on the colourwheel – pale peach to deepest mauve, pearlised beige to bright blue – the new Becca range concentrates on finding your perfect nude and your ideal red and – to help with this mission – categorises the 30 shades according to skin undertone. There are six cool-toned nudes, six warm-toned, six neutral nudes and then the same drill for the reds – six with a cool tone, six reds with a neutral tone and six with a warm.
So you work out your undertone (Becca advise that you’re a “cool” if you look best wearing white, a “warm” if you look better in cream and a “neutral” if you look equally good in both) and restrict your lipstick choice to the relevant groups. Rather like finding a foundation, where you determine the depth of colour that you need and then look for the right tone – one might look too pink, one too yellow, one will be just right – the cool, neutral and warm labelling makes it easy, or at least easier, to find the perfect colour.
Because I had the whole shade range I decided to do a little experiment and see whether or not the whole “picking a shade by tone” actually worked in practice. I first selected shades based on gut instinct and then chose the shades that I should select to according to my skin undertone. Amazingly, most of the shades I first selected were in the cool category – I just seemed to be drawn to the crisp freshness of the colours – but as soon as I tried them on my face it was clear that they were simply wrong for me. And then, when I applied the equivalent warm or neutral lipstick, they looked instantly perfect. It was like trying on a load of jeans that were slightly too tight, or too gapey at the back, or too loose on the knee, and then slipping on a pair that made me look like Gisele but felt as comfy as pyjamas.
So the organisation of the shade range is exemplary – whatever your skintone and skin undertone, you should be able to find a lipstick that suits you completely. Of course you can absolutely ignore the undertone system and select whatever you bloody want – it’s just a guide. Go wild.
And it’s not just the shade system that’s brilliant; the texture and finish of the Becca Ultimate Lipstick is, without exaggeration, near-perfect. I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it, which, strictly speaking, should make it fully-perfect and not near-perfect, but there’s always got to be some wriggle room hasn’t there? Perfect is a bold statement. It’s a commitment. It’s a risk. I like to have a contingency for any small complaints that may crop up in the future. For the moment I can’t think of any complaints (some may not like the fragrance, which is faint but gourmand) but life wears us down and I’m a grumpy sod, so perhaps after a few months I’ll find the packaging a little heavy or the product name (Ultimate Lipstick Love?) a bit irksome.
Back to the texture and finish; applying this lipstick is an utter joy. It’s creamy but not too slidey, comfortable and moisturising but not so oily that the formula bleeds into fine lines. Soft as can be, a light butteriness, a gorgeous surface sheen but nothing too glossy or high-maintenance…
The greatest thing is that this immense degree of comfort and creaminess doesn’t affect the depth or vibrancy of the colour – the lipstick shades are punchy and vibrant, larger than life. And the colour is relatively long-lasting, too – it’s not at all comparable to some of the new longwear liquid lipsticks that stay on for weeks, but for such a hydrating, cushiony finish it’s more than adequate. You have to reapply after eating lunch, for example, but in between meals and drinks the Becca Ultimate lipstick sticks fast.
In these pictures I’m wearing my perfect nude (Dune) and my perfect red (Poppy). If you look on the Becca website here* then they have all of the shades swatched on different skintones – it makes it very simple to see at a glance which depth of colour you need, and then you cross reference with your undertone and Bob’s your Uncle. A flattering shade match.
You can find Becca Ultimate Lipstick Love at Cult Beauty here* – lipsticks are £20 each, which I think is pretty reasonable for a luxury buy. Chanel’s lipsticks now come in at £30 ish and Tom Ford’s (far less creamy and moisturising than the Becca) are £40. Perhaps you don’t get the same little rush without the double-Cs on the lid or the signature square casing of the Tom Ford lipsticks, but Becca’s packaging is equally premium in feel. As I said, we’re talking near-perfection – thank me later.
You can see these lipsticks (and three other luxury lip launches) in my latest video – just click play below. The products featured are listed below the video screen.
Chanel Coco Rouge Flash in shades Boy, Pulse and Beat – £31 at John Lewis*: http://bit.ly/2TJGTPi
Hourglass No28 Lip Oil Neutral Rose, £45 (yikes!) at SpaceNK here*: http://bit.ly/2F7px4Y
Bobbi Brown Crushed Liquid Lipstick in Hippy Shake and Peach & Quiet, £16.50 (at time of writing) John Lewis here*: http://bit.ly/2F7px4Y
Becca Ultimate Lip Love £20 at Cult Beauty*: http://bit.ly/2TEQC9E
The neutral shades I tried were Sugar (cool) Bare (Warm) and Dune (Neutral) and then the red shades were Blaze and Poppy.