I am a lip gloss girl. More specifically, a light-colored lip gloss girl who prefers shiny pinks, peaches, and nudes to dark mattes when it comes to lip color. I have light skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. Therefore, dark lipsticks are a serious challenge for me. Reds? Gasp! Deep berry hues? No. And plums? Oh god, those look absolutely awful on me. Recently, I decided to totally release myself from the grip of this irrational (and maybe unfounded) fear by wearing dark lip colors for a week.
At first, despite compliments to the contrary, I disliked most of these dark lip looks. I couldn't even come up with a "least worst" of the bunch! At the start of the week, I wore dark lip hues around the house to get used to them. Then, I rocked them on errands and while out and about for hours at a time.
Something as superficial as a new shade of lipstick might seem like a silly fear, but it was truly a challenge for me to step out of my comfort zone. I tried to think of that whole BS greeting card sentiment about life beginning at the end of your comfort zone.
Does life begin with dark lipstick? Did I have a change of heart about dark lip hues after living with them and giving them a real chance? Let's find out.
Sorry for the huge closeups, but I was out and about, doing some last-minute holiday shopping and rocking MAC Cyber Lipstick ($17, maccosmetics.com). I figured those bright ass department store lights would really strip away my comfort zones.
I applied this shade with a brush and then blotted in down with a tissue (like, really blotted it down). My BFF loved it on me. I still can't believe I left the house like this. It was a huge deal.
2. The Chocolate Factory
I played with Too Faced's Melted Liquid Lipsticks in the Melted Chocolate range. This is Chocolate Milkshake, which is as delish as it sounds, thanks to the yummy cocoa scent. It gave me an almost Kylie Jenner-like look. It was nude enough for me, but not dark enough for this experiment. Still, I am sharing this photo for contrast. ($21, toofaced.com)
I was terrified of Metallic Candy Bar. I loved the Snickers smell, the rich, creamy texture, and the shine. It was thick and dark and somewhat passable when paired with my pale skin. I usually think of dark brown lips as muddy and way-too-'90s... and not in a good way. It didn't look drab but could have. I was, in fact, super self-conscious while wearing this color. ($21, toofaced.com)
This is Metallic Chocolate Diamonds, which I love, since it isn't dark. It's shimmery and much more my shade speed. I'm merely demonstrating the awesomeness of this range. The texture is divine, drenches lips in softness, and the color payoff is insane. It really is liquified lipstick and smells like a gourmet chocolate shop. ($21, toofaced.com)
For day three, I tried a gloss stain in a violet hue. Violet lips are great for fall, right? I did the Ariana Grande air kiss pout... and looked like an idiot, IMO. But when I layered on a few coats, for a full, rich, and defined look, I actually felt sexy and screen siren-y. For a hot sec, my lips were voluptuous and inviting. When it wore off and left a stain behind, I preferred that result, since it wasn't quite so "LOOK AT ME."
I sorta like the definition and the boldness, but all you notice are my lips.
But alas, it was too goth for my taste. I wore this shade while running errands and while I enjoyed a solo dinner. I wasn't into catching a glimpse in the mirror. My skin looked even more pale —I didn't think that was possible— and my bangs and eyeliner appeared too harsh. Pink gloss softens those elements. I couldn't wait to wipe this shade off with a napkin when my Panera Bread order came.
4. Brick Red
I tried Isaac Mizarahi True Lip Crayon in Veronica, a brick-y x orange-y red. It was fun to apply because it had a tingly mint taste and velvet texture. I liked that it hugged my lips and had a stain-like quality. But I must have taken 56 pictures trying to get a single flattering photo. ($72 for a set of four, beauty brands.com)
5. Bright Red
This is a discontinued Maybelline Super Stay 10 Hour Stain Gloss that I found in a drawer. It's a rich, red berry. I liked this shade but only from a few angles. I don't like how it looks with my hair, my winged liner, and skin tone. GIVE ME MY NUDE OR PINK GLOSS BACK!!!
I think I vehemently dislike this shade because of my small top lip. I wish reds looked good on me but they just don't cooperate.
6. Cherry Red
High maintenance! I wore Red 30, a cherry red shade from COVERGIRL's Stars Wars collection while out to dinner with one of my friends. She thought I was doing some ombre experiment, since my moist bottom lip caused the color to fade in the middle. I had to apply and re-apply and fix little spots that bled. ($6.99, covergirl.com)
OK, full disclosure: This felt super rock 'n' roll and I liked it.
This is kind of cool. Maybe? I don't know. I want to like it. Maybe this one is the best? Am I too hard on myself? Too self-critical? Not seeing that it does look good? I really started to doubt my entire life on day six.
So, after a week of trying out darker shades, I still wasn't sold on their appeal. I see that that they look good on other people, but ultimately I just wasn't feeling it on my own face. The color in the photo above? This, this is the lip look that makes me happy! Sure, when I compare this against the COVERGIRL red, I think it might be possible to pull both sides of the spectrum off. Ultimately, however, we all have preferences, and I don't think there's anything wrong with recognizing your favorite shades. I'm glad to have dabbled in darks to say I tried, but I feel most confident in my nudes and pinks, so I'm sticking with 'em.
Images: Amy Sciarretto (15)