For National Lipstick Day, some thoughts and faves
Today is National Lipstick Day, so we asked our editors to share some deep thoughts and true feelings about the world’s greatest makeup achievement—oh, and tell us their favorite lipsticks too.
“In my teens and early twenties, I could never figure out quite how to wear lipstick without running to a mirror and wiping it off immediately. I grew up in a period of peak lipgloss—the tacky, occasionally sparkly, often mango-flavored kind that sat on your lips just inviting stray ponytail hairs to stick to it— and lipstick seemed fussy and formal, something for women who were at a higher level of adulthood than the one I’d achieved. In my head, there were the kind of people who can wear lipstick—the same set of women who could do their taxes and, presumably, whip up a four-course dinner without breaking a sweat—and the kind who maybe can’t, and I, decidedly, was in the latter camp. It was one of those things that was vaguely, needlessly intimidating, and so I avoided it.
But in my mid and late twenties, I found myself circling back to things that never made sense to me, that seemed sort of scary and too complicated to deal with, and suddenly finding that actually, they were pretty great. Cooking a pan steak? Not that hard. Going jogging? You know, it’s pretty satisfying.
And one day, I found myself admiring my friend’s lipstick and resolving to figure it out. Because I’m bad at easing into things, I went straight for the brightest, stoplight-iest, HI HELLO IT’S ME RED red I could find: a tube of Mac’s Ruby Woo. When I put it on, I was no closer to being a formal or fussy person than I was when I first decided that those were the ladies who got to wear lipstick. My apartment was still cluttered, and sometimes my meals still consisted of ice cream and chips and hummus. But none of that prevented me from wearing lipstick whenever I wanted. And you know what? It looked pretty awesome.
Since then, I’ve collected several dozen shades of lipstick, in every imaginable hue—green and blue included—and I’ve found formulas that I like better than Ruby Woo. But I wear it sometimes anyway, because it reminds me of something important: Adulthood isn’t some set of ideals that you have to chase after and fit into. It’s not a club that requires you to unlock a certain number of achievements every day to be admitted. The best thing about adulthood is that it is a collective of adults, and each of us get to decide what it means. The best thing about lipstick is that there is no kind of person who can or can’t wear lipstick, there are only people who decide whether or not they want to. Isn’t that great?”—Margaret Eby
“Growing up, I really didn’t know what to do with makeup, so I took most of my cues from pop culture. In particular, I, like so many others, was so completely inspired by the beauty and style icons in Mad Men. However, while Joan and Betty became inspirations off the bat, my favorite lipstick came from Peggy Olson, or rather what one TV recapper thought Peggy was wearing in one scene. The shade is Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick’s Coral, a clean matte color that is the perfect orangey-red, and it’s been in my lipstick stable ever since.”—Lilian Min
“I was scared of wearing red lipstick for a really long time. Because didn’t you have to be a really put-together grown-up, human woman to pull off a bold red lip? Didn’t you need perfect, it’s-mid-August-dewy skin before you started painting your lips red? Didn’t you have to own cool, pretty clothes that fit your body in all the flawless ways before you posed in a picture with your red lipstick on? The answer to all those things, first of all, is no —red lipstick requires no prerequisites. Red lipstick is a stand alone statement, and the only real thing you actually need is the want and desire to wear it. Simple. Oh —and the perfect shade that speaks to you.
Enter ‘Red Lizard’ by NARS. It’s a classic, true red that’s semi-matte and doesn’t make your mouth feel like Palm Desert after a couple hours. It’s the color of two days too-ripe strawberries — a slightly deeper red with blue undertones, but a shade of red that still pops. It smells like fruity tea. And it goes with everything and anything and any kind of skin tone. ‘Red Lizard’ is my dream lipstick, and it probably will be yours, too.”—Gina Vaynshteyn
“I am absolutely in love with the ‘Blackberry Sorbet’ cream lip stain by Sephora (I know, it’s not technically a lipstick, but after a few coats, it has the same—if not better—effect). It dries fast, doesn’t smudge, and it never leaves your lips feeling dry. I was originally turned on to it by a friend who annoyingly takes flawless Instagram pictures. After a lot of harassment, she finally told me she used a cheap lip color from Sephora. After one swipe, I was in love. Besides the $7 price tag, the stain has a surprisingly long-lasting effect that you can usually only find in higher-end brands. The trick with the stain is to let each layer dry before reapplying since it usually takes more than one coat to achieve a fully saturated look. I normally apply two coats before heading out and am left with an effortlessly opaque hue the rest of the night.”—Diva Joshi