I wore black lipstick for three days straight — even though I hate dark lip colours — and this is what happened
Like a Virgin
Experimental as I might be with my makeup, there are just some looks I'd never attempt — or, well, have attempted with limited success, and would rather not repeat. Think contouring à la Kim Kardashian, straight, bold arches, and most notable of them all: dark lipsticks. The bane of my existence, the thorn in my side, it is an art form that proves impossible for my clumsy, fumbling fingers to perfect. While pink and red hues require only a quick smack of my lips for even distribution, darker shades necessitate precision and a heck of a steady hand to get right. Failing that, I've wiped many a (disastrous) attempt off my lips, declaring it ill-suited to my visage and cursing the lippies to never to see the light of day.
It was a dramatic proclamation that, naturally, came back to bite me in the ass when Fashion and Beauty Editor Jolene Khor suggested I don black lipstick for the rest of the week. Not plum, or burgundy, or brown, but black. And in public. As tempting as it was to dismiss the idea for some bogus reason (I considered allergies), I decided to prove to myself that I could beat my insecurities. Besides, creative folk suffer for their craft, right? I recount my walk on the dark side, below.
Day one: What happens when you're plagued with self-doubt
The three lipsticks I ordered arrived shortly after lunch. First one up to bat? Kat Von D Beauty's Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in the shade, Witches. Picture a pigment-packed, ultra-matte formulation in an inky black that lasts up to eight hours and counting. Intriguing — but also very much intimidating, considering my less-than-pleasant experience with both dark and insanely drying matte lipstick offerings. Eep. With great apprehension, I wiped off my clear gloss and got to work.
I'll admit, I was expecting a quick-drying, patchy consistency that would make the Kat Von D Beauty application a pain. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by its creamy texture that glided on effortlessly; its pointed, doe-foot applicator allowed for short, precise strokes along the cupid's bow. And while this did negate some of my fears, I was immediately flooded with a bout of self-consciousness upon setting down my mirror. I didn't look bad per se, but it was still alarming how different I felt wearing something so far out of my comfort zone. Associate Lifestyle Editor Janice Sim assured me that it looked great. Culture Editor (and brutally honest voice of reason) Aravin Sandran, on the other hand, said that "I've looked better." Ouch. I stuck it out 'till the end of the workday before chickening out, wiping all traces of black off my pucker. Self-doubt, 1, Emily, 0.
Day two: I'm making squid ink lip a thing
I embarked on my day determined to see through the rest of the challenge. I tailored my outfit to suit my pucker — I opted for an all-black ensemble for "convenience". Sounds trivial, but it did make me feel more at ease and less like someone was going to leap out at me and pronounce me a poseur. The lipstick of the hour: Gucci Beauty Rouge à Lèvres Satin Lipstick in Satin Black, which delivers bold pigment in a soft, buttery finish. The goal is an intense albeit well-nourished pout all day. Win! Application was a breeze, even when it came to trickier areas like the inner lip.
I was feeling pretty good until lunch. My lipstick had come off with my pizza, leaving me with blackish smears impossible to eradicate despite furious scrubbing with a wet tissue. It was gross but also expected considering its creamy formula. I spent my entire walk back fretting over my squid ink tint (heh), but to my surprise, no one noticed. Or, well, nobody cared enough to stare and point. It was an oddly freeing thought — and a humbling reminder that my inner "turmoil" over my new lip look was mostly self-inflicted. I headed out for dinner with my head held high and my pitch-black pucker intact.
Day three: Death And All His Friends is more than a song
I donned Fenty Beauty's Stunna Lip Paint in Uninvited on the last day of my experiment. I've always been a fan of its weightless, budge-proof formulation so I knew application wouldn't pose an issue. Having said that, I was somewhat concerned about drying and flaking (when they say long-wear, they mean it). If anything, prevention is always better than cure, so I made sure to prep my lips with balm before painting on my pucker. Problem solved.
Suffice to say, I was pretty much impervious to any commentary on my lips by the time the third day rolled around. My mother declared it "demonic" at one point, which I shrugged off. Even Videographer David Bay's gawk as I reapplied my coal lippie post-lunch didn't faze me. I'm a new woman, folks. And possibly a convert, considering how all three lippies earned a spot in my (bulging) makeup bag.
While I probably wouldn't wear it 24/7, I'd say I'm cured of my irrational fear of dark lippies. A good formulation and a devil-may-care attitude make all the difference in the world — on my part, at least — but if you're still feeling apprehensive on going dark, remind yourself this: it's just lipstick. If you hate it, scrub it off, and start again. Isn't that the magic of makeup, after all?
Like a Virgin is a bi-weekly column by Beauty Writer Emily Heng, wherein she documents her first trials (and tribulations) in the latest, most buzzy beauty products and treatments as the youngest member of the Buro. Singapore team.