Destroyer. Syren. Space Black. These are not the names of intergalactic rovers (though they do sound like they might have come from another planet). They’re three of the quirky products you will find in Byredo’s new makeup collection.
It’s not the first time the Scandinavian fragrance house has enticed us with something that seems otherworldly. When founder Ben Gorham launched Gypsy Water, its unusual name, minimalist bottle, and oddball, woodsy scent were unfamiliar, but with a few spritzes we fell in love and many imitators followed. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Byredo than insanely cool takes on lipstick, eye shadow, and mascara. Gorham referenced ancient relics and gypsy artifacts to create the curvilinear packaging. And he found a collaborator for whom molten gold and crystals are stand-ins for foundation and eye shadow: British makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench.
The two connected over a universal love of color — but to be clear, we’re not talking about the colors in an eight-pack of Crayolas. “Books, film stills, things in my house… I’d do an imagery search on the computer and select just a few pixels of colors I loved,” says Ffrench. “I put it into a folder and created this color library.” The catalogue took on a vintage vibe — lots of burnt oranges and golds — that Ffrench and Gorham turned into 16 Colour Sticks, multipurpose pigments for eyes, lips, and cheeks. There are holographic shades, including, not one, but three glimmering versions of blue, plus aubergines and a deep lilac because “everyone should have purples,” says Ffrench.
When testing out the product line for myself, I tried out the Antique shade of the Colour Stick, a rich chocolate brown with subtle metallic flecks. The rounded bullet makes it just as easy to apply the product to the cheeks as it is to the lips. As a ’90s beauty fan, I decided to go with a full-on brown look. I coated my eyes, cheeks, and lips in the shade. The finish is semi-matte and super soft. The shimmer was subtle not overpowering. I threw the stick in my “use every time you apply makeup” pile.
The woman who sees the beauty in mascara tears and intentionally smudged red lipstick also created her perfect mascara, Space Black (its unconventionally skinny wand “can get to the base of the eyelash and apply product from the very bottom to the tip”), and a moody crimson lipstick, the smoldery Red Armchair. The color teeters perfectly between candy-apple and brick red. The formula slides on lips with a creamy satin finish. That shade is joined by 14 other surprising takes on classics (muted tangerines, muddled magenta), including four vampy purples.