Fashion & Beauty

The Lipstick Files

Color me Nars Dolce Vita, Estee Lauder Starlit Pink, Nars Cruella or . . .

By Janet Kelly

WE COULDN’T let National Lipstick Day (Friday, July 29) go by without acknowledging the joy a purchase of a new or an old favorite lipstick brings us. Deprived of its colorful benefits by two years of mask wearing, we’re painting our pouts once again. It seemed to there was no better time to ask our staff and readers about the brands and colors they love—and sometimes miss.

Kathy Legg: Rarely do I ever buy a specific lipstick. Most of the lipsticks I have came with those “free” gift with purchase offers handed out when I buy some other cosmetic. However, there is one (not technically a lipstick, but it goes on your lips) brand I actually shell out money for. It’s Trish McEvoy’s Lip Perfector Conditioning Balm. It doesn’t feel greasy or heavy on your lips and it adds just a nice little touch of pink. Plus it seems to last (at least on me) much longer than normal lipsticks, which seem to disappear before I can even get out the door.

Nancy McKeon: I wear lipstick when I want to be sure people know I’m actually a living being. Otherwise my face is . . . pallid is a nice way to put it. Recently I’ve been using a Sephora lip pencil to give my mouth some semblance of shape, but I’ve just decided that softer (even blurrier) is better. My fave lipstick is Groupie from Lancôme because it has a bit of shimmer and a bit of translucence. Nothing worse on an aging face than scary, prominent makeup.

Grace Cooper: When I had a skin cancer removed from my lip, the dermatologist told me to keep my lips covered with lipstick at all times. Impossible! I eat lipstick as soon as it’s applied. So he told me to buy the drugstore stuff that stays on for 24 hours until you either sand it off or remove with an oil-based makeup remover. My fave for daytime is L’Oreal Paris Infallible in Lilac.


Stephanie Cavanaugh: With a cabinet full of lipsticks—such a cheap thrill—I have three that are worn down to nubs: Revlon’s Cherry Blossom ( a neutral pink), Lancome’s Designer Bloom (a neutral pinkish brown) and Revlon’s Apple Polish (a reddish/orangish/pinkish shade). The first two are cream with sheen—not shine. Apple Polish is a bit more shiny and glam. The latter two are discontinued.

Mostly, though, I wear Blistex Lip Vibrance, which comes in a single shade of sheer red. Just perks me up enough and easy to apply without a mirror. Unfortunately, it has this candy taste and smell that’s pretty disgusting, although it fades in a couple of minutes. (Not the sort of thing you want to apply after eating something delicious).

Irina Peris: I just ordered a new lipstick. But during two years of Covid and masks I used only two—Rouge Cassaque (left) and Rose Indien (right) by Hermès. I liked the second one better; it’s a really nice rich color.

Linda Kastan: During Covid one of the fun things I did was order Chanel products because they came in beautiful boxes. Although I’m still wearing a mask in several situations, lately I’ve been using Charlotte Tilbury’s Matte Revolution Lipstick in Very Victoria, which I think looks better and more modern than a gloss.

Nancy Gold: My mom always wore red lipstick. Nothing else, just red lipstick.  Not sure where that came from, since my grandmother only wore “rouge.”

My all-time favorite is Nars’ Dolce Vita (a great pink/rose color), followed very closely by Nars’ Cruella lip pencil (a true red). The texture is creamy, the colors rich and they both stay on pretty well as long as you do the anti-feathering tricks we should all know by now.

And you’re absolutely right—we all look brighter with color on our faces. Although I’m still masked in most public situations, it’s nice to wear lipstick, or any type of color cosmetic, again.

A lipstick loyalist, Nancy keeps this note in her makeup case to remind her: “In case of an emergency, apply lipstick first before assisting others.”

Judith Robinson: One of my favorites is Estee Lauder’s  Starlit Pink.

ICYMI, though, a fitting ending to this post is poet Robinson’s ode:”Why I Love My Lipstick,” below.

Because, in Clearly Crimson, I can sing a siren’s song.

Because, in Crystal Coral, I am never alone too long.

I can name the stars for Martin, wearing Starlit Pink.

Or speak my mind to Phillip, tell him what I think.

Because, in Lilac Rose, I do not hide in bed;

I can out-dazzle anybody, wearing All Star Red.

Because, in Silvery Mauve, I lay claim to copper skies;

Because in Copperglaze Brown, I never apologize.

At night, by Naked Bronze Glow, I hear my lover sing

Inside his purple kisses, I drink Wine With Everything.

In the August of my life I still savor Cherries In The Snow

And treasure the girlish heart that compels me to do so.

I am Boldness, Beauty, Devil & Charmer

In a beeswax, coal tar & fragrance armor.


MyLittleBird often includes links to products we write about. Our editorial choices are made independently; nonetheless, a purchase made through such a link can sometimes result in MyLittleBird receiving a commission on the sale, whether through a retailer, an online store or

5 thoughts on “The Lipstick Files

  1. Chaya says:

    Red, red and more red!
    I put on my red lipstick and I feel dressed. Ready to take on the world. I was going out with a man who asked me why I wore “clown red.” If you can’t take red, get out of my bed.

    Rouge Cassaque (Hermes)
    519A (Wet and Wild)
    When in a neutral mood, Smoked Almond (Dior).
    These brands seem to work for me as my lips are sensitive to ingredients.

  2. Love my lipstick!
    And love My Little Bird!
    Thanks so much, Judy

  3. Madeline Rogers says:

    My favorite lipstick is invariably the one that is discontinued, sending me on a citywide (and then internet) search for more. The last time that happened was with Origins “Orbit” lip pencil, an elusive shade of pale mauve. As I am a subway rider and a unicorn who is still masking, lipstick is now one less thing to worry about.

  4. Carol says:

    I can relate to all these ladies’ comments!! Nancy Gold’s especially since my mom only wore ted
    red lipstick too, nothing else. My sister wore Revlon “queen of hearts” ( why do I remember this stuff?) I heard Revlon has gone out of business ☹️

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Carol, Revlon has filed for bankruptcy and is “reorganizing.”
      I look ridiculous in red lipstick. Boo-hoo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *