Lipstick: A Love Story

La Liz

La Liz

I have the kind of baby face where if I put on too much makeup, I end up looking a lot like Jodie Foster's character from Taxi Driver. Gritty child prostitue. Not a good look on anyone, unless you're been chosen to appear in a brooding, dark ad for Marc by Marc Jacobs shot by Juergen Teller.

This, however, has not stopped me from binge buying and hoarding lipsticks for the last 25+ years.

If you love makeup, but possess a baby face and clumsy hands, lipstick is the way to go. Eyeliners and mascaras require too much precision and skill. There's far too much room for error with those. And, frankly, the idea of putting a pencil that close to my eyes and drawing a line on (or inside) the rim gives me the heebie jeebies. Blush? Again, way too complicated. Do you apply to the apples (tops) of your cheeks or contour with it. Besides, I'm afraid that if I tried to contour anything, I would wind up looking like Diana Vreeland when she editor in chief of Vogue.

Diana Vreeland, with her signature bold blush 'stripes'

Diana Vreeland, with her signature bold blush 'stripes'

Then there's the brush factor. Maybe you don't know this, but you're never supposed to use the brushes that come with the blush or bronzer or highlighter or eyeshadow. Ideally, to achieve those sought after "best results", you have to spend more cash for the perfect fluffy blush brush. Everything is sold separately. A la carte cosmetics. By comparison, lipstick is easy . You don't even need a brush, you can use it straight from the tube or apply with your fingers although I do have a fantastic lip brush from Bobbi Brown that I bought years ago because the beauty editor of Sassy magazine had raved about it.

A lip brush from Bobbi

A lip brush from Bobbi

When I got my first real job, I ran out and splurged at the cosmetics department at what was then Filene's (Google It!) but is now Macy's, buying a tube of Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick. It looked goth dark in the tube, but when you applied it, the look was much lighter and subtle. Ultimately, I tossed it because I wanted a much darker, more dramatic lip. Note: I'd totally wear it NOW. 

It wasn't until a decade and a half later when my niece Nicole T. unapologetically informed me that I should never wear dark lipsticks ever again - because they made my smallish lips look even smaller - that I stopped buying them.

Tip: Everyone should have their own Nicole around, especially when shopping for cosmetics. Highly recommend shopping with a friend or relative who will tell you truthfully what works for you and what doesn't. (I have another story about a makeup artist at a Serge Lutens counter trying to line my lips in dark purple and my friend raging at him because it looked so freakin' bad.)

A Tube of Clinique's Best Selling Black Honey, the precursor to a whole line of Black Honey products, now including nail polish

A Tube of Clinique's Best Selling Black Honey, the precursor to a whole line of Black Honey products, now including nail polish

Today, I still have a drawer full of lipsticks. None are even remotely goth. Some of my favorites include  Laura Mercier (Somehow, I own 3 tubes of Bare Lips.), Lipstick Queen (Poppy King, the lipstick queen herself, was rejected by just about every high profile makeup brand before coming out with her own line.) and anything by Fresh, which I think is made by Italian monks or something and is really more of a gloss, but I love it anyway.

I'm in a good place - lipstick wise.


Photo Credits: Quote, Diana Vreeland, Lip Brush and Clinique Lipstick Photos - All from Pinterest #DontSueUs