Beauty bi­ble

Celia Walden on a lip­stick dis­as­ter

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - CONTENTS - Celia Walden

WHEN I FOUND out that Paul & Joe had dis­con­tin­ued the lip­stick I’d been wear­ing for six years, I lost the power of speech for 48 hours along with my faith in the cosmetic gods. It was partly the way I found out. ‘Oh they’re not mak­ing num­ber 12 any more, hun,’ the woman at the Sel­f­ridges con­ces­sion had flung out, mid­way through ne­go­ti­a­tions with an­other cus­tomer. Right. Why not just rip my heart out and use it to scrub down your counter while you’re at it?

As with all life’s epic losses, the re­ver­ber­a­tions kept on com­ing. There were the im­me­di­ate prac­ti­cal­i­ties to take care of: calls to cus­tomer ser­vices, count­ing out how many I had left in my lip­stick drawer at home (I al­ways bulk-buy with Paul & Joe) and cru­cial time­line cal­cu­la­tions (I had an es­ti­mated three months to find a coral as fresh and sub­tle as Pe­tale de Pavot, a shade that couldn’t clash if it tried, and that faded to a glo­ri­ous Kate-moss-does-bar­dot-in-those-mis­soni-ads-from-the-early-noughties nude, mi­nus that saucepan-grime rim so many lip­sticks leave). Then there were the emo­tional costs. Num­ber 12 had been with me longer than my hus­band. It had seen me through drunken nights and sum­mer ro­mances, job in­ter­views and my wed­ding day. Now it was gone.

Your friends tell you there will be other, more im­por­tant shades: lip­sticks that en­dure. As with lost boyfriends and way­ward hus­bands, they down­play the ben­e­fits of the old while fre­net­i­cally press­ing upon you all that’s new and ex­cit­ing. A pro­mis­cu­ous pe­riod fol­lowed when I had flings with wildly dif­fer­ent and in­ap­pro­pri­ate shades – ev­ery­thing from Chanel’s Rouge Coco in Car­men (bolder than any­thing I’d tried be­fore but still a favourite) and Burberry’s Rose Blush (a glo­ri­ously deep rose with shim­mer) to Burt’s Bees com­plex­ion-sav­ing Lip Crayon in Hawai­ian Smolder (a per­fect school-run shade) and Revlon’s sul­try Smoked Peach (for the school run when At­trac­tive Dad is on pick-up duty).

Char­lotte Til­bury’s Hol­ly­wood Lips range, all with a cash­mere-like tex­ture and stay­ing power, has been the most re cent rev­e­la­tion, along­side Rouge Dior’s glo­ri­ous Hyp­notic Matte. And I had de­cided never to com­mit to one shade again un­til I saw Paul & Joe had re­launched its lip­sticks, tried Fla­mant Rose, and won­dered whether it might be time to set­tle down again.

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