I am a self-admitted lipstick lover. I collect them in much the same way that a magpie picks up shiny bottle tops: I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it but I rather like the look of it.
Then every few years I have a big clearout and dispose of dozens of unused cylinders of Pearly Gates Pink, Hallowe’en Green, Cadaver Black, Deep Purple, William of Orange, Putrid Puce and Miami Midas Gold.
My most recent cosmetic clearance though was altogether different. Last year I threw out my favourite lippies – the ones that I wore every day. It was a wrench to lose them but they had to go, you see I discovered that they didn’t love me like I loved them. In fact, they were full of horrible things like parabens, lead and liquid paraffin. (Well I did keep the Schiap by Nars. It’s screaming matte pink is irreplaceable. But I resolved to wear it no more than once a month.)
There are only three colours that I actually truly wear: shocking pink; deep fuchsia and RED. Red lipstick is the ultimate seducer. Picture Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth in your mind’s eye for a moment. What do you see? Exactly. Red is for women, not girls. It needs to be deep. It needs to be rich. It needs to be luscious.
Over dinner Iris’s friend Donald leans towards me with a conspiratorial air. “Do you know what red lipstick was first made of?” he asks. “Cockroaches,” I reply nonchalantly. Actually, I know that the red dye is not really made from cockroaches, rather from the cochineal insect but I enjoy the frissance of saying “cockroaches” loudly in a crowded restaurant.
Donald ups the stakes: “OK so do you know why women first wore red lipstick?” I try to appear magnanimous in defeat. “No. Please do tell me.”
“Well, it was Roman prostitutes,” he raises his voice a couple of notches, “they wore it to signify that they would give blow jobs!” Donald is a top model agent in New York so I guess he knows what he's talking about. He grins from ear to ear like a contemporary Caligula.
When it comes to the new beauty, skincare is in the vanguard. Independent alchemists all over the world have been mixing and refining rare herbs and oils to create some of the most luxurious creams and unctions that womankind has known. But on the make-up front the beauty revolution is still skirmishing in the trenches. I don’t understand why that is.
“It may be because the product development is so expensive,” says Imelda. When I think about it that makes sense. Once you’ve blended a basic face cream it’s just a matter of adding various precious extracts to create a line of cosmetics. But make-up requires a large array of colours and formulations. It’s obviously much more complex.
If there is one brand that is taking groundbreaking strides towards the future of face paint it is Organic Glam. They produce a small range but every product that I have tried so far has been stellar.
I unwrap my tube of Organic Glam Red lipstick. The packaging is classic: a slim oblong of black with discreet gold trim. At first inspection the colour looks disappointingly brownish. But wait, we’re in the magical world of natural beauty – everything is not what it seems. I twist the cylinder and slick on the lippy. On my lips it turns out a beautiful shade of intense, long-lasting carmine with a deep, velvety gloss. It glows. It smoulders. It rocks!
Organic Glam is the ultimate come-hither red. Make sure that you carry an exquisitely enamelled compact mirror in your handbag so that you can seductively touch up your red in a public place and enjoy those backward glances. They know they can't afford you.