Whenever a female takes a strong stand for herself, the majority of the time they have to really, really narrow it down to being feminine and wearing dresses and just being lipstick chic. - Michelle Rodriguez
I'm not really 100% sure what Michelle meant when she said this. You know Michelle Rodriguez, right? She's the Puerto Rican actress who is always playing a really tough girl (usually a cop or a soldier) with a gigantic chip on her shoulder. You usually really want her character to die, and she usually does (Ana Lucia in LOST, zombie fodder in Resident Evil). So considering I've never seen her in lipstick or a dress, I think she may have meant this sarcastically. Well, I take it quite literally. If I could choose one thing that I find can make a woman seem more empowered, it is lip color.
This sounds crazy. But lipstick, and lipgloss and lip balm and whatever else we may use, is actually very important to most women. I say this because I find it to be so for myself, and though I'm aware of just how trivial lipstick actually is, that doesn't change the fact that we take it dead serious. I'm not going to attempt to prove this scientifically, nor to philosophize on why exactly I think this might be true. Since this post, like my post on tea, is simply a topic that makes me happy, I'm going to just talk about it.
Lipstick. By far the most iconic and often-used of the breed. I always love it when feminists oppose lipstick on the basis of it being, supposedly, some sort of gooey red shackle men use to keep us down. Yeah, whatever. In ancient Egypt, men wore more makeup than your grandmother, so that doesn't really fly. No man ordered six-year-old girls to smear their faces with the stuff for dress-up or pioneer teens to bite their lips red. (I need to work on keeping my tone light and fluffy. I always start sounding really angry.) Apparently, during the Great Depression, when sales of many luxury items were dropping as people tried to be frugal with their money, the sales of one particular product began to rise. That product was bright red lipstick. It seems that during those difficult times, women were allowing themselves the one small luxury that they found lifted their spirits.
I've often Facebooked about my Rosie the Riveter afternoons. In the process of doing much back-breaking sweaty housework, I require three things only: Elvis music, my big clunky harness boots, and red lipstick. There's something about the stuff, the way it stands out on your face and makes you look like an old-timey actress. Also, even if your hair looks terrible, somehow red lipstick pulls it all together, even when you've got Clorox bleach dripping from the ceiling onto your face like in a horror movie. My pick: N.Y.C. Ultra Moist LipWear lipstick in Retro Red. One dollar, yes, one dollar. Duane Reade and CVS carry them.
Lipgloss. A fairly new addition to the lipcolor world. I mean I don't think they really had the stuff when it was most fashionable to wear a matte (non-shiny) lipcolor. These are neat because even girls who don't like the feel/look of lipstick (and I can see where you're coming from) can like this stuff. So many different kinds! So many different colors! I have perfectly clear ones, and dark dark opaque red ones. You can get them in a squeeze-tube, a wand, or a little pot that you can scoop out with your finger. Because of the variety, I have several faves.
C.O. Bigelow. Lipgloss aficianados swear by C.O. Bigelow. Their glosses are made with at least 2% real peppermint oil, with the result that putting them on feels like swiping your lips with a wintry blast of minty goodness. In fact I'm going to put some on right now. Mmmm. They come in squeeze tubes, and are mostly sheer. I have in my possession Plum Mint, which has a hint of russet color, and Ultra Mentha, which is super-minty and clear. Also, around Christmas time they come out with special flavors, like my Ginger Mint that has ginger flavor and gold sparkles. My sister has Chocolate Sundae, and my friend Mrs. Byrd loves Cinnamon. You can find them at Bath & Body Works.
You can also find there Liplicious lipglosses, which smell so good you might want to eat them. Seriously. One of my sisters has a Blackberry-something flavor, and it smells like a popsicle. I bought Maple Sugar once, which smells like pancakes and is the nicest shimmery pinkish-gold. It ran out, and they stopped making them. BUT I found them on eBay for cheap and bought two, so I will have them forever! And yes, it is just like putting maple syrup on your lips. Except you won't attract bees.
And Mrs. Byrd bought me for Christmas...well...it is so wonderful I have to show you:
Yes. Lipgloss pocketwatch. Mine is red! So beautiful.
Lip balm. C'mon, even you ladies who hate makeup have to admit that lip balm makes your lips feel nice and smooth and happy. I actually sleep with lip balm on--and no, I am not a crazy who must look made-up all the time (although hey. If Indiana Jones comes crashing through my window asking for my help, or if an owl arrives with a letter from Hogwarts requesting my immediate presence, or if Wolverine barges in and demands I come with him to Professor X's school, or Sam and Dean break in--well, er, if any of those things happened I would be prepared). Lip balm at night helps your lips not be cracked and chappy and peely all day, which looks bad no matter what sort of lipcolor you slather on top.
Good ol' Cherry Chapstick. This stuff smells so good (but be forewarned--it doesn't taste that good. Take my word on this. Like birthday candles, yuck...take my word on those, also). I also love Lip Smackers...yeah, they're for kids, but they have Dr. Pepper and watermelon and all sorts of other delish flavors. Just don't get the sparkly ones, the glitter gets all stuck on your skin and all over your pillows and makes chapped lips worse. Ick.
Is this post too weird? I don't know, lipgloss makes me happy. Whenever I get sad about things, I think about Earl Grey tea and fluffy socks and pillows and Three of Swords and lipgloss. (You can do all those things at once, which is wonderful.) In fact I'm at work now but I wish I was home, sitting on the sofa, drinking tea and holding a pillow, while my sister writes something fun for me to read and I draw a magnificent picture. Quite possibly later, excepting the magnificent picture, of course. It's hard to draw on top of a pillow.
Oh, and time to cross-pollinate some bloggage--Sabe mentioned 3ofSwords in her daily blog, One Thousand Mad Things Before Breakfast. I love her blog, guys. It's fun to read and has introduced me to wonderful stuff like Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Take a look.
Where lipstick is concerned, the important thing is not color, but to accept God's final word on where your lips end. - Jerry Seinfeld