Everyone has a favorite part of their look. Whether it be a purse, jewelry, or even a keychain, he or she does not and cannot leave the house without it. It’s their signature piece that has become so iconic of that individual’s style and personality. It has so much meaning to them, that it has gone from superficial to sentimental.
When I think about some of my favorite people, their iconic piece is part of their immediate picture in my mind. I see my grandmother with her bracelet made of golden hearts, given to her by one of her daughters. I picture my father with his Ray Ban sunglasses, polarized to see below the waters that he visits to go fishing, hanging on the front of the collar of his shirt. He also has a lanyard, originally given to me for participating in a club in high school, hanging out of the pocket of his jeans. My mother, aside from her wedding ring, transforms with Mother Nature and her seasons. My mother has her wrap, which I gifted to her, in the Winter and Fall, and floral print tops she treated herself to at her favorite store in the Spring and Summer. My boyfriend, a man of simplicity, has held consistent since high school. He can almost always be found in his iconic white t-shirt, either frugally bought in packs or thoughtfully gifted because everyone knows he loves them, and converse shoes, his functional yet stylish footwear of choice. Whether they notice it or not, all these items have become part of the picture of who they are and who they (and others) see them to be.
Usually, I would argue that a smile is everyone’s best accessory- looks great, feels great, is contagious, and it’s a bonus that it’s relatively free. However, there is one other item that I truly believe can become a beautiful part of the way a person can see themselves, inside and out.
If you ask anyone who knows me, they would probably tell you that there is one specific item that I have grown passionate about and that I feel has become my personal iconic favorite- red lipstick. It may be a superficial item, but it’s meaning is so much more than skin deep.
To say that lipstick is my favorite cosmetic item is as much true as it is an understatement. I am generally not one to spend so much money on any two items that are so vaguely similar to the untrained eye, but I’ve heard it a couple times – “Another red?” YES. Another red. I have lipsticks in various colors, shades, and finishes, but red is always the first consideration and first choice. I know it sounds obsessive, but I am unapologetic about it. And there is something to understand- Red lipstick means so much more to me than just “another look”. It’s meaning to me is enough to begin a movement.
Red lipstick isn’t my favorite because it may go with my skin tone or match the season or go with my outfit. Red lipstick is my favorite because once it’s there, it is there. Once that bold red is painted across my lips, there is no hiding it. Once there is no hiding something, you realize there is no need to try. Which forces us to ask, “Why did I even try in the first place?” A red lip isn’t shy, and when I have it on, neither am I. It is incredibly empowering. I am placed in a mindset of “Here I stand as I am. As I am, I shall be. Red as fire, no putting out my flame.” No embarrassment, no shame, no one able to change a thing about me.
As you could rightfully assume, I have explored the many colors, shades, formulas, and finishes that lipsticks come in. Nothing makes me feel the way red lipstick does. It makes me look in the mirror and go “Oohh wait. That’s me? Oh HELL yes. That. Is. ME.” I have spent hours in cosmetic aisles, have displayed a rainbow of swatches across my hand and arm, and have even been to a “lipstick lab” to make my ideal shade of lipstick (what a heaven on earth that was, oh my God). I’ve done these things alone, and I have gone on lipstick adventures with friends. What I tend to notice is – red is a rare favorite. When I see other people asked if they would like to try a red, I most often witness the response “That is too bold for me” or “I can’t pull that off“.
I can honestly say that there is not one single person that I have come across that I did not think red lipstick looked beautiful on. Let me tell you. I have seen those very skeptics try on a red lip (albeit sometimes with a little coaxing). I look at them, and if there is anything I wish I could scream and shout from the heavens, it would be this:
“I wish you could see yourself in red lipstick the way that I do.”
Yes, they look gorgeous, but I promise you it is so much more than that. I knew they were undeniably, impeccably beautiful inside and out to begin with. However, there is something about seeing them in red lips that makes it so apparent that they’ve known it all along too. That red lipstick opens a window for them to see what I see and what I’ve seen all along. It’s a red painted window to their confidence, to their ferocity, to their flame. By just sitting there, by just being, without doing anything- it’s apparent. I wish they could see themselves in red lipstick the way that I do because perhaps it would be a glimpse of the fierce force I see them as every day. Perhaps then, they would believe it just as much as I do.
I have an obvious favorite, but I have nothing against the pinks, the nudes, or the berry tones. Make-up is meant to make people feel beautiful. To look on the outside the way they feel on the inside. If something provides us joy and brings out the inner light that was there all along, please, do what makes you shine. I just implore you to give this little red window a chance.
There is just something waiting to be noticed on the inside that red lipstick reveals in a way that nothing else could. This at least deserves a chance to be unlocked within everyone, because it is there, waiting to be seen.
Yes, a red lip is bold. But so are you.
Don’t believe me? Look through the red window. See for yourself.
Then show off that flame.
Paint this town red.
PS: If through this page, I could hand pick a red lipstick for you to try, it would be the one I am wearing in the featured photo: Tartiest Creamy Matte Lip Paint in the shade “Bae”. My all-time favorite, and hasn’t failed me (or other red first-timers) yet. Paint away, beautiful.