Its that kind of a fix that only a fresh tube of lipstick can give. Peel off the plastic wrap and apply it over already existent lipstick, half faded since the morning, and stare at self, convinced that one has worked a miracle that no amount of Botox and Restylane could have ever. The magic of a fresh tube of lipstick. The hope and the cheer it brings. And the agony when you buy what the salesgirl pushes onto you, and then you discover, in the harsh remitting unflourescent light of day, makes you look like a study in monochromes, without the hefty price tag that comes attached to such these days, given that even newbie fine art graduates are deeming it fit to price themselves at prices so obscene that one can only hope that some correction in the art market sees them come down to earth faster than a piggy on a slide. But then, I digress. Coming back to them lipsticks, have you ever done that? Sneaked out at lunch break from work and pottered around departmental stores, getting makeovers from the immaculately put together sales staff, and make up experts, and then convince yourself it is really worth your while and your bank balance to invest such lordly sums into tubes of synthetic colour which would make your lips the equivalent to the baboon’s red nether region. Both mating calls according to them anthropologists who have studied the mating habits of both humans and them apes and state on authority that the redness of the said part is said to mimic a state of …well, since this is a UA rated blog, desire. Both the equivalent of hoisting up a flag that says, look here, available. Only in my case, its not a mating call as much as a desperate bid to add some colour to a face drained off all colour by the vagaries of sun and stress and of course, the omni present vanity of wanting to pass off as spring chicken, when one is actually tired stringy chicken.
So there I was. At the brand new and sparkling Health and Glow store. At Versova in Mumbai. Looking for a quick make up fix. a mood pick me up that would do zero damage to the waistline, never mind the damage inflicted to wallet. Shopping for make up is liberating. It gives you hope and happiness. Its a moment when you believe that a new shade on your lips will automatically make the sun break through from the clouds, and the cherubim sound the bugles. Unfortunately, ten minutes into wearing said new shade in public situation disabuses you of the misconception and you start the hunt for perfect shade again.
Any wonder at one point in my life, when Lakme had a newly launched collection of matte lipsticks, I speak of the early 1990s, I had every shade in the collection. And still hankered for more. I could never be an Avon customer, the wait kills me. And then the absolutely deflating experience of receiving what you ordered from the catalogue to find it is absolutely nowhere close to the miracle shade to end all your miseries you had ordered. In fact, it makes you look like a newly interned cadaver and which is why it should be passed on to glad souls with better and more forgiving complexions, or absolute unfinickiness about what shade adorns their lips. Like a sixty plus aunt who was only too delighted to relieve me of a particularly scary orange red that came with a YSL tag, but made me look like a punk rocker. And no. Am not telling you what it made her look like, but the point is it made her happy.
Coming back to the Health and Glow. This was a newly opened store, I would have expected better service. Searching for that impossible perfect shade to put the glow back into my sallow face. Four counters there. Lakme. Revlon. Maybelline. L’Oreal. Of which, the Lakme girl was swamped by customers who were attacking her from all sides. Aunties in sweaters over salwar kameezes who wanted every variation in maroon she could throw at them. She looked at me helplessly and asked me if I minded looking through the selection. I moved on. The Maybelline girl was too busy doing her own make up to bother about a hesitant me asking her to show me any new shades which might have arrived. And so engrossed was she in the perfect application of her eyeliner that she didnt even blink before, without a smidgeon of hesitation, asked me to hop right over to the Revlon counter. Which I did. I needed my lipstick fix, and I needed it bad. And I was not fussy about the brand. Therefore I took my cash and my attention elsewhere. The Revlon girl was more than efficient. Even the husband wasnt that pernicitious about holding my hand for more time than the mandatory required. After she had finished smearing the back of my hand with every possible shade from the tester stand she had in front of her, she looked up and smiled rather earnestly. “This one will look great on you madam,” she said. “You have such great skin.” For the sheer pleasure of hearing such falsitude said with such earnestness, I bought two shades. One a glossy nude. One, a matt earth brown. And then smudged the lips with both, one on top of the other, in a smorgsmabord of disjointed colours. And revelled in the temporary high I got from a new shade. Till withdrawal symptoms strike again…
My favourite lipstick till date? Fawn Fatale from L’Oreal. Have worn it down to a nub many times over and rebought it. It does things to my skin that nothing can ever come close to, no facial, no blast of chilly air. Havent been able to get my hands on for a very long time. My second favourite? MAC’s Lip Glass. Makes them lips look like a needle full of plumpers has been stuck into them. And boy they could do with some of that. Plumping required? Check out Clinique’s Pure Plump, Full Potential Lips, which really make your pout poutier than you can imagine. Beware though, you dont really want people to think you’ve been in a fight or overdosed on the injections.Then there is MAC’s Viva Glam. Chai to be specific. To kill for the shine. You could light up a dark street with the sparkle. Then there is the myth about brown lipsticks making you look older. Great matte shades cheap from Sylvania. Give an immaculate finish, but use them over a lighter shade. Never know what reaction might come up. Yes, yes, I buy them cheap ones too. Slather them on and then agonise about any reaction that might occur. And then swear on all thats holy to stay off the cheap until the next bout of colour madness strikes. For colour that stays and stays and refuses to let go, nothing beats good old Lakme. No, dont turn your nose up. The product is as good as them overpriced ones, especially the shades from their Fashion week collections. For a natural highshine product from Lakme, I swear by Lakme Free Spirit Lip Lacquer. Also high on my recommended list, L’Oreal’s Made for Me Colour Riche Naturals. Lovely shades. Perfect for every skin type. Go get one now. Pink more your style?? Only if you have the clear skin with pink undertones to try it out, check this to kill for Pink to The Club Lancome Colour Fever Lipstick. A fresh fresh hue that almost like a garden of English roses. And if the sudden cold is drying out your pout, Bourjois Creme de Levres is what you want. Go ahead. If natural is what you want, the Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain in Rose is what I swear by. Gives you a flush that only a new romance can rival. Another multiuse product that really works? Onyx Lip and Cheek Tint. Lightweight and natural, but needs reapplication every few hours. But looks tres natural, like you just stepped out of a sauna. A sexy brown that takes you through a night out without making you look like a lady of dubious reputation? Try Revlon’s Plummp Passion It. Rich brown with a slight, just a slight hint of gold. Perfect for those ethnic ensembles loaded with golden zari. Go ahead, vamp it up. Nothing looks better than a woman in a shade of lipstick that looks good on her. And if you’ve found yours let me know. I’m still hunting for the perfect fool proof goes with everything and every mood shade. At last count, the total was around 200. I end up using the same two or three everyday. I dont think the perfect shade for me has been made yet. As for those baboons, do you think that particular shade….