In Defense Of Frosted Lipsticks

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The best compliment I got last week happened backstage at Ruffian’s early morning beauty press call. Just a short and sweet “I love your lip color” from another editor, but it made my whole day.

For starters, I was in a room with actual models and makeup artists doing 80s full glam, and someone took 2.5 seconds to notice and comment on my mouth. Secondly, I was wearing the latest MAC Viva Glam lipstick by none other than Rihanna. After pining for months over my lost opportunity to score RiRi Woo (and do not tell me I can get it on eBay, that is how you get lead poisoning), I struggle not to refer to this awesome red bullet as “my precious” and fondle it on the daily.

Third, and most importantly, I was wearing frosted lipstick.

No one likes frosted lipstick. Frosty lipstick is for Fembots and Barbarella. Frosted makeup is the realm of department store Christmas catalogues and awesome 90s R&B videos. Frosted lipstick is a harbinger of a horrific era where we leave 90s grunge behind and start reliving the early 2000s, which would be a tragedy on par with the disbanding of N*Sync. Getting called out for the awesomeness of this shade, I felt like I should throw my head back and cackle. Because little did this beauty writer know that my lipstick looked so flawless because it was SHIMMERY.

Red lipstick is almost as common now as it was in 1950, i.e. you do not have to be a fashion insider or a full glamour girl to slick on an opaque cherry hue. High school cheerleaders are wearing NARS Dragon Girl. Sheer glosses like Juicy Tubes (I know you remember these) are as tired and forgotten as Juicy Sweats. But metallic cherry–that is still a bit of a fashion risk.

As a Dita Von Teese disciple, I am all about the democratization of lipstick. 2013 was a banner year for lip color, and I amassed a huge hoard of formulas I didn’t even know I wanted. When there are lacquer balms and color elixirs, it almost seems like a waste to wear something as unabashedly vintage as pearly, satin-finish lip color.

However! I feel like becoming an adult is all about settling into your fashion groove. I have learned that top and bottom black pencil liner is, in general, not a great look for girls with blonde lashes and the complexion of a consumptive Dickensian orphan, and that frosty lipsticks are super forgiving and I will not stand for them to be tacky relics.

Lupita rocking frosted raisin-hued lips. photo: Getty

Lupita rocking frosted raisin-hued lips. photo: Getty

Behold, five reasons frosty colors are the greatest:

1. Frosted lipstick masks flaws.

Products with shimmer bounce light away from the face, giving you a glow that distracts from problem areas. This is how miracle products like Touche Eclat work. Instead of a blemish or dark circle, you see a radiant, angelic halo of light and unicorn sparkles. Metallic lipsticks do the same thing for haggard winter pouts. Shimmery colors don’t show every flake and line quite like matte lip colors (but if you’re really suffering, its still best to prep with a lip scrub).

2. Frosted lipsticks wear more evenly. I have no scientific data for this, but I have noticed that foiled lipsticks do not fade in the center as noticeably as cream colors. Good for long days!

3. Subtle, unexpected textural contrast. No matter what you’re wearing, from dewy faced “no makeup makeup” to a retro full coverage foundation, a metallic lip breaks up the face and makes you look modern. Unless you regularly wear full 70s disco shimmer, in which case, rock on. For example, I prefer a totally matte face regardless of beauty trends. A lipstick that isn’t totally flat can keep shine free skin from looking dead.

5. Frost is flattering but easy. Lipgloss is allegedly sexy because it makes your lips all juicy and wet looking. If you hate lipgloss, either because it sticks in your hair or looks like drool or makes making out all sticky and gross, metallic lipsticks are the lip perfecter for you. You get all of that sexy wet mouth illusion, and none of the beauty queen tackiness.

T.Swift goes full frosted Barbie at the Grammys. photo: Ghetty

T.Swift goes full frosted Barbie at the Grammys. photo: Ghetty

I predict that the influence of Lupita Nyong’o and American Hustle will make it so frosty lipstick may not need defending much longer. Your time to be an ahead of the curve beauty trailblazer is limited. Maybelline ColorSensational lipsticks come in lots of frosty shades, or try the luxe YSL Rouge Volupt Perle lineup.

You can reach this post's author, Mandie Williams, on twitter.
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    • Lindsey Conklin

      I love it, too!! So pretty!

    • CMJ

      I admit that I didn’t buy that lipstick because it was frosted….but it LOOKS SO GOOD.

      • Mandie

        Highly recommend. It wears for hourrrrrs.

    • Crayzcheshire

      I feel like the new frosted lip is lightyears ahead of the 90′s style frosted lips.