Thursday 1 May 2014

Lipstick: A Love/ Hate Relationship

I have posted a few times now about lipstick. My collection has reached the point where I know I shouldn't buy any more for the foreseeable future, but whether that will happen or not is questionable. What is it about those sleek wonder-tubes that makes some of us so enthusiastic? Well for one, it's the names.

They could produce the same, exact shade, but label it with a cute name and suddenly it becomes a new product entirely. Mac are a company that releases very similar colours in their over-abundant collections, but if they introduce it to us under a fancy new title, we can't resist. One of my favourite shade names from Mac is a limited edition lipstick called 'The Faerie Glen'. Suddenly, a neutral pink becomes an enchanted object of desire, filled with magic and promise!

The aggravating thing about this is that we are well aware of the manipulative powers of marketing on our purses, but do we wise up and shut them in protest? Not me!

Part of the lure also involves the array of enticing colours on the market nowadays. Have you been to a counter and seen the tubes all standing to attention, with all their finishes and subtle shade graduations, reeling you in until you resemble some over-enthusiastic fisherman, greedily inspecting the catch of the day? This is what happens if I get let loose in Mac. One minute you're telling yourself that you own enough lipsticks than you will ever need, the next you're eyeing that boisterous shade of coral-red like it's the meaning of life in a cylinder. You're sneaky little brain is playing out scenarios of you wearing said shade: you at a fabulous cocktail party; you walking down a catwalk in an edgy ensemble by Vivienne Westwood; you on a romantic mini-break in Paris; you as a flamenco dancer! All situations that bear little resemblance to your actual day-to-day life. But your brain has been Derren-Browned by that little bugger, and before you know it, you're parting with your hard-earned cash at the till. Blinded by mild euphoria, you skip out into the sunshine like a demented woodland sprite, clutching the bag which holds your new toy.

At home, reality dawns...

Your lips aren't your best feature, they never have been. So why the hell accentuate them with the most obnoxious colour you've ever laid your eyes on? You put it away and shrug your shoulders- at least it's there for when I take up flamenco dancing (in my local village hall) .

You put on a more modest shade, perhaps a soft pink, or a muted peach. It looks more girl-next-door and far less drag-queen. You head off out to run some errands; the usual stuff: posting a letter; paying a bill; buying groceries. The lady at the till in Tesco's eyes your lips inquisitively. She's probably thinking: "where did that lady get her lovely lipstick from? What a lovely colour that is!", but she's too shy to ask you. You're glad you didn't dare to wear that crazy colour you purchased the other day. That would definitely be too much for me to pull off in the daytime, you think, secretly envying those that can.

Then you happen to glance in the mirror at home. Yes, this colour is far more 'me'. Quite good staying power as well, you muse. Then you move a little closer to your reflection and you see the damage: yes, that's right, not only has it stayed on your lips, but it's also managed to shamelessly plaster itself all over your front teeth. Great!

Don't get me wrong, I love lipstick. It makes me feel put-together and happy. It brightens my day in a frivolous and shallow way that I have absolutely no qualms about enjoying. But I loathe the stuff at the same time. Perhaps that's what keeps our relationship interesting.

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