Top lipsticks for September 

I post my lipstick of the day over on my Instagram account (makeup_plus_50). It’s a good way to keep track of my favorites while also maintaining a tally of what other Instagrammers like and don’t like.

September was a month for reds, but the most-liked shade was not crimson and — News Flash! — at $12 it was one of the least expensive lipsticks in my drawer. One of my followers even guessed that it was a super-high-end Yves St. Laurent lippie. It just goes to show that makeup doesn’t have to be expensive to deliver good results.

Without further ado, here are the most-liked lipsticks of September. They’re pictured clockwise from left in the accompanying photo:

1. NYX Ombré Lip Duo in Peaches & Cream, $12 at Ulta.

2. NARS  Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl, $26 at Sephora.

3. Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Dashing (Very Cherry), $30 at Sephora.

Amazing in April: Monthly favorites in makeup, music and more

 All I can say is, “Thank goodness the first four months of 2016 ended on a high note!” I’ve just returned from a wonderful cruise that reset my attitude and snapped me out of a two-month funk (more on that later, because it had a definite impact on my music favorites for the month). But first, let’s talk about my beauty loves for April:

  • Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation — The gorgeous pop-of-color packaging caught my eye. But as a foundation connoisseur, I have to say my first Josie Maran foundation is a winner. The Argan Oil-infused formula provides great medium to full coverage and leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized. It also provides just the right amount of radiance without veering into greasy.
  • Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara — If you’re looking for inky-black lashes with major volume, give this a whirl. I prefer “dryer” mascaras, so I liked the formula better after using it for a few weeks.
  • Benefit Cosmetics Cheekathon Blush and Bronzer Palette — This value-packed bundle includes four full-sized pans of Benefit’s best-loved blushes, as well as the beloved Hoola bronzer. Although the packaging is somewhat bulky, it’s still a great take-along for extended vacations.
  • Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer — This is a cult favorite and I can see why. It truly is like summer in a bottle. I use it two ways: mixed with my regular foundation for an all-over bronze look or as a bronzy liquid contour. It is pricey, so if that’s a concern, Perricone MD’s No Bronzer Bronzer is a good alternative.
  • Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Primer with SPF 35 — A great combo product that did right by me on the beaches of the Caribbean. I remained burn-free and clear-skinned.
  • Givenchy Memoire De Forme Pop Up Jelly Blush in Rose Extravagent — A cream-verging-on-liquid blush in a cute little pot that provides a long-lasting, moisturized glow. Don’t let the color scare you — it’s intense! But on the cheeks, it provides a natural, rosy flush of color.
  • Surratt Beauty Prismatique Eyes in Style Eyes — These convenient pots include a matte cream shadow in one compartment and a shimmering topper in another. Style Eyes is described as an ambiguous heather. I’d say it’s a dusky purple-mauve that provides an air of elegance. It pairs well with Nars’ new Dominique Audacious Lipstick, which is a deep pink-lilac. img_0781
  • Lipstick favorites, pictured clockwise from top left: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in Oh Miley!, a bright strawberry red; Bobbi Brown Art Stick in Dusty Pink, a muted nude rose; Tarte Lip Sculptor and Lip Gloss in Renegade, a rich, gleaming berry rose.

Movie favorites: “Joy,” starring Jennifer Lawrence as a struggling single mom working to bring her innovative invention to market (, Netflix); “The Witch,” a creepily enthralling film about witchery in the Puritan era (theaters); “Nothing Left Unsaid,” an engrossing documentary about the lives of Anderson Cooper and his fascinating mother, Gloria Vanderbilt (HBO On Demand).

Television favorites: “The Amazing Race,” always a favorite (CBS); “Mercy Street,” about the lives of nurses and doctors in Civil War hospitals (, “Game of Thrones,” which is back with a vengeance and a fast-moving plot (HBO).

Music: As I mentioned, it’s been a rocky year thus far. I lost two friends to cancer and a dear mentor two weeks ago to a freak head injury. My playlist, for those reasons, might have been a bit darker than usual. Album-wise, I’ve been listening to tried-and-true classics: “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” by Derek and the Dominoes, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and Carole King’s “Tapestry.” As for singles, I’ve been into Prince’s “Purple Rain” and “Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” Sam Smith’s “I Know I’m Not the Only One,” and “Take Me to Church” by Hozier.

Remember, strength is beauty. Hold your head up, smile and look to the future. – Ronda

Gimme some lip: Five top lipstick shades

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Back row, left to right: Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, MAC, Smashbox Front: NYX

I was a rather late arrival to the lipstick game. When I was in high school and college, the natural look was in and — thanks to the hereditary benefit of a naturally pink pout — I rarely wore lip products at all. I never got into lip glosses (too thick and gooey) and lipstick required touch-ups throughout the day, which was something I just couldn’t be bothered with.

As I got older, however, two things happened: First, I discovered that the right lip shade can work wonders, particularly in terms of brightening an aging face. Second, lipstick formulas changed. Today’s lippies don’t feel nearly as heavy and waxy as the old formulas that made my lips feel like they were suffocating beneath a heavy, uncomfortable film. What’s more, the latest formulations are longer-lasting, reducing the frequency of touch-ups.

Today, I have a rather large collection of lipsticks, ranging from nuder-than-nude to fiery reds. Here are a few of my current favorites:

  • Tom Ford Lip Color in Spanish Pink: This is my favorite pink nude. It’s also my most spendy lipstick, purchased at the crazy price of $50 for the tube. It’s a good thing this was a “Sorry, not sorry” selection. It’s creamy, has the perfect amount of sheen and is a lovely beige-pink shade worthy of a classic Hitchcock blonde.
  • Marc Jacobs Le Marc in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: First, let’s talk about the case: It’s sleek, curved, sexy and magnetized. The lipstick inside is sexy too — it’s a deep rosy shade with beige undertones that promises 10 hours of velvety, hydrating wear. Ten hour is stretching it (in my experience, no lipstick holds on for that long), but I love the way it makes my lips look smooth and full with a slight sheen.
  • MAC Red — MAC makes a wide array of gorgeous reds. While Russian Red and Ruby Woo get the lion’s share of raves, I’m partial to the simply named “MAC Red.” It’s a vivid, bright, blue-red with a satin finish that makes my teeth look several shades whiter. Simply named … simply gorgeous.
  • Smashbox Be Legendary Long-Wear Lip Lacquer in Fuchsia — Generally, the glossier the lipstick the shorter the wear. The Smashbox Be Legendary formula is different in that it goes on like a lacquer but turns into a glossy, long-lasting stain. When I think of fuchsia, I think of a punchy, in-your-face reddish pink. This is a kinder, gentler, muted fuchsia — a shade so pretty that strangers stop me to ask what I’m wearing on my lips.
  • NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick — Anyone who knows me knows that I’m partial to matte, liquid lipsticks because they’re so long-wearing and never need a lip liner. My favorite from among the new, very affordable NYX entry into long-wearing matte brigade is Tea & Cookies. Pinky browns are all the rage, but sometimes they’re too brown on me. This shade has just the right combination of pink and brown and the color doesn’t budge, even during a meal.