It should not be as radical as it is, painting lips, but red lipstick has always been daring. Historically, red lipstick (all lipstick, at one point) was outlawed, lauded as an act of patriotism, made taboo and reclaimed. Even when times have been rough economically, lipstick has thrived.
When I told my fabulous editor, Jaimee Leibfried ’17, that I wanted to write about red lipstick, specifically the stigma and fear around it, she said that when she thinks of red lipstick, she thinks of hookers, in agreement with the fact that there is an unwarranted stigma.
Red lipstick is given a bad reputation, but I happen to love wearing it. It makes me feel powerful and just pretty. The “classy vs. trashy” debate is over: it’s neither and both; it’s what the woman who wears it wants it to be and that is all that matters. Well, all that should matter, really. In times of economic struggle, guess what always thrives: Lipstick. When economic woe hits, people treat themselves to lipstick because it is a luxury- a little one.
In 2009, The Economist posted that, in times of recession, “Ferraris stay in showrooms and designer dresses on shop racks, but lipstick bucks the trend: in difficult times, women buy more of it, since it is an affordable indulgence.” Lipstick prices can run the gamut for pricing; costs range from an eighty-nine cent tube of Wet n’ Wild to a thirty-five dollar tube of Chanel lipstick, and it is a more financially realistic treat than a three day spa trip to Switzerland. Lipstick (no matter the price) is a source of confidence that is easily afforded by a variety of people across almost all economic strata. Small indulgences make a huge difference in how you look and feel.
When I paint my lips with Revlon’s 9th Ave Red, Mac’s Ruby Woo, Russian Red or any other of the ridiculous amount of reds I have (which is ridiculous), I feel strong, and, somehow, more prepared to face the challenges of a day. So many people find red lipstick to be indicative of loose morals, or just straight up clown-like, but what they think does not matter. There is no need to be scared of red lipstick. Embrace it and the power it has.
“I think red lipstick is a great way to express to the world what you’re feeling. Bold lipstick really draws attention to your mouth, so, when you go off on yet another feminist diatribe, people will be paying attention. To you and your words, boldness in looks begets boldness in words; Francois Nars remarked once that ‘putting on your make up is a kind of self portrait.’ And that really speaks to me,” Emma Flood ’15 said.
Maybe a person’s intimidation stems from a how difficult it may seem to make it look perfect. It isn’t hard to rock red lipstick; anyone can do it- I promise. First: find your red. This falls into only three categories: yellow based, true neutral and blue based. If you have a warmer skin tone (with more pink or yellow undertones), yellow-based fiery reds will be perfect. If you have cooler undertones (blue undertones, like me), blue-based reds will rock your world. A neutral true red works for everyone. Now to apply it: balms, line, paint and done. Put on your favorite lip balm, line with lip liner, or the lipstick itself, put it on and you’re done and ready to conquer the world. There are days when all I will wear is red lipstick, mascara and eyebrow gel. Red lipstick is like a pair of black flats: it suits all occasions.
Reclaiming something like red lipstick is important in that doesn’t belong to those who hate it. The stigma needs to be ignored like an ugly office plant, left to whither and shrink from lack of attention. If someone thinks poorly of you for wearing lipstick, they aren’t worth knowing anyway.
Katie’s, pop on that red (or any color; I’m rocking purple at the moment) and be ***FLAWLESS.