#FrenchFriday: Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Definition in Le Carmin (Review)

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Review, photos and swatches of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin (195)

Welcome to this week's #FrenchFriday post, your weekly dose of French beauty! Today I want to talk to you about a new lipstick by Lancôme, the L'Absolu Rouge Définition. I know, I write about Lancôme a lot... what can I say, it has become my favorite French makeup brand in the past year!

I'm sure you couldn't fail to notice that matte lips are all the rage these days, and Lancôme launched or re-promoted a bunch of matte lipstick formulas in the Matte To Measure collection released last fall (see more details around the middle of this post). The L'Absolu Rouge Définition, a brand new formula, debuted with this launch. I was very impressed when I swatched the 6 shades and I decided to buy Le Carmin, #195. It comes in a classy black tube with golden details and a magnetic closure, and it has a light floral scent but no discernible taste.

The tube of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin (195)

Review, photos and swatches of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin (195)

First, let's take a look at the official description of this new lipstick formula, slightly different from the classic L'Absolu Rouge. The Définition version is supposed to "master the art of highly saturated lipcolor for perfectly defined lips. The lipstick offers bold color, smooth and precise application and a demi-matte finish. Its formula ensures four hours of comfort and moisture due to essential oils, including jojoba oil, and a light-diffusing gel which provides a gorgeous finish without drying out your lips", and Lancôme goes on to say that "the bullet maintains its pointed edge after use, which allows for precise application with every swipe".

Does it live up to its claims? Let's take a look at what I liked and didn't like about this L'Absolu Rouge Définition!

Review, photos and swatches of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin (195)

Review, photos and swatches of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin (195)

I liked

- Le Carmin is the most gorgeous deep red I have seen in a while. It's a darkened, classic red with very slight cool undertones. It's the kind of red that I think could suit anyone, since it's neither too pink nor too orange. It will look vampy on fair skin tones but still very wearable, and I can see it being a sexy, glamorous shade on any skin tone.

- The semi-matte finish is perfection. It's not so matte that it looks flat on, but there is really no sheen to it. Le Carmin happens to be one of the mattest shades in the range, some of the other colors appeared more satin when I swatched them, see for yourself.

Swatches of all shades of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme: Le Magenta, Le Violet, Le Pourpre, Le Sepia, Le Carmin, Le Vermillon
Swatches of all the shades of Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Definition

- Le Carmin is incredibly intense, richly pigmented and bold. It's opaque in a single swipe, and layering will only darken it a bit without adding any intensity. It applies very evenly without tugging or skipping, and never emphasizes lip lines. I think it's one of the most pigmented and richest lipsticks I have in my collection.

- Despite its intensity, L'Absolu Rouge Définition has a very light texture. It doesn't feel creamy, oily, heavy or sticky at all. It's really surprisingly light for such a pigmented matte lipstick formula.

- Maybe the most important thing for me: this lipstick, although it's a matte, is absolutely NOT drying. It's surprisingly comfortable to wear and keeps my lips moisturized throughout the day. Really it feels hydrating! With matte lipsticks I often develop chapped, flaky lips after a few hours, but it's definitely not the case with Le Carmin. It also doesn't emphasize existing dryness: of course it should be applied to exfoliated, well hydrated lips for a flawless result, but it doesn't make my dryer areas more visible.

- The wear time is great! I can go through an entire day with only the need to re-apply ONCE, after lunch. The brand claims that it lasts 4 hours, but it wears a lot longer than that on me! As long as you don't eat, it really doesn't lose any intensity. After a meal it looks faded but it's still going strong with a vibrant stain. I did a little experiment where I used lip liner on the contour of my lips, and just the lipstick in the center. To my surprise, the contour had faded more than the center of my lips after dinner (this is really not typical for me), so Le Carmin actually wore better WITHOUT lip liner underneath!

Review, photos and swatches of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin (195)

I didn't like

- Despite being a long-wear lipstick, it does transfer. I have to be careful with my tea mugs, because I leave a red ring on the edge and it can cause smudges if I drink from the same area again.

- So the whole "precise application" claim... No, that didn't work for me. As any bold red shade it's tricky to apply perfectly, and, in fact, I found it a little harder than usual to have a clean, crisp edge. I tried to apply it directly from the bullet as instructed, and the lip line was not sharp at all, it looked uneven and smudgy. Repeat application to try and smooth things out just resulted in me going way outside of my natural lip line!
I have to say that the texture of my skin right around the edges of my upper lip is not smooth. I often have tiny blackheads there, and some breakout scars (my super dry lips need rich balms but the skin around them doesn't like how they clog pores...), and L'Absolu Rouge Définition didn't play well with that when applied from the bullet. With a lip brush though I was able to smooth things out to a satisfying result. I didn't really feel the need to use a lip liner as long as I applied Le Carmin with a brush.

Lip swatch of L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin (195)


L'Absolu Rouge Définition in Le Carmin is a fantastic red lipstick in an amazing, modern matte formula: it's surprisingly light, feels hydrating and lasts very long. While I don't agree that it allows for precise application right from the bullet, the insanely rich color payoff and comfort of wear make it an outstanding lipstick in my collection!

Wearing L'Absolu Rouge Définition Lipstick by Lancôme in Le Carmin on lips, fotd, motd
Wearing Le Carmin, with Cargo Venice eyeshadow palette on eyes

Have you fallen for the matte lip trend? What is your favorite type of matte lipstick: classic, liquid, crayon?

Where to buy?

The product featured in this review was purchased by Lulle. I received no compensation to write this post, which only reflects my personal opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

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