August 16, 2013

"What are these new ways of wearing lipstick?"

"According to many makeup artists, the key is to layer, layer, layer. (First rule of lipstick: any two colors mixed together look snazzier than one alone.) And then, after all that varnishing, strategically undo what you’ve done: engage in some artful blotting. It’s this final step that renders the lips stained, not shellacked."

Blotting. In the 1950s and early 60s, lipstick application always ended with putting a tissue between your lips and pressing them together, leaving a lip-shaped lipstick mark. You'd put it on, then take some of it off. Was that an unnecessary ritual or something you needed to do because lipstick wasn't as good back then as it is today? It was dry and it looked darker on than in the tube. It got darker over the course of the day too. In the 60s, things changed as young women wore frosted, light colors, including white, and then we switched to completely clear "lip gloss." Everything else looked old. It's funny to read an elaborate article today about how to make lipstick "new" again, especially seeing something that is, to me, the epitome of old: blotting.

ADDED: "Blot" is a funny word, which can mean to add spots of staining material like ink (which leads to the figurative use when we speak of dirtying a reputation ("Theres a good mother, boy, that blots thy father!" wrote Shakespeare)). It also refers to erasing and wiping away. The OED has these very old examples:
1611   Bible (A.V.) Acts iii. 19   Repent yee therefore..that your sins may be blotted out.
1667   Milton Paradise Lost xi. 891   Not to blot out mankind.
1593   Shakespeare Venus & Adonis sig. Biiijv,   Like mistie vapors when they blot the skie.

14 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Long ago, in the drawer in my parents' bathroom, I would always see (when looking for Q-tips) kleenex with my Mom's lips blotted on them.

Why this is a memory that stands out is an exercise left to the reader.

mrs. e said...

My mom still blots.

Bob Ellison said...

I heard years ago that modern lipstick was invented when someone mixed color into a suppository. This alludes to that.

Probably an urban myth. Snopes.com has no comment.

Kelly said...

I blot. I think it's because I like the matte look.

El Pollo Raylan said...

"Wanna see the sun blotted out...Paint It Black"

surfed said...

Back in the 1980's at the school where I was teaching, young Madonna wannabe's were in the girls restroom plastering the mirrors with lip stick imprints in whatever were the fashionable colors of the day. Our custodial staff was having a hard time scrubbing the imprints off as lipstick is rather impervious to scrubbing and tends to smear. They lady custodians were up in arms. The problem seemed intractable until Mary the Head Custodian Lady came up with the solution. Rather than waiting till the end of the day to clean and scrub the girls restrooms she marched into the downstairs girls room in between periods second and third period when it was crowded with little Madonnas, stuck a scrub brush into a toilet and proceeded to vigorously scrub the mirrors covered with lipstick lip prints in front of the students. Problem solved.

Carol said...

yeah, always had a problem with lipstick. Always looked too dark, always looked like my mother in the mirror. She had a real fetish about it..always having to redo quickly before going in the store, answering the door etc. Lipstick before anything else. And blotting tissues lying about.

traditionalguy said...

So are the collars of men's white shirts the New Danger Zone.

Smilin' Jack said...

I wish women wouldn't wear lipstick. Sometimes for a second it makes me think I've come down with some weird venereal disease.

CarolMR said...

I'm just glad lipstick is making a comeback. I'm so tired of the oily, slick look of gloss, especially on female TV reporters. Gloss also never lasts very long and your hair gets stuck in it when the wind blows.

Carl said...

That's such a simple word, the etymology is probably impossible to trace, so whether you have convergent evolution (as in "cleave" and "cleave") or diverging connotations may be unknowable.

A similar fascinating linguistic evolution is the replacement of heo with she after the Sheriff of Nottingham monopthongized our dipthongs, the prissy little shitsquirt.

Carl said...

Those pictures are awful, by the way. I wouldn't kiss any of those mouths. Is the goal to look Fifty Shades Of Grey or Stephenie Meyer?

Inga said...

I stopped blotting long ago, put on one application and whatever wears of duringhe course of the day, oh well. I wear mostly nude colors with a bit of shimmer. I don't know if I'm outdated, I guess I don't care as I've mostly rejected lipstick since beginning to wear makeup in my early teens. I don't even like the feel of lip gloss, or Chapstick on my lips.

Christy said...

Layer, blot, lightly powder, top layer. Then forget about it. Powder means I don't have to reapply frequently. Doesn't everyone?