It’s a Lipstick Jungle Out There!

I’ve always wanted to be a bold, red lipstick person. I’ve wanted it for so long that last autumn I decided to stop whining and just go for it. I started by shuffling towards brighter reds little by little. Despite me being sure that the world would about stop turning and people fall over in hysterical laughter at the sight of my flaming red pout, nothing of such magnitude happened. Quite the contrary: the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. But  I can tell you that this process included a considerable amount of trial and error. Herewith a few comments and personal recommendations:

Unless you have the paint literally tattooed on your lips (which I would not go for, for some fairly obvious reasons), your red mouth will not last a day unless you reapply. This cannot be done in a moving vehicle and/or without a mirror. So be prepared.

Despite having a vaguely decadent aura, especially when used in photo-shoots/commercials/movies, red lipstick marks on champagne glass/coffee cup is not a good look. Unless you are absolutely doing this on purpose for whatever reason, don’t do it. Not only does it mess the china, it also messes your pout. Give your glass a discreet lick and then drink to your heart’s content.

Be prepared to hear comments. Hopefully of the “which shade are you wearing?” -kind. Red lipstick is bold and gorgeous, and requires a certain attitude. Have a look at Zoe Kravitz at the Golden Globes (as well as Emilia Clarke and Susan Sarandon) and the Queen of Red Lipstick, Linda Rodin in case you need convincing that also people who are not Madonna actually look really good with a red lip (it puzzles me how the fashion crowd has taken to talking about “doing an eye” and “wearing a lip” given that most of us have two eyes and also lips come in a set of two, but maybe it’s a phase that will pass). 

So which lipsticks can I recommend (all are pictured below)?

NARS matte lipstick “Rouge Indescrect“, in collaboration with Sarah Moon. Problem: Limited edition. Also, NARS have started testing on animals following their expansion to China (animal testing is verboten in the European Union). 

– Also by NARS, “Dragon Girl” velvet matte lip pencil, which I use to colour in my lips before applying the actual lipstick. This way the colour stays put freakishly well. The shade is a London bus/China-red/fire brigade -red with a flattering, slightly cold undertone. 

Glossier generation g -lipstick in “Zip”. This is for when I’m not going for a full monty and just want to have a bit of colour. The shade is a nice poppy-red.  Also works nicely when applied with fingers for the fashionable “bitten” look. Problem: This lipstick is dry as a desert. You will need a lip balm under/on top. 

– Japanese SUQQU’s extra glow lipstick in shade 14 (pictured below, looks slightly cherryish in that light). The lipstick contains hyaluronic acid to moisturise the lips, which is good. The colour stays on, has a fabulous glow about it and is very convenient for everyday-wear. The brand say on their own website that this lipstick is especially flattering on, ahem, adult visages. Fully agree, though am not sure why exactly – because of the extra moisture, maybe? Anyway, a super product.

– Speaking of adult faces, Linda Rodin came out with a small batch of lipsticks in 2016 (small as in the range of shades was extended to ten only recently) and they are some of the punchiest tubes on the market. I have the Rodin lipstick in the fire-red “Red Hedy”, which is “a classic Hollywood red” and absolutely stunning, both in terms of colour/pigment and durability/wearability. The only minus comes from packaging: the tube is a bit awkward, and the see-through perspex with many sharp edges does not have a nice feel. Also the case reminds me too much of something similarly packaged when I was in high school – the said lipstick was pale pink, had the consistency of zinc paste and looked absolutely ghastly, though I only realised this far too late (as I said, trial and error). 

– Last up a full-on boomshakalaka for lips: Rihanna’s Stunna lip paint in “Uncensored” from her Fenty Beauty -cosmetics line. I got the paint in London this weekend (in the name of research). While I don’t consider myself a) Rihanna-fan or b) target audience for any hip hop artist’s make up line, I had a surprisingly good experience with something I tested from her line earlier, so I felt comfortable enough to give this one a go as well. Stunna is literally a fire engine red paint that you apply with a nifty applicator and it stays on like a devil. And it’s red, as in stop-the-traffic-red. If we are to believe the beauty blogs of this world, Stunna’s shade is universally flattering  (just as well, as there’s only one shade available) and I can confirm that it is a seriously cool kick ass red. However if you’re no longer 19 years and/or don’t have super-plump lips naturally (meaning you normally don’t need lip balm – I am not suggesting you should make the Stunna-paint age appropriate* by diluting it or anything like that) , you might want to add some lip balm for ultimate wearability (only go for gloss in case the latex-y look is your thing). 

So here we are, reader. The easiest way to update any look and ramp up things in general is to have a bold mouth, both in terms of colour and content. Should you choose to paint yours, February is an excellent time to experiment. Everything looks better, brighter and bolder in sunlight. Yes, people, sun is back in Brussels! Always interested in what bold mouths have to say, I am looking forward to reading Constance Maud’s “No Surrender” about British suffragettes as well as a manual “How to Be Human” by another lovely rep-lipped loudmouth Ruby Wax. 

*I am being sarcastic here, obviously. You should be wearing whatever you like, regardless of your age. 

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