LIPSTICK TO THE CORE
To celebrate the return of our beloved lipstick collection, the LMdB Colour Core, I thought it would be fun to explore and extrapolate on the allure of lipstick in our society. Coincidentally, the timing is rather apropos, as we are coming up on the 100-year anniversary of the modern lipstick. Of course, women have been applying colour to their lips since time immemorial, but it wasn’t until 1923 that James Mason Jr. of Nashville, Tennessee would patent the first swivel-up lipstick tube, inadvertently creating a universally iconic symbol of feminine glamour.
Not too much is known about James Mason Jr. A cursory dive into the internet revealed virtually nothing, so I haven’t the foggiest notion about what his motivations might have been. Was he a crafty engineer? A pupil of early 20th century industrial technology? Was he trying to appease his wife, mother or lover? At the time, only actresses wore makeup on the regular, so it’s hard to imagine that he could have conceived of the full-scale global impact of such a small and seemingly innocuous device. Perhaps one day someone will concoct a biographical study to fill in the blanks (alas, that place will not be here)!
Lip colour, in general, has held a divisive reputation in the world for the whole of its 5,000-year history. Often imbuing the wearer with the power to enthrall the voyeur, the curious mystique of lip color throughout time has been a hallmark of social status, femininity and influence. And when it comes to making an impression, it is impossible to overestimate the undertaking abilities of this tiny tube of happiness. The irresistible appeal of lipstick is likely one of the key reasons it is claimed to be the most shoplifted retail item of the 20th century! Transcending the boundaries of culture, context and time, the allure of lipstick remains as potent as ever.
One of the by-products of this beguilement is the substantial effort put forth to definitively determine which shade of lipstick looks best or which one might better serve the objective circumstance of one’s desire! Making the right choice remains a perennial source of ceaseless fascination.
As a life long professional makeup artist, extolling the many virtues of any given lipstick shade always feels a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack, one that has also fallen into a dark well… Impossible! For many people, selecting a shade of lipstick appears to wield the same measure of grave investment as the purchasing of a new car (!). Makeup artists do not share this view. We buy hundreds and hundreds of lipsticks; some we use on clients more than others and some that we never use. However, I find comfort in the knowledge that I have that one weird lipstick shade that almost nobody wants in case the day comes when someone does!
Speaking directly about the Colour Core collection, these newly minted, ten shades represent the lipsticks that appear the most universally flattering, regardless of circumstance. Every hue was selected because they specifically fall into the category of lipsticks that are the most frequently chosen by most people for day or night, as well as for work or social events. There are no shocking pinks, which are fun but that reliably look pretty terrible on most people, no eccentric canary yellow or grey based shades, dusty purples or outlandish reds. Instead, the new shades represent what a makeup artist with good taste would likely select on your behalf. Shades with a warm base, even pinks, are generally more appealing, as warmth enhances the appearance of life, vitality and a youthful countenance. These were not difficult choices to make, as most people do not want to appear space-age or frozen in a block of ice!
When I work with clients, the general focus I keep is on the eyes, as they are more challenging for individuals to makeup on their own. Applying lip colour does not require a makeup artist, and generally appears more appealing with minimal eye makeup. There is no great establishing rule or method to selecting a shade of lipstick for oneself. It is a very personal choice and should always be made with a bit of a giggle. There is nothing serious going on here. If you prefer to be subtle, select a shade that mimics natural lip colour. If you want to be noticed, wear a bold shade. If you want to appear cheerful, wear a shade that effervesces, and so on and so on.
These selections are based on the fleeting fancies of our emotions, ones that we want to invoke and others that we want to embrace. These are petite and charming choices that enhance the beauty and wonder in our lives. Most importantly, the main element that you engender to others when you wear lipstick is that you care, and that feeling is quite wonderful. 😊