La la la red. It was overdue. And this time, it's YSL Rouge Pur Couture #1 that will be subjected to my ruthless scrutiny. It's one of those 100% unadulterated hardcore fully adult red/reds. Having heard consistently good things about it, I picked myself up one of those generous sample-sized examples and put it through its paces.
Texturally, RP Couture #1 is a heavenly experience. My god but it is swoonily smooth. It almost slides off the tube and across your lips of its own accord without streaks or stickiness, settling into a plumping satin presence that delivers the kind of faultless self-coloured medium-sheen result that you see on billboards and dismiss as artful retouching. It literally enrobes the lips.
No one needs both. If you were to press me for my favourite of the two, the Rouge G would come out on top. The above-mentioned translucence just makes it a tad more sophisticated. Garçonne just never looks hard or extra, no matter how much you slap on.
The new Rouge Pur Couture packaging feels cheaper and skankier than the dear departed older version of this line and all that slick gold marks up fairly nightmarishly with finger smudges etc.- something to keep in mind if that bugs you in an OCD sort of way.
As replete with excellent qualities as #1 undoubtedly is, I moved it on (regretfully) after a few short weeks. Why? Well, it suffers the Crazy Nana Fragrance Curse, to the extent that I could actually taste and not just smell the damned stuff when I wore it. Could. Not. Tolerate.
So be warned; the Rouge Pur line is as stinky-perfumey as it ever was and the scent-averse amongst you should give it a really hard pass. I'm on the fence about detectable fragrance, personally; Mac and Bite Beauty have gone for a gourmand angle and their scents don't bother me in the least (I actively enjoy the fruity Bite smell).
That Rouge Pur formula feels more traditionally old-skool than newfangled tricksy, i.e. it is based more on quality oils and good dyes than novel solvents and silicones. It is richly pigmented, neither thick nor clumpy, with an almost-opacity that excels at depositing a flattering degree of colour without requiring an excessive amount of product.
It stays fairly put, surprisingly; I experienced very modest feathering on unprimed lips after a couple of cups of tea but nothing that would send an observer reeling backward in horror. It's a pity my solitary objection to the formula turned out to be a deal breaker, because it really is fabulous in every other respect; more on that later.
Chromatically, #1 is a classic neutral moyen red; if there is a tonal leaning, it may veer very slightly cool but neutrality is definitely the big take-home concept. That neutrality means you'll see it borrowing some tonal tendencies from surrounding materials in these tube pics, so the swatches are probably the best indication of reality.
Classic Red is the ultimate tent pole colour and every line aspires to their own version so dupes are therefore guaranteed. In my collection, #1 is virtually twins with Guerlain Rouge G Garçonne; you could wear both on either half of your lips without noticeable disparity, the only difference being the slightly more translucent formula of the Rouge G shade.
Below: the swatches. Don't worry; you're not going crazy and nor is your monitor losing its poor little mind- these really are a bunch of genuinely similar shades because I'm a sucker for scarlety nuance. Lol. MAC Red is cooler and a touch darker. Nars Dragon Girl is far more pink and matte. MAC Russian Red is warmer with a touch of earth. Bite Beauty Pomegranate is darker and deeper.
Guerlain Garçconne natural unflashed exterior light