Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Power of Lipstick

My first foray into lipstick was the night I stole a tube of lipstick from my mother's dresser and created a work of art on my sister's face.  A Kodak moment to be sure, but there was more to it than that.  Lipstick is the quintessential female cosmetic and it's usually the first makeup we experiment with.  We can't wait to get our little fingers on it because all little girls know that lipstick turns Mommy into an enchantress, with a mere swipe of color.

Lately, my makeup bag has been filled with lipgloss, the sales of which have just edged out lipstick for the first time.  But the Oscars with celebs in strong lip color, a conversation with my stylish friend Karen, and a brief video of Poppy King, The Lipstick Queen, had me doing an about face.  Suddenly, I wanted to try on every single one I own - surely I had the perfect color.  And I wanted to lay it on thick too.  Most women don't have the confidence to wear a bold lipstick, yet Poppy King tells us that lipstick actually gives women confidence!  So I found myself rifling through my makeup box until I landed on my Chanel "Gabrielle", a daunting coral red, now one year relegated to the back of the box along with a flaky gold eyeshadow that never saw the light of day.  In the tube, "Gabrielle" is scary.  Loud.  Feisty.  So, I outlined my lips first with a nice neutral lip liner and then really applied it straight from the tube - just like I saw my mother do it back in 1959, mouth open, lips stretched, head tilted into the mirror.  A quick blot and a pucker.  Instantly, my eyes shone, my skin looked fresher - I looked alive.  But more importantly, I felt different; prettier, chic.  I took the stairs. 

Karen spent some time at the makeup counter too.  She met her match in Laura Mercier's "Audrey".  She shot several pics to me of the first contenders but it wasn't until I saw "Audrey" that I realized how lovely she looks in a brighter lipstick too.  A "Gabrielle" wouldn't have done for her - she's too fair.  "Audrey" gives her just the right amount of audaciousness.

A woman who wears a daring lipstick color tells the world she is unafraid.  Makeup artist Lisa Eldridge says red lipstick even looks great on Saturday errands with a plain grey t-shirt and jeans.  Today Karen received a compliment from a male stranger at her local mall.  Saturday errands with a bold lipstick is all it took.

But what is it about this simple cosmetic that fascinates?  Lipstick is readily available and fairly inexpensive and that's probably why sales of tubes climb when the economy goes south.  It may also  be why designer lipsticks do so well.  Afterall, I may not be able to afford a Chanel suit, but I can buy the essence of Chanel with a lipstick - a wee bit of glamour to tuck into my not-Chanel-bag.  Designer lipstick prices are climbing though - Tom Ford's are almost $50.  Eldrigde states that if we do invest in a designer tube, selecting a deep gutsy color will give us more bang and versatility.  Applying it with a lip brush creates a lighter even layer and then the color can also be used as a blush when dabbed on cheeks with a ring finger.  I'm on board with that.

There's nothing quite as fun and yet old world as lipstick.  Afterall our grandmothers used it.  Karen and I chatted about the femininity of lipstick, its distinctiveness, its comfort, its assured entrance into a grown-up woman's world. We talked about our favorite old films and how lipstick was always a part of them.  And when we wear it full on, we're a part of something too:  a unique feminine circle.  Lipstick has the power to transform, give us confidence. It can provoke and compel.  It's pleasurable and cheery.  All that.  From a tube.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this so much! Thanks for including me on this lovely journey of discovery and OH, I adore that darling photo!!! Precious! I'm wearing Audrey right now and loving it. At the mall, I wore Revlon's Wine With Everything (another gutsy red) and netted more than one approving glance, as well as the compliment you mentioned. I love the connection to our mother's lives when we reach for a red that says "I'm here!" Confidence in a tube, indeed! thanks for this! I'll be sharing it!