I attempted my first strokes of eyeliner and mascara at 16. Four years later, I think I can now at least say I am capable of drawing semi-respectable wing-tips, possibly enough to have Alexa Chung’s approval. But that’s pretty much all I have in my repertoire, guys. The next level, I reckon, would be to master The Lipstick. *Shudder*
I mean, I have tried on lipsticks before — the number of attempts countable on one hand. But frankly, so far, not great experiences. Dry, and even cracked lips afterwards — not fun. When the colour
abandons your lips for your tea cup or, worse, white shirt quicker than you can say “bisous”, you just wish you hadn’t even bothered in the first place. In hindsight, though, I might have myself to blame since most of those lipsticks were filched out of my best friend’s “tried and trashed” stash. Oh, Lipstick, we have such a love-hate relationship. But now I realise it’s not you, it’s me.
With that revelation, I made up my mind to give us a real shot. If we’re going to have a long and meaningful relationship, I’d have to put my money where my
mouth lip is and start my first official lipstick hunt on the right foot. So I did my homework (more videos!). I backed it up with actual field work (shopping!). I faced my fear. Annnd I bought my own first lipstick. My own!
Just in case you, too, are a make-up noob like me, here’s my step-by-step guide for your reference (or entertainment). #YouAreNotAlone. 💋
Step #1: Ask Google
Dear Google, I am just a girl sitting in front of you, asking you to answer me. But wait, damn, what’s my question? At that moment, I realised just how clueless I really was on the topic at hand. The cursor confirms it, blinking, waiting, rolling its eyes at me. Finally, I attempted: “Top 10 lipsticks in 2016”. The five words yielded too many pages of expertise/opinions from everyone including Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Refinery29. Six web links and three YouTube videos later, I was still staring at the inside of my elbow trying to determine my skin’s undertone. I was positively three times more confused than before, but it dawned on my now-pounding head that I should just make a trip to the stores with my new-found knowledge and try them on for size, shade, texture, comfort, compatibility…
Step #2: Go Shopping
Post-intensive Googling, I made a checklist of my criteria (it’s a lipstick jungle out there, a girl’s got to be fully armed and completely prepared).
✔ Nude and coral pinks only. (AKA basic, go-to shades.)
✔ Sheer or cream-based lipsticks only. No matte for me. (I prefer that dewy, kissable, I-just-drank-10-glasses-of-water look. And with the lighter, balmy texture, I think it’d make a nice transition from lip balms).
✔ Price range: S$30 to S$50. (It seems like a decent range to invest in a quality lipstick I expect will serve me for the next six months. Also, Christmas gift to self! 🎁).
✔ Staying power. (Because this is not how I’d like to leave my mark).
OK, let’s do this. First stop: Sephora. With my checklist in mind, I navigated the isles like Pac-Man, trying everything from Bobbi Brown to Yves Saint Laurent. The sales consultants were a little more helpful than Google — they obliged all my novice questions, and they didn’t seem to judge me as swatches of pinks and corals in all their matte and glossy glory spread to cover my entire arm.
Two hours and about 36 swatches later, my left forearm looked suitably mutilated. In my head, I couldn’t stop thinking about the YSL Rouge Voulpté. It looked très chic and felt like a balmy hug. Now, that is lipstick. At another corner of my mind, I thought I heard Urban Decay’s Weirdo calling out to a fellow weirdo. I was pretty fond of the delicious smoothness
OK, so I’ve quite successfully narrowed it down. Not bad. But any journalist worth her salt will tell you this investigation can not be considered complete until you’ve at least snooped at one more store. So across the road I ventured, into Tangs, and repeated the drill with a few more brands: Lipstick Queen, Laneige, Clé De Peau and Tom Ford who, btw, just launched the Lips & Boys collection of clutch-friendly lipsticks — all named after, yep, boys, famous boys like Bradley, Ryan and Ashton. The packaging, like everything else with “TF” on it, is Flaw. Less. Fabulous. All-logic-out-the-window-you-just-want-it gorgeous.
Step #3: Buy My First Lipstick (!!)
A girl shouldn’t have to choose. But I’m a student on a lipstick budget. It was a close fight between YSL, Tom Ford and Lancôme. I could see myself wearing any one of them day in and day out (even to school without looking too Elle Woods). In the end, I chose… *drum roll*… Tom Ford’s Lips & Boys in “Anderson” to be my first lipstick ever. It meets all my criteria. Oh, except it’s matte. What can I say? Love is a mysterious thing. xoxo
LIPSTICKS // TOM FORD (LIPS & BOYS)
STYLING & PHOTOGRAPHY // KARMAN TSE