All it took was my friend calling a fellow classmate Bozo the Clown to put me off red lipstick for 14 years. Phrases like that isn't her color, she is too dark, or in my case, your lips are too big for that stuck with me for much longer than you would imagine, until one day I wake up a 34-year-old woman afraid of a lip color.
As an adolescent, I just wanted to fade into the background, so I stayed as far away from the red side of the makeup counter for all of my makeup life. Fast forward to 2013 and I began seeing other women rocking red on Instagram and in real life. A full on social media campaign founded by the late Karyn Washington put black women donning red shades on display and it got me thinking, if they can do it and look hot, why can’t I. The seed was planted.
So, I decided to jump head first into the red lip deep end this week and the Brown Girl, Red Lip — inspired by Washington's #DarkSkinRedLip Project — began. I would purchase a red lipstick for the first time in my young adult life and rock it with reckless abandon no matter what I or others say.
Though I did it to prove to myself that I could be bold with my beauty, I had a feeling I would see a huge reaction from others as well. The queen of tinted Chapstick strutting into the room wearing a red lip would be a shock, right?
Step One: Build my profile
According to this video, I have warm undertones and should look for orang-y toned lip color. I should also lean towards glossy or satin finishes.
Step Two: Have Fun With It
I threw all that profiling stuff out the window, made my way to my local MAC store, and went for it. I culled it down to three possible shades Dare You, Lady Bug, and Brave Red.
Step Three: Pick THE one
I chose Dare You and started feelin’ it immediately. Selfies with my lovely MAC expert, Jennifer!
The finished look
I knew I would feel sassier, but I also felt more like a grown up, which was not expected. Almost like the red lip gave me a seal of approval as an adult woman roaming the Earth. I also felt very aware of my lips for the rest of the day — reapplication and color bleed was a constant concern. I couldn't get myself out of the mirror for marveling at how good I looked and how white my teeth were. Best side effect, ever.
As for reaction from others, my husband said, "sexy." (I can always count on him to avoid using seven words when one would suffice.) Everyone else made it a point to remark on how pretty I looked that day, but no one said anything specific about my red lip.
I was surprised at their lack of surprise. I expected people to be shocked that I would make such a daring move, but maybe I didn't give myself enough credit. In the end, the person who reacted the most was me and I was also the person who least believed I had the balls to do it. The great debate over my ability to be bold with my beauty was in my head and I had finally caught up with everyone else.
Next up, blue eye shadow. I'm addicted to the drama.