But like the average woman I seem to have accumulated a lot more lipsticks than I can regularly use. Happily they have more forgiving expiry dates than some categories of toiletries I might mention, not that that tends to stop me, hehe. And despite my periodic purges, the tally gradually creeps up again.
|My browny/pinky/nude collection!|
Left to right: Dior Pisanelle Pink**, Poundland Choca Mocha (No 4), Burberry Nude Rose, Bourjois Bruns o petits soins**, and Rimmel Not an Illusion. (And yes, my arm was a bit chilly!)
**NB To the best of my knowledge, both the Dior and the Bourjois are discontinued. Which also explains why I can't be bothered to give the Bourjois its circumflex over the 'o'.
As well as having too many lipsticks, I am guilty of having too many in the exact same shade, or at best in infinitesimal variations thereof. Like a homing pigeon or an iron filing to a magnet, every time I scan a make up fixture my eye is drawn to the identical narrow range in which most of my lipsticks lie - in my case, a sort of browny/pinky/nude. That said, I do have another small and burgeoning group of quite similar definite pinks, and a more heterogeneous assortment of reds, most of which I could never bring myself to wear, with the exception of a single lip gloss, now finished and discontinued, which is what prompted the second part of this post.
|Revlon Firecracker lip gloss - many happy memories!|
My £1 almost lipstick wardrobe
But back to the first part: the almost reality of my £1 lipstick wardrobe and the notion of a favourite lipstick. My mother had a favourite lipstick...oh yes. Yardley's Pink String, which she wore for as long as I can remember. There is absolutely zero information in Google on that now, which is interesting. Mother used to stockpile that particular shade, and had several unopened tubes at the time of her death (see photo, though the colour is a bit darker and even more vibrant than it appears here).
|Yardley Pink String|
I made sure (indirectly(!) via the undertakers) that she wore Pink String to her funeral, for she would never go out without applying that finishing touch. In my own case, I think 'favourite lipstick' is perhaps a misnomer, but I certainly have a 'go-to lipstick' that I wear more than any other. I am not even sure if the lipstick in question suits me the best out of all the ones that I own in that category, which includes a high end Burberry that cost over twenty times as much. And I also can't speak to the colour pay off (not least because I have never known exactly what that is, though you see it mentioned in beauty blogs), or the staying power, or the feel of it on your lips. Even though I wear this one most days when I wear lipstick at all, I don't really notice such things. (Which may well be why I am not a beauty blogger!)
|Poundland Choca Mocha (No 4) and my enormous fingers|
All I can say in this lipstick's favour is that it is the one that more often than not seems to be lying on the dining room table, or at the bottom of my shopping bag, or at the top of my cosmetic bag - in short, it has eminent grabbability as its key attribute. And it tends to go with most things, or I am sure I would notice in the mirror that something was amiss. It's that old adage of 'the musician who played the last gig gets the next gig'. It is top of mind, and always at hand.
And it so happens that in my case, 'the last lipstick that got the gig' cost a mere pound from Poundland - who in a smart marketing move are the only high street retailer to still accept the old £1 coins! - which they are doing till the end of the month. UK readers, hie thee along to Poundland and bag - if not a lipstick - an ingot of Toblerone or a box of Maltesers at the very least. But if you have a yen at all for browny/pinky/nudes, it is No 4, the amusingly named Choca Mocha. A cheapo workhorse, no question. (For anyone interested, Part 1 of my overall review of Poundland's make up range may be found here.)
And what of the light bulb layering moment alluded to above? Well, since my favourite lip gloss, Revlon Firecracker, got the chop, or self-combusted, or whatever happened to it, I was a bit at sea on the red lipstick front, being chronically wary of the whole category on account of my thin lips. Katie Puckrik and I went on a shopping mission five years ago that culminated in the purchase of a Laura Mercier lip balm in Crimson Tint, but left to my own devices at home, without Katie's chutzpah and moral support, it felt too bold on its own, and had languished in a drawer ever since. Until the end of September that is, when I was down in London for a design awards ceremony, as the 'plus one' of my friend M - the designer I worked for at the trade fair in Brussels - and on a whim, decided to try a slick of Crimson Tint over Choca Mocha, which gave the perfect muted red I craved. (The Laura Mercier is a deeper red than it appears in the photo!)
|Laura Mercier Crimson Tint & Poundland Choca Mocha (No 4)|
So Crimson Tint has finally come into its own, and please don't tell me it should have been thrown out by now, as it was too expensive to chuck and buy again!
|Crimson Tint over Choca Mocha|
On a roll, I experimented with another red I am too timorous to wear on its own - Spicy Cinnamon in the Clarins Joli Rouge range - topping it with a layer of Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Creme Brulee, another Katie steer.
|Revlon Colorburst Creme Brulee & Clarins Joli Rouge Spicy Cinnammon|
And as with the previous combo, this had a slightly glossy effect, as well as perfectly toning down the rich red of the Clarins to a more orange-y number that works better with my yellow-leaning complexion. So suddenly, out of the ashes as it were, I have found two options for a non-lurid red. I have scotched the scarlet woman! Not that I wore any of my failed red experiments out of the house, but I have scared the bejesus out of myself in all the mirrors indoors.
|Clarins Joli Rouge Spicy Cinnamon - too strong a look on its own|
And the more wearable combo...
|Revlon Colorburst Creme Brulee layered on top of the Clarins|
And the daft thing is that while I have always known about adding a bit of lip gloss to a lipstick - usually in a transparent or fairly sheer colour - I have never ever thought to layer lipsticks (or two lipstick-like entities shall I say, because they are called such a variety of things these days) with a more pronounced colour. We do it with perfumes - actually I don't personally layer scents as a rule, but it is a fairly established 'thing' - and of course artists mix paint colours in their palette, but I just hadn't twigged to the fact that I could do it with lipstick and solve my lurid lip conundrum.
So there you have it. I accept that the £1 wardrobe idea is stretching the point, because I do like a proper pink lipstick as well, even if I could maybe survive without one. But a red option is a must for evenings out and generally making more of a statement. And while I don't feel the Laura Mercier owes me anything after all this time, I think it cost about £14, taking my total wardrobe cost to...ooh er!...scary multiples of the original quid I dropped in Poundland.
|Red lips at the awards ceremony!|
So may I ask - do you have a favourite lipstick, or one that you keep coming back to because it is an easy wear?
Could you actually live with just one lipstick? And if so, would it be a neutral like mine or something bolder - perhaps red even?!