On a More Subdued Lip

I’ve made no secret of my love of red lips. In fact, I have an embarrassingly large collection of red lipsticks and it grows every month. I still need to share some of my latest finds, but this is not where I plan to do that. Today, I want to talk a little bit about what I wear when I’m not wearing a red lip.

What? I know, I’ve said before that I consider red lipstick exempt from “no-makeup” days, and some days I will wear not a stitch of other makeup, but will make sure my lips are an enjoyable shade of crimson. But some days, I really wear something else. Of course, something else can mean a full-coverage, traditional lipstick in another color, like plum, berry, or rose, but other days, I like to wear a subdued lip.

Lately, I’ve gotten interested in tinted lip balms. I like the ease of a tinted balm for weekends, when I really don’t wear makeup, or for events where I know food will be a focus and I won’t want to fussily check and reapply lipstick (even my longest-wear options will not survive some foods). Or if I’m going to an event where I want a polished, but low-maintenance-looking look. And sometimes red lipstick with jeans looks just a bit too Taylor Swift for someone north of her thirties.

The tinted balm I’ve been enjoying recently is Revlon’s Colorburst Lip Butter. Now, some of the shades are quite pigmented, but the finish is still glossy and sheer. I can see my lip color variations through it. The brightest one I have is Lollipop, which I actually bought thinking it would be sheerer than it is. It comes out a very bright pink, but settles to a nice shade that isn’t too powerful. For Sunday morning coffee dates, I like the shade Berry Smoothie, which is my quintessential “my lips but better” shade. And for a bit of fun, I got the neon orange Juicy Papaya. It goes on a sheer but bright coral color on my fairly pink lips and is a nice way to get some orange into my life with spring and summer coming up, without going full coral lipstick. The Revlon lip butters smell a bit fruity to me.

Another reason I like tinted lip balm is that some of them also have sun protection. For days when I’m going to be outside a bit, I use Maybelline Baby Lips in Quench, which smells slightly citrusy and provides a light layer of moisture and protection, under my lipstick. But I can’t really reapply often when I’m wearing lipstick, which limits the effectiveness of the SPF 20.

If I’m going to be spending the day outside, I reach for L’Oreal Colour Riche Balm, which combines sheer color with SPF 15. The low SPF is alright because I will reapply a sheer balm often. And the two shades I have work for a range of situations. Plush Plum is a slightly more pigmented plum-berry color that looks like a “done” lip. I’m wearing it to work today because I felt like wearing a softer lip. For a sheerer, MLBB look, I reach for Rose Elixir, which looks bright in the tube, but is quite sheer. Both of these would be ideal for my lake house vacations when I spend much of the day outside reading a book, but still want to look presentable when we go out for brunch or dinner. I find the L’Oreal balms smell of burnt sugar.

Sadly, I haven’t gotten pictures of these, but they are widely available at drugstores, Target, or Ulta, so I encourage you to check them out! Also, I have not received any incentive to write about these products; I just purchased them and liked them.

Friday Musings: Lip Treatments, Asian Skin Care, and Lady Friends

I was going to post about the new lip treatment I made this weekend, but I am not as enamored with as I thought I would be. I wanted something similar to the Bite Beauty Agave Lip mask because, while I love that, it’s rather expensive and it seems like I could make something similar for less money. Plus, I wanted to incorporate honey instead of agave into it. So I made a version of Egyptian Magic, but with some coconut oil instead of beeswax, so it had more of a soft texture than a salve/balm texture. Unfortunately, coconut oil always feels too light on my lips. I suppose the lanolin in the BB mask is necessary. I shall keep experimenting.


So as you know, I’ve been shaking up my skin care routine. After going about a month without putting anything but water and a little rosehip oil on my face, I’ve determined that I have dehydrated, combination skin, and I get clogged pores in my oily areas. I found Caroline Hirons, who convinced me to use non-foaming cleansers, perform a two-step cleansing in the evening, and layer my skin care to create a “moisture sandwich.” She also taught me the benefits of using hyaluronic acid on breakout-prone skin.

I took this one further and joined Reddit this week. I at first started posting in the Skincare Addiction subreddit, but soon found that many of the posts that interested me were in the Asian Beauty section. My routine is already an Asian-style routine, with several layered steps. And this week’s research has convinced me to try some actual Asian products to replace certain steps of my routine.

Of course, no Westerner’s discussion of Asian skin care is complete without mentioning the snails. One of the higher-profile Asian skin care ingredients is snail slime, which is supposed to have benefits to repairing the skin. So I mentioned to Boyfriend that I might try snail skin care and his response was that I wasn’t “allowed” to use snails. This naturally made me determined to put snails on my face. I went to some well-reputed Amazon sellers and found two bundles of sheet masks (a product I use, but that I have currently run out of) that each included one snail secretion sheet mask, among others that are also intriguing. For good measure, I threw in some cushion makeup and an undereye concealer with salmon in it. They just arrived yesterday, so we shall see how they treat my face.

And then, I plan to replace items in my current routine with Asian options as I run out, if I’m not already in love with the product I’m using. Most intriguing is Asian sunblock. Asian women seem to have the same love of tanning that I do: that is to say, none at all. And so they actually wear sunscreen every day and reapply it. This means that it has to be light and cosmetically elegant enough to wear every day without disrupting makeup. So I’m intrigued to see if an Asian sunscreen is more appealing than the current product I use.

I’ve also taken a step back from “clean” personal care. I still use a lot of my old favorites, and my hair will always prefer more natural products without silicones and the sulfates necessary to wash them out. But I’ve come to realize that certain ingredients I was avoiding were based on outdated research. And so I’ve tentatively embraced more conventional, albeit unconventional, products.

Finally, as I continue to delve more into skin care and makeup, I’m thankful for my lady friends. This weekend, I’m having an outing with two friends of mine, so we can go to Sephora and Ulta, and maybe Target, and just generally shop around. I don’t do a lot of shopping, and part of that is that I find shopping alone to be awkward and shopping with Boyfriend to feel rushed. I’m excited to shop with a group of ladies who wants to be there! And it will be a far different experience than researching online to find a product that I was already looking for.

So that was my week and look forward to the weekend. Happy Friday, all!

Homemade Beeswax Balm for Lips and Cuticles

In my post on skincare, I mentioned my homemade beeswax balm that I keep by my bedside to protect lips and cuticles while I sleep. I’ve always found beeswax has provided a superior balm for my lips. I lick and bite my lips and drink often, so I sometimes find it hard to keep my lips from getting chapped. Add the cold weather to that, and you have a recipe for flaky, sore lips. This does not give a nice canvas for lipstick, one of my favorite makeup items, so I generally have close to a half a dozen little tubes of lip balm around me in purses and drawers and makeup bags. But I’m so picky about the balms I like that I decided to make my own.


I based this balm in on recipes I found online, but adjusted it for my own preferences. Many recipes include shea butter, which is a wonderful butter for a lot of people. The problem is that I find it makes me break out, and because I wanted this to be a sort of all-purpose balm, I needed all the ingredients to be friendly to my entire person. I chose avocado oil because it’s full of good fats, but doesn’t have as strong a smell as olive oil, and I’m planning on giving this batch away as gifts. Any other neutral oil would probably work, or you can try olive oil and see if the smell bothers you. And unrefined, yellow beeswax, gives it a lovely faint honey scent. I include a bit of Vitamin E as a preservative.

This is really an all-purpose balm, meant to protect any skin that is feeling dry or chapped. I mostly use it on lips and fingers. I keep a tin of it next to my bed, and a tube of it in each of my purses. Before I go to bed, I scratch out maybe the tip of my thumbnail’s worth and rub that on my lips, and then use a whole thumbnail’s worth to dab onto each fingernail so I can massage it into my cuticles.

This is a very waxy, rich balm, so feel free to increase the oil to 2 oz. if you want something a little softer. I like the firmer balm, especially in the winter because it really protects skin from the elements. I’ve been known to put a little on my nose when I’m out on a cold, windy day. You can also make substitutions for the oil and butter. A lot of recipes use coconut oil and shea butter. While there are vegan substitutes for beeswax, I’ve never found them equal in quality, so your mileage may vary there.

I got my ingredients and the lip balm tubes from Wild Herb Soap Co. on Etsy, and my tins thrown into a random order of herbs from another source.┬áTo make the rig for holding my little lip balm containers, I used an old egg carton flipped upside-down. I plunged my sharpest paring knife into the center of each cup in an X, and then turned the knife around and used the knob on the handle to open up each X to fit a tube. It’s really quite a handy way to keep the little guys steady while filling them and cost me nothing beyond the eggs, which I would have eaten anyway.

Homemade Lip and Cuticle Balm

1 oz. unrefined beeswax
1 oz. raw mango butter
1.5 oz. cold-pressed avocado oil
~1/16 oz. liquid Vitamin E

Heat the wax, butter, and oil just until everything melts, stirring often. Add the Vitamin E and stir in. Fill containers. Makes about 1/2 cup of liquid, by volume.