While I was sampling the new Shiseido Lacquer Rouge (lipstick? gloss?), a fellow-tester commented on how it felt like “nail polish for the lips”. I couldn’t have put it better myself – this “liquid lipstick”, which is inspired by traditional Japanese lacquerware, is an opaque lip product with strong colour payoff and a sleek, glossy finish that resembles super-shiny paint or nail enamel more than any lipstick I have seen till date.
For the uninitiated, liquid lipsticks are not the same thing as lip glosses. Instead of being light or sheer, they are liquified pigments that deliver intense colour, long wear and opacity. Till now, the market leader in this category was Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque but I am sure that Shiseido’s Lacquer Rouge is now going to be a strong contender for the top spot.
I tried on Drama and Disco, and the colour intensity for both was just ridiculously outstanding – one coat is all that’s needed for super-intense colour and shine. While trying the product on my hand, I was afraid it would bleed because of the creamy texture. But I was wrong. The texture is creamy but not gloopy or sticky, so it actually feels very comfortable on the lips. It is very easy to apply, and I haven’t had any problem with it drying, feathering or bleeding. Plus, it has just the right amount of shine, so lips look hydrated – not dripping wet.
The best part of the formula is definitely its lasting power. Even though the colour will transfer onto your coffee mug, it takes more than a few cuppas or a couple of bites to dull the shine. The lacquer stayed on for almost five hours, before fading pretty evenly to a light stain.
The doe-footed applicator is another scoring point, with the shape and size just right for me to contour a nicely-shaped, well-defined lip even without the use of a lip liner. For those with slightly chapped or dry lips, this is doubly great as you will be able to “fill in” the lines on your lips, almost like painting in the colour.
Long term results
According to Shiseido, Lacquer Rouge nourishes dry, rough or peeling lips with continued use, leaving them smooth and deeply moisturised. I haven’t worn it often enough to judge the long term effects but the lip colour did improve the appearance of my lips rather than highlighting dry patches. And the best part is that my lips felt moisturised and comfortable, so I did not feel the need to apply any balm.
The only drawback is that the range of colours is pretty limited. Internationally, there are just eight shades – all of them pretty intense, so this is definitely not a collection for wallflowers. Four additional shades – RD309 Carnelian, PK310 Amethyst, RD311 Rubelite and RS312 Sunstone – are exclusively available for the Asian market so stock up if you are travelling to that side of the globe.
My personal favourite is RD501 Drama – a deep, full blooded red that’s going to be just perfect for fall and winter. However, I strongly suggest you try out the colours before buying, because as with most lip products the hues can vary according to skin tone. For instance, Disco appeared as a pretty berry pink on my friend, while on me it looked more like a hot, pop pink.
Throughout the ages, Japanese lacquer-ware has been treasured for its lustrous shine and beautiful forms. Lacquer artisans complete several traditional processes to achieve the art form’s beautiful lacquer finish – and just as these techniques allow lacquer to add smoothness, colour and shine to wood, Shiseido developed processes that allow a liquid formulation to do the same for lips. The result? A modern lipstick that gives lips an exquisitely sensual, lacquer-like finish in just one coat.
These liquid lipsticks attained multipurpose status even before their launch. Makeup artist Dick Page blended Lacquer Rouge in Drama onto the model’s faces to create a flushed, fresh-from-the-slopes glow at Michael Kors’ Fall-Winter 2012 catwalk show. To recreate, blend a bit of the colour onto the apples of your cheeks and then mute it with a dab of foundation.