Bésame Cosmetics is a brand that very quickly earned a high reputation for its beautifully-pigmented, retro lipsticks in historically-accurate packaging. If saturated red lips are your thing, make sure besamecosmetics.com is one of your next stops.
In spring last year, Bésame repackaged its Enchanting Lipstick—which previously came in tiny gold tubes, not much bigger than my pinkie from middle knuckle to tip—with new packaging. The same colors in the same wonderful formula are now sold under the Classic Color Lipsticks ($22) line, and they come in tubes that follow the same design but which are easily twice the size as their former selves at only around $7 more.
Each lipstick comes in a gold-plated, bullet-shaped case, which mirrors what you might have seen in the 1940s, when lipstick tube design was based on actual bullet casing. Each lipstick comes with a protective red-velvet pouch with gold drawstring.
Like its former diminutive version, Classic Color lipstick bullets are still chiseled, and their design makes it easy to both line and fill in your lips with pigment—at least until you've worn down the edge. I know I am in the minority, but I miss their tiny sisters and wish they were still available, even if only in a set.
|Edges already worn down slightly after several uses|
The Bésame Classic Color Lipstick formula provides a semi-matte, full-coverage finish in one swipe. Each contains the highest natural pigment, along with vitamins A, E and C, as well as aloe and green tea, for a smooth finish.
Compared to another popular retro lipstick brand (Julie Hewett Noir lipsticks), Bésame lipsticks fade evenly, instead of from the center, and they do not get crumbly around the edges. When it comes time to reapply, I don't have to remove all traces of lipstick and start over. I just blot well and put down a fresh layer.
The color descriptions on the Bésame web site need no further editing by me, as they are completely accurate. These vintage reproduction colors are purported to be the exact same shades Hollywood starlets used in a different ear:
- Bésame Red – True red with a cool base (no warmth), bright and vibrant navy red
- Cherry Red – Cool, deep, rich, dark-cherry. If blotted down to a stain, leaves a nice rose color. Flattering to medium and olive skin tones.
- Red Hot Red – Bright and bold, a bit warmer than Bésame red, and Marilyn's favorite.
- Red Velvet – Deep, rich red that is flattering on most skin tones. Great for office wear or everyday red, neutral and not too bright.
- Merlot – Subdued brick red, great neutral red for daily wear.
- Carmine – Vibrant orange red, not too yellow-based. Changes depending on skintone. Flattering on warm and olive skin-tones.
|Direct sun; Hannibal approved™|
|Indoors, natural lighting|
|Swatched on plain white paper|
And while you are relaxing with an espresso and your ruby lips, you might want to page through the glorious book that is worthy of any beauty-lover's coffee table—especially the history buffs among you.
Just a few more pictures for your enjoyment.
I loved the entry for Clara Bow. I have a soft spot for her after being compared to her in the 80s when my hair was bobbed, permed, trained into finger waves, and then piled up. Plus I have a teeny tiny mouth, just like Clara! (I don't really look anything like her, but the comparison made my day.)
|Blast from the past! (At least my past, though I managed to avoid the whole hear scarf thing)|
Bottom line: Wonderful lipsticks with wonderful textures and long-lasting finishes. If you like red lipsticks and you haven't shopped here yet, give it a try.
All pictures taken by me, except the first one