The Reluctant Lippie – Part One: Nudes

 By Laurin

Despite being born during the Carter
Administration, I’ve never really considered myself a grown-up.
Grown-ups don’t buy their jewellery from H&M. They make well
thought-out grocery lists on Saturday morning, and they have
buildings insurance. They don’t anguish over maudlin 90’s music
about what they want to BE when they grow up, because that’s what
they already are.


I, on the other hand, have tried my
hand at four different careers in the last ten years. Last week, I
cried at work twice and played hopscotch on the carpet tiles too many
times to count. I have no mortgage, no kids, no pets and no husband.
And up until last year, I mostly made do with a slick of Benetint lip
balm hastily applied as I rushed out of the house 15 minutes later
than I’d planned. Did I mention that I’m 35?


One of my colleagues is a proper
grown-up. She wears well-chosen pieces from Cos and Whistles and she
compliments them with chunky, interesting accessories that she’s
often made herself. She wears lipstick. Real lipstick. I watch her
reapply it before meetings and after lunch with the help of a MAC
compact. I began to be taken with this small, public-yet-private
ritual and the idea of a tangible and instant confidence boost. So I
made a resolution that despite my serious lack of credentials in the
Adult department, lipstick is something I can manage.


This series is my attempt to find my
place in the world of lipstick that seems to come so easily to some
of you, but has baffled me for the better part of 20 years. Please
note that although the events that take place here are absolutely
true, I have altered the order somewhat so that they follow some kind
of logical progression. Just because I live my life on a wing and a
prayer doesn’t mean you have to as well.

L-R: Laura Mercier Baby Lips, Revlon
Just Bitten in Honey, Rimmel Apocalips in Celestial, Tom Ford Lip
Colour in Pink Dusk

 Chapter 1: Nudes
 

L-R: Laura Mercier Baby Lips, Revlon
Just Bitten in Honey, Rimmel Apocalips in Celestial, Tom Ford Lip
Colour in Pink Dusk

The Lipsticks

Baby Lips

Laura Mercier Baby Lips Sheer Lip
Colour, £17.50 at John Lewis


After making the decision to pull my
socks up, I solicited the advice of my own hive-mind in the form of
the Sali Hughes Beauty forum. Several of the women there recommended
Laura Mercier’s Baby Lips and I dutifully purchased it during a
lunch break. This turns out to be what is essentially a very grown-up
lip gloss, albeit with more pigment and less gloopy shine. But it’s
an excellent first foray into the world of real lip colour: the
texture is soft, glossy and easy to apply without a lip brush, and
the packaging dutifully obliges you in pretending that it’s a
proper lipstick. It’s just a shade darker than my actual lips, so
it’s great for giving my make-up a polished finished if I’m
wearing heavy eye make-up. You’ll have to reapply it every couple
of hours, but that’s a doddle.

Honey

 Revlon Just Bitten Kissable in Honey,
£7.99 at Boots

 

The Boots website describes this
Clinique Chubby Stick dupe as “a pampering balm fused with a
lightweight lipstain”. Honestly, the word “pampering” is one of
my least favourite in the English language (on the Galdis-Taylor Sick
In My Mouth scale I just made up, it sits somewhere between “making
love” and “gourmet” as a word I’d like to ban from use
forever more) and I briefly consider stabbing myself in the eye with
it instead of putting it on my mouth. The packaging also makes me a
little sad. What’s the point of deciding to be a grown-up then
raiding a toddler’s art supply box? On the other hand, if you can’t
see the point of spending £20 on a level-up lipgloss, it’s a
decent alternative to Baby Lips. It’s a touch sheerer and starts to
fade the minute you even think about having a cup of tea, but so it
goes. The pointy crayon tip makes it a cinch to apply, even without a
mirror. As a bonus, Revlon have also infused the formula with a touch
of mint flavour, so it quite literally feels like a breath of fresh
air, especially if you’ve been snacking on chorizo at 2pm. Still,
my feelings for this product have never risen above lukewarm, and
it’s mostly been relegated to my over-the-door organiser with the
rest of my rarely used cosmetics.

Celestial

 Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in
Celestial, £6.49 at Superdrug


To infinity and beyond, this time with
a quick stop at Superdrug to stock up on intergalactic cosmetic
essentials. Apocalips is the halfway house between the easy
application of gloss and the heavily pigmented coverage of real
lipstick. Everyone I know went mad for these when they launched last
year, and why not? They’re cheap and cheerful and a perfect treat
to cheer you up on a drab Wednesday afternoon. I’m not in love,
though. Although the coverage is great and the wand makes precision
application pretty easy, the fluidity of the formula means it strays
more than I’d like. And I cannot deny that when I see my
ultra-shiny nude lips in the mirror, I immediately think of Katie
Price and feel an urge to drape myself over the nearest Ferrari.
Blotting solves the glamour model issue somewhat. The nicest thing
about this is that it fades quite evenly, so avoiding the mid-morning
“ring around the mouth” look. I think that this formula might be
better suited to bolder colours, and my tube of Celestial mostly sits
with my Just Bitten in the “Eh” pile.

Pink Dusk

Tom Ford Lip Colour in Pink Dusk, £36
at Selfridges


Oh, Tom Ford. We don’t always get
along. I like your fragrances, but I think they’re derivative and
over-priced. Your habit of appearing in your own marketing looking
stern and disapproving has more than once made me back away from your
counter, lest you spit on my mid-priced shoes. And I’m pretty sure
Thom Yorke was referring to your army of swooning superfans when he
sang, “When I am king, you will be first against the wall.” Or if
he wasn’t, he should have been. But I’ll hold up my hands and say
that you do make a bloody good lipstick.  But, at last, a proper lipstick. Aside from
the eye-watering price tag, I love this. It’s non-drying, goes on
like a dream, gives great coverage and smells like the inside of your
grandmother’s handbag. It’s satisfyingly grown-up and I’d be
pleased to apply this at my desk between meetings.

The Verdict:

 Laura Mercier Baby Lips wins by
a hair. It’s a brilliant product to bridge the gap between gloss
and a full-coverage lipstick, and it won’t break the bank.

The Fine Print: I bought these products
with my own money, aside from the Tom Ford, which was nicked from
Lippie Mansions.

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3 Comments

  1. April 8, 2014 / 5:53 am

    I chuckled through this entire post, thank you for your candor and humor. Very refreshing and of course absolutely spot on! Good luck in the lippie wars, I myself am a lippie addict. And 2 years from 50 LOL……screw the "grown up" stuff heehee….great blog!

  2. April 8, 2014 / 8:44 am

    I love the Rimmel apocalypse I think I have them in every shade. I quite like the glossy finish but like you said, they can work well as a matte product if you blot them down afterwards!

    http://www.walking-in-heels.blogspot.com

    xxx

  3. April 12, 2014 / 5:10 am

    I love you, and your attitude toward adulthood and Tom Ford's advertising.

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