My History In Lipstick

My history in lipstick. I am inspired today by Katie of Let’s Add Sprinkles. Katie wrote about her history in fragrance, and it was a lovely walk down memory lane. (Like Katie, I am a fan of Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture.) Once we’ve passed age 50, we’ve tried many fragrances, and each one of mine evokes a period in my life, from pre-teen to fully-grown woman.

Katie’s post got me thinking about a similar history: my life in lipstick. Such a simple little object, but it meant a lot to most of us as young girls, then young women, just starting out in our quest for “femininity”. Here are some of my own milestones, and I would love to hear about yours:

  • At age 10, trying on my grandmother’s Coty red lipstick, that she kept in a drawer next to her Coty loose powder. It was so exotic and forbidden to little girls, so of course I reveled in it, until grandma found out. I still love a good matte red, imprinted on me by Grandma Lucy.
I love her lips. You can own this vintage ad via eBay.
  • My first very-own lipsticks were by Yardley. I treasured the off-white frosted Yardley that I thought made me look just like Twiggy. My lips were probably rather ghastly in retrospect.
Oh yeah, I had the “Dollies”, circa 1968. Image.
  • During my college years, I wore virtually no makeup. I was a Serious Student, with no time for such frivolities. Short, curly hair, jeans and turtlenecks every day, Chapstick on my lips and books under my arm.  If Clearasil counts as makeup, that was my brand.
  • As a young professional I did lots of experimenting with color. I loved to drift by the cosmetics counters at the big department stores and try the latest shades. Dark violet is in? I want it. No-color lips? I had them. Because I was enjoying spreading my fashion and beauty wings, I bought the “better” brands, like Estee Lauder and Lancome.
I love the classic gold tone case. Image, and a great site here, discussing all things lipstick.
  • From about age 45 to 60, in my busy middle years, my lips were treated to mainly rosy pinks. I had a few true favorites by Revlon (back to the drugstore!), with an occasional trip to Sephora or Ulta for fun. But nary a fuchsia nor a nude would touch my lips.
  • My most recent lipstick chapter has gotten more experimental again. No workplace to dress for, and a casual wardrobe, means I can wear any color I like. I’m in an orange-y mood right now, with Maybelline Electric Orange. I also like a medium pink matte liquid, like e.l.f.’s in Mauvelous. It’s good to know oneself, and to experiment, and the journey has been fun as well.

Joy is the best makeup. But a little lipstick is a close runner-up.

Lady Gaga

Do you have a lipstick story? Please share.

Stay fabulous, xo

Wear what you love, always. Here are some goodies to browse:


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  1. I am always in search of the perfect Red – a few have come close, but I think there’s one that is just a bit better out there. I don’t remember when I started wearing lipstick regularly, but now I wouldn’t be without it, preferably red.

  2. I typically use the lipsticks that come with the Clinique gift bags each year. They always have colors I like. Occasionally I treat myself to a color from the Wet-n-Wild counter at the drugstore. It’s amazing how a new lipstick color can lift one’s spirits.

  3. I wore Lip Smackers root beer lip gloss in the mid 70’s. It came in a huge tube. I left it in my VW bug one hot day and it melted all over. It had just a bit of color and could be applied on the run, which was my life back then. School, job, etc.

    • Hi Amy and thanks for coming by. I remember Lip Smackers, sorry about your melting incident! Like most of us over 50, my first car was a VW bug. Loved it. Stay fab, xx.

  4. for most of my life I wore mostly a nude or natural lip. it was only after letting my hair go gray that I “discovered” red lipstick, mostly rich berry shades. My all time go to was Estee Lauder, Black Wine which sadly they no longer make. currently liking Chanel Marthe an Glossier Vesper.

    • Good morning Darby and thanks for coming by. Oh yes, Black Wine was gorgeous – all kinds of tones in one lipstick. I’ll be checking on the two others you mentioned! Have a lovely day, xx.

  5. I’m a drugstore kind of lipstick lover! When I was a teen it was all about Revlon’s Love That Red, but I couldn’t really pull that off now. I am more of a nude/ darker nude kind of lipstick (when I’m not wearing a mask!). My current favourite is actually from Maybelline!

    • Hi Nicole, and happy Friday! That Revlon red is the best, truest red, and it takes a good attitude to rock it – I bet you did. Stay fab and have a great weekend, xx.

  6. My first lipstick was Yardley’s Pot o’ Gloss. Super gloppy and glossy, but I felt wonderful in it! Now, I have discovered Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, which, though it doesn’t necessarily stay on ALL day, does a pretty good job and does not come off on my mask.
    Thanks for the memories!

    • Hi Barbara! I had forgotten the Pot o’ Gloss! That was joy. I’ll give the Stila a try, as the search for the true all-day lipstick continues. Have a wonderful day, xx.

  7. My first favorite lipstick brand was also Yardley – Those ghostly frosty pales – Slickers – I even had one with a bluish tint! But gorgeous packaging, the pink, purple striped metal tubes and Jean Shrimpton in the ads!

    • Hi Ramona! Thanks for coming by. Jean Shrimpton was absolutely *everything* when I was teen. Have a great weekend, xx.

  8. Thank You I really enjoyed your Proust like Remembrance of Things Past: via lipstick post. I remember using those messy little pots of shinny lip gloss and wearing that too light lipstick happily thinking I looked so hip.My Last lipstick adventure was trying to copy that French red lip look but although beautiful for some it is not a good look for me. I now enjoy a natural lip color and have really liked your Bare Minerals and Elf suggestions that new Dior Lip Glow Oil goody looks great for winter and will be next on my list.

    • Hi Joan and thanks for your comments! The French red lip is for sure beautiful but not easy to wear for every day, eh? I have my eye on the Dior Lip Glow oil too, it looks luxurious. Stay well and fabulous, xx.

  9. My first—and mother approved—was Tangee Natural— If you put enough on you could get a little color. Purchased at the local small town five and dime who would tell your mother if you bought anything else! Thanks for the memories.

    • Hello Lynda, thanks for coming by. I remember Tangee Natural too! I think my grandmother wore the more vivid Tangee shades and I used Natural, which was orange on me – and that was fine : > Enjoy your day, xx.

  10. Oh, yes, my favorite as a teenager in the 50’s was Milk maid’s Pixie Pink….I only remembered the name, not the brand so googled it and Milk Maid came up because someone else wrote about this fabulous popular shade from the 50’s.
    I also love Burt’s Bees glimmer stick, Caramel but have several shades of it. Thanks for the fun reminder of those years of “glamour”.

    • Hi Joan and thanks for coming by and commenting! I looked up Pixie Pink and you’re right – it’s a gorgeous almost-red. And a big yes to Burt’s Bees glimmer sticks. Have a wonderful day, xx.

  11. I went through a similar evolution and just as I was really getting comfortable (at 57) with almost no makeup and bold red lips, the pandemic hit and put an end to lipstick! I still put it on at home for a lift!

    • Hi Kerri-Lee and thanks for your comment! I love, love the no-makeup-except-red-lips look. Let’s try it today for fun! Have a lovely day, xx.

  12. Does anyone else remember “mood” lipsticks? You bought the tube of green, or aqua, or yellow, and when it hit your lips it turned into a natural shade that was flattering (or not, in my case with the yellow stick). They were fun, and inexpensive, and widely available for a short year or so.

    I remember some throw-away comment in a fashion magazine in the aughts, don’t remember for what brand of lipstick: ” … a startling yet surprisingly wearable violet shade …”.

    Bolstered by that photographic evidence, I started wearing a shade that could best be described as royal purple. It WAS surprisingly wearable, against my cool-toned skin. That color soon enough went out of style and is no more to be found at my drugstore cosmetic display. Should have stocked up on it while it was still around.

    • Of course, the green lipstick that turned fuchsia! I loved that, thanks for the memories. And funny enough, I’m looking at violet shades right now too. thanks for coming over, Lin, xx.

  13. That certainly brought back memories for me, especially the part about the “white” or “pale pale pale pink” lips. I look at photos of myself from that era and think, “Um. Okay.” LOL. These days, at 70, I like some of the Younique products.

    • Good morning Scotti and thanks for coming by. The white lip look wasn’t my best either : >. Have a lovely day, xx.

  14. Interesting! My lipstick journey has ended in lip gloss. It took many years for me to admit lipstick is not my friend. I look and feel so much better in rosy or mauve shades of lipgloss – not the sticky, icky stuff. The smooth shiny slightly colored type makes me happy. Happy Thursday!

    • Oh yes, like the Burt’s Bee’s glosses? Those are wonderful and you don’t need a mirror! Thanks for coming over, and stay fab, xx.

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