Like many of you, I love lipstick. I wear it every day and obsess over it, I read blogs and check reviews and compare swatches like it’s my actual full-time job. Red, pink, nude, orange? YES, give it to me, here is my money.
I love the more unusual colors, too—the violent purples, the dried-blood reds, the evil blue-blacks, the deep, velvety forest greens. But I usually just put them on at home and make faces at myself in the mirror. I almost never wear them in public. There’s just something about extreme colors that makes me feel insecure, like wearing them out during the day is going to be work, and I want my lipstick to be fun.
Deciding it was time to conquer my fear, I asked Beautylish to send me the “scariest” colors they had in stock. I was going to wear each one for a full day, in public, casually.
The package arrived. I tore it open. Omigod. These were seriously intimidating shades. I was about to get a lot bolder with my daily look. I applied OCC’s Lip Primer then carefully painted on my chosen “scary daywear” color and swanned out of the house, hoping I would forget I was wearing it.
Black. Black lipstick. I started my experiment with Tarred, thinking that no color would be harder to wear during the daytime, so I might as well get it over with. I was feeling pretty good with my all-black, very drapey outfit to match when I got on my morning commute bus, tried to swipe my pass, and discovered I didn’t have enough money on it. Guys, I am proud to say that the driver glanced at my face, took in my black lips, and let me on the bus with a wave (That never happens). I like to think I scared him with my goth vibes.
People at work gave me strange looks. An intern said she “loved my whole look.” An employee at Chipotle emphatically showed me where the napkins were without me asking, and several strangers told me they liked my lipstick. And...that was it! I’ve been too afraid to wear “scary” lipcolors for years for exactly what reason? No one cared!
It’s not just super-dark colors I have a hard time wearing in public. I’ve also been leery of very bright, neon/cartoony shades. Belladonna is the epitome of a shade I would never wear—it’s a saturated, hyper-violet-orchid, “Look At Me!” color. I did not want to wear this opaque shade, but I swiped it on for Wednesday. And you know what? Belladonna is hot. It might look a bit intimidating in the tube, but it’s actually the most natural, everyday-looking shade I tried. You could wear this to work! No one said a thing at my job except my friend Adam. “That color is cute on you!” he commented and then went back to typing. Belladonna went straight into my regular-life makeup bag!
By Thursday, I was into this experiment. I was getting over my fears of looking like “too much” at warp-speed. Also, I realized I was not afraid of the “difficult” lip colors themselves, I was insecure about drawing so much attention to my face. Why shouldn’t I want people to look at me? What am I afraid of—judgement from total strangers? My god, this was liberating!
On to Thursday’s color, Pagan. Is it black? Is it purple? Neither—it’s a glorious mixture of the two. Very shiny, very vampy, and the dark, evil-purple of this shade has a way of making the blackness somehow friendlier. This could be the “black” lipstick that a devoted goth would reach for on a gentle spring day. As for reactions: the guy who rang me up at the grocery store could not stop staring at my mouth. (Dunno if that’s good or bad.) Two teenagers asked me what kind of lipstick I had on, repeating the brand name and the shade twice to remember. An older lady frowned at me noticeably on the train. When I looked at her eyes, she sighed, looking at my lips, and looked away. She hated me! It was hilarious!
Note to all teens: parents will hate this one.
Friday brought me to Technopagan, and I was ready. This color is cool. A purple-blue-iridescent black color, throwing off “unfriendly-alien-space-death-babe” waves of power. I didn’t go to work on Friday, but I wore Technopagan to my favorite coffee shop, along with a white dress and white leggings, just to emphasize the fact that the lipstick was the focus of my outfit.
Reactions: Men literally tried not to see me. I took the train to the cafe and got a whole seat to myself on acrowded train. This is my hands-down vote for the shade to wear on a Megabus or Greyhound cross-country bus ride. No one will mess with the person wearing blackened-purple-raver lipstick.
Get lost in the deep blue sea of my lips. Rx happened to me on a lazy Saturday morning. Your friends do not expect to see you at brunch wearing opaque, matte, swimming-pool-blue lipstick.
Rx turned out to be the hardest lipcolor for me to pull off on a casual basis for two reasons: 1) for some reason, all application mistakes for this shade show up like they have a spotlight on them, and 2) it just doesn’t look very good on me. While the weeks deeply dark shades made me feel like a highly dangerous badass, Rx made me feel a little foolish, like a kid in a mom’s high heels. Rx, I salute you for your perfect opaque coverage, but we’ll never be together.
During this experiment, it was surprisingly hard for me to break out of my normal lipstick routine and wear shades I consider scary or intimidating. But I discovered some of them were awesome and I’ve been missing out. I’m definitely going to wear shades that scare me more. And hey—more seats on the train for me!