More like 13 days…
“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”Erica Jong
I never wear red lipstick. I never even wear lipstick but red is too bold for me, too bright. One thing I didn’t like was that it would highlight my hyperpigmentation; which is not cute. Also, it would come off on anything and then afterward it would stain my lips and leave slight red lines the next morning.
Which is why it was the perfect challenge.
I kicked it off on the first of March to celebrate Women’s month. You see, red lipstick is so taboo. I don’t know if that’s necessarily still the view we are imprinting on children but it’s definitely the one I grew up with. Red lipstick was something for prostitutes and women who “chased after” rich men and married men. It was too distracting for work, too wild for school and definitely not something parents should let their child wear.
Going into this challenge, I thought about the soiled reputation the red lip had gained and pondered over it’s origin story. And because I was so curious I did some research.
“Heels and red lipstick will put the fear of God into people.”Dita Von Teese
So red lipstick started off as literally being deadly. In Ancient Egypt, people crushed up precious stones to get the right shade of red. Cleopatra would crush up ants and beetles just to get her signature red. Because of the mix of iodine, mannite, lead and other chemicals neither of us can pronounce people would literally die; which if you think about it, makes up for a pretty bad reputation. Centuries down the line, after Queen Elizabeth I’s favourite lipstick famously (or infamously) killed her in the 1500s-ish, red lipsticks took on a whole new meaning.
In the 1700s Britain was swept up in this strict anti-cosmetic regime where it was even ruled that a marriage could be annulled if the woman wore red lipstick– yikes! Cosmetics, therefore, were only for prostitutes. France however, was too busy cultivating a society of sexual liberation to give a damn and red lipstick was encouraged for upper-class women as the natural look was reserved for prostitutes and working women.
You’d almost wonder what the obsession was with this distinction between “women” and prostitutes but oh well, the patriarchy.
In the nineteenth century, Queen Victoria declared that make up was “impolite” and as such it grew out of fashion during her reign. The only thing more taboo than wearing red lipstick was applying it in public and the French actress, Sara Bernhardt caught flack for doing just that.
In the early 1900s, red lipstick became popular again and the modern-day swivel lipstick was patented. Companies like Channel, Elizabeth Arden, Guerlain and Max Factor started to make lipsticks. Actresses like Clara Bow would wear the darkest lipstick they could find to mimic red because it didn’t show up on black and white film.
The 1940s brought an interesting turn as lipstick was now scarce because of the war. At the same time, Hazel Bishop developed a “No-Smear Lipstick”; which was designed to stay on all day. There was also a rise in propaganda targeting young girls and urging them not to wear red lipstick as it was “undesirable to men”. However, brands like Covergirl, Maybelline and Revlon marketed heavily towards their target audiences, girls age 16 and up, and by the end of the decade 90% of American women wore lipstick.
The 1950s made red lipstick sexy even thanks to stars like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor but they were quickly overshadowed in the 60s and 70s when other shades of lipstick became popular as well. In the 80s and 90s combined with the early 2000s, red lipstick was brought to the standard it’s held at now; largely reserved for stars and people who want to stand out; though it does come into the limelight every now and then.
I hope that wasn’t too boring for ya!
So, I obviously couldn’t finish out my term, what with Ms. Rona cancelling life basically, until further notice.
And I don’t do well locked up inside, my days slowly melted away from sultry, red lippie days to only applying nude glosses or Carmex when I remember that I don’t want to keep licking my chapped lips for the whole day.
Quick review on all the lip products.
Fenty is a great bold lip. Everyone needs one for those days where the sun is shining and you feel like the baddie you are inside. I was quite hesitant about doing bold lips because they don’t always look that comfortable on darker skin tones, but I really like this shade and I love how fat that applicator is and how you can get all the corners of your lips, no matter how thick they are, in just one swoop.
Y’all already know how I feel about Uoma Beauty. I will add that the Black Magic Metallic Lipstick in On-Fire, is pure genius. The glitter shows off the red and gives out this glamorous glow that would look good on any kind of make up look.
The NYX gloss was questionable on the first use because I guess I was expecting it to be just like the gloss bomb. In comparison, Red Velvet is less pigmented (especially for me because I have a dark upper lip) and it feels more like a lip tint too. I kept reapplying because I thought a couple more layers would bring the colour out but then it just got sticky and difficult. However, when I accepted it’s translucency, I realised, it’s actually a very sexy gloss. You can get it at Ulta.
Bawse Lady by The Lip Bar (BLACK-OWNED BRAND BTW) is a fantastic product. I was a little skeptical because I was worried it would be really bright and uncomfortable, but it was a beautiful deep red and it dries down very matte, so it is kind of drying but it will stay on all day. You can get one on either Amazon or Target.
The last product I used was the Marc Jacobs Le Marc Liquid Lip Crayon and I don’t own many lip crayons but, fun fact they were one of the first lip products I ever owned. It’s a mini- lipstick set of three and was a gift for my last birthday. I really liked this shade, it was bold but could easily be reined in with a liner. It had this creamy consistency and was surprisingly easy to apply.
This was probably one of the days of the quarantine that I actually put on lipstick.
Anyway, I would say wearing such a bold colour consistently made me more confident as I knew that my lips were already going to attract way more attention to myself than on a regular day. Red lipstick gives you some kind of shield because you’re suddenly a symbol and depending on who you interact with, you’re either some kind of superhero baddie or a whore but either way, you’re a baddie.
I definitely wish I could’ve kept it up for the whole month because there would have been a point and I would have had way more to say about the kind of transforming experience it was supposed to be.
But anyway, if you don’t own red lipstick, you need to go get some. Or seven.