Before we really get into this, I want you to understand exactly where my head has been over the past few weeks. My go-to red lipstick has recently been discontinued. Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick in Hot Pepper cost a delightful £8 and used to have people stopping me in the street to ask about it. So when Bourjois decided to pull itself out of the UK market last year (don’t even go there—it’s still too soon), suffice it to say that I had a small meltdown. Since that dreaded moment, I have spent a lot of time in search of the perfect red replacement. My quest, so far, has been fruitless.
I must admit that when I learned that Hermès had plans to launch a beauty line, starting off with 24 lipsticks, for some unknown reason, I experienced no excitement whatsoever. Just another super-luxe fashion brand cashing in on rave reviews of overpriced beauty products that deliver mediocre results, right? But then, the images were released, and admittedly, I did a complete 180.
Setting eyes on the glossy, chic bullets, suddenly the formula didn’t matter anymore. In true Hermès fashion, they were by far the most fashionable makeup product I’ve ever seen. In chic, reusable metal casing that looks more like some sort of high-end fashion accessory than a lipstick, the Rouge Hermès lipsticks are the Silk Twilly scarf of makeup. They are also £58. Each.
As a beauty editor, I’d love to tell you that I approach each new product launch with no bias or preconceptions, but I just can’t lie to you like that. When a lipstick costs £58, I really want to hate it. In fact, when I received the most beautiful box of Rouge Hermès lipsticks and found myself swooning over how pretty they are, the minute I remembered the price, I felt a little bit of rage build up inside of me. So, yes, when I put the first swipe of pigment onto my lips, I was consciously seeking the bad and more than willing to overlook the good.
Available in two finishes—matte and satin—I first found myself drawn to the satin finish lipsticks. While my favourite Bourjois red was a matte finish, as a rule, I find most matte formulas drying, uncomfortable and generally unpleasant to wear.
The first thing that I noticed was just how fine and precise the top of the bullet was. It made for near-perfect application and actually allows you to line the edge of your lips without a liner. Immediately after that, my attention was drawn to just how insanely creamy the formula is. They are honestly like rich, creamy butter. However, while that texture works wonderfully for sheerer shades like Orange Boîte (a classic Hermès orange that has me counting down the days until summer), when it came to applying darker shades such as Rouge H, I struggled. I found them to be so creamy that things started to get a little messy. That being said, it’s nothing that couldn’t be tidied up in a second or two.
Next up, it was time to give the matte formula a go. I reached for the poppy red of Rouge Casaque. The idea of applying a matte, red lipstick straight from the bullet sans liner filled me with fear. However, with that being said, similarly to the satin finish (but maybe even more precise), the bullet had a sharp enough edge for seamless application. The minute that bullet touched my lips, I genuinely felt my stomach sink. This lipstick is the most perfect thing I have ever encountered, I thought to myself. I think I love this lipstick more than I love Ryan Gosling.
Instead of being heavy and cakey, it’s lightweight, powdery and airy. It glides onto lips with seamless precision, doesn’t bleed and sits almost impossibly comfortably. Also, unlike my previous favourite lipstick which smelled like sickly sweet vanilla, Rouge Hermès lipsticks smell like leather and wood and all of the other alluring notes that I love so much. While Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lipstick was the red that defined my late teens and early twenties, Rouge Hermès in Rouge Casaque is set to be the red lippie to define my next chapter—and I’m ready. It’s £58, yes, but if that’s the cost of my happiness, then so be it.