My Favorite Travel Souvenir: Duty-Free Lip Gloss

I know loving lip gloss isn't all that special, but the memories I've attached to the ones I've bought around the world are.
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Allegra
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I know loving lip gloss isn't all that special, but the memories I've attached to the ones I've bought around the world are.

We all have our collections, keepsakes, momentos--things we hoard because we love them and they mean something to us. For some, it’s spoons from everywhere they've traveled; for others, it’s stamps, from places they'd like to go to someday. People mount fish they’ve caught, to remind them of their tropical vacation. Women collect shoes, because THEY’RE SHOES.

Me? I collect lip gloss. I travel internationally quite frequently, and you can get really special glosses overseas that you can’t always find in the US. Or maybe I just want a lip gloss. Any lip gloss, special or not.

Actually, they're all special, because I always end up linking the memories of those trips to the gloss I got while on them.

They're like my shiny little children.

They're like my shiny little children.

One of my absolute favorite glosses is Dior Addict Lip Gloss. Not only because the packaging is glamorous, but I feel like a kid in a candy store when I walk into the duty-free Dior area. Also, they come in future-classic colors, collector's editions, and seasonal shades, so every time I roll through an international airport, there's always something previously undiscovered to fall in love with.

In early spring 2011, my boyfriend Jared and I were on our way back to the US from London, where his film Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows had just wrapped. I found an incredible Dior Addict gray gloss with purple iridescent flecks, called Gris Trianon. I love gray and purple, and even though it sounds like it would work well on a zombie beauty queen, it actually equalized my naturally darker pink lips into a flattering neutral shade.

Alas, they don't sell it anymore, so I've bought EVERY SINGLE ONE of the internet--I continue to try finding it on eBay. I love it because the gray shade will always remind me of the overcast skies in London.

In June 2011 (gee, a lot of awesome lip glosses came out that year, huh?), I went on an epic girls' trip to Paris/Sorrento/Capri/Positano/Pompeii/Florence/Tuscany/Rome over the course of four weeks. We all almost murdered each other. Anyway, on my way home, while at the Rome airport, my eye was caught by a black, glittery Givenchy Gelée d'Interdit lip gloss amongst an array of crazy-looking makeup--their "Acid Summer" collection.

Even though my girlfriends and I did not partake in any hallucinogens on our trip, with all the colorful personalities, uproarious laughter, and late, star-filled nights, the gloss's name was an appropriate way to remember the vacation: "Celestial Black."

I went to visit Jared on set in Toronto in September 2012. Canada is amazing for so many reasons, one of them being that seemingly every regular drugstore has high-end makeup. I went a little nuts, and overdid it on Dior glosses (Pink Trench, Gold Sunrise, Little Red Dress, Black Tie Plum), but that didn't stop me from supporting the duty-free shop at the airport on my way home.

This time, I needed a nice, natural gloss for the Britannia Awards. I can never find a nude shade I like, so I ended up with a super-glittery MAC Dazzleglass in Sugarrimed. It's RIDICULOUSLY sparkly and reminds me of the late 1970s disco era.

Even though I tried on the MAC lip glosses at the Toronto airport with disposable applicators, the unthinkable (but totally understandable) happened: I had lip irritation when I got home! AAAARGH! I've avoided herpes for years! Not this! Not now!

I ran to my doctor, got checked out, and it was just some allergic irritation, thank goodness. So, I looked into organic, hypoallergenic glosses. We had been to a party at the British Residence in LA, and Neal's Yard lip gloss was in the gift bag. In my life-long quest to find a nice nude, theirs is one of the loveliest. It requires lots of touching up, unfortunately, but its gentleness makes it worth it.

Up until now, I could find Neal's Yard products only in the UK, but they just starting being sold in the US, by independent consultants. I love you, independent consultants!

The source of my lip gloss obsession is most definitely, beyond a doubt, Bobbi Brown. She's the genius behind making lip gloss that truly looks like a prettier version women's natural lip shades. My favorite colors are Buff, which is a beige-y pink, and Petal, a soft, mauve-y pink that I wore to the SAG Awards earlier this year.

They go on quite thick, but not as dense as MAC glosses. I often layer the Buff Bobbi Brown Lip Gloss, then the impossible-to-find gray Dior gloss for most awards shows. It's the closest I can get to a perfect nude, for me, so far.

I'll continue my search for my ideal nude gloss, but I'll also continue collecting glosses from everywhere I travel; not only when I love a color or because it's hard to find in the US, but because I'll always associate each one with where I got it.

Is your lip gloss obsession as far-reaching (literally) as mine? Can you recommend the nude lip gloss that might finally end my search?