Lipstick Project Pan Update #1

Since my last post, I’ve crossed a few thresholds: the autumnal equinox, my 30th birthday, and my dissertation deadline. (For the record, 30 feels exactly like 29, and I was so busy in the weeks leading up to my birthday that I didn’t even have time to freak out over becoming an Old.) Now that the worst of the semester is over, I think I’ll have more time for blogging, though I doubt I’ll be able to post more than once a week. At least that’s better than never.

I thought I’d ease back into my posting schedule (if it even deserves that name) with a quick update to the Project Pan post I wrote two months ago. In early September, I resolved to pan four lipsticks by the end of the year: Glossier Generation Gs in Cake and Jam, Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry, and NARS Sheer Lipstick in Flamenco. On September 8, the lipsticks looked like this:

L-R: Cake, Jam, Sultry, Flamenco.

Almost exactly two months later, they look like this:

As you can see, I’ve made significant progress on Jam and Sultry, each of which has maybe two days of wear left. I’m teaching a lot this semester, and Sultry is a great lipstick for situations in which I want to look as professional as a dirtbag grad student possibly can. I wore Sultry about twice a week in September and October and never felt that I was forcing myself to do so. I switched to darker lipsticks closer to Halloween, but now that fall break is almost over, I think I’ll be able to finish Sultry in the next week. Here it is on a recent teaching day; I can’t identify any of my other makeup except the eyeshadow on my lids, which is Seventeen Statuesque:

I rarely wear Jam as part of a full face, but I do like it as an “in-between” lipstick: sometimes I’m wearing a higher-maintenance color that I don’t have time to reapply after it wears off, so I’ll swipe on Jam and wear it until I find a chance to put on the bolder color again. Jam is also a good choice for running errands on days when I’m too lazy for anything but lips and maybe brows.

I’ve been having more trouble with the other two. Cake was simply a bad choice for a fall panning project, since I prefer deeper shades this time of year. I think I’m going to set it aside and try to pan it in the spring. And though I’ve worn Flamenco a few times since I started this project, it just doesn’t work for my complexion or the looks I prefer. It’s a little too bright and warm to flatter me, yet it doesn’t quite commit to being a bright warm red. It has a hint of brown, yet it’s not a brick red. It leans cool in most lights, yet it’s not a pinky red. And while all this might indicate that it’s a perfectly balanced neutral red, it’s somehow not that, either. I can’t believe I used to wear Flamenco almost every day (this is actually my second tube!). Funny how tastes change.

See what I mean? It just looks off. While I was scrolling through the photos on my phone yesterday, I stopped at the one above and thought, “Whoa, what’s that awkward-looking red?” It was Flamenco, of course. Much as I hate to get rid of lipsticks in good condition, I decided at that moment to destash Flamenco. It’s not terrible, but I have dozens of lipsticks that I absolutely love; I’m not going to waste my time on a mediocre one that’s almost five years old.

I’ll do one more update next month; by that time, I’ll probably have finished Sultry and Jam!

8 thoughts on “Lipstick Project Pan Update #1

  1. Yay, a new post! I'm writing my Masters thesis at the moment and honestly I don't know how you manage to maintain a life, a blog, and an Instagram while writing. I feel like my life is entirely on hold! I've been rotating through all my lipsticks to get at least a day's worth of wear out of each, and I've managed to destash quite a few through that method. I also got Modern Renaissance and have barely touched any of my other shadows since! Looking forward to the next blog post. 🙂


  2. To be fair, I don't really have a \”life\” by any reasonable standard. I've been meaning to visit a friend in Philly, which is a two-hour train journey away, and I've had to cancel twice this semester because my weekends just…aren't weekends. That said, I've also had way too many years of practice at being a grad student!I've had Modern Renaissance since the end of last year and still use it several times a week. It really is a special palette.


  3. Had to read the new blog post right after seeing the announcement on your Instagram! And happy belated birthday. Lipstick project pans are my favorite since I love the progress pictures. I appreciate that you destashed Flamenco instead of trying to make it work. Looking at pictures of my makeup, I often ask myself what I was thinking back in 2003, but that's life.


  4. I like seeing progress pictures too! And yeah, I thought about layering Flamenco over a dark lip liner or something, but it seemed like too much effort. I want to wear the shades I actually love, not punish myself for buying a less flattering color five years ago.


  5. Thanks! And I'm not exactly sure how I finish lipsticks, either. I am a chronic lip-biter, so I probably reapply more often than other people. And I wear lipstick every day, because a day without lipstick is like a day without sunshine. In fact, it's worse.


  6. On my birthday, I got to Bulk Barn before it opened and had to sit in my car and wait for it to open. I'm definitely an Old now.You inspire me to finish lipsticks with posts like these! They're so satisfying to look at.


  7. My mom does that at Target! Our weekly phone call usually takes place while she's sitting in the parking lot at 8:30 San Francisco time. And god knows I'd buy a lot more items in bulk if I had a car…Finishing lipsticks is indeed satisfying, but it also makes me a little anxious to focus on panning one lipstick at the exclusion of others, so I don't finish as many as I could.


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