• Karen Lee

Obituary: RIP My Chanel Coco Rouge Gloss

Updated: Feb 28




I need to put my lil bb to rest officially. I haven’t used my Chanel Coco Rouge gloss in a really long time because well... I got it in the beginning of 2017. But I’ve been carrying it with me wherever I go since (at least three continents). It's a straight-up miracle I haven't lost it. I won't be replacing it because it's a souvenir from a very particular time in my life, and a new one won't be the same.


I am a person who likes "things". I like having tchotchkes. And I usually don't buy anything unless I really love it. (Buying beauty is an exception). I form emotional connections with many of my things and I hang onto them until they no longer spark joy. But somethings have hung around as I've let others go. Things I have kept long after their expiration date include my very first pair of "designer" shoes, 7 for All Mankind jeans, and Juicy Couture hoodie. Actually, now that I see that written out, I have a weird attachment to icons of the mid 2000s... Actually... now that I really think about it, my most worn pair of shoes in 2020 thus far are Uggs I got in 2006 and brought out of from the basement... (Perhaps this is something we will need to revisit - did I reach my peak in middle school?!)


It was March of 2017. I was in the midst of my semester abroad in Milan, Italy. It had always been a dream of mine to go skiing in the Alps. So I gathered up a car load of friends and hwent to see the majestic Mont Blanc. It was so beautiful.


I returned back to Milan with the most sunburnt lips of all time. Back at home I would have just slathered on some Vaseline. The previous week I had been window shopping inside the fanciest department store in town because when I was a homesick and went to distract myself in the fantasy of beautiful things I can't afford.


I was beckoned by the charming ladies at the Chanel counter to try on the newly launched Chanel Coco Rouge gloss. I must have been really craving human interactions, so I sat in the black stool and let the lady try all the different colours on me.

My saved snapchat from that day. Behind me is the Duomo in Milan.

As my lips were on fire, I just wanted something that would be thick, soothing, and moisturizing, ASAP. I made a beeline back to the counter and paid €28 for the fanciest (read: most expensive) lip product I had ever purchased at that time. Considering my ideal alternative would have been a tub of petroleum jelly it felt like an extra indulgent purchase.


Over the years (I shamefully admit that that is way too long to use a lip gloss) it has made me feel fancy every time I brought it out. It was a luxury item I didn't have to baby; I didn't have to worry about it scuffing or getting caught in the rain. But it has also served as a physical reminder of a time where I did something all on my own. To me that lipgloss is my souvenir from my grad school experience more so than my actual degree. I packed up and left home to live in a foreign country where I literally knew no one, not once, but three times. Sure, I did some school stuff in there, but I think the biggest lesson of all was proving to myself that I can venture out into the unknown all by myself, figure out my way, and live to tell the tale.

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