Beauty editors aren’t exactly known to be brand loyal. In fact, very few can name more than one product they’ve been in a monogynous relationship with for more than a few months. It’s not that we’re fickle by nature. It’s just that by the time we hit the bottom of our must-have jar of night cream, there’s a new one we’re bound to fall in love with waiting for us. (Life’s rough, we know.) We’re telling you all this only to highlight the importance of the products that do make it into our regular rotation—the ones that don’t get replaced by the latest and greatest, our one true (beauty) loves. These are our product love stories. Enjoy!
Ask a woman to share her favorite lipsticks, and a dreamy look will cross her face, like that of someone suddenly remembering lost, former loves. There is perhaps no product as emotionally-charged, or capable of transforming a face. To me, lipstick has always been my first product love—the one that I fell desperately for at first swipe, and the one that made me truly excited about wearing makeup (I try to skim over the unfortunate blue eyeliner phase during my formative early-teen years—the glasses did little to help either).
I would prowl the aisles of my local Rite Aid, spending hours staring at the little bullets, weighing pros and cons, holding them up to my face to try and see if they would work with my complexion. I preferred reds at the time. Like Dita Von Teese, I found a power in applying the stark, striking hue—it was the makeup equivalent of putting on a slinky slip dress. “Look at me!” it seemed to say. “I’m confident, and strong, and someone you want to know.”
Call it maturity, or experience, or one too many wince-worthy photos where the red lipstick I wore proudly simply translated as garish, but these days my lipstick preferences fall far on the other end of the spectrum. I gravitate towards soft pinky-nudes, or deep berries, or the very occasional deep wine—never a true red, or even anything resembling red. Shades in the “brick red” territory especially are just not me, though I don’t hold it against those who like them. Taste in lipstick, like taste in men, varies and none is better than another (though Benedict Cumberbatch is just so much more arresting than Channing Tatum, don’t you think?).
Which is why my love story with Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick ($34) in Bond Girl is so unexpected. The hue is hard to describe. When I first twisted up the bullet, I thought it was just another Bordeaux shade to add to my ever-growing collection; something shiny to nestle next to my prized Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Crème ($32) in Blow; something to use on a whim, but not treasure; something to forget. The only reason I even gave it a chance was because of the brand—Charlotte, makeup goddess that she is, makes some of the best lipsticks in the world, both in formula and in color selection.
The first time I used the lipstick, I wasn’t even aware of the shade. When you assume one thing about something, or someone, it’s hard to open your eyes to the reality—especially when it differs from your initial impression. I thought I was applying a deep wine hue, so I saw a deep wine hue when I looked into the mirror. It wasn’t until later that day—and yes, I admit, several compliments from coworkers later—that I gave myself another glance. The shade on my lips, to my slight horror, had distinctly brown undertones.
And not even in a Kylie Jenner way—no, this was not a brown-based nude, bur rather a brown-based red. The color of my adult nightmares. And yet, something about the hue seemed to settle right into my face, like an unannounced guest making itself right at home—and looking like it had been there for years. The brown-red hue didn’t wash me out, or make me look like a ‘90s J.Lo devotee; “garish” was the last word that crossed my mind. The lipstick shade had soft, barely discernible purple undertones that made it the perfect complement to my yellow-based complexion.
The shade didn’t scream, “Look at me!” but rather seemed to bring out the depth of color in my natural lip color. The finish itself is worthy of its own love letter, but I’ll try to keep it succinct. Unlike other matte lipsticks, it applies smooth as silk and leaves a soft, velvet finish. Never drying or flake-inducing, it feels a bit like swathing your lips in a thin cashmere shawl; one that you can apply without a mirror—yes, truly—as you’re running out the door.
After that, my newfound love and I were inseparable. I wore it during the day, hurriedly swiped it on before meetings, and tossed it in my bag for nights out (often knowing full well tequila shots would be involved later). It never overshadowed the rest of my makeup, or drew excess attention like its violet-hued counterparts. Rather, it remained steadily reliable, complementing whatever makeup (or lack thereof) it was paired with, which only made me love it more.
So now I stand proudly by my Bond Girl, tossing my former reddish-brown lipstick phobias aside. I’ve stumbled upon the most unexpected love, and nothing—not even the most enticing peach-based nude, or silky, seductive berry—will tear us apart.