Friday, March 26, 2010

Tips For Lips

I have never been a particularly fashionable woman. In high school, I was the one in Daria glasses and camoflauge pants, who the popular girls sniggered at because I never wore anything that was currently in style. I do not read fashion magazines, and I cannot stand shopping malls. So don't look at me to tell you what's fashionable or stylish.

I will, however, tell you what never goes out of style, and red lipstick is at the top of that list.

Magazines tell us that red lips come and go, occasionally displaced by "nude" or pink. But they're wrong. Red lips are ALWAYS in, and no one will agree with me more emphatically than your average male. Every woman can wear red lips - if you think you can't, you just haven't found the right shade yet - and they make all the difference between "cute" and "goddess."

We all giggle at period films from the 70's and 80's because of the goofy makeup and hair. But when was the last time you heard anyone snicker at Rita Hayworth?

Here are my Ten Tips For Lips, if you aren't accustomed to rocking the vintage glam...

1. Choose a red shade that goes with your skin tone and hair. This makes all the difference between Marilyn Monroe and Ronald McDonald. Dab the sample on your wrist and see how it looks with your skin tone - typically, yellow-based skin tones (which most people have) go well with brown- or orange-based reds, and pinker skin tones go with a blue-based red. Ask the nice ladies at the makeup counter to help you find a red for you. They might even throw in a free makeover.

2. Different reds suit different occasions. A "true" or neutral red is good for daytime, while a deeper "fire engine" red makes for a sexy evening look.

3. Don't overwhelm your face with too much makeup. Red lipstick stands on its own! All you need on your eyes is a little eyeliner and mascara. If you're getting extra dolled-up, go with neutral brown tones on your eyes and a slim black eyeliner on the upper lid only. This is a very classic 1940's look that, again, suits just about everyone.

4. As with a house, a solid foundation is crucial. You don't want your red lips to play up red tones in your skin. Start with a good clear foundation, apply concealer where necessary, and then powder on top of that. This gives you the nice even-complexion look which makes the right canvas for bold lips.

5. If you have a problem with your lipstick bleeding or feathering into the little lines around your lips, apply foundation to your bare lips and then line with a good pencil before you apply your lipstick. It helps to hold your lipstick in place.

6. Try not to line with red liner - very few people can pull this off. I make my lips look a bit more full by lining with white liner in the upper "dip" part, then using a deep pink liner just outside the center of my lower lip. (I don't fill in my lips with liner as I cannot seem to do this evenly, but feel free to try it if you want to.) Then, after my lipstick, I apply a dab of clear or purple-pink gloss to the center of my lower lip and give a smack. This creates a full, wet, very appealing mouth.

7. To keep from getting lipstick all over your teeth: After you've applied your lipstick and gloss, stick your finger in your mouth with your lips on it, as though you'd dipped your finger in cake batter for a taste. Slide your finger out and it'll grab the excess lipstick off your inner lips so that it won't decorate your pretty white teeth.

8. Straws are your friend! Don't drink anything without a straw or you will WRECK your lipstick. A straw makes it much easier to keep that foxy look in place.

9. If you find your lipstick fading out in the center and collecting at the edges, do it in layers. Put on your lipstick, blot it off with toilet paper, then apply it again. The first application will leave a stain and also absorb excess moisture so the second application won't slide.

10. Speaking of moisture... I'm a big advocate of moisturizers and your lips are no exception! Drink plenty of water throughout the day, apply lip balm whenever you don't have lipstick on, and never lick your lips. Find a good lip balm and apply it first thing in the morning, giving it a few minutes to soak in before you put your lipstick on. Cracked and peeling lips never look good, no matter the color! So keep 'em soft!

I personally believe that every woman can be beautiful if she looks like she cares enough to be. This is how the legendary screen stars - some of whom, if you can envision them without makeup, were not actually that exceptional - became the goddesses we know today. So if you find yourself keeping up with modern fashions and still not feeling like a starlet, just remember that modern fashion is mostly designed by men who like boys and get in touch with a more classic womanly look. It might not be trendy, but it's timeless.

And by the way, that's me of the Daria glasses and camos in the pic.

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