Friday, May 11, 2012

A bag full of kisses

I honestly cannot remember a time when I did not love makeup. I was one of those little girls that you see trying to play grown-up while applying clown face makeup at age 5. Not only was I in my 4th grade play, I appointed myself the head makeup artist for that production. My attempts to show off all the techniques I had learned reading Seventeen magazine, trying to contour and do smokey eyes on my peers, were rejected. Believe it or not, my work was ruled too subtle for the stage. If only Herb Ritts had been around, I know my work would've KILLED in editorial. I didn't actually learn to apply stage makeup until high school drama club - it only took one production for me to appoint myself makeup artist assistant.

I wasn't allowed to wear makeup off-stage until middle school - and even then I was only allowed to graduate from cherry Chap Stick to lip gloss, but that did not stop me from saving my money and pouring over magazines trying to ensure that by the time I was able to purchase the real stuff, I was prepared. So when I finally started buying makeup, I went straight for department-store brands, and just knew I could apply mascara without poking my eye out. (Okay, I wasn't living in the US at the time, so Revlon and Max Factor were department store brands for me.)

Long story short, I fell into a signature look pretty early on - mascara, some eyeliner, an earthy brownish-red lipstick, and concealer as needed. I found the perfect shade of red for me pretty early on: not too bright, a little orangy, didn't clash with my red hair. How often does one find the perfect shade of lipstick in HIGH SCHOOL?! Really, I want to know, how often does that happen? Problem is, I graduated and came back to the US for college. And not too long after I started my higher education, I found out that Max Factor had discontinued that particular shade of lipstick. (I can't remember the name. It's been 20 years. It was something about the earth or clay.) Then I lost my last, precious tube. And THEN they stopped selling Max Factor in the 'states. So, as any lifelong makeup lover does, I began my search for a dupe of that illusive shade.

I lost that tube in 1991. It is now 2012. I cannot tell you how many tubes of red lipstick I've purchased in the past 21 years. I've tried department store, drug store, at-home-sales companies...and although I have found many, many lipsticks I've liked, none have been that perfectly flattering shade.

This all came out of my purse. I carry a big purse.

Lipstick is my default makeup purchase. If I'm feeling a little down, all it takes is a new tube to lift up my mood. I literally pulled all of that haul in the picture above from my purse. That isn't counting everything I have at home. I like, even love, all the lipsticks I currently own. But still, I look at pictures of me in that red shade and I go back to the store, hoping to find the tube that will recapture the magic.

What can I say other than I totally agreed with Peggy when she said "I don't think anyone wants to be one of a hundred colors in a box." That was in the Mad Men season 1 episode titled"A Basket of Kisses," otherwise known as the episode where I fell in love with the show.

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