Getting ready in the morning for a day of frolicking in your red lipstick can be quite the task. Slut, vixen, glamorous, whore, classy, overdone, elegant, harlot, vamp, tramp, fancy, tart, polished, bimbo and refined are all words that are used on a daily basis to describe a woman in her red lipstick. Too dark and she’s a vamp, too bright and she’s a whore, too sheer and she’s a virgin, too glossy and she’s an airhead but too matte and she’s polished. It’s no wonder why we get so many mixed reactions from strangers when we dare to step out with a hint (or a lot) of crimson tint pasted (or slicked, patted or smeared) onto our lips.
Thesaurus-swallowing adjectives aside, the Red Lip phase of applying your makeup is a huge step. Do I just do a tinted balm? Will I need a liner? What about gloss? Matte, creamy, sheer or opaque? Oh for God’s sake just choose one. Matte, Charlotte Tilbury’s Red Carpet Red. Committing to a full day of teeth-checking in any shiny surface commences.
Leaving the house is the next step. Hair down with a glossy red lip is a no-go if it’s windy and you don’t want half the tube of gloss smeared over your cheeks by the time you get to work; but hair up and you might be seen as an ‘over-done dolly bird’; or a messy bun and you could might look like the 14 year-old hipster opposite you on the tube. Half-up-half-down? Seems feasible.
It’s been on a few hours, you’re looking fabulous, it’s done a good job of keeping your spirits high through the pain of commuting to work, but now it’s lunchtime. A sandwich is not happening, so a salad it is – starvation will mount, but accepting it is the first step to recovery. Salad has been consumed, you’re still hungry but at least your lips are in tact; now its time for your seventh mirror-check of the day so far.
Work is over and Olivia and Louisa, the Red Lipstick Queens of the Office have invited you out for drinks – a further lipstick-assessment commences.
A few too many peach bellinis later, your lipstick has survived, barely, but you’re a bit too tipsy to care, that salad hasn’t done much in the way of soaking up the alcohol. You got asked for your number by a very handsome man named Pierre, but refrained from a full-on smooch for lipstick reasons.
After a bleary-eyed Uber home, you’re back in the comforts of your bathroom assessing the day’s facial situation. Your lipstick is there, if a bit patchy, dry and making you feel like you have 17 layers of red Pritt Stick smothering your mouth. All that’s needed now is your trusty Bioderma, a stack of cotton pads, and another 20 minutes to scrub the remains of the day off your face. All to wake up in the morning to find the stain on your lips is enough to last for another 5 days. And they say red lipstick is high maintenance…