Byredo Makeup: Why I'm recommending it to my friends

Byredo makeup

Few would be brave enough to launch a make-up line in a pandemic. But what else do you expect from the Swedish brand that constantly thumbs its nose at convention? Take the signature scent Elevator Music, for example. With deftly understated notes of violet and musky ambrette, it bucked the trend for bold statement scents that everyone else was launching at the time, and cemented itself as the best perfume for women who wanted to feel like they weren't wearing any. Byredo's first foray into cosmetics is no different. Put simply, Byredo makeup wants you to paint outside the lines. 

Photo credit: Bohman SJÖSTRAND

And that is precisely why I love it and am recommending the collection to my friends. Because lockdown is the perfect time to step outside your comfort zone and, if nothing else, it's important to break the monotony of 'Blursday'.

Trust me, Byredo makeup is everything you’ve ever wanted but never thought would live on your beauty shelf.

Byredo makeup

A collaboration between Founder and Creative Director Ben Gorham and make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench, the inaugural line up is designed to be, as Ffrench puts it, ‘a library of colour’.

Rather than build the collection based on products, Ffrench and Gorham first took inspiration for their palette from fabrics, art works and the pixels of photographs. Their purpose were secondary considerations.

Across the board, the shade range is extensive - from true nudes and pinks to a chic navy - and the textures tactile. But the line has one thing in common: its de-saturated, vintage hues are super wearable.

What’s more, the 16 colour sticks, 15 lipsticks and three eye shadow palettes are all multi-use.

Byredo makeup

Photo credit: Bohman SJÖSTRAND

So you have the freedom to do what you will with the products, whether you blend them together or wear them on your lips, lids or cheeks.

The heroes of the line are undoubtedly the colour sticks, which come in cream, gloss and cream-to-powder finishes. 

Byredo Colour Stick in Flower Play, £26, Selfridges

Byredo makeup, Byredo Colour Stick in Flower Play, £26, Selfridges

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The Byredo Lipsticks come complete with satin and matte textures and names that Instagram will eat up, like Divorce and Dancehall Queen.

Byredo Lipstick in Divorce, £35, Selfridges

Byredo makeup, Byredo Lipstick in Divorce, £35, Selfridges

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But rather than talk about ‘products’, Goran describes the line as ‘a cabinet of objects.’

Take the Space Black Mascara, for example. Its silicone brush coats even the tiniest hairs in a latex, jet black formula. (hence it is zooming into our best mascara of all time edit). But it’s the sheer architecture of the red tube that grabs your attention (is it an ancient horn or a stiletto heel?)

Meanwhile, the eyeshadow palettes, which are launching soon, are housed in a giant oyster shell dipped in gold. 

And the Technical Black Eyeliner has the skinniest pin-thin applicator brush we’ve come across to really hug your lash line. 

Technical Black Eyeliner, £31, Selfridges

Byredo makeup, Technical Black Eyeliner, £31, Selfridges

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Then of course, there’s the scent - a violet and vanilla concoction that’s both strangely addictive and at odds with the modern look of the range. Not unlike the Mojave Ghost dry shampoo collaboration with Ouai.

But this is Byredo after all and nothing is ever quite what you expect.

Except, perhaps the hype that it always merits.

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.