A Question For You


Whenever I am in a decent branch of Boots or Superdrug and I have five minutes spare, I make sure that I go and look at the Nail Care section, just to check up on things. I love the fact that while Chanel nail polishes are a somewhat steep £16.50 each, there is always a carnival of super-cheap buffers and strange nail hardeners and a never-ending parade of multi-coloured (yet always agonising) toe separators. I love this stuff. I will never tire of it. It reminds me of growing up and spending my pocket money for the first time. It reminds me of spending evenings with my mother, earnestly discussing which product might be best for my needs. (She was very patient, and always took me seriously. Which should come as no surprise). And it reminds me of evenings I now spend with my sister, watching trash on telly and painting her nails for her.

But there is one product in the Nail Care section that never fails to fascinate me. Half the time, I just go to check that it is still there. It has never not been there since I began buying nail products. And it has no place there, as it is not for one’s nails.

It is Lipcote.

Lipcote: Reliable

My amazement that this product is still for sale is as strong as my memories of trying to use it in the early nineties. It was a make-up rite of passage. First of all, you brushed your lips vigorously with a toothbrush to ensure they were silky smooth. Or, if you were super-cool, you might use some Body Shop Lipscuff. Then you applied some lip balm and waited for it to sink in, while nonchalantly flicking through a copy of Just 17. (NB ‘applied’. One did not ‘put on’ lip balm in such a context). Then the Heather Shimmer was applied and the lips were blotted on a tissue. (Never loo roll. Never, ever loo roll). Finally, the Lipcote was painted on. Yeah, painted on. Eeeeeww.

Heather Shimmer: For many years boys must have thought all girls tasted like this

My recollection is that Lipcote was an utterly useless product that started to peel off your face almost immediately. It left me looking like a combination of Count Laszlo de Almásy and someone who had been licking Elmer’s glue from a saucer like a thirsty kitten. As far as I was concerned, its sole purpose was to imply that my whirlwind lifestyle of endless supping from cocktail glasses and kissing of suitors rendered it an essential tool. This was not the case.

Did anyone else have the same experience? Does anyone still use it? Does anyone know anyone who still uses it? Why is it still there? Why is it sold in Nail Care?

Honestly, I’d love to know.


23 Responses to “A Question For You”

  1. 1 Willy Benson

    I LOVE nails.

  2. I had completely forgotten about the episode of my life that was called ‘heather shimmer’…. unfortunately the ‘lipcote’ episode is indelible.
    Unlike the product.
    Didn’t it sort of sting a bit when you applied it?

  3. 5 Fiona

    I used to LOVE Lipcote.

    Thought it had been lost forever but I will definitely buy a bottle now I know it is still available.

    Thank you!

    P.s it didn’t peel when I wore it, but it did sting for about 5 minutes after applying it.

  4. Ha! I had forgotten about the sting but now everyone is mentioning it. Did it actually work for you though?

  5. 7 Fiona

    It totally worked for me. In fact I remember spending many mornings after nights before trying to get rid of the lipstick that still remained.

    The 90’s. Sigh.

  6. 9 Dawn

    Ahhh, I remember this, with the Body Shop Lip thing which really hurt, then the Heather Shimmer and the stingy, foul tasting LipCote.
    I don’t remember I peeling, but I do remember my mother telling me to take it off. Good times.

  7. I’m glad the Lipscuff thing hurt you two. I asked my sister for one and it left me looking like Jackie Stallone for a week.

  8. 11 Zara

    Ah I Love Lipcote! I don’t think it is just a 90’s thing as me and all my girls make sure we always put it on before a night out (and we are only in our early 20’s), we all love our bright lippy! I think maybe you just find it peeling because of the moisture of the lipstick, I tend to wear top shops Rio Rio and it works fine with that.
    I wouldn’t say it hurts though, just abit tingly but then at least you know it is working! x

  9. 12 Mary

    Oh I know Lipcote !! I have it in my make up bag and can defiantly say I can’t go on a night out without it !! As I never stop yapping I sort of need something to keep lipstick on my lips and not ( god forbid) all over my teeth , a place lipstick should never, ever be seen ! Also its not a hot look !
    I think maybe because you used it on a moisturising shimmer Lipstick it peeled , I’ve never had this problem ! Have you tried using it with matte lipsticks ? I wear it with MAC or matte lipsticks from Nars which I love ! Anything with moisture or gloss in is not the best to use with Lipcote ! I think the sting isn’t really that bad !! Its gone after a few seconds unless your applying it to cracked lips OUCH ! A big no no !! Try it with a matte lipstick and it shall not let you down 😉 ! Hope this helps ladies !

    • I am overjoyed to have discovered that Lipcote is being used. I was obviously using it wrong.

      There is a lesson here: stick to nails, Hemmo.

    • 14 Ava

      This is 4 years later (OooOOoo the future … LOL) but I’d found your post very helpful. I tried posting on the Lipcote Facebook, but they seem to delete ALL posts by fans. Go figure. I use Revlon’s lustrous lipstick, and apparently that needs blotting, 2 coats, no lipliner, and waiting about 4 minutes to set. Even then, it ends up cracking and looking powdery. I guess I need translucent powder before adding Lipcote. Great product, but I guess you can’t expect their PR people to … PR. lol ELF seems more interactive.

  10. I remember reading I could rub my lips “with a dry towel” as an alternative to a toothbrush, and I still do that sometimes. It kind of works.

    Anyway, Alex, I thought of you all this week because we hired a car in France, and it was exactly the same colour as Chanel 505:

    Same colour as last year's hit Chanel nail polish

    It was like this glossy, car-sized fingernail. Very beautiful. A Citroen trend I think.

    • Oh Leila I am in total awe of both the car AND your thing of referring to the colour by its number. That is cool. It opens up the possibility of *only* referring to them by number, as if I was an Oompa Loompa at the Chanel factory…

  11. (PS am very pleased to see the blog is going again)

  12. 18 Clare Bennett

    Lipcote is totally horrendous – I used it once when I was about 12 and I might as well have put super glue on my mouth. It went rock hard and semi sticky and I glued my hand to my face trying to wipe it off.

    The Bodyshop Lipscuff! A bought me some of that at Bristol! It tore layers and layers of skin off your mouth, so much for a gentle ‘scuffing’ – it skinned in manner of St Bartholomew.

    Shimmer lipstick – a rite of passage akin to starting one’s menstrual cycle. It is SURE to make a come back.

    PS I want the Limited Edition purple and gold from YSL – to wear separately, not at same time.

    • Maybe it was the deadly Lipscuff Lipcote combo that was so tingly. It sounds horrific.

      Please can you send me a link to the YSL ones?


  13. 21 Sue

    Wowza! I see your ‘Heather Shimmer’ and raise a certain ‘Birthday Suit’.
    This post made me unleash the make-up box of the ‘Forgotten Years’. Yes, I keep everything. So many memories, ‘So..’ body glitter, Boots ‘Sugar Plum’ lipbalm, LIPCOTE and also an amazing £3 Topshop necklace that would look amazing with my work shirt tomorrow.

    Thanks Alex X


  14. Four words, regarding the about comment. Body Shop White Musk.

  15. Four words, regarding the above comment. Body Shop White Musk.

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