Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Color in Smoke Red


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.

32 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! And what striking photographs - brilliant review!
    Nic x

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  2. Looks beautiful on you :), is it gluten free, btw?

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  3. Nic, thanks very much!

    Goya: Crap, crap, crap. It contains triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract and hordeum vulgare (barley) extract.

    beautyholicsanonymous posted a photo of the ingredient list for a different color. I'll dig my boxes out of my bag of empties and hope that the two colors I bought are gluten free, but I have my doubts.

    No fair!! I guess Smoke Red and Bruised Plum will to into a future blog sale. *cries* I'll review/swatch Bruised Plum first and take one for the team. Crap.

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  4. I love looking at Tom Ford lipsticks, but they are so pricey, I don't think I can make the jump. That's a beautiful, beautiful red, though!

    Eep, you have a gluten allergy? I didn't even think about that in terms of cosmetics.. :(

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  5. That is a stunning red! The shade name is odd. Doesn't say smoky to me at all. Can't wait to see Bruised Plum!

    That really, really sucks about the ingredients. I'm sorry. :-(

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  6. Larie, I have never been officially diagnosed with a gluten allergy, but I had my suspicions, and when I gave it up, all of my mysterious hard-to-treat ailments (like CFS) disappeared, and I even reversed a thyroid condition. So I don't need blood tests to tell me what I already know.

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  7. PP, major sux. Gluten in my blush or concealer ... meh, I might risk it, but to have it in my lipstick, which I am sure I end up eating ... not so good. :(

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  8. I think the bubbling is caused by the excitement as you twist the lipstick out of its tube! ;-)

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  9. Olivia, that comment made me shoot tea out of my nostrils.

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  10. I. Need. This. The packaging is worth the price! :-p

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  11. I'm really loving casablanca from the new range (previewed in a store near me, I already bought wicked blush). Its a rosy colour.

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  12. No fair??? Tell me about!! My dietitian took out 60% of my make up and grooming products, all my favorite Chanel lipsticks are out, not because of gluten, but because they are very allergenic. Chanel's mascaras contain gluten (tocoperol).

    As for Tom Ford Lipsticks-I think someone should write a letter to Tom Ford itself, telling him that this is such a pity that people are willing to buy his highly expensive lipsticks but can't because of some ingredients :).

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  13. Ooh, Casablanca seemed like one that might interest me. I'll have to scope it out. Thanks, baby in a corner.

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  14. Goya, it feels like such insult to injury. First we give up an entire food group, the bottom of the food pyramid, and then we realize we have to pay attention to makeup. I had been thinking going gluten free was much easier than I'd imagined, but now I am steaming MAD! lol. Don't mess with a girl's makeup!

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  15. yeah and I love the name too! I'm on the fence about the blush, its a raspberry blue-ish pink with gold shimmer. I'm not sure its worth its hefty price tag as the shimmer is a little obvious.

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  16. That's disappointing. If I have shimmer in my blush it must be subtle, more like highlighting. Gold isn't great on me, anyway.

    I need to look into Casablanca! My maternal grandfather looked like Humphrey Bogart. :)

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  17. It's very difficult to be gluten-free, it is anti-social event: all of my friends are gluten eaters, and even though they take me very much into consideration, it is very difficult to educate everybody to beware of secondary contamination, no-double-dipping and more...

    As for cosmetics-it's almost a tragedy for those who love make-up!

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  18. Wow, gluten allergy is the devil. Seriously.

    I think I'm content to admire TF lipsticks from afar until I climb up a few more income brackets. As tempting as it is, I just can't make myself go there yet. It is beautiful. Sorry you have to give it up. :(((

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  19. I wish I loved red lipsticks since you take the best pictures! I have my eye on one of the lighter TF lipsticks and one day I'll splurge on it.

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  20. Looks beautiful on you! That's a real shame about the ingredients, though.... I'm lemming Casablanca ( I have to wonder if it would just sit in my lippie drawer unloved because I'm a weirdo and hate to spoil $$ makeup)!!!!

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  21. I have to echo everyone else: it looks great on you! Maybe TF will bring the color back.

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  22. I have and love this shade. I'm so pleased you like it too, I think it looks wonderful on your lips.

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  23. You should try the Julie Hewett Oona Noir it's exactly this shade and a beautiful sheer formula that is still double-pigmented.

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  24. Liz, I agree it's a total splurge and not necessary, as there are so many gorgeous reds.

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  25. Marcia, thanks so much. I will be interested in reading your review on lighter shades. I don't usually go for those, but I do like seeing them on other people. Especially curious about Casablanca.

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  26. Jeanie, your comment made me laugh. I have a few items (Chante Les Dauphins, etc.) I have never used because they are so beautiful. I should just sell the blasted thing!

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  27. Ava, thanks! Alas, I won't be buying more TF unless they remove the gluten ingredients. So I will love this one just a little bit longer and then let it go.

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  28. Jane, I can't believe I missed a review by you on this color. I'll go look for it now, as I usually like the same colors you do, though you're a bit more daring (into the warm territory) with eyeshadow. :)

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  29. Anon, excellent suggestion! I do have Oona (in both the lipstick and pencil) and love it--it's the perfect cherry red. The only thing I don't like about the Noir lipsticks is the case. Cute and retro, but that bump on the side annoys me because it means I can't stack the lipsticks in my drawer. Silly pet peeve, but there it is. Oona Noir is beautiful color, though.

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  30. It really does look lovely on you, Zuzu and the packaging is stunning!

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  31. First of all, this color is truly spectacular, and is stunning on you. I'm so jealous!! I've been lusting after both Smoke Red and Bruised Plum since this line came out...those two colors in particular! Are you really saying they may be discontinued with the new line coming out? Say it isn't so! I guess I'll finally have to bite the bullet and make a purchase, although my wallet will be screaming in protest, lol!

    Can't wait to read your review of Bruised Plum!

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  32. Nat, thanks so much.

    Shannon, these two colors ARE discontinued in the new line. I am fairly certain they are still available at NM online, though. And free shipping! I have Bruised Plum photographed and will fit it in very soon. :) I can easily see you wearing and loving both.

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