If you’re a Charlotte Tilbury fan - and I’d be lying if I pretended I wasn’t* - you’ll understand why I spent January 2018 waiting anxiously for news of something (well, two things, to be precise) epic to drop in time for February 14th. That’s right - Valentine’s Day. Please don’t get the wrong idea. I couldn't care less about all the hokey sentimental cr*p that gets shoved down our throats every February - already the most miserable month of the year. My first and only Valentine’s Day-related priority is making sure I get hold of at least three back-ups of Diptyque’s very limited edition, very exquisitely packaged, and very (un)affordably-priced Valentine’s Day themed candles. (This year, I'm proud to say I truly outdid myself - I bought four full-sizes, two minis, and the limited edition hair perfume. Somewhere up in heaven, Karl Marx must be smiling down at me.)
Click to skip the intro and go right to the review.
Alright, so now you know how I really spend my Januarys: eagerly anticipating the launch of new products from Diptyque and Charlotte Tilbury, and proving myself to be a truly exemplary model of rampant millenial materialism. Whatever. I happen to consider helping the economy important and by ‘helping’, I mean giving the old CC a very rigorous workout. Exercise restraint post-Christmas, you say? LOL. As millenials, we speak a different language, I guess!
But back to Charlotte Tilbury. Charlotte spent the first month of 2018 being a gigantic tease. She announced the upcoming launch of several products in what I can only deduce must have been a deliberate attempt to frustrate her most loyal fans. Because real CT fans know what she does best: LIPSTICK. (Only in bullet form though. None of that Hollywood Liquid Lips crap.) Also: lip liners (or in Charlotte-speak, ‘Lip Cheats’.) We like those too. A lot.
True, it's only been, like, a month since the hotly-anticipated launch of the
‘Cities’ Lipstick Collection, which I reviewed HERE). But when you’re hooked on lipstick - and believe me, I am completely hooked - buying a mere three tubes per month is sort of like Casanova deciding to swear off sex during Lent. Unrealistic (just like the concept of abstinence in general.)
To those not in the know, Charlotte Tilbury has established an annual tradition of releasing two limited edition, Valentine's-Day themed lipsticks each January. The usual drop date is January 20th. Well, according to our calculations anyway - we worked out a mathematical estimate based on previous years. (We’ve also heard that there’s an annual competition where fans can submit their own names for the new lipsticks, however neither of us has ever participated. We can't understand how we missed it either but anyway, there’s your explanation for why ‘Valentine’ got picked in 2017. We know. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.†)
Charlotte Tilbury's 2017 L.E. K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Valentine
Charlotte Tilbury's 2016 L.E. Date Night Duo, featuring Kiss Chase and Between the Sheets
So you can imagine how irritating it was to spend a month inundated with news of numerous upcoming Tilbury products of a non-lip related nature. Take, for example, the Hollywood Flawless Filter, billed as a 'customisable complexion-booster' which is slated to make its début on March 1st (to those of you who inexplicaby care.) Personally, I did not and do not give a flying fuck about the new Hollywood Flawless Filter‡. If you really want my take on it, here goes: it basically looks like some super sheer, Glossier-style, tinted primer thingy for those amongst us who’ve already been born #blessed with perfect skin. (Or, as Charlotte puts it, “It’s real life, super-starlit, J.lo skin.” Same difference, yeah?) Oh, and PSA: the Hollywood Flawless Filter comes in the garish packaging which I’ve noticed is standard with CT’s ‘Hollywood’ themed products.
Then, there came news of a brand new product. This was definitely encouraging. Could it be the lipsticks? We waited with baited breath, until the official announcement came. Drumroll.
…..Another primer was on its way! Yay, you say? No fucking way. NAY. Anyway, I still ordered it….so if you really want a review, I guess I can do that….leave a nice comment below. Comments are always good and always appreciated (can’t stress that enough really. Hint.)
Charlotte’s new(er) primer is billed as an "anti-ageing, colour-correcting, glow booster primer” although it has a mercifully succinct name: “Brightening Youth Glow”. I’ll limit my comments on this one to the following: I find it interesting how the launch of this primer was all but simultaneous with the expansion of CT’s ‘Global’ (read: formerly just for the Middle Eastern peeps) website to the Asia Pacific region, which is where I happen to live.
Fun fact: ‘Brightening’ is probably the most popular, and definitely the most socially acceptable, euphemism for “whitening” over here in Asia. (It can, of course, also just mean ‘brightening' but Charlotte’s recent ‘Asian’-themed re-promote makes me feel like this is more a case of cultural ignorance and tactlessness. If you think I’m being overly harsh….just read down a few sentences.)
Since I’ve only tried the Brightening Youth Glow Primer once, I’ll refrain from blabbering on any further. Just one detail though: notice the race of the model that got chosen to promote the primer.
Coincidence? If you are still inclined to be generous to Charlotte, I’d just like to draw your attention to the ‘launch’ of her “NEW” (not) Opium Noir Lipstick on January 25th. Also virtually simultaneous with her website's expansion to the Asia Pacific region and holy shit, Charlotte.....that is NOT subtle. Yikes. Maybe don’t bring up the subject of opium, given that you’re a Brit trying to tap new customers in East Asia. Remember: the last time the Brits tried that, they considered it fair game to get a whole nation hooked on opium, just to ensure that the balance of trade remained in their favour. This eventually led to the Opium Wars, the Boxer Rebellion, etc. So, you know, it’s probably best to refrain from referencing the subject of opium if you're attempting to favourably position your brand for an expansion to the undoubtedly lucrative market of mainland China§.
*I am a CT fan. Yep. Despite her hideous Hollywood Lips liquid lipsticks, and my reflexive eye-rolling whenever someone compares her eyeshadows to Tom Ford…I am a Charlotte Tilbury fan.
† Seriously, though, does it get any lazier than naming a Valentine's Day lipstick 'Valentine'? I don’t think so.
‡ If you are interested in the Hollywood Flawless Filter, you can sign up now on CT’s official website to be the VERY FIRST to know when it drops!
§ Charlotte’s not in China yet but just give it another two years max. Yep, I’m cynical.
The actual topic of today's post (I know - finally!) is the recently-launched - and hilariously named* - 'At Your Lip Service' Lipstick Trio. Currently exclusive to the official CT websites†, the 'At Your Lip Service' kit includes "3 truly legendary lipsticks" inspired by the "marvelous [sic] monarchy". Seriously, of all times to slip up and use the butchered American version of the proper English spelling, this had to be the time, huh? When you were honouring the marvellous English monarchy?
In her official blog post introducing the set, Charlotte emphasises that "these lipsticks are designed to make every woman look, think & feel like a queen!” Given this noble aim, I considered it no less than my sacred duty as a beauty blogger to rank each shade on its level of queenliness. For all that and much more, you'll want to keep on reading.
First though, I should probably explain why the 'At Your Lip Service' thing is so funny. Now, Rachel and I pride ourselves on the high IQ levels of the Beauty Blackout's readers (def at least twice as high as the average member of Trump's cabinet) but we understand that our sense of humour sometimes requires a healthy dose of caffeine to appreciate. To those reading this post in the very early AM, uncaffeinated, the joke lies in the idiom: "to pay/give lip service", which the OED defines as:
"To express approval of or support for (something) insincerely or without taking any significant action."
What to make of all this? I do love the idea of CT "paying lip service' to the 'marvellous monarchy' with a set of three lipsticks priced within the grasp of commoners such as ourselves. (Question: if this is the modus operandi, what’s the motive? Could Charlotte possibly be gunning for an O.B.E.? Perhaps she's even after a damehood?) Now I admit that the shitty copywriters CT hires are probably responsible for this gem of a name but seriously...how did no one call them out on it?
*I do think it was just a poor attempt at a pun, not meant to be read sarcastically. This is based on my previous experience with reading Charlotte Tilbury’s ad copy (see the ‘Cities’ lipstick post). If you disagree and think Charlotte is a dyed-in-the-wool republican, do set your case out below!
† And as mentioned earlier: Charlotte's 'global' website is no longer exclusive to denizens of the Middle East. The Asia Pacific region has been deemed worthy/lucrative enough to ship too as well. I'd like to think my review of the 'Cities' Lipsticks was the catalyst for this change but alas, my ego isn't inflated to the clinically abnormal heights of a certain (non-English) head of state.
The Set vs The Singles: Which One Should You Get?
Left to right: The Duchess, The Queen, Legendary Queen
If you don’t want to spring for the entire trio (US$85/S$123), all of the Royals lipsticks are available for purchase individually (US$34/S$48 for 3.5g of product). With the exception of The Queen, they are exclusive to CT’s official websites. Of course, so was The Queen until now, so…..you never know, I guess. May have to wait a few years though.
Is the kit a better deal? Well, it obviously depends on whether you like all the shades. Which, I am aware, I have yet to formally introduce - it won’t be long now, just a bit of maths for those who care. If you buy the set, you save US$17/S$21 which equates to a roughly 17% discount on buying the individuals separately. They come in the same packaging and contain the same amount of product (3.5g) as CT’s standard lipsticks.
Left to right: The Duchess, Legendary Queen, The Queen
With the number-crunching out of the way, onto the contents of the‘ At Your Lip Service’ kit. Please note that I did NOT write the description below - it is quoted in full from Charlotte’s official website:
- "Legendary Queen (Matte Revolution) is a soft neutral wine shade in the award-winning matte formula. This gorgeous lipstick will add a pop of subtle colour to your face that looks divine on everyone from 18-80.
- The Queen (Matte Revolution) is the best-selling iconic lip shade in the can’t-live-without rosy, crown-jewel pink that instantly lifts and brightens your complexion. Wear this matte lipstick all year round for a timeless lip look.
- The Duchess (K.I.S.S.I.N.G.) is a charming tea-rose pink for a splendidly sophisticated lipstick look. In the sumptuous moisturizing formula that will leave your lips kissably-soft, this pink lipstick is perfect for every royal outing in your diary!”
From top to bottom: The Queen, Legendary Queen, The Duchess
Because writing thorough reviews is a task which we here at The Beauty Blackout take very seriously, I’ve divided the rest of this post into separate sections for each of the three shades.
The descriptions of each shade all vary slightly depending on whether you refer to: a) the product page for the entire set; b) the product pages for the individual lipsticks, or; c) Charlotte’s (undoubtedly hand-drafted) blog post. Obviously, there is not a shred of doubt in our hearts that it was Charlotte herself who painstakingly drafted that entire post. Therefore, we’ll be referring to the blog post descriptions first for each lipstick. Up first is The Queen.
The Queen (Matte Revolution)
I’m starting with The Queen because it’s the OG shade in this set. If you haven’t heard of it, by the way, no, you’re not weird. Up until now, it was strictly exclusive to Charlotte Tilbury’s websites, and no one seemed to talk about it much anyway. Apparently though, all along The Queen was a sleeper hit because its success appears to have been responsible for the release of this royalty-themed lipstick trio.
The Queen originally made its début back in September 2016, three days after Queen Elizabeth II officially overtook Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest serving monarch. Three days later, on September 26th, Charlotte posted an utterly effusive blog post introducing The Queen to her fans (that’s the lipstick, not Her Majesty herself.)
You can read the post in its entirety on Charlotte Tllbury's website HERE but we’ve helpfully laid out the highlights for you below:
“I have been obsessed with the Queen forever. She is the ultimate icon; elegant, erudite, fearless, empowering and has effortless, legendary style. She is, as a leader, as a woman, and as a mother, an inspiration to women all over the world.
She is such an inspirational woman, and makes me incredibly proud to be British, and even prouder to have founded a British brand. This lipstick commemorates the beauty and the brilliance of our magical Queen.”
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a lipstick very similar to 'The Queen'
I think we can safely dismiss any notion that Charlotte is a closet republican right here. The woman absolutely LOVES The Queen. I mean, Charlotte thinks the Queen is erudite! (It's well known that both Elizabeth and her sister Margaret were given a rather....desultory....education).
In Charlotte's blog post introducing the 'At Your Lip Service Set', we are given the following description of The Queen:
“...[this] best-selling matte lipstick is a rosy crown-jewel cerise pink. Dress up for a night on the town or an elegant occasion, or just wear every day like the queen you are! This gorgeous lipstick is perfectly paired with the Lip Cheat lip liner in Pink Venus.”
Alright, time for a confession. I didn’t personally own The Queen until I bought this set. This is unusual for me when it comes to Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks, particularly of the limited edition variety.....I think I own almost her entire collection. So why did I refrain from purchasing the Queen? Well...to be quite frank, lipsticks this colour frighten me. I call them ‘mum’ shades because they are exactly the type of shade favoured by my own mother. (I do have to say that CT really nailed it with this one. It's rare to see Queen Elizabeth II (or, for that matter, my own mum) wearing any other shade of lipstick.)
A younger Queen Elizabeth II pictured on a 1967 state visit to Malta. Her lipstick has a distinctly cherry-pink tint to it.
In any case, thanks to the helpful colour descriptions, I now know that I can refer to this terrifying ‘mum-esque’ group of colours as "rosy, crown-jewel cerise pinks.” ‘Crown-jewel’, by the way, is utterly useless as a descriptive adjective - which jewel in the Windsors' enormous collection are we talking about??? Just how many crowns, tiaras and diadems does Elizabeth II own? (I have no clue what the exact number is but I'm willing to bet that it's a lot.)
On the other hand, ‘cerise’ is a far more helpful shade reference. 'Cerise' is French for ‘cherry’ and, credit to the ad copy team (for once), because that’s exactly what The Queen makes me think of. A vivid pop of cherry-pink, ripened to perfection and promising lips and fingers stained stickily with red. In my experience, true reddish-pink lipsticks are incredibly rare - so often they veer into plum or berry territory, or else the pink tones get drowned out by a surfeit of red and you end up with something like Tom Ford’s Cherry Lush Lip Colour (such a promising name, such an utterly insipid colour.)
The Queen, however, is different. It remains a true pink at its core, albeit one infused with a brilliant unclouded tint of ruby-red, almost transparent in its clarity. This is a beautiful colour that I don’t really own any close dupes of. It’s a vivid shade, yes, but an incredibly wearable one. Maraschino-bright and unapologetically pink but somehow not the least bit girlish or twee. I was surprised how much I liked it on me.
Charlotte claims that The Queen “is inspired by and in homage to Her Majesty, Elizabeth II” and I’ll be honest: Charlotte really did nail it here. I can’t fault a single thing about this lipstick. It captures the Queen perfectly, The vibe is cheerful, feminine, and tasteful while remaining bright enough to always stand out amidst the crowded masses. I don’t, by the way, think this is aging.
This is an example of one of the better lipsticks in the Matte Revolution formula - coverage is almost opaque in one swipe, and the pigment is richly saturated enough to wear down to a stain over the course of 5 or 6 hours. It is a demi-matte rather than a matte but is forgiving on dry lips.
Level of Queenliness: A/A-: I’d say that The Queen makes me feel as blue-blooded as I’m ever going to be able to get, given my decidedly non-royal lineage.
*Oh okay, you want me to be cynical? Done. I’m sure that the $$$ that CT must surely have started envisioning after it became clear that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were going to make it official (barf) played a part in the timing of this set too.
Legendary Queen (Matte Revolution)
Coming up with an even more 'legendary' version of the Queen was always going to be a tough task given the fact that Charlotte absolutely nailed it the first time around. So - big breath: is Legendary Queen better than The Queen? No. The truth is that The Queen and Legendary Queen have very little in common other than the fact that they both have ‘Queen’ incorporated into their names, and both come in the Matte Revolution formula. One rarely sees Queen Elizabeth II in lipsticks similar to Legendary Queen these days. However, looking back at pictures from her youth, it's striking to see how often she wore lipsticks this colour. We think she looked absolutely stunning in those deeper, richer shades of red but the cherry pink lipsticks that the Queen favours now are definitely better suited to the palette of pastels that make up the royal wardrobe.
In Charlotte’s blog post about the Royals lipstick, Legendary Queen is lauded as:
“...[a] soft neutral wine shade in the award-winning matte formula, perfect for adding a little color to your complexion without going too bold. Pair with the Lip Cheat lip liner in Walk of Shame for a gorgeous lip look to elevate your makeup.”
A younger Queen Elizabeth II at the 1974 London première of 'Murder on the Orient Express'. The red lipstick she's wearing is very similar to Legendary Queen.
One quibble. Does it bother anyone else that this lipstick is named ‘Legendary Queen’ rather than ‘The Legendary Queen’? I hate to split hairs over words (coughLIEScough) but ‘Legendary Queen’ just sounds.....sort of off, especially given that the other two lipsticks in this set are named ’The Queen’ and the ‘The Duchess’. Am I just being weirdly nitpicky here? Let me know in the comments.
Top: Walk of Shame; bottom: Legendary Queen.
The recommended lip liner to pair with Legendary Queen is the new (and soon to be reviewed on the Beauty Blackout!) Walk of Shame Lip Cheat, which was conveniently released around the same time as the 'At Your Lip Service' trio. In fact, Legendary Queen is compared directly to Walk of Shame Matte Revolution lipstick, with the implication being that if you like Walk of Shame, you'll like Legendary Queen.
As a diehard fan of Walk of Shame, I immediately grabbed my tube to compare the two shades. The verdict: these lipsticks are NOT similar shades, let alone dupes. In comparison to the bright burgundy wine hues of Legendary Queen, Walk of Shame is a softer and much more muted brick-toned red. While Legendary Queen is undoubtedly the bolder shade - the 'statement shade' one might say - in truth, I don't find it very unique. There's something special about Walk of Shame that makes it easy to wear, elegant, and effortlessly sexy all at once.
Charlotte proclaims proudly that Legendary Queen “looks divine on everyone from 18-80." Ahem. So, this is rather awkward, but it feels necessary to point out given the whole monarchy theme we've got going on here. At the time this post was published, Queen Elizabeth II was a grand total of 91 years old, which - according to Charlotte, anyway - makes her 11 years too old to look 'divine' in Legendary Queen. (Come on, copy-writers, fact checkers, anyone employed by Charlotte Tilbury! Do your job!) If you want my opinion, specifying an ideal age range thing for a product is always dumb, purely from a profit-making point of view; it's also silly and frankly, rather condescending.
Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, attending a reception for her Diamond Jubilee. As the Queen has gotten older, it has become increasingly rare to see her wearing red lipstick. This one, however, is remarkably close to Legendary Queen.
But back to the ad copy: the verbiage gets even more florid on the individual product page for Legendary Queen:
"Darlings, this NEW & EXCLUSIVE lipstick is fit for a QUEEN. My Matte Revolution Lipstick in Legendary Queen is a globally-gorgeous soft neutral wine shade so you can be the BEAUTY queen of lip looks with this dazzling color."
Time to crack my knuckles. Okay. Let's start with "globally-gorgeous" - a great example of why alliteration deserves its reputation as the laziest of all literary devices. Apart from the obvious (it sounds incredibly lame), using 'globally’ doesn't make sense in the context of the Queen. As a monarch, she is the sovereign ruler of a kingdom - not the entire globe. And even during its heyday, the British Empire only made up a mere quarter of the globe (this is an approximation only, btw. Don't quote me on it.) Perhaps it's an attempt to be more inclusive towards prospective customers who are not citizens of Great Britain, or countries that are still part of the Commonwealth. But it just sounds stupid. Not quite as stupid, though, as Charlotte's promise that, armed with Legendary Queen, “you can be the BEAUTY queen of lip looks...” Holy cringe.
Here's a picture of me (admittedy looking less than thrilled) wearing Legendary Queen:
In terms of formula, I thought this was another excellent Matte Revolution lipstick. It wore well for 4-5 hours, didn't transfer or feather around the edges of my lips, and it had opaque coverage in a single swipe. If Charlotte keeps up this same level of quality going forward, 2018 looks like it’ll be a promising year for her brand (and an expensive one for her fans.) Bottom line: While Legedary Queen didn’t blow my socks off, it's an excellent lipstick that is sure to be a winner for anyone who found Walk of Shame a tad too brown.
Level of Queenliness: B+/A-. Initially I thought this would be my favourite of the Royals lipstick trio but, while the quality is definitely up to standard, Legendary Queen just doesn't excite me on any level. I did not feel that queenly wearing Legendary Queen - in fact, I'm pretty sure I hold my head higher when I'm wearing Walk of Shame (my favourite Matte Revolution.)
The Duchess (K.I.S.S.I.N.G.)
I hate to be pedantic (well, clearly not that much) but any collection inspired by the 'marvellous monarchy' probably shouldn’t include a shade called The Duchess. Why? Because most duchesses aren’t royals - the vast majority are members of the peerage. Even Kate Middleton (aka The Duchess of Cambridge) isn’t technically 'royalty’.
We all know about the British and their obsession with social class but gosh, it was only after the vast amount of research that went into writing this review that we realised how extreme their fixation is. Kate may be a Duchess but only by dint of marriage; strictly speaking, she remains, and will always remain, a commoner (hey, Wikipedia said it - don’t point the finger at us!) The reason Kate will never be a true ‘royal’ is because she is not ‘of the blood’ (although her daughter, Princess Charlotte, is, thanks to her annoying father's genes.) Similarly, Camilla is another non-royal Duchess (of Cornwall); Fergie was a non-royal Duchess (of York).....you get the idea. Basically, these women are/were British subjects who had the (dubious) luck of marrying up. We’re the first to admit that this is incredibly tedious stuff but we do think that Charlotte needs to step it up in terms of research. Especially if she’s serious about dedicating an entire lipstick collection to the Queen, who she adores so much.
While Charlotte may not have done the research, you're in luck because we did (so you don’t have to.) For those who aren’t interested in history (really???), you might want to skip the next few paragraphs but seriously - it’s your loss because this is where things get super dishy.
HRH The Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, in 1864. The painting is by Albert Grafle.
The last royal Duchess was Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, the fourth of Queen Victoria's daughters and therefore, also a princess of the blood. An interesting character in her own right, Louise was the most beautiful of Queen Victoria’s five daughters, and her father’s favourite due to her ‘wit and intelligence’. (Thanks, Wikipedia). Rather daringly for her time, Louise was also a social liberal and a supporter of the feminist movement. After upright refusing to even consider tying the knot with an appropriately blue-blooded continental European prince, Louise announced that she wanted to marry John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne and heir to the Dukedom of Argyll. At the time, this was extremely controversial and her brother, The Prince Of Wales (later King Edward VII) made it clear that the idea of his sister marrying a mere noble was not just unseemly - it was downright intolerable. There was also the fact that Louise’s prospective father-in-law, the 8th Duke of Argyll, was an avid supporter of the politician, William Ewart Gladstone, head of the Liberal Party*. We know. Someone, grab the smelling salts - such scandalous stuff! As Wikipedia explains:
“No such marriage, between a daughter of a Sovereign and a British subject, had been given official recognition since 1515, when Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, married King Henry VIII's sister Mary."
Luckily, Louise had the support of her mother, Queen Victoria (who was not a fan of makeup, btw), who granted the couple her all important seal of approval. Privately, according to Wikipedia:
“...the Queen found it difficult to let go of her daughter, confiding in her journal that she "felt painfully the thought of losing her". The new breach in royal tradition caused surprise, especially in Germany, and Queen Victoria wrote to the Queen of Prussia that princes of small impoverished German houses were "very unpopular" in Britain and that Lord Lorne, a "person of distinction at home" with "an independent fortune" was "really no lower in rank than minor German Royalty.""
William Ewart Gladstone, (1809-1898), British statesman of the Liberal Party and four-time Prime Minister of Great Britain
*Gladstone went on to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for twelve years. Today, he's regarded as amongst the greatest prime ministers that the UK has ever had.
Back to The Duchess
Now, we’d be lying if we said that we found Kate Middleton (aka Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) anywhere near as compelling a character as Princess Louise. However, both Rachel and I genuinely like Kate and we think that the level of vitriol that gets directed at the poor woman both in the press, and especially on the Internet is astonishing. Not in a good way. What makes it so sad is the fact that most of the hostility appears to come from other women.
Emily: See, that’s one of the things I really like about the online beauty community. Like, it's totally different from reading the comment sections in celebrity gossip blogs, you know?
Rachel: It really is. There's something about how supportive women are to each other on Instagram and beauty blogs that makes me feel really at home and uplifted. Cheesy, I know, but it kind of disproves that stereotype that women are just catty bitches to each other and out to compete for male attention.
Emily: Okay. So I feel like I'm ruining the whole kumbaya vibe we've got going on right now but I have to say it. Because otherwise I just know I'm gonna edit this post later and add it in anyway. I am NOT a Diana fan. At all. In general, histrionics aren't endearing to me. And she didn't do her children any favours by airing all that dirty laundry on national television.
Rachel: Yeah, you definitely killed the kumbaya moment, Emily. And your opinion on Diana obviously isn't going to ruffle any feathers at all. I have mixed feelings about Diana as well, although I will admit to a bit of a soft spot for her. Say what you will, Diana had charisma in spades, knew how to influence public opinion in her favor, and the woman could work a crowd like no one else. Sorry Kanye, but the Brits were practically ready to overthrow the monarchy for her. I don't think you can top that.
Emily: Yup, agreed. Kanye's kidding himself if he thinks he's got anything on Diana. However, let's not forget this moment:
Rachel: Oh, um - yeah. And that's exactly what makes my feelings about Diana.....mixed.
Ahem. Moving on swiftly. Out of the three lipsticks included in the ‘At Your Lip Service’ set, the only one that comes in the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. formula is The Duchess. This happens to be my preferred Charlotte Tilbury lipstick formula (unorthodox, you say? Well, Rachel also prefers the K.I.S.S.I.N.G. formula. So there.) Seriously speaking, both of us have favourites in the Matte Revolution formula too - Rachel's is Very Victoria, and mine is...you guessed it...Walk of Shame. So I don’t think it’s personal bias that's responsible for The Duchess being my favourite lipstick in this trio.
Described in Charlotte’s official blog post as a ‘a charming tea-rose pink’ (although the email notification I received described it as a “candied tea-rose pink"), I think the description is right on point. The Duchess is basically the platonic ideal of an ‘English Rose’ shade. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I think The Duchess is a real gem and one worth keeping around permanently. (Hey, soon there'll be two tabloid-friendly Duchesses in the Windsor family. What more incentive does a brand need?)
What exactly is so special about this shade? Well, I think it fills a gap in Charlotte Tilbury’s line-up that I hadn’t really noticed until now, to be honest. Perhaps this isn’t surprising because what makes The Duchess so special is it's delicate, understated, demure quality. Think of it as Bitch Perfect’s better-behaved cousin (the only downside: she's much less fun to pound tequila shots with.)
In terms of colour, I would describe The Duchess as a medium, muted mauve pink with cool but not blue undertones. Buildable enough to be a true medium tea rose but also soft enough to not dominate - to remain delicate, dainty and demure. It is FAR better than the English Beauty lipstick Charlotte came up with for the Cities collection (England = not a city, Charlotte.) If you weren't sold already, Charlotte also provides reassurance that The Duchess is suitable for ‘every royal outing in your diary’ which, I mean, thank goodness for that because if there’s one activity my diary is absolutely packed with, it's royal outings!
Comparison Swatch Sets of the The Duchess
The Duchess is a pretty lipstick and it's certainly a pretty idea to think that Kate herself now carries her own tube of The Duchess in her handbag. But, after trawling through page after page in Google images, we had to come to terms with the fact that Kate just isn’t really a pink lipstick sort of girl. She likes her nudes (usually, nudes with pink undertones but, nevertheless, nudes all the same.) For someone who gets photographed a lot by the paparazzi, nude lipstick is by nature a tricky undertaking - and in Kate’s case, her lipstick tends to blend into her skin. It's a shame because she has lips worth emphasising.
In reality, The Duchess of Cambridge seems most comfortable in peachy-pink nude shades of lipstick like these.
True story: this is the pinkest lipstick we could find a picture of Kate wearing.
TL;DR version: In our opinion, Kate should give her namesake lipstick a shot. We honestly think it would look fantastic on her - she's got the whole English Rose thing going on already anyway. Also: how much better would this outfit be paired with a proper pink lipstick like The Duchess? SO much better, right?
As for the soon to be Duchess of Sussex (that would be Meghan Markle), we’re not sure we can endorse The Duchess as a great lipstick for her. Thanks to Google Images, we know that Meghan has attempted to pull off similar cool pink lipsticks like The Duchess in the past.
Do we think this is an an A+ look on Meghan? Honestly.....no. We think Meghan is more suited to other Charlotte Tilbury shades. Hepburn Honey, for example, would play well with the warmer, olive undertones in her skin. Still, we definitely think Meghan deserves credit for kicking her former, and what can only be described as 'bachelor-constantant-inspired’, makeup to the curb. Although minus 100 points for kicking one of her dogs to the curb too.
(Actually, make that minus 200 points. The dog which Meghan didn’t decide to ditch during her move from Canada to the UK is now a half-paraplegic and, seriously, that just doesn’t happen to dogs in the normal course of nature. We smell a rat. And yes we have a pretty plausible theory about what actually happened to Guy the beagle.)
Btw, does the dog on the right look too old to travel? No? Yeah, we don't get it either. It's not like he'd have been travelling in the freight section anyway.
Oh, and lest you think we're being unfair to dear Meghan, here's a picture for your perusal.....we've circled another egregious faux paux that she's committed in red.
Level of Queenliness: This isn’t easy for me to say as The Duchess is my favourite shade in the set, but I couldn’t - not in good conscience, anyway - rate it any higher than a D when it comes to the ‘queenly’ factor. As we’ve established, Duchesses aren’t Queens, they’re rarely royalty, the Duchess of Cambridge doesn't actually like pink lipstick, and, as for Meghan Markle, she most certainly is not fit to be the future Duchess of Sussex given her history of animal abuse and French tips. Small consolation: she’ll have to curtsey every time she sees the two ugly step-sisters (Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, duh.)
While the Duchess may score low on Queenliness, it's my favourite lipstick in the At Your Lip Service set. I love The Queen but let's be real - it's The Duchess I'll be chucking into my handbag for the next little while or so. Charlotte recommends pairing it with Pillow Talk lip cheat and, for what it's worth, I whole heartedly endorse this pairing. Pillow Talk amps up the Duchess a few notches and the effect is worth the extra effort. You can judge for yourself below though.
The Duchess paired with the recommended Plllow Talk Lip Cheat
I hope you've enjoyed this review and found it helpful if you're interested in any of the new royalty inspired lipsticks from Charlotte Tilbury. Which shades do you have your eyes on? What do you think of the ad copy? How badly do you want that review of the Luxury Lip Liner Set to get written? (I'm susceptible to being swayed by praise and flattery.) Leave a comment and let us know!)