Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My History in Lipstick

I am inspired today by the always-inspiring Serene of The Elegant Bohemian. Serene wrote about her history in fragrance, and it was a lovely walk down memory lane. We mid-life women have shared many fragrances, and each one evokes a period in my life, from pre-teen to fully-grown woman.

Serene's post got me thinking about a similar history: my life in lipstick. Such a simple little object, but it meant a lot to most of us as young girls, then young women, just starting out in our quest for "femininity". Here are some of my own milestones, and I would love to hear about yours:

  • At age 10, trying on my grandmother's Coty red lipstick, that she kept in a drawer next to her Coty loose powder. It was so exotic and forbidden to little girls, so of course I reveled in it, until grandma found out.

    So elegant in its gold tube. Not so elegant on my 10 year old face!

    Memories! And what messes I made.

    • My first very-own lipsticks were by Yardley. I treasured the off-white frosted Yardley that I thought made me look just like Twiggy. My lips were probably rather ghastly in retrospect.

      • During my college years, I wore virtually no makeup. I was a Serious Student, with no time for such frivolities. Short, curly hair, jeans and turtlenecks every day, Chapstick on my lips and books under my arm.  If Clearasil counts as makeup, that was my brand.
      • As a young professional I did lots of experimenting with every color imaginable. I loved to drift by the cosmetics counters at all the big department stores and try the latest shades. Dark violet is in? I want it. No-color lips? I had them. Because I was enjoying spreading my fashion and beauty wings, I bought the "better" brands, like Estee Lauder and Lancome.

      A French Vogue cover from February 1981. I'm sure I had that lipcolor once.

      • Since about age 45, in my happy, self-accepting middle years, my lips are treated to mainly rosy pinks. I have just a few true favorites by Revlon (I'm back to the drugstore!), with an occasional trip to Sephora or Ulta for fun. But nary a fuchsia nor a nude will touch my lips again. It's good to know oneself, and the journey has been fun as well.

      What's your lipstick story? Please share.


        1. Oh Patti!  Thanks for the mention!  These memory lane strolls are fun!  I used to wear Bonnie Bell lip gloss...I still LOVE a shiny glossy lip!  I tend to head straight for mauves, but to be honest, I'm not loving them.  Now, I'm leaning more toward red, but a deeper red, like blood red, not cherry red.  My mom always rocked the nude lipstick.  It worked for her, but for me?  UGH!  No way!  Fun fun post!  Hugs to you!  ~Serene

        2. It's so hard to remember these milestones -- after commenting on Serene's post I gradually remembered all the fragrances I'd forgotten!  Same with lipstick.  I think I moved from Bonnie Bell to Cover Girl to Revlon to Loreal to Estee Lauder, but I could never tell you the colors.  Now I layer Estee Lauder's "Sugar Honey" with an array of different glosses.  But I'm ALWAYS looking......

        3. Oooh, confession time. I have always had a lot of insecurity about makeup of all kinds, because I just have never had any success applying it. Clown face! Vampire! Elphaba! I can do a whole range of (unintentionally) theatrical looks, but I can't make myself look like a human female with makeup. Just never learned how, I guess. So to the question of lipstick? None. I feel quite inadequate as a woman in this regard.
          The one good thing is I never have to worry about it slipping off my lips, or getting stuck on my teeth.  

        4. Pam@Over50feeling40December 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM

          I saw Serene's post and really like it...this is fun too!  My lipstick history is too long to recount...it goes from Vaseline to today's Sally Hansen lip glosses to plump up the lips!

        5. Gosh, I had the frosted Yardley lipstick, too.  My Mom....and her Revlon lips....constantly told me I looked almost dead in it!  But I also loved the Yardley Shine Stopper Foundation....my first makeup....and I wore it until they stopped selling it.
          Today I still favor a more natural look for my lips....I think they call it MLBB....(my lips but better)!  Revlon just released a product called Lip Butters and the colors are great!  I also love to splurge occasionally on a tube of Chanel lipstick.

        6. Tammy @ silverstyleDecember 6, 2011 at 8:54 PM

          I liked this post........did all of the frosts when I was young.  I tend to stick with  deep transparent colors now.  Still use the loose powder!   I'm such an old lady!
          Oily skin...........what can I say.....less wrinkles?

        7. I'm red all the way...

          I used to use that Coty loose powder! Memories....

        8. this was so fun to read and go down memory lane for me too! In junior high I wore Bonne Belle 'Dr. Pepper' lip gloss...In high school it was chapstick or vaseline (ugh) as an early 20 something and into my thirties I wore Revlon or Clinique and was always a brownish color...then it was back to really nothing except chapsitck and lately I am into a rosy pink to add some color to this 'aging' face. LOL
          thanks for the walk down memory lane!!! 

        9. I loved reading this! I used to wear one specific shade of lipstick when I was younger but I haven't worn it in years. I have pretty dark lips naturally and I find that it's hard to cover them with most glosses and I just don't like the feel of lipstick (it's a weird texture thing for me) but I think it looks great on other people!

        10. I'm with Katrina ... I never learned how either. :-( my loss.

        11. Some of my strongest lipstick memories are of strong red colors, like the tube of "Flame" from the late 80's.  It was a shimmery orange-red and I thought it was amazing though looking back it must have been a bit over the top.  Later I went through and "Orange Flip" moment - and Revlon still sells the color.  And more and more and more.  I love lipstick.

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        13. I have a similar story to yours.  Flirtation at a young age, rejection in college, a gradual return in adulthood.  These days I look so much better to myself that I always put lipstick on.  I've got my favorite shade of L'Oreal long-wearing that I put on before I leave the house.  Remarkably that holds on most of the day.  I've got different glosses in odd purses or drawers of my desk and I refresh on top of that base throughout the day.

          I have two color requirements  - the shade shouldn't make my teeth look yellow and it needs to not bring out the ruddiness of my face.  Beyond that I'll try anything.

        14. I like this post, I remember Yardley. I used to use lipstick a lot as a teenager I virtually use one color a day; haha...now I'm into glosses with a light splash of color. 

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        15. I remember the Yardley lipsticks very well! For Christmas one year I was given a Yardley lipstick tree -- a plastic tree-shaped holder with several mini-sized lipsticks attached to it. They were all very pastel, verging on white. I loved that thing! I also remember Yardley Pot O'Gloss in a sparkly pink, which I dabbed on with my pinky. Sigh.

        16. My mom had that very same powder. Seeing that brought back some memories! 

          I have done it all in term of lipstick - I even did the dark liner with the pale gloss back in the early 90's. Ick! 

          I also wore a deep brown Revlon shade called Coffee Bean for a few years after college. It made my teeth look super white - that's what I liked most about it. 

          These days, I stick to berry colors, rose pinks and mauves. And occasionally will sport a red or hot pink lip. I have also been known to wear a nude-ish shade a little darker than my skin tone in the summer. 

          Thank you for resurrecting some great makeup memories with this post! xo 

        17. Ah yes, the adolescent Yardley lipsticks, so sweet and innocent and sticky and usually some pearliness too.  My first lipstick was Tangee (given me by my mother), which I always felt was too dark, and it was so waxy and orange looking until you put it on and it (supposedly) turned to the color that suited you best.  I can still smell it.  The one I remember best was something called Candymint Punch, which pretty well described its creamy light pastel pink with a distinct minty fragrance.  I only threw it away a few years ago.  I could never carry off reds or purples with my pale skin and baby face, so I have generally stuck with what I hope are unobtrusive tawny pinks (which sometimes bring out the yellow in my teeth but look best with my skin color - you can't win, can you?).  Recently, I found a nondrying lipstick for two bucks in a very light pink that I truly love called Simply Shine Lip Shimmer, and it appears that they have stopped making it.  Grumble, growl.  

        18. great post! I actually just did a piece on how I'm learning to love lipstick as I don't really have a history with it.  I was always a lipgloss kinda gal. xx

        19. My grandmother never wore any make-up except for lipstick. My mom was a bit more adventurous with makeup, but I usually wear next to none. The only thing I like wearing is Burt's Bees liptints (they do come in dark-lipstick like colors) and or eyeliner. I don't have very many lipstick stories, but thanks for sharing yours!

        20. sorry, i'm not too much into lipstick to have a exciting story about them. but i like your story. :)


        21. cheapchicinchicagoDecember 7, 2011 at 6:34 PM

          1st was probably Bonne Bell flavored chapstick (thanks to everyone for reminding me of the name!) and I remember using some gloss from the Sanrio store.  In my teens I wore a lot of ugly colors - witch-y green, light blue w/sparkles, black (I actually like black, but I can't rock it nowadays).  In my late teens into early 20s I wore mauve and darker shades that looked awful w/my complexion.  In my mid 20s I was all about gloss - high shine gloss.  Now I'm into reds and experimenting with shades going into nude and orange, pinks - mostly in matte.

        22. cheapchicinchicagoDecember 7, 2011 at 6:37 PM

          Oooh!  I just bought Orange Flip!  I'm going for the orangy-red that they use in the J. Crew catalogue.

        23. i love lipstick!  it can brighten up your entire face without anything else.  if i'm feeling tired or down i'll wear something bright or if i'm feeling subtle i'll just wear a light goldish brown color!  it's so much fun!


        24. Hi Patti! like you i tried my grandma lipstick, sneaking in her bathroom, it was bright orange red, she wore it when she went out she never left the house without her lipstick, after that i think shopstick in my teens and in my youth. I found the perfect color lately at  a Lise Watier cosmetic demonstration.


        25. I'm still looking for a picture of the Yardley lipstick tree that came out in department stores in the 1960's.  I loved them beyond life and waited every year. Of course my Mom always bought me the cheap version with ugly dark colors.
          Any one know where I could find a picture of one?

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        27. I started out in the 60s with Yardley "Good Night" and alternated with Revlon's Sugar and Ice, an opaque, frosted white with a hint of pale pink. Very pretty! I wore these shades into the early 70s when glosses became more popular. Yardley made a pot o gloss in Astral Wine that I wore for the vampy look. In the mid 70s I went back to the frosty shades and used Yardley's pale pink pot o' gloss. It tasted like strawberries. Late 70s the disco look required Black Honey by Clinique: an almost black looking gloss that turned into a pretty blood red on the lips.
          Today, I would love to find a frosted opaque white lipstick..just for fun! Revlon made one in the 60s called Platinum. I can't seem to find anything like it.