Blindsided by Besame – Discovering a Cosmetic Classic

Published on September 8, 2015 by   ·   1 Comment

I never win anything.  I am forever entering contests and giveaways (and don’t let’s even mention that greedy devil, Mega Millions!) and never seeing anything for my effort except a bunch of junk emails from the websites where I hopefully entered my information.

But recently, the impossible happened: I actually won a $100 Sephora gift card.  Naturally, I was skeptical and my mother warned me about not signing up for any subscriptions or giving my credit card information to some Nigerian Prince who might offer to supplement the gift card with a few million dollars, but I went through the claim process.  Though they did give me several opportunities to “expand my winnings” by purchasing additional gift card credit, I refused each one; just when I thought I had been taken, a fabulous little code appeared on the screen.  The $100 was mine!  I earned it after navigating that “prize claim” process for no less than 47 minutes.

I decided that this was the perfect time to check out a brand I heard mentioned in the comments of one of my giveaways by my longtime bestie and fellow makeup maven, Melanie!  When responding to a question about her favorite lip product of the moment, she said she was really into Besame lipstick; I had seen the gorgeous vintage-reproduction ads for this brand, but hadn’t really pursued it.  I decided that this was the perfect time to jump right in and, for better or for worse, I decided to spend the whole gift card on Besame goodies!

Here’s what I got for my credit:


Classic Color Lipstick in American Beauty (1945) and Red Hot Red (1959), $22.00 each
Brightening Violet Powder, $22.00
Brightening Vanilla Face Powder, $22.00
Classic Color Lipstick Matches in Besame Red (1920), $6.00

018Let me just say that I love all of the reds that are offered on the Sephora website – it was hard to choose just two to try!  I’m sort of kicking myself that I didn’t buy Besame Red, my favorite of the bunch, but since I was already getting that color in the matches I decided to branch out.  I searched the Besame website and found that they had an even larger selection of products including more lipstick shades, some glosses, cream blushes, and more.  When all of the products arrived in their little Sephora boxes, I found myself blindsided – in both a good and a bad way!

First the good: these lipsticks!  O.  M.  G.  They are so fantastic.  They are exact duplicates of the original colors – the year on the tube indicates when it was first produced – and the formula is super pigmented and applies very smoothly.  I found them a bit uneven in that American Beauty seemed the slickest, Red Hot Red was the driest, and Besame Red was somewhere in between, but even with these differences, all three went on my lips gorgeously and only needed one coat for full, lush color.  They had a nice, non-descript scent that was pleasing if not altogether identifiable – maybe vanilla?  The tubes are a shiny goldtone with the Besame logo and a vintage floral design in sort of a maroon/burgundy.  The lipstick is 022shaped in sort of a chisel tip, and each comes with instructions for best application.

American Beauty, the darkest of the three, was a lovely deep blue red.  It’s what happens when fuchsia settles down and transitions from pink to red.  It had a coolness on the lips that wasn’t as obvious in the tube, and with built up layers it might end up a richer red, but it was fantastic.  Red Hot Red was a lively yellow red, like a super ripe tomato.  This was the driest to apply, but also had the most coverage and appeared the most matte.  It wasn’t uncomfortable on my lips, but for long wear a gloss would help keep it from feeling too drying.  Besame Red, which I got in the adorable little “Lipstick Matches” sampler, was right in between the two and was absolutely perfect: a slightly blue-toned red like fire engines and Marilyn Monroe.  I died.  I’m tempted to return one of the powders and exchange it for the Besame Red lipstick, but returning things through the mail is such a hassle.  First world problems…

Speaking of the powders, that’s where things go south.

On the surface, I love them.  The violet powder has a light flowery smell and the purple powder is great for building up brightness in my contouring without adding in more yellow (I already use Graftobian’s banana powder in my routine, so I can get overly yellow really quickly!).  The vanilla also has a lovely scent and is a light yellow that isn’t as aggressive as the banana powder.  They both blend like a dream with my cream foundations and work with my other powders (primarily Coty Airspun Powder, another classic beauty product from “days gone by”).


The sifter is a bit of a disappointment: I appreciate that the hinged cover keeps the puff from getting saturated while the jar rattles around in your kit, thus saving product, but it also makes it really hard to get ANY product through the sifter at all.  I end up having to take the sifter out to dip my puff in the powder, so some product gets wasted anyway.  And that is a problem, when you consider how much this powder actually costs.

029So, I get that this powder isn’t the same as Coty Airspun, that it isn’t necessarily for your whole face and setting your makeup.  But still.  When I saw that it was $22, I assumed that it would be roughly the same size as my Coty powder, which is 2.3 oz. and retails at Walgreen for $6.49.  When the Besame powders arrived, I was shocked at the tiny size of the containers, weighing in at only .21 oz.  Normally I consider myself too pretty to math, but I decided this needed a little calculation.

The Coty Airspun powder is $6.49 for 2.3 oz., for a total unit price of $2.82 per ounce.

The Besame powder is $22 for .21 oz, for a unit price of $104.76 per ounce.

That means that if you were to buy enough Besame powder to fill the Coty Airspun container, you’d spend a whopping $240.99.

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Question Mark.

014This powder is fine, but it won’t make you dinner or tuck your kids in at night or give you a screaming orgasm so good you need to look at your driver’s license to remember what your name is and where you live at.  For $104.76 per ounce, it should do all of those things and more.

I love the Besame lipsticks and I’m interested in maybe trying some of their other products some day.  But if the powder fiasco taught me anything, it’s that I need to read sizes and descriptions VERY carefully to ensure that I’m getting one of the products that is worth my beauty dollars and not something with an astronomical per unit price that may be a fun item to play with here and there but isn’t useful and practical enough for me to justify adding it to my kit on a regular basis.

Got a favorite Beauty Brand you’d like to see me review?  Add it in the comments section and I’ll see what I can do.  I’ve got quite a few posts coming up about new brands I’ve been experimenting with including ColourPop, Shiro Cosmetics, and more!

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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