Friday, October 10, 2014

In Search of the Perfect Nude Lip

I have a confession to make.

I tend to buy the same color of lipstick over and over again.

My confession probably won't get me on Maury or anything - it's likely something many of us do, but until I was organizing my makeup recently I didn't realize quite how far I went in the hunt for the perfect nude.

You might look at the following pictures and wonder how the color could be classified as a nude.  For the longest time I thought a nude lip had to match your skin tone rather than your natural lip color.  I saw tons of models and actresses sporting tan or beige or peachy shades and when I tried to wear them they acted like a lip eraser and covered my naturally rosy lip shade.  I think that look makes me look like a cast member of The Walking Dead, and not one of the sexy living ones who always seem to find time to have their hair washed and their mascara touched up.  What I previously thought of as a nude lip washed me out and just wasn't pretty.  One day I heard a nude lip described as "your natural lip color, but better" and it all made sense.  I had found the lip product that did that for me already - I found it nearly twenty years ago in a CVS in my undergraduate college hometown of Clarion, Pennsylvania.  There's just one problem: they quit making it!

The perfect color for me in all the lipstick world was the Nat Robbins Temptuous Aromatheraputic lip color in the shade Pleasure.  It was perfection.  Rosy.  Mauve-y.  Matte.  Just a hint darker than my natural lip and it smelled divine - like sandalwood.

When I saw that the CVS wasn't going to stock the brand anymore and had put all of the line on major clearance I bought the last three they had.  I used the one I owned at the time, lost my first backup, and used my second backup to the end of the container with a lip brush.  The third backup I kept.  I still have it.  It has changed just a little bit in color after 20 years of carrying it from town to town all over the country, but I keep it to remind me of the perfect color for me and how much I loved it.  I have been on the lookout for years for this shade.  I think I see it all the time.  I scan the new lipsticks and limited editions of every brand I can find trying to recreate the look.  This color was called "Pleasure" for a reason - whenever I find something close to it I snap it up in hopes of finding my pleasure again.

Now for the madness...

Here are SOME of the shades that I bought because I had hoped they would be THE shade.

From left to right - all above Nat Robbins' Pleasure:
Ulta Double Duty Lip Balm & Stain - Suspense
Bite Beauty Lip Shine - Vintage
Manna Kadar Lipstick - Savoir Faire
Avon Beyond Color Lip Color - Beige Shimmer
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick - Sugar
Nyx Jumbo Lip Pencil - Pecan
Tarte Lipsurgence Matte Lip Tint - Exposed
Mary Kay Lipstick - Natural Beauty
Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick - Break Away
L'Oreal Endless Lip Color - Fawn Fatale
Prestige Lipstick - V.I.P.
Ulta Lip Color - Perfect Nude
M.A.C. Alluring Aquatic Matte Lipstick - Enchanted One
Nyx Lipstick - Ceto
Wet n' Wild Lip Color - Bare it All
Sally Hanson Colorfast Tint + Moisture Balm - Get Mauve'n
Almay Liquid Lip Balm - Rosy lipped
Nyx Soft Matte Lip Cream - Zurich
Maybelline Colorsensational Lipstick - Autumn Rush

Some are a little too peachy.  Some too frosty.  There are some that seemed just perfect until I put them on and said "nope, not it".  I like most of these just fine.  There are some that are close enough that they complete the effect and stop just shy of me marrying them as my new perfect lip partner.  I actually do have a long term relationship with L'Oreal's Fawn Fatale.  It used to be available in a long wear product from them with different packaging that was slender and very similar to the Nat Robbins shade.  It was of course discontinued, and the two I went through are long gone.  I only ever found the regular lipstick in that shade (pictured in the gold tube in the center of the above picture) once and it was at a Big Lots a few years ago.  Had I known how close it would be I would've snapped up more, but I assume that since I purchased it at a discount retailer and it never seems to show up in the current shades that it was a limited edition or discontinued color in that style as well.  I am hoping the craze for the 90's makeup and fashion will bring this color back into lineups all over.  I'll be watching!

The first, sixth, and tenth (Ulta lip stain- Suspense, Nyx lip pencil- Pecan, L'Oreal lipstick - Fawn Fatale) are close.
Some huge misses were 13 (M.A.C. - Enchanted One) and 18 (Nyx Matte lip cream - Zurich).

But wait, there's more!  These are a few of the shades that I thought looked close through the package or testers available but when set against the above lipsticks were not obviously a possibility for THE shade.  I still thought they were worth including!

Wet n' Wild Megaslicks Lip Color - Rico Mauve
Clinique Sheer Shaper for Lips - Peachy
Set by Napoleon Perdis Lipstick - Hong Kong
Flower Beauty Lipstick - Sheer Snapdragon
Set by Napoleon Perdis Lipstick - Peking
Wet n' Wild Lipstick - Just Peachy

The fifth color (Set by Napoleon Perdis - Peking) is another recently discontinued Target exclusive that was so very close to the Nat Robbins shade but I missed my chance to snap it up on clearance due to some rude person who went through and smashed all of the lipsticks into their caps for no reason at all.  

See what I mean?  If I rubbed my arms together I bet 'd have the perfect shade!

Here is a quick description of these lip colors.  A star before the name means they are favorites.

*Nat Robbins Temptuous Aromatheraptuic lip color - Pleasure -- Well, duh!  Perfection

*Ulta Double Duty lip balm & stain - Suspense -- This would be drying without the included balm.

Bite Beauty lip shine - Vintage -- This has a lemony flavor that I don't care for.

Manna Kadar lipstick - Savoir Faire -- Way too orange for me, but wears well.

Avon Beyond Color lip color - Beige Shimmer -- Very frosty, not long lasting.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra lipstick - Sugar -- Oddly drying, uncomfortable to apply.

Nyx Jumbo lip pencil - Pecan -- A nice near match but I find the pencil hard to apply without a mirror.

Tarte Lipsurgence Matte lip tint - Exposed -- Very drying.  Even in the package it turns chalky.

Mary Kay lipstick - Natural Beauty -- A pretty color but not one I reach for.

*Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick - Break Away -- I love this comfortable minty formula.

*L'Oreal Endless lip color - Fawn Fatale -- The only thing I don't like is the rose scent.

Prestige lipstick - V.I.P. -- I wish I could remember where I picked this up.  I'd buy more colors.

Ulta lip color - Perfect Nude -- A pleasant surprise from an Ulta beauty gift with purchase.

M.A.C. matte lipstick - Enchanted One -- This shade makes me look dead, but the packaging!

Nyx lipstick - Ceto -- Very very frosty.  Like 1984 frosty.

Wet n' Wild lip color - Bare it All -- Has a tendency to disappear quickly but it was a buck.

*Sally Hanson Colorfast tint + moisture balm - Get Mauve'n -- Super and of course discontinued.

*Almay Liquid lip balm - Rosy lipped -- The most comfortable of any lip color on the list.

Nyx Soft matte lip cream - Zurich -- This color is way more coral than the package would tell you.

Maybelline Colorsensational lipstick - Autumn Rush -- Nice brown leaning shade but not hydrating.

*Wet n' Wild Megaslicks lip color - Rico Mauve -- Great creamy texture, but must be reapplied often.

Clinique Sheer Shaper for Lips - Peachy -- A great pencil for any of the above shades.

NP Set lipstick - Hong Kong -- Almost too beige toned and discontinued.

Flower Beauty lipstick - Sheer Snapdragon -- This made my lips itch like mad.  I should pitch it.

NP Set lipstick - Peking -- A lovely shade on, slightly drying and discontinued.

Wet n' Wild lipstick - Just Peachy -- This is a "what was I thinking?" matte peach shade.

Okay - so now that you've seen twenty-five versions of what I thought might be the perfect nude, riddle me this:  What current lip color on the market do you think is similar to the Nat Robbins "Pleasure" shade that I may have missed?  I'd welcome any suggestions!

I hope you are all geared up for an amazing weekend!  Much love to all of you and thanks for any leads on the lipstick I will want to spend the rest of my life with in advance.  (Speaking of - Andy and I will have our seventh wedding anniversary on Sunday.  I think his lip color looks good on mine and will be my favorite for the rest of forever!) See you soon folks!

1 comment:

  1. The perfect nude is so hard to find!! I fell in love with the packaging for Enchanted One too, that whole collection, damn!