I've always been more of a lip gloss girl than a lipstick one. Lip gloss might have been declared uncool years ago, but given its history as the only cosmetic one could get away with wearing at school and the fact that I'm a sucker for owning it in every conceivable flavour*, my liking for it might be a little less inexplicable.
Lipstick just felt far too grown-up for me to ever be truly comfortable with it on. I know that sounds like a ridiculous thing for a twentysomething to say, but I really did believe that there wasn't a single shade of lipstick invented that could suit me. I really hate brown lipstick (which is what conventional wisdom- i.e. the makeup counter ladies- seems to say people with my skin tone should wear) and things with shades of brown because they have the unfortunate effect of highlighting every skin flaw I ever had, and quite a few that I don't. Which is deeply annoying, because my skin is actually pretty decent**- but it did leave me feeling rather grumpy about the world of makeup at large, with my options limited to a slick of clear or lightly tinted lip gloss and a kohl pencil (which may be de rigeur for a lot of Indian girls, but tends to leave me looking sleep-deprived and a little scary. Smoky eyes are one thing, panda eyes...completely different kettle of fish).
Therefore, last week- specifically, last Thursday- came as a bit of a surprise to me. Wandering around a local mall*** with an hour to kill before heading to the multiplex to see The Golden Compass, I stopped at a makeup counter and, just on a whim, asked the woman behind it to test some red lipstick on me- a look I've actually never tried before, probably scared off by one too many images of perfectly dressed 1940s women, adding the rider that it shouldn't be brownish. Five minutes later, I walked out of the shop with the purest shade of red they'd had in stock on my lips...and strangely enough, it suited me very well indeed. It did get me a lot of stares (not too many people my age wear red lipstick- most stick to pink and brown), and I don't mean to sound snotty or anything, but it looked good, and it was more than slightly refreshing to walk around messy-haired in my sneakers, jeans and big hooded jacket, with lipstick- specifically, that lipstick- on. I have a rather full mouth so potential clown resemblance (or worse, streetwalker resemblance) might have been an issue, but that didn't happen. And my skin actually looked pretty good, if I may say so myself. It turns out the whole 'red lipstick won't suit you' BS was just that- BS. And maybe the whole point of this rather long and rambly post was that something happened that I didn't think possible- namely, I actually learned that I could wear red lipstick in a way that seemed like me, without having to subject myself to a makeover for it.
The only thing that left me a bit iffy about the red lipstick way of life (and stopped me from buying the tube then and there) was the fact that the stuff is just so bloody messy. It rubbed off on everything possible- from the popcorn I was eating, to the fingernail I'd been chewing on while waiting for the movie to start, to the peppermints that took over from the fingernail a short while later- it took a lot of self-control for me to keep my fingers away from my mouth. And I don't even want to imagine what kissing somebody with that on would be like. Unless I want to pretend I'm a smudgy-mouthed-on-purpose Sabyasachi model...and it's possible that the non-transfer/long-stay/whatever Elizabeth Arden calls it version of the same wouldn't be as satisfyingly creamy. Oh, well. I can't have it all, I guess..
* including peppermint, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla, banana, green apple, lemon, grape, strawberry, watermelon, and...tiramisu.
**People who've seen me up close for long enough or first thing in the morning are free to disagree, of course.
***a place I'd detest on principle if it wasn't the only place I could get my random sweets fix (wine gums, toffee whirls, mint fudge...)
Image from annie-thejourney.com.