Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Talk: Makeup Mistakes--Lip color

"If I had to teach someone just one thing about lip color it would be this: Find a lipstick that looks good on your face when you are wearing absolutely no makeup." -- Bobbi Brown, "Beauty"

You know, we expect a lot from our lips. They help us speak, help shovel food into our wide-open traps, kiss scraped knees, get bitten so to look innocent and alluring at the same time. That's a lot to ask!

I'm slightly self-conscious of my lips. Most people wouldn't notice until I say something, but I have a puffy scar on the right hand side of my lower lip. When I was about nine, I was enjoying a can of Hawaiian Punch after a soccer game. This was in a time where, to paraphrase Dave Chapelle, kids drank things with ingredient lists such as "water, sugar, and red". I vividly remember the day, sunny, mid-morning, on the soccer field closest to the concession stand. I typically enjoyed my drink with a big ol' dill pickle. Yum, yeah? Anyhow, I digress. As I was taking a big head-tilted swig, I felt something rumbling around in my mouth. Huh? To make a ridiculously long anecdote shorter, I got a bee sting. Which swelled to proportions like these:

Anyhow, so ever since, I've been particularly self-conscious of my lips. Here are some BAD things to do with your lips (regarding color people, get your minds out of the gutter):

1. Dark lip liner and metallic bronze lipstick. I'm guessing that you already know this. But please, PLEASE do not do this. I'll beg if I have to.

2. Matte, spackle-like lipstick. C'mon. Do you really want to use a trowel to smooth a beauty product? Do you want your lipstick to be able to patch holes?

3. Lips so shiny that they look like a slip 'n slide. I am so not ready to consider the thought of swimwear on these pasty thighs and 8 weeks postpartum tum. Please don't make me think about it when I look at your lips; that's just cruel.

So what's pretty on lips? Well first of all, let's talk balance. We need to pick up one feature to, well, feature. Eyes, lips, or cheeks. If you pick lips, you can do looooots of good stuff.

Like this:

Note the flawless brows, too.

If you're more into the natural look, check this out:

So what should YOU wear? First of all, I'd suggest that everyone wear SOMETHING. I typically choose a gloss on running-to-the-market days. Probably my all-time favorite is Chanel Glossimer in Unity. My first one was given to me as a gift for my wedding, and I flashed that thing all over Las Vegas during my honeymoon.

If you want to step it up a bit but still keep it natural, I have a secret for you. Nude lipsticks are almost impossible (but I do love Sugar Daddy). Go for a great lip liner, soften the edges with a lip brush, and dot on some clear gloss. It typically looks much more natural than lipstick, and has the staying power of liner.

For those nights that you need to go all out glam, you have some work to put in. First, be s-u-r-e to slough the dead skin off those lips. There are some good products out there, I like Mary Kay Satin Lips Lip Mask if you want a product. If you're a bargain hunter, an old toothbrush, wet and rubbed gently over your smackers will do just fine. Now you've prepped, let's prime.

A clear lip liner is a great secret weapon. It keeps color on your lips without smearing outside the lines. It's like a Magic Eraser for your lips, and this one's pretty good if you want drugstore, and the Benefit is great if you want to splurge a bit.

Now let's get to coloring. If you want to go with red, be sure to pick a red that matches your skin tone. If you're a cool tone (and most people aren't), you can wear the fire-engine, blue-based reds. If you're a warm, choose an orangier red. Probably my all time favorite is Sangria, and Estee Lauder says their lipsticks have a "delightful fig scent". How cute is that?

So here are my final tips to steer you toward the right shade:

Fair skin: Go with apricot shades (you know by now how much I love apricot, right? Believe me, it can be totally luminescent), or peachy-pinks. Avoid browns, they'll wash you out. Badly. If it sounds delicate or fresh, it's for you.

Medium skin: Roses, berries, mauves. Pretty much if it sounds rich or sumptuous, give it a try.

Dark skin: Deep plums, chocolates, wines. Basically, if it's something you should enjoy in moderation, rock it proudly.

So get out there and grab a new lipstick. It can make an amazing change in your appearance, it's relatively cheap, and heck, it's spring!

Go on over and check out Fussy and the other Fabulous Frump Fighters. I totally think we need capes or something to denote our fabulosity in the frump fighting arena!


Sister Honey Bunch said...

Great post. And when I first went to your blog, I saw your picture and thought, what a pretty lip color.

I have the worlds thinnest upper lip. It is the bane of my existence.

Darla said...

I love lipstick, lip gloss, lip liners, etc. My face doesn't feel complete until I've got some on.

Great post - lots of great recommendations.

Valarie said...

I love the natural look of lips, not the I have absolutely nothing on look. I normally try for a chap stick and then a peachy clear gloss on the top.

Michelle@Life with Three said...

I love your make-up posts! I always learn so much! I had no idea you could buy a clear lip liner. Thanks for sharing -- great post!

Joy said...

I didn't know about the clear liner either- I'll have to give it a try!