Marc Jacobs launched his eponymous makeup collection this past Friday, and much of it was inspired by lacquer. The designer has said countless times that his favorite color is “shiny” and he told the Wall Street Journal recently, “I just find shiny surfaces to be very mesmerizing.” And there isn’t anything shinier than lip gloss, right? Jacobs offers 12 lip glosses in his new collection, and when one of them hit our desks just prior to the launch I had a very heated discussion with a colleague. “Who the hell wears lip gloss anyway?” she asked rhetorically. Ah, a complicated issue, to be sure.
“I love a great lip gloss, but I’m tired of them. I’m ready for a beautiful, matte [lip]…Lip gloss is high maintenance! Your hair gets stuck in it, and if you kiss somebody? It ain’t no secret. Everybody’s gonna know,” L’Oreal Consulting Makeup Artist Billy B. told us recently. “I also think that a woman at a certain age [wearing lip gloss]… it’s just, it’s weird.”
According to consumer market research group NPD, lip gloss sales have been on the decline since 2010: from July 2012 through June 2013 sales of the glossy stuff fell 2%. In contrast, lipstick sales have shot up: during that same period, lipstick sales increased 15%. Overall, lipstick sold about twice as much as lip gloss.
So who the hell actually is wearing lip gloss? To find out, I polled friends and colleagues (fashion and beauty writers) of all ages (20-25, 26-30, 31-35, 35+). It turns out that many people have complicated histories with the gooey lip product. I will keep them anonymous to protect them from future ridicule, because there are some pretty good lip gloss confessionals in here. (Unrelated, I had no idea that L’il Mama’s song (circa 2007) Lip Gloss existed until Nora informed me. It’s really enhanced my lip gloss-related research experience, and now I can’t get it out of my head.)