Collage of nude glossy lips

I’ve recently admitted to myself something I could never quite put into words: I hate lip gloss.

I had three lip glosses and I didn’t love any of them. So, I went out to see if I could find some new ones, maybe in a sublime autumn shade. I went to Bon Ton, because they sell Clinique, my go-to brand. Usually I trust (and revere) make up people. I am more than willing to put my lip color fate in their hands. I was foolish. The woman who helped me was: a) the only person for miles around, b) seemed to be just picking colors at random and c) was coughing constantly. She ignored me as I tried on one lip gloss after another, each one making my lips gooey-er. “…It’s sticky, uh, can’t wipe it off, it’s sooo sticky…”

I thanked her. Then I ran away.

Driving home I realized something: I don’t think I like lip gloss. I don’t like the feeling of glue on my lips. Oh my God. I hate lip gloss. I’ve felt this way my whole life!

I also realized: I get extremely stressed out shopping for lipstick because I’m afraid I’m going to buy the wrong color and basically throw away $24. I thought back to my last real purchase: Clinique “Angel Red” lipstick, a very dark red I bought last year and never used. I maybe wore it once. It looks terrible on me. And I can’t return it.

I became faced with the tragedy that I have no good lipsticks or lip glosses, or lip “wear” of any kind. I just wear lip balm all the time. Mostly Burt’s Bees Peppermint Lip Balm. I have a tinted Burt’s Bees lip balm (in “Rose”) that’s quite nice. Oh, I do have one lipstick that I like. Clinique “Bamboo Pink”. It’s the  perfect subtle color for me which is funny because I didn’t chose it. It came in a free gift from Clinique. It’s very natural looking and reminds me of the the lipstick my stepmother chose after she “had her colors done” that I secretly wore all the time in high school.

I don’t know why I didn’t think I could return make up if I’d used it. I remember hearing a CVS radio ad a long time ago that advertised their risk free policy. love it or return it. Or something like that. For some reason I thought, drug store make up is returnable, but fancy make up store make up is not.

Now, with a sense of urgency, I went to Ulta to look for lip stuff. I walked all over that place. I couldn’t seem to figure out how to pick a color. With all the sales people busy, there was no one to clean the testers or give me a q-tip to apply it. Hmmm. Am I supposed to just try out the testers on my hand? How is that even helpful? Or should I just pick a product at random and hope for the best? I don’t have a lot of experience with different brands so I don’t even know which ones are good. I always hear about NARS and people rave about their lip pencils, or crayons or whatever they are. A lot of people like MAC but the people who work there freak me out. I mean, I was goth before it had a name but I can’t deal with the MAC girls. Alta doesn’t sell those brands anyway. They have a large selection, but everything seems more on the drugstore level. I started to wonder if I should have gone to Sephora. So I ended up grabbing two options from Burt’s Bees: a Lip Shimmer in “Caramel” and a Lip Crayon in “Hawaiian Smolder”, without trying them on. This of course made me very uncomfortable but I had done so many laps around that place and even though I love an excuse to rack up steps on my Fitbit, I was getting to the point where I didn’t care anymore. I went to check out. That’s when I noticed the woman next to me was returning 7 concealers.

This was when I started to think, “Maybe you don’t have to test everything out in the store, you can just buy stuff and return what you don’t like.” After I was almost finished paying, I casually asked what the return policy was. As the cashier responded, but I only half heard her “…within 60 days…with receipt…no more than 25 percent of the product used…” or something like that. I wasn’t really listening because: OH MY GOD. You can return used makeup?

I ended up admitting that “Hawaiian Smolder” is not my color. Back it went.

At Target, where I seem to find myself daily—I need to get a life—I picked up two Burt’s Bees Lip Shines. One called “Peachy” which looks okay, but tastes like peach which surprised me for some reason and one called “Spontaneity”.

A few days after that, I went to Sephora. A lovely girl helped me and she really helped me! She guided me to a couple colors that work with my coloring. Thank you, Tara! I got a NARS Satin Lip Pencil in “Hyde Park” and Laura Mercier Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm in “Raspberry Ripple”.

It’s so funny to me, because I usually ignore posts about make up. I just don’t take an interest. I’m like, “What is there to know about make up that I don’t already know?” And here I am writing a novel about… lipstick.