Serge Lutens cosmetics have been on my wish list for about three years. Every time I go to Harvey Nichols I pass by the counter and swoon and finally, I have had a chance to play some product from the range.
Serge Lutens has been in the beauty industry decades. In the early sixties he was creating make up hair and jewellery for Vogue (France). He made make up for Dior in the late sixties creating colours as well as the aesthetic for the brand when it launched. During the seventies, photography was the creative outlet of choice and resulted in an exhibition at the Guggenheim and films which were shown at Canne. In 1980 Shiseido hired Serge Lutens to create their make up range including the packaging and to shoot the advertising campaigns. The relationship also produced fragrance.
I am providing this brief history lesson as it may seem obscure for a fragrance house to make the move into cosmetics, but the reality is that Serge Lutens was doing make up before he was doing fragrance. Serge Lutens make up is made by Shiseido, which understanding their history makes sense. If you have a rich skintone like mine and want a complexion product, this is not the brand for you. If you are interested in colour cosmetics this brand might be for you.
Water Lip Colour 5 (£53)
This product needs time to get to know it and work out the best way to use it for your needs. It is not a gloss or a liquid lipstick it is a lip tint, not to be confused with a lip stain, this product is water soluble and won’t leave you looking like you have been drinking Ribena without a straw. For some this will slot in perfectly to their lip wardrobe for others it is pure gimmick, regardless this is an interesting product which has been on the market for some time.
My lips are two different colours, my top lip is pigmented a kind of deep grey/brown colour and my bottom lip is peachy pink which gives me an interesting perspective on this product. I love this product on my top lip. It provides a visible but muted purple tint which I love and for me is the perfect no make up tone. But, on my bottom pinky peach lip… not so much. I have to build up two to three layers of colour to get the same deep tone so whether this product will work for you, I think is really dependent on the lips that you have, not the lips that you want to achieve. The deeper your lip colour the more the tint accentuates the natural shade of your lips.
I found that Water Lip Colour lasted through hot chocolate on the go, and prawns and chips (for lunch, it was delicious and yes I did cook it myself!). This formula is interesting because if your lips get wet (as opposed to greasy) eg you brush your teeth with this on, it almost goes back to its original gel format and you can kind or reapply it without bringing out the wand. I work the colour under lipstick and over lip liner and was able to create a variation of shades. I really like the black lacquer packaging. The way that the square tube has been given angle to make it slightly octagonal in shape and it does not lie flat on surfaces, but if feel comfortable in the hand. I like the angled doe foot applicator and the fact that the instructions that accompany the product tell you to wipe off the wand between applications
I am enjoying getting to know this product but it definitely isn’t or everyone.
Eye shadow Quad 4 (£116)
As with the Water Lip Colour there is no branding on the packaging, and yet the black lacquer case which is cool to the touch and weighty in the hand screams quality. When I first opened the quad, my reaction was mixed. The shadows are housed in long rectangles which is not my favourite format. In addition the shadows come with three foam applicators. Yes really! When I focused on the shadows however, I was not disappointed. Quad 4 is delicious and neutral palettes are not my go to product. The black, brown, bronze and gold are all infused with gold micro shimmer so get ready to glisten while you blink.. There are no outlier shades; all the tones compliment each other perfectly. Each shade is very wearable for porcelain to ebony skin tones.
The shadows are not hard pressed into the pan which accounts for some of the fall out, but they are very pigmented. When you apply the shadows with a brush, you will get fall out – less so with the foam applicators or with your fingers. I would definitely recommend a damp brush not only to reduce fall out but also to increase longevity. This is a formula that after fourteen hours looks as good as when you applied it. If all you want is a light wash of colour (which this does beautiful) just make sure that you tap off the excess from your brush before you apply the colour. In playing with this palette I discovered that the gold, bronze and brown shades make the most beautiful highlighters and blush toppers. I would not use them on the nose, but for a whisper of brightness on the cupids bow and the cheekbones, this has become a regular choice. Use a small fan brush, pick up a tiny amount of product and glow.
Serge Lutens make up is eye wateringly expensive. Interestingly the make up is more expensive than that fragrance. Gram for gram, the Serge Lutens eye shadow quad is nearly five times the price of a Tom Ford quad. ff you are all about budget beauty this range is not for you. If you are a make up hoarder looking to maximise the quantity of products in your collection, the Serge Lutens range is not for you. However if you are someone who prioritises an understated aesthetic, money is no object when it comes to make up, or you are just curious about the range, the quality of the product is really good (although I would recommend the lipsticks over the water lip colours). The range is not the most easily accessible so if you can, try before you order.
Serge Lutens cosmetics are available from Harvey Nichols and the Serge Lutens Website.