For the longest time I stuck to drugstore reds. I’ve still never owned a tube of Chanel. But it seems unlikely that I'm going to get into “investment makeup' when I can barely stick to my “investment skincare' each day. That, and I just happen to like drugstore lipsticks. This is not a crime—and it's a hell of a lot more sustainable than lusting after tubes that come $40 a pop.
But the problem with loving less-than-investment lipstick is that they often don't last very long. I have to baby them, clean up their lines, make sure I sip beer through a straw. Other than that being a generally terrible idea, it’s no way to live.
But in all fairness, more expensive lipsticks that claim tattoo-like staying power rarely stand up to a make-out session and start to feel like plastic on your lips by the end of the day. I'm starting to think the words “long lasting' are merely a suggestion, a hint at what I imagine product developers thought it could have been.
Though, at long last, I think I may have finally found THE ONE. The One and Only Red Lipstick I need. Red because when I’m going for impact and longwear, I don’t want a nice beige or mauve. And “Only' because it's the one product I've tried that doesn't require any sort of primer or blot-reapply marathon session before leaving the bathroom.
This lipstick is Rimmel Provocalip 16 Hr Kissproof Lipcolor in Play With Fire, and it’s around $6.
”ymay have been a little misleading. In truth, it's a two-parter. Step one is the actual color, which you apply with your standard doe-foot applicator. The formula is not as runny or slippery as other liquid lips, drugstore or otherwise. It’s a little sticky upon first swipe, but dries into a ceramic-y matte. When ITG’s Associate Editor Emily Ferber heard I was writing this article, she pulled out her reserved office Provocalips and said she uses hers as a primer under a matte lipstick for all-day staying power (the initial stick-factor grabs only to other formulas with surprising force, fusing into something that won't move, even when you're rubbing it off with cleansing oil at 1am). The second part is a clear, Vaseline-like top coat that dries invisibly and helps keep everything in place.
Provocalips and I found love in a hopeless place called thrifting in Brooklyn on a rainy day. It was 5pm and I still hadn’t eaten anything, so I hopped in a nearby restaurant for candlelit “brunch' (linner?). I ordered a burger from Five Leaves with an fried egg on top—the kind of burger that’s as big as your face and rides up your nose when you go in for a bite. This was Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives- level gluttony and I couldn’t care less if I emerged from my burger looking like the Joker. Still, after a bite, I decided maybe I should look at my lips and decide whether I take them off altogether and reapply after I finished, but the color was just as I left it. Literally locked in place.
The best part about it is that you can leave the tube at home and not think about it until it’s ready to come off—though I have slept in Provocalips as an experiment to find the same lipstick in the morning. Simply put, in the best way, Provocalips are a sort of second-skin product. The type of stuff that makeup gods bestow upon you every couple of years, if you’re lucky. And while I’ve never been into makeup commitment (there’s too much stuff to try and get excited about), I feel like this one’s a lifer, and I’m already stocking up an apocalypse-survival-kit stash of the stuff like Boaz Mazor and his Palm Pilots.
Photographed by Tom Newton.