- Feel: 20/20
- Color Assortment: 18/20
- Color Payoff: 17/20
- Application: 17/20
- Staying Power: 18/20
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For years, I’ve been trying to attain that French girl “je ne sais quoi.” Their clothes are effortlessly cool. Their hair looks “undone,” but never messy. And their lipstick somehow always manages to look like they either just bit their lips for that perfect pinky flush or swiped on a fresh tube of never-budging red. The answer to my prayers came via French beauty brand Yolaine Paris and its Mousse de Rouge lip line, which finally hit the U.S. back in April.
These petite beauties, which come in dainty little tubes with gorgeous little prints all over, become even more endearing when you realize that creator Camille Yolaine is the daughter of a painter, and that they actually look like miniature tubes of paint.
The formula is no less unique. Available in eight shades (Garance, a true-blue red; Tulipe, a “fiery” orange-red; Pivoine, a rosy pink; Daphné, a nude red; Praliné, a terracotta brown; Framboise a bold pinkish berry; Rosier, a “sensuous burgundy;” and Hortense, a nude pink), they’re designed to feel like a “chocolate mousse, but red.”
They’re also made in Italy, vegan and not tested on animals—aka the lipstick dream. I put each and every color to the test over a period of three months: Here are my honest thoughts.
To test this formula, I gave each of the eight shades available a try, carefully applying each one with the brand’s own retractable lip brush ($22). I then continued on with my normal daily tasks, paying close attention to how the formula felt throughout the day and stopping to observe (and document) how well it stayed on after eating, drinking my morning coffee and kissing my boyfriend.
After being burned one too many times by formulas that offer long wear but are a nightmare to take off come nightime (looking at you, GXVE by Gwen Stefani Xtra Sauce longwear vinyl lipstick), I also tested removal of this product, both with and without a Bioderma Sensibio micellar water, $13 (my remover of choice).
When it comes to the application, you’ll definitely want to pick up the aforementioned lip brush, lest you wind up with red (or pink. Or orange) stains all over your fingers. On the one hand, I absolutely love applying the mousse this way. You know how the French take extra time to truly savor their meals? This is kind of like that. Not only is the brush precise enough to apply your mousse without the need for lip liner, it makes you slow down to put it on, which feels ultra-indulgent and luxurious. On the other hand, it’s not the most convenient when you’re in a rush or for on-the-go application, losing it a few points. Without a steady surface, you can forget reapplying this baby in the car (although, to be fair, it stays on quite well—see the photo at the top of this article, taken three hours and a meal apart, for evidence)!
As for using it as a blush, I am in desperate need of a specialized brush from Yolaine, as I’ve yet to figure out how to do this without making a complete and utter mess a toddler would be proud of.
Luckily, it cleans up easily. Despite its longevity for wear, it wipes off with or without the aid of a remover, and without having to scrub your lips until they bleed.
Now, for the real reason you clicked on this piece: that velvety feel. The texture of this stuff is unlike anything I’ve ever tried. It’s so creamy, it feels like kissing a rose petal, yet somehow maintains its French-girl matte better than a Kylie lip kit, $34 (IKYK). And it doesn’t dry out over time. Thirty minutes after you put it on, you can rub your lips together and have it still feel just as smooth, just as silky and just as opulent as it did when you first blended it in. Frankly, it’s exquisite, 20/20, the absolute best lipstick consistency I’ve ever tried in my life.
All in all, I think the shade range offering is pretty decent: There’s a good selection of nudes, pinks, oranges and reds, all of which seem to be pretty universally flattering on a wide variety of skin tones, as evidenced by the brand’s muses page. If Yolaine never expanded its core line, I would be content enough with the collection, which I’ve outlined in detail below. That said, I was super excited to see Praliné hit its lineup, and would love to see a few brighter shades added come next summer.
As for the current lineup, I’ve broken it down below, with four summer shades and four to try for fall.
While Garance appears to be a super bold red in the tube, it comes out on the softer side. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely notice it when you walk into a room, but it’s not the same in-your-face, over-the-top American red I’m used to—and maybe that’s a good thing. A true red, it has a bluish-pink undertone that complements my cool skin nicely, and you can build up the color a bit, too.
Tulipe is, hands down, my favorite shade in the collection. Unlike Garance, which has a more muted vibe, this one definitely lives up to every ounce of its “fiery red” descriptor, with a bold orange base that really pops in photos (exhibit A, above). Fans of Gucci Bloom’s Goldie Red, this is for you.
I didn’t want to love Pivoine as much as I did. It’s soft, it’s sweet, it’s…the antithesis of the bright (or alternately, vampiric) shades I tend to buy. And yet, as soon as I put it on, I was glad to have it in my collection. Though not quite a nude (it’s far more pink), it’s endlessly versatile, going with just about anything in my closet. It’s also the one I would (and have) risk messy hands for to use as a blush—it gives the perfect rosy glow. (We’re talking better than Ilia, people.)
Though Daphné is labeled a nude red, it’s definitely more on the nude side. It’s brighter than Pivoine, but it’s definitely not the color you’d think of when envisioning a typical red lipstick. This is the shade you’ll want to pull out for daily wear (and consequently, the one you’ll wear the most), since its soft pop of color will work well for everything from runs to the grocery store to drinks with the girls.
Brand new for fall, this is one of the more intriguing colors Yolaine offers. Though it’s described as a terracotta nude brown (i.e., perfect for your latte makeup routine), I was surprised to find that it had a hint of pink underneath on me, which I actually really loved. It’s a great nude hue that I’ll definitely be wearing into fall.
Remember those vampiric shades I mentioned above? Rosier gives you just that vibe. It’s deep, it’s dark and it’s brooding—just how I like them. A little of this one goes a long way, particularly if you want to keep the shade on the lighter side (the more you add, the darker this one gets), but it’s an absolute stunner on date night.
Hortense is also newer to the collection, and the only one I think falls a bit flat. There just wasn’t enough color payoff for me to go for this nude pink—if anything, I think it washed my lips out more than their natural color. While I’m willing to trade in my usual “look at me” shades in favor of Yolaine’s consistency, I need a little more oomph than this one affords.
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