10 Lipsticks That Last under the Mistletoe

Ella Petrusko (Marilyn) wears Chinti and Parker intarsia hugs and kisses sweater. Photographed by Justin Bridges. Hair and makeup by Ashley Rebecca. Styled by Alyssa Shapiro.


The Premise

A few weeks ago, two unlikely events coincided in a way that suggests near cinematic serendipity.

I met a boy, who, when I told him what I do for work, made an off-the-cuff remark about my job sounding like something out of a romantic comedy. Little did he (or I for that matter) realize just how much that would please me.

I think, (subconsciously, at least), there’s nothing more exciting to me than to imagine myself a heroine in some sort of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 13 Going on 30The Devil Wears Prada, that is in fact, just my real life.

Around the same time, our Senior Style Editor, Alyssa, who so gorgeously styled Ella in the above photographs, told me matter-of-factly that “could I please go on some dates, kiss some boys, and report back as to which red lipsticks stayed put.”

You can imagine the look on my mother’s face when I told her about my latest adventure. I was thoroughly entertained by the proposition and then failed to do my job until the day before this piece here was due. Having gone on a number of dates in pink stains or bare-lipped, I’d totally shirked my serious duties.

This negligence resulted in the following text to aforementioned boy: “Hi, so. remember that red lipstick article I was telling you about? What are you doing tonight? It’s due tomorrow….” I can assure you the waiting period on a reply was excruciating.

Special thanks to this anonymous gentleman for being super game. (Although it’d be pretty offensive if he weren’t, right?) As for me, it’s a tough life but…someone’s gotta do it right? 😉


Seeking A True Red 


A photo posted by Sara (@sarajanenyc) on

For every five red lipsticks I examined for this story, about two were what one might consider a true red. The other three were disregarded. The following reds are legit, hues that evoke classic screen sirens—the Marilyn Monroes of yesteryear to the Taylor Swifts of today. “Too pink,” or “too orange” or “too wine” or “too berry,” were all eliminated.


I’m going to call my co-tester, A, (for anonymous). We decide to consider a number of factors: how much lipstick is on his face, how much lipstick stays on my lips, and, to a lesser degree smell/taste and other guy-friendly matters.

lipsticks 1Everything but the mistletoe!

Best Practices

The best thing lipstick-wearing ladies can do is let our lips dry, refrain from eating, drinking, and talking and let the lipstick set. (Shutting up was a challenge for me). Begin with a primer. I used Make’s as much as I could, to provide a smooth foundation for the lipstick to cover. Even the best options need some drying time before you hop under the mistletoe.

Two other helpful tools:

As many Bite Lush Lip Wipes as you can possibly hoard. I didn’t have nearly enough and my skin was worse for it.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Lip Pencil which basically creates invisible lines to draw within when applying.

The Winners

1. Estée Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Scarlet Siren is a true classic red that made it through a chai latte in the afternoon and a kiss in the evening. That’s not to say there were no traces to be found on A’s lips but my look remained in tact. It’s also less drying than most longwear formulas.


so. many. selfies.


2. Maybelline’s Super Stay 14Hr Lipstick in Ravishing Rouge is a super affordable option with a fruity scent that A appreciates and also stands some tea drinking tests. Another of the less drying formulas. A calls this “sturdy.”

3. MAC’s Matte Ruby Woo is a time-tested, mass-approved favorite. If given time to set, this baby won’t budge. Shopping before the kissing appointment (seriously, though), I notice the cashier’s solidly in-place red lip. Sure enough, it’s Ruby Woo.

4. Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. in Love Bite is a favorite for color. Its old Hollywood-esque packaging is also a draw.

5. Gucci in Iconic Red is an accessory on its own thanks to its sleek black case and internal Gucci-logo detailing. It is actually deserving of it’s name (unlike many so-called reds!)

6. Butter London in Come to Bed Red is a moisturizing, brighter classic red with a matte finish (a plus for longlasting potential).

7. Bite Cashmere Lip Cream in Rioja is a liquid lipstick (so the application experience is different). It’s not guaranteed to leave the lucky recipient of your kiss color free, but it is pigmented enough to keep your lips stained with its gorgeous, deep red color post-kiss.

8. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon is a classic shade, but definitely a darker one. This will set like a stain—a major pro for long-lastingness, but I would use primer so it doesn’t sink into a liner-only look.

9. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in F-Bomb is a moisturizing formula from a brand I’ve always found reliable for professional-level cosmetics. I prefer lipstick with a pointed tip as it’s easier to line the edges of the lips neatly, but this is still a solid pick. 

10. Topshop in Hazard is one of a number of solid reds from Topshop. There’s definitely a red for everyone in Topshop’s varied selection of cute black-and-white striped cases.

lipsticks 2With special gratitude to the curtained booths at The Breslin–a BlackBook approved location for a makeout sesh. 

My Life Lesson/ Non-Beauty Related Takeaway

Here’s the thing about a solid red lip: any partner worth your time is willing to pay the price of some lipstick on their face in the name of a good kiss. When A asks me if I “understand male psychology at all?” the point is made abundantly clear. (Yes, I do understand, thank you!) The making out part overrules anything and everything else. As it should. 

P.S. Fellow beauty junkies tweet us @blackbook and let me know your faves. 



MAC Is Taking a Literal Approach to Black Friday

In a literal nod to the phrasing of Black Friday (rather than the images of people lining up at 4 a.m. the phrase generally brings to mind,) MAC has decided to take a simple, obvious approach to the “holiday.”

On Friday, November 28th, MAC is coining “Smoky Black Friday.” The beauty behemoth will offer the Veluxe Pearlfusion Shadow trio, an online-only exclusive designed to create endless variations of a perfect, smoky, classic eye (appropriately dark and black). The palette is $25.00.

So if you’re looking for a way to semi-participate in the madness, here’s a nice little treat.

The Smoky Black Friday palette is available exclusively at maccosmetics.com. 

Wanna Be A Supermodel? Show Your MAC-nificence

Have you literally spent your life dreaming of seeing your own face photographed in a magazine? Do you consider yourself a social media guru and/or guru in general of sorts? Do you constantly respond to friends’ life conflicts in the form of mantras boiled down to tweet-size? If the answer to any or all of these is yes, you might be a perfect candidate for MAC’s contest to cast its next six models, MAC-nificent Me. Harnessing the power of social media, MAC will cast campaign models through a competition that blends the selfie and the inspirational quote. What more could a 2014 gal ask for? Six winners will be picked. The criteria, as stated by MAC: “Style, Heart, and Soul.”

Here’s what you’ve gotta do:

Write and customize your 140-characters-or-less mantra as it will be the very thing to represent you to MAC. Send MAC a headshot–or selfie–that really shows your face. Then, get out there and post that custom-mantra on any and every platform you’ve ever forgotten a password for with the hashtag #MACnificentMe.

The winners will travel to New York where an as yet unnamed prestigious fashion photographer will shoot the photos for the fall 2015 ad campaign. Smile!

Learn more here.

Prabal Gurung is All About a Classic Red Lip

Prabal Gurung is lounging in a corner booth at The Top of The Standard, flanked by a small table where his brand new collection for MAC sits, open and ready to be played with. It is now T-3 days til we can all officially get the red lips that have been a source of inspiration to Gurung since he was a little boy admiring his mother in his native Nepal. It’s known that Gurung is an ardent admirer of the red lip. This is confirmed, beyond doubt, when I ask Gurung about the ultimate must-have from the collection. Before the question is fully asked, Gurung remarks “the red lip,” with absolute certainty.

prabal sara

As someone who can barely leave the house with a red lip intact, I wondered why Gurung was so taken with the classic hue.

“There’s such a strong statement–the confidence–that comes with the red lip–it is, when it’s done right, it’s the most fascinating, sensual alluring thing I have ever seen,” he says, with no hesitation. As for what makes his take on his favorite color lippy special, he notes its “texture and tonality.”

Of course, for his first foray in to makeup, the packaging speaks as loudly as the product.

“If you look at the packaging, there’s substance, weight, quality to it–we spent almost two years developing it,” Gurung says. “I wanted it to be something that had merit on it’s own–without the product, and with it. The clothes that I make, I’d like to believe that the product I make, for ready-to-wear has a merit on it’s own, and with the woman who it wearing it.” Gurung is a believer in fashion as an enhancer. He defines beauty as a “celebration of one’s self,” and “Not just the beauty that is obvious to the world, but also the substantive qualities that make a difference to other people’s lives as well.”

mac prabal

For the days when our outside isn’t feeling quite as lovely as our inside, we’ll take Gurung’s word for it and try a sensual and confident red lip.

And the 2015 Mac Viva Glam Girl Is None Other Than… MILEY CYRUS

Images courtesy of MAC

Miley Cyrus is looking damn sultry in the images just released for her upcoming collaboration with MAC. She’s the latest in a string of mega popstars to lend her mug to the campaign which donates ALL of it’s profits to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Look out for her upcoming Viva Glam Miley Cyrus lipstick–an amplified hot pink hue, and accompanying Viva Glam Miley Cyrus lipglass, a hot pink with sparkling pearl in January.

Viva Glam

Venetian Beauty at Tadashi Shoji

For Tadashi Shoji’s SS15 collection, inspiration came from Venetian architecture. “The queen of the Adriatic is to wear these clothes,” said make-up artist Pep Gay, “she needs to look finished, not heavy handed.” For this runway look, a fresh, dewy finish was achieved by applying MAC Eye Gloss in Pearl Varnish all over the eyelids, and the Luna highlighter was used for cheekbones – a look we’re definitely trying tonight when the sun isn’t melting everything.

The final result? A polished, glimmering glow, accented by the hair, slicked into a low pony, braided, and wrapped inside itself for an intricate updo. Hair off the back of our neck? Heck yes. Definitely something else we’ll be trying in this heat.

Get the Chromat NYFW Beauty Look We Love

Model Kailee O’Sullivan poses for senior style editor Alyssa Shapiro after the Chromat show. Image via

Okay, so a set of bright orange dots mid-face might be a somewhat intimidating and slightly tricky beauty look to pull off on any given day, but it’s fashion week, and the doors of acceptability are wide open. We’re giving this one a try — those bright spots will distract from any sleep deprivation-induced dark circles, for sure.

MAC makeup artist Frances Hathaway put the look together on this one, and it’s all about beautiful, heroic women.

Do what you gotta do to get skin looking perfect but still fresh, brush up those eyebrows, and smack on some lip balm. Here’s what you’ll need to do for the eyes:

Step 1: Gather your tools. You’ll need an eyelash curler, a pencil eraser (probably still attached to the pencil for better grip), and your shadow of choice + matching pigment powder. Hathaway’s pro choice? MAC’s Chromacake — it’s a solid cake of opaque, matte, hyper-pigmented color — in Genuine Orange, along with the matching Pigment.

Step 2: Curl your lashes, but skip the mascara.

Step 3: Using the pencil eraser, dot on ultra-pigmented Chromacake after wetting the palette.

Step 4: Set it with the matching pigment.

Step 5: Pretend like you slept the full recommended seven to eight hours last night.

Prabal Gurung Does Makeup with MAC (!)

Courtesy of MAC

Prabal Gurung will be the next designer to team up with MAC for a cosmetics collaboration, but the goods won’t come at the usual MAC prices. Gurung told WWD: “I design [apparel] at a luxury price point, and I wanted to make sure that the product that I came out with — particularly as this is my first foray into beauty — was in sync with my brand.” So though $70 bronzer and $40 eyeshadow may be a splurge, Gurung made sure each piece feels like a luxury item all on its own.

The packaging is couture-esque on its own per Gurung’s wishes. “When a woman takes it out of her purse, it becomes a topic of conversation,” he said of his intention for the glamorous packaging. With Daisy Buchanan-worthy gilded packaging, these’ll definitely be items worthy of an Ooh! Where did you get that?

Gurung’s makeup range will adorn the faces of his models at his upcoming September 6th runway show, and the rest of us can get our hands on the range at MAC stores across North America on November 26. Have you started your holiday wish list yet?


Bloody Good Nails

The hottest colors of the new season also happen to be the deepest. When nails get a high intensity dose, the bottles don’t stand a chance. These polishes are powerful… and they’re bloody good.


Click on the photos below to view full screen.


Shop the hottest fall colors:
3.1 Phillip Lim for NARS in ‘Insidious’
Deborah Lippmann in ‘Take the “A” Train’
Jin Soon x Tess Giberson collection in ‘Farrago’
MAC in ‘Midnight Sky’
Estée Lauder Pure Color in ‘Lust’

All jewelry by Eddie Borgo

Photographer: Jacob Brown
Manicurist: Julie Kandalec (Bryan Bantry)
Manicure Assistant: Jini Lim
Special Effects: Allison Huntington Chase
Beauty Editor: Alyssa Shapiro