Sometime in the early 1990s, I rolled my eyes when I read one magazine writer’s lament about Calvin Klein discontinuing their Parma Rose lipstick. The #firstworldproblems hashtag didn’t exist then, but I would have loved it in that moment of teenage sanctimony. Guess who wasn’t rolling her eyes five years later when Tarte discontinued her beloved brow kit, the Swiss Army knife of eyebrows? #legitemergency
A similar horror took hold of my soul when I discovered that the soothing yet effective macadamia cleansing milk I’d gotten deeply discounted on Sephora.com had been discontinued. I felt my blood run cold when the penny dropped: It had been on clearance because they were killing it. I took this very personally.
Is there anything as superficial that inspires as much genuine hope as a brand new lipstick? I loved how YSL embossed their logo into this one, which I bought exactly 10 years ago on a much-needed shopping stop while driving from Marseilles to a village in Provence. That’s where and when I took this photo, on a hillside in the French Alps. It was the perfect place, the perfect day, with the perfect people – and the most perfect, promising, pristine lipstick.
I agree with Wilfred Bion that hope is toxic; yes, hope of heaven steals lives away. But in this case YSL delivered. Rouge Personnel 17 – also known as the shade Sensuous Fig – was that rare lipstick that suited anyone. (I had no idea about the Sensuous Fig moniker until I started writing this post. That house in the French Alps had dozens of fig trees on its grounds, and I ate my breakfast directly from them every morning we spent there.)
And now? It’s gone. The bullet pictured above was stolen when I was mugged in London – a final straw that compelled me to move back to the US after many years in the UK. To add insult to injury, YSL then discontinued the color. Ça me soûle!
It’s only lipstick, and I have replaced it with roughly 200 others in the 10 years that have elapsed. But I still would love to have that one.
I always love to hear about the products people have loved and lost. If there’s one you still remember with sorrow, tell me about it. You don’t have to go through this alone.