Here's the thing: I don't wear lipstick. Ever. In fact, I rarely ever wore makeup until recently, and consider myself to be a total newbie when it comes to cosmetics of any kind. So when our beauty department set up a "lipstick bar" to help StyleWatch staffers find their perfect shades at our office holiday party last month, I was perfectly content to hang back by the desserts. "I don't like wearing anything on my lips," I told people when they asked if I'd discovered my perfect lip match yet. While I really don't like using anything but Chapstick, the truth was I was also a little scared of those brightly-hued tubes. As silly as it sounds, I was really nervous that any bold lip color would leave me looking like a clown. Plus, I didn't even know how to apply the stuff!
But since the best way to overcome any fear is to face it head on, I allowed myself to be talked into a lipstick experiment of sorts. The plan? I'd wear a different lip color every day for a whole week. While I can't honestly say I love it yet, I can say with total confidence that I am no longer afraid to slap on a bold red lip and leave the house with a smile. Read on for my day-by-day account of losing my lipstick V-card.
On Monday morning, I rushed out of my house to catch the train without my hair or makeup fully finished, planning to apply my lipstick of the day (Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Coralberry) on the train. Once en route, though, I managed to make up a lot of excuses so my fellow LIRR passengers couldn't judge my lack of makeup application skills (I still needed to eat breakfast! I'd probably have a cup of tea once I got to work!). So I didn't end up putting any color on until about 11 am. The first thing I learned once I finally did? Lipstick does not look the same on your lips as it does in the tube. What I thought would be a subtle pink—a sort of amped-up version of my natural lip color—turned out to be an orangey-peach color that was much brighter than I'd anticipated. I spent a large portion of the morning trying to figure out if people were looking at or treating me differently. "What's wrong with her mouth?" I imagined them all thinking. But, as you probably guessed, no one did anything of the sort. I forgot to reapply my color after a late lunch; on the train ride home, I vowed to do better for the rest of the week.
I woke up on day two feeling pumped and ready to wow the world with my lip look du jour, so I applied my color on the train—other LIRR riders be damned!—before meeting with a friend-of-a-friend for breakfast. Even though this was the first time I was meeting my breakfast buddy, I decided to go big or go home with a red-orange lip (Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Jenna). I swiped on a light layer and then dabbed some away with a napkin, so the color wouldn't seem too loud. I was pleasantly surprised to find that just a few moments into our conversation, I completely forgot about the whole lipstick experiment and just focused on my yummy yogurt-granola parfait. Even better: When I checked myself in the mirror after getting back on the subway, I found that my lip color had actually held up through all that talking, eating, and drinking. Not too shabby, Bobbi Brown! Once again, however, I forgot to reapply later in the day. Lipstick takes a bit more work than most makeup, doesn't it? End-of-day result—I not only survived wearing a bold red, I thrived. On to day three!
What's the one thing more terrifying to a lipstick-phobe than a bold red lip? A bold purple one. Even though I was still basking in the glow of a job well done from the day before, reaching for my tube of Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick in After Dark—a purple/hot pink hue definitely not found in nature—was a challenge. But the deeper, darker shade actually made me feel a bit sexier than the other two had, and I got my first compliment just a few minutes after applying it at work. The color lasted way into the afternoon, too, even after eating lunch and having two or three cups of tea. I've heard that a key to choosing the right lipstick is not necessarily to find one that lasts all day, but one that fades evenly. Well, this shade certainly did just that, which allowed me to stop thinking about my makeup and actually focus on meetings and getting work done. By the time I was on my way home, I was really starting to wonder why I'd ever feared lipstick.
My mom had recommended Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Rosewood when I first mentioned my lipstick experiment, insisting it would help enhance my natural lip color. Staring at the product itself, I couldn't understand how she could possibly think my lips were "naturally" reddish brown. I should have remembered my lesson from day one—don't judge a lip color by its cover (er, tube)! The shade totally brightened up my face and made me look more awake than usual. Just as a bold lipstick can make for a great accessory, a subtler one can really bring out your natural beauty.
I saved the boldest lipstick for last—Rimmel London Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in 01, a true red with blue undertones (which is supposedly universally flattering). At this point, I could safely say I was no longer afraid of lip color—but I wasn't exactly ready to wear it every day, which is why I was really surprised to find that I felt most comfortable in my Kate Moss-approved Rimmel red. Wearing it, I felt more polished and put together than I had the day before, and more natural than I had while sporting my Bobbi Brown red or Urban Decay purple.
Looking back at my weeklong lipstick trial, it's hard to remember exactly why I was hesitant to wear lipstick in the first place. Sure, it takes some trial and error to find the shades that are right for you, and I'm sure there are some key tips and tricks for applying it properly—but even if you're a total makeup novice like me, there's absolutely a color out there for you—whether it's a true red, a hot pink, or something else entirely. My main takeaway? As long as you feel confident in what you're wearing, you'll always look beautiful. I may not reach for lipstick every day moving forward, but I certainly plan on breaking it out on those days when I want to add a little something extra to my #ootd.
This post originally appeared on theoutfit.com: Diary Of A Lipstick-Phobe: Here’s What Happened When I Wore Bold Lip Colors For A Week; Abigail Hepworth
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