Lately, the cosmetic junk mail in my inbox seems to be following some all-too-familiar friendship story arcs:

    The Body Shop is like that overeager friend who calls to tell you every single mundane happening of her life including the color and consistency of her menses. “Uh-huh, uh-huh, Body Shop, really? You’re having a ‘buy 3 get one free’ sale? That’s fabulous (but by now, I’m pretty well aware that you have one about every month. You really don’t have to call be every time).”

  Your buddy Precriptives calls you for advice from time to time, but then never takes any of it. And you don’t mind it so much, except when her life starts to seem like the later seasons of Growing Pains. When that happens, you conveniently have to “work” or “visit family.”

   Conversely, MAC fits the mold of the superficial, self-involved underminy friend that only pops up when she’s got some really good gig or really hot trophy boyfriend to show off. “Hey, MAC. Oh, you’ve hooked up with Fafi? Am I jealous? What the hell kind of question is that? Oh, OK, the champagne’s talking, that’s cool. Dita is coming over to do Viva Glam with you again. That’s great. Yeah. What am I up to?….” But, occasionally MAC gets you into a really good party or hooks you up with free shit, so you can’t hate her tacky, tranny ass too much.

   And then there’s Benefit, whose calls you screen every single time and don’t feel the least bit bad about it. Hanging out with her is pretty painful, but it doesn’t make you any less of a bad person for ignoring her.

   But the worst strained relationship in my inbox is between me and Shu Uemura:


    Shu is like that flighty, artistic friend that wafts in & out of your life as she pleases. While enviably creative, she is sort of tragically clueless. Basiacally, Shu is like your friend who got wrangled into a pyramid scheme selling HerbaLife or Pampered Chef in between stints as a performance artist or mime/rodeo clown or whatever insane vocation that somehow manages to not repel you completely.

(Lipstick Moddle sez: “Frenz don’t let frenz sell AmWay.”)

    This cosmetic company seems to be in denial about the simplest fact: Women eat their lipstick off. That’s just all there is to it. The average person does 1001 things with their lips in the course of a day, and lipstick is nearly always a casualty. So that is one thing I will not spend a lot of money on. While I’m a snob about foundation, I’ll gladly buy lipstick from Cover Girl or Wet & Wild. Same as I’m not going to sit through some inane cooking seminar with cheesey party games only to be guilted into ordering overpriced kitchen goods I could pick up at Target for 1/4 the price, I’m not going to spend upwards of $23 for some lipstick that’s just going to end up all over my coffee mugs and polluting my GI tract.

    It’s not like you can’t get similar colors or formulations for cheaper somewhere else. I think Shu Uemura relies on makeup artist brand loyalty in order to move product, the same way the ladies at your office rely on your pity and affinity for cheap chocolate bars to get their kid’s new band uniforms paid for. And I can’t abide that, because I don’t like to be manipulated.

   One area in which Shu excels is through primary pigment lipsticks to be used my MUAs. Dubbed “artist shades”, these have a variety of uses, from color-correction to wild looks for ANTM-style whacked-out photo shoots:

001 Purple 051 Green 061 080 White 001 Blue 040 Purple 050 Green 060 Yellow 030 Black 099
Adds golden/peach effect

   HOWEVER, at 23 bucks a pop, it’s not easy for the average struggling makeup artist or creative novice to buy a bunch to play around with. A $23 lipstick is an investment, and I find it’s hardly worth it. Apparently I’m not the upper eschelon “artiste” that this company is targeting, so I have to perfect the art of Creative Cheapskatery. Here is my trick for getting “artist shade” lipstick on the cheap:

   The Ben Nye color wheel. It’s pretty cheap and ghetto, and I may want to watch who I admit this to, but you can’t beat the strong pigments and the ‘little dab’ll do ya’ factor that comes with using theatrical-grade grease paint. Yes, grease paint. It’s hard to work with, and you have to powder to set it, but once you get the hang of using the stuff, you’re golden. I don’t reccommend anyone to wear Ben Nye in their daily lives, but it’s great for a wacky photo shoot or short costumed affair. An added bonus I’ve found to using Ben Nye on set is that it’s positively disgusting to have on your mouth. Which means that for once when you tell your models not to eat or drink or smoke in the makeup the little bitches actually oblige you. So, while the average woman eats off the majority of the average lipstick, that Ben Nye ain’t going NOWHERE. Just a friendly MUA tip, from me to you.

   Back to the objective of the post, Insider Trading. My email tells me there’s a special on at Shu Uemura. Go to their website for their new “lipstick looks” for spring if you have $65 lying around that you don’t need for food or rent.

Please to be giving me some lip in the comments.