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Monday, March 21, 2016

Modern Purveyors of Vintage-Besame Lipsticks a Review

Is there anything more evocative of vintage beauty then classic red lipstick?

I don't think so.  Nearly all the stars during Hollywood's golden age sported glamorous  pouts in various hues of scarlet, and many more average ladies alive during the time period did as well.   

Now I am by no means a make up expert, in fact I'm not very skilled with make up at all, so if you want good vintage make up  tips I urge you to look else where (I will include a list of links later in this post) but I do wear lipstick almost every day and it is always Besame lipstick.

Besame is a cosmetics company that was founded by the beautiful Gabriela Hernandez.

She started the company in 2004 motivated by her life long love of vintage style, vintage cosmetics, and most specifically classic red lipstick!  Here is what the company has to say about their products:

"Through a keen eye for color and historical expertise, we recreate modern reproductions of classic luxury makeup from the 1920s, ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, designed to make women feel elegant, inspired, and empowered by their beauty. Pairing innovative, cutting edge technology with a historical milieu, our colors and formulations are painstakingly hand-crafted to a minutia of detail, from our custom-designed gold compacts to our signature chrysanthemum motifs."

Besame lipsticks are indeed super authentic from the gold bullet packaging:

To the triangular shape of the lipstick in the tube

these cosmetics are just like the vintage originals   

and of course the colors are spot on too.  

Perhaps most importantly Besame cosmetics are never tested on animals and are made from high quality ingredients.   A  nice thing about Besame is that while they are known for their reds they have other colors as well.  Here are pictures of the 9 shades I've tried.  

Besame Red- This is the companies signature shade a cooler blue-tone red with a nice bright tone.

Cherry Red-A 1930s cherry red shade that can be worn as a stain or more matte.

Red Hot Red- The warm red  made famous by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s.

Exotic Pink-A matte bright flamingo pink based on 1950s shades.

Carmine-A neutral orange red based on 1930s shades

Portrait Pink- A matte pastel baby pink with no shimmer, based on 1960s shades

American Beauty-A 1940s cool berry shade

Red Velvet-a deep matte 1940s red

Noir Red-A deep plum 1920s shade

The nice thing about Besame lipsticks is they have a high pigment so one coat gives full  coverage.  Also, like traditional vintage lipsticks, they are all matte or semi-matte so that you get that classic vintage look.

Besame lipsticks are available in two forms.  The economical matchsticks

which retail for $6.00 and let you try out the color.  Each matchstick set comes with six samples that are easy to apply.  The matchsticks are how I sampled nearly all the red shades I've shown here.

Besame lipsticks retail for $22.00 

but offer some distinct advantages over the matchsticks.   For one thing the match sticks are difficult to store and after you use one stick its very difficult to store it and use it again even if color remains.  The lipsticks of course don't have that problem and since the pigment is so concentrated they last a very long time.  I've had some of my besame tube lipsticks for over 3 years and they are still nearly full of product.   There are also some shades, including three of my favorites, exotic pink, debutante pink, and carmine, that are not available in matchstick form.  

The shape of the besame lipsticks is designed so that you can line your lips and apply color.  Here is a video showing how:

Being a make up klutz I still find this difficult and for the vibrant red shades I use either the match sticks or the besame lip liner and a regular drugstore lipstick brush.  

If you want to add some vintage glamour to your make up bag you absolutely can't go wrong with besame lipsticks.  The company also doesn't stop at lipstick.  They  make mascara, powder, and perfume.  The cosmetics are available online and in Sephora stores.

I promised I'd end this post with some links to people more knowledgable about vintage beauty, here you go:

Bobby Pin Blog

Glamour Daze Vintage Make Up Guide

Lipstick and Curls

Hollywood Noir


  1. What lovely lipsticks! I luffs the design on the container Mum do haf a nasty habit on kissing me on the head, you haf no idea how often I end up wiv pick lipstick staining my furs! *sigh* Do you haf any advice on how to remove stains frum your furs?
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  2. I didn't know Besame don't test on animals, that's good to know x

  3. Such lovely colors. Not testing on animals is the first thing I want to know about a company

  4. The tubes are so cool. It's amazing the things you see and find when watching classic movies. We crack up when you see people smoking; at home, in the office etc you looked so appealing
    Lily & Edward

  5. Very interesting post! I don't have the right skin tone for reds and pinks, unfortunately. In winter when I'm fairer I can wear pinker shades with gray clothes since my eyes are blue/gray, but as the weather warms my skin gets more tan with warm undertones so I usually stick with neutrals and browns. But I think the matchstick sampler is a brilliant idea, and it's important not to test on animals too.

  6. I love your picture with flamingo pink lipstick on!

  7. Although mom thinks lipstick looks nice on most ladies she herself does not wear it.
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  8. No lipstick used here. SHE always likes the old movies where the women's make up is perfect....first thing in the morning, after giving birth, being lost in the wilderness....BOL!

  9. I always remember sneaking in to my mum's bedroom when I was a little girl to try on her bright red lipstick :)
    Love the gorgeous shades you are modelling.
    Lynne x

  10. Gorgeous shades! This is a brand whose offerings have been on my wishlist for many a year now. It's incredible that you've gotten more than three years out of some of your Besame products. It's not uncommon for me to stretch MAC lipstick for half a year or more, but I've never had any brand last me that long if I was usually it frequently. That's definitely a strong point in Besame's favour.

    Than you for the great review!

    ♥ Jessica

  11. I think all these shades look great. I love lipstick though always feel like I can't quite pull off deep shades.

  12. I have the carmine and merlot shades. Besame are pricy, but they last so well I really think they're worth the money.

  13. Love all these shades on you! I love besame foundation but have yet to try their lipstick! I have a matchbook of sampliers but am so lipstick shy!


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