Byredo Just Launched Makeup—Here’s What It Looks Like On

There is basic makeup in this world, and there is not-so-basic makeup in this world. And we’re not going to beat around the bush: Byredo’s new collection is most definitely the latter. In fact, take one look at the alienesque design of each of the four products—a mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, and creamy color stick—and it could even be argued that this makeup is not-so-basic makeup from out of this world. Of course, that’s all part of the plan—a long-awaited artistic journey that’s been two years in the making and that’s been whimsically studded with teasing, hints, and temptations along the way. Well, Byredo makeup is finally here, and practically everyone I know in the beauty industry has been chomping at the bit.  

Dearly beloved for its cultish collection of fragrances, the Swedish perfume house had an entirely intentional, unique, and arguably outside-of-the-bubble vision for its makeup debut of “open-source” formulas that could be used, interpreted, and applied any which way the user’s mind wandered. After noticing the success and symbiotic relationship between fragrance and beauty, Byredo’s founder and creative director, Ben Gorham, allowed himself to imagine the artistic and visual way makeup could manifest through the Byredo lens of beauty. Not surprisingly, it looked quite different. 

“I thought our visual ideas could be as different as our approach to scent,” he notes in a press release from the brand. “As I started to really look at the beauty world, I found much of it conservative and conventional. I thought we can do this, and we can do it differently. Ultimately, beauty is subjective–Byredo makeup had to reflect that.” 

Then came Byredo collaborator and celebrated British makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench to complement Gorham’s vision and to help see the process through from a raw and artistic perspective. Keen to redefine and reimagine what the public generally expects from a hot-off-the-presses makeup collaboration, the two joined forces for what would turn out to be a totally unique, highly anticipated launch. 

“I don’t want to tell people how to wear the cosmetics, just to inspire them,” Ffrench points out. “For example, some of these first products are simply sticks of colors, colors that are universally beautiful and that can be worn whichever way you like. I wanted to create a sense of freedom in the way we approach using makeup but also in the way we communicate the products. Byredo can be anything—that is what we are trying to establish.”

Boasting bold and extreme color ranges and pliable and manipulation-friendly textures, Byredo’s collection invites play and freedom, and it’s no secret the packaged design of each product feels like a treasure in and of itself. Fun fact: Gorham is behind the “uniquely totemic” anatomy of the collection, each of which can be interpreted as “obscure objects of desire to be possessed as well as worn.” (Take a look at the collection, and do with that information what you will.)

It’s also worth pointing out the internal composition of each product, as we are increasingly living in a world where clean, sustainably produced formulas are (and should be!) the norm. According to the brand, “there is a pursuit of perfection and quality that does not belie the human element.” And while each product is made from mostly clean, natural ingredients, performance and technology were of utmost importance. As outlined in the brand’s press release, “This is makeup that lives, moves, and breathes with the wearer and does not demand sophisticated application or a permanent filter IRL. Byredo is made for life—in both senses of the term.”

Being that I’m a beauty editor with a special affinity for fun makeup that hasn’t already saturated an overly full industry, I’m diving into everything you need to know about Byredo’s makeup launch just below—complete with photos, reviews, and what I personally feel is (or isn’t) worth your hard-earned dollars. Keep scrolling! 

My take: 5.5/5 stars. I’m so happy these delightful, color-spiked shimmer sticks are the least expensive members of Byredo’s collection because I absolutely need one of each color. In fact, I’m just going to say it now: Even though this product’s display might be the least exciting of the bunch (in my eyes), it’s the hero. This is where you should lay your money, people! To be honest, I kind of had low expectations for this creamy stick. It’s designed to be a multipurpose magic stick for lids, cheeks, and lips, and I just wasn’t sure the light pink color I received (Flowerplay) was up to the task of making an impact. Well, I’m still reeling and eating my words. Not only does the formula have the dreamiest texture—balmy, blendable, and dew inducing sans grease—it also delivers an impressive amount of color payoff. I used it on my lids first and literally raised my eyebrows at the glossy wash of baby pink it gave them. They instantly had more dimension, and I only added some shimmery light pink eye shadow from Dior on top because it’s my signature. I can’t not. Then, when I worked my way to my cheeks, things got even more magical. Instead of applying the stick directly to my skin, I rubbed my middle finger into it and then began to tap and blend it all across and on top of the highest parts of my cheekbone. In a matter of seconds, it looked like I had expertly wielded both blush and highlighter but with zero smudging or chalkiness. This product is practically perfect and foolproof to use, and I highly recommend it.

My take: 3.5/5 stars. Architecturally speaking, Byredo’s admittedly phallic-looking tube of mascara is the absolute star of this makeup collection. Performance-wise, however, it leaves a tiny bit to be desired. Don’t get me wrong—this mascara is more satisfying than the majority of formulas that cross my desk, but I’m a self-proclaimed lash and mascara fiend, which makes me the worst kind of critic (or the best, depending on your vantage point). In general, I almost always prefer close-packed rubber wands like this, so I had high expectations for this mascara. Just like the brand promises, the formula does build really well. You can add multiple layers (I did three or four for testing purposes), and you don’t get much droop. Nothing gets my goat like an overly wet and heavy mascara that makes your lashes look gloopy and droopy after just one or two coats. This has a dry, lightweight consistency, so you can effortlessly maintain lift and curl. Major brownie points. The brush itself is also comparably small, which allows you to get into every nook and cranny of your lid and lash line. More brownie points! All in all, if you’re after thickness and volume without that dreaded stumpy effect and some well-intentioned clumping (it’s a vibe!), you’ll love this mascara. However, if you like super-long length, fluttery curl, and articulated separation, this mascara might leave something to be desired.

My take: 4/5 stars. I’m a sucker for an impeccably packaged lipstick. Absolutely nothing feels more chic sitting in your palm or a purse. And while $42 is a hefty price point I’d usually condemn for a single bullet, it actually feels warranted here. This tube is heavy, it’s shiny, and it just feels expensive. (It has a visually expensive look on your lips, too.) The fact that the formula itself is just as lovely as the exterior validates the splurge. As far as finish, you have options. You can choose between matte or satin, and I wore the former in a shade called Lascaux (which is sadly sold out at Saks but is still available on Byredo’s website). These lipsticks pack a lot of punch in the color department, but they still feel light and pillowy on your lips. If it weren’t for the intense burst of color, I would have forgotten I was wearing anything at all. That said, my initial application didn’t last quite as long as I had hoped (by the end of the day, it was pretty much gone, so you’ll need touch-ups), and it dried my lips out a little more than I wanted. As a disclaimer, I’ve maybe met two matte lipsticks in my life that haven’t sucked some moisture from my lips, and I’m currently visiting my family in Arizona where the climate is bone-dry and the temperatures are in the hundreds. So this lipstick had its work cut out for it. Overall though, I’m impressed. If you’re a lipstick lover and have $42 to burn, I definitely recommend indulging. Just make sure you pre-game (and maybe post-game) with a good lip balm or salve and know you’ll need to keep your tube handy for a few re-ups throughout the day. 

My take: 3/5 stars. There is nothing wrong with this liquid eyeliner. It’s a perfectly lovely liquid eyeliner! The sleek, kelly green packaging is whimsical and eye-catching, and it’s specifically designed to be long-lasting, which my 10-ish hours of wear put to the test (and proved) beautifully. That said, this just comes down to the personal preference of how you want to spend your hard-earned money. I loved that this inky black liner didn’t set the second I applied it, which gave me some leeway to tinker with and perfect my wing, but I’ve never been a fan of liquid eyeliners that unscrew like this. A: Heaven forbid you’re holding it upside down when you unscrew because you will have an irrevocable jet-black mess of your very worst nightmares. And B: I find this type of design harder to control compared to, say, a firm-tip pen (especially if you have quivery lids like I do).  Also, I have long lashes, and they hit and drag against the liner-drenched wand, which isn’t the end of the world but is completely avoidable with my favorite liquid eyeliner pens. As lovely as the packaging is, I have other liquid liners in my arsenal I prefer to this one—at a fraction of the price. 

Up next, I’m Most Often Complimented on My Lashes, Lips, and Perfume—Here’s the Reveal