Hourglass Femme Rouge; near perfect lipstick

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we review the latest Packaging Porn from our favorite luxury line…

photos: we heart this

I love lipstick. Some love glosses, some love balms, I love lipstick. There are many avenues to travel in the lipcolor metro area, and I am here today to encourage fellow lipstick fanatics to make a stop for Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick in the Hourglass district of lipcolors for a distinctly modern view of the venerable classic stick.

Lipstick hasn’t always been the popular choice; gloss wearers will insist that many glosses retain the pigment of a stick while going that extra mile for a youthful, megawatt shine. Balm wearers will point to their subtly tinted sticks and pots and profess that is all anyone needs. But me? I fancy myself a sex-symbol wannabe (emphasis on “wannabe”), and to that end I can only see myself identifying with a lipstick. Did Marilyn use gloss? Certainly not. Ava Gardner or Rita Hayworth? Bite your tongue. Would Jayne Mansfield be caught naked in only balm? Never. For this reason I am always riding that Retro Lip Line, looking for that new stop offering something better than my previously visited upon lipsticks.

Hourglass is hyped as a cosmetics line that “embodies modern luxury.” Well, “modern luxury” may not be a lipstick term that’s understood until one experiences it firsthand. Firstly, modern speaks to me in design terms—crisp, clean, simple—this is modern. Hourglass Femme Rouge is encased in a long, weighty, darkly metallic metal tube with a Deco-esque “hourglass” stamp. I knew at this moment that if the product inside measured up to its exterior that this lipstick would be one for the ages.

Open the tube and twist to find another design surprise—the lipstick is not rounded with the classically tapered tip—it’s squared off like a new set of acrylic nails. I’ve read elsewhere that the reason for this is to provide superior, even coverage for lip brush users. I’m not a lip brush user (except when I’ve got a product I LOVE and have to get every last bit out of the container) and can’t say I see how this makes one apply color to the brush or the lips any better. What I can say though is that this tip makes it a little difficult to apply without a brush—even on my rather pouty, largish lip surface area. Besides the square tip, a stylized hourglass is stamped on the side of the lipstick. Nice touch—it feels expensive already—but now it’s about to get luxurious…

from left: Whisper, Icon, Fever, Muse, Embrace

The color I received for review is Embrace, a bronze shimmer. The scent of the lipstick is nearly neutral with the faintest hint of sugar. Once the color hits the lips the scent is no longer detectable, but the color sure is! One application deposits a nice amount of color, shimmer and shine, going on smooth and balm-like. Two more layers give a color as deep, shimmery and true as the stick itself. Packed with vitamin E and super antioxidants (and without yucky parabens and sulfates), this formula smooths the skin as promised. Did I mention how long my multiple layers lasted? Forever (well, through mac and cheese and a glass of chardonnay)!

Velvet Crème, you are more than a name—you are a definition. Super lipstick I have found you! But why do you have to live so far uptown (and why are you so square)? Femme Rouge is a rather expensive $30. I guess modern luxury doesn’t hang out in the up-and-coming areas. There is good news for those of us whose tastes don’t always equal their means—Femme Rouge is refillable. I have yet to find the refills or their prices, but it gives me hope.

Fellow sex symbol wannabes (and wht review team members) does Femme Rouge make you want to give up the search for the perfect lipcolor or keep on looking?

Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design, and of course, a wht writer!

Disclosure: This review includes products that were provided by the manufacturer/PR firm for our consideration. It also may contain an affiliate link, a link that gives us a small commission if you purchase the item. For more info, or any questions, please see our disclosure policy.


  • sherrishera

    Sherri is a writer, dog lover, old movie fanatic, history detective, political junkie, fashion pundit and social media consumer advocate. “A fancy dinner and expensive champagne are better than writing a rent check any day of the week.” skin tone: NC 25 skin type: oily/sensitive favorite beauty product: anti-aging anything

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  1. I was given Fever to test. The Femme Rouge lipstick has the typical Hourglass packaging-gorgeous, sexy, classy, and innovative. It’s the kind of packaging that makes you hope that someone notices when you put your lipstick on. The formula is very smooth and creamy. It just glides right on and has a tremendous staying power.

    The shade that I tested, Fever is an extremely bright fuschia. It is one of the most vibrantly colored lipsticks I have ever used. Frankly, it is a little too bright for daily use. I have to tone it down a bit. But if you are looking for some amazing color payoff this one is for you! I look forward to trying out some other colors in the line.

    I give this one 4 stars. It is an amazing lipstick-very high quality! But it is a bit too expensive for some of us and the color was just a little too intense-but totally manageable with a little work.

  2. Oh Hourglass Femme Rouge, how I love you! You could convert this gloss addict very easily.

    Imagine a lipstick that wears forever, but somehow feels as fresh and smooth as the moment you put it on, and you have Femme Rouge. Creamy and long lasting usually don’t go hand in hand, but they do now.

    I actually don’t mind the chisel shaped tip. Yes, it does take a little bit of work to maneuver (and a bit longer to do your lip). But I kind of like the carefulness it requires; it gave me a better looking lip!

    The thought behind the flat surface being better for a lip brush is that you have a better area to build up color of the brush (rather than having to swipe it across bends and curved bits). I’m actually slowly becoming a lip brush user. The lazy side of me says “whatever!” but when I do use a brush, the results are perfect. You have so much more control than just a swipe of the stick.

    And wow, the packaging. In case you didn’t know, I actually coined the term Packaging Porn with Hourglass in mind! Femme Rouge keeps the title. The etched logo on the tube, the weight and feel of it (this lipstick FEELS expensive, even if you just held it and closed your eyes.) The hourglass on the stick itself. It’s all just absolute perfection.

    Finally, (because really, I could talk about this lipstick all day) I got to try Muse, a bright coral red creme. It’s the perfect bridge between red and coral. All the impact of a red, but in a more expected shade. Almost an orange, but not as jarring. It’s bold and gorgeous.

    Love, love, LOVE this. Nothing short of 5 stars from me.

  3. Oh! I forgot to say: if you’re having trouble working with the large flat surface of Femme Rouge – FLIP IT OVER. On the other side is a much smaller flat surface that will conform to the shape of your lip better.

  4. I would be happy to give this product 5 stars IF only I could discover how to purchase the refills! It seems other beauty bloggers are asking the same question as I query online. For that I minus one. If anyone gets any news on this matter, please update.
    I am dying to try Fever (preferably as a refill). Unlike @Kellie76, I’d love to wear that bright color everday, especially knowing how smooth and buildable this color is. Recently, I bought a color similar to this (from Benefit, I think) which is nice, but in Hourglass it would be perfect.
    The chisel tip was by no means a deal-breaker here. Thanks @Stef for pointing out the ins and outs of working with that tip with or without a brush. 4 stars from me (until I find that refill).

  5. Hourglass pretty much dominates most brands in terms of chic packaging. They go for packaging that appeals to all ages, but isn’t embarrassing for someone over the age of 25 to whip out of their purse. I love pulling this lipstick out of my purse–it just looks so luxe. It’s also heavy enough to double as a weapon–I’ve had flimsier lipstick tubes crack in my purse before, but this one is so solid and durable that it’s survived over a month of being lugged around and it still looks brand new. I’d definitely be interested in hearing about the refills…
    As for the lipstick inside, I got to test out ICON, which is a blue-based cherry red shade. This applies smoothly and feels fresh pretty much until it wears off (which took a cup of tea and a doughnut to achieve, but I STILL had a good stain left behind, so I didn’t need to reapply immediately). If the red is too much for you, blot it down with a tissue and you get a deep reddish pink stain that lasts forever. I’m now eyeballing Embrace–I’ve been really drawn to bronze shades lately. Just for quality alone, these lipsticks get a 5 star rating from me!
    Unrelated to Hourglass, but important for those of you who wear red lipstick–there is NOTHING worse than red lipstick that bleeds from your lip line. I noticed that once I hit 30, my lip line started to blur a bit and I had problems with traveling lip stick. Not cute. I completely fixed that problem by putting a little bit of my ROC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream around my lip line after I apply it to my eyes at night. My lip line looks as defined now as it did when I was 20 and I don’t even need to use a lip liner anymore. Hope this helps a few of you ladies out there!

  6. Great tip Krista thank you!! This sounds divine – I must check this one out. For that amount of luxury in packaging and if it gives vibrant color, lasts, and moisturizes it is worth the price…for at least ONE tube! I’ve never heard of a refillable lipstick…why would they do that? Is the tube that great and what about bacteria buildup in the tube itself? Hmm…if it’s a reuse recycle thing then I get it…as long as it doesn’t get nasty in there.

  7. Oooooh, these look preeeeeeeeeeetty. They’re calling my name.

  8. @melinda – I’m telling you, the eye cream makes a world of difference. It doesn’t have to be ROC’s, just one w/ a retinol. I really thought there was no hope for my poor, aging lip line, but I’m telling you, I put this red lipstick on and there was no bleeding or feathering. I’ve only been doing the eye cream around my lip line for about a month now, so it didn’t take super long for me to see improvement, either :)

  9. Oh, how I’m a sucker for all things lip! These look amazing and I can’t wait to try one. The hourglass carving is adorable and the shape intrigues me. I haven’t used a lip brush much, but I’m starting to think I need to start…I feel like the precision might give me some added umph to my lips. Love the eye cream tip too Krista, I definitely need to try that!

  10. I have never tried anything by Hourglass but these lipsticks look luscious :)

  11. @sherrishera, I love that you’re a “sex symbol wannabe!” I would love to be one too, and to pull off lipstick… but I always manage to mess it up, or have it wear unevenly, or get it on my teeth. But these reviews are definitely tempting me! I’m not sure I could pull off the bold colors, but I might cave in.

  12. Just heard from Hourglass:
    Refills for the lipsticks will be available this spring for $24, online at Sephora, Hourglass and at Barneys.
    Woo hoo!

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