When Chanel’s new Lip & Balm Powder Duo landed on my desk, I was, in all honesty, a bit stumped. It seemed counterintuitive, putting a balm on followed by a lip powder. Surely a matte lipstick achieves the same effect with less faff? Why the balm? Would the powder apply smoothly? I had all the questions.
Odd though it seemed, my curiosity was piqued. I’ve come to revere Lucia Pica’s creations, you see; Chanel’s Global Creative Makeup and Colour Designer has a knack for designing things you never knew you always needed. She was at the fore of the renaissance of reds, extolling the virtues of red eyeshadow which is still enjoying a moment in the sun, while her last collection drew inspiration from a road trip to LA and married dusty browns with washes of oceanic hues, sparking a resurgence of blue shadows.
The Lip Balm and Powder Duo comes from a the SS18 collection, which also hints at the wanderlust, with Naples serving as Pica’s muse. The result is a handful of vivid, bold shades that cement her reputation as a fan of colour.
But back to that lip duo. First, the balm. It’s not glossy but rather a subtle gleam that has two purposes: 1) It makes lips comfortable, negating any of the usual effects of a matte, and 2) it offers the necessary adhesive action for the powder to stick to.
As I tapped the powder on top of the balm, I realised why this approach has such value. It’s comfortable, with the balm acting as a nice buffer between powder and lip. The act of applying colour on top offers a bit of lip plumping action and a soft, hazy finish. The colour also sticks around nicely - I'd liken the length of wear to that of a standard moisturising lipstick. But, most importantly of all, it is so easy to customise. I use it in two ways:
Look 1: Freshly-bitten lips
The tiniest smudge of the powder is enough to take lips up a notch in shade without any of the telltale gloss/shimmer/shine of wearing lipstick. For this, just use fingers - a tapping motion in the centre will give that ‘just eaten berries’ stain, while moving the shade to the edge of lips has a plumping effect.
Look 2: Full on red
Think matte red, but - thanks to the powdery finish - with a little more diffusing action and therefore results in a little more fullness to a finished pout. I use the little foam applicator for this as it picks up the powder really well, and I slide and press it on.