Sharp Monica

An honest voice in Italian paradise.

Lip Color? House Paint?

Continuing with another personal care story from Europe.

I won’t lie, I love red lip color. In my younger years I liked to use it French-style on the weekends in Seattle, just a fresh-scrubbed face and red lipstick. I read somewhere that it was a French thing. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, but it looked smokin’ with my black Gucci frames.

The issue with red lipstick though? If it smudges, you look like that mom losing her mind in the David Lynch masterpiece Wild at Heart, which I seem to remember I have recently evoked here in this space. No wonder, considering I watched it about a dozen times, and still did not really understand what it was about. (“If I had a dog, you would probably think that that dog’s name is Toto!’)

My husband knows how much I love red lip color. In 2017, for my birthday, he took the kids down to Le Vanita and had them pick out some personal care items and cosmetics for me. Victor opted for a loofah glued to a wooden stick that never saw active duty, being commandeered instead as a toy until the loofah fell off. The loofah mildewed in the shower basket over the course of months and was eventually thrown away when it looked more like a specimen collected on a Jacques Cousteau expedition during a dive. The stick is still around the house somewhere.

Eleanor selected lip color. Not just any lip color, but the unfortunately branded Italian Pupa lip color. At first I thought it was Saudi, because their makeup always looks fantastic and the packing featured a lot of Arabic. Actually I thought it was Saudi for a long time, because I had apparently forgotten how to look thing up on the interwebs. I was too busy enjoying my lip color.

It was a dark red, a two-sided tube with a little stick for each section. The stain side of the tube was applied with a bit of foam on the end of one stick. The gloss side of the tube was accessed with a tiny paintbrush. Eleanor also helpfully selected a lip liner pencil in the same color: 006. Fire Red, perfect for me. My girl knows me, and for the record, she was two at the time.

I was dubious at first, as I am a failure when it comes to liquid cosmetics, even as I aspire to their expert application. Someday, just to amuse you, I will attempt to apply one of my many liquid eyeliners, and will take a series of selfies and post them here for my reading audience. The effect is always far from glamorous.

This lip color changed my life. The number for the shade calls to mind secret agents in Her Majesty’s Service with perfect lips. “Bond, bring me my 006 for our rendezvous in Geneva.” If I put it on dry lips in the morning, it stays all day long. Through lunch. A quick sweep of the gloss revives it. It looks amazing. Every time I wear it, I get compliments. From Italians. It stays on until I take it off at night with cleansing oil or one of those makeup removal wipes. It was about 15 euros for a tube, but it lasts a year, because you only need to put it on once in the morning, like underwear. I never liked fidgeting around putting lipstick on during the day. I don’t like the faces you have to make in public to make it go on right, yawning with your jaw, pulling your top lip taut with your cheek muscles.

I worry a tiny bit about what is in the Pupa 24-hour lip color. I jokingly call it house paint, but it comes off with emollient or oil or chapstick. No turpentine needed. The website says it is dermo tested and paraben free. I have purchased two more tubes of it since last summer, a replacement 006 and also 001 – Hot Coral, a rather more summery color. They do not disappoint.

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