Lipstick, In Simpler Times - Beauty Addict

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lipstick, In Simpler Times

Indulge me a few moments of nostalgia, friends. A few days ago I was reorganizing my stash of makeup (which, as I'm sure you can imagine, is substantial), looking at all the "must-have" items that I've amassed over the years, and I remembered the first time I just had to have a certain cosmetic product.

I went to high school in the mid '90s - smack in the middle of a decade defined by neutrals and mattes, like those from Bobbi Brown, who rose to makeup fame right around this time. However, being 15, most of us could not afford Bobbi Brown (yet) and therefore looked for makeup inspiration on the pages of Seventeen magazine and the cosmetic aisles of Duane Reade and CVS. Like wildfire, a lipstick craze swept our school. Everyone worth their salt just had to have a tube of a Revlon lipstick called Coffee Bean.

Coffee Bean is a brown shade with some shimmer, and let me tell you, brown lipstick was so hot back then, even if it looked awful with your coloring (as it did with mine). Still, I had to have it, but it had quickly sold out of every drugstore in Brooklyn. I dispatched my ever-stylish, fashion industry maven aunt to a Duane Reade in midtown Manhattan which was a beauty mecca - it carried every drugstore line and always restocked. I soon had the coveted tube of Coffee Bean in hand. The feeling was akin to finding a Birkin bag in a consignment shop or purchasing the very last bottle of a long-sought perfume. Amazing that a simple tube of lipstick from the drugstore can inspire such feelings.

I - and everyone else in my social circle - eventually grew out of Coffee Bean and moved on to colors like Hip Honey from L'Oreal and a shade called Fawn from a private label in NY, but none of those would ever match the excitement that built up around Coffee Bean. It's a memory I'll always remember fondly, especially years later when life seems so much more complicated. We should all have the carefree spirit, and the confidence, to feel so joyful about something so simple as a lipstick. I think it's good for the soul.

Coffee Bean is still on the market, and available at