Tag Archive | lips

Stay Cute Mondays – Battle for Beauty

Last week, I decided to return to what I know. During last year’s Fashion Night Out, I went to Neiman Marcus as my original plans were waylaid by forgetfulness. The lovely lady at Bobbi Brown convinced me to purchase two gorgeous lipsticks: Hollywood and Orange to layer for a pop of color. I typically don’t do pops of colors and the champagne made me adventurous.

Here’s the truth. I actually don’t like lipstick. I only wear it to project maturity and authority. Lip gloss has a tendency to make women look frivolous in male-centric environments where I need to look commanding.  However, I was running to an engagement and I couldn’t find my lipsticks (turns out they were in my going out purse). I grabbed an almost gone M.A.C. lipstick I found in the drawer and dashed out. Something weird happened by the end of the day. My lips stay supple and soft. I realized my parched lips required moisturizer not just from my lip balm, but from lip stick as well. Therefore, I really should return to an old standby.

I often try to leave M.A.C. without success. Lipstick and lip liners only! The company offers a good combination of staying power and unique colors. I hate the cliché of the Black woman in red or burgundy lipstick. My problem isn’t the company but its consultants. One year, I left M.A.C. for Clinique. There I learned the valuable tonal lesson of applying a lip liner about two shades darker than your lipstick for the simple, pretty look. They paired a lovely plum liner with a soft grape lipstick. I received so many compliments. If only that darn lipstick lasted longer than an hour. I went to the consultant begging for a solution, maybe a primer, to give it some endurance. She had nothing for me. Back I went

Last week, my return to M.A.C after six months wasn’t pleasant. I started to make my return easy. Purchase some colors I always wear and just head out. However, I thought maybe I should try something new. I knew it was going wrong when the consultant pulled out the infamous Chestnut lip liner. They have this weird theory that women should wear a lip liner that matches their skin tone. There’s one problem. I am not Chestnut. After a previous battle with a consultant in the former Georgetown location, I discovered that I am a Cork. Chestnut-wielding consultant first suggested a red lipstick (no!) and second, a raspberry colored one (what am I, 15?). I didn’t realize that the 90’s were back. Dozens of colors and every time, I get the same useless recommendations.

I’ve had these battles with consultants before and made no headway into some narrow thought of make-up application. To combat this, my best strategy is to wait until the store/counter is jam-packed. Once no one is looking, I try out multiple lipsticks until I find one I like. Then I ask the consultant to suggest a non-brown lip liner similar to the Clinique color tone theory. This plan works wonderfully. However, for this trip the store was empty and I was becoming increasingly annoyed. I shook off everything she said and ended up with two old standards: Strength, a gorgeous ginger snap color with flecks of gold, and Media, a dark plum that actually replaces the one I found in my drawer. Strength was obtained through a previous seek and test mission. I honestly don’t think I would have found it if left up to a consultant. It looks amazing against my skin and I always get compliments. So this time, I made no new discoveries. However, my lips are soft and I only need to reapply once a work day. You win some, you lose some.


Stay Cute Monday – Luscious Lips Edition

Lip gloss is my thing. Every year, I wait anxiously for Christmastime when many of the high end cosmetic companies produce gift sets for many of their products. This means that I can get a package of 5 – 7 lip glosses for the cost of or a little bit more than one gloss. For the last two years, I purchased the Smashbox sets, which were 6 for $29. They were not something I would regularly choose as I like my lip gloss a bit more saturated. Nevertheless it was a good deal considering the cost of each gloss is around $20 separately.


However, the SmashBox sets didn’t have the same bang for the buck this year, so I moved on to Stila. This holiday set was seven glosses for the low, low price of $25. Plus I had a Sephora coupon. The biggest issue with the sets is that I am a brown person and many of the colors cater to paler complexions. Plus, I have full lips. Bright bubblegum pinks only (and kind of not really) work on folks like Nicki Minaj, who is going for the outrageous. As a brown person with full lips, I have to be careful that I don’t look like 1) a clown 2) someone who just enjoyed a really delicious Popsicle or 3) a person who thought that rubbing bacon grease on her mouth was a good idea.

To combat this, I use my arsenal of lip liners, tricks I learned from tv and tips that I learned from lovely department store make-up artists.

First, you need a really nice mauve with brown undertones as lip liner as these sets are heavy on the light pinks. Sephora made a great chubby that they discontinued, so I stick with MAC’s Plum. With bubblegum pinks, I do a “porno lip”. I learned this from a tv segment on how they keep color on soap stars’ lips during makeup scenes. Apply your mauve liner to 2/3 of your lips. Then cover with any of the pink shades. It gives depth and color so you don’t look like a clown.

I stated before that I am not a fan of the color of my lips. So with translucent neutrals, I buy a what I call a lip stick approximate, which is close to the color that I wish my lips were. I apply that, then layer over the lip gloss. For more saturated neutrals, I use an infamous and often maligned brown liner. Here are the rules for brown liner. It must match your skin tone. MAC’s Cork works for me. Nothing too dark. Chestnut I am looking at you. You must blend, blend and blend with a brush. Another brand I love is Dior. They have a liner with a built-in brush. Plus, it has a softer texture and is much easier to blend than MAC products.The Stila set came with a beautiful rust that looked amazing with a orange-brown lip liner by MAC that I swear by called Mahogany. Then was a lovely raspberry color that I used with a slightly darker liner. Finally, there was this fuchsia thing that was absolutely made for thinner lips. Unlined, popsicle effect. Lined, hooker effect. Then I remember how I saw a make-up artist layer fuchsia over a copper lip gloss. I have this wasted copper lipstick that I got for $2 or 3 at Ulta. I applied that and voila. The best look yet.

See below for the color, a plain before and after I worked some magic: