Review: Thierry Mugler Lip Lacker Plexi Gloss
What the hell is a Lip Lacker Plexi Glass? It’s Thierry Mugler-verse speak for lipgloss. You didn’t know that Thierry Mugler did lipgloss? Well Clarins better get on with promoting that make-up line pronto. Thierry Mugler is better known these days for his mammoth fragrance hit Angel. Angel’s one of the consistently worldwide top-selling perfumes and has been for 20 years. It seems like only yesterday that the strange blue star shaped bottle was launching all around the world and suddenly the waft of chocolate, vanilla and patchouli was wafting around the streets choking people in lifts and enclosed spaces and getting into the nostrils of those with allergies and scent sensitivities. Me? I love it. Unashamedly, unabashedly, completely and utterly. L.o.v.e.i.t. You’ll have to prise my bottle of Angel out of my rigor-mortised hands and even then the stench will have permeated my pores and leech out all around me making my corpse smell even more putrid than you ever thought possible. Pleasant image?
Angel was the first bonafide grown-up fragrance I owned. I got it for my 14th birthday, purchased by my mum from Harrods for me. I got a 50ml Eau de Parfum bottle and that bottle lasted me 12 years which, considering the strength of the juice, is about right. The stuff reeks. I completely have sympathy with those who can’t stand it and most people wear a squirt too much for 95% of the world. But it makes me love it more. I once wore it to school, and this “girl” – you know one of those horrid, nasty, shrew like bitches you only get in British girls’ public schools – said to me “Oh, is that Angel you’re wearing? I HATE that.” It made me love it so much more and from that moment on, whenever anyone asks me what my all-time favorite fragrance is, I say Angel. I love everything about it, from its top note to drydown, the celestial star shaped bottles, the numerous flankers and extended ancillary line to the bizarro-world creator Thierry Mugler whose transformation from 80s shoulder pad power dress designer to bulging bicep muscle Manfred was le scandale of the fashion world for a season. Luca Turin compared the sillage of Rose Angel to shimmering like gulf-stream jet oil and it’s a fair comparison. I reckon we could fuel nuclear rods with this thing (and its got a comparable half-life to plutonium too).
I don’t even wear Angel that often but I don’t have to bathe in it to love it. I consider myself a bit of perfume-fiend (Moi? An addiction to a cosmetic product? Who’da thought?) with a very sizeable collection covering niche to mainstream to tacky but nothing will ever replace Angel. Strong scents are considered impolite in Korean society but that seems to be one of the cultural things which isn’t inherited through genes as I love strong scents. I also consider Thierry Mugler to be one of the most interesting mainstream fragrance houses around. Each release is unexpected and interesting and they definitely don’t follow any trends or expectations prevalent in most big houses. They never ever ever play it safe with their releases and I sometime wonder how on earth such a bourgeois staid and ladies-who-lunch skincare brand like Clarins even thought to consider buying the Thierry Mugler brand. There’s no denying that Angel is a massive commercial hit (still going strong!) and anyone might want to have a slice of that lucrative pie on first glance, but dealing with a personality like Mr Thierry Mugler must be, er, trying to put it mildly. You get the impression that the man speaks an entirely different language and he’s completely open about the fact that he lives in his own universe which is a big part of the brand’s marketing (you can see it yourself on the brand website) . Hmmm actually I can see why Clarins are sticking with it.
The men’s line is gorgeous too. I consider A*Men Pure Malt better than a lot of the dreck produced by high-falutin’ niche outfits for $$$$. I’m dying to get my nose into Womanity, Mugler’s latest scent which is being pushed as a sweet and savoury, fig and caviar scent. See what I mean about not playing it safe? What’s wrong with a nice insipid fruity floral or bland white musk?
Where Clarins seem to have dropped the ball is pushing Thierry Mugler’s foray into make-up like they have his fragrances. I knew about the existence of the make-up line and yet I’d never so much as swatched a tester since the products landed on counter 2 years ago (no doubt bursting forth from a twinkling star-shaped meteorite from planet Mugler). Scant press, no blog reviews, no hype, no interest. How can the team behind one of the world’s best known modern fragrances have produced such a damp squib of a make-up line?
It’s not the products themselves. On investigation I was suprised to find that they’re stunning. Seeing that they’d had no press I thought maybe they were all price no substance like the colour lines from Sisley or La Prairie which are so expensive but struggle to measure up to colour lines from the likes of Estee Lauder or Dior. BFF2, who knows me so well, picked out these gorgeous two lipglosses and sent them to me in my recent birthday package. It’s not often that I pull out a lipgloss which makes my eyes go round like saucers. Look at those vials! They look like shimmering rods of Kryptonite or stalactites pulled from a Barbie world where water is pink.
The main USP of these glosses are that they’re holographic. They’re truly the most shimmering multidimensional, shift-with-the-light multichrome products I’ve ever seen. At first I thought they might be comparable to the Laura Mercier holographic Lip Glaces or Estee Lauder Pure Colour holo-glosses but compared side by side the TM ones outdazzle both. You can really see the light bending qualities in the close-ups below.
These glosses are sadly the kind of product that look more amazing on the applicator and in the tube that on the lips. On the lips they’re pretty and give a lot of colour but the holographic quality isn’t as visible. The best part is when you first apply it to your lips and you see your lips change and morph colour in the mirror as the gloss catches the light. But once on, their fire and life seems to dim. They have a lovely smooth texture, not sticky or slippery at all. They have a liquid metal or oil-on-water look but it’s not shimmer or glitter. They’re a world apart from MAC Dazzleglasses. The applicator is a plastic spatula commonly found in Asian lipglosses which make them great to apply and have a lot of product on (no need for double-dipping).
The main negative point on these glosses is a packaging flaw: they leak! I noticed some gunk on the tubes when I was photographing them and on investigation found that the applicator and wand isn’t flush with the wiper mechanism on the inside of the tubes. They’re not gushing product but some gloss manages to escape onto the threads of the tube each time I use it and without meticulously wiping it each time, it can cause a mess and build-up of gloss around the opening. Both were like this which doesn’t bode well as it doesn’t seem to be a one-off fluke. This is very disappointing and not up to the packaging standards that I’ve come to expect from TM products.
The two shades I got were Pink Effet and Coral Effect. They look so similar in my photos but they’re not in real life at all. Pink Effect is a blue-toned medium pink and Coral Effect is a golden red shade which applies very red on the lips. They provide a lot of colour without a lot of pigment on the lips, something which I’m sure is due to the light bending qualities of the holographic formula. These were a bitch to photograph in that however many different angles and lighting effects I tried there’s no way I could capture the way they look in real life. You REALLY have to swatch these in person. I can hand on heart say as far as shade is concerned, these are the most unique lip glosses I’ve ever seen.
- Gorgeous packaging.
- Stunning looking in the tube. I’d be happy to own these simply as twinkling decorative ornaments.
- Light smooth texture.
- Give great depth of colour on the lips without loading up with lots of product.
- The tube looks slim but there’s 5.5ml of gloss in there, a decent amount.
- Leaks! Badly designed tube and wiper mechanism on the inside. Even the cheapo drugstore brands can get this right so how these passed quality control is beyond me. Is it possible that I really did get two dud tubes?
- They don’t look as stunning on the lips as in the tube. I think that’s just the nature of the glosses and it’s impossible to get that look on lips with a gloss.
- Not widely available or known about. Come on Clarins, push the line! I’ve had a look at the other products and they’re all as gorgeous and unusual as these glosses are (and without the packaging flaws).
Despite the leaking tubes these are still worth having especially if you’re searching for evermore unusual and unique make-up products to get your cosmetic high. Make-up junkies and collectors I’m looking at YOU. And you know what? I do actually WEAR these glosses on my lips, not just stare at them in amazement. They look really lovely on :)
Overall rating: 4 out of 5. Fix the tubes and I’d give these a perfect score.