Beauty Without Fuss

Monday 7 April 2014

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.

 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.

 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.

This post: The Reluctant Lippie - Part One originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper


  1. 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. 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!


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


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