Sunday, 2 August 2009

Hot Lipstick

Lately I’ve been staying in too much. Not just in my flat but in my bathroom. I sit on the edge of the bath amidst a phalanx of mirrors. I inspect my head from every angle. I ponder my forehead. Is it possible to arrange the few short hairs into a Joan-of-Arc style fringe? I examine the back. Is my crown one giant bald spot or is it just the angle of the light? Would it be less apparent if my hair were a different colour?

But mostly I just stare at myself in much the same way that a cat regards its own reflection. That is to say, with an attitude of wary puzzlement. I look away and then back, trying to catch myself unawares. My mind won’t seem to come to terms with my new appearance. That thing looks strangely familiar but what is it? Do I look like a baby? An old man? David Bowie? ET?
I consider the notion of getting dressed and going out into the street just as I am. The thought of it makes me feel like I’ve just woken up from one of those dreams where I’m naked on a crowded tube train. It’s too confronting.

The bathroom cupboard bulges with cosmetic fads and freebies accumulated over years. Things that I never wear - yet they seem too good to throw away. At last, their moment has come. I envision one of those window mannequins with an impossibly long neck, bald head, huge eyelashes and extravagantly painted make-up. That’s my new role model – a gorgeous dummy. I grasp a clutch of goodies: black glitter liner; a palette of vivid green eyeshadows and, best of all, fabulous lipsticks galore. There’s Laura Mercier Tango Red, Nars Schiap Pink and Rimmel Funtime Fuchsia.

“Stop!” I hear you cry. “You lunatic. Don’t apply that evil poisonous face paint.” Oh, ok, maybe I do give a little bit of a damn. A quick google reveals that the whole deadly carcinogenic lipstick thing springs from a hoax email that has been doing the rounds for years. I wonder who bothers to dream up these pointless posts? Hooray, I can have fun without the fear of a premature demise. Then, as is the way with the internet, further trawling throws up further opinions. The Cosmetic Safety Database lists more than a thousand lipsticks. There’s a traffic light chart indicating how benign or toxic each one is. I can’t find any of my three. Furthermore I’ve simply run out of enthusiasm for genning up on all the friendly household items that might one day turn around and kill me.

Maybe next week I will investigate where to find a stunning scarlet that is as natural as a baby’s bottom. Or should you have a few hundred spare hours on your hands I direct you to and Please let me know how you get on.
Right now I’ve just finished applying three layers of the Schiap. The effect is startling. Is it Joan Crawford? Audrey Hepburn? David Bowie? I don’t care. I love it.