They Call it “The Red”: Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro 400 & Comparison

If the first half of 2012 is all about a cross of lip balm, lipstick, and lip gloss, the second half appears to be all about liquid lipsticks. We have seen brands such as Guerlain and Hourglass launching their versions, and now Giorgio Armani has joined the race with Lip Maestro. Since I have been seriously into red, I picked up Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro 400, alternatively known as “The Red.”

If you are familiar with Gloss d’Armani, you pretty much already know the packaging of Lip Maestro. I am a big fan of Giorgio Armani packaging in general, and the only difference here is that the cap is red instead of black. To be honest I am still on the fence with this. With #400 it makes sense, but I’m not so sure it works as well for all the other shades in the line-up. However, that’s a very minor point and my personal opinion. I know some love it for the retro vibe!

I love the applicator of Gloss d’Armani 100%, and I’m glad to see the same bent and flexible doe-foot one in the case of Lip Maestro. It feels much nicer on the lips than other doe-foot applicators I have tried. The formula is unscented, though if I sniff very closely I can detect a whiff of something chemical just like Gloss d’Armani. Once on however, you definitely can’t smell it anymore!

#400 is evidently a very popular shade, as it exists as Rouge d’Armani, Gloss d’Armani, and now Lip Maestro. I can definitely see why: this blue-based deeper red is for sure universally-flattering and brightening! The finish is matte without being dull. It has incredibly generous pigmentation, goes on easy and smooth, doesn’t sink into lines, cling onto dry bits, or dry my lips out (though it is not moisturizing either).

Here is the swatch. Below it’s one pass, and above it’s built-up. I honestly can’t see the difference though. It is that opaque from the get-go!

Here is a comparison swatch of Lip Maestro 400 with the other reds that I own. From bottom to top: Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro 400, Too Faced Perfect Red Perfect Lips, Hourglass Icon Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick, Dior Diorling Diorific Lipstick, Tom Ford Diabolique Lip Color:

Now, how does the formula work for me? I have to admit it’s a little tricky. It is possible to apply this straight from the tube with the applicator, but the problem is that this formula doesn’t “set.” The other liquid lipstick I have tried, Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait, dries down and “sets” so that there is minimal transfer and absolutely no color migrating. Lip Maestro, at least in the case of #400, never seems to dry down and set. It stays soft, moussy, and bouncy. This is probably why when applied straight from the tube with the applicator, there will be quite a bit of transfer even if I try my best to keep the layer thin. Transfer isn’t a big problem, since the pigmentation level is so high that it doesn’t just disappear anyways. However, that way it does migrate. With a lip liner things are slightly better, but I’ve had the most success doing a very thin layer with a lip brush and following up with a bit of lip liner around the contour. This way, migrating and transfer are minimal, but it also wears out faster. I also have to give Lip Maestro #400 credit for leaving behind a beautiful, even, and long-lasting stain.

This is also why I find it hard to take about “wear” with Lip Maestro #400. With the pigmentation level, it’s supposed to be something that lasts all day. However, between the transfer/possible migration and a very thin layer that wears out faster, it’s hard to tell. The stain can basically last you all day, though you might need to carry the liquid lipstick, lip brush, and your lip liner with you for a bit of touch-up if you want the color to stay fresh without the edges looking frayed all day.

With all that said, the formula of Lip Maestro is just a little tricky to work with for me personally. I know that the grand majority of people who have tried this seem to love it, as the pigmentation, glide, and stain are beautiful. I seem to be the only one having this odd case of color migration!

Nevertheless, you have to admit the color is pretty dashing:

Bottom line: I’m really really sorry to say the formula doesn’t seem to work too well for me personally. Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro #400 is a beautiful and universally-flattering shade that will please many, and I could be the only one who has a bit of problem with the formula. However, like everything else I talk about here, I encourage you to find the opportunity to see for yourself whether something works for you simply because too many factors are involved!

Have you tried Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro? Are you on board with liquid lipsticks/matte lipsticks? Is there a trick I should try to make the color stay put better?

Sunny, your beauty culture translator xx

  • Claire

    That’s the one I got as well πŸ˜€ I have the 400 lipstick and love the colour, such a red-RED! They fade a bit uneven on me (loving Guerlain way more) but they are really long lasting still. Everytime I want to colour my hair a lighter brown, then you post pics of you – your beautiful black hair and red lipstick and I just love the contrast black hair gives (it kinda frames your face), then I am very glad mine is naturally black πŸ˜€ also my eyes are blue and people keep asking me why that is so … well, genes folks! (random, lol). I really like what you are wearing here, it looks very armani-like, love it!!!

    • Sunny

      You know what, I think I should try Rouge d’Armani 400. I’ve had better luck with Rouge d’Armani! This fades evenly on me, though it just doesn’t really set.

      I’ve never changed my hair color, though I did hear that with different hair colors you can wear different colors. I’ll start dyeing mine when I get gray hair probably :)

  • Becca @ The Beauty Sample

    Guerlain’s version has been my favorite so far, but I am REALLY curious about these Giorgio Armani ones! The finish is just so, so pretty!

    • Sunny

      I hope it’ll stay put better on you, Becca!

  • Fruity Lashes

    Such nice lip gloss! The red is full of the Holiday Spirit.

    • Sunny

      Oh for sure! It’s more of a liquid lipstick though. It’s a lot moussier than a gloss!

  • beauties

    this is the kind of red I need :) Looks gorgeous on you Sunny!

    • Sunny

      Thanks girl! Blue-based reds are pretty universally-flattering eh :)

  • Redhotjillypeppers

    That’s a gorgeous shade of red ! Love the packaging, too !

    • Sunny

      Haha I knew some would love the retro vibe! The red cap does look pretty good with this specific color :)

  • Arianne

    It looks beautiful on you, Sunny! I totally agree with your findings though. Although I love how this feels so velvety on my lips (in face it feels identical to the Maestro foundation), it was a big mess after I ate my lunch. It feathered so badly and transferred everywhere. :(

    I think I’ll probably try a more neutral one if I were to keep using this. Or like you said, a thin layer with a lip brush would work better. The doe foot applicator just puts on way too much.

    • Sunny

      Thanks Arianne!

      Yeah it’s way better with a lip brush and liner, though that way the color also wears out faster. You just can’t have it all with this one I’m afraid.

  • Teri

    I feel your pain Sunny! It’s not the most forgiving formula out there and it’s hard to make sharp edges with this formula. However, it does stain very well on me!

    • Sunny

      Yeah. It’s even more of a pain because the color I picked is SO vibrant :(

  • Tracy@Beauty Reflections

    It’s beautiful on you that’s for sure! But too bad it doesn’t set. Especially with reds-you really don’t want to have to worry about whether it’s down your chin! No thanks GA. I also didn’t like the Maestro foundation-it catches on dry patches really badly.

    • Sunny

      Yeah I’ve had that happen a couple of times with this one… Luckily I’ve only been wearing it around the house!

      I do like the Maestro foundation, though in this weather I prefer something more moisturizing. With my combination skin in summer, I can even skip setting powder with that one!

  • Perilously Pale

    I mentioned the transfer in my review as well. Such a GORGEOUS shade and finish but I would be so paranoid wearing it out.

    • Sunny

      Yeah same here. Unless you’re not talking, drinking, or eating anything, I’m relatively sure the lines will just stop being so crisp :(

  • Rainy Days & Lattes

    The shade is very eye catching and bold. I’m not sure I’d be able to pull this look off especially because I’m not confident about matte shades too much =P I’m so sad it didn’t work for you but there are lots of reds to be found ^___^

    • Sunny

      I agree! Actually there are many good mattes around nowadays that aren’t even drying, so if you’re interested you should always look into them :)

  • Chris El

    You win some, you lose some when it comes to lipstick formulas. I love the black & white blazer (shirt?) that you’re wearing. :)

    • Sunny

      Haha thanks Chris! That’s actually an old dress that I have.

  • Yak Man

    such a pretty/simple package! Love the color β™₯

    • Sunny

      Yeah I agree. That color is amazing! I need to look into Rouge d’Armani 400!

  • Larie

    Aw, it’s a shame that it doesn’t dry down! I’ve heard other people say this, too. I still think I might experiment with one later.

    • Sunny

      Yeah you should, Larie! Apparently it works like a charm on most! Perhaps you’ll have more luck :)

  • Shannon @ Eyemasq

    Looks beautiful on you Sunny. Definitely worth checking this out to see if the formula works, because it is absolutely stunning!

    • Sunny

      Thanks so much Shannon! You should try it on, and I hope it’ll work for you!

  • Marla

    Wow, that is a super intense red. Looks stunning on you but might be too much for these older lips of mine, ha!

    • Sunny

      Aww come on, Marla! It doesn’t sink into lines or cling onto dry bits, so don’t worry about that!

  • Emi at Project Swatch

    I loooove the color, but I do get frustrated with transfer, so perhaps the product isn’t for me. Great review!

    • Sunny

      I can handle something that requires a bit of work if it’s not high-maintenance, or something that can be easily reapplied even without a mirror. This unfortunately falls in between.

  • Cynthiiaa

    Wauw, it’s absolutely stunnig! Love the colour, it’s so intens. :) Looks good on you lady!

    • Sunny

      Thanks Cynthia! The pigmentation is pretty generous indeed :)

  • L e n a

    you wear reds so well, but this is one of the best i’ve seen, yet!!!!
    gorgeous matte red and you look super hot. πŸ˜‰

  • Meryl @ Memoiselle

    True BOLD red! Aww Sunny how could you look so gorge in Red? I think I’d look weird :(

    • Sunny

      Aww thanks so much Meryl!

      What I discovered about wearing red is you have to be convinced yourself. If you get used to seeing yourself with red and loving yourself in red, you’ll look great in it. The same goes to any kind of makeup really :)

  • Jacqueline

    Sunny, I am so going to try a Lip Maestro, it looks fantastic on you. Quit tempting me with red lips, I have more than enough to last me ten lifetimes. :)

    • Sunny

      Haha sorry Jacqueline! I hope it’ll stay put better on you!

  • jianing23

    Jut got this product and I have the same issue with the not setting :( don’t know what to do about that!

    • Sunny @Mostly Sunny

      Hey girl, I’m so sorry to hear that! This formula has received both good and bad reviews. For some it just doesn’t set, and I really haven’t come up with a solution yet :( I hope you can return it or maybe let another girlfriend try?