Red Lipstick: What Once Intimidated Me Is Now My Signature Look

I didn’t know how to wear lipstick like it was a part of me as a whole, as if I’d be naked without it.
Publish date:
April 7, 2014
lipsticks, mac, lip pencils, red lipsticks, signature styles

When it comes
to products that really get me through the day there is my number-one, always-reliable, quick and easy old friend: lipstick. I know no matter how awful I
feel, how sleepy or disheveled I am, I can always rely on lipstick.

I can’t
explain how much confidence a swipe of the right red, coral or hot pink can
give a girl. I have friends who only dared to wear red because they’d comment
on how much they loved it on me and wanted to try it. Apparently, I was the
final push towards giving red a go! (OK, it was more like a shove and a “how
has this taken so long” hand flail.).

Everyone seems to
be afraid of daring lip colours at first, but knowing some foolproof ways to
keep your lips smooth and moisturized and the pigment locked down gives anyone
that boost to try it out. I remember teaching my friend about using foundation,
setting with powder, applying lip pencil--all over, not just as a line around
the lip--as a base, and then applying the colour that really helped her out. Helpful tips like that are the reason I’m hardly ever caught without a
swipe of red across my lips anymore.

I first
approached actually buying and wearing lipstick with trepidation. I was super-intimidated by the notion of applying something so visible and new to my face.
As someone with crippling social anxiety at the time, just the thought of
drawing that much attention to my face made me break into a sweat.

I envied
the girls who seemed to have all the confidence in the world, effortlessly
wearing the richest, boldest reds day in and day out. I wanted to explore the
world of lip colour, but I wasn’t ready for a bright red just yet. I needed to
build up to that kind of confidence. I didn’t know how to wear lipstick like it
was a part of me as a whole, as if I’d be naked without it.

This brought me to buy my first MAC bullet in the girly coral
pigment known as Vegas Volt. It was visible but less noticeable if I didn’t
apply it just right--far less dramatic than the coveted blue-red I was working

Today, the closest thing to Vegas Volt I wear would be MAC’s
Impassioned or Lady Danger, both of which are hardly the most subtle hues.

Red lipstick seems
to be both the ultimate beauty staple and the most intimidating look to
approach when you’ve never worn a red lip before. The (not so) best-kept secret
is this: once you’ve mastered the red lip, it’s all you really need. A quick
swipe across your lips can transform how you feel and how people perceive you.

The best part? It literally takes seconds. No sleep? No time to
put your full face on? Throw some mascara and red lipstick on, and you’re good
to go! It’s insane how much you can trick people into thinking you’re totally
put together when you’ve got your favourite red on your lips. If anyone knows about creating the illusion
of being put together
in the mornings it’s me. It’s my superpower.

A bright red
lip and relatively minimal makeup has become my personal staple. The last time
I came to work without lipstick on, “Are you OK?” comments were thrown at me at full speed. ALL.
DAY. Apparently, I just didn’t look like myself without my signature red; and
to be honest, if I’m not wearing some shade of red on my lips, I don’t really
feel like myself much either.

Today, even with my collection always growing, I swear by three shades of lipsticks (all of which happen to be from MAC). Clearly, I tend
to learn toward all sorts of reds.

When I’m going for a more mature, serious
look I’ll apply Brick lip pencil and Brave Red lipstick. It’s a very brown-red,
very '40s/wartime in style so it works perfectly with vintage styled hair and

When it’s warm out, or I just feel like looking super-bright
and girly, I swipe some orange-red Lady Danger across my lips.

Then there's the almighty Ruby Woo.
It doesn’t matter what look you’re going for--this red will work. There's a
reason it’s so popular. Everyone I know seems to have a bullet of this stuff, and it’s my most used lipstick, hands down. (If you want to make
sure it doesn’t budge, apply MAC’s Lip Pencil in REDD beforehand, and you’ll be
singing its praises, too.)

It’s funny looking
back at how hesitant I was to purchase something that inevitably became my
staple and helped me reach a level of confidence I never had.

Have you experienced a similar journey? Did you start
off envious of the girls with the rose-coloured lips? Did you just dive in and
go for red straight away or ease into the lipstick game like I did?