Lipstick, Interrupted


In admiration of Ilene Beckerman’s book Love, Loss, and What I Wore, I give you my life in lipstick.

L’oreal Mica. Love at first sight. Faithfully wore it under Bonnie Bell rollerball lip gloss until the 80s crumbled with the Berlin wall.

Neutrals flooded the early 90s. I fell for Clinique’s Honey Ginger in a free gift with purchase. Head over heels, I broke up with Mica and never looked back.

But Honey Ginger was too orange for me. I began seeing Think Bronze on the side.

Then in 1995, I got married in real life. A Clinique free makeover introduced me to the soft, creamy neutrality of Tenderheart. It would be my steady companion for 10 years, with interludes of Bronze Leaf.

In 2005, I emerged from a postpartum haze looking a little worse for wear. Time for another Clinique free makeover. The gentlewoman in the white lab coat coddled me.


“You’re a Winter,” she said. “I’d hate for you to miss out on color. Let’s try some berries.”

She spoke my language. I was a Winter. I am a Winter. I needed berries. I needed Berrylicious.

Berrylicious sang on my lips. A soul mate in a tube. We spent four beautiful years together. Until that fateful day in Macy’s.

“What do you mean it’s discontinued?!” I said as the salesgirls cowered. All I have left are the flattened remains in the silver cylinder, tarnished with years.

Tried Water Violet for a spell. Tried Heather Moon. Returned to Tenderheart, with interludes of Chocolate Ice.

tenderheart & chocolate ice

Finally, I could stand it no longer. I took my pitiful, leftover Berrylicious on a mission to color match.

After a few discouraging tries with other brands, I stood staring forlornly at the Macy’s Clinique display. The gentlewoman in the white lab coat approached.

“Have you tried Perfect Plum?” she said, “It’s the Butter Shine formulation.”

The heavens opened. Perfect Plum wasn’t Berrylicious, but it was, well, perfect. We’ve been inseparable.

perfect plum

I go through tubes of it, relentlessly applying and sealing with gloss. Bonnie Bell rollerballs are no more, so I’ve taken up with the seasonal delicacies of Philosophy high-gloss, high-flavor sweet candy lip shine instead. Mmm.

Had a scare earlier this year in the makeup capitol of the mall. Couldn’t find Perfect Plum in the Clinique case at Sephora.

“Do you have any Perfect Plum?” I said breathlessly after a sprint to the Macy’s Clinique counter.

They did and I do. Clinique headquarters assured me it’s not discontinued. Yet.

Berrylicious is gone forever. So is Honey Ginger. My other past Clinique colors are still available. And recently I bumped into Mica at Walmart.

Mica looks good. I was tempted to buy. But I look good too. So I’m dancing with the Perfect Plum who brought me. For the time being anyway.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NLT

perfect plum stash

Finally, a link up to The Go-Go’s! Our Lips Are Sealed.


I’m not being paid to endorse any of the companies mentioned in this post. One company could, however, consider throwing me a bone for all the press I give them here and in The Great Clinique Heist of 2011. We’ll call it even for discontinuing my favorite lipstick.

Title inspiration thanks to Girl, Interrupted.

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Filed under humor, women's studies

40 Responses to Lipstick, Interrupted

  1. This is such a cute post! Loved reading this!

  2. Not generally my favorite subject there Aimee, but I still continued all the way through to the end due to your wonderful way with words….Then, I was rewarded with one of my favorite scriptures and a great trip back in time. (Go Gos) Love me some Belinda Carlyle…(Shhhhh… don’t tell my wife)

  3. Lipsticks are my best friends. I was a Revlon girl in the 90’s and I had a cherry sort of color that I can’t even remember now. Today I’m a Mac girl and have about 4 colors I go through. Berries and cherries are me.

  4. Diana Byrd

    My Clinique neutral was Bamboo Pink. (I started growing Bamboo at the same time – had to be an omen of the lasting relationship!) At the neutral nullification, I grew into Sugared Maple, interspersed with a host of other Winter shades. The latest Clinique gift offered my new fave, Super Strawberry,a moisturizing chubby stick, requiring no gloss. It’s FABulous!!!

  5. Oh, dear. I love this post. I’m a sucker for Clinique Black Honey, Almost Lipstick.

    It makes my heart flutter and my knees tremble with excitement. At first glance, it seems as though it’s too dark. But, never judge a (almost) lipstick by first glance. Upon application, it has my heart.


  6. Joy

    Ha! I had a clinique lipstick in that silver tube that I loved all thru college but can’t remember the name right now… But I’m thinking plum was in it somewhere and that was the 90’s. Now, I have my black yoga pants that I’m in love with. I’m always wearing them so much that friends now call black yoga pants, “Joy pants”. Ha! Great post :-)

  7. Lisa

    Love me some Mica, it’s a good layering color too. I admire your faithfulness to a single tube. I am not so inclined and have not had an exclusive relationship with lip wear since – Dr. Pepper Bonnie Bell in 5th grade. I am currently a fan of Nars lip glosses and remain in search of that elusive “red that looks good on everyone.” I have yet to find it, as the 7 tubes of castoffs will attest. Love it Aimee!

    • Oh, yeah! Another member of the Mica concubine! I knew there was something I liked about you, Lisa! :)
      I like Nars blush, but haven’t tried his lip glosses. The product names crack me up. And the reason why I gravitate toward a single tube at a time is because it became too complicated to manage more than one at a time. Inevitably the one I wanted was in my other purse or left behind in the medicine cabinet when I needed it.
      PS: There is no red that looks good on everyone. All reds lean either blue or yellow. Which one works depends on if you’re a cool or warm tone. I’m not sure if you’re a summer (cool) or a spring (warm). We’ll need a color analysis…

  8. Carrie

    To cute and so true! I was in a very committed relationship with bronze leaf for years, seeing those words brought back memories like a great smell. I recently needed to restock and although I love my lip sticks I am really a lip gloss convert. I felt so betrayed when the ”gentlewoman” in the white coat informed me that Sunshine was no more, so I settled with Bamboo Pink. But, I refuse to take it out of its little box until all my Sunshine is gone. Thanks for your post!

    • Ha, ha! I was like that with Berrylicious. I was in denial, and you see I still have the sawed off remains of my last tube. They need to bring it and Sunshine back!
      Nice to know you loved Bronze Leaf too! It’s a great color. Sometimes I still try it in the summer when my skin has some color. I could totally see it on you year round though.

  9. Elizabeth Whelan

    Dare I say I have not been faithful — until now! Yes, I have played around a bit. I have tried them all…Chanel, Dior, MAC, Sisley-Paris (mighty fine)…but have indeed found my true love. Clarins Joli-Rouge Brillant!!! The perfect blend of ooh, la, la. Not to creamy but such a decadent feel that I feel like a rock star. Who knew? Never tried the line in my life. Quite a fluke! And it has the tiniest hint of glitter. “My” version of walking on the wild side here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since I cannot partake in the vamped up hair, “big” anything craze. So, I plan to stay with Clarins but may stray on the color from time to time. Right now #06 Fig is suiting me just fine.

    Thank you for allowing me to free my secret inner vice…lipstick…who knew??

  10. Jenny

    One of my favorite dalliances is Bobbi Brown’s Raisin Berry. And I’ve had some hot, but short-lived affairs with tinted glosses. But I’m fickle and still playing the field with many, many other little colorful sailors. :)

    • Ahoy there, matey! Life on the high seas of lipstick… Lol. I could write an entire Bobbi Brown. Had a crush on her lipstick color Twilight for a few months. Only they kept selling out of it and I could never actually buy it in the store. Too much trouble to order online. Has to come easy. I’ll check out Raisin Berry. Sounds like my speed. Thanks for sharing, Jenny! :)

  11. Beautiful women don’t need lipstick, but I understand the reasoning..,

  12. Ginger Price

    I had to giggle this morning realizing that our lips have traveled a very similar path until the mid-90’s when I found Lancome. And most recently I’ve been devoted to Love Child from MAC.

  13. Libby

    Such a fun post, Aimee! Do you remember Revlon’s “Silver City Pink?” I think everyone in my high school wore that back in the 80’s… Discovered Lancome in college (Crushed Rose was a fave)… loved Revlon’s revolutionary colorstay lipsticks in the 90’s (I was a devotee of the ill-named “Flesh” for years), till my lips were parched for something more. My mom got me hooked on Dior Addict’s Rose Perspective (still a fave today). My other two latest long-term affairs are with Aveda’s “Sun” (a beautiful neutral bronze) and two from NARS: Hot Voodoo and Petit Monstre (yes, crazy names indeed!). Any fellow Springs out there reading this post, check them out! ;)

    Oh–and you totally clinched it with the Go-Go’s song at the end… That was one of the covers I sang with my band back in the 90’s. Hence the need for colorstay lipstick: never rubbed off on the mic. ;)

    Keep up the great writing, I love it!

    • Libby, you had a band?! Okay, now you’re officially cooler than me… :)
      If you do a reunion concert, can I sing backup?
      PS: Got to love the NARS names. I’m hooked on a blusher from him called Sin. My own personal rebel outlet. Yes, that’s as wild as it gets here, folks!

  14. Alisa Gilboy

    Will you look at all the comments this post generated! I love it! Ok – so, I did the Mica – which now I think looks eeewwww on me. I did the perfect plum. And Susan Rakestraw and I SWORE we’d ALWAYS wear Clinique Pink Chocolate with some brown looking lip liner (which would likely now make me gasp in horror). And then, it happened. I slid a chanel gloss across my lips and almost fainted. I SWEAR by Chanel glosses but have probably a half dozen or so (which makes me a lightweight compared to SR) Bobbie Brown lip palletes and my all time favorite BB gloss in Aubergine (fits nicely in a lab coat pocket and can be slapped on easily between patients). Amazing how important a little color can become to a girl. That was a fun little walk down beauty lane. Thanks Aimee!

    • Oh, that’s terrific, Alisa. I can so see you and SN modeling different shades. Poppy King ain’t got nothing on SN–she is the lipstick queen! And I mean that with all love and admiration. The girl rocks!
      As for the Chanel & Bobbi Brown glosses, there’s on my list to peruse next time I’m on a cosmetic hunt!

  15. So awesomely cute. You always put so much thought and effort into your post. Love it

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  18. Annette Smith

    Perfect Plum?!? I love you! I have the same drips and drabs of BerryLicious! I, too, have gone from makeup counter to makeup counter, to no avail! You have brought sunshine to my otherwise cloudy, snowy day! I want to thank my daughter, Jillian, for sending me this post!!!