Imagine my unbelievable surprise and joy when a sweet friend from MakeupAlley sent me this gorgeous, still-in-the-box baby (along with an assortment of other goodies)! After my debacle with the YSL Glossy Stains (they almost killed me with their stench), I turned my attention to the new Shiseido Lacquer Rouge liquid lipsticks, which promised to be perfect replacements for the discontinued Chanel Rouge Allure Lacque liquid lipsticks I adored so much. Nocturne, in particular, looked like a good dupe for Chanel Dragon, one of my all-time favorite reds.
While my tube was a gift, these lacquers regularly retail for $25, $7 cheaper than the old Chanel RALs (before taxes). Each sleek black tube contains 6mL of liquid product, and trust me, those 6 mils will go a long way. My only problem with the packaging? They only list the number (RD 607), not the shade name, on the box and tube, which can be a bit trying if you're like me and you suck with numbers.
The applicator is a soft doe-foot that, as you can maybe see, tends to pull out a little too much product. It's not that it gets messy or absolutely globs it on--the bead of lacquer on the end of the doe foot seems perfectly harmless--but again, a little bit goes a long way. I pretty much always wear lipliner with darker lipstick shades, especially if they're a liquid formula, but you do get a decent amount of control over this product with the doefoot. Just do yourself a favor and build slowly: wipe a good bit of it off on the inner rim of the tube before you apply.
The formula is very smooth and creamy, like a thick-but-not-sticky gloss, and it applies opaque without any streaking. I actually didn't exfoliate my lips before I applied this the second time around, and it still went on smooth. It dries to a satin finish. You can feel it a little on your lips; it's not heavy, tacky, greasy, or otherwise unpleasant, but those who prefer a "weightless" lip product will probably want to pass. This product does dry my lips out a bit after 8 hours of wear, but it's nothing too extreme, ie, you won't have leather handbag lips, but you'll definitely want some lip balm.
Here are some photos of the Nocturne lacquer right after I applied it (left) and 4-hours-and-a-cheeseburger-later (right). I was stupid and didn't bring a real camera, necessitating the dirty mirror cellphone picture at my friend's house, but hopefully it gets the point across: this is definitely a long-wearing lip product. It did feather the absolute tiniest amount, ie, the edges were slightly softer than they'd been when I'd first applied the lacquer, and most of the shine was gone, but the majority of the actual color stayed in place. I added a smidge more on top to get back that shine, and it layered just fine without any caking.
Unfortunately, Nocturne does not replace my beloved Dragon. For one thing, the formulas are somewhat different: I can reapply Nocturne without having to worry about it caking up, which is often an issue with Dragon, but I also pretty much never have to reapply Dragon: it stays on my lips like nothing else. The formulas are very similar otherwise--satin finish, slightly drying, long-wearing, opaque, etc.--and the Shiseido lacquers are cheaper to boot. It really comes down to the fact that they aren't color dupes: Nocturne is darker and has a slight berry edge to it, while Dragon is a bright true red. Based on swatches, I'm thinking that Drama might be a closer Dragon dupe.
Regardless, this is a truly beautiful, amazing product. I love how long it wears and how gorgeous it looks on my lips. I also love the price...honestly, if the Chanel RALs were still around, I'd probably pick similar Shiseido Lacquer Rouge shades instead because of the similar quality and range at a lower price. If long-wear lip products are your thing, you definitely need to check these out.
Rating: 5 out of 5