LA Confidential

True confession time:  this is what I jokingly refer to as the Dead Lipstick Graveyard. (Though I periodically resurrect select shades.) This is probably about 2 years’ worth of lipstick/lipgloss purchases not including the ones I’ve lost or the random tube hidden in an unused purse.  Yes, there are some still unopened, usually a result of having believed I’d found my Perfect Forever Shade and purchased two, only to realize a week later that it dried out my lips/was too orange/was too blue/too dark/too light/made me look like I wasn’t fully recovered from a bout with the flu.
One of my favorite snippets from the 2001 movie Kissing Jessica Stein was the discussion about lipstick. 
Jessica: Lipstick, I’m looking for the perfect one.
Helen:  Trust me, you’ll never find it.  You need to blend. 
Helen then goes on to reveal that her blend is MAC Viva Glam III, Prescriptives Poodle and Philosophy’s Supernatural Nude.  (Apparently Poodle was discontinued shortly after the movie was released.)
Side view.
I’ve done some experimentation with blending, and have to agree that sometimes the perfect shade is actually two shades (or three if you include lip liner).  For summer, I’m mostly sticking to my Laura Mercier “Nude Lips” (which is that quixotic sheer, same-color-as-my-lips-but-MORE shade).  Come fall, I’ll probably opt for more obvious color, and will probably experiment some more with blending.
Are you a Lipstick Junkie?  Have you found your Perfect Forever Lipstick Love?  Are you a blender?  Or do you eschew the whole mess for a tube of Chapstick?
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  1. August 11, 2010 / 12:17 pm

    I just went through a huge lipstick de-clutter. My collection looked like yours. If it didn’t flatter or dried out my lips I got rid of it and am left with 4 tubes of lipstick, one fleshy nude, one red, one brighter pink berry and one great everyday pink with a hint of brown which I wear the most. I’m even considering getting rid of the fleshy nude because it doesn’t do much for me. It’s possible to pare down but it’s hard throwing all those shiny tubes away! I even had to rebuild to fill the hole of a perfect pink and red because none of the others were good enough. So those two shades are new and what I did differently is actually go try them on at the store and wear them a while to check out the formula before purchasing. Novel concept huh? I was such a lipstick impulse buyer before.

    Sorry to write a novel but wanted to share.

  2. August 11, 2010 / 1:06 pm

    I am always experimenting. I like to use lipstain with gloss over it, or sometimes just my favorite fresh sugar rose lip balm. I don’t like to wear a lot of color on my lips. My son told me it makes me look old :-).

  3. August 11, 2010 / 1:13 pm

    I’ve always had a hard time finding a lipstick with enough orange – most lipstick turns blue on my skin. But I’ve discovered a color called “Salmon” by Gabriel Cosmetics – – their products are paraben-free, high quality.

  4. August 11, 2010 / 1:52 pm

    I have a few that could be HGs, but I continue the search. It’s about the journey, not the destination…

  5. Maravonda
    August 11, 2010 / 1:58 pm

    Pseu, I have not purchased a lipstick in years, ever since discovering CoverGirl ColorStay. I wear it every day, without the accompanying gloss, my lipstick is always perfect and it never dries my lips.

  6. August 11, 2010 / 2:07 pm

    OMG I was just thinking of that exact scene as I was walking in to work today. Of course, I’d forgotten the shades Jessica’s girlfriend blended. I’d just done a blend of Maybelline bitten plum (lovely and moist and light) and Revlon va va violet (like most dark Revlons, coverage is poor). As am I. I have eschewed the $10+ lipsticks, mostly because I never go to malls anymore, and I just get what I can at the drugstore. It makes me feel less guilty when I pitch the failures!

  7. August 11, 2010 / 2:39 pm

    I was a lipstick hoarder until I finally decided to throw them all away. Bobbie Brown lipstick tends to smell rotten after a few years. Yes I had lipstick that was YEARS old. Yuck. I am looking for a new color. I was wearing Laura Mercier and I can’t even remember the name of the color. My problem is I can’t find lipstick that stays on for longer than 20 minutes and I hate that extended wear stuff, it dries out my lips. Let me know if you find that perfect shade of the perfect blend.

  8. August 11, 2010 / 3:39 pm

    Your photo reminds me that I have to clean out my make-up drawers!

  9. August 11, 2010 / 3:40 pm

    I usually wear tinted “natural” lip balm as well, Burt’s Bees or Green Beaver (a Canadian company with a rather horrid name). A berry shade – I have the fortune to have a lot of pigment in my lips anyway, but since I’ve been letting my hair go grey, I do want a bit more colour – more of my “own”, as pseu says.

    I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but I do want some fresh advice on eye cosmetics – but keeping them subtle.

  10. August 11, 2010 / 3:42 pm

    Blending? What is this blending of which you speak? I’m lucky if I remember to change out of my house slippers into my work shoes as I run out of the house. I’m only capable of slathering on whatever shade is in my purse at the moment as I wait for the car to warm up. I wish I was more together so I could do more things with makeup.

  11. August 11, 2010 / 3:43 pm

    What a stash! I love Aquaphor but it’s not available in the UK so I pay taxes and shipping for two tubes at a time – ridiculous habit but a neccessity!

  12. August 11, 2010 / 4:05 pm

    Well, well, well. Lipstick. Yes. I have one berry, one pink lip balm. I have one red and one nude sheer lipstick. Those are the ones I will actually wear. Then there are the just in casers. i.e., bright red matte, coral/nude gloss, gold/peach shimmer sheer – you know, in case I wake up one day and I am somebody else. I don’t mind lipstick dreams. They are cheap, harmless, if cluttering…ooh, I think I will write a post to this effect.

  13. August 11, 2010 / 4:17 pm

    Burt’s Bees tinted balm in Raisin or Rhubarb, depending on season.

  14. August 11, 2010 / 4:39 pm

    I’m too impatient to blend. I put it on right out of the tube. Feel free to send me any bright reds you’re not using!

  15. August 11, 2010 / 4:43 pm

    I am a firm believer in the soul-curing powers of a good lipstick — and as such, I also have a collection of the failures. But I’ve gotten better at the end of each season (warm weather/cold weather) about ditching the ones I’m never going to wear again. I do it when I swap my closet and shoes over.

  16. August 11, 2010 / 5:02 pm

    Yep, you’ve got quite a stash there.

    I’m not even a Lipstick Junkie, yet still have a small collection of formerly-perfect or imperfect shades, so yes…I blend!

    I wish they sold lipsticks in a variety of sizes, because it takes me so freakin’ long to get through anything but a tube of colorless Burt’s Bees.

    [Though currently a Bobbi Brown sheer is my perfect color/texture/sheen, so maybe I’ll wear that one down.]

    However, I am a balm addict, and have found that empty 4-balms-in-1-place compacts are ideal for housing my lipstick-and/or balm-blending experiments.

    Alas, I find sticking my finger in the goop and swiping it on is hardly elegant…can YOU handle the lack of glamour, Ms Pseu?

    If not, better donate some of your collection, ha.

  17. Splurgie
    August 11, 2010 / 12:12 pm

    Chapstick for me. I do own lipstick and wear it when I go out in the evening. Never wear it to work. Can’t explain why.

    I don’t live in Pittsburgh but my parents met and married in Pittsburgh. It will always seem like a romantic city (circa 1953) to me. Still go back to visit family and I still love it. Until his last day, Dad still called a soda “pop.”

  18. August 11, 2010 / 8:16 pm

    Yup, looks like me–lipstick junkie.

    I’m always searching for the right color peach. My fave color this summer is Tart’s “Joy” which is part stain, part gloss in a stick. Love it.

  19. August 11, 2010 / 8:23 pm

    I LOVE that line from Jessica Stein- I love that whole movie. I often think about how John Ham’s girlfriend wrote and directed it. Then I remember how he had a small role in the Gilmore Girls (wanting to take Lorelie to a David Bowie concert)

    I get by with 3 lipsticks.

    Mac viva glam 2 (beige), some red chanel thing and chanel coco pink.

    That’s it.

  20. Frugal Scholar
    August 11, 2010 / 1:32 pm

    Just a little tip. If you can’t stand to throw out all those lipsticks that don’t work, pass them on to a preteen/young teen of your acquaintance. (If you’re worried about germs, just slice off the top). My daughter had many happy hours as the recipient of all the free-with-purchase shades given to her by my mother and her pals.

  21. Sal
    August 11, 2010 / 1:34 pm

    I’m crap at makeup, but I DO blend. Typically a Burt’s Bees tinted balm, followed by a gloss of some sort!

  22. August 11, 2010 / 11:11 pm

    I have a lip stick/pencil/gloss collection, too. It’s something about hating to throw out expensive lip products. Maybe some day I could find a way to blend them into use.

    Currently I have two combos – Laura Mercier – chestnut pencil/bare lips lipstick/violet glace gloss and Chanel – nude pencil/spark gloss, the funny thing is the Chanel is just a more intense version of the Laura Mercier combo.

  23. August 11, 2010 / 11:21 pm

    Shopping for a new lipstick is always a good, relatively cheap pick-me-up, and, like you, I buy in multiples if I think I’ve got a winner. I rarely blend, having neither the colour sense nor the patience. But I do have lipsticks in many, many places, in dire fear of being out without any. Your collection makes me feel much better about mine, I have to say, altho’ I’m going to leave mine scattered about so I never have to see how extensive it really is . . .

  24. La Belette Rouge
    August 11, 2010 / 6:21 pm

    I have a similar graveyard of unused lipsticks. Maybe we should have a joint funeral.;-)

  25. Veuve
    August 11, 2010 / 6:21 pm

    I am a total lipstick junkie. I can apply the same eye shadow and blush for a long time, but I need variety in my lipstick! I am also a fan of everyday red lipstick. I have been known to wear red lipstick to pick up my kids at school, to the grocery store, to the library.

    My current favorites are from small “cult” lines: Edward Bess, Ellis Faas, and Julie Hewett. The first two are hideously expensive but so gorgeous. Ellis Faas 201 is very nearly a perfect red in both color and formula.

  26. August 12, 2010 / 1:58 am

    I have three lipsticks, that I use alone or blend for different looks: Nars Dolce Vita, Clinique Black Honey (the default go-to), and MAC Viva Glam I, when I want a red.

  27. metscan
    August 11, 2010 / 7:25 pm

    Wow! So many lipsticks. How long have you collected all of these? My favorite is Chanel´s Provocative. It has been my only lipstick for many years. It is perfect!

  28. August 12, 2010 / 3:19 am

    Splurgie – we really enjoyed Pittsburgh, aside from the driving.

    Stephanie – I’m thinking I need to hand off some of these. But every time I’ve done that in the past, I’ve ended up buying the same shades again! I know the “fleshy nudes” have been “in” for a while now, but I’m not convinced that they look good on more than a handful of people.

    Julianne – I think some colors/textures *can* make us look older. Stain + gloss is a good combo, not too piled on.

    Rita – I’m the same way, can’t wear those blue undertones. I’ll check that one out!

    Frugal Scholar – great idea. I know just the girls!

  29. August 12, 2010 / 3:30 am

    Sal – whatever makeup you’re wearing looks natural, so I have to dispute your assessment of your skills. 🙂

    Style Spy – true. It’s always fun to try new shades.

    Maravonda – really? It doesn’t dry? I’ve always been afraid to try those as my lips tend to get really dry.

    dana – one of my favorite lipsticks ever was a Revlon “moonglow” in a coppery color. Of course, they discontinued it.

    whats her bucket – I tend to reapply lipstick a few times throughout the day. I’ve never found one that stays on more than a couple of hours. Good to know about the Bobbi Browns. I wonder what makes them go so bad?

    Belle – it’s always good to cull the herd.

    lagatta – I haven’t tried the Burts Bees, though many have recommended it. The only thing I can offer about eye makeup is to avoid frosts. I have an eyeliner trick, but it’s hard to explain. I’ll try to post some pics soon.

    HelsBells – the minimalist makeup look is very French…

  30. August 12, 2010 / 3:40 am

    Tabitha – oh, Aquaphor is the bomb! I also love Rosebud Salve for a lip balm.

    LPC – it would be fun to write about who the women are who inhabit our lipstick stash.

    NancyDaQ – another vote for Burts Bees…

    WendyB – how about dark reds? I’ll do inventory and send you a list. You can take your pick.

    Rubiatonta – I need to get over my reluctance to toss, for sure. Your method sounds like a good one.

    Vix – I keep meaning to pick up one of those mixing/storage palette thingies at Sephora. I can apply with a lip brush, I guess. Seems like so much more work than just slathering on from the tube.

    LBR – where should we bury them? Love your new pic, BTW!

  31. August 12, 2010 / 3:44 am

    Veuve – thanks for the suggestions; I’ll check those out. I think if one is going to wear red, one has to just commit to wearing it as a signature shade. Sounds as though you’ve accomplished this.

    metscan – that’s about 2 years’ worth, maybe a little more. Chanel really does make some lovely shades.

    zenartist – another one to add to the list, thanks! A good peach is hard to find.

  32. August 12, 2010 / 3:53 am

    Faux Fuschia – it’s such a fun movie, isn’t it? I try to watch it whenever it’s on cable. I just knew you’d have a pink in there somewhere!

    Tiffany – I’m tired of those “should’s/shouldn’ts” too! I say wear that red lipstick if you love it.

    Kathy – those sound like good combos. Don’t you find that certain glosses can change the look entirely?

    materfamilias – glad to be of service. 😉 I was pretty surprised at the volume once I gathered them up into one space. I’m more than a bit chagrined at how many unopened ones I have.

    Mistress Cynica – that Black Honey is a popular shade. It just tends to disappear on me, but looks lovely on some people. Sounds as though you have your lipstick bases succinctly covered!

  33. August 12, 2010 / 4:54 am

    Hate lipstick. Wore it in my teens/early 20’s but by mid 20’s had given it up entirely for a good lip balm (Blistex DCT pink tub is my fave)

    Sometimes if going out I add a bit of lip pencil lightly penciled/smudged into the balm. I found the perfect (and super cheap) neutral but still better/darker than natural lip pencil shade for me and have used the combo ever since.

    If you do ever find your perfect blend the do have companies that will custom blend colors (or replicate discontinued colors.

  34. Tiffany
    August 11, 2010 / 10:01 pm

    OMG (as the youngsters say), I am a complete lipstick junkie, permanently on the search for the perfect lipstick. But recently I found one that is about as close to perfect as it gets – in terms of flattering my colouring, etc – and I discovered that wearing just one lipstick, no matter how nice, is never going to work for me. In fact, I’m so tired of being told that women over 40 shouldn’t wear red lipstick that I have resurrected some of my more outrageous lippies for more regular use.

  35. Northmoon
    August 12, 2010 / 12:06 pm

    Guilty!! I used to buy a new lipstick when I was upset or depressed. An inexpensive shopping fix. So I have a few lying around, but no unopened ones.

    Being of scottish background, I think I should use them up, not just toss them. Perhaps I need to get over this attitude 😉

    Plus I’m still searching for the perfect shade. They tend to turn an unattractive shade of orange on me. Funny that some of us have the opposite problem.

  36. August 12, 2010 / 10:59 pm

    I have found my ‘forever’ lipstick several times, which should tell you it turned out not to be forever.

    Chanel Soft Mink
    Chanel Lotus Rouge
    Clarins shade 260
    Clinique Different Grape
    Laura Mercier Healthy Lips
    Clinique Rose Spectrum
    The Body Shop E035QC (which will never work because that is not a name I can remember)

    And I’m on the hunt for a new love right now. But at least it’s fun.

  37. RoseAG
    August 13, 2010 / 1:20 am

    Clinique “Black Honey” is one of my favorites also.

    I have all kinds of half-used lipsticks but that’s a color I’ve actually used up.

    Presently I’m trying out various drug-store long-wearing lipsticks. I think they last longer if you go with darker shades.

  38. Maravonda
    August 13, 2010 / 2:44 pm

    I’m glad you knew what I was talking about, after posting, am not sure if it is ColorStay or LipStay…but it stays on all day, doesn’t rub off on people or cups, doesn’t smear, and if you don’t take off your make-up at night (egads!) you usually wake up with lipstick in the am. Remarkable stuff!

  39. Anonymous
    August 14, 2010 / 3:29 am

    That scene in “Kissing Jessica Stein” was a revelation to me. I had never before thought of blending, and now I am a committed blender: different colours of lipsticks, lipstick under gloss, etc.

    I have also extended this blending to nailpolish. When my favourite OPI colour (International Dateline) became unfindable, I found a reasonable substitute by painting brown polish over deep red.

  40. August 14, 2010 / 3:20 pm

    hollarback – yeah, I’ve found few women who are neutral about lipstick; they either hate it or love it.

    Northmoon – I’m wondering if your skin tone is cooler. Could you buy a really blue undertoned shade and try blending with some of those you already have?

    rb – I think for some of us, the search is the thing. 😉

    RoseAG – have you found some long-wears that aren’t drying? I’ve resigned myself to reapplying a few times a day to get a more hydrating blend.

    Maravonda – I’ll have a look. I’ve known a few women who like the ColorStay, and they seem to be able to keep it from looking or feeling dry.

    Anonymous – yes, nail polish often benefits from blending too. I discovered this quite by accident after not liking a color after the first coat was applied, and applying something different over the top. Blending is fun!

  41. August 18, 2010 / 9:50 pm

    Lip gloss. Lip stick. Lip balm. I am a junky. I have close to 200. My favs right now are Sephora Summer Crush lip gloss – Sephora No.71 – 711A and MAC Capricious.

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