If I had to limit myself to just one kind of lip product, I’d go with Lip Tars (after throwing the requisite tantrum and bargaining with the antique gods).
I love the sleek weight of my MAC bullets. And the crisp artillery click of my Chanel Pirate tube, unlocking at my touch, like a trigger. But Lip Tars aren’t so “modern warfare” in their presentation. They’re not bullets– they’re paint tubes. And I like mixing them up to make custom colors, even if they leave bright streaks on my desk.
Here are a four of my experiments in lip mixology:
This rusted metallic orange-red is named for Agrippina the Younger, who figures pretty prominently in Suetonius’ biography of her son Nero– I read parts of it at the Latin nerd camp that ate my summer. (It’s a highly entertaining read, by the way– I recommend it if you A) like Game of Thrones/ASOIAF, except for the magicky Three-Eyed Raven parts or B) are remotely titillated by failed matricides, whispers of incest, fiddling– or rather, singing– while Rome burns, or contest rigging in the classical equivalent of American Idol. Nero– what a guy.) They had their issues, mother and son. In Suetonius’ rather gossipy account, it all culminated in the Emperor’s attempt to kill off his mom by means of a collapsible boat. Before they reached such a violent juncture, there were sketchy carriage rides, and kissing of breasts. I’m sure the Freudians have had a field day, in their time.
Agrippina was by all accounts a ferocious and grasping sort of person. I picture her as a composite of Lena Headey’s Cersei and Polly Walker’s Upgraded-to-Villain version of Augustus Caesar’s mom, Atia. (I’m also convinced that Jack Gleason would make a great Nero. Since I’ve read Suetonius, I’ve seriously been casting the HBO series in my head.) To create her namesake lippy, I reached for warm colors– deceptively sweet, as befits a Roman matron. But suggestive of fire, blood, and the metal of imperium.
I started with Authentic, a “bronzed copper frost”– in honor of Nero, who bore the cognomen Ahenobarbus, “bronze-beard”. I added Grandmother, a “classic coral”. A grandmother, I figured, is an old woman– synonymously (and a little rudely), you might say an ancient woman. And Agrippina was a woman from antiquity. Close enough. Finally, I dropped in a bead of Manhunter, which has the most aggressive glitter I’ve ever seen in a Lip Tar– you seriously have to scrub at the stuff to get it off. It’s kind of like how Nero tried to kill his mom in, like, three different ways before it finally took.
Here’s Kore, Greek for “maiden”, a name for the goddess Persephone. She’s got this thing with paradox– she’s both a queen of May and queen in the Underworld, Demeter’s daughter and Pluto’s bride. I used Hoochie, a an “extreme magenta”, to represent her dark side, and the “mid-tone pink plum” Memento for the bright. The result is a bright, moddish pink. It’s a little too artificial to look totally innocent– there’s something disconcertingly plastic about it.
Who doesn’t love Bjork? “Pagan Poetry” is probably my favorite song in her corpus. The corresponding Lip Tar remix is a pensive deep-blue shimmer– less deep-sea than deep-space. To make it, I just added a jolt of “true cyan blue” to Technopagan— a “metallic blackened purple with blue pearl”– in the form of Rx.
Finally, here’s Yandere— a warmer cousin to Fyrinnae’s coral-pink Queer Theory (see my review here!), with yellower undertones. A yandere, according to TV Tropes, is a character who’s “sweet outside, crazy inside”– a cute face masking dangerous obsession. I vaguely thought i could get that across by using conventionally feminine colors– pinks and corals– but turning up the luminosity to mind-bending megawatts. But mostly I was inspired by one of my favorite mainstream Lip Tar shades, Anime.
To make my ax-crazy coral, I mixed together equal parts of the “seriously neon fuchsia” Anime and the “neon red coral” Queen. Then I swirled in some Memento to lighten it up, for a slightly off-kilter pastel effect. Let me tell you, it’s bright. Almost hurts my eyes to look at it.