Lip Service

Lip Service

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.

Dior Addict Black-Tie Plum Ultra Gloss: Michelle Harper recently turned me on to this. I layer it over…

...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.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • welcome to my jungle

    Hahah..I totally agree with you. Never go out without your purse.

    The YSL stain is my favorite new beauty product. I use the color no. 11 almost every day.



  • Messamet serdane

    Just horrible i imagine ! but after a mistake a good lesson to keep from it !

  • lacoquettedelamode

    Loooove the Sahara Pink!

    XX Kathryn

  • TheCuriousCameraGirl

    I LOVE Chantecaille Lip Chic in Tea Rose - the formula is wonderful and the color really does work on everyone!

  • Anna im Wunderland

    I can totally relate, I have lip products scattered in all my bags and purses! I'll have to try Avene Cold Cream, so many people swear by it...

  • seesay

    Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Lip Delivery is my go to for the past year and doesn't have parabens in it...

  • Karin Scott

    I see we share the same obsession. I recently did an "in my bag" blog and realized I was carrying 8 lip products with me. It's a problem...but kind of a problem I love!

  • erin

    hilarious, emily! i hear ya - my lips are never without SOMETHING on them! x

  • sharla

    as soon as i get these braces off i'm going wild with lip glosses. you've inspired me to. ;)
    love your blog!

  • Stephanie

    I can relate to this story too many times! I feel so naked without my lip balm and I just dread the day if I happen to forget it. I love Avene so I really want to try the lip cream per your recommendation.

    Xo Stephanie
    honey & silk

  • Joy Of Stranger Sensibilities

    i used to collect eye shadow colours for god knows reasons why, but different real lip colours are the real deal!

  • CK Burner

    I want to believe I'm low-maintenance and can be an exciting girl who goes purse-free, but I'm really not. I freak out without my Chapstick. :)

  • Elise

    Spot on! No one comes between me and my various lip products :p I love that Dior shade you show - definitely finding room for that one! And I am going to try that YSL stain - I am searching for something that last longer than the walk from the house to the party ;o)

    I love your blog! Such a nice break once in a while :o)

    Elise from Denmark

  • Madison

    I giggled at this entire post. I am also addicted to all things lip.

    You are such a great writer :)


  • Anonymous

    SEESAY, I am with you girl! I love Intelligent Nutrients Lip Delivery - My absolute fave. About lip gloss, stain, balm, stick - I am a total horder! I've got at least 8-10 floating around in my black hole of a handbag at any given time. Ya just never know when you're gonna want to switch up your look!

  • Amanda

    It's true, copious amounts of lip products for a single evening can never be wrong.

    I'm sure you've already tried Aquaphor, but did you know they make them in mini tubes now that you can get at Target and CVS? They're the perfect size for even the smallest bag and Aquaphor is the real deal and keeps your lips smooth enough against the most awful East coast winter weather (I'm in Boston, so it's been tested). It makes it possible to put on all your favorite glosses and lipsticks on without the dreaded chunky, splitting lip issue...

    • JC8

      Uhh, Aquaphor is just glorified petroleum jelly and it actually dries out lips with long term use.
      There are better ways to build a lip balm with completely plant based butters and oils that will not dry out your lips. I used to use Aquaphor until a few years ago when I went the natural route and swapped out my lip balm to a plant based one. I noticed that my lips didn't get the weird tightness and excessive dryness as the balm wore off. I never went back to Aquapor and petroleum based products again. You should try it sometime.

      • Amanda

        What product do you use in its place? I've never had a drying/tightening effect from Aquaphor, the opposite obviously, otherwise I wouldn't swear by it and I don't have to diligently use it, it heals my lips and done, until the cold weather takes its toll again, but it's not needed daily or even weekly. Most plant based ones (burts bees, etc.) leave the dreaded slime line, a clear indicator that the moisturizing ingredients are just sitting on my lips, no buenos.

        I would like something more natural though, instead of consuming copious amounts of Aquaphor so I'm all ears...

  • Madison

    Question - are you using the lip balm or lip cream? Your tube looks different than the one in the link! Thanks :)


  • Material Fixations

    I have had that feeling hundreds of times, usually every time I run of of lip balm, and I have to wait a day to buy it. It will litterally refuse to kiss my boyfriend so as not to get my lips any dryer.

  • Marcia Wong

    Ah, Emily. I see you're still a fan of those Tom Ford cosmetics. But I really like the neutral shades of the lip glosses, you can never go wrong with neutrals.

  • Sashi

    I thought I was smart putting my lip glosses in boyfriend's pocket when we go out, because I don't need my wallet, purse, etc. BUT then the worst is when he goes home and takes your beloved lip product with him!
    I actually called him when he was on his way home and he said Ohhh.... did you miss me already? I said er, sure yes. Also, do you have my lipgloss?

  • NHM

    LOL! I don't leave home without some color on my lips, not even when I only go to the market!

  • AKgirl

    Ohhhh, that bag is gorgeous!! I'm so tempted, but I'm worried that the white color will get dirty if I take it out to bars. (I hate being neurotic about my going-out bags.) Have you found that it wears well?

    In other news, I am never found without a mini tube of Aquaphor. (My derm turned me onto it. Before I had been using the LaRoche Posay stuff - not quite protective enough for winter weather.) And a lip color (or five), of course. I do manage to go purse-less every so often, but only when I wear a coverup with pockets to stash my lip stuffs...

  • Trishelle

    Oo! Clinique spicy honey good choice!

  • Kitchen afternoon

    I own all of the Clinique Honeys - shy, flirty sleepy, dopey, etc etc- an the only other thing I wear is lash tint and sunscreen. Hooray for facials and lipstick!

  • jenn

    I absolutely adore the Tom Ford Black Orchid lipstick. The entire color line is just insane. Wouldn't expect anything less from Mr. Ford.

  • Raphaëlle Lavielle

    I'm so happy to see that this is not a quirk of mine to carry around of bunch of lips stuff! The Avene lip balm is definitely a classic.

  • Erika Nolan

    Great story...feel your pain. I would have turned around to go home, well maybe not but I too am addicted to lipgloss, balm and stick. One in every pocket, in the car, in the handbag, on the dresser box so no matter where I go I am never without an option. Check out my blog for other "Chique" tips...would love your thoughts.
    P.S. Can't wait to try the YSL gloss stain!

  • Mrsnics

    Loved this post, but am i the only one who freaked out this week about the lead in lipstick? I might normally blow it off but i'm pregnant and feel gross about feeding my unborn child lead. So i have put all my lipstick faves in the bottom drawer for the time being and am now natural lip balm, with some color PLEASE, obsessed. So far my favorite is Burt's Bees Lip Tint in Rose (pretty color, moisturizing and no gross peppermint or fruity smells---) Looking forward to trying the one shade darker as well. And why do companies think we want all that gross food scent in our lipstick ? And then they tell us the lead is safe in the lipstick because it is not made to be edible---who removes their lipstick before they eat? We are eating it, ok maybe not chomping down a tube at a time but when you think about how many times you reapply.... where is it going ? Ok, enough neurosis..... would love to hear others natural lip favorites!

    • MrAJBx3

      I wouldnt worry about lead in lipsticks, its just another scare tactic tbh
      Traces of lead are found that means that there isnt even a measurement because the quantity is so low. You hear lead and you panic and you shouldnt nothing will happen if it was harmful they wouldnt let lipstick be sold

      People worry too much :P

  • Liz Yi

    Must check out that ysl stain-- glossy and stain all in the same package... so tempting!

  • Michelle Lee

    want everything related to lipsticks, glosses, and balms!

  • The Curvy Girl

    Oh yes! I hear ya' on this one. If it is 2 things I cannot LIVE without on a daily basis, it is earrings and something on my lips!

  • Phil

    The Nuxe in a pot has been a lifesavior for a while now and nothing has topped it in all my years of experimenting and product testing. Sadly it's not a great jar to take with you, but you should really look into the stick form they made. It's not as heavy, nor does it require a few hours to sink in and work it's healing/plumping magic, but it's a lighter version that smells almost the same. Not enough on it's own in the desert -tried it but nothing holds out for long in that dry climate without reapplication- but everywhere else it did great. Even on a skiing trip to glob on thickly as you slide the slopes.

    We all have our one type of product that we want plenty of, glad you've showed to have excellent brand knowledge ;)

  • lara / the glossarie.

    i'm about to jump all over that chantecaille tea rose and add it to my own 3-8 trusty at-hand shades

  • Delphine

    after a few of these experiences, i make never to leave the house without lip balm, it's as much as a reflex as my house keys!
    reading Brandwashed over the weekend though, i discovered that a lot of lipbalm brands actually make the stuff so that you become addicted to it, by adding doses of exfoliant that make your lips dry if you don't constantly reapply...
    don"t care though, i am way too far along in the addiction process to just give up!

  • lipnstick

    Always enjoying reading your advice! Thx for the Avène tip..

  • Reader

    What I want to know is how you keep that white bag so pristine. I have three such bags that I am afraid to carry, particularly because I am addicted to red lipstick/gloss. You can just imagine the horrific possibilities...

  • MrAJBx3

    Im the same and i am a guy hehe xD

  • Little Red Book

    Great lip moisturizer recommendation, thanks!

  • Carola Disiot

    i bought ysl rouge pur couture glossy lip stain, j'adore!!!!!!!

  • Daphne

    OH that YSL lipstain!!!
    My current favorite red is the Sephora Cream Lipstain in color 01. I NEED a red that will stay put and will stay true red on my lips (and not turn pink). This new YSL format is calling my name...! Might treat myself for my upcoming birthday :)

    Dee & Duke | Inspiration for the Everyday Life

  • Mimi Nizan

    I know exactly what you are talking about ;) I always have a bag full of gloss (even if it's a tiny clutch, I still manage to get everything in) :D

  • Mimi

    Emily - have you tried the Sunday Riley lip gloss? I got it in my Barney's gift bag and now I'm a total addict. It's super slick glossy but not sticky like the Dior lip glosses. It's my absolute new favorite lip product. I'd love to know if you have tried any of her other products as well!

  • Jax P

    hella! fabulous. I agree the more the merrier.

  • Marie Reeb

    very good products :)
    i love nuxe's rêve de miel!

  • LCM

    It's like you were telling a story of mine, my dear. If I ever deign to leave the house without my purse I will usually miss my lipsticks and chapsticks (yes, plural on both) within minutes. People have questioned me on why I need so many at once and the answer is variety! Who knows what I will feel like slipping on, and how much time I will have to do it.


    Lip balms are my obsession, I carry about 3 in my bag because I'm either forgetful or they just mysteriously disappear! I must try the Avene version as I just tried their eye makeup remover and I love it!

    My go to for the black cherry look is Prince Noir by MAC. I feel it goes well with my caramel complexion and will carry over when I tan in the summer.

  • hitchcock Madrona

    Can you post a picture of the Rose Crush Tom Ford on?!?! I am in LOVE with Sahara Pink, do I need Rose Crush too!?!?

  • Guest

    Oh I cannot believe there are others out there who leave the house with at least 3 lip items! :)
    By the way, have you had a chance to try Chantecaille's Brilliant Gloss? They are super amazing and soothing.

  • Ana maria

    it is a terrible situation to not to have the proper resources when your lips get dried, we must always be prepared!