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Best Bullet Lipstick

(Illustration by Ronald Kurniawan)

(Illustration by Ronald Kurniawan)

{mosimage} I’ll tell you right now, in case you don’t know, the best place to shop for cosmetics is Sephora. High-end department stores are good, but they always try to oversell you, and it’s dangerous. Go in for lip liner, come out with a whole skin-care regimen and a negative bank-account balance. At Sephora, you’re left alone, and you can try on everything — no getting home to realize you bought the wrong shade of foundation that will leave you with a tan mask no matter how much blending you do. But if you want something different, something more than excessive plastic packaging, more timeless and less disposable, then head to Bésame in Glendale. This local cosmetic company prides itself on its authentic reproductions of makeup from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Its gold, Art Deco–inspired, spring-loaded compacts are like little treasures. They have a magnet base so colors can be swapped out; all you need is one case. And the shops sells real rouge, the kind that makes me think of ladies of the evening, of Montmartre, and my grandma’s purse, which always contained a silver-dollar–size compact of real, old-fashioned rouge. Bésame also carries a line of lipstick — replicas of the 1940s 55-mm bullet lipstick, which is said to have gotten its name because the same molds were used during the war to make bullet casings. Creator Gabriela Hernandez used her own collection of vintage makeup and re-created colors as faithfully as possible. She did, however, update the finishes so the lipstick doesn’t bleed as much and the powder isn’t as drying. When you go to the store, you can ask for the look of a star from particular decade, like a ’40s Jean Harlow or a ’50s Grace Kelly. You can modernize it or be as authentic as you wanna be. But one thing is for certain: This is the kind of makeup you won’t be embarrassed to reapply at the dinner table, ’cause you’ll want to show it off.

BÉSAME BOUTIQUE & CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS 1558 Victory Blvd., Glendale, by appointment at (818) 548-2628