As a casual fan of classic cinema and vintage makeup, I've long lusted after the Besame product range. I don't need any more cream blushes and I don't wear loose powder, but the beautiful tins and historically accurate shades of their cream rouges and brightening powders make me question my resolve. And of course, there's the lipstick range, loaded with replicas of vintage shades in some of the prettiest packaging on the market.
Of course, it's more than just the packaging. Even people who aren't in to ye olde fashioned face paint have said that Besame makes well-formulated products. In fact, I began noticing posts on makeup forums stating that the writer had tested a Besame product (usually the lipstick matchbooks) on a whim and ended up discovering their new favorite red. So when I saw this reasonably priced set of Besame mini lipsticks on Sephora, I knew the stars had aligned.
The Besame Mini Lipstick Set is $25. Each mini lipstick contains one gram of product, so the set contains a total of 5g of lipstick; a full-size tube will run you $22 for 3.4g, so you're certainly getting value for your money there.
Unfortunately, while the tubes are pretty, they're plastic. They're also incredibly tiny, even by mini lipstick standards. They're so tiny, in fact, that the labels on the bottoms can only fit the lipstick year (explained down below), not the full name. I mentioned on Snapchat that they reminded me a little of children's makeup. That said, it's not a terrible presentation as far as minis go, and the little sliders on these make my day. I'm pretty sure the swivel tube was patented in the mid-1920s, and most of Besames lipsticks are based off of shades from the 1930s onward, but...I really wish that slider was on the full-size tubes, too. It's a rare case of something old-fashioned yet functional.
Natural light on the top, flash on the bottom.
Speaking of the shades! The five shades in this set are, from left to right: 1930 Noir Red (extremely dark plummy red), 1935 Cherry Red (pin-up blue-based shade), 1946 Red Velvet (kind of neutral deep red), 1969 Dusty Rose (mauve), and 1970 Chocolate Kiss (brown with hints of terracotta). All of the shades are replicas of vintage shades from the listed years. The satin finish is classic as well. (As Besame points out on their site, older lipstick formulas were usually full of waxes and oils, so they were not uber matte.)
Most of Besame's lipsticks are reds, since that was the color of choice for quite a few decades, so I'm not shocked that you get three in this kit. I am a little stunned that this selection reads so cool-toned, though, with the obvious exception of Chocolate Kiss. I would think you'd replace either Cherry Red or Red Velvet with something much warmer, like 1931 Carmine, for more balance.
I did like some of these shades on me more than others. I figured Red Velvet and Cherry Red were going to be winners from the start, but I was actually shocked by how much I liked Chocolate Kiss as well. I think it's the slight reddish undertones that seem to pop out against my skin that make it more wearable for me. Dusty Rose reads plum on me because I'm so fair--on most people, it'll likely look more mauve. The disappointment of the bunch, for me, was Noir Red, which is so shockingly dark against my skintone it almost appears black in person. I didn't like it on me and neither did my family. That said, I'm glad they included a shade that can be vampy for deeper skintones.
I wasn't sure if I'd like the chiseled shape of these lipsticks at first, but it ended up being an asset. You can use the flat side to fill in the majority of your mouth, then refine your lip line with the thin tip. I didn't find these minis too difficult to control, but bear in mind that I have small hands.
The formula of these lipsticks is, by my standards, divine. It's not as creamy or slick as some ranges, like Bite Amuse Bouche, and it can make your lips feel a hair dry by the end of the day. However, it applies smoothly to the lips and provides full pigment with a single stroke. The one exception was Noir Red, which I found a bit dryer during application and a bit more drying during wear than the others; it tugged a little as I applied it and I definitely needed balm by the end of the day. As a whole, though, it's a decently comfortable, very opaque, and lush-looking formula.
This product also had impressive wear. No, it's not apocalypse-proof like some liquid mattes, but it's pretty damn close, especially if you compare it to other traditional lipsticks. The above photos show Red Velvet after about 4 hours with some light water drinking (top) and Noir Red after a meal (bottom). There's the usual wear and tear, namely some fading in the very center of my mouth. Beyond that, there's no major smearing, flaking, or feathering.
I honestly love this kit and will keep four out of the five shades. It's encouraged me to check out more of the Besame lipstick range as soon as I finish a few of my current tubes and save up some coins--I'm eyeing Portrait Pink and Tango Red right now. I'd recommend it to:
- people looking to get a feel for the Besame lipstick range.
- those who have yet to find their perfect cool-toned red.
- anybody who has ever said, "I like lipstick, but I can never finish a tube!" (This is especially true if you like certain colors, but only wear them on occasion.)
RATING: 5 out of 5
I bought this set on Sephora's website.