In the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane,” Chas K. utters the word rosebud, providing what seems to be a clue to the mysteries of his personality and the essence of his existence. It was also rumored (off-screen, of course) to be code for the word clitoris.
While Smith’s Rosebud Salve can offer neither a foray into philosophy nor risqué anatomical cipher, it is by far the best the best lip moisturizer I have ever used. Never heavy and eminently wearable, it’s aces at softening and protecting my lips from the elements.
I don’t leave the house without it and I always apply before bedtime. The salve has been around since 1892 and comes in a delightfully retro round tin with a deep blue border. It’s easy to spot in your makeup bag or purse and takes you back in time for a second or two when you reapply during the day. According to the container, Smith’s is: a trade-secret blend of cotton-seed oil, aromol and essential oils in a special petroleum base. Whatever aromol is, I really like it. 😉
Before I found this product, $6 at beauty supply stores, I was a Vaseline loyalist and Vaseline is still a great backup but, compared with Smith’s, I find Vaseline’s consistency to be slightly inferior. Smith’s consistency is substantial enough to feel protected yet not so thin as to give that sliding-off-your-lips feeling. The salve blends well with lip color, helping to sheer your coverage. Additionally, Smith’s works on parched hands and nails as well as lips.
Product Source: From my own collection; I did not receive products or compensation from Smith’s.
Lip color – stick, stain or gloss – is my weakness. Maybe because it’s the first cosmetic I ever dabbled with and I remember watching my Mom applying her lipstick, then passing me the tube to try a little. Or maybe finding the perfect red, rose or raisin conjures other, more recent, memories, a tad more racy. Even when money is tight, it’s usually still possible to treat yourself to a brand-new tube. Herewith is my current list of favorites.
Chanelnever 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 Clicquotjust 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 deGuerlainjewel 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. More