Aug 09 2012

Cosmoprof 2012: Besame

There was one booth in particular at Cosmoprof North America (held July 22-24, in Las Vegas) in which I felt transported back in time to another era, where smoking was socially acceptable, and movie stars were glamourous.

I’d like to introduce you to Besame, a cosmetic brand inspired by the post-war starlets of the 1940s.

Besame is very luxe, yet very simple. Why? Because in the 1940s, makeup was simple. Women wanted red lips, flushed cheeks and powder for the faces. Mascara didn’t have a long, unpronouncable list of ingredients.

Let me take you on a small journey through some of the offerings that Besame has!

Crimson Rouge

This is a display of Besame’s Crimson Rouge, a cream rouge for any complexion – lips and cheeks. Gabriela Hernandez, founder and CEO, told me that this product is similar to what was popular in the 1930s, and feels lightweight. It comes in a red and gold recyclable metal tin. It retails for $22.


Besame’s lipsticks are powerfully pigmented, and finish semi-matte. The gold-plated bullet packaging is a throw-back to the 1940s, and these lipsticks even come with a small velvet pouch for safe keeping. The shades are reproductions of shades worn by starlets of the 1940s era. Ingredients include vitamins A, E and C, aloe and green tea. These retail for $22.


Besame’s 1930s Mascara is simple – it’s seven ingredients that are natural conditioning oils, food grade colorants and has a clove and spice scent. The oil of these two ingredients provide antibacterial properties in the mascara to keep it fresh. It’s paraben-free, safe for sensitive eyes, waterproof but easily removable. It retails for $18.

Violet Powder

Gabriela holds and shows what Violet Powder looks like:

Violet Powder is a translucent powder with a violet hue that brightens skin. Gabriela said it’s based on Marie Antoinette’s powder. It reflects dark circles, doesn’t accentuate wrinkles and blends into skin quickly. It sets your makeup and gives your skin a matte finish. It retails for $22.


Besame’s Souffle Foundation is a newer product, I don’t even see a listing for it yet on the website. A reproduction of the creamy foundation from the 1940s, Souffle Foundation is light and smooth, but full coverage. It’s available in five shades, in vintage-style glass cream jars. It smells lightly of tea rose. It has vitamin C, which diminishes dark circles; the foundation can also be used as a concealer. It retails for $34.

Sweetheart Balm

Sweetheart Balm is a moisturizing balm, sweetened with Stevia, that is a nonsticky lip protectant. It provides a sheer pop of color and a fruit flavor. These retail for $18.

Collaboration with Kenly Collins

Besame collaborated with Project Runway star Kenley Collins. Gabriela matched a lipstick – Kenley Red- to a scarf designed by the vintage designer. It’s coming for holiday 2012, and only 1,000 units are being produced. Not sure of price point on this one.

Makeup Bag 

Besame also has a beautiful makeup bag that reminds me of the “train-case” for makeup. Again – don’t see this one on the website and am not sure of price point. It might be another coming out later this year.

Classic Beauty

“Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup,” is Gabriela’s own book. The book is a 430-picture trip down cosmetics memory lane, detailing facial trends and the evolution of makeup. It retails for $49.95.

I fell in love with this line, which is a family business that launched in 2003. Although the products are made in the United States, Besame is sold in more than 16 countries. In a brochure about the line, Gabriela states, “My Besame is for the woman who makes it clear to the world she is not going to be taken lightly!” Doesn’t that just conjure up images of Greta Garbo? Lauren Bacall? Rita Hayworth? These were elegant, sophisticated and beautiful women – I love the idea of going back in time to capture that kind of beauty.

Just like when I wrote my NCLA post, I got halfway through this post and realized I couldn’t live without trying more from this brand. I ordered Violet Powder, 1930s Mascara, and lipsticks in Red Velvet, Besame Red and Dusty Rose. I also received a small sample of Crimson Rouge to try, which I’m hoping to do this week!I’ll make sure to review everything and report back!

Do you see anything that appeals to you from Besame? What do you think about the concept of reproducing the simple, elegant beauty of the 1920s-1950s, compared with trying to create the next best thing? Personally? I love it!

  • Alison

    As a vintage lover, I’m really interested in this line- I look forward to your product reviews!

    • BeautyJudy

      Thanks! So far, I really like what I’m testing out!!

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  • Lsia

    This just seems… confused. Clove oil near the eyes? “Old-fashioned” as if that’s good, but there’s lip gloss with Stevia? I don’t get it. At all.

    • BeautyJudy

      I think it’s more the idea of old fashioned vs. actually going back to that time and recreating exactly…I don’t think Besame could reproduce 1920s makeup with today’s standards, I think it’s the idea of the simplicity of the beauty products we use; that’s what intrigues me. Like I said in my reply to Diane, I’ll be reviewing the mascara – and I have very sensitive, contact-wearing eyes! – and the lipsticks and violet powder, and I plan to provide honest reviews as soon as I can! Thanks so much for your thoughts!

      • Lsia

        Look, I get it that you like them and you’re promoting them. Good for you. Good for them, too.

        Do what you will with my honest feedback, but please don’t imply that my opinions and reactions are wrong. My opinion, as a potential customer who plays in some of these aesthetics and is kind of turned off by the marketing here, is as valid as yours.

        • BeautyJudy

          Hi – I’m truly sorry if you felt I was implying your opinions are wrong – that’s not what I meant to do. I value your opinion, and you stated a good point. To be clear, I am not marketing this brand or promoting it – these are my opinions, I’m not being paid or compensated. Thank you, again, for sharing!

  • Diane

    I can’t imagine anything less appealing than this line. It must be for those that aren’t as old as I and never actually used old-er makeup. The old mascaras used to flake and drip, the old rouges never blended in very well, and the lipsticks were dry. Marie Antoinette and her ilk used lead to whiten their faces (no, not quite old enough to actually remember that, but it is in history). The old makeup used to look so artificial on people and I’ve been so glad to see newer makeups become more natural looking. Also, old makeup had the old lady perfume smell to them, yuck! I suppose there’s some wretched light blue eyeshadow in the collection also? I guess they have had to leave out all the banned and poisonous ingredients that they used in yesteryear.

    • BeautyJudy

      Hi Diane,
      I can understand your turn-off at this line. I imagine that in reproducing the looks, that the quality has still come a long way from what it was in teh 1920s to 1950s! I doubt Gabriela would make a crap product, she has put so much thought behind her brand. With that said, I have ordered the mascara, lipsticks and powder, and I hope you know I’ll do an honest review of these products and let you all know how they are. I’ve used a small sample of the crimson rouge and so far I’m impressed, although it isn’t very moisturizing. It blends very nicely on my cheeks, which is great because I’m so fair! LOL Anyway, Please note that this line is a reproduction, not exact in ingredients, so it will be up to today’s standards. Look out for my reviews in the coming weeks and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!!

      • Diane

        Judy, I am sure you will give an honest review. I just wanted to give you my gut reaction to this makeup line, especially their marketing strategy. And my gut reaction was “ew” and “yuck”. 🙂 Be careful with that clove mascara!