Can Lipstick Transform Me Into A Lady?

The only time I ever wear lipstick is Halloween, but lately, I've been wondering if I can pull it off as an everyday thing. Here's how I fared.
Publish date:
August 1, 2013
lipsticks, Revlon, covergirl, burt's bees, lip stains, wet n wild

A few weeks ago, the Modesty Experiment blew up every feed I have. This was particularly funny, because I was blithely writing about how, hey, guess what: You might feel more like a lady if you wear lipstick.

I’m so not joking.

I know this has happened to you: You wake up late, you’re getting ready, and the light in your room is just stellar--I mean all glowy, golden and Baz Lurman stellar. “Eff makeup!” you say, slapping on sunscreen “I’m going fresh-faced today!”

You’re feeling good about your decision, until the fourth person asks you if you’re sick. "You just look... gray... and kind of like Squidward.”

I normally don’t wear loads of makeup. I often don’t wear any. But if I’m working a service job? You betcha. Like it or not, makeup changes the way some people perceive you. If you have a job interview or are meeting the parents or going on a date, chances are you’ll stop and think about your hair and makeup.

I’m not above trying to fit the norm--if it means I’ll make more tip money. But every day? No.

Most days, I do brows, mascara and lip balm. Blush if I’m feeling frisky. One thing I've NEVER worn, except for a costume? Lipstick.

I don’t even know anyone that wears it, let alone every day. Whenever I put on lipstick, I feel silly and wipe it off within a few minutes. As in, Who do I think I am? Wearing lipstick like I think I’m the Queen of England! I always feel like I’m overdoing it. How do people wear lipstick everyday and not get it freaking everywhere?!

But lately, I've become obsessed with lipstick. I’m loving the matte orange-y reds and the look of a bold lip, perfectly defined, in a rainbow of colours, ladylike and pulled together.

But am I really in love with lipstick, or just the idea of lipstick?

I decided to find out. I went out and grabbed a few at Fred Meyers (you know, Annie shops there) and decided to spend the next few days conducting an experiment: Is lipstick something I can DO?

I picked up Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in a few colours, just to see if they are indeed kissable and balmy as promised. I’ve used the CoverGirls’ Outlast stain, and it’s weird enough using a big felt tip pen to put on makeup, (or maybe not, ANNIE) but it leaves those weird stains on the dead parts of your lips--which, sorry, everyone totally has, right?

The Just Bitten is a sheer, non-sticky crayon, so I was hoping that the balm part kept me from looking like I’d spent all night crying into a bottle of Merlot. I chose Smitten and Sweetheart.

I also grabbed a cheap-o ($2.99?! YES) tube of Wet n Wild Mega Last Lip Color matte red-orange shade. I like it because it reminds of me the reds that were popular in the '50s and '60s: the punchy, vibrant red-orange that almost looks day-glo in natural light. I also have an olive-y complexion, and it doesn’t contrast as much as blue-toned reds do.

The main thing about wearing lipstick is, within 2.3 minutes of wearing it, it gets EVERYWHERE. All over my kid, my coffee cup, somehow on my elbow, and definitely across my face. Eating, drinking, even messing with my hair becomes tricky.

I know what an obsessive face-toucher I am, so I decided to try the sheerest, the Revlon Balm Stain first.

I love the way it goes on--it feels like my favourite lip balm. Perfect for lipstick noobs like myself, the fat crayon is a win. I’m not really into shiny lips, so I blot, re-apply just a tad, and go.

By the time I get to work, it’s still in place, but I’ve noticed that gross thing that lipstains do: overdye the dead bits of your lips. As a constant lip-chewer, I am ashamed to have this on display, so I use a wet toothbrush to exfoliate my lips.

That’s the thing with stay-put lipstick: either it’s some crazy future paint (think Lip Tar) that sticks and stays really well on your lips, or it’s a stain that actually stains the skin.

My first day with lipstick is largely a win: I’m super-conscious of touching my face, messing with my hair, and I even stopped chewing on my cheeks (my all-time favourite bad habit is the Cheek Harvest). I didn’t want my lipstick to smear, so I just left my face alone. I felt all confident and ladylike, that I sat up straight and was at least 30% more chirpy than usual.

Day two was a bit different; I woke up late, and put on the Wet n’ Wild as an afterthought. It is a BOLD lip colour, and it goes on kind of chalky and dry. If you can hang with that, great, but I layered Burt’s Bees Lip Balm underneath, and it pretty much killed the staying power. The colour is to DIE for, so I’m now on the lookout for a better-quality (yet still affordable) red-orange.

After a few more days of experimenting, I’ve found that lipstick doesn’t make the lady. I’m back to my old habits of slouching and being surly, and biting my lips. Why? Because turns out Just Bitten Kissable balm stains are virtually idiot-proof, and once you have a layer or two on, you can’t mess it up, and it looks perfect. I’ve had doors held open for me even! It’s the perfect marriage of trying and not caring. I’m in love. My summer just got a lot more colourful!

Am I the only person who’s really gross and chews their cheeks? Does anyone have a drugstore brand recommendation for a red-orangey stain? Also, the purple hair: yay or nay?