Protect Me from What I Want: Lipstick and Non-Lipstick Wishlists, Fall 2015

(Apologies to Jenny Holzer, of course.)

The stress of the job market has me feeling extra-acquisitive, as witness my latest impulse purchases:

L-R: KBShimmer Open Toad Shoes, Zoya Fei Fei, Essie Leggy Legend, Milani Matte Fearless.

But that’s not enough, oh no. I want still more, because when I’m trying to relax I tend to immerse myself in the online beautysphere, and I have the bad habit of using Google to hunt down my Platonic ideals of color, formula, and finish. In a perfect world, I’d spend that time experimenting with new techniques using the products I already have, but this is far from a perfect world. I’m hoping that writing out my wishlist in a blog post will be just as cathartic as actually buying the stuff. If not, well, I just got my September paycheck.


1. Pinkish-red satin

This is one of those dangerous Platonic ideals. I’ve spent a lot of time putting off my actual responsibilities by scouring the Internet for the epitome of cherry-red gorgeousness. Basically, I want a non-matte lipstick redder than Revlon Cherries in the Snow but pinker than Maybelline On Fire Red, which looks like this on me:

The most promising candidate I’ve found is Bésame American Beauty, a reproduction of a shade from 1945. It looks very pink in this photo, but redder in the swatches I’ve seen online. My only reservation is that I’ve never tried the Bésame formula and I don’t think Sephora sells Bésame in its physical stores, just online. And I really don’t like ordering makeup blind, no matter how many rave reviews it’s received. Thoughts?

Of course, there are a few other candidates. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in 69 comes in a formula I know I like, though I do wonder whether the flat, wide bullet will make it hard to apply such a bold color precisely. And I don’t want to be in the unfortunate situation of answering “Ooh, what lipstick is that?” with “Oh, yeah, it’s called 69.” Especially if it’s my mom asking the question.

My third candidate is Bite Luminous Creme lipstick in Pomegranate, though my one Bite lipstick (a custom purple in the “matte,” i.e. totally non-matte, formula) fades very quickly and sinks into my lip lines. Pomegranate also comes in the High Pigment Pencil formula, which seems longer-lasting, but that version of Pomegranate looks darker.

Finally, there’s NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg. When the Satin Lip Pencils came out two and a half years ago (!), Luxembourg was the first one that caught my eye. I just don’t like having to sharpen my lip products, though. It makes me grumpy and resentful to waste so much product.

Any others you’d recommend?

2. Topshop Boardroom

Browsing Topshop’s lip offerings the other day, I came upon this intriguing purple-gray-brown color in Topshop’s “matte” (i.e. satin) formula. I wish this color came in the Matte Lip Bullet formula, because I wasn’t impressed with the lasting power of Rio Rio, but at least a neutral color will look less gruesome as it fades.

I think I’m so attracted to Boardroom (which I’d never wear in an actual boardroom, ironically) because I have a hunch that it’s the lipstick version of one of my favorite fall/winter nail polishes, Zoya Normani:

3. NARS 413 BLKR

Deep warm rosy plummy brown. Can you tell I’m going through a brown-lips phase this fall? Never mind that the NARS semi-matte formula has dried out my lips in the past; my stress-induced delusion assures me that this lipstick won’t fail me. Help me help myself, guys.


I know far more about lipstick than I do about any other beauty product, so I’d welcome suggestions on all of these!

1. Black liquid eyeliner

After several years of struggling to create a decent cat eye with Maybelline Line Stiletto, I’ve come to the conclusion that my clumsiness is less to blame than the watery, smeary, flaky Maybelline formula. Of course, there’s also my extra eyelid fold, which prevents any uptilted wing from getting longer than a millimeter or two:

But I still think my cat-eye game could be vastly improved with a better liner. The one I’m leaning toward is Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner, recommended to me by an Instagrammer with impeccable cat eyes. Part of me wants to patronize a brand owned by someone who’s slightly less of an asshole, but another part of me concedes that there are assholes and asshole behaviors at every level of capitalism.

2. Yoga mat

Not a beauty product, but there’s some overlap between exercise and beauty, so whatever. I’ve been using a cheap-ass mat from Target for almost two years, and it’s actually starting to disintegrate: after my last practice, my entire body was covered with little bits of plastic. I want a mat that doesn’t do this. I hope that’s not too much to ask.

3. Lightweight facial sunscreen

My current sunscreen, Eucerin’s SPF 30 moisturizer, works when the outdoor temperature is below 70° and the humidity is below 70%, i.e. pretty much never. At all other times, I sweat it off minutes after stepping outside. It never quite absorbs into my skin, and it almost seems to be making me sweat more (granted, I’m a sweaty person in general). I need something lighter and longer-lasting, for sure. Thoughts? I’m not even going to insist on cruelty-free brands here, I’m so desperate. I’ve heard good things about Shiseido’s Urban Environment sunscreen, but it’s a little pricey.

4. Fancy bath stuff

After two years of scrubbing myself in a shower stall so tiny I could barely move my arms, I’m living in an apartment with a bathtub, and I’d like to start turning my bathwater glittery magenta as soon as possible kthx. My favorite Lush bath bombs, Spacegirl and Phoenix Rising, have been discontinued, but how cute is the new Sparkly Pumpkin bath melt? I can’t believe Lush missed the opportunity to make it smell like pumpkin, though. A pumpkin-shaped, citrus-scented bath melt is a recipe for cognitive dissonance.

I also want to try Haus of Gloi’s Butterbombs (unlike Lush, HoG has come through for me with a pumpkin-scented one!), but they’re sold out right now.

And this isn’t even counting the less interesting things I actually need, like a black blazer, a pair of blue jeans, and two bras. I keep putting off those purchases and focusing on makeup and skincare instead, because clothes are expensive and lipstick has never made me cry in a dressing room, you know? Lipstick is so nice that way.

15 thoughts on “Protect Me from What I Want: Lipstick and Non-Lipstick Wishlists, Fall 2015

  1. I selfishly want you to try the Besame formula so I can read about how you like it, but the NARS Luxembourg caught my eye a long way back too, and I know they're great. Re: the Kat Von D, you could try an Asian eyeliner like the Kate which comes highly recommended. But I don't have impeccable cat eyes :(. For sunscreen, I've just started using the Biore UV Perfect Milk… It's the early days of testing but it's veeery light!Good luck on the job hunt! It's so time consuming and stressful. Definitely understand the need for retail therapy.


  2. Here are my recommendations. Black liquid liner: L'Oreal Lineur Intense felt tip (NOT brush) is the easiest liquid liner I've ever used, and I have never had problems with the wear. Though I'm sure there are plenty of assholes at L'Oreal – they just aren't famous. My favorite sunscreen is Kinesys alcohol free spray. Very light, plays well with makeup, and one of the few that doesn't end up smearing into eyes during the day. (Don't spray it directly on your face, of course – spritz into your hands and apply like you would any other sunscreen.) Say, do you want any of the nail polishes I started hoarding when I was finishing my dissertation and applying for jobs? Ha. It's a dangerous time.


  3. I have seen some Besame in my Sephora, though I haven't stopped to look at what they really had. It was tucked in the impulse section.Haus of Gloi butterbombs are supposed to be restocked at 12PM PST this coming Sunday. They had so many good fall scents this release! I WANT THEM ALL. But since I'm moving at the end of October and I don't know if I'll have a bathtub, I skipped them when I made my fall order. I too keep putting off necessary clothing purchases – I've needed new bras for roughly six months now, and I need to replace the cardigan that someone took at the wedding I went to over the weekend, but you're right, lipstick has never made me cry in the changing room. Lipstick is kind that way.


  4. On the eyeliner front, I really like the eyeko and the Makeup Revolution ones. I've also heard really good things about the NYC one. Bonus: drugstore prices! As for facial moisturiser with SPF, try Paula's Choice. Cruelty free and scientifically validated formulas! I recently recommended the range to a friend that has similar skin to you (fair, sometimes oily?) – she really likes the one for oily skin with spf 30. I'll send you a link when I'm on my laptop! Ugh I need new bras and more work clothes and shoes! I've also been spending ALL of my extra cash on personal training sessions which are totally worth it but that means nothing for the slightly more frivolous purchases like makeup and skincare. Oh well.


  5. I completely understand the desire. I have a couple of nail polishes that are on my 'I want this' list. I am trying very hard not to give into them because I do not need more nail polishes. No, not even one that will make my nails look like flames.


  6. Oh, and let me know what you think of besame! I had a quick swatch back in Auckland maybe two years ago, and from memory they're smooth and easy to apply, more of a satin finish than a matte. Haven't come across anyone here that stocks it but I haven't really searched for stockists, so… Also that reminds me – I have to put up a review of the Topshop lip ombre you asked me about!


  7. A few things:I don't remembering having job-market-stress-induced-shopping-episodes, but I lost my damn mind shopping after I landed my current gig. 3+ years on and I'm finally realizing it's time to reel it in (quite) a bit. I've had the opportunity to travel for work a fair amount in the last year and when I found out I was going to Dublin for a conference back in June, my first thoughts were \”BOOTS. I NEED TO BUDGET FOR TRIPS TO BOOTS\”. Oh my god, I did some damage. All this to say: I feel your pain.At the risk of enabling, Besame sells sample sets of lipsticks (search for American Beauty Matchbook) for like $6.Every time I wear the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg I get compliments from random strangers. Our coloring is pretty different, but it's a beautiful shade that I think would work well on most people.


  8. Ugh, I totally feel you with the stress-induced buying. I'm constantly trying to justify purchases to myself when I'm stressed. I'm just getting to the stressful part of my semester and I've already resigned myself to the fact that another Hourglass blush will probably find its way into my stash, purely as a coping mechanism for the madness of having 13 assignments due in October.Re: Besame, if you order it from Sephora you can always return it if it doesn't work out. I don't know how you feel about that in terms of waste (I know not everyone's into returning perfectly good products just because they don't like the colour or whatever), but the Sephora return policy is exceedingly generous. Otherwise I'd probably go with Luxembourg, despite the sharpening issue – the NARS pencils are such great quality.I don't know exactly how much you want to pay for a liquid liner, but I swear by the Stila one. I know there are a few people out there who don't like it, but it pretty much gets rave reviews across the board save for a few outliers. I've tried the Kat Von D one and liked it, but I've repurchased Stila 4 or 5 times since I first bought it. It and the Kat Von D are the only ones that my hooded eyelids don't eat in seconds. (And Maybelline Line Stiletto was totally my first ever eyeliner. Did not work for me.)La Roche-Posay makes a super lightweight facial sunscreen that I would die without. It's less expensive than the Shiseido though not cheap by any means. I also know it's a brand that's difficult to find in the US, but there may be an online option?


  9. You are not joking about the stress purchasing. I actually have a post gathering dust in my drafts on makeup and beauty products as a coping mechanism for anxiety and depression- it's fascinating. Things can't fill the void but at least they don't feel like the void!The only liquid liner I have ever used is by Lorac, and I liked it well enough, but it did have an oddly shiny finish. I really dislike the look of cateyes on myself so I can't say I've tried very hard in that category.As for pinkish red: I never thought the day would come that I would not recommend a Bite lipstick, but my favorite pink red is actually Maybelline Very Cherry. I have Pomegranate in the pencil version, so I can't attest to the bullet, but it is a very true red- maybe even more warm than pink. I've never tried any of Haus of Gloi's bath stuff but I DO have two of their pumpkin perfumes and they are to die for, so I back that purchase 100%. I want about 5 of their lip balms currently. And so many of Makeup Geek's duochromes. And a bronzer. Oh, god.


  10. NARS. LUXEMBOURG. I only tried it's sister Dragon Girl though. The tip wears away surprisingly slowly, i used mine on quite a few occasions and didnt even have to sharpen it yet (until i lost it, that is.) I've heard fabulous things about Besame and I'm totally buying that Agent Carter shade when I can, blind or not. I love their vintage marketing, and even temptalia has given them a great rating.Sunscreen wise an affordable easily available one would be that Paula's choice that i saw someone mention. Its the white tube but with green designs, it dries really fast. It's not dirt cheap though. What about all those Biore ones? They should be available quite readily and cheaply. Cant help on the liquid liner front because I'm always using gel. I always found liquid difficult as hell, maybe you could look into gel as well?


  11. Man, I shouldn't have checked those Kat von D posts. Some of the vegan comments on the one are driving me a little batty, ie, \”vegan foods are not luxury or privileged items; people in the third world eat them!\” I'm all about people living the safe, consensual lifestyle they want to live, but really? How out of touch can you be?


  12. For number 1, I think lipstick queen has something in the saint formula, rouge/rose/hot rose/deep red (more like pinkish red). I went to bergdorf to swatch one of them but got sidetracked by Jean queen, which I also love…As for black liquid liners, the felt tipped one from Japanese brands are awesome for a clutz like me (and my lid space is so small that I mess up constantly)the physicins formula lash booster is made in Japan so it's pretty easy to use. Just not very bulletproof (like urban decay, but I only have them in bright pink and charcoal). I only tried the white squeeze tube for shiseido urban environment but I found it too sticky(maybe the liquid version is better)…i just went back to the light turquoise one which is smoothing and mattifying. Tjmaxx and marshall both carry some fresh shiseido stuff (though stock tend to be sporadic and unpredictable) I make sure to back up my cleansers whenever I see them. Sunscreen expire much quicker with air exposure so I don't hoard them…


  13. Girl. There is only one liquid black eyeliner as far as I am concerned – and I have tried many. I have recommended this to basically everyone I know and regardless of skill level of cat-eyedom everyone loves it. Loreal The Infalliable Blackbuster liquid eyeliner – the chubby pen. Felt tip pen that is just the right amount of stiffness, super black, doesn't skip, easily traced over itself, and sets and last ALL DAY. It is make up sharpie perfection. Please try it.


  14. […] 2015 will certainly go down in makeup history as the year of the brown lipstick. Dark gothy brown, ’90s-style midtone warm brown, muddy red, and the strangest brown of all: a cool-toned gray-brown, often with a hint of purple. I don’t know why undead lips have become so wildly popular this year, but they’ve been everywhere in the last few months. MAC Stone is the best-known example, but there are many others, mostly from Insta-friendly trendy brands. ColourPop alone has three gray-toned browns in its equally trendy liquid-matte formula: Trap, Kapow, and Beeper. But my distaste for liquid mattes is no secret, and the zombie lipstick that caught my eye last month was a conventional bullet: Topshop Boardroom, which I mentioned in my recent wishlist post. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s