“Do you realize that a billion lipsticks are thrown away every year in the world?” Violette Soriano, the COO of beauty brand La Bouche Rouge, asks us. “We are convinced that our generation cannot continue to think, produce, and consume like previous generations. An eighth continent of waste is ready to implode! This is why we created a brand that cares about the environment. It’s a socially responsible project fueled by passion.”
The eco-conscious French brand, which is now offered as part of the Barneys beauty roster, exclusively sells lipsticks. And while the sleek black leather packaging may look simple, what’s inside is anything but ordinary. La Rouge Bouche nails three pillars to being a successful cosmetics business in 2018: natural ingredients, recyclable packaging, and French decadence.
La Rouge Bouche is the brainchild of Nicolas Gerlier, a French beauty guru with more than a decade of experience working at brands like L’Oréal and Phyto. In September 2016, he collaborated with Ezra Petronio, a well-known creative director in the fashion and beauty industry, to construct a disruptive concept: sustainable lipsticks. Today, the products are completely manufactured in France, staying true to its heritage. “We even decided to refuse to import our product in China because it requires testing on animals,” Soriano notes.
Each lipstick is offered in a reusable leather-embossed tube. So, once you’re done with your color, you can easily pull it in or out of the case via a magnet (you’ll hear a click when it’s secured) and replace it with a refill.
“Barneys is a perfect partner, as it matches La Bouche Rouge values of elegance, fashion identity, and customer [focus] with an environmental awareness,” Soriano says. “It allows us to meet the right customer at the right time!”
The lipsticks are cruelty-free, and the formula itself is vegan. It’s created without the bad stuff, like microplastics, parabens, and preservatives. Instead, it features lip-nourishing ingredients including shea butter, beeswax, and antioxidant-rich vitamin E. “Lipstick is the only makeup that you eat,” Soriano mused.
When we tested a best-selling shade dubbed Pop Art Red, it swiped on smoothly, offered a saturated look, but felt like barely anything was actually on our lips. For such a matte color, it was surprisingly not dehydrating yet didn’t transfer easily to a coffee mug or bleed outside of the lip line.
There are 14 shades in the total offering, with a mix of matte and satin lipsticks as well as balms. Expect a roster of classics in the rouge family such as cherry, scarlet, brick, and blush. This is not the line for viral-Instagram looks like holographic purples and bold blues, but rather wearable, sophisticated colors. Soriano confirmed La Bouche Rouge plans to sell additional limited-edition shades in collaboration with celebrities and influencers. Past partners include British makeup artist Wendy Rowe and model Anja Rubik.
Rowe worked with the brand to dream up six of the reds. “Among them, a poppy hue inspired by the canvases of Andy Warhol, a ‘70s, slightly orangey red—think all-American, Pepsi Cola, and roller disco, as well as an ultra-pigmented brown red, hot as the flames in a fireplace,” Soriano describes. Other fans and wearers of La Bouche Rouge are Glossier girlboss Emily Weiss, Sienna Miller, and Marion Cotillard.
According to Soriano, those with cool undertones should consider Innocent Red, ‘70s America, and Passionate Red, as well as the Peach Balm. “The colors are very flattering for clear eye colors, too,” she adds.
If your complexion runs warmer, try orangey reds such as Chloë, Regal Red, or Rouge Vendome. “The nudes like Chestnut and darker colors like Plum are also great to match warmer complexions.” Soriano notes. When it comes to application, she explains how to put it on with Parisian effortlessness. “The French girl way to apply lipstick is without a brush—directly from the stick—to give it this un-perfect makeup look,” she says. “Finish with you finger so the contours are blurry like you just have been kissed.”
If you need just one more reason to fall in love with this brand, know that for every lipstick sold, La Bouche Rouge will donate 100 liters of safe drinking water to Eau Vive Internationale, an organization that provides clean water to those in need. Says Soriano: “Because while imagining the beauty of the future is great, committing to changing the reality of the world is even better.”