It all started with a dream. It was one of those dreams with a convoluted, highly improbable plot, which in this case featured an entirely random interlude during which I went lipstick shopping with Julianne Moore. While I could not remember the rest of my dream, my one thought upon waking up was to find the lipstick I had tried on – a peachy-nude semi-glossy shade which made my (dream) pucker irresistible. I just had to have it … though this proved to be slightly more complicated than I’d thought.
In my dream, the lipstick was Chanel. I think. My dream memory is tragically unreliable. Of course, there is no guarantee that Chanel makes anything remotely resembling my dream lipstick – it could have just been my subconscious throwing out random names. Rather than start at the department store (where make-up prices tend to discourage frivolous experimentation and the sales personnel tends to hover whenever you approach the testers), I decided to look first to the drugstore brands I know and love.
What I wanted, exactly, is rather difficult to describe. I was looking for the consistency of a matte lipstick crossed with a hint of the glassy finish of a lip gloss. Colour-wise, it had to be a precise mix of peach (but not too orange) crossed with a hint of caramel (but not too brown). Not “coral” and not “nude”, but a little bit of both. Ugh – I get exhausted just trying to explain it … which is why I didn’t bother trying to get help from anyone at the Shoppers make-up counter. I can just imagine the conversation. “Hi ma’am, can I help you find something today?” “Well … I’m looking for this lipstick I saw in a dream.” “Um, right … maybe take a look right over … there.” [backing away slowly]
I started my hunt with lipsticks, as I was after something closer in feel to a lipstick than a lip gloss. My first attempt focused on the “nude” end of the colour spectrum, rather than coral, because I was afraid of an orange overdose. One of drawbacks of drugstore make-up is the difficulty in testing the product colours. Sure, every place offers testers, but I wouldn’t want to use those anywhere near my face, even indirectly (using a cotton swab, etc.). I’ve read somewhere that the trick to testing lipsticks is to test using on skin on the inner part of the wrist, but I always go with the old back-of-your-hand routine because it offers more, um, scope … often with unpredictable results. As was the case here.
In store, the best of the “nude” lipsticks bunch seemed to be a L’Oreal Colour Riche in “Nature’s Blush”, which seem to have a bit of shine to it. At home, success remained elusive. On my lips, the colour looked rather dark, and not nearly peachy enough.
But I was not deterred; in fact, I was more determined than ever to succeed. Back I went to the Shoppers. This time, I was resolved to go for peach or bust. But, just to be on the safe side, I diversified my approach, and ended up getting a lipstick (Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in “Coral Chic”) and a lip gloss (L’Oreal Gram Shine in “Amber Carat”). The lipstick turned out to be a little too orange and a little too dry for my taste. The lip gloss actually came fairly close in colour to my dream vision, but it also lacked the intensity of pigment and opacity that I wanted.
Getting creative, I tried the lip gloss layered over each of the two lipsticks. Neither result was entirely pleasing.
Nature’s Blush + Amber Carat – close, but no cigar
Coral Chic + Amber Carat – orange creamsicle, anyone?
Then I decided to make one last attempt, using an old MAC Lipglass layered over the L’Oreal lipstick. The Lipglass (“Florabundance”) had the right sheen to it – glossy but thick and not sparkly. The colour is an opaque pale peach that’s almost too close to my skin tone to wear on its own (I look like I’m waiting for a visit from the coroner), but I figured it might lighten up the too-dark lipstick just enough, while also giving it a hint of coral.
I was right; the two worked together quite well. In fact, this was the closest I got to my dream lipstick. For the time being, I’m going to stick to it. But who knows … a trip to the department store may be in my future after all.
Have you ever tried some DIY make-up at home and, if so, were you happy with the results? And if anyone can recommend a peachy-nude-glossy-matte lipstick, drop me a line in the comments!