Lipstick Chronology #16: YSL Belle de Rose

Name: YSL Rouge Pur Couture #8 (Belle de Rose)

Date of Purchase: Fall 2012

Grade: A

Notes: Of all the YSL lip colors in existence, Belle de Rose must be one of the least swatched and blogged about, despite its starring role in a Lisa Eldridge video. I suspect that YSL’s flurry of new releases–Rouge Volupté, Rouge Volupté Shine, Glossy Stains, Gloss Volupté–have distracted consumers from the original Rouge Pur Couture lipstick line. In fact, I forget how I first heard about Belle de Rose, though I remember that I’d been looking for a dark fuchsia lip color for a while. When I came across the one or two online swatches of Belle de Rose, my mind was made up. I promised myself that I’d order it as a reward for passing my general exam, but it somehow became a pre-generals reward instead.

(It wasn’t just generals that induced me to buy Belle de Rose. It was also that the name evoked my livejournal handle of yesteryear: “belledezuylen,” after James Boswell’s literary frenemy, because I was even more insufferable as a teenager than I am now.)

Color-wise, Belle de Rose is something of a chameleon. In its sublimely tacky mirrored gold tube, it looks like a dark plum:

Seriously, I feel like Kate Beaton’s ’80s businesswoman when I brandish this tube in public. LET’S TAKE THIS TO THE TREADMILL.

Swatched on my arm (which might as well be a piece of white paper), Belle de Rose is a richly pigmented dark fuchsia. I love its subtle shine.

I’ve swatched it next to three other dark plumberry colors for comparison. Left to right: NYX Black Cherry (redder, warmer); Revlon Plum Velour (sheerer, more purple); Belle de Rose; Milani Sangria (brighter, pinker).

On the lips–at least, on my fairly pigmented lips–Belle de Rose becomes redder. In some lights, it even looks like a dark berry red, à la NARS Cruella. The photo below was taken in relatively warm natural light.

With a lipstick this dark and opaque, I prefer a glossy or shiny finish to a matte one. To my eyes, a shiny plum like Belle de Rose is sophisticated but still a little playful; the same color in a matte finish would read either severe or gothy, depending on the outfit. Someday I’ll write down all the unwritten lipstick codes by which I operate. At some point in the distant past, for reasons I now forget, I decided that matte red looked more “professional” than matte plum, and that corals and berries were the best sheer lipsticks and there was no point in bothering with sheer fuchsia. Why? I don’t know. I like finding rules and patterns where none exist. I’m an INFJ. 

Despite the luxurious shine of Belle de Rose, I do find it drying. I think I may be the only person on the internet to have this problem with the Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks, but it’s worth noting.  

In cooler light, the purple undertones are more apparent:

Pardon the odd angles as I figure out my signature beauty-blogging-selfie pose.

The heady wine-and-roses scent of the Rouge Pur Couture line always makes me think of the decadent poets of the 1890s. The phrase “the days of wine and roses” actually originated in a poem by Ernest Dowson:

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
     Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
          We pass the gate.


They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
     Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
          Within a dream. 


I think that’s what I love most about makeup, after all–its utter ephemerality. There’s no such thing, really, as “timeless” or “classic” makeup; it’s always of its time, and there’s something beautiful about any art form that refuses to transcend its historical moment.

3 thoughts on “Lipstick Chronology #16: YSL Belle de Rose

  1. […] Did I need Eugenie? Well, no: I have more plum lipsticks than any other color. But makeup is unnecessary by definition, and as I’ve said before, I’d rather own multiple shades of a flattering color than buy an unflattering one to fill a gap in my collection. Here’s Eugenie swatched with just a few of its plummy cousins. Left to right: Revlon Black Cherry, Eugenie, Topshop Get Me Bodied, YSL Belle de Rose. […]


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