At a glance
I tried the Rouge Hermes, luxury lipsticks (both satin and matte) from the prestigious Parisian brand Hermès. In this post, I give you a detailed description of my thoughts on them!
If there was one makeup release that was eagerly expected by lipstick addicts around the world at the beginning of 2020, it was definitely the Rouge Hermès launch! Indeed, the famous luxury brand Hermès decided to venture into makeup last year. I had the opportunity to try these very chic lipsticks. You can find my thoughts below!
Clearly, they were out of luck with their timing… Launching lipsticks the year of Covid and masks, it’s a bit of a bummer! But that didn’t stop their collection from being a success. Even in the midst of health chaos, the luxury sector is defying the crisis!
This launch was not rushed however. The Hermès lipsticks are the result of more than two years of development and at least ten years of research and concepts before that, from the Dumas family (they are the heirs of the founder of Hermès, which has remained a family brand to this day).
In 2000, Hermès made a small incursion into the world of makeup, for the launch of their perfume Rouge Hermès, with the creation of one single shade of red lipstick, sold as a limited edition.
Twenty years later, Hermès is finally entering the cosmetics industry with these Rouges lipsticks to begin with, and no doubt other products for the eyes and complexion will follow in the coming months.
I didn’t get them when they first came out, but I was super happy to find them under my Christmas tree! So I’ve been able to wear them for a few weeks now and I’ll tell you all about them 🙂
Hermès and the makeup:
Rouge Hermès, introduction:
If you’re familiar with the history of the brand, you probably wondered about the relationship between riding saddles, horse harnesses and lipsticks… It’s true that over the years, the Hermès company, originally a manufacturer of harnesses and saddles, has gradually evolved into a “lifestyle” company, always symbolizing a certain French chic.
Hermès has clearly designed its lipsticks to be desirable but also durable.
Indeed, with Hermès, luxury is not related to couture like many other luxury companies, but rather to everyday objects (very high-end ones, obviously) such as leather goods, clothing, watches, jewelry, home décor, tableware, fragrances, and now makeup.
They’re certainly luxurious, but with Hermès, the objects are also very functional! That doesn’t stop them from being very beautiful and that is definitely the case with these Rouge Hermès. True works of art, and definitely collectible!
Hermès has clearly designed its lipsticks to be desirable but also durable.
You have the option to purchase a refill once you’re done with your lipstick (or if you want to change colors while keeping the same case, like the beautiful limited edition cases, for example)! The case is magnetic, it’s very easy to change the refill!
Rouge Hermès lipsticks come in two finishes (14 satin and 10 matte). There is also a transparent lip balm and a lip shine (but I think it’s a limited edition?). The permanent collection has 24 shades (a reference to their address at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris 😉 ).
Each season, they also offer 3 limited edition shades, usually inspired by various artists (this Fall-Winter, they were inspired by the melancholic paintings of Charles Sheeler, John Register, Arduino Cantàfora, and Jean Hélion).
Rouge Hermès, a concentrate of the brand’s values:
It probably won’t come as a surprise that prestigious luxury brands like Hermès love to create a whole world full of symbols and references, which always refers to the history of the brand, its core values, its perception in the collective imagination…
Every detail was very carefully thought out!
And each of the objects from their collections is a sort of concentrate of this world. In general, they are easily identifiable, you almost immediately recognise the codes of the company!
This is clearly the case with these Hermes lipsticks! Everything has been designed to evoke different aspects of the Maison Hermès, whether in the design of the packaging, the texture of the stick, its fragrance, the choice of colors, the accessories around the lipsticks… Every detail was very carefully thought out!
These lipsticks were the result of great teamwork with people from the different departments of the company participating in their creation. Notably:
– Jérôme Touron, creative director of Hermès Beauty, for the formulas,
– Bali Barret, Artistic Director of the Hermès women’s universe and Creative Director of women’s silk, who imagined the range of shades inspired by the famous Silk Carrés, a must-have from the brand,
– Pierre Hardy, Creative Director of Hermès Shoes and Jewelry, who designed the Rouge,
– and Christine Nagel, director of olfactory creation at Hermès, who created a custom-made fragrance for these lipsticks.
I’ll go into more details below, but you can really feel that the design of these Rouge Hermès lipsticks has been extremely meticulous. Clearly, the brand’s enthusiasts will definitely feel at home with these!
Note: as mentioned above, the tubes are refillable. In 2021, Hermès wants to be eco-responsible, of course, but there is also a desire to resonate with the history of the brand, which has always wanted to create objects that are as durable as possible.
The Rouge Hermès lipsticks in details:
Clearly, this is a collector’s item! The case of these Rouges is magnificent.
Pierre Hardy, creative director of jewelry and shoes for Hermès, designed the super graphic packaging for the tubes. With their color block design, they evoke both the jumping bars of the equestrian world (which is never far away with Hermès!) and the esthetic of the Italian design group Memphis.
The lipstick tubes are made of metal (only the lipstick mechanism is made of plastic) and have a matte black finish, another one lacquered in white and lastly a brushed gold “permabrass”, the brass that the brand also uses for its handbags, luggage and accessories. The limited edition lipsticks are available in a selection of bright lacquered colors. They are magnetized for ease of use and a luxurious feel.
The metal tube is topped with a curved golden plate on which the company’s ex-libris is engraved. This seal, created in 1923, is the Hermès signature and evokes the history of the company, which was founded nearly a hundred years ago.
Each Rouge is protected by its own canvas pouch, as are all the brand’s accessories. You can also buy a leather case to protect your lipstick, because after all, why shouldn’t your Rouge Hermès have its own Birkin? 😉
Hermès has a real eye for detail, right down to the outer packaging. Even the recycled cardboard boxes that contain the lipsticks are very elegant and are made of the same bright orange cardboard that is the signature of the brand’s boxes!
Speaking of this orange, did you know that this iconic color has a history?
It first appeared in 1942. It was a shortage of beige cardboard during World War II that forced the brand to use remaining stocks of orange cardboard. It has since become the symbol of the company, the famous Hermès orange.
Hermès pays tribute to the color in this collection with a lipstick called “Orange Boîte” (which means “Orange Box” in French), in the same warm orange tone that is used in its cardboard boxes!
The formula and the different finishes:
The Rouges’ formulas were designed in a Research and Development laboratory dedicated to beauty, located in Vaudreuil, Normandy, not far from the Hermès leather workshop.
And just like leather with different finishes, the Rouges come in two finishes, matte and satin.
The matte finish is inspired by the tactile and visual aspect of Doblis leather, with its soft, powdery feel. For the satin finish, the smooth and luminous Box leather was used as a reference.
For both, the emphasis was on comfort with many nourishing ingredients such as oils and waxes (beeswax, Candelilla wax) but also antioxidant white mulberry extract, a reference to the silk used for the brand’s famous Carrés.
In fact, this matte is quite luminous, more like a semi-matte. If you’re looking for a true powdery matte, this one won’t be for you. For the satin finish, same thing, we’re not in an ultra-glossy texture, but rather in a subtle luminosity.
Both formulas are also very lightweight, you can barely feel like you’re wearing them and the color is applied to the lips in one layer. The pigmentation is definitely there!
The fragrance of the Rouges was created by Christine Nagel, the Hermès ‘nez’, who developed for these Rouges a very soft perfume based on sandalwood, arnica and angelica.
The shade range:
Color doesn’t scare Hermès! They want to be the embodiment of chic, but that doesn’t mean they want you to be bored in black, navy blue and beige. If you’ve ever had a look at the famous Carrés de la maison, you won’t be surprised. Designed to give a touch of color to an outfit, they are often very bright!
So it was only logical that the Rouges echoed them!
The task of developing the range of shades of these Rouges was naturally left to Bali Barret, artistic director of the Hermès women’s department and creative director of women’s silk.
Inspired by the seventy-five thousand colors used for the silk crafts and the nine hundred shades developed for the leather goods, Bali Barret wanted to reflect the great emblematic colors of the brand with these lipsticks colors.
For example, there is the Rouge H, a burgundy red with no hint of yellow or blue, or the Rouge Casaque, a bright, classic, universal red, neither too warm nor too cool. A very French red lip! There is also the Orange Boîte, an allusion to Hermes’ famous orange boxes…
The range of 24 shades is full of flattering and happy colors, and you’ll want to collect them all!
As for the limited edition shades, they are a little different and offer a different interpretation of color. Depending on the season, they respond to different inspirations, and allow the brand to try more trendy and ephemeral color combinations.
Hermès Rouge lipsticks, my thoughts:
They are rather easy to apply on the lips, they glide on easily and deposit an even layer of color immediately.
The shape of the stick also plays an important role in this easy application: it’s slightly rounded for satin textures, and more pointed for matte lipsticks, allowing more precision.
Texture and feeling on the lips:
Both formulas (satin and matte) are very pleasant and comfortable immediately on the lips.
I was quite surprised by the instant comfort of the matte finish, it feels super nice and cushiony. It doesn’t dry out and stays supple on the lips for a long time. Of course, after a few hours, it starts to feel a little tight, but nothing really terrible. And if you reapply it, the comfort comes back 🙂
The soft and flowery perfume is very very light, you can barely smell it. It’s subtle but you can still smell it enough to make the application process pleasant. I like it very much!
Pigmentation and opacity:
Depending on their finish, they are more or less pigmented. The matte version is the more pigmented of both. It covers with color in a single pass, but without thickness. It’s quite impressive. Maximum impact but with a super lightweight feel!
In the permanent collection, there are many red, pink and orange shades, but also some nudes and darker colors.
My husband (who offered me two lipsticks for Christmas) chose two matte shades and I later purchased two other colors in the satin finish:
– Rouge Casaque (matte): a neutral bright red, neither too warm nor too cool. It’s the perfect red when you want to brighten up your complexion! I probably would have chosen this one myself 😉
– Rose Nuit (matte, limited edition autumn-winter 2020/21): a very pretty, slightly bright, mauvy rosewood. This is typically the kind of colors I wore a lot a few years ago. My husband told me that he looked at my blog to choose the shade (I thought it was adorable!).
– Rose Épicé (satin): a very nice warm pink, slightly terracotta. It contains tiny golden glitter that you can’t see when you wear it, but it’s super luminous! It’s my obsession of the moment, I love these kind of soft and flattering shades that warm up the complexion nicely!
– Rose Ombré (satin, limited edition fall-winter 2020/21): a very pretty pinkish beige, perfect for everyday use. For me, it’s the flattering nude that goes with everything and is very easy to wear!
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t impressed by their lasting power. The matte lipsticks stay on my lips between 3 and 5 hours, which is an average lasting power, I would say.
The satin finish lipsticks stay on for 4 or 5 hours and fade rather nicely from the lips. They also stay super comfortable the entire time!
Now, to be honest, lasting power has never been a primary consideration for me. I don’t mind reapplying my lipstick. And with a beautiful object like this, it’s a total joy to take it out from your handbag and reapply it, too! 😉 (yes, I know, I’m projecting, please let me dream about the post-pandemic 😅)
Value for money:
These Rouges are not cheap, as you might expect.
You have to count $67 for a lipstick from the permanent catalog, $72 for those in limited edition. Refills are $42.
That’s the price to pay for luxury, I guess. And I must admit that these are so beautiful, sophisticated and refined, to the smallest detail, that I wasn’t really “shocked” by their price.
Certainly, these are high prices, but compared to other lipsticks on the same luxurious segment, these prices are average, I would say (some are much more expensive, like the ones from La Bouche Rouge that I reviewed a while back, for example).
They are available online on the brand’s website, as well as in their boutiques and on some Hermès counters in some department stores (the list of points of sale is on their website).
Hermès Rouge lipsticks swatches:
And here are the swatches of the Rouge Hermès lipsticks!
If you’re reading this from your phone, please feel free to click on the picture to enlarge it!
Hermès Rouge lipsticks lip swatches:
A final anecdote:
As you can see, I fell in love with these Rouges and personally, I’ve had a rather nice experience with the brand… But that wasn’t the case for my husband and I think it’s important to tell the story of what happened to him because the details matter a lot, especially for a company as prestigious as Hermès.
I live in Dubai, and I’ve already had the opportunity to talk about it several times, the experience as a buyer here is not always a good one. So much so that I hardly do any “physical” shopping here anymore. Between the higher prices, the constant harassment of the sales assistants who follow you in the store and appropriate advice, how can I put it… non-existent, I have made my choice and I order almost everything online.
And when my husband went to the Mall Of Emirates to buy me my Christmas present, the general lack of professionalism from the Hermès Dubai salespeople was a confirmation.
He spotted these lipsticks at the Hermès boutique in the Mall, but once there, the saleswoman sent him to a podium outside the boutique (it was here during the festive season). There, he made up his mind quite quickly about the choice of lipsticks, but he also wanted to gift me a leather case to protect my lipstick. He wasn’t sure I’d like it, so the saleswoman on the podium told him that it wasn’t a problem at all, that he or I could get a refund without any problems if I didn’t like it.
Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that this was not true, and that Hermes in Dubai did not refund purchases. When I wanted to return the case, I realized that the saleswoman on the podium had lied to my husband, probably to be able to make the sale more easily, and that I could not get a refund.
And really, I must admit that being lied to is frankly unpleasant as a customer and I also find that it’s very damaging for the image of the brand. I understand that the salespeople on the podiums are “extras”, but from the moment they are hired by Hermès, they represent the company.
In short, we were able to find an exchange only solution, but it wasn’t really a pleasant experience for my husband. And I’m sure that it doesn’t represent the level of professionalism that is expected from this brand. It’s probably a local problem, but when you’re a brand that is so widely distributed internationally, it’s important to offer the same prestigious experience to your Parisian clientele, as you do to your Dubai clientele, in my humble opinion…
Despite this Dubai misadventure, I am still delighted with my Christmas present, my husband knows me very well and he has great taste! 😉
I find these Rouge Hermès lipsticks absolutely sublime, true collector’s items, and the formula is great too. The colors are really beautiful, and it’s actually hard to choose, I want to collect them them all!
Whether it’s the matte or satin finish, I find them both really good, although I must admit that I do have a slight preference for satin lipstick in general (comfort and shine are my favourites at the moment for my lipsticks!).