(This article was originally published on Jan 19, 2017.)
I realised I had a lipstick obsession the day I bought 25 lipsticks in a go.
Despite my love for makeup, I'm very lazy about wearing it. Plus, it's heartbreaking to have amazing eye makeup on and then to have to wear glasses over it. So for the lazy woman in glasses, lipstick is the BFF who tells you 'girrrrrrrl you got it together'.
I've had an incredible journey with my lipsticks. From safe rosy pinks, I ventured to the extremely bright reds that I once wouldn't apply thinking I couldn't pull it off. Or extremely dark plums that I feared would give me too much drama. But I wore them all, realising confidence is key.
However, recently I've been seeing a trend I couldn't fathom. Colours no one would imagine as lipsticks started taking over my Instagram at a time that wasn't Halloween. Greens and blues for artsy looks had me wondering why on earth we don't wear these lipstick shades? What is weird about that green lipstick? And my heart sank when I thought, 'Oh man I could never wear them here', as in Pakistan.
But why can't I? Who decides berry is a lip colour but grey isn't? And why am I, a passionate lipstick aficionado, suddenly so self-conscious?
And so I decided to challenge myself and gave myself five days of 'crazy lip colours' to see how far I could take my lipstick affair. The challenge was simple: wear a unique lipstick shade and carry about my day and see what happens.
Monday - Blue
I decided to kick things off with a dark blue. NYX's soft matte lip cream in Moscow is a very dark, bold hue and I chose it because I wanted to ease into the crazier, brighter shades. Plus I was nervous about a bright blue being too cool for my skin tone. But it was enough to have me a little self-conscious.
On my way to work, I had a lot running through my mind. 'What will people say? Do I even look good in this? I hope no one laughs. I think I'll have pasta for dinner.' Ignore that last thought.
Surprisingly, no one noticed. People were talking normally and only one person commented on my lipstick, and that too was about how I got it on my chin after eating a sandwich. A mistake common to all lipstick lovers.
The lack of reactions helped. Perhaps I was making the lipstick work very well (or people were ignoring it to be nice but let's be positive here). It helped me think I could kick it up a notch.
Tuesday - Grey
This was one of the shades I was most worried about so I wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I had seen many videos of beauty gurus applying grey lipstick and suddenly looking washed out. So NYX's liquid suede in Stonefox was up next.
The response had me wondering what was I afraid of! I got many compliments, from "That is one interesting lip shade" to "I am obsessing over that lipstick". I received enough compliments at work to hold my head up high and grin throughout the day.
But then I went home where my family was visiting. And my uncle commented how it looks like I smeared my face on a tawa and well, that was that. I still see myself wearing the grey but maybe it depends on where I'm going.
Wednesday - Gold
After two successful days, I decided to try the boldest of them all. Metallic, rich gold. I had to work with Sleek's Molten Metal pigments in Gold Leaf, which was of a creamier variety so it was a doozy. But I learned an important lesson about how to make some lipsticks work.
Because I wanted to be fair and treat these colors the way I apply all my lipsticks, I didn't apply anything with it. And the result was a very washed out look that had me going "Nope!" Perhaps the lipstick didn't suit me. Perhaps I needed a full face and definition with a dark lip liner. But one thing's for sure. In the correct light I could blind a guy with that gold.
This was the day my friends decided to hang out with me and all I could think was "Really? I looked great yesterday! Why did you ask to meet the one day I look like a washed out bedazzled zombie?"
But oh well. I could tell from their faces they were curious as to what is going on. One commented how it looks like I stuck a gold leaf on my lips and I enjoyed telling him "That's the name of this lipstick!"
Thursday - Green
I was looking forward to the green. I have a warmer skin tone so I had a feeling ColourPop's Dr. M would be a better option compared to the blue and grey. Also after the fail that was the gold lip, I was really banking on the green lippie to have a good day.
And I was right. My bright green lipstick got the most compliments, just a notch above the grey. I was compared to Poison Ivy (Because red hair! Geddit? Geddit?) and many said it was the perfect Slytherin look and I was happy (although I'm more of a Ravenclaw).
I had to go out again to a restaurant. It was an amusing moment to meet some people I had never met before and them assuming you're the one they have to meet because all they know about you is that you're creative. Thank you Dr. M; people can recognize me from a mile away. I shall decide later if that's a good thing or bad.
Friday - Black
That's right, I'm ending it with the big one. Black. I was nervous.
Yes, I mentioned that with most lipsticks but this was different. I was worried my lips would have no definition. That they would look flat or hollow. I kept telling myself I've worn near-black browns and purples so this L.A. Girl Matte Velvet in Raven would be just fine.
I had a huge event that day and I had to make an appearance for it. And I would have to do that in my black lipstick. And the anxiety came back. Way more people would see my look than I want. I needed to prepare for this one. Have an outfit to match and a full face to tone down the chunk of black.
It worked! I pulled it off! People thought it was a bold look but no one saw it as too unusual! I unfortunately was still feeling very self-conscious, avoiding eye contact with many but hey, it wasn't as mortifying as I thought it would be. Also, it rained that day so I got a lucky pass with my appearance.
There were some hits and misses but overall I was more confused about these lipsticks than before. I was mentally prepared to look bad in them because perhaps that's why they are not popular. But they worked on me. Not the gold, I know, no need to remind me.
They worked on me according to my skin tone and the ones that didn't resonate with me would probably work on other skin tones. Then what's the big deal? My conclusion to this is the same as my previous lipstick ventures with the brights and the darks; it's all about confidence.
If I can wear green lipstick to work and meet friends later, what's stopping you? Just take that one tiny step out of your comfort zone and welcome yourself to a world of cosmetic possibilities.