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:
Agrippina on my face
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.
Not the House Baratheon kind though, sorry!
Eyes: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Too Faced Brow Envy, Benefit High Brow Glow, Sugarpill Pressed Eyeshadow in Love+, Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Slowburn from the Electric Pressed Pigment Palette, BH Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Saturn and Moon from the Galaxy Chic Baked Eyeshadow Palette, Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Desperation, Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Mascara
Face: Skin79 Oriental Gold BB Cream Plus, Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer in Vanilla Light, NARS Illuminator in Copacabana, NARS Blush in Orgasm, L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Powder in Cocoa as a contour powder, Juice Beauty Refining Finishing Powder in Sand (read my review here!)
Lips: MAC Lipstick in Fetish, OCC Lip Tar in Fragmented (read my review here!)
Book: Love and Transformation: An Ovid Reader by Richard A. LaFleur (I’m told he drives around in a car with vanity plates that say LATINA– a bit misleading, no?)
I’ve been hoarding nail polish for a long time– since the only makeup I owned was those Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers, actually. I even wrote a college app essay on home manicures. (It was for Stanford, and yes, I actually got in. I mean, after languishing forever on the waitlist!) My little sister inherited my high school collection (mostly OPI), but since I started my PhD program last August, I’ve somehow managed to amass half a shoebox full of new lacquers.
I’m trying to be a little more judicious about adding to my nail polish stash. Still, I couldn’t resist picking up at least one 50% off bottle from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. I mean, I was already paying shipping for some green lip tars, which you can see reviewed here.
OCC has some seven lacquers on sale right now– a trio of reds, a gilded taupe metallic, and another trio of blues. I went for Just the Same, a “deep blue velvet shimmer”. (The nomenclature here’s very mysterious to me, but that’s whatever.) The blue tends toward green– I’d say it’s almost a blackened turquoise, and there’s some aquamarine microshimmer that gives it an abyssal depth. I feel like most brands tend to go for brighter turquoises. There’s nothing else quite like this in my collection.
Two layers of Just the Same with a layer of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat. I’m wearing a handmade dress in tomato-print quilting cotton!
Availability: $5 from OCC Cosmetics
Quantity: 0.5 oz
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics is liquidating some stock. So I snatched up a couple of green lip tars to play around with. I’ve been eyeing Fragmented— an “acid-green, gold laced metallic”– since the release of its namesake collection, Fragmented Alice. Decided I might as well get the metallic, “emerald green” Powerplant at the same time. You know, because I’m already paying for shipping. If you feel like being my kindred in poor impulse control + consumerist lust, both of these are going for 50% off. They’re limited edition, and supposedly it’s your last chance.
Price and Availability: $9 from OCC Cosmetics
Quantity: 0.33 fl oz / 10 mL
(L-R): OCC Fragmented by itself, OCC Powerplant by itself, Fragmented over Chanel Pirate, Fragmented over Bite Beauty Bordeaux, Fragmented over MAC Ruby Woo, Powerplant over NARS Rue de Rivoli, Powerplant over Nyx Chambord, Powerplant with OCC Hoochie, Powerplant with OCC Rx.
Both of these were “meh” as solo performers– took something like four finicky layers for each one to reach opacity, and even then there was some patchiness. But they’re tons of fun for layering!
My (growing) collection.
I love red lipstick. It’s probably because my preferred aesthetic (other than “alien xenologist observing your customs with bemusement”) is “white girl from a morally troubled era”. The ’50s– love the look, hate the racism, etc. Theoretical style icons include Betty Draper, Christina circa Back to Basics, and the usual run of thigh-higher pinup girls.
The closest thing I’ve got to a signature makeup look is Ruby Woo, worn with a lazy wash of shimmery neutral shadows and a thin swipe of kohl. But “dehistoricized ’50s fantasy” isn’t the only narrative I’ll invoke when I paint my lips, and I’ve got a lot of other reds in my arsenal. I’ll review them in-depth in some future posts. But I couldn’t resist showing them off now.