How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Lipstick

Why you shouldn't be scared of scarlett lips


by Suzanne Scott |
Published on

My first foray into lipstick was a rocky one. As a typical child of the nineties I had a death-like grip on my lip-gloss and the only lipstick I owned was a concealer-like nude that blanked out my lips entirely. But as I got older, I couldn’t deny the pull of something more daring.

There’s those girls; those girls who can pull-off a scarlet pout while wearing nothing more sophisticated than a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. For some, lipstick is the ultimate in groomed elegance, but what I love is its ability to perk-up a casual get-up, turning a grey sweatshirt from slouchy to sleek. Basically, there's never an occasion when wearing lipstick isn't OK.

Think of Rihanna, Lily Collins or Taylor Swift – they pull-off a bold lippy with aplomb. Ri Ri was papped only this week with a bright fuchsia lipstick in the same shade as her dress (our money is on MAC’s Candy Yum Yum) and boy did it look good. And Lily and Taylor expertly demonstrate that you can never be tool pale for a punchy lip.

I always wanted to be that girl, the kind of girl who wouldn’t let lipstick get the better of her. So I came up with a plan to ease myself in gently. My first steps into colour went a little like this:

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First I began wearing it indoors, in the privacy of my own home. I would get home from work, put on a red, and wear it for the evening. This is also a good test to see what actually stays-put through cups of tea/glasses of wine/plates of pasta. Personally, I think the biggest obstacle to wearing lipstick is getting used to your own reflection so this gives you the opportunity to get accustomed to looking different before you present yourself to the world.

Then it was time to take my lipstick out into the world. Like any population test I went for a small group to begin with, and so it was that my lipstick came with me to the library. I felt like everyone was looking at me – I’m sure they actually couldn’t give a shit - but seeing as there was a grand total of four people in there, it was no bother. Stage two, complete.

The next step was to sample it on my friends for Sunday lunch. I wore it with jeans and a tee and received nothing but compliments and it didn’t slip all over my face - only ever a good thing.

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It was only then that I felt like I could finally make lipstick a part of my everyday make-up. Red – my preference for a bold lip – has now become my fail safe make-up: it immediately perks-up my complexion and completes my look.

If you’re new to lippie there are naturally a few tricks to make the transition easier:

  • One of the worries with lipstick is that it won’t last. Make-up artist Lisa Eldridge will tell you the trick to making your lipstick last is to layer it. Apply a thin layer of your lipstick with a lip brush and really work it into your lips. Blot off until you have just a stain. Use a lip pencil now, should you wish, to even out any asymmetry in your lip line and apply another coat of lipstick.

  • Opt for anything blue-based. It’s the most universally flattering when it comes to skin tone and it will also make your teeth appear whiter.

  • Some make-up artists will even dust a very fine layer of translucent powder over lipstick or over a single ply of tissue to set it - though if you’re using a glossy lipstick this will mattify it slightly.

  • Fine lines around your mouth (smokers, I’m talking to you) can make your lip colour bleed. Use a lip liner and if that scares you use something like Tom Ford Lip Brush, £36 [] which has a square finish and allows you to carve a really precise lip line without having to use a pencil.

  • Make it matte. A couple of years ago I was at an event Jessica Chastain was at in Paris. She wore Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture The Mats in a pillar box red £25 []. She got through dinner, drinks and dancing and it did not budge. When I caught up with her the next day for an interview she told me that she had not reapplied the lipstick once. That, my friends, is the staying power of a matte lippie.

  • Your lips need to be in tip-top condition before you apply your lipstick. Nude lippies are far more forgiving in this sense, they camouflage little imperfections, but dry flakes are magnified by a bright colour. Bliss have a rather special set, the Fabulips Pout-O-Matic Lip Perfecting System, £34 [] which contains a grainy lip buffer and the equivalent of an electric tooth brush to resurface your lips – but most make-up artists make do with an old tooth brush or a cotton bud with a little Vaseline to buff lips smooth.

Lipsticks to try

  1. MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo, £15.50; it’s a classic for a reason. It works with the majority of skin tones, and because it’s matte it has staying power. []

  1. Revlon Colorstay Moisture Lip Stain, £7.99 ; if you’re used to a gloss this is a good foray into lipstick – it applies like a gloss but sets like a lipstick. We’re all for Shanghai Sizzle (a coral red) and Barcelona Nights (a hot pink).

  1. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, £18; as favoured by Taylor Swift the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil is fool proof - easy to apply and long-wearing.


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Picture: Molly Cranna

Follow Suzanne on Twitter @Suzanne_M_Scott

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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