Chanel never disappoints. When I choose my old standby Rouge Allure lipstick in Passion, $30, from a masterful range of reds, I’ve had strangers stop me and ask me what lipstick I’m wearing. The idea of trying Rouge Allure liquid luminous satin lip lacquer, $32, gave me shivers of anticipation. Perhaps it’s the vaguely old-school name – lacquer just sounds so 1947, so silk stocking and cold cream-esque. And then there’s the fun of telling Boyfriend Du Jour that “it’s not lipstick, silly, it’s lacquer.” Or perhaps it would be: “It’s not lipstick, silly, it’s liquid luminous satin lip lacquer.”
At the Beverly Hills Saks counter on a recent Saturday morning, my eye was immediately drawn to No. 78. “That’s the color I want,” I told the woman helping me, a far cry from my usual dithering and debating and drawing countless stripes on the back of my hand. Indeed it is a perfect creamy soft rose, bright but light and luxurious. And lacquer, which I’d thought would be more like a stain, turned out to be a cross between a stick and a gloss. Afterward, as I window-shopped my way along Rodeo Drive, a tall, gray-haired guy stopped me and asked for my phone number. I took his instead. 😉
Much as I enjoy shopping on a Saturday, it’s almost more fun to leave work early, head to your nearest department store and buy a pretty lipstick on a weekday afternoon. To lose yourself in those vast, fragrant, shimmery aisles, packed with possibility, is akin to sipping a fluteful of Veuve Clicquot just for the joy of it. Even if you don’t buy anything, there are always free samples to score.
Oh who am I kidding? Me not buy a little product? Splurging is my special skill. Hence my acquisition of Rouge de Guerlain jewel lipstick compact, $46. Holding this drop-dead gorgeous tube – sleek, shiny, chunky – and springing open the mirror is a singular frisson and sure-fire conversation starter. It is without question the coolest compact I’ve ever seen. Smooth and silky, Guerlain lipstick glides on effortlessly every time you apply (I chose No. 65) and gives your lips a subtle but very sexy vibe.
Also combining pretty and practical is YSL Rouge Volupte, $34. The charming gold tube is topped with a handy mirror so a touchup couldn’t be easier. I bought mine a while ago and I got a really nice four-color sample set that even included a brush. YSL offers wonderful colors, feels great on your lips and the color is long lasting. No. 1 is a versatile pink/beige that can be brightened or bolded as you desire.
I also adore Laura Mercier’s lip glace, $22, in Plum Noir. What’s nice about this au courant shade is that you can blend a smidgen into a lighter color (such as the above-mentioned YSL) and you’ll get a gorgeous daytime look – sheer and shiny with just a hint of iridescence. And if you want to amp it up, just add another layer of gloss for a full-on plumintense pout. It’s almost like having two shades in one and it’s never overly thick or cloying the way some glosses can be.
Lest you think I plump exclusively for lip color with a double-digit price tag, let me assure you I spend plenty of time in drug-store aisles, less shimmery and fragrant perhaps, but chock full of irresistible bargains and endless opportunities.
Browsing at my local CVS, I saw Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish lipstick in Temptation, $6, in its discreet dark cylinder, and couldn’t grab it fast enough. If you’re a femme fatale who fancies herself a scribe, a name alone can make you weak at the knees. I dare you not to try Temptation. The name entices; the product delights. A rusty blush of color subtly enhances my lips, making them look fuller, healthier and more kissable. This warm auburny shade is particularly nice for redheads or for blondes with honey/strawberry tones. My friend A.B., who is one of those mythic redheads, with a straight, dark-red and ridiculously thick mane, has this to say: “I like this red for a glam look. It’s just the right classic red, but with a touch of sheerness that makes it modern.”
And I never leave without checking out Maybelline New York. Since the Big Apple is so quintessential to the film-noir aesthetic and the company so consistently offers top-notch quality, variety, innovation and value, I’ve been a devoted fan for many years. Founded in 1915, Maybelline New York is the No. 1 cosmetic brand globally, according to the company’s web site. (Who doesn’t love Great Lash mascara in its signature pink-and-green tube?) As for lipstick, I picked Color Sensational, $9, in Very Cherry, which offers a light, clean texture and crisp, sheer color. You don’t need much for daytime – just a quick dash over your balm or moisturizer. And night time? Well, as always, that’s another story.
Product Source: From my own collection; I did not receive products or compensation from companies named in this post.