Gloss, Balms, Sticks and Liners

64 Arts

I work at a print shop and I remember, back in the day, when folks would be surprised that the color in the swatch book didn’t exactly match the color of their printed item. It’s not that we used a different ink, it’s that they printed it on a colored paper.

Even the most opaque ink, if it’s not black, has some light showing through it, some slight translucency, and when you’re looking at a sample on bright white stock it’s the truest version of that color. Put it even on a cream background, and the color changes slightly because the background is no longer white.

The same happens with lipstick.

We’ve all been there, right? You search through all those racks, try all the possible testers on the back of your hand or the inside of your wrist to see what matches your skin tone best, buy the top one or two choices, get home and find out that they just don’t look the same.

Why?! Frustration and buyers remorse flood your very soul. Did the saleslady give you the wrong tube? Is it the lights in the store compared to your light at home? Is there such a thing as the perfect shade of lipstick?

What happened, simply, is that your lips aren’t white. They already have some color to them and everyone’s is different. Unless the lipstick is incredibly opaque your natural lip color will affect the color you’re applying.

This is why it helps to find single-use testers or go to a make-up counter where they will give you a single-use lip brush to try a color on before buying it.

But, okay, say you’ve found the color that works for you, how do you wear it?

I swear by lip liner. As we age our natural lip-lines start to get a little blurred. This comes from everything from cold sores (if you have them–knock-on-wood, I never have), miscellaneous blemishes, sunburns and just the natural passage of time. Lip liner makes a crisp edge that you can fill in with the various products of your choice and it really does look nicer in the long run.

Also? Filling in your lips with liner, first, then going over it with lipstick or gloss can help that color last throughout the day.

Speaking of which, do you reapply and how often?

I was long in the habit of not bothering to touch up my face or my lips during the day unless I had a meeting (rarely) or was going somewhere after work (occasionally). Part of the reason, especially for the lips, was that I put my make-up on at  home and didn’t carry it around with me. I’ve since solved this “problem” by putting on everything down to the lip liner at home, and keeping the lip stick/balm/gloss in my purse to put on at the first red light and to have available for touch-ups during the day.

Even though some areas of my life might belie the fact: I’m a stickler for efficiency in a lot of ways. It just seemed terribly inefficient to have 2 sets of everything (especially since my preferences change and have gotten more expensive over time) and to be constantly taking things out of my purse to use at home then putting back. Yes, I do that with my cell-phone but I don’t want to do that with my makeup!

So, sure, I leave the house with sort of a clown-thing going on, but no one’s looking that early in the morning and I’ve got it fixed by the time I get to the office.

Finally, what’s your finish preference? I’ve taken to wearing tinted lip balm during the day and switching over to gloss for afternoons/evenings.

Maybe it’s the makeup version of not wearing diamonds before 4pm (a rule I’ve never followed, either, lol).