Beauty Fashion illustration Stories

The Lipstick Quest

January 31, 2017
watercolor ink lipstick fashion illustration beauty make up Alessia Landi Al Draws

I have recently entered a new beauty monomania phase: lipstick.

It became an obsession because a good lipstick can actually make you look very cool with a tiny effort, but I just can’t find the “right colour”. It pisses me off like crazy.
Somehow I never feel 100% comfortable when I wear lipstick. Either I feel too slutty, or too flashy, or one day my mouth is too big, one day my lips are too thin…

What would I like? Well, basically a lipstick that actually does make me feel comfortable.
Something bright but not too flashy that I can wear during the day but can also make me look glamorous at night… Isn’t that easy??.
So I kinda went on a mission to find The Perfect Lipstick Colour.

I read all the blogs and all the magazines and they all say the same thing:
1) If your skin undertone is yellow (the veins on your wrist look green-ish) choose warm colours (orange, warm red, coral, brown…)
2) If your skin undertone is pink (the veins on your wrist look blue) choose cold colours (pink, cold red, purple…)
3) If your skin undertone is neutral (the veins on your wrist look, surprise, both blue and green) you can basically wear what you want.

Easier said than done.

Like, what if I have a GREY undertone. Grey like I look sick and anaemic if I don’t use three layers of blush.
The way I see it, warm colours make me look icteric and cold colours make look like a vampire.
What should I do, eh?

So since nobody could answer my questions I just said OK, I’ll give it a bit of hands-on research.
My plan was:

A) Go to the shop and test EVERYTHING
Spoiler: it didn’t work.
I went there, tried 30 colours and came home with the usual light pink gloss.

Plan A failed, I passed to plan:

B) Go to MAC and ask the make-up artist to help me
Ah, this is a good one… I need to open a big expat-in-Singapore digression here.
You know how all the MAC make-up artists in Europe and the USA are trying to sell you half shop help you find the perfect shades while giving you those amazing free make-up lessons so you can buy even more stuff?
Well in Singapore FORGET IT.
This is what happened in my first MAC Singapore experience:

I enter the shop full of expectations, hopes sky-high, sure that very soon I’d look like Emma Stone… I am greeted by a glacial silence and no make-up artist (MUA for the friends) in sight.
So I timidly go towards the counter, where two girls are hiding, totally focused on furiously tapping on their phones.
Me: “Excuse me I was looking for a lipstick…”
MUA 1 looks at me with totally annoyed face, like I asked her for a kilo of apples or something, then sends a glaze at the lipstick stand. MUA 2 keeps the focus on her iPhone.
MUA 1: “Yeah… so…”
Me:”Well, I actually don’t know what colour I should buy, I was hoping you could help me find the right one?”
(alright I’ve got to admit I was a little vague here)
MUA 1 stands up (now she’s VERY annoyed) and goes to the lipstick stand. I follow, tail between my legs, feeling guilty for asking her to actually do her damn job.
MUA 1: “Lipsticks are here, what do you want”
She starts grabbing every single colour without any logic criteria, smudging each on my hand.
I’m so confused and uncomfortable that I just stop her at the 15th random swatch “OK, this one, can I try it on my lips?”
I try it.
It’s a purple-ish, dark pink-ish, brown-ish creamy shade (OK sorry, I’m good at using colours but totally crappy at describing them), quite gorgeous but much darker than what I had in mind.
It totally isn’t what I am looking for.
But MUA 1 is looking at me with such impatience, MUA 2 is giggling behind her fortress counter and I feel like I have a whole firing squad pointing at me.
So I buy it.

And I rush out of the store, very sure I’ve learned two very important lessons:

1) Never go to MAC at Robinsons JEM again. EVER.

2) FUCK IT. Seriously.
I realised I was applying my usual hyper-critic approach even to such a shallow thing like lipstick. Once again I was using something trivial as a pretext to create one of my you’re-not-good-enough mantras: “no lipstick will ever suit me because I’m ugly anyway” or “I can’t find a lipstick colour because I have a grey skin undertone (seriously…)”. CAN YOU BE MORE STUPID.
It’s a serious alarm bell when your self-confidence hits rock bottom so hard you can’t even play with frivolousness anymore (and you let a rude shop assistant treat you like s**t like you deserved it…).

So today I went to the drugstore (no MAC for me for a while I think, just to be safe) and I just decided I’d buy a colour that I like. Simple as that. Something that would make me experiment with my make-up and my look. And have fun with it.Without thinking how I should look like, without always stressing about some kind of perfection that I think I should reach to be accepted, by others and by myself. And without hoping to look like Emma Stone.

There, small step for humanity, big step for Al and her quest to self-confidence.
No perfection, just fun.

xx Al

PS: in case you’re wondering, the lipstick I bought is Maybelline n. 665 “Lust for blush”. A very nice purple-ish pink (there we go again…). Months ago I would have never bought it (ewww vampire!) but now guess what: fuck it. 😉

PPS: I’m wearing the lipstick at work and a colleague just told me “wow you look so pretty today! Are you meeting someone important?”. See?? That vampire thing, all in my head. Pffff

PPPS: One day I’ll become a lipstick pro and I’ll write a post about aaaaall my favourite lipsticks (yeh I know what an interesting topic…)

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4 Comments

  • Reply Agnes January 31, 2017 at 9:36 am

    To be completely honest, I don’t own anything nor have I stepped into MAC (you’ve seen my makeup drawer, right?)

    I’ve never been a fan of lipsticks too because they make my lips feel so heavy, until I’ve discovered lighter formulations that weight nothing but still produce amazing colours!

    My absolute favourite lipsticks are from Bourjois (esp their Rouge Edition Velvet). They have incredible staying power and is a little difficult to remove, but I’d rather spend more time removing than reapply over and over again.

    • Reply Al February 1, 2017 at 2:00 am

      I usually like MAC, albeit not really everything. I still think that they have the best range of eyeshadows out there and their blot powder is the best make-up fixing powder I’ve ever used (I’ve purchased it countless times in the years and I keep using it).
      But what I really used to like about MAC was the make-up artists… The ones in Florence were amazing, they would always find time to make you sit down and test all products you chose, and even teach you how to apply them in the best way (I will never forget the mini-lesson of one of them, who told me “you need to keep your eyes open to apply in the crease” and showed me how. Changed the way I did my make-up forever :p). They were friendly and nice and would always take time to help you find the best products and colours for you, even on a busy Saturday afternoon… It made you feel sure that you were spending 33 dollars in that lipstick, but at least it was the right purchase…
      Anyway, I’ll try a couple more MAC corners in SG before putting a definite ban on them and buying MAC only in Europe or online :p

      That Bourjois lipstick is really tempting me and will definitely buy one or two the next time I visit Watsons! I am always looking for long-stay lipsticks ’cause I hate to always worry about re-applying (especially when I go out on Friday night).

      And you definitely should wear lipstick more often! I think you look very elegant with red lips, I was actually thinking about it the other day (I saw a pic of you somewhere with red lipstick and wondered why you never wear it) :p

      xxx

  • Reply Anna February 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I’m very bad at wearing lipstick, not because I don’t like it, but because I’m very lazy at reapplying it!! In the past I’ve tried to make it more long lasting by blotting, applying powder and reapplying lipstick but with not much luck!
    I’d like to try these liquid lipsticks which are said to last long (they’re drying though and my lips are always dry…I’ve tried scrubs, balms but still dry!
    Now colorwise I’ve tried a lot and came to the conclusion that the best are the “my lips but better colors”. My favorite lipstick right now is one from Nars which I got just because I saw Alexa Chung wearing it and I just went out and bought it! Luckily it suits me too!!
    I wish you luck in your quest and too bad for those impolite salespersons. To be honest when I shop (for anything) I prefer doing it without any help, I shop better that way, because I trust my taste only!!

    • Reply Al February 10, 2017 at 1:54 am

      I’ve never been a NARS advocate, but just because I’ve never tested many of their products: when they started selling the brand in Italy I left for Belgium and when they started selling it in Belgium I left for Singapore LOL. I bought the Orgasm blush (after VERY accurate research) online years ago and I love it but I could experiment with their colors only in my brief visits to Sephora during my trips abroad and in the end I never bought anything because of the price tag. I think I just needed more time to get acquainted with their products instead of a quick Sephora visit during a trip… But recently a friend of mine (actually Aggie who just commented above!) gave me a Nars eyeshadow duo that she got from a PR but she didn’t use because the colours didn’t suit her skin (they happen to perfectly suit mine! Lucky me!) and I was SHOCKED by how pigmented and easy to blend these eyeshadows are. I think their quality is at least 5x higher than any other eyeshadow I’ve tried before. I think now I’ll definitely give a try to the lipsticks too, because if they’re as good as the eyeshadow it will be really worth it.
      I’m going to buy one of those Bourjois long stay liquid lipsticks today I think, I’ll let you know how they are! I’m also a bit scared for the dryness, but they’re cheap enough to give them a try 😉

      xx Al

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