Read My Lips: L’Oréal x Balmain Is the Budget-Friendly Designer Collab of the Season

@L’Oréal Paris France via YouTube screenshot

It’s safe to say that 2017 was a big year for fashion’s golden boy, Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain and Instagram impressario. At the tender age of 32, this year has marked his sixth at the helm of the French luxury label, and it was his biggest to date. Since June, Rousteing has overseen the opening of a Beverly Hills, Calif., flagship boutique, a collaboration with Victoria’s Secret for its annual runway show, the launch of now-sold-out designs for Beats by Dre and even costumes for the Paris Opera Ballet.


But one of Rousteing’s lowest-profile collaborations is also one of his most accessible, and with Christmas gifts now bought and opened, ’tis the time in the season to treat yourself.

In Balmain’s first venture into beauty, it recently teamed up with fellow French classic L’Oreal Paris to create a Color Riche capsule collection of 12 of-the-moment matte shades, including a classic red aptly named “Domination,” a metallic army green labeled “Balmain Instinct” and a brown called “Power” that reminds us of the beloved “Brazil Nut” we rocked in high school. There’s even an ultraviolet, perfectly on trend with Pantone’s Color of the Year, called “Freedom.”

And while we’ve yet to forget—or forgive—L’Oreal Paris U.K.’s recent dismissal of model Munroe Bergdorf over her very accurate comments about race, our fandom of Rousteing—the only black person to head a major fashion house and the youngest creative director in Paris since Yves Saint Laurent—definitely has us thinking twice. He, too, has been outspoken about racism, especially within the fashion industry, as he told Out magazine:

Look at perfume campaigns. You never see black girls, and if you do, they use Photoshop so much that they almost look white. It’s just wrong. People post on my Instagram that they are so happy to see black boys and black girls. I’m happy that they see it and don’t think that fashion belongs to white people.


L’Oreal seems to have taken the hint, too, making sure to show even the palest shades in this collection on dark skin.


And while you won’t find this collection at your local drugstore, you will find it at the relatively bargain price of $14 per shade, even at luxury retailers like Barneys New York. The jury’s still out on whether we’ll bite—especially since Fenty Beauty’s 14-shade panorama of Mattemoiselle lipsticks dropped today at $18 each—but at that price, we’re tempted to buy one for every principle of Kwanzaa.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?


Ororo Munroe 2.0

I recently bought Power, and I love everything about this lipstick. I also love the packaging, which while I understand is not that important in the long run, increased my interest in buying in the first place.