I'll start by saying I didn't buy Giorgio Armani Lip Shimmer. No, I consider myself a smart shopper. This item was an inauspicious addition to my $198 Saks beauty kit that included a Dior eyeshadow compact, Nars makeup stick, YSL blush, Chanel Sublimage cream, and (the primary reason for my purchase) a Marc Jacobs leather clutch. Needless to say, if I had bought Armani lip shimmer on its own, it would have been returned to the makeup counter that very day.

With the exception of Nars, all of the brands in this beauty grab bag can attribute their origins to an upmarket fashion designer. I wonder, since when did making a name for yourself in clothes translate to making high-quality cosmetics? Having an eye for style might lead to chic packaging (as is the case with Armani), but it doesn't automatically result in an effective anti-aging or skincare product. More often than not, slapping an illustrious designer's name on a product will get you mass-produced chemical ingredients.

Produced and distributed by the luxury division of L'Oreal, Armani cosmetics shares the beauty conglomerate's runway with Ralph Lauren and Yves Saint Laurent. Unfortunately, Giorgio might be more comfortable sitting on the sidelines, at least while TIA is doing the judging. Armani's Face Fabric won an Emperor's New Clothes award for its transparently lacking "micro-fil" technology, and the Lip Shimmer doesn't fare much better. From a messy application to an even messier formula, Armani Lip Shimmer draws out a big fat frown.

The Lip Shimmer's "precise brush applicator" is neither precise nor visibly a brush, since a glistening, semi-solid gob hides any sort of defined tip applicator. As you remove the top from the base, a mess of pink paste clings to the rim of the bottom, as if holding on for dear life. You have to scrape the so-called applicator at least five times around the edges to see evidence of a brush under all the goop. Once you get the gloss on your lips, it feels slightly gritty, but neither very sticky nor moisturizing. If you spread on a reasonable amount, the glossy color will last no more than ten minutes (or until you take a sip of water).

During my first trial, I was overly generous with my Lip Shimmer dispersal and had to wipe the perimeter of my mouth to avoid looking like a drunken sparkley clown. Luckily, the shade I received (#16) is so pale that you might not even notice overspill, save for a glitter moustache. Though the gloss does seem to add dimension at first, I found it distastefully shimmery (and assume that all colors have the same effect). But more than distasteful, this lip product's formula is distrustful.

What should be avoided? There is reasonable evidence that the bulking agent calcium aluminum borosilicate can be both carcinogenic and toxic to organs. Then there's polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic compound that increases thickness and bonds the ingredients together. The Environmental Working Group classifies this adhesive as a moderate hazard with the potential for endochrine disruption, carcinogenic tumor formation, and reproductive toxicity. Another plastic filler, polymethylmethacrylate, can cause foreign body granulomas and adverse reactions, especially among people who have sensitivities to methacrylates. Need more reasons to keep this Lip Shimmer far from your mouth? How about some contentious BHT and a trio of parabens?

Do us all a favor and stick to fashion, Giorgio.


C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Polybutene, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Tridecyl Trimellitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Diisostearyl Malate, Sodium Saccharin, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite Benzyl Alcohol, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben, BHT, Parfum/Fragrance, Cl 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Cl 77499, Cl 77492, Cl 77491, Iron Oxides, Cl 15850/ Red 7, Cl 15985/ Yellow 6 Lake, Cl 45410/ Red 28 Lake, Cl 75470/ Carmine Cl45380/ Red 22 Lake, Cl 19140/ Yellow 5 Lake Cl 42090/ Blue 1 Lake, Mica.