How To Rock Pink Lipstick If You Prefer A More Androgynous Or Queer Beauty Look — PHOTOS
I've vehemently rejected the color pink since I was a toddler. Because of the inherent femininity I thought the hue held, I always felt as though I was at odds with my gender nonconforming identity when wearing it. Whenever a pink dress or pink nail polish was thrust upon me, I grew resentful — like I was being forced to inhabit a feminine identity that didn't belong to me. Even today, I avoid rocking the color in my clothes at all costs. But what about pink makeup?
Of course, we arguably shouldn't assign a gender to something like color. Pink, as well as femininity, should be available to anyone and everyone who wants to claim it. Besides, pink has not always been considered a feminine color. According to Smithsonian Magazine, decking out babies in pastel colors and their perceived gender signifiers began in the mid-19th century. For a while, the generally accepted rule was that pink was for boys and blue was for girls, the reason being that "pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."
But as beauty norms and fashion "rules" are becoming more and more deconstructed, the rigid interpretation of gender and the expectations that come with it are being made virtually obsolete. And as someone who is constantly questioning and seeking to break the gender binary, I decided to give pink another try — in my makeup this time.
My beef with anything pink, including lipstick, was that it made me feel further away from myself and my gender identity. By rocking something as subjectively feminine as a rosy hue, I felt like I was canceling out my androgyny (something that is too often equated with masculinity rather than an even balance between the masc and femme).
I also thought pink was kind of boring because, like red, it is a super conventional hue that is no match to my beloved orange, blue, and green lipsticks.
In my quest, for which I created four looks based on my personal arsenal of makeup, I aimed to find ways of rocking pink in my beauty routine that weren't too feminine and in which I still felt like "me." Essentially, I was looking to queer the classic pink lip. And personally, I believe that I was successful in doing so. Here's how it went.
1. Shimmery Fuschia
For my first look, I used Gwen Stefani's Urban Decay Lipstick in Firebird. Although I was still hesitant, I loved the boldness of this fuchsia lippie as well as its otherworldly shine. I've described my aesthetic as "alien chic" many times, and I felt that the lipstick's iridescent quality really evoked the galactic feels for me. Plus, it went on perfectly, drying quickly but leaving my lips feeling moisturized. I paired it with a bold winged eyeliner plus my favorite glittery green eye pencil from NYX.
Although the eyes felt pretty "me," and I was sure I was rocking the hell out of that lipstick, the overall look was still a little too feminine for my taste. For the next one, I aimed to step things up a notch.
2. Pastel Pink
For my next pink look, I chose MAC's Retro Matte Liquid Lip Color in Divine Divine. As I began to apply it, I noticed the color was super pastel, which worried me a bit. No matter how much I want to make pastels work for me, my light skin tone never seems to allow it, transforming me into more of a clown than a cute queer. But I was actually pretty happy with the "Divine Divine" shade. So much so that I anticipate probably repeating this look sometime in the near future.
I decided to pair my pink lips with over the top brows to counteract my potential discomfort with the pastel shade. It turned out to be a great choice. The look definitely reflected a more gender neutral vibe than the previous one.
3. Getting A Little Creative
Determined to find a pink-inspired look to pair with my beloved winged eyeliner, I decided a fun alternative to a classic pink lip would be to change it up by drawing unique patterns onto my mouth with another one of my liquid lipsticks.
I used Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Lip Tar RTW in Lydia, which is a more plum-inspired pink shade. Utilizing the product's wand, I filled in the entirety of my bottom lip and drew a small heart on the bow of my upper one. Paired with a glittery light purple cat-eye and Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Goldmine to fill in my lids, I definitely felt more at ease with this look gender-wise.
4. Bold Brows FTW
Still, what made me feel the most at ease while simultaneously like the cutest person alive was combining the pink lip with a bold brow. I paired my fourth lipstick (NYX's Wicked Lippie in Power) with the boldest brow I could muster. I filled in my brows with my green Urban Decay eyeliner to pretty fantastic results. This evoked all the cute queer alien vibes I dig, without my shimmery lips taking away too much from my gorgeous brows (the actual stars of the show). Plus, this pink shade really accented the golds and greens on my face nicely.
Through this experiment, I made a very happy discovery that pink lips (my former enemy) actually give me even more excuses to go wild in the eyebrow department. But, perhaps most importantly, I helped myself break the binary in my own makeup collection. As someone who always advocates for abolishing gendered standards of beauty, it's important to me to destroy those last remnants of gender assumptions that I hold (like pink is for girls). By simply experimenting with color, I feel as though I reclaimed pink as my own and tapped into all of the hue's queer and unconventional potential.
So grab that pink lippie you felt unsure about and put your own spin on the classic. The range of looks you can come up with is truly endless.
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Images: Meg Zulch