Monday, May 11, 2009

Serge Lutens Water Lip Color (Encre Pour Les Levres)

It looked like a good idea at the time.

After all, long before Serge Lutens has created his perfumes, he became famous for the innovative makeup looks he developed for Dior and Shiseido. I've been fawning over his makeup line for a while (and briefly tested the eye shadows. Liked them a lot), so when the Water Lip Colors came out I had to get one.

The choice was easy, as there are only two colors: Chardon (a berry/purple grape) and Safrané (a fiery orange). I went with the former.

The packaging didn't disappoint. An elegant Lutens box in black and tan, holding the sleek tube with the slanted applicator. I liked the wand and found it efficient in reaching the corners and curves, which is quite important when dealing with a lip stain (unlike a regular gloss that tends to be more forgiving).

Unlike too many lips stains on the market, the Lutens goes on much more evenly and isn't blotchy when first applied (attention: foreshadowing). It's completely sheer and takes the concept of "your lips, but better" into new heights. The finish is matte and there's absolutely no goop or residue, so it doesn't even look like makeup. Color intensity is somewhat buildable. I've found that three coats give me exactly the right look.

But nothing is perfect.

It takes a little practice to paint within the lines. Using a lip liner would completely ruin the look here, so you need to make sure not even a speck of color lands outside the desired area. I also discovered that any imperfection on the lip, like my tiny scar, absorb more tint than desired. I have to use a thin brush and fill the scar with a lip balm (or an eye cream... works just as well), so the product doesn't pool in it. Once I got the hang of it, initial application was great. The problem is with the way the lip stain wears. Blotches appear towards the inside of the mouth after about an hour or once you drink the first cup of tea, whichever comes first. Since the color doesn't wear off evenly, I end up looking as though I've just eaten a grape popsicle. Not exactly something you want when paying $65 for the most stylish lip product around.

Serge Lutens makeup in the USA is exclusive to Barneys (in Europe it can be ordered directly from the Salons du Palais Royal). I ordered it online, but at the moment it seems they're out of stock.

Photos: mine (as apparent from the poor quality). Model: Gracie


  1. OK, so we'll skip the lip water.

    What I want to more about is your adorable cat!!

  2. lady jane greyMay 12, 2009 10:33 AM

    I was ogling that one for a long time, so I'm happy about your review : I don't have to buy it, when I'll be back to Paris in 3 weeks.
    Hm, but you mentioned you liked the eye shadow...

  3. I have come to the conclusion that most expensive lippies are designed for women who don't eat. Or drink. Or use their mouths for...anything but air kisses.

  4. I was ogling these as well... I love the concept and presentation, but...You may have saved me a bundle. More to set aside for those refills of MKK, Tubéreuse Criminelle and Santal de Mysore, I guess (as if it ever worked that way...).

  5. I've never found a lip stain which works. They apply unevenly, or wear unevenly, or both, and they are drying - but put a gloss or balm on top to fix that, and they wipe right off! In short, nice idea, but lacking in the execution.

    Try using it as a cheek tint. I've found the Revlon stains work nicely that way.

  6. Anon, thank you :) Gracie is a calico but her body is mostly white. She's about 5 years old (she was around 8 months when we adopted her from a shelter on Long Island) and is very sweet and friendly.

  7. Lady Jane, the eye shadow compact is great and I'll probably have to get it at some point (because, you know, I don't have enough eye shadows). It's only a brief impression, but the colors are rich, wearable and they blend beautifully.

  8. Alyssa, you're on to something. I'll have to try the Serge lipsticks at some point and try to prove this theory.

  9. Jamilla, thank you (from both of us).

  10. D., I try stuff so you don't have to ;)
    This little thing is almost half the prce of a bel jar. Easy choice.

  11. Tania, this might be the reason I don't own any lip tint other than this Serge. I hoped that this new formula would work better for me, and while it's easier to apply, the end result isn't all it's cracked up to be.

  12. OMG, that first photo of Gracie is exquisite! I would love to find a real lip stain that truly worked the way we would imagine it would but will have to await the further reports of your indefatigable researches.

  13. Lucy, I'm happy to try stuff so you don't have to ;) .


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