I thought it was about time I shared a secret with you. I’ve been wearing a red lip recently, as the weather starts to cool and the summer we never truly had ‘Up North’ fades to make way for autumn and all it brings. I do love warm weather, but even I can’t deny the appeal of golden leaves, cute coats that you can leave open before winter comes and nights spent sipping hot chocolate in front of an open fire. It does something to me.
Perhaps I’m using red lips as a way to ease into the wine-hued makeup we all dig out around late September, but I’ve been really enjoying them with quite minimal eye looks, letting them dress up an otherwise simple outfit and instantly make me feel put together. I remember being so embarrassed to leave the house in red lips when I was younger, my eyes darted nervously around because I was sure everyone was staring at me with my blood red pocket money purchase. I would dart inside a cafe and wipe off the lipstick before I met my friends. It reminded me of my dance shows and the garish stage makeup we had to smear over our faces to be seen through the bright lights. Everyone else seemed to look glamorous when they wore red lips but I just felt like a clown.
It seems so crazy to me that I ever felt that way, red lips make me feel confident now and have an old-timey look that I love. Sometimes I will sit at my desk with basic everyday makeup on, catch a glimpse of myself and apply a little red lipstick to brighten things even though nobody is going to see me for hours. It’s a tonic, and it perks me up, something I wear for me and me alone. Over the years as I became confident enough to experiment with red shades in public I tried all kinds of formulas – glossy offerings that had me nervously checking anything reflective to make sure they hadn’t smudged, and ‘stay all day!’ products that flaked off in the middle leaving my red-ringed lips drier than the sahara. In the end I learned one thing and one thing alone – lipliner is your friend.
A couple of weeks ago I went to apply a red lip, knowing I would be out for a while and therefore needed something that would last. I reached for a lipliner and pulled out one that I’d yet to try, Femme Fatale by Essence. I applied it all over as a base for the lipstick but as I glanced in the mirror I decided to just leave it as it was. Alone it was such a pretty colour that was red but not too intense, matte and with a firm hold on my lips but not drying or uncomfortable. I left the house with it on and I’ve been wearing it alone ever since. Sometimes I like to add a little bit of balm or gloss on top if I’m feeling crazy but mostly I leave it be.
I knew Essence was a budget brand but I was still shocked when I saw that this was only £1. It applies like a dream, doesn’t budge and has the perfect true red shade that will flatter all complexions. On my lips it looks no different to my very high end lipsticks, and I don’t think anyone would guess it came at the same price as the use of a supermarket trolley. I’m super impressed and plan to pick up more shades in future, if they have the perfect nude I may well have found the holy grail of lipliners.
Do you wear red lips or are you still at the stage of feeling like everyone is staring? If you have any lipliner shade recommendations from Essence let me know – I’m all ears (and lips).
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