Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lipstick Love

I strolled through a grove of dress material and found myself at a counter piled with jars of face creams and lipsticks...I caught sight of my own face, colourless and worried-looking, the eyes large and rather frightened, the lips too pale. I did not feel that I could ever acquire a smooth apricot complexion but I could at least buy a new lipstick, I thought. ~ Barbara Pym, Excellent Women

Everyone who knows me knows how much I adore lipstick. It's been an obsession since I was four. I remember well sneaking my mother's Cherries in the Snow and running it across my lips (and teeth, and chin and cheeks). A pal from high school wrote in my yearbook underneath her picture: "You will be a great success in whatever you do as long as you have endless tubes of lipstick!" I got fired once for lipstick. I was working as a hostess in an old cozy restaurant by the highway one summer break from college. I formed a bond with all the waitresses because I used to bus their tables for them as the night grew old. One day, they sat me down and gently told me I had just worked my last night there. "Why???", I practically wailed. Very gently, oh so gently, the oldest and wisest said, "Because, dear, you are always in the ladies room putting on lipstick". I simply nodded sadly in agreement. I couldn't argue. The putting on of lipsticks in secret prevented me from tending to other required tasks. Lipstick has always been a true love.

Currently I love Chanel's Rouge Coco "Mademoiselle". It is the color Vanessa Paradis (and isn't she adorable???) is wearing in the photograph above (I know this because I called Chanel and asked). This summer, I was drawn to purchase Chanel's new Rouge Coco Shine in "Boy". When it comes to lipstick, I am a Madison Ave. dream customer; easily persuaded to try any formula, any color, anytime. I am a girly girl who is tickled to wear a color called "Boy" (named after Chanel's lover Boy Capel).

There is some great dialogue about Chanel makeup in the film "View from the Top". Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays an airline hostess, envies another hostess who works for a more elite airline when she notices the hostess carries Chanel makeup in her handbag. I too, always have Chanel lipstick in my handbag. But the price of Chanel's makeup has grown steeply over the last few years. With my habit, I needed to source a cheaper lipstick for experimenting and for keeping in my makeup basket at home. I found great affordable lipsticks in the Revlon line.

Revlon makes terrific color saturated lipsticks in scads of colors. My village drugstore sells them for $7.99 each with a "buy one, get one at 50% off". This means I can buy them whenever the mood for a new color hits. Revlon lipsticks are bright, creamy, and long lasting. I run through them like nobody's business. Of course, I still keep my Chanel in my handbag and it's a luxurious indulgence that thrills me when I take it out to use. But for fun, I use my Revlon selections everyday as a starting point from home.

The first lipstick I ever bought was a Love cosmetic one that was no better than the stick concealers that used to be available. It dragged across my lips. It was a strange burnt tan color, like a Cheez-it. It was dry. But it had that great space helmet cover of clear acrylic and made a satisfying click when I put it back on the tube. I felt so grown-up.

I graduated to gooey Yardley's Pot-o-Gloss and cool Slickers lipsticks like every girl in my high school. I poured over the color selections in my Seventeen magazine before choosing one at the local Rexall.

In the 80's my passion was for Estee Lauder lipsticks, especially after they redesigned their plain navy tubes into great big fluted gold ones, so in keeping with the decade of more is more. I still remember the heart-stopping colors I loved: Palace Pink, Rosewood, Ruby Slippers.

The funny thing about my love of lipstick is that I have rather small lips. But when I was younger, thin lips were in; they were considered feminine and pretty. Think Cheryl Tiegs. It wasn't until much later that fuller lips came into vogue. I've kept my smaller lips and my large lipstick collection.

It has been said by sociologists, that during difficult economic times, lipstick sales rise. The reason being is that most women can still afford a drug store lipstick, if not a designer outfit. It's a little bit of luxury, a happy spot of color. It's artistry, it's fun, it lifts the mood.... it's Lipstick Love.


  1. Positively the most DARLING post you've done, Donna. The satisfying click nailed it! I love this post and it's so well written and adorable, I want to read it over and over. And I'm going to! Love, Marline

  2. As always, you depict scenes from the past so vividly. Suddenly I had a flashback to the late sixties and white lipstick. Remember?

  3. I'm new to your blog, so I will need to read back over your older posts. I love lipstick, too. Remember Tangee? Looked orange in the tube, but turned pinkish when applied. Definitely the dime store variety. Bonnie Bell cosmetics were a teen favorite. Ah, the sixties and seventies!

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