During eras like the renaissance and the medieval period, lipstick or “lip painting” was either looked at as a sin for “tackling with Gods' workmanship” or showing off your social class. The more crimson the red, the more inferior, the brighter and pinker, the wealthier. It was also seen as a way to “seduce” men, to the point women could not be married if they wore red lipstick during their courtship. It wasn’t until the mid-1900s that red lipstick and makeup, in general, became more acceptable. It was rebellious at first, but later became acceptable.
Considering this shady history, it’s almost understandable as to why it’s hard for some women to wear red lipstick, especially black women. Many black women find it hard to find the “right” shade of red for their skin color and while I would love to say something like “it doesn’t matter what shade you are” or “It’s not about who wears it, it’s how you work it”; I think that sets a false expectation. Different shades of lipstick and other makeup essentials look different on different skin tones. However, there is no lipstick color that is “best for your skin tone,” three different women of color can wear the same color, it’s just going to look different on each woman. Makeup is supposed to be fun and experimental! Take some of my favorites that we offer: LipBar's Boy Trouble Liquid Matte , Vixen Lip Gloss and Evil Twin Lipstick from Gold Label Cosmetics. The names of these lipstick colors alone demonstrate how we are taking control of our beauty and expression and injecting a bit more fun and edge into what used to be a one note approach to makeup.
Here are some tips I learned to get over the fear of wearing red lipstick and how to make it work;
1) High-end vs. Drugstore
I learned this while talking to some girlfriends and one of my older sisters, my older sister stated once that high-end lipstick from brands in ULTA and Sephora sometimes looked better on her while a girlfriend of mine said that she liked drugstore lipstick better. It all depends on what makes you comfortable, don’t be afraid to start your “red lip journey” in your local CVS or Walgreens. I always thought it was better to start from the bottom (it’s good on your pockets) and if you feel more comfortable on the way up then that’s fine too! It all depends on how you feel. If you are concerned about certain ingredients and formulas that drugstore makeup may contain you can also find “high-end makeup” that is affordable online. Also, while many makeup gurus get paid to talk about expensive high-end makeup, don’t feel pressured to buy high-end makeup because someone with a million subscribers told you to. You can find many duplicates of the same colors that they show you online, which brings me to my second point.
2) Research everything
While some makeup brands can lack in showing lipstick swatches on different skin tones, you can go to youtube and find makeup gurus that look like you and give you an idea on how a lipstick color would look on you. Check out our collaboration with IKnowLee where she put together a look with one of our favorite shades. It can be overwhelming, but when I was a beginner with makeup, watching videos and getting information on duplicates was very helpful.
3) Just Do It
Buy the lipstick and wear it, if you like it, wear it all day. Wear it to work, wear it school, wear it during the day, wear it at night. Just wear it! Be like the women in the 1970s and rebel, who cares if people stare? It’s just red lipstick! And you look gorgeous girl! Just. Do It!
4) Erase The Stigma
Many people love to tell black women what we can and can’t do to our face, our bodies, our hair, everything! We are continually being told what looks good on us and what doesn’t by people who don't respect the melanin, and I’m not here for it in this New Year. If they say red lipstick is seen as sexy, then be sexy. If red lipstick is all people see, make sure you say something they will never forget. Makeup is fun! Skin tone does not determine whether or not you should wear a specific lipstick color, we look good in all shades, and all shades look good on us.
I hope some of this information and tips helped! And while you’re here make sure to check out some of the lipsticks we have here at Coil Beauty!
Peace and Blessings