An Ode to the Lipstick

For every lady worth her style, there’s an artillery of accessories the fashion world blessed us with, to carry us through the day with aplomb. There’s the shoe, an item that surpassed its mere functional utility decades ago, thanks to the Mr Choos and Mr Blahniks of the world, becoming the I-need-to-have-it-or-Ill-die accessory for every fashionable woman in town. And then there’s the close cousin, the handbag, with women choosing to become social only so that they could flaunt their Vuitton’s & Pradas & Guccis at every ocassion.

And then there’s the lipstick.

There’s a special relationship we women have with these little babies, truly. Whether it’s spending hours, days, even months scouring for the perfect shade, obsessing over why that fiery red that our neighbour wears makes us look tarty instead, feeling like we just won the Olympics when we finally do find the shade we wanted, trying every trick in the book to keep it on throughout the night, and then worrying the evening away about leaving a stain on the glass or his shirt.

I personally remember being besotted, enamored, even obsessed with lipstick for as long as I remember. I have fond memories longingly stare at my mother puckering and pouting when she got ready for a party, and then copying the action as soon as she was gone, my promises to not touch any of her cosmetics forgotten instantly. And when I was finally old enough to buy my first piece of makeup, any guesses what it was?

I have come to the realization that the quest to finding the perfect shade of lippy is an experience in itself. Enter a makeup store, and you’ll feel like you’ve just walked into colour Disneyland. Every shade of red, maroon, pink, orange, nude, and these days you even have black, is broken down into versions enough to make you feel that you’ve almost gone colour blind. The saleswoman convinces me to try just ‘one’ shade, tries five instead, and then advises one. Umm, I couldn’t really notice the difference, you know, they all looked the same to me!  And if lipstick isn’t your thing, there’s the new-age cousin, Gloss. And today you’ve even got scientific make-up miracles in the form of new-age babies that promise you irresistible combinations.  moisturizing feel of lip balm, the colour of lipstick, and the shine of gloss. The make-up industry’s been at work, I see!

Ask me, what is it about the lipstick that makes me partial towards it. I’m not saying that I love my eyeliner, or my blush or my mascara, or any item in my make-up bag for that matter, but there’s a special place for my lipstick, or rather, my lipsticks. For there’s nothing like a dash of my favourite lipstick to act as the perfect pick-me-up. To make me feel that I’m ready to face the world. And were it just me, you could have said I’ve been exaggerating. But centuries and decades of women have testified to lipstick not only being their beauty staple, but also their secret weapon and armour in disguise. Just try imagining  Marilyn Monroe in that flowy white dress without that gorgeous red pout. Or Audrey Hepburn without her rosebuds.

If you ask me, I think what makes make-up so special in my opinion is its versatility, the fact that amongst the endless sea of countless shades, there’s only a few that come across as the ‘perfect fit’. The pleasure of finding the shade that makes your face look a million bucks. And how the shade that you wear will probably never have the same effect on another, for when worn effectively, every lipstick looks different on every lip.

Just writing this article has made me want to go on an inspection of my make-up bag. And my red suddenly looks too red, and my pink looks to too pink. I can do with something in between. Umm,  excuse me, for I’m off to buy, you guessed-it-right, another shade of lipstick!


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