I’ve been learning how to do fishtail braids, in an attempt to channel Effie from Skins. So far, I’m not very good, and in a feeble attempt at sparing my self-esteem I try to attribute this to my lack of long, shiny, obedient dark hair – which always seems to be a necessary ingredient for any type of stylish braiding, at least on all the YouTube tutorials, or unless you are trying to look like Ellie-May Clampett.
I lost my favourite lipstick three weeks ago and it surprised me how upset I was. It is an unusual, warm brown, like cinnamon. My mother, always complimentary, says it makes me look like a South American beauty when I wear it. When I finally found it yesterday – in my glasses case for which reason, I have no idea –I was euphoric. I swiped it on immediately, and spent the afternoon happily smacking my lips together and smiling at random at different objects around the room.
I love the gleeful brazenness of lipstick. A bold slash of red shining through a sea of pretty pinks and beiges. The perfect brown lusciously swiped across smooth lips, making velvety tanned skin all the more confident. Shocking Barbie pink worn with a short white skirt and doe like eyes.
I even love the stamp it leaves on everything it touches, hated by some but happily accepted by lipstick wearers. An affectionate kiss on a postcard, an accidental smear on a man’s crisp white shirt collar, the perfect curve of colour left on the lip of a coffee mug. As Napoleon Perdis said in his Forever Flawless (a beautiful book full of amazing make up tips and even more amazing inspiration and reasons to love your age) – a lipstick mark is the make up equivalent of shouting ‘I am woman’.
Maybe you are a lipstick veteran like my aunty Jenni, who has all kinds of purples, corals, browns and even a few frosty white ones in her arsenal (I think the frosty ones might be left over from the early nineties), or maybe you’ve never strayed further than salmon pink or slightly lavender hued lip glosses. It might be time to rethink your abilities, along with your self-created boundaries on how far you can go, how much you can change. Who cares?
Be someone else for a day, you may just find that someone else is just the you who has been waiting to shine. When I wear lipstick I stand a little straighter, walk a little taller. I become the lady in red – and I never wear red. It may feel like your lips are a beacon, attracting attention from all directions. That’s because they are. But it’s not just the jaw-dropping colour. It’s you. It’s the way you wear it, the fact that you chose to stand out, and what that says about your badass sense of self.
You are fabulous – don’t you ever forget it, not for one second.