some lipstick and moisturiser and horror

Later this week: mascara. There will be waterproof mascara, of three sorts. Over the course of rather a long post, you’ll also be able to watch me stumble clumsily through a decision-making process. All this will be accompanied by at least one song, of dubious appropriateness. It’ll be fun!

Meanwhile, here are three experimental failures and a success.


I’m ethically OK with using BH: formulated before my own FCOD (03-2012). It’s an amazing perfect colour on me: it is my very definition of My Lips But Better. Other pluses: No scent. No irritation. Doesn’t dry my lips out.

But it doesn’t last.

Various indie brands have near-misses, usually too orange-brown or going that way (oxidation) before the end of the day, because of restricting their colouring agents to iron oxides. Or too fuchsia-pink. Lavera had one that was close, about ten years ago, but it was irritating (mint, for starters). That’s the other issue: this “green” overuse of essential oils in every damn thing.

The closest have been from Silk Naturals. The kisser slicker in Nectar is very close indeed, but slightly too brown and not berry enough. Mixed with or under their Raindrops on Roses and you’re closer. SN’s berry lipsticks are nice, but while they include dupes for a wide range of various berry lipsticks from many brands as well as many beautiful original inventions, none (so far) is a true and accurate replica of Black Honey.


I found something that is actually more subtle and maybe less long-lasting (it fades away gracefully) but moister than Black Honey: Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Red Dahlia. (All images below link to the products concerned, in fresh shiny new windows/tabs.)


INGREDIENTS: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Olus (Vegetable Oil), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Candelilla Cera (Euphorbia Cerifera Wax), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Aroma (Natural Flavor), Lanolin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cananga Odorata Flower Wax, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Wax, Ammonium Glycyrrhizinate, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Canola Oil (Huile De Colza), May Contain:, Alumina, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Carmine (CI 75470), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

Swatched on skin, again it’s browner than Black Honey. On lips, it’s a similar shade. See, you do need to apply stuff to lips too, to see what the resulting colour will be: unless you’re cancelling out their colour with foundation or some primery stuff (and who has time for that), there will be a base colour that changes the shade you’re applying on top. No way round that, and tricky in a store as testers will all have been grossly and horribly abused. Often by the more repulsive sort of teenager and by other people’s disgusting small children. Lipsticks are doubtless responsible for the latter’s exposure to herpes via the former, and the former’s passing around the latter’s snotty colds. Lipstick samples are a public health hazard.

The only compromise would be to swatch on nipples, because they’re usually the same shade as your lips. Unfortunately, social codes prohibit this unless you’re exposing a nipple for the purpose of feeding a child. Even then, it can be problematic. (Other people, and some parts of the world and their cultures, are so fascinatingly strange!)

Breasts need to go public. It’s a feminist issue: anyone who uses lipstick and thinks they’re not a feminist, think again, and think of using your nipples for one of their God(s-and/or-Goddesses)-intended purposes, the safe and hygienic testing of lipsticks. Nipples, like the rest of your body, aren’t all about sex, or someone else’s use of you: be that men adults or children, you are more than someone else’s object, toy, or food-supply. [Ed. adding: And remember, boys and girls, that abusive and dubiously-consenting relations and relationships are equal opportunity, open to of all: straight cis-men are not the only fruit.] Reclaim your body. See Femen for further details; and next time you see them (or pictures of them) in action, look carefully at the colours they’ve chosen to use to for writing messages on themselves. See? Feminism and lipstick are compatible. Feminism’s all about “and/both” rather than “either/or” anyway.

But I digress. Red Dahlia is jolly good, and cheap. Moisturising. Slight taste, jasmine I think, but like the remnants of a cup of tea on the lip. Nice. Give it a try.

No animal testing. Contains carmine but when I called CS, they said it’s not from crushed beetles cos cheaper (and apologised, weirdly; apparently the bug-carmine is a superior finer shade; which makes no sense as the whole point of the CI system is to standardise dyes). The company is owned by Clorox, whom I like to support as they’ve been greening up and transferring what they learn from greener companies they buy to their own. Green Works household cleaning products, for example. Available (like Burt’s Bees) widely, and cheaply: around RRP USD6.99 and usually CAD7.99-9.99. It’s good for the green movement to be democratic, as green-ness should become normal. Otherwise, aside from also wrecking a planet along the way, we’ll all die. Which would be unfortunate. Marginalise nasty non-green-ness!

OK, now the fails.


Much touted on MakeupAlley as being like Black Honey but with more staying-power and moisture: Laura Mercier Stickgloss in Black Orchid.



1. It is not the same shade. On my hand, it is more purple: makes BH look brown in comparison. On my lips, it is definitely fucking purple. Not a distinguished imperial murex. More Wal-Mart Glam Rocker Hallowe’en costume. Now, I should remind you that I’m not Lady Gaga (who could probably make anything look good). On me, this stuff is ghastly. I’m cool-toned with pinkish lips. Many cooler shades look better on me: Lipstick Queen Medieval, purple-framed glasses, etc. But I also have red hair and some freckles. And purple lipstick is a total utter violet-shrinking disaster.

2. It smells appalling. There’s a fake sweetness, and some sense of covering up an underlying stench of corruption, it’s that sweet and a bit dried-floral and cloying.

I don’t blame Laura Mercier: I get this perception of horror with a lot of sweet smells. Some of it is aldehydes. There’s a lot to do with lilies and the other cut (dead) flowers that are left on family graves on All Souls’ Day in continental Europe; the flowers then sag and fester, becoming gloomy grimness itself within about five minutes because it’s pretty much always cold and damp if not actively raining at that time of year. If you’re doing your cemetery-walking business in the afternoon, the pervasive floral reek is at the height of its loathsomeness. Once, on the way back from a previous night’s hard partying, I saw them queuing up outside the cemetery gates, jostling to be first in when they open. So I’m sure the real reason why little old ladies do their grave-tending first thing in the morning is for maximum impact on the less virtuous who aren’t up and busy at first light. Not “po-faced” but “Poe-faced,” the evil hags.

And anyway, I hate fucking “larks.”


3. It tastes appalling. See (2) above, add notes of rubbery plastic as if you chewed a Melissa plastic shoe. Not that I have ever tried to eat or even just lick one (ditto putrescent flowers on graves, and corpses), but I bought a pair of lovely gladiator sandals last year and had to return them because the stench was unlivable, even at the distance that my feet are from my nose.

4. My lips started to sting in an irritated way. That clinched it and, happily, woke me from my groggy noisome rêveries before their poisonousness turned necrotic and lost me forever in Lovecraftiana.

So I removed it, gagged, spat, cleaned lips, applied a tonne of shea butter, removed it, drank coffee (it’s good for resetting disturbed taste and smell), and carried on. An expensive and agonising mistake, but at least I lived to tell the tale. Unlike most principal protagonists in horror stories.


LM Stickgloss ingredients for the shades I tried, just for the record:




The same, in Brown Sugar.

Same comments on sickly sweetness and underlying hints of decomposing corpse, except the colour is closer to Black Honey. Courtisane too, but more reddish-pink. Both are lovely colours. Good luck to you.

[Ed. adding: I swabbed both lipsticks down with alcohol and donated them to a women’s shelter. They will not be wasted, which is ecologically important. Someone else will be able to use and love them. That makes me feel happy, definitely easily happy enough to balance out my losses. Give, share, spread the love (and money and things): everyone ends up happier, and that is good.]


Garden of Wisdom Wynter Wonder cream. Looks stupendous on paper:



And feels lovely on the back of the hand. If you have a heavy cold and have lost all sense of smell, it might be a perfect and wondrous moisturiser. But the problem is a Lovecraftian one again: open the jar and lo: a wave of oceanic fragrance washes over you, Deeply Dagonian malodours envelop you in their tentacles; inhale and they invade your nose and lungs and drown you in Eau d’Innsmouth.

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