There are two things you need to know before I get started.
1) The last time I wore lipstick out of the house, I was probably five years old. I love a nice tube of Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm or, when I’m really getting fancy, I slap on some Yes to Carrots Flirty Pink Lip Gloss. Real lipstick and I have never been friends.
2) I was raised by a clan of women who worship moisturizer of any type. As a teenager, my grandmother would tell me it was never too early to start smearing a layer of petroleum jelly on my face before bed to prevent wrinkles.
Just after the New Year, I was driving my mom to the airport when she sheepishly pulled a Walgreen’s bag out of her purse. “I was going to give this to you for Christmas, honey, but I thought you might get offended.”
“What?” I say, as I try to keep my eyes on the road. I secretly hope she has bought me some fancy face lotion. After my 45th birthday, I had decided I was allowed to spend money on some of those pricey anti-wrinkle creams, but I can never quite get myself to spring for the good stuff and always come home with the not-so-fancy-store-brand.
“This,” she says as she pulls it from the bag, “nighttime lip plumper, the good kind.”
“Oh.” I try to feign indifference, pretending I have no interest whatsoever in plumping my lips. The truth is, I have actually started looking at my aging lips with disdain. As I watch them shrivel and thin, I have wondered if I should start trying to cover them up. I secretly tried on some lipstick in the bathroom a few months ago, an old tube my mom had given to my girls for dress-up. Didn’t work. At all.
Lip plumper could be the answer to my prayers.
My mom pulls down the vanity mirror and starts examining her 75-year-old lips. “You know, my new Parkinson’s doctor keeps Botox in his office. He uses it on the feet of his patients that are having trouble walking. He loves me. I’m thinking if I ask him to give me a few shots around my mouth he would do it.” And, with that, she puts the lip plumper back in her purse.
The next time I’m at the pharmacy, I check out the lip plumper section and gasp in horror at the cost. It’s either full, luscious lips, or feed the family for a day. Lips lose, again.
Fast forward a few weeks and a little package arrives in my mailbox. A package from my mom. Yes, in it was the lip plumper, slightly used, but it was MINE! The instructions were missing. It said “PM” on the tube so I put it next to my bed and waited anxiously for night to arrive.
I almost trembled with excitement as I applied the lip plumper that first time. Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting it to do anything. Like most of the wrinkle creams I had been using, I figured 99% of the results would be in my head. Regardless, I fell asleep dreaming of Angelina Jolie.
The next morning, I had forgotten all about it until I went to brush my teeth. I was looking at my half-awake self in the mirror when I paused, spit out my toothpaste, and looked again.
Hold on just a minute. What happened to those lines around my mouth? I swear my lower lip looks fuller. Really! I think that stuff worked.
That was the beginning of my new addiction. The girl who spent 40 years of her life not noticing her lips unless they were chapped, suddenly became the woman who couldn’t stop looking at them. I started applying my Flirty Pink gloss like there was no tomorrow, highlighting my new best friends.
Every night, I would dutifully apply my lip plumper. I swore I could feel my lips inflating as soon as I put it on. As time wore on, I noticed I was making an increasingly larger circle with it around my lips, Bozo the Clown like, hoping it would also plump up some of my “smile lines”. One night, I remembered marytkelly’s post about her frown line, and found myself reaching up to apply some lip plumper between my brows. My husband looked at me in alarm.
“What? Mom didn’t send me the directions, but I’m sure if this stuff is ok to put near your mouth it’s fine to use other places.”
This has been going on for almost two weeks now. Last night, to my horror, I realized my plumping days may be coming to an end. I think I may have one night’s worth left. If I had been given the directions, I’m sure they would say something about only using a small amount each night, spreading out the life expectancy of the tiny tube, but I had globbed that stuff on like I was a five-year-old experimenting with my mom’s lipstick.
What to do?
I'm on my way to the grocery store right now. I know my shopping cart will end up veering towards the skincare aisle and I will fondle the pretty packets of lip plumper, unable to visualize a life without my sexier, fuller lips. I’ll long for that surge of night time plumping like a junkie. After a deep sigh, I know I’ll put the little blue and silver package back on the shelf, turn my back, and push my cart towards the produce aisle.
Maybe it was all in my head, maybe it wasn’t, but that little bit of sexy was fun while it lasted.
photos courtesy of Sephora and ivillage.com