I’ve always had a big gooey soft spot for lipgloss. While I love the sophistication of lipstick, there’s something so… seductive about a high-shine gloss. I was a child of the nineties, after all. Back then, matte brown lipstick was having a moment, but that was what my mum wore. At the school formal, or slicked on surreptitiously after assembly, it was all about a super-sticky lipgloss. That unabashed shimmer. Lips that looked liquid.
I actually remember saving up and buying my first Chanel lipgloss. A product with a name I still can’t pronounce – Lèvres Scintillantes Glossimer. It was at David Jones in Sydney’s Chatswood. I was in my uniform, carrying my school hat (in case a Prefect suddenly appeared and I had to put it on). As I Inhaled the intoxicating scent of Allure perfume that permeated the Chanel counter, I ran my fingers over the array of candy-bright colours, trying to decide which shade was worthy of my investment.
I was working at the local newsagency on weekends, so I could finally justify a luxury beauty buy. After what must have been at least 15 minutes of deliberation, I landed on a soft shimmery pink. Close enough to my own lip colour and sheer enough to be nearly undetectable for school, it has just a shot of shimmer through it to make it feel special. Buying it felt momentous. As the sales assistant wrapped my purchase carefully in tissue and placed it in a tiny white Chanel bag, I felt like I grew a foot taller. ‘I earned this.’ I thought to myself. The gap between parental dependence and self-sufficiency was closing, and that sweetly scented future; that woman I wanted to become was getting closer.
‘caractére’ is a dark red, ‘chilli’ a bright crimson and ‘impulsion’ an orange
Twenty years later and the arrival of a little white Chanel bag filled with lipgloss on my desk sends me hurtling back to that perfumed counter. What would that girl have thought of all this, I wonder with a secret smile, as I unsheath each glossy box, marveling at the still-sleek packaging and audacity of their colours.
The new Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss is the work of Chanel’s new Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer, Lucia Pica. The Italian makeup artist is known for her artistic sensibility and boldness with colour and the shade range is testament to this. Everything from whisper-light nudes, rosewood shades and classic reds right through to Décadent – a deep blueberry that looks black in the tube and is as inky and pigment-rich as a lipstick when you apply it. There is also, in fact, a black topcoat called Caviar – that immediately deepens whichever shade you apply it over, and Excitation, a gold shimmer that highlights any shade underneath.
What strikes me – upon application – is how delicious they feel to wear. Somewhere between a gel and a balm, it’s a bit like applying a sleeping mask to your lips. It has the satisfying slip of a water-based treatment but with the long-lasting hydration of oil – which is actually a high-tech blend of jojoba, sunflower and coconut oils. It’s more balm-like and a bit less sticky than its predecessor and a total pleasure to wear and apply.
As I slide them back in their glossy black boxes I marvel at the effect that something as simple as a beautiful lipgloss can still have on me – even as an adult. Those little batons, bright like boiled lollies and shiny, like jewels.
Story by Sigourney Cantelo