I remember when I was young, in the dark hours of the morning, I would watch my mother get ready for work. She would let down her rollers, press her perfume, pluck her eyebrows thin, line her lash-line black, and swipe on an iridescent, fuchsia-berry MAC lipstick. Day after day, I watched her perfect her makeup look, never straying too far away from her signature. I had started playing with lipsticks too, starburst lip smackers and clear doll-baby roll on gloss; by high school I had moved onto MAC lipsticks of my own, hanging onto every recommendation from the boom of beauty Youtubers at the time. Acne and hormones had had their way with me, and in that I found my first inklings of the freedom one can feel through expressing their most ideal selves through makeup. Consequently, I was soon told which modes of expression would be unsuitable for me.
It creeps up on you with age, that peculiar feeling around the politics of looks and 'beauty'. In 2013, the offhand opinions of a notable rapper fueled the uncomfortable rapport of high school banter. He said it, and he's him, so it must be true! Something only 14-year-olds would take into heart and culture. However, I remember a lot of the feeling at the time was 'dark skinned girls can't wear red lipstick'. I love the color red. Red is the color of my essence. When I started wearing makeup, I wanted to wear red lipstick; but the criticisms from the culture at the time made me feel critical in the pursuit of my perfect lip; maybe I should stick to pinks and browns or clear lipgloss, the area around my mouth did look washed out and grey with red, how do I stop my lips from drying out, etc. It became a sort of complex, I became more and more motivated to test out different products and find my perfect shade of red.
Over the years I've turned a once complex into a signature look of my own, compiling the best red-toned lipsticks for darker complexions. Dark skinned girls can wear red lipstick, I think it looks show-stopping on us. With different techniques using lipliners, concealers, and the perfect shade of red, anyone can achieve the look they want. I often ponder the subconscious pressures that the politick of beauty lays upon women and femme presenting people. When we're children, it is in our nature to explore and express; to be curious and immersive. Yet as we age, pieces of that initial innocence, that which is imperative to our humanness, gets lost in the entrapments of our current systems and the general attitude of the times. It is through intimate practices of play; singing, dancing, gaming, or makeup- that we uphold these pieces of our being. So if you've ever wanted to wear red lipstick and felt it wasn't for you, whether darker skinned or fairer skinned, don't compromise your expression- there is a perfect shade waiting for you to find her. Here are some of my favorites to start! Happy hunting...
Burt's Bee's Lip Crayon: Redwood Forest https://amzn.to/3UQoaxZ
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream: Copenhagen https://amzn.to/43JhmpR
NYX Slim Lip Liner: Black Berry https://amzn.to/3KIfyEY
FENTY BEAUTY Stunna Lip Paint https://amzn.to/43DVoVc
L'Oreal Paris Makeup Rouge Sig. Matte Lip Stain: Empowered https://amzn.to/3UKWY3R