Wednesday, April 25, 2012

lipstick revival


So I might have gone a bit overboard on my new lipstick obsession.  I blame it on our Mad Men marathon.  Staring at those perfectly colored Joan/Peggy/Betty lips every night for weeks on end inspired me to rethink my ideas about lipstick (and men in hats, cigarettes, and hard liquor while I’m at it). 

Feeding this obsession while isolated in Ethiopia was challenging.  Sadly, Nordstrom will not be franchising in this city any time soon. That means I’m stuck with shopping online.  Being limited to the Internet for my lipstick purchases meant I was taking a much bigger risk every time I ordered a tube.  My odds of finding a great color were pretty low when I only had photos of the lip color to go on.  No testing the color on the back of my hand for this girl. 

My past relationship with lipstick was limited.  My first real tube of lipstick was Clinique back in high school.  I’m certain it was a free gift with purchase. Then Carmex and clear lip gloss became the beauty staple for most of my adult life.  I splurged on a great Chanel lipstick for my wedding day and an awesome red to wear with my Marine Ball gown last year.  That dress demanded lipstick.  Other than that I have been pretty intimidated by lipstick for daily wear.  As a mom of three young children I wear make-up less than when I was working.  I just don't have as much time to spend on myself.  Now when I find the time to apply make-up, I focus on the eyes.  Chap stick is applied as I run out the door; and always as an afterthought. 

Revlon Moon drops, left to right: creme Blase Apricot, frost Apple Polish, frost 24K Orange
Love the old school green and gold tubes
Feeling inspired, I ordered a few lipsticks, some work better than others.  In an attempt to save some money I jumped on the drugstore bandwagon initially.  I ordered three Revlon shades of Moon Drops lipstick.  24 K Orange is a great fun orange/pink shade that I wore the most.  It’s a color that demands attention. The $8.99 price was right but the feel (and smell) was all wrong.   The lipstick was dry and stiff and smelled like and old lady's neglected makeup drawer.  I wanted a silky glide and I still hadn’t nailed the color selection.   

I decided to move back into my department store brand comfort zone.   After extensive research, I ordered Smashbox Posy Pink and Melondrama ($19), NARS Love Devotion and Christina($24), and Clinique Golden Brandy ($15).  I had much better luck with this batch.  I love the feel and color of the Smashbox tubes.  Melondrama is an intense melon/pink color that pops on my face.  The Posy Pink is a perfect pink for my skin tone.   Both Smashbox colors are highly pigmented and last a long time.  The Clinique feels nice but the Golden Brandy looks a bit old fashioned; kind of boring.  Maybe because it could quite possibly be the same color of my first Clinique lipstick all those years ago. Plus the color kind of crept beyond my lip line a tad (which is exactly how old lady lips look to me).  
From left to right: Smashbox Melondrama and Posy Pink, NARS Christina and Love Devotion, Clinique Golden Brandy
You get what you pay for holds true here because  the NARS is pretty exceptional.  It feels even more silky and smooth than Smashbox.  Christina is the satin formula and is pretty much perfection.  The pigmentation is amazing.  A very light application lasts a very long time.  It’s a perfect golden raspberry shade.  It’s quickly become my go-to color.  (I think it has something to do with my pink skin undertones, I guess colors with blue in them look best on me).  The Love Devotion, on the other hand, is the sheer formula and makes for a nice tinted chapstick look.  It’s unnoticeable and not what I was looking for in a lipstick.  Ultimately, I recommend Smashbox or NARS and if you splurge on the NARS, stick to the Satin lipsticks.  Finding the right color can be challenging online but not impossible. 
Smashbox Posy Pink is my favorite pink
NARS Christina, my favorite overall
 I learned some things on my online lipstick journey I’ll share with you.  The key to picking out lipstick online is having more than one website up with the brand of lipstick and the color options that you are browsing.  I clicked between Nordstrom.com, Sephora, Amazon and drugstore.com.  The trouble is, photos of the lip color are different between each site.  It was good to compare pages to try to get the best estimate of what that color would actually look like when I opened the tube and applied it to my skin.

Reviews were helpful too.  Only most people forget to include the name of the lip color they are reviewing.  “Most amazing color for any skin tone” means absolutely nothing when you don’t tell me which color your using.  On a few occasions I found reviews from people with similar skin tones and hair color that led me in the right direction.  Note: pay attention to the age bracket of the reviewer.  I found a few reviews helpful until I realized the reviewer was 30 years older than me and knew we couldn’t possibly have matching tastes. 
Taking a close up is really scary.  I hated every single one of  them.  The next thing on my list to research is eye cream.  Hello crows feet, no one invited you!
Lipstick has become my favorite makeup item (and it’s a good thing now that I have a drawer full of tubes in all sorts of color).  When I apply makeup now I completely ignore my eyes (with the exception of under eye concealer-since I’m perpetually exhausted).  I never go without lipstick when I’m leaving the house. It’s truly the perfect makeup for busy Moms. If I’m being honest, I usually grab a tube for my purse and apply it in the car after I’ve gotten the kids settled.   A quick application of lipstick instantaneously makes me look more polished and put together.  Throw on some sunglasses and earrings and the lipstick bumps my daily look up a notch.  Looking a little more put together makes me feel a little more put together.  I used to feel undone without mascara on.   Now it’s lipstick for me.  I’m proudly a lipstick convert.

3 comments:

Melinda Renee said...

Close up-self portraits are DEFINATELY challenging, it's all about the angle and lighting... as far as make up goes, I stand behind MAC all the way.... for eye cream, try philosphy's "hope in a tube" and/or "eye believe". Those are the saving graces of my 'youthful' eyes!!! I think you'll really, REALLY fall in love with Philosophy products... *grin*

Kristin said...

I love Philosophy and Avon Anew for eye creams. I'm still a Burt's Bees for the lips girl though!

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