While the rest of you are busily reviewing the new Tom Ford lip color collection, I am lagging behind. I decided to grab a lipstick from his previous collection before the ivory and gold casing is phased out because I have nothing like it. The shape and size are similar to the new Edward Bess lipstick trio, but the Tom Ford casing has more heft, with a weighty lacquered feel that consoles me, somewhat, for its equally hefty price tag.
I was disappointed to learn that the colors I most wanted, Smoke Red and Bruised Plum, would no longer be available in his new collection. I decided to purchase them anyway, before they are pulled off the shelves. This review is for the Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Color in Smoke Red ($45).
I like the ivory casing. It's very elegant. As for the "smoke" in Smoke Red, I see nothing smoky (muted) in it at all. I could be tricked into seeing smoke by looking at the lipstick tube itself, but I see no brown or ash undertones on my lips from this cool, blue-red bullet that leans slightly fuchsia.
I did not notice this when looking at the lipstick out of the box, but when I took photos in digital macro mode, I could see the surface of the lipstick was covered in tiny bubbles. I was concerned the lipstick I received might have been old, bordering on rancid, but it smells and wears fine. I believe the bubbles are from the shea butter going through changes in temperature in the warehouse. This has happened to me with Lipstick Queen lipsticks, as well, and the bumps do not affect the lipstick performance, unsightly as they may be upon closeup inspection.
This straight-up blue red reminds me of Besame Cosmetics' Besame Red or Julie Hewett Femme Noir, but that's where the comparison ends. Unlike those lipsticks, both of which sadly turned a garish candy-apple red on me, Smoke Red stays just this side of red.
Smoke Red has a deeply-pigmented semi-matte finish with good traction and a hint of shimmer. A single application lasts about 4 hours, before it starts to fade, and it fades evenly, not from the center out, and it never leaves any crumbly bits around the corners of my mouth like some matte lipsticks do. Red Smoke also leaves behind a cherry stain. Because the finish does not set (like Julie Hewett lipsticks from the Noir line), it's easy to refresh the color with a new layer. I don't have to completely remove the original application to reapply, so it's relatively maintenance free, though I highly recommend using a mirror and maybe even a clear lip pencil, like the one made by Lipstick Queen.
One thin layer of Smoke Red can appear somewhat fuchsia, but if I add a second layer and then blot it gently, it warms up and goes a bit plummy on me. The color brightens my whole face, but make no mistake: Smoke Red is not a subtle lipstick. Nevertheless, the color is so flattering to my skin tone, I can easily wear it to my conservative job as long as I keep the rest of my makeup soft: a wash of flesh-toned pink eyeshadow (like Chantecaille Quartz or Chanel Sillage or Alima Fleur), charcoal liner pushed into my lashes, and defined brows. No blush needed.
Here's a swatch of Smoke Red on white paper, so you can see the undertones without my skin tone adulterating the color.
Bottom line: Love.
All photos mine.