Something terrible happened last night. Going the “low key” route, I decided to pocket—not purse—my few essentials for a casual dinner: credit card, ID, cash, keys, done. But by the time I got to my lobby, I realized something was very wrong. My lips were dry. Not the normal, nothing-on-‘em feeling—the chalky, just brushed your teeth and there’s that invisible, residual toothpaste kind of dry. As I walked the eight blocks to the restaurant I started to get frantic. The next TWO HOURS, sitting through a meal, in this state? Surely my lips will crack open. I ducked into a deli and did a quick once-over of the lip balm offerings but reasoned with myself, “You have dozens of these at home. Your dinner partner will have something. Just wait.” Wait I did, and do you know what crazy sounds like? Greeting a new friend with, “First thing’s first—sorry—but do you have any Chapstick??? I’m dying.” Impressions aside, all I could think was, Never in my life have I been so glad to see a tin of Smith’s Rosebud Salve.
The two lessons here are: if you’re a girl, never think you can get away with going bag-less, because you will ALWAYS forget something; and two, mind the mouth—Emily, you’re addicted to lip stuff. The latter fact actually became clear to me at a holiday party in December, when a quick surveillance of my clutch revealed not one, not three, but five lip products: three glosses and two lipsticks, to be exact. For one night. Later that week, a New York Times reporter, doing a story on pocketbook essentials of the beauty variety, cocked an eyebrow and asked, “…Why?” Well, why not? In my opinion, lips are the easiest, fastest way to change your look. You can do the rest of your face the same every day, but switch from a glossy pink lip to a gothic, matte plum after lunch, or in between canapés, in this case. So in any given bag, on any given day, I tote around anywhere from three to eight balms, glosses, stains, and sticks. Here’s what’s going in and out of my trusty ivory Coach pochette, at the moment:
Avène Cold Cream Lip Balm: My #1 lip moisturizer, for the better part of a year…which is a hella long time in beauty years. Another favorite is Nuxe’s ultra-thick (it’s like beeswax) Rêve de Miel, but the pot is too big to throw in a bag.
...Tom Ford Black Orchid lipstick cut with a bit of Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge in L'Absolu Rouge, for the ultimate glossy, super dark, black cherry lip. Think Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2012. It looks amazing with a nearly bare face and just a touch of mascara.
Tom Ford lip glosses in Rose Crush & Sahara Pink: I’m usually not a fan of sparkle or glitter on lips, which is why I shy away from glosses (aforementioned Dior aside), and Tom Ford speaks my language. These two are the perfect shimmer-free neutrals.
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Spicy Honey: Remember Black Honey? Meet Spicy Honey, one of seven new shades of—could it be? Maybe—the original gloss/lipstick hybrid, Almost Lipstick. This one is less purple and a little more versatile.
Chantecaille Lip Chic in Tea Rose: Barneys’ in-house makeup guru Jason Ascher turned me on to this one—it’s his best-selling lippie; he swears it looks good on everybody. It’s a sheer, shiny berry—a great grab’n’go, wear-anywhere color.
YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Lip Stain in no. 9: Yes, this is a stain that’s glossy. Fascinating, I know. This product is hot off the press and it’s really, really good: feather-light but with holding power, in fire-engine red. My new go-to true red lip.