Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro #400 is as red as it gets. It's almost the exact same shade of the Lip Maestro cap. That red. I spent quite some time at the Giorgio Armani counter when these matte velvet liquid lipsticks first came out, swatching almost all the other shades but ignoring #400 as too obvious a color. I ended up passing on this entire Armani range because none of the rose or plum shades were "The One". There was something not quite right about #501 and #502-- too pink in the base, probably. But a couple of weeks ago I was at the Armani counter again, and I decided to actually give #400 a try, just because. It came home with me.
Lip Maestro is part of the new category of full coverage liquid lipsticks offered by many brands lately. The formula glides on beautifully without stickiness and dries into what I can best describe is a thick stain. I don't think the doe foot applicator is the best tool for the product, though, at least in the case of the intense colors that require a steady hand and precision. I prefer using a brush, whether I'm going for the full opaqueness or a thin application as a light stain.
Two things to consider before you fall for this very red, very beautiful Armani color:
1) While Lip Maestro isn't drying, it will accentuate any existing issues. So make sure you prep and load the lips with moisture before application (even use a very thick balm a few hours/the night before and wipe away the excess).
2) The color/stain is long lasting, but the finish isn't. Only wear this color if you know you can touch up every 3-4 hours. A blotchy and sloppy red mouth is one of the least attractive things you can do to your face, so make sure you're not in a position that requires low maintenance makeup. It is a wonderful choice for a night out or a date when you're not too distracted and can excuse yourself once or twice.
I don't detect any flavor or particular scent from my Lip Maestro. I've also found that it mixes well with various balms- both pre-application or if you use the balm for touch-ups over the stain. It's actually the best quick fix for the second issue I mentioned above.
Bottom Line: Like. A lot.
Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro ($32) is available at select department stores and from giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.