I already own a few of the BOURJOIS baked blushes because, being inexpensive and pigmented, it is a fact not lost on me that they might also be a cute nod to the blushes made by that immensely premium French outfit, Chanel.
In fact, the resemblance goes right down to the baked dome shape and rose-scented cake so the possibility that it might even be a little similar to Chanel’s cheek but cheaper sent my dupe alarms into overdrive.
(Incidentally, both Bourjois and Chanel are part of the same French cosmetics group but their sources insist the formulas vary and are NOT boiled and baked from the same vat.
That said, this association alone was juicy enough to perk the ears and open the purses of girls – me included – who might long for Chanel but whose budget is more in the vicinity of Watsons drugstores.)
In truth, I can’t tell you if the Bourjois powders compare to the Chanel blushes as I have yet to buy a Chanel blush but may do so when I can finally wrap my head around getting past the
Little Napoleons staff that guard Chanel like well, it is God’s gift and they don’t want to share.
It’s not that I can’t afford actually Chanel so much as that once I had a run-in at a local consumer workshop with a very haughty Chanel staffer who seemed to think she was Madame Coco herself and that experience has left me thinking twice about dropping my hard-earned money at my local Chanel.
Apparently, Ms. Coco-Wannabe‘s gripe was that she was absolutely refusing to let me take a photo of a Chanel bottle despite hello, every other Tom to Dick to Harry tourist in the very public shopping mall area already doing so!
The area was a very, very public concourse and seriously, everyone was happy snapping so go figure her aggression but did she even try stopping them? Discrimination, much?
(I shouldn’t even have bothered – I don’t even like No.5 and images of the said bottle flood the internet anyway.)
Anyway, curse that bottle, the old lipsticked witch and Chanel too, if you are a company that sets up rules that only discriminate against one person in the room. Bully!
The incident with Ms. Coco-Wannabe was then followed by a team of Chanel MUAs who went ahead to ignore the fact that I was there for a scheduled makeover too.
They did, however, perform grudging little makeovers on my friends but I can’t even call the process a makeover because it was really more of a ‘dusting-over’ since each session barely covered the basics so really, none of us fared very well that evening at Chez Chanel.
Now, granted the
dusting-overs makeovers were FREE but Brands take note, do not even try to offer this gratuity to potential customers if you don’t intend to follow through graciously with your promise.
So yes, all in all it was a somewhat miserable ‘workshop’ experience with the local Double-C Crew and it left me feeling that Chanel Malaysia (with the exception of a rare gem, Chanel staffer – Gwen in Fragrances) has no idea how to make me happy.
So much for all that posh brand talk – do work on your team’s manners before trying to sell anything to me again. Trust me, rudeness is not classy, even if you are Chanel.)
Honestly, it beggars belief as to why brands would even bother with the staggering expense of a roadshow and consumer workshop if all they have around is staff who seek to rub potential customers like me the wrong way!
And that’s why I’ll buy Bourjois before Chanel…and, when I finally do get over my grudge and consider Chanel again, I’ll most likely buy what I need from abroad.
Unrelated drama aside, today I’m going to walk you through my experience of the new lip product from Bourjois that landed on my reviewing desk last week – the Rouge Edition Aqua Laque.
Not to be confused with the Lip Velvet in the Rouge Edition family which I haven’t tried, these new Aqua Laques are really something quite different formula-wise. I was intrigued.
To give you an idea, here’s a look at some swatches of the three shades of Aqua Laque I received for review…
SWATCHES for #04, #07 & #08
The arm swatches appear a bit coral here but it is a trick of my horrible office lighting because they are not but no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the right shading in my lighting situation for the above pic.
More accurately, I would describe the shades as leaning towards the rosy pinks and fuchsias of this world but they have just the right balance of toning to look classy and less Barbie.
Nevertheless, these swatches are useful in indicating the textural consistency of the Aqua Laque so I’ll leave them in the post for that purpose.
These are doubled-up swipes with the attached applicator wand. A single swipe was too streaky because the formula is very watery coming straight from the tube but that’s why this product is so interesting – it has this complex hybrid formula that develops and matures like a good wine or cheese.
PIGMENTATION & PAYOFF
The Aqua Laque promises vibrant and sophisticated colour but initial contact shows that it is very watery and even quite translucent.
However, a clever alchemy of the formula means that a few strategic dabs of the doe-foot applicator and a careful smacking of the lips moves the colour quickly beyond sheer to a richly-pigmented but still-glossy lip cream.
The resulting lip has a shiny wet-look that is a signature feature of this product.
In saying all this, the product’s charming texture and pigmentation is also what makes the Aqua Laque demand some skill in order to apply nicely. However, I’ll talk in more depth about how I handle this product’s very different lip formula later in this post.
To be honest, the Aqua Laque is was what I had hoped the Melted to be but I found the Too Faced formula lacking in so many ways, especially in the horrid Peony shade.
I really do prefer the shades and pigmentation of this Bourjois product by a long shot. So yes, dare I say, this is better than those Melted lip creams for me and if you are a Melted fangirl, you might want to consider this Bourjois product – albeit as a glossy alternative.
THE SIGNATURE ‘WET-LOOK’
Given the AQUA in its name, it’s unsurprising that the Aqua Laque is unusually fluid to the point of being well, as watery as the name implies!
Out of the tube, it looks and spreads like a lip gloss but it is neither sticky nor gloopy yet manages to impart a nice glossy wet-look over a base of opaque colour.
The lips are left with a rich and juicy sheen over solid colour that makes them appear fresh, vibrant and plump. This lip plumping effect is a nice feature and adds dimension to any lip.
Don’t believe me? Here are some lip swatches to prove it…
It has been the bane of my life that most lip products just fade off my lips within the hour or two; more so because this disappearing lip colour act is a problem that is really noticeable on my naturally pale lips.
With proper application, the Aqua Laque’s initial water-like glossiness settles easily into a smooth and even-coloured opaque lip effect. It is a slightly creamy but comfortable and moist wear on the lips and exhibits an intensity of colour that is usually only seen from the more matte or thick cream formulas and then, dare I say, only matched by some of the better lipstick brands like NARS or MAC.
By the end of the day, after about 6-8 hours of wear, the creamy opaqueness of colour ends up less intense but the pigments never completely fade away but settle into something that is like a lip stain. The effect is still very decent and pretty enough to bypass reapplication and should be welcome news for the lazy but naturally pale-lipped.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to reapply pigment during the day and the result is fresh and fabulous if you do but it’s one of those lip products that will give you some rare leeway should you choose not to bother.
…from ‘fresh nudes, elegant pinks, vibrant oranges
and flamboyant reds‘
I can’t speak for all the shades in the range but I fell in love with the shades in my review box…
(The cute shade descriptions below are courtesy of Bourjois Paris)
~ Aqua Laque #04 – Viens Si Tu Roses ~
“Not really pink or red, it’s almost a raspberry colour. A shade inspired by the colour of the lips with just enough pigment to paint a charming smile…Try it if you dare.”
~ Aqua Laque #07 – Fuschsia Perché ~
“Mr Fuchsia decided to abandon a little blue for a more wearable look. Always bright and pigmented, it’s beyond reproach.”
~ Aqua Laque #08 – Babe Idole ~
“Today I’m the queen of pop…who said light pink had to be sensible”
Right, this could be a treat…or a trick and would depend on whether you like scented lip products at all.
The Aqua Laque is scented. There’s no getting out of that fact.
Thankfully, it does not smell or taste like anything floral – a scent family that I believe belongs nowhere near the lips because it would feel too much like what eating soap might be like.
Instead, the Aqua Laque has something of a pink jellybean-like flavour that makes me think of it as a product aimed at a younger market.
I might prefer my lip products product scentless but seeing as this has a scent anyway – I’m not going to nitpick it because it’s tolerable, probably trendy and even quite pleasant on days when I’m feeling young-at-heart.
For what it’s worth, the scent lasts nowhere near as long as the colour and I didn’t even notice it after a while.
BRAND, PRICE & AVAILABILITY
More than a year ago, French brand BOURJOIS (Circa 1863), landed on our shores and brought with it a stable of popular French beauty goodies loved by generations of young women.
The most exciting part of this news was that Bourjois arrived not only with the brand’s most endeared products, but it entered our market with the company’s characteristically reasonable drugstore-type pricing too. In other words – AFFORDABILITY – and that’s always welcome news for our purses!
The Aqua Laque is in line with the rest of the brand’s mid-ranged pricing and should be affordable to most beauty pundits.
In terms of local availability, it doesn’t get more convenient than a full shelf at most of the premium Watsons outlets around the country. Then of course, there is the flagship Bourjois Kiosk at Sunway Pyramid Mall for the full range and Limited Edition packagings.
- The Aqua Laque retails for RM 45.45 (RRP)
However, Bourjois have launched the Aqua Laque in Malaysia at a promotional price of RM42.80 at both Watsons and the Bourjois Kiosk, Sunway.
In conjunction with the promotional price, at Watsons stores there is even a Gift With Purchase offer with a minimum purchase of RM 60 worth of Bourjois product. At the Bourjois Kiosk, there is a different Gift With Purchase with a minimum RM 80 purchase.
The only thing is that I’m not sure for how long these offers will be valid so do check before you pay.
MY NOTES ON USAGE
Here are a few tips on how I approach the unique watery/ opaque consistency of this new-spangled lip formula-:
- Don’t apply lip balm to the lips before this product. You will discover that this product is adequately watery, moisturising and colourfast enough on its own. Any balm or oil on the lips will only serve to make this product more slippery and difficult to distribute across the lip neatly.
- It has the initial fluid characteristics of a wet-look gloss but is generally quite lightweight, non-sticky and non-greasy and is as pigmented as an opaque lip cream once it settles on the lips and dries. Over time, it wears down into a decent lip tint that does away with much of the need to reapply.
- Do not apply this product when you are in a rush. This highly runny formula demands time, patience, a steady hand and hence, an unorthodox technique to apply.
- Approach the application lightly and somewhat gingerly. Avoid the more traditional method of swiping lipsticks across from one end of your mouth to another and dab the colour onto the lip instead. Grand swiping gestures spell disaster for this highly pigmented but slippery formula. You’ll likely get it everywhere.
- Use a mirror every time, if possible. Given the highly fluid nature of the Aqua Laque, it is necessary to apply this product with a mirror for more precise results unless of course, your goal is a truly messy smear. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
- If using the accompanying doe-foot applicator, dab the pigments well inside the lip line and gently press your lips together to distribute the colour more evenly around your lips. Blot away any excess and reapply again in the same gentle dabbing motion; repeating with some more gentle lip-smacking. After this, I start aiming for a few careful and measured little dabs and mini swipes closer to the lip line and to fill in any ‘gaps’. It’s really a matter of using less product and distributing it all gently around the lips in a carefully measured fashion. A bit like painting with watercolours actually. The process gets easier with practice and trust me, the hours of colour payoff that result are really worth the effort of taking the time to apply it nicely.
- Pay extra attention when painting the product at the corners of your mouth – granted, the flocked applicator isn’t the most precise way to handle this area but it’s still possible to achieve a good result with a light but steady hand. It might take you a few tries but you will get there if you stick to the twin adages that ‘Less is More‘ and ‘Practice Makes Perfect‘.
- The colour is buildable and once it dries a little and settles, the result is not streaky but beautifully opaque, even and smooth.
- I do love the glossy wet look of the product on my lips but this shininess wears away quite quickly. What does remain is an intense and creamy colour that stays on much longer than any of my other lipsticks.
- The colours are all quite lively in this collection and may seem a little scary from the tube, but my experience with shades 04/ 07/ 08 were that they were all extremely pretty and all very wearable even against my rather fair skin. That said, all the shades in this review produced quite a strong lip and this product may not suit you if you are a natural lip girl who wants her lipstick to be barely there. You might want to start with #01 Appechissant which Bourjois recommends as a ‘punchy nude shade for a healthy glow‘.
- Personally, I love all three of the reviewed shades equally and was surprised that even #08 Babe idole was nice on me. From the packaging, I was afraid it would be Melted Peony all over again. It’s not – it’s actually gorgeous and everything that Melted in Peony was not.
- This product is prone to bleeding when it is first applied. Ensuring your lips are in good condition will give you a better final result but the same can be said with every lip product actually. Lip care is never overrated. A little bit of tissue blotting should also help control the initial spread and make it possible to identify those spots you missed the first time around.
- Further to the last point, I have a theory that a lip liner might be a game-changer when it comes to application of this by acting as a barrier to control some runaway bleed that creeps dangerously close to the lip line when my hand is not steady. I’m not fond of lip liners myself because I loathe the harsh line they create along the lip line but might consider an invisible one for this product. Should you be interested, Urban Decay makes an invisible one.
- Marrying the lightweight sensation and shine of an un-sticky but runny gloss with the effect and payoff of a richly-pigmented lip cream – the result is bold, dimensional colour that blends smoothly onto the lip and stays there too.
- This hybrid lip product sustains great holding power and I love that rather than fade to nothing like some lip products, the Aqua Laque rouses its last legs to become a decent lip stain too.
- Sure, the Aqua Laque can take some practice to use but only because many of us have never see a formula quite like it. With a careful application technique, the payoff and longevity of wear is rich reward from this lip product.
- I didn’t expect to like all the shades I received in this blind test run but I truly did and am keen to explore the other shades now.
- It’s not only the new lip on the block – for me, it’s a completely new but beautiful experience in lip colour. All in all, it’s an innovative formula that challenges what I would ever expect from a lip product but I like it very much. I feel like tossing out half my lipstick stash now and hunting me down some more Aqua Laque shades. Thumbs up, this is a keeper.
Have you tried Bourjois’ new Rouge Edition Aqua Laque?
[Disclaimer: Product was sent to me for trial and review. Opinions and commentary are my own. Consider at your own risk. All links are non-affiliate and for informational purposes only. All images in this post belong to me and may not be used without permission and a credit link back to this blog.]