Inside that goodie bag was a lipstick. But not just any lipstick, this was a really sexy looking lipstick.
With incredibly tactile glossy black packaging, concave sides and rounded corners, I just wanted to sit and fondle it, which is kind of unhealthy, to be that fond of your lipstick packaging. The brand was Illamasqua. It wasn’t a brand I was familiar with, so I looked it up.
Illamasqua is the product of a heady mix of influences. Its roots stem from the dark and illicit 1920s club scene, and combine a rich heritage in the manufacture of make-up for film and theatre. It also takes inspiration from members of the ‘alternative scenes’ for whom self-expression is paramount. Alternative cultures have always dared to be dramatic. They have an emotional attachment to making up. It’s an expression of their darker side, a release for their alter ego.
Illamasqua is for the bolder person hiding inside all of us. It is an act and an attitude. A symbol of tolerance. A celebration of idiosyncrasies. A confident statement of self-ownership.
So. I like the packaging, and I really like the brand image. Dark, mysterious and glamorous.
But that’s no good if I don’t like the lipstick. So, I decided, I should review it for you.
At £15 this is NOT a cheap lipstick. For that price I expect more than lovely packaging and a good back story. The shade was “Welt” from the 1920s Berlin Collection. This is an intense, deep, magenta pink with a matt finish. Not a colour I wear very often, but I’m willing to give it a go.
I first teamed it with my flamingo cardigan, and I’ve worn it a few time since. The colour is very intense, meaning careful and precise application is very important. I found this a bit tricky, as I am generally a bit slapdash with my make up.
I found that carefully applied, with an immaculate base, the colour looked ok on me. Being so intense, though, meant that for me this wasn’t a day time shade. I think that’s more to do with my skin tone than the lipstick, and mixed with a little lip balm to tone it down, or applied lightly with my finger I can also wear it during the day.
The lipstick is quite intense in pigment, and also, because of the matt finish, a little dry. This means that the colour is very long lasting, but on my lips it had a tendency to crack and flake a little rather than wear off like a regular lipstick. From a distance this means the lipstick still looks intense and vibrant, but up close it’s not so impressive.
I tried to take photos after about 4 hours, with no reapplication (and having eaten lunch!), it’s surprisingly difficult to photograph your own lips.
You should just be able to make out that although my lips still look very pink it has worn off slightly in the centre, and there are little lumps and flakes in it. For an evening look in a semi dark room, or a stage look, this isn’t such a problem, but if you want to get up close and personal then you’ll want to fix it!
My solution to this was just to apply some lip balm over the top. This smoothed out the remaining lipstick and actually made it last for pretty well the rest of the day, but with a glossier finish. I think if you were going to reapply the lipstick you’d probably want to apply a lip balm first, or ensure you’d removed the original lipstick as otherwise it might affect the finish.
Overall this is a fantastic, long lasting, lipstick that I’d happily shell out £15 for.
I’d probably chose a classic red like Maneater or Tramp or the coral pink of Scandal if I were to have my choice of shades. The pigment is so intense that you use such a tiny amount it should last for ages, and it also makes it much more versatile to apply as an intense block of colour or to blend it with other shades or lip balm for a softer, glossier finish.
Illamasqua lipstick is available online at the Illamasqua website.