I’m not sure why it took me so long to write about my love of lipstick. Perhaps it’s because it seems to carry a trace of smug vanity, a hint of self absorbed conceit. But the truth is that lipstick – at least for me – is utterly captivating. What other product can do what lipstick does? That tiny little tube of color is to the face what shoes are to the body – a can’t miss, feel-good purchase that will raise your spirits even if you’ve gained five pounds or lost a boyfriend. A new lipstick will boost your self-esteem and perk up your smile. Lipstick is the great equalizer for so many women – young and old, rich and poor, and around the globe – it is the final touch before we head out the door, the frosting, sometimes quite literally, on who we are.
And though lipstick doesn’t define us, it surely does emphasize a smile or a nod. It is uniquely designed for women for though men may steal our hair products and skin creams, they keep their hands off our lipsticks. The pleasure of applying it, of drawing the color across our lips and finishing up with a coat of slick gloss, is uniquely a woman’s.
Who among true lipstick lovers wasn’t delighted when the cosmetics industry created industrial strength lipstick – that all-day guaranteed to stay-put color? The numbers say I’m not alone in my admittedly frivolous love of lipstick. The pundits say that lipstick sales go up in otherwise lean times. That’s not really a surprise to any lipstick-loving woman. A new tube of lipstick, a brand new shade, can transform not just a smile but a dream as well. For those of us who are already lipstick devotees, we know that it is more than a waxy bit of color, it’s a tiny wish, a bit of hope in a simple tube, and whether we apply it straight from the tube or with a brush or with our fingers, it is the purest, simplest form of self-indulgent luxury. Even the names – Sugar Bean, Honey, Poppy Red, hint at a bit of magic.
And for me, the magic of lipstick will always be a lure.