Makeup: Besame Red Hot Red – Marilyn’s red lipstick

Doesn’t virtually every woman on the planet want to look like Marilyn Monroe? To be frank, if I looked 1/10th like her I’d consider myself a very lucky girl. And yes, I realise she did have some cosmetic surgery and I’m not suggesting we all go around chopping our noses up, but hey, each to their own and I can appreciate a masterpiece of a face when I see one.
What I’m getting at is if I’m told Marilyn wore it, I’ve probably handed over my money before I’ve found out what ‘it’ actually is. In this case, it’s clever marketing as while Besame claim this was ‘Marilyn’s ‘favourite’ what they actually mean is ‘this is a shade we created that copies as closely as possible what she wore during Some Like It Hot’. Besame themselves are a modern company so weren’t around when Marilyn was, but they do strive to make genuine reproduction products, which is probably why everyone on the vintage scene loves them.
Besame Red Hot Red lipstick review
That and the packaging. Oh, the packaging! Even if you have no interest in lipstick whatsoever you’d find it hard not to be drawn to these glamorous gold bullets. They also come in little red velvet cases. I honestly didn’t know whether to wear it or frame it and I genuinely felt a little teary when I realised I’d ruined the corner of the lipstick itself. Then I got a grip and realised it’s a lipstick. (And ok, maybe the dismay was partly to do with the price, which I’ve touched on below.)
Besame Red Hot Red lipstick review
Anyway, this is Marilyn’s shade because it’s bright, bold and has warm undertones, unlike most of Besame’s other reds which seem to be bluer. However, despite the fact it supposedly has orange in it, on me it applies as quite a neutral red that is a lot richer/deeper than most of my others, so I think it might well work on those that have more pink in their skin than me too.
Besame Red Hot Red lipstick review
I could go on at length about this lovely little lipstick but let’s make things shorter with my usual bullet points. I do enjoy a bullet point.
  • One swipe of colour and you’re done – it is super pigmented
  • It’s pretty hard-wearing, only minor touch-ups are needed throughout the day
  • It doesn’t feather or bleed
  • The texture for a semi-matte is very good, I’m barely aware I’ve got it on and it doesn’t remotely dry my lips out (a rare, rare day in lipstick wearing indeed!)
  • As it’s a semi-matte, it’s got that slight sheen that is flattering on most people, without being remotely glossy. I think semi-mattes might be my favourite…
  • The packaging, of course – not just for prettiness, but also sturdiness; the lid snaps securely into place and you know there’s no way it’s getting knocked off in your bag
  • These lipsticks ain’t cheap – it took me two years of lusting to own this one and even then it was a gift! It feels quite hard to justify the risk if you can only order these online without testing first
  • You don’t get a lot of lipstick for your money – these are fairly small; I’ve deliberately shown me with the lipstick above so you get the idea
  • I realise the square shape of the bullet is probably historically authentic, but I just can’t get on with it; without a lip brush I’d be wearing this over most of my chin as well as my lips, I find it that hard to get precise
  • Anything your lips touch will be wearing it too – spouses be warned


Besame Red Hot Red lipstick review
The beauty (even with the ruined corner)! Has anyone else tried lipsticks in Besame’s range? I’m eyeing up Carmine and Tango Red next… so in another two years I might own one of those too 😀


  1. August 11, 2015 / 1:18 pm

    I don't have this particular shade but I'm slowly amassing quite a large collection of Besame products. I love love love them but I hear you on the price – they're soooo expensive here in the UK!
    I personally love the shape as I find it super easy to get a neat application without using a lip brush – but it's definitely different to get used to compared to a modern lipstick.

    • August 12, 2015 / 12:22 pm

      I love the quality of this lipstick – it's truly fantastic – and I'd love to try so many other things from the range but I just can't find the money each month! Porcelina's said she loves the shape too – I must be doing something really wrong, or I'm set in my ways!!

  2. August 11, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    I've got Carmine, Portrait Pink, Dusty Rose in full size, and then most of the 'reds' in sample size pots. I think they're fabulous! I actually find the bullet shape helps me apply more precisely, I find lip brushes a faff.

    I'm wearing a Besame colour for the wedding, can you guess which one?!


    • August 12, 2015 / 12:23 pm

      I want sample pots! How did you get those?! And I think I'm just being an amateur with the bullet shape – it's probably because I was so consciously trying to avoid ruining the shape 😉

      I think it's… Dusty Rose? I feel like you told said that was one of your all-time favourite lipsticks when we were at the Besame counter at London Edge? xx

    • August 12, 2015 / 1:46 pm

      Ha! Well guessed!

      I got some sample pots when I went to a shindig at the WKD boutique in London once, we drank cocktails out of teacups before it was trendy and I had a nice chat with a burlesque dancer and some vintage makeup experts.


    • August 13, 2015 / 12:22 pm

      😉 I listen!

      I wish there was some earthly way I could get my hands on sample pots… I swear I'd be their best customer ever if I could! xx

  3. August 11, 2015 / 5:17 pm

    I have been wanting to make one my own since I saw it about 5 years ago on Youtube but haven't been able to justify the price just yet…One day….

    • August 12, 2015 / 12:23 pm

      It's a real investment – I'd love to be let loose on a stand like we saw at London Edge and try everything!!

    • August 12, 2015 / 12:24 pm

      Aw, that's one of my favourite compliments ever because I've been trying quite hard to polish up my writing on my posts and stop focusing entirely on the photos 🙂 It's so nice to hear you like it!

  4. August 12, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    I've got Carmine and Merlot and love them both – I'd have loved the latter back in my gothier days. The price really bothered me at first, but I think they're worth it as long as you get the right colour, so they're definitely ones to try on in person first. Besame is too pricy for online on-a-whim purchases!

    • August 13, 2015 / 12:19 pm

      I agree – they are worth it if you find the right one. I do love Red Hot Red but it's not my favourite red shade I own, but that really annoys me because I love the texture and wear so much – it's probably one of my best lipsticks for that! And I just can't think of anywhere I can try them on in person 🙁

  5. August 12, 2015 / 4:28 pm

    I've yet to splash out on a Besame lipstick but I think I might have to treat myself soon! Maybe a birthday present to myself! X

  6. August 13, 2015 / 5:08 am

    I have been wanting this shade of Besame lipstick for ages ~ I was sooo close to picking it up on my trip to Sydney, but went with the rouge instead… It definitely seems worth the money though! The case is so pretty, and the color is gorgeous! I love this shade for you CiCi, it looks amazing. ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    • August 13, 2015 / 12:20 pm

      I remembered you saying that as I wrote this post so I was hoping it would help you out 🙂 I really want the rouge! I think this shade photographs better than I felt it looked in real life, weirdly. And I've got other lipsticks I love in real life but don't like in photos. Dilemma!!

  7. August 13, 2015 / 7:57 am

    What a little beauty! I would love one or all of the colours, but really ordering makeup online without trying is a big no no for me! This shade looks very becoming on you.

    • August 13, 2015 / 12:21 pm

      And the lipstick isn't bad either 😉 hehe! I've been stung so many times by ordering things online that don't look right at all… and yet I still keep doing it!

  8. August 13, 2015 / 2:39 pm

    Hmm maybe this one would work for me! But YIKES I can see why you wouldn't want to buy them all that often. I checked a site here ( Canada) and they are $27 so really not that bad. Then even better I found a store that carries a few of Besame's products in the city( London,Ontario actually). I don't go all that often but I might have to put giving this a lipstick a whirl on my "things I need to go to the city for" list.

    • August 14, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      I think you're getting a much better deal than we are 🙁 But yes it's the not being able to try them on that's the real kicker – there's nothing I can do about that!

  9. August 15, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    I have been looking at all the lovely Besame products, but, like many people, I am worried about splashing out without being able to try it and ending up with a pricy lipstick fail. It was helpful to read your review, this colour looks great on you.

    • August 17, 2015 / 12:03 pm

      Glad to help 🙂 the texture is fabulous but the colours are such a gamble!

  10. August 17, 2015 / 5:25 am

    You know, and maybe this is borderline sacrilegious to say in our realm, but while I am certainly a big MM fan, I have never had any burning desire to emulate her look full on in the slightest. Platinum blonde hair is not something I've ever personally craved and I find much more of my Hollywood inspiration in many other actresses, very much including her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes costar Jane Russell. That said, I'd be game for a lippie that was similar to her's for sure – anything that really looks the 1950s part is a hit with me! 🙂

    You're far too hard on yourself! I think think you're gorgeous and way, way more than just 1/10th of MM in the looks department, my sweet friend. You're a total knockout!!!

    As much as I would love to, I haven't tried any of Besame's offerings yet either. They're very pricey, as you touched on, and given that I already have my perfect Red (which, itself, isn't that cheap – it's MAC's Russian Red), I don't know if a crimson shade would be my first choice from them. Perhaps a nice rose pink, if they make them. It's a brand I would love to try for sure and have been coveting for years. If I ever take the plunge and invest, I will be sure to let you know my thoughts on it/them.

    Thank you for the fabulous review – I really like, and appreciate, how you listed both the pros and the cons.

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

    • August 17, 2015 / 12:05 pm

      I think that's fair enough! Platinum blonde certainly isn't for everyone and she doesn't have the 'interesting' kind of beauty, perhaps, that some of her fellow leading ladies did. I'm a fan, but I can completely appreciate why someone wouldn't be!

      Thanks for your really sweet words – I don't think I've ever been called a knockout before so that means a huge amount to me 🙂 B would say I'm hard on myself, but I know how much makeup I wear so I'm conscious that my face isn't naturally like this 😉

      If you've found your ideal red stick with it I say! I feel like I'm still searching, hence my endless reviews of them, but then my skin-tone is a bit unusual. I'd love to try some of their pinks though too 🙂 x

  11. Anonymous
    October 20, 2015 / 2:57 pm


    I understand about not being able to sample,Living in Los Angeles I admit to having better access to stores that carry this and vintage shows where they also sell.The price issue must be partially due to exchange rate as 22 dollars(American)is admittedly not cheap(ie drugstore price range)but also not exceedingly expensive compared to many brands.As Jessica said even MAC is around 20 dollars and that's good value. The shape is designed it help you use it as a liner as well as lipstick.If I remember correctly there are videos or tutorials showing you how to apply it correctly since it is a period shape and different from what what we moderns are used to.Of course I say all these things from the perspective of being a red lipstick addict. 🙂
    Heidi L. in Los Angeles

  12. November 9, 2015 / 3:26 pm

    Just a thought – only needing minor touchups throughout the day means using less lipstick. The time it takes to use up a tube of Besame is roughly equal to three tubes of MAC for me. So it's totally worth the price…cheaper in the long run, really.

    Great post, and you're rocking that lippie.

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