Where’s My Lipstick Gone?

Frequently, I ask myself ‘where’s my lipstick gone?’ I have an ambivalence about lipstick these days.

I remind myself that I no longer need to reach for lipstick whenever I leave the house because I wear a mask.  With a mask, the lipstick gets smeared and the mask gets stained. Nobody sees my lips. The rest of my face gets messed up!

Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, many days pass without lipstick.

I was once the queen of lipsticks, using various shades to suit my moods and applying touchups several times each day. My collection included high-end brands that kept my lips coloured for hours as well as drug store brands that I picked up as a ‘feel good’ item when cruising store aisles.

five assorted-color lipsticks
‘Where’s My Lipstick?’ Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

The Lipstick Routine

My daily lipstick routine began with a lip liner to carefully shape my lips. Next came a lip brush to add lipstick in the colour of the day beginning on my upper lip and then filling the lower. The process finished with a blot on a tissue and then a quick dab of translucent powder to set the colour. I learned the techniques in a make-up application class decades ago.

Applying lipstick was part of the morning routine. Repeated applications happened when necessary during the day — mostly after eating or drinking.  The process became second nature so much that I could refresh the lipstick without using a mirror!

Applying lipstick was like donning armour.  It fortified me for whatever might happen during the day.  Somehow, wearing lipstick increased my level of confidence. I remember grabbing my make-up bag and wondering ‘where’s my lipstick’ when on my way to the maternity ward.  I fastidiously applied lipstick when hiking remote trails where I was seen only by animals or an occasional fellow trekker.  When making a presentation, applying fresh lipstick was as important as finding my prompting notes.

What happened to my lipstick?

With pandemic lockdowns, my lipstick along with other make-up took a backseat. Who needs carefully shaped lips that will be smudged as soon as a mask covers my nose. mouth and chin?

Marketers are aware of this trend.  Many women are not wearing nor buying lipstick. https://www.businessinsider.com/eye-makeup-sales-rise-lipstick-dips-due-to-mask-wearing-2020-8

Sales of products for skincare and eye makeup have increased as women focus on ‘above the mask’ beauty items. Overall though, sales of most types of makeup have plummeted.

Women parked their makeup bags when lockdowns began and many have yet to begin using makeup again. When working from home, makeup is less of a priority.  Perhaps it’s the beginning of a new trend where women will be judged less by appearance.

Since retirement,  I haven’t spent as much time worrying about makeup as I did when working.  Other than a quick application in the morning, I didn’t think about whether or not to apply touchups.  The morning routine helped me feel more like myself.

What’s different now is that when I leave the house, I don’t automatically reach for lipstick since I know that I can’t take off my mask to show off my lip colour.

I still love my lipstick. When I can shop again, I’ll search for longer-wearing brands that are smudge-proof.  Perhaps I’ll get a lip stain or tint. All of this depends on when I’m comfortable in the makeup aisles of a department store where consultants will urge testing products and removing my mask.

There’s no doubt that wearing lipstick — except to make myself feel good at home — is difficult and will likely remain difficult. I’m not about to dispose of my collection of lipsticks but I know that asking myself  ‘where’s my lipstick?’ happens less frequently.

Thanks for reading my post.  I’m interested in learning whether you’ve changed your lipstick and makeup habits now that masks are required in public spaces. Are you part of the ‘less is more’ trend?




4 Replies to “Where’s My Lipstick Gone?”

  1. Your post really got me thinking…I definitely wore make-up during lockdown, because my mental health needed all the help it could get. And usually, I wear lipstick under my mask! But happily, I have realized that I was too tired from the snow storm to wear any make-up at all the past week, which means that I have not touched any of it since having Covid. So my precious, color-changing mood lipstick will not have to be replaced, as long as I don’t wear it until I am better! Life is good. 🙂

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you have Covid. From reading, I know how tired you must feel battling the virus as well as the snowstorm. In Canada, most of February was brutally cold. I reached for my mask to protect my face from the cold temperatures when walking. I was grateful for the extra protection on my face. I’m back to wearing make-up and lipstick indoors to keep up my spirits. As you say, it does help with flagging mental health!

  2. Yes, a mask sadly defeats the aim of wearing lipstick, although sometimes I’ve forgotten and ended up with it smeared across the inside. However, I now have an opportunity to practise all those smudge-eye effects instead, when I have a rare excuse to venture beyond the village.

    1. I’ve ruined a few masks because of lipstick. The light-coloured washable masks need stain remover treatments to remove the lipstick colour before I pop them into the washing machine. Perhaps the lipstick stains are a good reminder to wash masks frequently! I notice more women are wearing eye makeup now that lips are covered. Enjoy your day!

I welcome feedback and will reply to your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.