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As part two of the Max Factor ‘100 Years of Glamour’ celebration here at VDM (you seen part one? An Audrey Hepburn inspired look), they invited me down to their lipstick labs along with Ruth (who doubled up as photographer for this post – thank you!) and Lily and it was just a dream of a day. Being a science nerd and a lipstick lover, trips out don’t come better than this.
The Max Factor lipstick story starts a while back in 1928, when Max Factor created Lip Pomade – a gloss to put a stop to the actress’ licking their lips on set to make their pout look shinny. These were followed by this True Colour Lipsticks in 1940, which appeared very much like how we see lipsticks on counter today. Now there are more than 12 formulas in the line providing everything from liners to glosses and long-lasting stains to double-ended lipsticks.
I’ve compiled a list of things I learnt from visiting the Max Factor labs. One – everything is way more fun when wearing a lab coat (especially one with your name embroidered on it – thanks Max Factor). Two – lipstick making is not as easy as it may seem. Starting with a melted down wax/oil base, you add in pigments ranging from red and yellow to deep navy and black – yes black! – until you reach the right colour, level of pigmentation and texture before cooling it on a mould, breaking it free and slotting it into the tube. At one point when trying to create my nude option it looked like I was mixing a beaker of mud-like putty. Thirdly – when the lipstick has cooled and it’s released from the mould it’s impossible not to let out a little squeal.
Being informed prior to the trip that I’d be able to create three shades I already knew what I had in mind – a trio of shades that constitute my perfect lip colour wardrobe. So first up I attempted a bright orange toned red. A ’50’s shade with an ’80’s twist and fairly matte texture. It didn’t come off too far away from my original idea, but it did have a sheerer texture which made it a more everyday lip option. Then I went for a nude. A mix of beige, brown and pink (which is actually a mix of white, yellow, red and black pigments), I ended up upping the white pigment in the formula to give off more of a ’60’s Bardot vibe and add something new to my pre-existing lipstick collection. Having taken advice from Max Factor’s Global Shade Designer, Rebecca Parton, for the previous two, when it came to the last one I freestyled and ended up with a peachy pink – ah common’, you know me. With a glossy formula and a shade not too different from my natural lip colour, just with an added dollop of coral I foresee this being a shade that’s added to my daily go tos.
So here’s the exciting bit. A few extra never-to-be-released tubes of my favourite shade ‘Peach Babe‘, the final one I created, have been rustled up for a little giveaway. Just comment below with what colour you’d mix up if you had the chance to visit the lipstick lab and what you’d name it. Puns and play on words warmly welcomed. I’ll randomly pick the winners next week at midday on Tuesday 2nd September, drop them an email and announce it under this post. Simples. Time to get your makeup thinking caps on…
UPDATE: Thank you for all your entries – some fab names there. The winners are: Ala, Cadence, Nueyork, Jennifer and Emma and they’ve all been contacted.