Historically, hot pink looks like shit on me. No, listen: I’m the first person to preach that anyone can pull off anything, and that they just have to go for it. But when it comes to wearing magenta and fuchsia tones on my skin, they usually just don’t work. They make my redness-prone skin appear redder, my teeth look yellow, and it’s glaringly obvious when it starts to bleed over my lip lines. In photos, it also washes me out, making my fair skin look a little jaundiced. That’s why I typically stick to cool-toned reds and purples when I decide to go bold.
Then this tiny pink tube showed up in the mail: Violette_Fr Petal Matte Bouche in Cœur Infidèle.
I’m already a fan of this product’s original shade — a rose petal-red that I get a zillion compliments on whenever I wear it — so either way, I was going to give this formula a shot. Like I typically do with its incarnadine sister, I applied it by dabbing some formula in the center of my lips with the flat side of the applicator, then smudged it out to my vermillion lines with my finger for a softer, more diffused finish.
I was shocked by the amount of color payoff in that small amount of liquid, and what’s more, the shade just… worked. It created a flattering contrast with my pale complexion rather than fighting it, and my teeth looked much whiter than usual. And whereas I’ll usually reach for a peachy-pink or mauve to achieve a pretty everyday look, this shade felt as edgy as the more vampy scarlet and Bordeux shades in my arsenal — Barbie, but in her 30s.
This nuanced hue can be attributed to the formula’s balance of blue and yellow pigments, something French makeup artist and brand founder Violette considers a signature aspect of her products. “You’ll see that balance in every lipstick I [formulate] because I feel like you need both. You need yellow for the brightness and vibrancy, and you need blue for depth, and to master the amount of each is really complicated,” she explains. (Another example: the brand’s sheer Bisou Balms, which are going viral on Tiktok at the moment.) That’s why it took the brand’s chemists a year and a half of tweaking and reformulation to nail the liquid lipstick’s final shade. The bigger challenge, though, would be subverting the typical definition of “French girl beauty.”