Getting Lippy

A while ago I wrote about a dawning (Dawn French-ing, to be more precise) realisation that I will soon have to grow up, embrace ageing as a part of life, and stop being vain. But at the moment I’m still kicking and screaming, clawing my way back towards the light of youth. It isn’t pretty, but it is fun.

So I bleached my hair. It was temporary insanity brought on by meddling hormones. I just got so bored of seeing the same dreary person reflected back at me, and fancied seeing someone else for a change. I could argue that it’s preferable to having an affair, certainly much less effort, as I can get away with more than a week’s hair growth in the bikini area, which at this time of year provides essential thermal protection.

So, I bleached it gooood. Eminem would be proud. It took a couple of weeks of anxious 25-30 minute waits, perched on the edge of my bed with empty L’Oréal cartons clutched in my trembling hands, praying that the hair wouldn’t dissolve altogether, imagining my new role as Crazy Hat Lady. Eight weeks on, and the people I haven’t seen for a while greet me saying ‘Wow!’ and point to a spot just above my head, which makes me duck and look behind me, until I remember what I’ve done to my barnet.

Having passed into my mid forties and slipping into the barren hinterland of invisibility inhabited by tubby mums and worn out housewives, I make no excuses to the Feminazi brigade when I say that being wolf-whistled from the top of scaffolding in Pocklington last month gave me a massive rush akin to a shot of adrenaline punched into the chest of Mrs Mia Wallace. (Click here if you’re not squeamish.)

I did consider for a moment that it might have been an ironic whistle, but swept all doubt away and sidestepped into Boots to buy another lipstick instead. I blame Red magazine: they gave away a mini Benefit lipstick called ‘Revved Up Red’ on the cover of their September 2017 issue, and it sparked this fevered descent into the cosmetic rabbit hole that is Lip Colour.

Did you know that sales of lipstick continue to remain buoyant, even in times of recession? In fact, it is fascinating to note that during the recent austerity squeeze, and plummeting retail profits, lipstick and cosmetics have actually seen a lift in sales. Us girls and, I suspect, some enlightened men, have found an affordable way to cheer ourselves up and feel special, even on a January morning carrying a pack of loo rolls in the queue behind a fat bloke in Aldi.

I have never been a lippy girl, preferring instead to sport the natural, dewy, lip-balm effect, (my handbag groans with pots, tubes and tins of the stuff). I used to watch in awe as grown up women replenished their lipstick after lunch, sometimes without even looking in the mirror! For me it has always been a ritual strictly reserved for fancy dress and vintage fairs, as my face immediately resembled that of my Grandma as soon as I applied it. (No offence, lovely Edna. RIP) But now it feels obligatory to compliment my luminous locks with a splash of punky colour, especially as I head out into the winter murk of a January drizzle. I have discovered that if my lips are dressed, the rest of my face can be forgiven if I only manage to cover it with a veil of tinted moisturiser and a cursory brush up of mascara.

Like finding the perfect shade of blonde, it has taken a little trial and error but I have now settled on a palette of three colours that seem to work with my wardrobe and more importantly my face. Typically, one of those colours, a deep velvety red called ‘Graceful’ by Barabara Daly, has just been discontinued. Following that bombshell, I embarked on a resolute, verging on obsessive, mission to visit all the Tesco stores in Yorkshire and rake through every beauty department bargain-bucket until I had found the last one. (I know, I should get out more.)

A bright perky matte red by Kate Moss for Rimmel (#110) is now my work-a-day shade, kept on top of the piano by the hall mirror to slap on before facing the public, and being the outrageous maverick that I am, I sometimes mix the two! Then, when I am feeling adventurous, (or hormonal) I reach for a tube of Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Liquid Lipstick, #35 Creator, a terrifying shade of poisonous cyclamen pink that, once applied, refuses to budge till bed-time, but somehow, unaccountably, suits me.

On New Year’s Eve, my daughter and I like to put on a glitter party; donning everything sparkly, turning out the lights and dancing in the psychedelic strobes of our coloured wireless disco speaker. (Honestly it’s not as lame as it sounds, and I like to think she’ll do the same for her children one day, if the stuff doesn’t get outlawed) So naturally, this year saw us experiment with a shimmering sequinned effect on our chops. She has an extensive library of tiny pots of coloured cosmetic glitters, and chose for herself a dazzling Jessica Rabbit red, while I went for a more reserved rose gold. I wouldn’t recommend it. I spent the early hours of 2018 swallowing tiny flecks of coloured mirror and wondering what they might do to my insides. The stuff kills marine life doesn’t it? But it was worth it because all the men (and women) I kissed at midnight went home with a little dab of magic on their cheek.

NB There are some conditions that must be observed, particularly in my case.

  • The rules state clearly that you can do eyes OR lips, but not both, unless you are entering a drag queen contest.
  • Discreet, or even better, NO earrings should be worn, otherwise you will be mistaken for Pat Butcher.
  • And most importantly ALWAYS check your teeth after applying, unless you are happy to terrify small children with apparently blood-stained gnashers.

#lipstick #makeup #cosmetics #beauty #redlips #cheerup #ageingisfun #january #peroxide #makeover #haircolour #confidence #selfesteem #tryingtobebeautifulontheinside

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