It’s Valentine’s Week and last year I shared this post but decided to trot it out again, because when it comes to lipstick very good reds are such a good addition to one’s makeup collection. Besides, the ways in which we can think of love is infinite so why not do so through the lens of well made lipsticks. The two lipsticks are from Givenchy and Gucci, both alluring reds that are sure to alter the heart rate. Although both brands began several decades ago, their foray into makeup took many years to become reality. For instance, Givenchy emerged as a brand in 1952 but did not introduce makeup until 1989, while Gucci emerged in 1921 but only introduced makeup in 2014.
For Givenchy, it was only after the appointment of Nicolas Degennes as Artistic Director in 1999 that the house really began to focus on colour cosmetics and establish a place in the prestige makeup market. Givenchy Grenat Initie 307 dwells in a stunning black leather and silver case that is by turns unusual and striking. The packaging is, to my eyes, ever so slightly masculine but when you look closer and see the Givenchy symbol at the top of the cylinder, something inside you quickens and you find that you must touch it immediately. Upon removing the leather cap, you encounter a gleaming silver container, and when the bullet is twisted up, you are rewarded with a deep bordeaux red. When held to the nose, there is the slightest fragrance and when swatched on the hand, no skin shows through, thus this is a full coverage lipstick.
Givenchy Le Rouge Grenat Initie is reliable and does not leave you hanging. When accompanied by a lip pencil, it’s that much more the ultimate hanger-on for your lips. To me it’s a classic red, the application is exceedingly smooth and it tends to not emphasise any aspects of your lips that are less than perfect (such as flakes resistant to exfoliation) and so on. It’s the perfect lipstick for a tiny clutch or your regular handbag with the whole world in it. While it does not have the extensive ‘ancestry’ that some of the other old guard red lipsticks possess, it is a very good lipstick, exceptionally formulated and it exceeds delivery in how well and how long it wears.
Moving now to Gucci Deep Matte Lipstick in Iconic Red. I have yet to dip into the new wave of lipstick colours such as those deep blues, greens and oxblood so deep it is perceived as black. When I want to invoke retro vibes, complete with matte skin, a liquid liner flick and lashings of mascara, I reach for the Gucci. It’s very long wearing and as with Gucci’s lipstick formulas, there is a hint of a blueberry taste. This is a modern matte that will invite questions and will hold up on a long night out, full dinner included. Coupled with Gucci Lip Pencil by the same name, you’ll be the femme fatale of your fantastical musings.
Gucci lipsticks come in two formulas, Luxurious Pigment Rich and Deep Matte. Both formulas are highly pigmented and so, one need not work very hard to attain opacity. These lipsticks are for those who are after that classic lipstick look, although if you’re inclined, you may apply it as a stain using just a clean finger. Although Gucci Iconic Red is a matte lipstick, it is comfortable, applies smoothly and the case is stunning and slimmer than conventional tubes, making it perfect for a miniature clutch or even your back pocket if you’re that minimalist.
Gucci Deep Matte Lipstick in Iconic Red veers cool but once it settles into the lips, the colour comes through beautifully. It’s striking how different Givenchy’s and Gucci’s formulas are and how they wear. However, they both share the fact that they are longwearing and look beautiful on. Makeup stirs our emotions, in some instances when we recall certain life events we also recall the makeup we were wearing, maybe even the scents present in the moment along with what we were wearing. Whatever Valentine’s may mean to you, even if you can’t be bothered, no excuse or justification is ever needed when we decide to buy a lipstick. Even if red is not your thing, you must admit it’s a powerful colour.