A Passionate Love Story of Your Perfect Lipstick

A Passionate Love Story of Your Perfect Lipstick

The last thing I do before leaving the house in the morning is put on lipstick.

That done, the line between my private and public selves is drawn and I’m ready for the street.

No, I’m no beauty buff. In fact, my entire cosmetics collection consists of lipstick and its kissing cousin, lip balm. I have salves that soften, glosses that shine, creams that protects, and tints that darken.

I’ve amassed a sizable collection in my quest for the Holy Grail of cosmetics: The Perfect Lipstick.

My requirements are really quite simple: The color must be a sheer red, with a hint of berry to it. It must look natural rather than clownish. The consistency must be light and very faintly slick. Finally, it must be emollient and last long enough to make frequent reapplication unnecessary.

What is it about lipstick that makes even a woman who is apathetic to other forms of makeup so passionate about it?

Well, for one thing, lipstick is easy – with a minimum effort you can achieve maximum impact. It looks great on an otherwise bare face, and there’s no need to guess about where to apply it. Makeup artists suggest using liner and a brush for greater precision, but most women (like me) follow the modus operandi described by Elizabeth McCracken, a self-confessed lipstick addict – “Do I use lipliner? Did Van Gogh paint by numbers? I don’t cotton to any of other lipstick niceties. I just whip out the stick, twirl it up, and slap it on.”

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

Women have worn some form of lip color for thousands of years – sticks of ocher have been found in tombs that date back to 5000 BCE. But before the first commercial tube went on sale in 1915, color was dabbed on with a finer or painted on with a brush. The tube came into being just as women were making their mark: getting the vote, entering the professions, and graduating from universities. Pulling out your tube and swiping on a lick of color became a way of asserting your independence. It’s still a thrilling gesture, though not seen as often as it was in lipstick’s infancy.

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

But the appeal of lipstick goes deeper than the ease and satisfaction of its application.

It’s a cosmetic that packs a powerful psychological punch – putting it on can transform your mood.

“When a woman has lost her lover, when a girl has lost her job, when the doctor has told his fatal news, when the luck is leaving, the dinner party flopping, the birth pains beginning, the scandal breaking, the storm striking, the other woman sailing by in triumph… then sudden streak of lipstick across the lip spells courage.”

For the past 2000 years, the primary purpose of lipstick has been to enhance the looks of the wearer. In our society, Lipstick is worn only by women (though this wasn’t always so; like the high heel lipstick has at times been a unisex accessory) so it carries certain sexual associations. Though male and female infants and children alike have fairly full, intensely pigmented lips, hormonal changes bring an end to this similarity at puberty, when boys’ lips thin out and girls’ lips curve and swell. The sexes attract one another by emphasizing what makes them different, which is why men cultivate muscular physiques and women wear low-cut tops. By darkening her lips, a woman makes them look even lusher than they already are. Men with very red lips are often a little unsettling, because they confound our ideas about sexuality.

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

The pneumatic, rosy lip is also a sign of youth and the ability to bear children. As women age, their lips tend to get thinner and lose some of their color. Lipstick can be interpreted as an attempt to look fresh and ever-ripe. (Collagen is another option, albeit a costly and painful one.) Adding a dab of clear gloss to the center of the lower lip creates a sort of optical illusion – a sexy 3D effect and gives that full, poufy Lolita lips.

There’s nothing better than lips that look big and sexy, but natural, too.

The lips reminds us of the labia, says Diane Ackerman the author of A Natural History of the Senses because they flush red and swell when they’re aroused, which is the conscious or subconscious reason women have always made them look even redder with lipstick.

However, I would guess that for many women lipstick isn’t sexual but feminine. Like most women, my introduction to lipstick came via my mother. I have a vivid memory of her leaning toward the bathroom mirror, gliding color onto her lips. I would linger in the doorway, watching; I felt I was observing a ritual that I would one day be initiated into. When she clicked the tube shut, it was a signal that we were about to leave the house. To my five-year-old self, lipstick was the very essence of femininity. Until she finally bought my first lipstick – a pink-colored lipstick from a Barbie brand.
I was so thrilled and happy!

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

The idea of lipstick as the key to the meaning of womanhood has been the subject of many female artists’ work. Janine Antoni, for example, uses lipstick to explore topics such as beauty and self-image. For Diary, she wore 100 different lipstick shades for each of 100 different daily activities. The used lipsticks were then displayed as a diary of her life during this period. As part of a work called Gnaw, Antoni chewed on a large block of lard for several months, collected the bits she spat out, and shaped them into lipsticks. The lipsticks were then arranged in a cosmetics counter-style case, opposite the chewed-on block of lard.

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

The photographer Stacey Greene takes more straight-forward approach – she documents the used lipsticks of friends, acquaintances and strangers to illustrate how mass-made objects take on personal meaning. Though lipstick has come in approximately three shapes – all variations on the bullet – since the late 1930s, every woman puts it on slightly differently, resulting in thousands of different shapes, some flat, others wildly asymmetrical. Just as lipstick makes its mark on women, so women make their mark on lipstick.

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

Sexual undertones aside, wearing red lipstick carries a certain responsibility. It’s a color that requires constant vigilance and upkeep – nothing looks worse than faded and smeared red lipstick. You can’t be laissez-faire about a scarlet mouth. If you’re going to paint your lips red, they will be the center of attention, so you better have something to say.

At the other end of the lipstick scale, pink is a less intense version of red – the femininity minus the sizzle, the color baby girls are traditionally assigned.

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

In the 19th century, when any form of makeup was taboo, a woman who wore lipstick was considered sexually available. Even when makeup became generally accepted, it retained many subtle symbolic nuances. A woman with a crimson mouth was a siren; one who chose a paler, more subdued pink lipstick was a nice girl. But the nice-girl category is a confining one – given a choice between red and pink lipstick, women will often go for red, as the cosmetics maker Volupte learned in 1938.  That year, the company launched two shades of lipstick, one red called Hussy, the other a pink called Lady. Even today, pink lipsticks are given sweet, innocent sounding names such as Debutante, Barely There, and Blush. Reds, on the other hand, get dangerous-sounding monikers: Shanghai Express, Rouge Diabolique, Decadence, etc.

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

Lipstick, I’m happy to say, isn’t going anywhere.

Makeup fads come and go, but lipstick is a perennial.

The reason lies in the intense feminine associations this enigmatic cosmetic arouses. Lipstick is femininity in a tube, packaged, color-coded, and yours for as little as 100pesos. As such, its lure is irresistible – even women who rarely wear it find themselves mesmerized by drugstore lipstick displays.

Applying lipstick is an all-around sensual experience, from the satisfying instant spent contemplating the color to the intimate caress of gliding it along your lips. Its scent evokes memories as powerful as the taste of Proust’s Madeleine, while a lipstick color can recall an entire era – think of Erwin Blumenfeld’s famous Vogue cover of 1950, which showed nothing but Jean Patchett’s doe eye and the immaculate rose red arc of her mouth.

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

July 29 is International Lipstick Day

With that kind of power behind it, who would willingly give up the tube?

#InternationalLipstickDay
*Originally posted last July 29, 2015 and made some minor edit.

xoxo, Blair




90 LOVES AND COMMENTS:

  1. Lipsticks are definitely here to stay! Haha I'm two different person before and after putting on lipsticks :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha same here! And I always prefer red lipstick!

      Delete
  2. Way I m learning so much of lipstick quote and lipstick story in one post. I found I kinda agree with ur statement, lipstick not represent sexual but feminine .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you've learn a lot from my post. Thank you too Emy!

      Delete
  3. Oh they have around 50 colour to choose from. That is great!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Agree that classic red lips are always in style. Love the Neon Red color lipstick. It looks so pretty on you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Haha i have lots of lipstick, but i'm not confident enough to wearred lipstick. Most of my lipstick is the nude color one & pinkish color.

    ReplyDelete
  6. For a long time I disliked the bright bold color on my lips, and just stuck with lipgloss. As I'm getting older, I've enjoyed playing around with colors and finding ones that completement my skin tone. Fun post. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lipstick is the safest colors that we can play. It makes us happy so wear it with confidence.

      Delete
  7. lipstick is every girls' best friends hehe. nice color on your lips

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes i agree, the classic red lips is always in style and ever so elegant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kelly! Is red your favorite lip color too?

      Delete
  9. Red is always my favourite colour. Sometimes, I just choose different shades of red but that's my primary colour for lipsticks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. me too. Pardon me but other color shades than red, pink and orange, are not chic.

      Delete
  10. Oh such lovely shades for any moment.. i love it.. and maybelline is also one of my favorite brands

    ReplyDelete
  11. All good to know! I collect good lipsticks, I love all your tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pammy! Which of your lipstick is your favorite?

      Delete
  12. WOW, You got the Tom Ford 50-lipstick set? One day one color, can routine for 1month plus...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Nope mama! I did a post about Tom Ford, almost my Amore says he will get it for me, but I declined!

      Too many lipsticks its overwhelming, hahaha its freaking EXPENSIVE!

      Delete
  13. WOW, so many gorgeous colors! I have a tough t ime with red but there are sure many more to choose from

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, lip is essential for me because I like to collect a lot of lipsticks. =D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha me too! But I resist for Tom Form, coz its too much for me #practicalitywise

      Delete
  15. I actually rarely wear lipstick! I used to wear it all the time but these days I keep it pretty simple. I'm pretty lucky I have naturally pink lips. Enjoyed reading your quotes and I agree - lipstick is here to stay!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. To think that lipstick was sexual back then. Today the ads try to make it sexual again but cant ladies just look pretty for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL totally agree.
      However, no matter how they make green, brown, or black lipsticks are, I still find them so tacky.

      Delete
  17. I love the look of lipsticks. The struggle for me is finding a color I like and remembering to wear it instead of lip balm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like I always say to my friends, you can try any lip colors that you like. It's the only thing that wouldn't make you look bigger of slimmer. Its beauty is beyond that.

      Delete
  18. I love how you discuss here a bit history of lipstick...when I was younger I collect red lipsticks. Now, that I am a stay at home mom, I barely wear lipstick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Maxine!

      Collect some lipstick again! Even if you don't wear them (which I hope you must wear them actually). Lipsticks gives us happiness that is hard to explain.

      Delete
  19. That color is super cute, I really love the red! I'm not a lipstick fan but this one is something I want to try as it doesn't look like it's gonna make your lips dry too much xD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you Claire. Try as many red lipsticks as you want, no one can stop you until you found the red that is best for you!

      Delete
  20. I don't wear lipstick. I am one of those people who forgets I have it on and ends up smearing it all the time when I do.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Putting on lipstick definitely gives you a confidence post - I can't get away with the really bright colours unfortunately but I am a big fan of the nuder shades!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nude shades are also amazing, but I actually struggling finding the right nude. Its easy for me to find my red shades.

      Delete
  22. I wish I could wear red lipsticks but on my otherwise bare (pale) face it would be far more dramatic than I am interested in. But I do love to throw a more neutral shade on in a pinch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! At least you know exactly the right shades for you :)

      Delete
  23. That is awesome that you remember your first Barbie lipstick! I love the red that you chose. I have never really tried to wear red but I might see what it looks like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Red is my first love :) The more red it is the better. Yup it took me a lot of confidence to wear it.

      Delete
  24. One of my absolute favorite experiences ever is opening up that brand new tube of lipstick and applying it for the first time. It's not a sexual thing, but you only ever get one first time with a lipstick. I love reds along with other shades, and I just love the art of makeup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. It's a right of passage, and when you have your very own lipstick, its like you are now ready for the life of womanhood.

      Delete
  25. I have a variety of shades of lipstick. I like the red maroon darker colors over firetruck red but also like pink. I have not attempted blue, orange or green yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha if lipstick is sexual, and red lips is synonymous to our vagina then I won't caught dead wearing green, blue or yellow lipstick because my vagina is definitely ain't that color :D

      Delete
  26. Putting on my lipstick is the last thing I do as well! And you are right! Red lipstick is always in style.

    ReplyDelete
  27. There is something timeless about a red lipstick isn't there, yours looks absolutely fantastic on you as well.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This was a very well written and interesting text! I use lip balm, but have newer bought a lipstic (! :) ), but this post made me want to buy some likpsticks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh you should have! You can store as many lipstick as you want and you'll not be judge.

      Delete
  29. I honestly don't wear a lot of lipstick only because I don't want it everywhere. I kiss my kids, so I don't want it all over them. I drink water throughout the day so I don't want it around my glass. My husband is a military man and certainly doesn't want it on him. I do wear it on special occasions though. I just try not to get it everywhere!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Red lips are always a yes to me.... I am in love with all the shades... You look sooo pretty in red lipstick :D

    ReplyDelete
  31. You look even more gorgeous with that lipstick on! It's so funny how for most us the introduction was either by mothers or aunts!
    I love the way lipstick makes me feel! It's amazing how the right shade can make you feel! That feeling needs to be contained in a bottle!
    I'm always on a hunt for lipsticks so the next time am at a drug store. I'll have to search the colour you've got on.
    Luciana, commenting on behalf of (Ajulydreamer.com)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Lucy! I am happy that you enjoyed reading this post :)

      Delete
  32. I am a self-professed lipstick connoisseur and I really enjoyed the post. I love shades of red...you look gorgeous in the pic! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mayuri!
      What other shades would you recommend for someone like me passionate in life?

      Delete
  33. I enjoyed reading all these points about having lipstick.I am also someone who goes out with lipstick.It always change my appearance.Your pics with lipstick are really beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Amila! Keep on browsing and exploring my blog :D

      Delete
  34. I am such a huge fan of classic red lips! There are just some things that will never go out of style, and this is one of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. And no wonder red lipsticks always cost a bit expensive than others.

      Delete
  35. Having those perfect colors, that you love, is so important. I have my set palette, lol!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I really enjoy the bright red look. It reminds me of a simpler time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, and also summer in the countryside :)

      Delete
  37. I'm slowly learning to love lipstick. I've always been a makeup junkie but just haven't gone for much lipstick. There are some really great shades here though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I invest more on skincare and lipstick, and good foundation and concealer and not much on eyeshadows :) Cos I like it to wear bare.

      Delete
  38. Finally a well written and fun to read beauty post. I love a red lipstick and I don't wear much else apart from that and mascara.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's cool and easy to wear, hassle free. Keep that :)

      Delete
  39. The lipstick choices that you made do look great on you. And I cannot imagine lipstick ever going away. It does draw attention to a woman's beautiful lips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. You see, women can wear simple clothes and make the whole look glamorous by wearing the right shade of lipstick.

      Delete
  40. Those lipsticks are the perfect colors. I wear these colors too !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome! How many lipsticks do you have?

      Delete
  41. I loved the little bit if history on lipstick. I didn't know how long lipstick had been around. I love lipstick and lip gloss. It is the one make up necessity that I need everyday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. I can go out, and just wear a lipstick on.

      Delete
  42. I only wear red lipstick, it is the only colour to wear in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's sexy!
      Before I used to wear reds, then I learned to like the shades of pink and orange.

      Delete
  43. I don't know if I have a favorite shade of lipstick. I usually opt for a nude or red though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then subconscious your nude and red shades are your favorites :D

      Delete
  44. This is an interesting post indeed about lipstick. I see lipstick as being more feminine rather than sexual. It can be sexual too though. Thanks for the food for thought and I love the red lipstick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. High Five Rebecca for loving the red lipstick :)

      Delete
  45. I love lipstick & always prefer matte lippies & lipsticks. They're easier to wear.

    ReplyDelete

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any partner brands/company(s), beauty & lifestyle brands, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities, unless specified.

Follow me on Instagram @blairvillanueva

 

MESSAGE US

Name

Email *

Message *