Not a post about my homonym husband. Although yeah, he earned a rich cache of brownie points this Valentine’s Day when he let me tag along on his work trip to Anaheim to spend the day in My #1 Favorite Place on Earth. No, this is about the lipstick I wore during that trip.
Up until January 28, the day my sister got married, I had a rotating collection of 3 to 4 classic formula MAC shades on my person at any given moment, along with two red liners, depending on the maroonyness of the day. They rolled around in the bottom of my purse along with pens from different Marriott hotel rooms and an inhaler. Picking and committing to a shade was ritual, a little break in the day to check and see if I’d made a terrible streaked mess of myself (often).
Then, on that Saturday, I had an appointment at the downtown Seattle Nordstrom for a MAC artist to do my makeup. Only sister’s wedding or no, I try to make it in a few times a year for the sweet perk of having someone else apply all new, fancy, limitless shades to my face. If you go to Nordstrom when they aren’t insanely busy or you make an appointment ahead of time, it’s usually free (not so with the standalone stores and ESPECIALLY NOT TRUE AT THE LAS VEGAS CAESAR’S FORUM SHOP STORE! I got completely blindsided by a $70 makeup “lesson” there, but I guess it wasn’t the worst/most/stupidest thing I ran my debit card for on that trip).
Anyway, there’s a point to this whole doing-your-makeup deal, which is why they do it. They show you how to use the products and introduce you to formulas, colors and ideas you’ve been missing out on this whole time. It’s where, after about 10 different people, I finally cobbled together how to do my own cat-eye. It’s where I figured out that my eyebrows deserved the same attention as the spotlight-hogging lids. And on this Saturday, it’s where I learned that I’d been doing lipstick wrong this whole time.
The artist applied one coat of Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolor in Feels So Grand, a true classic red within a shade or two of my everyday purse standby, Dangerous. I didn’t understand the switch-up, but it looked good and I’m always game for anything strategically named “retro” style.
Between the ceremony, dinner toast, and trying to get Matt to dance (ha! No), I kept sneaking a quick peek down in the bridesmaid’s room to fix what had to be a Picasso of lip color. Drinking. Sweating in a centuries-old manor house crammed with people I didn’t know. Tearing up more than once. There were a hundred opportunities for disaster.
But every time I glanced in the mirror, the scarlet had not budged. I didn’t reapply my lipstick once that night. I kept asking, is my lipstick okay? The answer was a side-eye and “umm yeah, you’re FINE,” which I compulsively re-checked to make sure there wasn’t some bridesmaid hazing conspiracy afoot.
When Matt and I got back to the Seattle hotel to crash, I had to scrub with my makeup wipes to chisel off the perfection. I triple-checked to make sure I hadn’t left this little miracle in the dressing room. My standby signature lipsticks rolled around next to their new friend in my purse, and I felt a teensy barb of guilt. How could I ever go back to these sad, feathering, smearing Befores now that there was an After?
After posting about my new obsession on Twitter, I learned that the magic of liquid matte isn’t perfect, at least for everyone. It can cause nasty dry lips, so it’s probably best not to wear every single day, and alternate with those less harsh (sigh) normal lipsticks and a healthy application of lip balm.
After getting back into town I bought a second shade of Retro Matte, this time a less flashy Lady-Be-Good pinky peach tone that would blend better into the sad cubicle grays and beige walls of my corporate office environment. Not that I don’t wear bright red lipstick at my day job. That’s just what you deal with when you hire me.
Application is fairly simple: with the red, I start by lining the lip in a close matching shade, then I let the pointed tip of the triangle applicator meet with the peak of my left lip. I let the tip arch down to follow the natural arch of my lip, then repeat on the right. The bottom lip can be a little tricky, since that pointed tip likes to leave a little splatter stain in the corner of the mouth. A steady hand and a practice round or two is all you need before you’ll be certified.
After a minute or so to set, it’s a done deal. Eat that corn dog, that Dole Whip, that churro. I didn’t have to touch up at Disneyland until after River Belle Terrace dinner, and that was mostly because I was by myself and wanted to look busy and glamorous. Definitely be sure you’re on board with the shade you’re rocking that day; it’s not an easy switch and when it comes off, it takes the bottom half of your face’s foundation with it.
Go pick up a tube in-person for $21, and while you’re there, sweet-talk yourself into that MAC makeup chair. It’s the best way to up your style this side of bad YouTube tutorials.