Beauty Therapy: Lip Favorites
Time is a bitch. Enter your 30s and suddenly you’ve agreed to trade collagen in your face for skin on your waist. That’s not a fair trade. A trip down memory lane has me wondering – how did I eat carbs and corn syrup and fit in my first pair of designer jeans, my lycra-free Diesel slim fits? My metabolism was faster, I had more hope, and well, I had to exercise less to maintain the same physique. This is why marketers should realize the beauty and accessories businesses are foolproof until someone discovers a surefire way to combat time and gravity without causing liver damage or a heart attack. Until that miracle presents itself, us ladies will buy carryalls and lip gloss abound. Because while many say we should love our bodies as is, we know that’s not realistic. Vanity is a real thing. We are vain, narcissistic beings but we are also hopeful, caring and generous. We just want to be able to feel good about how we look in a bathing suit while helping people and eat the occasional bagel. While we’re on the uphill climb, we’ll settle for a diversion. Divert attention to the face, this time with the help of lip stains and glosses.
Years ago I predicted the rise of the faux-luxe beauty products that would retail at drugstores. I started to see even eight years ago a push by cosmetics makers to sell “prestige” lines at mass retailers because everyone – poor or rich – shops at the likes of Target, Duane Reade, and CVS. Now, in the midst of a recovery from the 2008 recession, more economists are coming out in support of the Hourglass Theory, a term coined by Citi that implies America’s middle class is shrinking. In the hourglass, the rich are at the top, the poor at the bottom, and the middle class, are, yes, in the tiny midsection. Various books by famous economists have come out in support of the theory that this may be America’s last hurrah – that the balance of power is shifting, to quote Niall Ferguson loosely, from the west to the rest. If all of the above is true, it will mean most Americans will either shop at CVS, Walmart and Target, or the three Bs – Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Henri Bendel’s. Add to that Bloomingdales, the occasional visit to Neiman Marcus, and of course, the shoe department at Nordstrom and that leaves an unsettling picture for The Gaps of the world.
In any case, this will mean a shopping divide and from the Northwestern Business Review to the Wall Street Journal, economists and journalists alike have this topic on their minds, as a consumer goods giant P&G leads the way to focus on opposite ends of the consumer spectrum. Here at Trendcetera, I’m focusing on quality goods that most Americans can afford. Here, please find our roundup of lip stains. First, let’s have a moment to appreciate Tarte and its sole female founder, who arguably created the stain sector. OK, now on to the goods.
The first lip stain I tried last year amid the renaissance of this sector was the Josie Moran Magic Market in Mambo. While the color was that enviable matte earthly brick red, it feels too difficult to get real color on your lips and at $19 it’s a bit much for something that doesn’t seem to have enough pigment. So I moved on to Avon‘s mark and the drugstore brands, which retail for around $8. Mark’s Kissink “tintmarker seems to have been phased out and based on the competition, it wasn’t so bad. Though the pigment was deep and opaque, it wasn’t impossible to correct, but definitely required a tinted gloss over it to balance out the deep matte color.
CoverGirl Outlast was a scary experiment. I tried a deep plum-cum-raisin hue. Using this lipstain in that hue made me look like I’d just had a few bottles of wine and never noticed I had purple lips. It dried quickly, which is good and bad, but I felt it was too hard to correct and one shade was enough.
The Milani Lip Flash colors are fun and seems to fuse the textures and hues of the lip pencils and gel chubbies, and the true matte lip marker stains. The colors are deep and have a hint of glitter. They feel more like a real crayon than a marker. I tried three colors — an orange coral, 03 Flash Light, a sparkling red, 05 Hot Flash, and a deep purple plum, 02 News Flash. All were fun to play with but for those with pale, blue-red skin tones like myself, the coral was the only option available for everyday use. That said, I think the red and plum would be great on women of color, from warm caramel skin tones to beautiful deep ebony complexions. For those with pale skin though, these might not be the best option for work.
Revlon‘s Just Bitten is a fun option, almost the only happy medium here if one were looking for a marker stain. You apply the stain to dry lips and then wait a good minute and apply the balm on top of the stain. I tried a deep yet wearable coral. I probably would not rock this at work but it’d be great for Sunday brunch and summers at the beach, topped with a clear SPF gloss.
Finally, for a great natural everyday gloss, especially for spring, mark Gloss Gorgeous. The shade dubbed Pop is a neutral rose pink and though it’s not clear, it works on top of almost any stain or pencil, and likely on a any skin tone. At $11, it’s a price point most can afford and it’s meant to last longer than most lip glosses.
After you’ve abused your lips trying all these lip items, I recommend using a balm at night. This should be part of the nightly beauty regimen. One of my all-time favorite Liz Earle products is the superbalm. I’m the first to admit $29 for a 1 oz jar is not cheap but it will take you a long time to use that ounce and this is a combo exfoliant-lip balm. The 0.1 oz jar is about the size of a pot of lip gloss. I’ve been using it every night since January 2012, possibly earlier, and I’m about 2/3 way through. The balm, which can also be used on flyaways and cuticles, is packed with beeswax, a blend of essential oils, and West African shea, which is likely what provides the exfoliating property as shea apparently melts at skin temperature. Either way it’s a gentle yet potent balm that keeps lips smooth.
If none seem appealing, you probably already have about five to ten lipstick and lip gloss shades like I do that will suit you just fine. But another gloss never hurt anyone, right?