i first heard that giorgio armani was releasing a new gloss formula called "flash lacquer" a little while back on best things in beauty. i have to admit, i was a little hesitant, because, having initially snubbed the gloss d'armani formula launched in 2011 because i found it too sheer, i've since fallen bum over noggin in love with it because, despite the sheerness, it's the easiest to use and longest-wearing gloss i've found. so knowing that there was a competing gloss creeping onto the scene made me wonder if there was really room for the ones i'd decided were my favourites.
but last week, my armani counter decided to go rogue and put out several shades of the new formula for sale, although technically, they weren't supposed to do so until a little later. i tried out a few of them and i do have to admit that i probably, if pressed, think that the colour selection in the flash lacquers is more comprehensive than in the original gloss d'armani line-up, because there are differing levels of pigmentation. those differences are accounted for by the fact that there are three different "families" of shades within the flash lacquer range: more intense, creamy shades dubbed "pure attitude", pearly shades called "pearly japanese enamels" and a more glittery group known as the "sparkling midnight shimmers". the first group pack a lot more pigment than any of the other armani glosses i've seen, but the other two groups seem roughly similar.
when choosing a colour, my eye was, of course, drawn to the grey-violet "black pearl", part of the "sparkling midnight shimmers" group. [is it just me, or does that sound like a really cheesy roller derby team?]
|armani black pearl|
it's a relatively sheer colour, but it definitely veils the lips in a cool lavender-grey colour with a lot of sparkle. it's a very refined kind of sparkle, though, not like glitter glosses of old, but more like a very sophisticated, modern take on a goth lip. it's also surprisingly wearable, which i'll get to later.
the first thing it reminded me of was, of course, givenchy's gelee interdit in "celestial black". it has more colour to it and the shimmer is more dense. the shimmer in "black pearl" is also cooler in tone, which means that the shade on the lips looks very icy.
|l to r :: black pearl, givenchy celestial black|
i'm not certain this would work on ladies [or gentlemen] who have a very warm or olive undertone to their skin, but i really like the contrast against my complexion.
as for the formula, it certainly passes the "non-sticky" test. [i tested this out with a couple of shades by giving dom a kiss at the counter. fyi, it is not transfer resistant.] it's a luxuriously smooth, very hydrating gloss that makes my lips look a bit smoother and fuller by playing with the way that they reflect light. it does not have the fascinating "gelling" effect that the original gloss d'armanis have. those set on the lips to a more gel-like consistency, which makes them the longest-wearing glosses i own. [note :: i have not tried the ysl glossy stains, which i see as something different than a regular gloss anyway.]
predictably, this means that the new flash lacquers aren't actually as long wearing as their predecessors, although the colour, even on a sheer shade like "black pearl" does stick around for a surprising amount of time. it leaves a residual shimmer but the shimmer doesn't travel, which means that you're not going to end up with sparkly bits adorning your unplucked nostril hairs at the end of the evening.
i asked the ladies at my armani counter how these fit into the line with the existing armani glosses and opinion was divided. officially, there is no plan to discontinue the existing ones, but on the other hand, it's kind of difficult to see how two products that are so similar can continue to flourish. my guess is that there won't be any immediate move to get rid of the existing gloss d'armani shades, but i wouldn't expect any new ones either.
the flash lacquers are now live on armani's web site and should be arriving in stores shortly. contrary to the original press release, which stated that there would be 36 shades, there appears to be 18 for this launch, which is still a lot of shades if you think about it. i'm personally eager to try out some of the other "families" within the larger flash lacquer group [aside from just trying them on in store, although even doing that has convinced me that i want #523, which makes it look like your lips have been glazed with cherry candy]. armani has them listed as limited edition on the web site, but everywhere else [including my counter] is working under the impression that they're permanent.
here's a look that i wore for easter dinner to my in-laws. that's not the first place that most people would think of trying out a grey shimmery lip gloss, but i figured that it was subtle enough to get away with it and it caught my sister-in-law's attention enough to ask what the shade was. like i said, it's a surprising wearable colour.
for those of you wondering, i paired it with guerlain's "attrape-coeur" eye shadow palette and wore hourglass "mood light" [reviewing coming very shortly, i swear] on the cheeks. and just for good measure, that's chanel's "black pearl" polish on my nails.