Name: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres Glossy Stain #11 (Rouge Gouache) (TL;DR)
Date Purchased: November 2012
Notes: This, my friends, is the business. This is my favorite red of all time. It’s not the most wearable or versatile or low-maintenance red, but I still feel that thrill of shiny newness every time I put it on, even though I bought it a year and a half ago. I mean, look at it:
(It also plays well with NARS Lhasa, but everything does.)
Back in late 2012, millennia ago in makeup years, the YSL Glossy Stains were truly revolutionary. Since then, of course, they’ve spawned both drugstore and high-end imitations and made us all comfortable with the idea of a hybrid lip product. The gimmick of the Glossy Stains, as if anyone doesn’t already know by now, is that they’re meant to have the lasting power of a stain, the pigmentation of a lipstick, and the shine of a gloss. Check, check, and check. They’re also supposed to be moisturizing, or at least non-drying, but Rouge Gouache does start to feel uncomfortable on my lips after a few hours. And it doesn’t last through a meal, at least not attractively. But I forgive it that. I’d forgive it almost anything. If it killed a man, I’d bury the body.
Each Glossy Stain has a fuzzy pointy doe-foot applicator that I find fairly easy to use, but I do have a hard time using it to draw precise lines. I suspect a lip brush would help matters, but–horrors, revoke my beauty-blogger membership, etc.–I don’t own one. Scent is the usual Rouge Pur Couture wine-and-roses bouquet. The first time I tried on Rouge Gouache, at a Sephora, I was convinced the tester had gone bad: no high-end lip color should reek so strongly of alcohol. How wrong I was. I came to love it, though, and even to crave it.
Rouge Gouache, released in the original lineup of Glossy Stains, is a pink-based cherry red. One coat gives you a glossy fuchsia tint; two coats and you’re in full-on blue-red territory. I always brush on one coat, wait about a minute for it to set, then add the second coat. Some bloggers seem to wear just one coat as a rule, but I have a hard time getting one coat to look clean and even, especially when my lips are dry. I just consider the first my “sloppy coat,” the one that sinks in to form the stain.
Left, one coat; right, two coats.
Rouge Gouache is a powerful color, an almost talismanic color; it will take over your entire face if you’re not careful. There’s nothing natural or nonchalant about a pair of lacquered red lips. For a while, I tried to pretend that Rouge Gouache was the sort of lip color I could throw on before going to work at the coffee shop. “If I wear it casually,” I thought, “it will be casual.” So I tried to wear it casually, with an otherwise bare face and a T-shirt and jeans. But I always felt uncomfortable; it attracted too much attention. I eventually reached the conclusion that my lifestyle, by and large, didn’t allow for a mind-bending, spacetime-reconfiguring glossy red. I actually worry that wearing it in unremarkable circumstances will diminish its power; I want to store up that power for a situation that really requires it. (Writing this blog post, for instance.)
Maybe this is an aspirational lip color, challenging me to become the sort of person for whom glossy red lips are second nature. Is there such a person? Does she have a job? Is that job hiring?