Serge Lutens lipsticks are legendary both for their intense colors and their outrageous prices. Not that I'd expect anything less from this creative genius with his amazing aesthetics, vision and penchant for luxury (those who saw the bathrooms of his Salons du Palais Royal in Paris know what I mean). But we're here to talk about his makeup, and my previous purchase of a lip color from his line was less than satisfactory. His Water Lip Color (a runny and weird lip stain) was a huge waste of money and time to make it work, so I must really trust dear Uncle Serge for giving him another chance.
The lipsticks are a completely different story. All ten shades are very pigmented, and most of them are variations on the very Parisian theme of sexy red (or purple). The one I chose, No. 2 Roman Rouge, is obviously a dark berry red (not as plummy as my beloved Tom Ford Bruised Plum, but they're pretty close). The pigment is intense and gives a very sexy look.
The Lutens lipstick glides on effortlessly but is obviously a lipstick and not a balm. It's all about the color here. It wears comfortably (the thin layer feels barely there), has a satin finish that can be blotted down to matte if that's your thing. Just like Tom Ford lipsticks, the staying power is phenomenal and it barely transfers to glasses and cups. While not pulling out moisture from the lips, it's not a hydrating formula, either, so you have to make extra sure your lips are perfectly exfoliated and plumped up with a moisturizing product.
My favorite look when wearing the lipstick is an all-black outfit, a perfect almost matte skin, thin black liner, 2-3 coats of black mascara, a wash of a neutral eye shadow (like Bobbi Brown Sable or Burberry Antique Rose) and a pale blush (NARS Douceur). Serge Lutens MKK or Fleurs d'Oranger are optional.
Serge Lutens lipsticks are refillable, a great thing considering the price (I wish Guerlain would adopt this idea for their Rouge G series). The SA at Barneys recommended that every buyer makes sure before leaving the store that he or she got the color they wanted (pay attention to the number on the tester and on the box), because what they do is grab the refill and pop it into the shell, and sometimes the wrong color gets inserted.
Bottom Line: If this is your style and you can afford it, then the lipstick is actually worth the money.
Serge Lutesn lipsticks ($75 including case, $55 for the refill) as well as the rest of his makeup line are available exclusively from Barneys in the US (including online) and at the Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in Paris.
Photos of Roman Rouge lipstick are mine.
Art: Louise- Composition Lettriste Noir Rouge et Blanc by Serge Lutens, 1989