My lips are two different colors, and the struggle is real. They’ve always been this way – a lot of black women have this pigmentation. Brown top lip, pinkish bottom lip.
But mine’s particularly bad, because I’m constantly chewing on my bottom lip, gnawing the skin off (gross nervous tick – why couldn’t I have developed a more charming one, like lapsing into a cute Kerry Washington-esque lisp?) So, basically, over the last three decades I’ve bitten all traces of brown off my lip.
It looks weird, you guys!
This poses a few problems. One, I have to always wear lipstick. When I don’t, I look like I have vitiligo. No shade to vitiligo suffers -- I’m being serious; the color difference is that dramatic. I actually panic if my lips are bare, it’s almost like a dirty secret that I’m always trying to cover up.
Horrible confession: If I wake up next to a man (whose opinion I give a shit about), I’ll hop out of bed and swipe on a flesh-tinted lip balm to even things out. I know, so dumb -- like they even notice.
The other huge problem with my bi-colored lips? Even when I wear lipstick, the color is uneven. Say I’m wearing red. Crimson layered over my brown top lip does not look the same when on top of my pink bottom lip. So before I swipe on a gloss or lipstick, I have to fill in my bottom situation with a toast-colored lip pencil until it matches my top one (MAC Lip Pencil in Have to Have It is my shade…$15). Who wants to go through all these changes to get a good lip?
One time, I carefully applied a deeply divine electric orange lipstick (Stila After Glow Lip Color in Tangerine Dream, so good…$18), and turned around and showed it to my 4-year-old daughter. Swear to god, she said, “Your on-top lip is beautiful, but not really the other one.” Ouch.
But over the years, I’ve come up with some tricks that help mask my lip shame. For one, I apply a lighter color to my top lip (which is darker), and a deeper version of the same shade on the bottom (which is lighter), and then smush my lips together to blend. Time-consuming, but it sort of works. Or, if I’m going somewhere super-fancy, I’ll cover my lips in stick foundation (like Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation in Toffee, $9), blot with translucent powder, and then apply lipstick. Even more time-consuming, but the effect is perfection.
I know I should get over it, and love my lips the way they are – but who loves everything about their appearance? Until I reach this level of self-acceptance, I will continue to mask my mouth with makeup trickery. And try to be secure in the fact that my dazzling personality overrides my lip wackness.
Anyone dealing with a similar situation? What are your tricks?