For someone who doesn’t wear lipstick on the regular, I sure have a lot o’ tubes. I only paused to think about my habit very recently when I went to the Lipstick Queen counter at Barneys and the SA asked me what I was looking for. I literally said: “Nothing. I don’t need anything. I have everything I need.” (They still tried to sell me stuff, which, good for them, it’s their job to be tenacious.)
I have a lot of favorites, which are probably the same as everyone else’s: MAC’s Lady Danger & Ruby Woo. Tom Ford’s Wild Ginger. Clinique's Black Honey -- so easy to put on. Revlon's Super Lustrous formulation -- lots of colors and a baby could apply that shit.
I am not skilled at applying makeup, and I am a lazy lipsticker who just likes to be able to swipe on and go. Like, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, and that’s it. BUT this is not something I’ve always kept in mind when buying lipstick. You know how it is. Oh, I’m at the airport, better buy some tax-free tubes. Oh, I’m at Duane Reade, better buy some lip stuff. OH I AM ON THE INTERNET, ETC. It’s dumb. And I’ve made some dumb choices.
I have something like 40 lipsticks, and there are about 10 I pretty much never wear. I’m not the only one, right? Doesn’t everyone have a dud or two? But since there are essentially very few gaps in my collection, I think I need to stop buying lipstick for now and try to find a way to wear the ones I’ve got.
Maybe the “difficult” lipsticks just need a different approach: I could amp up other parts of my makeup or combine them with other lip products. If I achieve passable looks, then let’s all high-five my creativity. If I fail, then I should maybe throw them out. Or stop buying lipstick. (SPOILER: Probs won’t do this! Soz.)
Here are the lipsticks I never wear and my attempts to bring them into rotation.
Problem: I was definitely either at an airport or overseas when I bought this -- in a rush, excited to save tax $$, in holiday mode, whatever. How else to explain this very pale pastel pink, which does not suit me? In fact, it washes me out big time. I think when I bought this I was like, “So Nicki Minaj! So editorial!”
Ugh. I am such an idiot. I don’t mind a high-fashion/pop lady look generally, but this particular one was always going to be hard for me to pull off with my coloring.
This lipstick is really hard to apply straight from the bullet. It’s very creamy and lighter than my skin color, so it streaks heaps. I had to buy a brush so I could apply it properly.
Solution: Different look? Different celebrity, i.e. Brigitte Bardot! This is pretty straightforward -- I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before. I just added a huge-ass cat-eye and more mascara.
Verdict: I like it. Overtime on me definitely needs more happening on the face. I didn’t even try to put any blush on, but I suspect a slight rosy or peachy flush would cap this off.
MAC Satin Lipstick in Alibi
Problem: Okay, I put this one in the too-hard basket, but now that I look at it again it’s not so bad. But still not really a go-to. I think it’s kind of a nice bricky apricot, but maybe I look too old or too serious or something? (Yes, I realize I am not smiling in the photo, thanks.)
Solution: I think the major problem with this one, actually, is pretty simple: I just need a liner. GOD I HATE HAVING TO BUY LINER FOR EVERY KIND OF LIPSTICK. I have like two lipliners, a clear one and a red one. I reapplied Alibi over the clear liner to see if I could get more definition happening for a more modern look. A lipliner in a matching color would also be good. I also added some matte Paula’s Choice blush in pale peach (discontinued), which helped elevate my face’s “alive” ratio.
Verdict: Eh, I still don’t love this. But I might keep it for when I go to apricot farms.
Problem: Problem? I’ll you what my problem is! MAC COUNTERS. JK, love you guys.
Ha ha, I actually love this! I should wear it more. Okay, problem solved. Next!
Problem: I bet you all know this story by heart. This guy came in a five-pack of neutrals that I bought from Clinique one time. The others are all fine to wear as nudes but this one is basically the same color as the only lipstick my mom wears. I love you, mom, but you’re older than me. I just don’t like this dark brownish plummy situation. It makes my lips look small and it makes me look mean.
Solution: Don’t laugh, but I thought if I just put my glasses on I could just accept the older lady vibe of this color. I guess it kind of works? I also tried winding a scarf around my head for a more vintage-y look. I guess it kind of works too?
Verdict: This lipstick kind of bums me out. Can anyone help me? If I were going to throw any of these out, it would be this one.
Problem: Cosmetics marketing strategists must know I sometimes just buy a lipstick by eyeballing the swatch and looking at the lipstick name. VIOLET FATALE REPORTING FOR DUTY, NOW AND FOREVER. Anyhow, for some reason I let myself eyeball-buy this really expensive lipstick. As I mentioned earlier, Tom Ford’s Wild Ginger is one of my favorite lipsticks of all time -- the formulation is super smooth and luscious, and it stays put pretty well for a cream. But this particular color is just never a go-to for me. I think it might be slightly too blue/cool for my skin.
Solution: Sometimes if I don’t know what to do in any given moment, I think, “What would Bjork do?” Even though she’s a creative genius, and I’m kind of an almost-idiot who likes to stay in bed, sometimes it’s a pretty good guideline. Since I’m really intimidated by this color, I thought: Why not just add more color, but to my eyes?
So I applied some shimmery MAC eyeshadow: MAC Pro Longwear in Sunny Outlook (the gold) and MAC Lustre eyeshadow in Swimming (the green). This brought the focus away from my lip, making it kind of a bit more neutral. It’s still a fairly understated look -- I don’t have huge lids -- but it’s definitely different.
Verdict: I would usually never wear this much makeup. Even putting on mascara is a drag for me. Eyeshadow, ugh. BUT I think the eye makeup does what I hoped, which is to make the violet not the only color on the face, and brightens my whole face up a bit. Plus, this whole look is a bit more music video-y, and I’ve been trying to up the music videoness of my life generally. So that’s a win.
Soooooooo that’s it, guys. What other tips do you have re: annoying lipsticks? Do you have any that just don’t work for you but you can’t bear to throw out?