MAKE UP FOR EVER · Artist Rouge Lipstick



There’s just something about lipstick, isn’t there? One of the most iconic symbols of beauty and the one item that women refused to give up even during times of war, it keeps getting reinvented in a whole new palette of colours and innovative ingredients such as these Artist Rouge Lipsticks (CAN $27.00/each) from MAKE UP FOR EVER.


Available in 45 shades, 14 matte and 31 cream — all I which I so kindly received (insert major OMG here) these have been created with ‘triple ground pigments that offer full even coverage and colour intensity, along with 25% more pigmentation than the brand’s Artist Rouge Intense’ range. Other key ingredients include:

  • Macadamia Oil for its soothing properties
  • Mallow Oil to nourish and prevent dryness
  • Sunflower Seed Wax to provide long-lasting wear (8 hour claim)
  • mix of Carnauba and Microcrystalline Waxes (matte formula) for 10 hour wear

The casing has been given an upgrade as well with each lipstick housed in a black metal tube that’s banded with silver at the bottom and embossed with the MAKE UP FOR EVER name. Drawing inspiration from the precision of a lip brush, the tip of the bullet is teardrop-shaped to make application — even to the smallest areas of the lips — totally effortless.

The identification system this brand has in place is quite simple; a ‘C’ before the number designates ‘cream’ while ‘M’ indicates ‘matte’. To make things even easier, I’ve grouped the lipsticks into several colour families in the swatches below. PS: If you find that some additions to my grouping system appear somewhat odd, it’s because they were included for their undertones, and not necessarily the outright colour of the lipstick itself.

Collaborations with various artists is something that MAKE UP FOR EVER has certainly become known for; for this range the brand teamed up with music’s duo Icona Pop to create limited edition packaging on two of the shades: M401 Hot Red chosen by Caroline Hjelt and C603 Midnight Blue selected by Aino Jawo.

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When I received this collection and after collection my jaw off the floor upon seeing the entire lot, I set to work photographing and swatching. Let me add at this point that I made it through 22 shades of testing before my lips began screaming in protest at all the on-again-off-again they were going through, so I listened to my body and stopped. Then, a major fever blister happened. Oh joy. That set me back a couple of weeks but soon after that I jumped back in to finish the job.

The first thing you’ll notice is a light pleasant citrusy type of scent similar to that of Bite Beauty lipsticks, but definitely not as strong and one which dissipates quickly after application. Secondly, the chiselled point of the bullet truly does make for precision work re: application, certainly proven with the darker/red shades and almost makes using a lip liner superfluous. That said, the point will become worn down with use thereby cancelling out the whole ‘pointy tip’  feature, but it’s not a deal-breaker in the slightest.

Texture is where these lipsticks truly stand out; the cream hues have a nice lustrous sheen at the finish (not overly glossy, mind you), literally glide with ease along the lips and feel ridiculously comfortable throughout the wearing. The mattes thankfully have more of a velour finish and not the flat, light-absorbing variety — all of which means you still get the matte effect, but without the usual dryness associated with that type of lipstick. It’s worth noting that some of the lighter matte shades are somewhat more finicky to apply and all in this category benefit from ensuring lips are properly prepped (as in de-flaked & moisturized) beforehand in order to keep them from catching on any dry bits.

Interestingly, some shades appear to apply much more sheer than what’s seen in the tube, although coverage is spot-on (for the most part; the exceptions are very few as can be seen in the swatches below).

Icona Pop M401 Hot Red

The light nudes/neutrals:

  • C103 – nude beige
  • C104 – praline beige
  • C105 – greige beige (Dr. Seuss, much)
  • C107 – mocha beige
  • C108 – hazel beige (huh?)
  • C211 – rosewood
  • M100 – cream beige (but it’s a matte. okey-dokey)


The deep nudes:

  • M101 – caramel beige
  • C106 – pink beige
  • C302 – beige coral
  • C406 – brown red


The light pinks:

  • C205 – baby doll pink
  • C302 – beige coral (∗also added in the nude group above. Yes, I screwed up….)
  • C210 – petal pink
  • C209 – tender pink
  • M200 – powder pink
  • C305 – intense coral (totally NOT)


The vivid pinks:

  • M201 – blue pink
  • C206 – pink
  • C207 – fuchsia pink
  • M202 – candy pink
  • C208 – magenta pink


The berries:

  • M301 – poppy orange (I honestly don’t see any orange ∗shrugs∗)
  • C306 – pink coral (nope … not a coral drop in sight)
  • M204 – raspberry pink
  • M203 – neon pink
  • M102 – pink brown
  • M501 – plum violet


The reds:

  • C404 – passion red
  • C407 – black red
  • C506 – dark purple (red undertone clearly seen at first swipe, trust me)
  • C405 – stage red
  • M401 – hot red (Icon Pop selection)


The corals/oranges:

  • C304 – orange
  • C303 – orange coral
  • M300 – red orange
  • M500 – wine violet (it’s much too warm-leaning to be a true red/violet)
  • C403 – vermillion red
  • M402 – brick red (more like coral/rose to me)


The colours:

  • C503 – mauve violet (or as I like to call it: lavender)
  • C601 – peacock green (closer to mint/aqua in my opinion)
  • C602 – turquoise blue
  • C502 – taupe violet
  • C603 – midnight blue (Icon Pop selection)


In case you’re wondering, black and white are actually quite versatile shades to have around; apart from their obvious editorial usage, white can be used to lighten deeper hues to create an entirely unique new colour and you can even dab some at the centre of the lower lip to give the illusion of an instantly plumper pout. Black on the other hand, is useful when you want to deepen and/or add dimension to pale and pastel shades, giving them an edge they wouldn’t ordinarily have and it can also be used strategically to provide the perception of fuller lips by darkening outer edges, thus drawing the eye to the centre of the mouth. Voilà: instant bee-stung looking pucker.

  • C604 – black
  • C600 – white



As far as selection goes, the new Artist Rouge Lipsticks have totally got you covered (see what I did there?!) and MAKE UP FOR EVER even threw in enough mattes in each individual category that there’s no way you won’t find your perfect shade, be it neutral or bright/deep. I surprised myself by falling for several in the coral group and the black was my biggest sleeper hit — who would have thought? Ultimately, I am definitely impressed with the quality and while there are several that I know I’ll never wear (green? so not my colour), I can’t help but love knowing I have options. Just wish I had a few more pairs of lips …. #notreally #justsaying

Available at Sephora



Press samples kindly provided, all opinions are my own

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