Brittnee E. Henry
Most women remember their first time. It may have been carefully planned, or a spontaneous venture. Regardless of how it came about, few women will ever forget the experience. I know I won’t. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the beginning of a whole new world for me. It was the first time I wore lipstick.
The shade was called “Dusty Rose” and I was 14 years old. My oldest sister helped me select it from the hundreds of shades on the Revlon rack at Snyder Drug Store. I was confused by all the names and categories that seemed to have no relevance to the actual color of the contents of the black containers. “All the Rave” and “Rum Raisin” failed to clue me in on the blinding plum colored chunks of wax I found in the corresponding tube. My sister rattled on about neutrals, cools, and mattes. My head swam in the lipstick lingo that poured from her “Stone Edge” painted lips. The lipstick selection process overwhelmed me. But it wasn’t long before I was mixing shades and layering gloss like a pro. Now, when I approach a lipstick display it’s like heaven: a palette of endless colors, textures, and shines. The possibilities are endless.
I recall feeling mature, feminine, and beautiful the day I set out with “Dusty Rose” on my lips. My tongue was constantly drawn to the slippery surface of my glossed mouth. The soft scent of the paraffin reminded me of the mature ladies I looked up to and it was now a part of my image.
Lipstick has become the one thing I cannot leave home without. My purse carries five selections on average; with another ten in my make-up bag at home. Even a quick trip to the supermarket calls for a good everyday splash of “Thunder” or “Mocca Freeze.” Each is equally versatile for everyday wear. By night my lip potion collection strikes a wilder, darker spectrum of color. There is a time and a place for every shade I own.
The power of lipstick is dangerously underestimated. When used incorrectly it can turn the most beautiful woman into something straight out of the sleaziest strip joint or “busy” street corner. I’m sure many of us can recall an old school teacher from our past that refused to wear anything but “Strawberries in the Snow.” Somehow her ultra-conservative brown Aerosols and denim jumper didn’t correspond with the flashy glare of her hot pink muzzle. She may have even gone so far as to accidentally apply it to her teeth. This little problem is nothing a little rub of Vaseline on your front teeth wouldn’t prevent. If only she had known the lipstick beauty tips we know now, and how to select the right color. We may have been able to learn more in English class and have a little more respect for her.
Speaking to men about lipstick is an interesting area. Most men love when women wear lipstick, but many agree it can make or break first impressions. A racy red dress shouldn’t be topped by “Big Red Apple” lipstick when a nice “Petal Pink” gloss would do. And what about the “kiss-off” factor? The men I’ve spoken to think it is sexy to have a set of prints left by a pair of luscious lips, but they advise to be courteous enough to wipe it away. However, the messy marks left on the rim of a wine glass are not so sexy and it is suggested that you drink from the same spot every time in order to avoid a disgusting ring of evidence. Or you could just invest in the new stay-put formulas and be stuck wearing the same shade for two days. I don’t advise it. Part of joy of lip color is choosing a new one every day according to how you feel, what you are wearing, and in what company you will be in.
It is obvious that lipstick is a time-less item in the make-up bags of women in America. Nearly every woman you ask can testify to the hoards of ladies that line up in restrooms to reapply their lipstick, and many will agree that a simple application of a sparkled gloss can give them the quick lift they need throughout the day. Lipstick is a source of confidence, beauty, and femininity.
My lipstick fetish has come a long way since the days of “Dusty Rose” and clear gloss. Like my personality, my choice of lipstick has become more daring, versatile, and sophisticated. My lipstick is a reflection of who I have become. It tells the world what mood I’m in and how I feel everyday. Each new shade is like starting a new chapter in my life. There were the days of “Stone Edge” when I wanted to be like my sister, the episode of “Ruby Slipper” when I was into Courteney Cox’s look, and the lip-liner-mania phase in high school. Each style and color of lipstick says something about who I was at that time. However, I refuse to be that seventy year-old woman wearing “Pouty Petunia” to a garage sale. As much as I love lipstick, there are just some shades I do not dare to wear.
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