I would love to be one of those people who wear bold lipsticks with panache. I know there are shades of red to suit everyone, and it’s not like I’m a shrinking violet by nature, but somehow, whenever I decide to sport a statement lip, I feel completely ill at ease.
Firstly, I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve accidentally smeared it across my face or transferred it onto my teeth – as a result, when out in public, I spend a lot of time needily trying to catch my reflection in shiny surfaces. Secondly, when I’m wearing a lipstick in a bright shade, I can’t help but feel like I’m trying to draw attention to myself – this has nothing to do with the act of wearing lipstick, you understand, and everything to do with my sub-conscious neuroses. The irony is that while I’m doing all this worrying, the object of my anxiety has, more often than not, completely rubbed off my lips anyway. But by the time I discover this, I’m so rattled I don’t want to reapply.
At first, I felt like I wasn’t a proper grown-up because I didn’t wear lipstick. Then, I started to get a bit tired and resentful of the idea that you have to wear lipstick to look good. Sure, lipstick is a short-cut to looking like you’ve made an effort, and it can really enhance a look – and some people look absolutely fabulous with it on (my friend Charlotte, for example, can rock a red lip like nobody’s business, and Rachel’s lips were made for technicolour). But frankly, when it comes to my own look, I’d rather make an effort to ensure my outfit looks nice, my hair has a bit of oomph and my spots are all covered up in order to feel ‘done’. Plus, because I’m almost constantly eating, keeping my lips looking ship-shape could easily become a full-time concern.
I have recently found a third way, however, and that is the nude lip. Obviously, it’s nothing revolutionary – rock chicks have sported this barely-there shade for donkeys’ years – but for me, going nude was still a watershed moment. Nude provides the thrill of wearing lippie without any of the jeopardy. It is so subtle, it doesn’t require me to tone down the rest of my make-up routine. And, as with red lipsticks, there’s a nude shade to suit all skin types.
I’ve bought two shades, both by The Body Shop: the first is a coral-hued nude (shade 11, pictured); the second a slightly shimmering blend of pale pink and caramel (shade 350). I’ve also bought a lipliner to add to the nude effect, but at the moment it feels a step too far, like PhotoShopping my lips out of existence. So for now, I just slap on the nude lippie whenever I feel like it – whether I’m in the loo at work, or on the Tube without a mirror.
I’m so taken with nude that I’ve also started painting my nails using this ‘Soul Session’ shade, by rock-chick par excellence Kate Moss – being lazy in the make-up department, I love the fact that I can just splash it on, knowing that if it goes all over my toes, no one will notice. Try going nude yourself – it’s the lazy, ‘I just woke up like this’ way to do make-up.
What do you think about nude lipstick – and lipstick in general?