Friday, October 10, 2014

Perfume & Lipstick: A Game

There is no doubt that in the semiotics of pop culture perfume and lipstick are the porthole of feminine guiles, in what concerns the outer, artificial adornment at least. Many are the historical times that both had been demonized in an attempt to contain female freedom to play with one's image and aura; feminists might have viewed them at one time as symbols of cultural oppression but I opine that they offer a leeway of divesting one's self from that which has been handed out to them by nature and easily slipping into something more comfortable ~or more uncomfortable, as the whim necessitates.

Each different lipstick shade and texture suggests a different mood: satin polished effects for a rich socialite or the everyday woman, austere matte and bold color for the professional or the fashion plate, glossy translucence for the teenager attempting to map out her budding version of herself. And the same happens with perfumes: how many times have you projected your noli me tangere mood by opting for an inedible chypre, your playfulness with a fruity floral, your contemplative persona with an incense perfume or your "bursting at the seams" femininity with a scent full of the erotic thrust of tuberose?

But could the two be combined into a fun role playing game? Theoretically perfume has already embraced lipstick "notes" in famous examplars such as Drole de Rose or Lipstick Rose (F.Malle) and lipsticks for long have been aromatized with added scent that projects as alluring and feminine to reinforce that mental implication, but ho about pairing one with the other as 2 separate products>
This is our diversion today on Perfume Shrine.

The following is only a suggestion and not hard & fast rules or a typical guide. And please join the fun in the comments by suggesting your favorite pairings or habits!

Dior Addict lipstick 578 paired with Yves Saint Laurent Paris eau de toilette

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte in #3 Beige Ultimate with Diptyque Philosykos

Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in 05 Mademoiselle with Love Chloe eau de parfum

Nars lipstick in Schiap with Piguet Fracas extrait

Nars lipstick in Afgan Red with Guerlain Samsara eau de parfum

Bobbi Brown Shimmer Finish lip color in Plum Shimmer with Shiseido/Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois eau de parfum

Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in 14 Muse with Montale Blue Amber

Mac Ruby woo lipstick with Chanel No.5 eau de toilette

I'll be adding a couple more combinations & photos later on…


  1. i love this! it's just how i think about color + perfumes...

    "black orchid" and a deep plum-colored lipstick...preferably with black velvet dress and amethysts.

    "baiser du dragon" and a man-slaying scarlet lip...vintage black/red/gold embroidered kimono over silk sheath dress.

    "chergui" and a rich crimson lip color...big amber necklaces and intricately patterned earth-toned silk maxi-dress.


  2. I like the enriching slant of your article--aligning scent and lipstick.I can see the challenge and reward. (But as a male, of course, I would have nothing more to worry about than the flavour of my Chapstick.) I write because I'm wondering how one manages to reconcile one's perfume (from the bottle) with the scent infused into one's lipstick. I've often been surprised by how much aroma comes with lipstick. Maybe it dissipates quickly or maybe women are used to somehow setting aside the lip scent in favour of the perfume. I confess that I favour my my fragrance so much, that I avoid scented soaps (as much as I like them). Signed, Naive and curious

  3. bergamot23:11

    This is lovely!

    What do you think you'd pair with a brick red or rust red?

  4. annemarie01:03

    Tqm, in my experience the scent of lipstick does not last long, and I wear mostly Lauder, Chanel, revlon and a local Australian brand called Natio. But I remember once having to throw out a lipstick because of the strong tutti-frutti scent. Can't remember the brand, might have been Maybelline.

  5. Anonymous04:18

    Your choices are delightful!

    I'm partial to Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in Caractere. It's a rose-brown-plum with a subtle gold shimmer. It does add character to a natural look and goes well with Santa Maria Novella Melograno.


  6. Miss Heliotrope07:50

    As someone with about two lipsticks & quite a lot more perfumes, I can see the fun in this, but am a lip colour newbie, so being cautious. I have a Natio one, as above, but currently like Innoxa's wild cherry, and seem mostly to have worn it with Chanel 19, as our weather cheers up -

  7. Miss Heliotrope07:58

    & someone here just having cleaned his shoes - shoe polish & lipstick seem to smell similar.

  8. NFS,

    yeah, it's the next possible thought right after the color+scent combo.

    Wow, two killer options out of the three (and one which is also semi-killer). You're a predator!! :-D
    Love these.

  9. T,

    excellent question!!

    I know that many women do refuse to opt for lipsticks that have a strong scent, though in my experience this is more time-dependent and the original application is the one yielding most scent. I don't mind most "feminine" lipsticks with their subtle rosy or violet-y scent. Personally I can't really stand too strong vanillas or too strong coconuts (argh!!!!!!!) and most fruits that are too "jello" like (apart from cherry) but usually those are reserved not for actual lipsticks, but for glosses and chapsticks (I can feel your pain in choosing a good one). Maybe it's because glosses and lipsticks are aimed at introducing a very young audience to lip care so they need to have very accessible and real life compatible flavors (i.e. the jello fruit flavor one likes in jello can be a sure bet in a lip product, coconut is popular through candies and suntan lotions, vanilla is a perennial reference etc.)

    One thing I found is that the "dried fig" scent of some of the classic Lauder lipsticks is getting me off my plate (even though I like actual figs a lot!) and although I'd probably need that side-effect some of the time, it's enough to discourage me from ever buying one. Make of that what you will.

  10. Bergamot,

    I have always envisioned Coromandel as a brick red. Dressed in brocade silk.

  11. AMC,

    see my comment above to TQM, I think we have similar reactions to that issue!
    Maybe the tutti frutti is a teen reference for easing the young audiences into lip care and eventually makeup, who knows? Nifty trick, huh? Pity for us who have no taste for them though. (I have a similar problem with body lotions and products in an assortment of fruity rainbow flavors)

  12. Noz,

    you now have me hankering after Chanel Caractere!!! (Rouge Coco #14 for those reading us). It looks stunning, just like the thing I'd have fun wearing every day! Thanks for that (*my wallet is crying though*)

  13. ΜΗ,

    if it's any consolation I have too many lipsticks but wear a handful the most. ;-)
    Wild cherry with No.19 eh? How cool. I have always paired this perfume with nothing on the lips, or balm at the most, though this seems kinda natural as it's my summer mainstay.

  14. MH,

    oh, do tell the brand of the shoe polish!! *wildly intrigued!*

  15. Miss Heliotrope02:47

    Aquila - it's a men's shoes brand's own polish. Mind you, I wish they did women's - some of their boots, especially...

    I think it's the waxiness, mostly, that I'm smelling, but there's also a soft leather but with a general expensive neutral perfume, if that makes sense.

    (I hope now that it wasnt the cat litter next to it that I was smelling)

  16. I have never thought about the perfume and lipstick pairing! What fun!!
    I have more lipsticks than perfume ... yes Helg ... you read correctly! LOL

    I have picked two -

    Jicky perfume with Bobbi Brown's Pink 6. For some reason " pink " is what I feel with Jicky.

    Mitsouko with Guerlain's Kiss Kiss 320 Red Insolence - I lovely red Helg !!!

    * Can you tell me if Dior Addict 578 is a crème?? It looks lovely and I am tempted ! Oh ... like I need another lipstick !!! LOL

  17. this is fun... combos I wear

    chanel 19 and rouge shine coco in synopsis

    cabochard and mac dubonnet. Also Scherrer and mac dubonnet

    caleche and mac "o"

  18. MH,

    waxiness is right!!!!! I do get LOADS of waxiness in Lipstick Rose (which is why I also find it very suffocating if I put an average amount on)

    Oh naughty you, mentioning the cat litter box. :P

  19. M,

    That's a surprise!! :-O

    Jicky and pink. It's a novel approach but one I need to think about. I think it's such a neutral (in connotations) perfume that it could fit anything.
    Love red too, though it's not always easy to wear.

    All the Dior Addict lippies (in the classic line) are cremes, they have a very nice satiny, not really opaque finish that feels sublime on the lips and last rather well for that sort of thing. They're elegant, nothing trashy about them.
    The Beige 322 used to be my fav but they discontinued it (argh). The Mayday (blueish red) is also great, but it's a limited edition from the Cruise collection 2014 (can be found on counters and online still); should be very becoming on you counting your coloring.

  20. MJ,

    *off Googling shades*

    Gorgeous combos, thank you so much for the inspiration!

  21. you are welcome!!! your blog is truly a source of inspiration and knowledge for me!

  22. I'd love Rouge Armani Sheers 504 ( a rosey, shimmery pink with the first version of Miss Dior Cherie. Or MAC's Cyber (purple-black) with original Poison.

    1. These both sound like seriously gorgeous combinations!

  23. I read this article yesterday and happened to be wearing Chanel Eau Premiere with a white t-shirt and ripped jeans. I paired that with Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Incandescente (#97). It feels minimal, classic, and modern.

    1. It does feel so, doesn't it. I like the idea that No.5 in any incarnation is paired with something minimal and basic (in the sense of everyday essentials, l'essentiel). It'd be too predictable with a LBD.
      Thanks for reading!

  24. CINNABAR21:06


    1. Mιλάει ο ειδικός κι εγώ προσκυνώ λοιπόν και τρέχω να βρω θησαυρούς ξεχασμένους στο νεσεσέρ να πειραματιστώ!! Σ΄ευχαριστώ πολύ καλή μου Ρ για τις συμβουλές και για την είσοδο στον κόσμο του Perfume Shrine!

  25. Ombre Rose and Illamasqua ESP
    Tabu and Lime Crime Black Velvet


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