Perfume Incident 1 – the guy at the Bobbi Brown counter got my Full Nasal Nuzzle, while I moaned a little in ecstasy. I asked permission to dive in there first. I had to know, what was he wearing? It was Mugler Alien, for women. Wow. It certainly didn´t smell like that on me. Men, out with it – is there some ladies´ fragrance you wear regularly, and do you get any feedback?
Perfume Incident 2 – attending a band concert at Diva´s high school. I was fooling around with my MDCI decants beforehand and threw on the one that Luca Turin mentions has “an intensely animalic jasmine.” Whoops. I had absolutely no time to do anything about it, so in desperation I … sprayed Coco Mademoiselle all over myself! I reeked, but I tell myself at least I smelled like Macy´s and not some sex club. Also, that Coco Mad is kind of growing on me. If I´m wearing some skankalicious number like Youth Dew and need to lighten things up a bit, a little dab´ll do ya.
On to Lipstick. This will be my last post before New Year´s, and probably be my last post on red lips, which appears to have turned into my signature look, including a quick swipe before I walk the twins to the bus stop in the morning. There are people who cheerfully own 27 red lippies, and I am not one of them. I want one or two in each category of red. I tried dozens of red lipsticks (just ask Saint Louise) but only bought a few:
1) Two long-wearing matte reds — MAC Russian Red, which is when I lost my red lipstick virginity; and the slightly warmer NARS Jungle Red. Dry lipped people would, I think, have trouble pulling these off without some kind of lip conditioner. Also, a mirror and a lip pencil or brush are the only way I can work this, it´s a very precision look.
2) A glossy red lipstick. Not a lip gloss, not sheer, not a shimmer. The runners up:
- the ultra-hydrating Lancome Absolute Rouge I am still pining for but is clearly designed for someone with drier lips than mine.
- Bobbi Brown Red, a fun, true red that is not quite as glossy as what I was looking for.
- Clinique´s Party Red, a rich, true red with a light shine to it.
- Shu Uemura 165 featured in Allure as being a universally flattering red, and they showed it on Caucasian, Asian and African-American models. It looked great them but wasn´t particularly flattering on me – too pink and too sheer.
- Sisley has a gorgeous bright red (and I´m sorry I lost the name) with delicious sheen, but I didn´t like the taste.
- Dior 999 Celebrity Red, which frequently winds up in makeup spreads in places like Vogue, an eyecatching red that is slightly warmer than the others I mentioned.
In the end I bought … MAC Brave Red. I am turning into quite the MAC fan. Brave Red managed to 1) be glossy while 2) staying put without a huge amount of effort on my part. It´s a true red on me, and pink on Louise (go figure), so YMMV. I also got the MAC liner in Brick because … the SA was adorable and it looked good? And also their lip primer. And their makeup wipes. And why not that ridiculous Bankroll green eye pencil because I´ve never seen anything like it? I put it over my gray liner which toned the whole thing down.
3) Eventually I relented and bought two blue-reds. It is no surprise that, with my coloring, the SAs kept trying to overcome my resistance to cooler toned reds. I fell in love with and bought:
Clinique in Red-y To Wear, a pinky red which is apparently a smash hit and is sold out at many of their counters, I had to try three stores to get ahold of one to purchase. It´s only $15 and is one of their long wear colors. Surprisingly long lasting. It´s moist enough I need a lip pencil if I want a crisp edge, which I do, but if you don´t care you could probably just slap it on. I bought a cheapie Revlon bright red pencil for this at CVS and it works fine.
We end our lipstick saga with the elegant young Asian woman at the Dior counter at Nordstrom who insisted that I try on some random blue-red lippie, her favorite red in the line, it would look amazing on me blah blah blah. She was so nice eventually I did: Rouge Dior Red Premiere 752, which turns out to be the winner of InStyle magazine’s Best Red Lipstick award for 2008. I stared at myself transfixed, then looked away from the mirror long enough to hand her my MasterCard. If Snow White moved to the big city and went to work in a store that sold expensive, slightly outre leather goods, her lipstick would be this color. It skates the razor edge between red and pink, with color saturation that would make Walt Disney smile and that fabulous tooth-whitening effect that the right cool toned red gives you.
So there you have it. The Big Cheese hasn´t said much about my lips, but I´m kind of enjoying my suburban mom Dita Von Teese moment. Be sure to mention any great holiday loot or guilty pleasures below, particularly of the perfume sort, I love those. I bought myself some vintage Estee Lauder Cinnabar parfum and am awestruck; still waiting for my manky vintage bottle of Youth-Dew bath oil to arrive. Fingers crossed.
Oh, and Happy New Year.
photo: me and my red lips — NARS Jungle Red — photo courtesy of 12-year-old Enigma. I’m wearing a (fake) Mongolian lamb scarf which is what all those wiggly lines are.