Nancy Roman

The History of Lipstick, Chapter 60

Continuing the History of Lipstick, I’ve glossed over (pun intended) Chapters 2-59.

Here are a few of the chapters you have missed:

  • Good Color, Bad Taste
  • Tastes Great, Weird Color
  • Moisturizing –  Like Chalk
  • Perfumed Enough for Pepe Le Pieu – And Right Under My Nose
  • Cracks Under Pressure
  • Gone in Sixty Seconds
  • A Pink-To-Purple Chameleon
  • The Drifter
  • Melted at the Beach
  • Sticks to My Teeth; To My Lips Not So Much
  • Moonlights as Molasses
  • Uncapped in my Purse – Subtitled:  Kleenex Lint

So now I am at Chapter Sixty, a tragic tale you may know only too well:


Oh yes.  I found the perfect lipcolor.  The shade is flattering, the durability is wonderful, the price is low.

It’s Maybelline’s 18-Hour Colorstay Lipcolor.

On one end is a color stain with a doe-footed (what a pretty term) wand.  Apply.  Let dry for a few seconds.  Then apply the clear gloss on the other end.   All I have to do is reapply the gloss after lunch.   It really does last all day.

It’s Perfect.  (Well, almost perfect – it doesn’t plump up my lips. But hell, nothing does.)

So a few weeks ago I am scraping the last of the color out with my little doe foot, and that’s it.  Nothing.  So I head on over to my favorite spot in the world – the cosmetic aisle at the drugstore, and that’s when I see it.

I don’t see it.

There is no Maybelline 18-Hour Colorstay Lipcolor.

There is now Maybelline 24-Hour Colorstay Lipcolor.

I’m good with this. I know this is a major sought-after breakthrough.  When I get up at 3AM to pee (you just wait, you snickering whippersnappers),  my lips will still look great.

But – the colors don’t match.

I am using a color that appears to be 775 – the font is really really tiny… at the narrowest end of its little nose.  And I am now looking at a color that is called 150.  This surprises me. I had no idea there were 625 shades between the pinkish-brown I have in my hand and the pinkish-brown I have at home.

But the color looks close to me, so I go ahead with my purchase.  At home, on my own little lips, the color is a light tan.  Now 1966 was a pretty good year, but I no longer have the poor-boy sweater and matching over-the-knee socks.

So the next time I go to the drugstore, I bring along the dead carcass of  775.   Since 150 looked right, but turned out to be too pale, I find a color that’s just a little darker than my dear 775.  I get home and it’s the right shade all right.  But bedazzled.  Despite what the magazines say about sparkly colors making thin lips look fuller, the real truth is that people think, sometimes aloud, “My, what sparkly little lips.”

On my third try at the drugstore, I brought 775 and the two rejects.   I found a shade that could nestle among them pretty well, that looked dazzle-free.  And it truly  is pretty close – just plum-ier.

So now my frugal Maybelline lipcolor is one pricey mama.

But here’s the part that is crazy-making:




I feel quite like I did when Leon told me he would love me forever, but ten days later I saw him at the movies with Carol.

But I’m missing my old Maybelline  775 more than old Leon.


  1. bigsheepcommunications

    Is Maybelline trying to infuriate its customers? Maybe you could call customer service and ask them to send you a case of 775 – I bet they have a stash of it on a shelf in a warehouse somewhere.

    Your array of similar colors reminds me of trying to pick out just the right shade of white paint from tiny little samples – it simply can’t be done.

    If it’s any consolation, I’m sure that my lips look pale and dry when I get up to pee at 3 a.m. : )


    • What I wonder – about myself with all those lipsticks shades – that are SO CLOSE – does it really matter? Apparently it does, because I keep looking!


  2. Oh my goodness, this made me laugh. And I completely relate. Once I loved a Perscriptives lipstick, and I thought that love would last forever. And yes, it DOES matter. Lipstick is a delicate business. Thanks for making me smile on a dreary Monday!


    • bigsheepcommunications

      It must matter, otherwise they’d only make 10 different shades instead of hundreds.


  3. Oh wow. You got it. I don’t even wear anything on my lips anymore except for nivea chapstick unless I’m going to a wedding or a job interview for all of your reasons.


  4. I work in retail and this happens all the time. We overhaul our cosmetics aisle twice a year to clear out the “old” and make room for the new items. So I’m very often consoling someone who’s favorite item has been discontinued.

    CVS has a money-back guarantee on their makeup, so you can return the colors that you thought would be fine and turn out looking terrible. At least you wouldn’t have to pay for the wrong ones.


    • But I might decide I like those colors…. maybe….


      • Oh boy, am I living your life or are you living mine? Because I soooo know what you’re talking about.


  5. Great post! I so identify with the pee at 3. On nights when I’ve gone out, the lipstick is still there. I always jump, trying to figure out who that woman in mirror is.


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