Lipstick lines

July 26, 2006 at 5:31 am (favs, the fam)

There is a fundamental divide between my mother and me.

You see, Mom just can’t imagine leaving the house without lipstick. At the gym with an otherwise bare face, she will swipe on some color before stepping on the treadmill. She’ll wear it to the beach, the supermarket, and on an airplane. She carries at least 3 tubes with her at all times. To her it is chocolate. Oxygen. Sustenance.

In contrast, I use it strategically. Important meetings at work require a little color (though no gloss). The second half of a date suggest a my-lips-but-better stain. An evening out with the girls means real lipstick that I can leave on a glass for an industrial-strength dishwasher to remove. And occasionally, bumper-to-bumper traffic and a good song just beg for thick, gooey gloss applied slowly. But my typical lip look? Totally and completely naked.

“You need lipstick,” Mom will say. It doesn’t matter whether I’m heading out the door to a wedding or back to the office after meeting her for lunch. As she sees it, any look can be improved with a little lip color, any outfit enhanced by a dyed smile. It’s not that my mother thinks makeup is required at all times, but lipstick isn’t makeup, it’s something else entirely.

Sometimes I think she sees it as the only thing that still separates us from the hairier sex. Or perhaps it’s a remnant of another era when people wore gloves and hats as accessories. On occasion, when in a foul mood, I think she’s trying to tell me that I’m not attractive enough on my own, or that she’s projecting her own insecurities about fading natural lip color.

Is my aversion to the pink/brown/peach/berry/red stuff just a rebellion against my early makeup education? Or is it a desire to hold onto my youth when my skin, hair and lips were at their undisputed peak? Or is it just generational? Are the women who first painted their faces while Jackie was in the White House destined to see colored petroleum in a tube as “finish,” “polish,” “done?” Or is my minimalist aesthetic all my own, like my predilection for A-line skirts and scoopnecks?

Regardless, I usually comply and reach for the color. Because if I get to pick my battles with my mother, they will most certainly not be about lipstick.

Crossing the line:
More gloss
Even more gloss
Yup, still more.
But this one’s my favorite!
Sheer balm



  1. fabulous girl said,

    So I have to say first of all that my mother has been back in lipstick within 24 hours of major surgery 4 times now. I’m a bit of a lipstick girl, in part because my hair tends to blow into sticky glosses. That said, I adore Mac Lip Laquer and am currently in love with their Pro Longwear Lip Colour, because it does, in fact, last all day. It’s totally weightless and all you to is touch up with the included gloss. Love it.

  2. BS said,

    I’ve been keeping my credit card securely in my wallet – more stuff just means more to pack – but an all day lipstick? So cute, so tiny, so practical, so well recommended! I hear the MAC store calling.

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