I Conquered My Fear Of Wearing A Red Lip, And Now I’m Obsessed

I got into the makeup game late. Unlike other girls who experimented with makeup in their teens, I waited until college to start wearing lipstick and mascara. My first introduction to makeup was MAC Cosmetics, which is a fave brand of many a woman of color. I remember my very first purchase – a chestnut lip liner and a beautiful bronzy brown lipstick, which I wore faithfully for years. As I got older, I experimented with different shades like plum and berry, and even a nice pink, but I was too afraid of red lipstick.

Red lipstick may seem like an innocuous thing, but it carries with it numerous connotations. Ask your average Black woman, and they’ll tell you that someone in their family – be it Mama, Big Mama, or Auntie – cautioned them against wearing red lipstick. In some families, red lipstick and red nail polish were reserved for “grown” women, not little girls or teenagers. For some, red lipstick was a sign that a girl was “fast” – too sexy at a young age. Others said that red lipstick was not for women of a certain skin color – I can’t be sure which one, because I’ve heard that both light-skinned and dark-skinned women should not wear red lipstick (and who even comes up with these rules?).

I can’t say that any of these so-called rules were handed down to me in-person, but I picked them up over time. No one ever said to me “you can’t wear red lipstick!” but something in me felt like I shouldn’t. A little voice inside me said “no, it’s not for you!” and I didn’t have the strength or desire to drown it out. I’d see the magazine spreads proclaiming that red lips were in, but I never thought I could pull it off. Browns, plums, pinks – they were all safe and expected, easy to wear with no stress and no fuss.

Overcoming My Fear

I can’t say there was a moment or event that caused me to tackle my fear of a red lip. I suppose it was a gradual change, that started as I also started to embrace and love more of myself. That started when LM came into my life – his love and admiration of me has rubbed off on me. I’ve become more bold in my fashion choices, and my overall outlook is changed. I feel better and that translates into how I look, and I take more care into my appearance. All that coupled together has given me confidence to try new things…including a red lip.

I took the plunge during a makeover at Sephora. I was having my face done for my bridal shower, and I wanted to try a lip color that I could wear for my wedding. On a whim, I told the makeup artist about how I’d always wanted to wear a red lip, but I was worried I couldn’t pull it off. He listened, studied my face, and walked away. He returned with a YSL glossy stain and carefully applied it to my lips. I turned to look at myself in the mirror, and I immediately loved what I saw. I was wearing a red lip, and it looked great! I had done it! I decided to buy it and use it as my lip color for my wedding, and the compliments I received at my bridal shower confirmed my purchase. I loved wearing the YSL glossy stain on my wedding day – it held up through photos, kisses, and even the delicious food and drinks at our cocktail hour. I only needed to reapply once through the entire night!

Clinique Chubby Stick Chunkiest Chili

After that first taste of a red lip, I was hooked. I started making more frequent trips to Sephora, to try new products and different shades of red. My next purchase was the Clinique Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Chunkiest Chili.  Its listed as a brown red, but I don’t see the brown in the color. Normally lip balms are more sheer, but I love how pigmented this chubby stick is. I started wearing this color everywhere, especially because it provides much-needed moisture for the lips.  Around the same time, I also received my Sephora birthday gift, which was two NARS lip pencils, a satin rosy pink, and a velvet matte in Cruella, which is a scarlet red. Now this was a red lip! Bold, bright, and matte! I loved how the satin lip pencil wore, so I also picked up one in Majella, a garnet red with plenty of shine. This was my absolute favorite to wear, and I wore it faithfully every day. I remember the first time I wore it to the office – I felt so bold!

NARS Satin Lip Pencil Majella

My current favorite red lip color is Le Marc Lip Creme in So Rouge, which was the gift in the Sephora VIB Rouge 2015 welcome kit. BTW, I hit VIB Rouge at the end of 2015 – yay! I did not expect to love this color so much, but it’s so vibrant and wears so beautifully, you can’t help but love it. It’s so gorgeous that I have to make myself alternate it with the YSL glossy stain and the NARS satin lip pencil.

Le Marc Lip Creme

It’s been a little over a year since I decided to be bold, and finally try a red lip. Verdict? I’m so happy I did it. It’s given my confidence a major boost, and I see now why so many women say that wearing a bold red lip makes them feel powerful. I never thought that a lip color could affect your mood and your confidence level, but I’m now a believer. Since I’ve started wearing red lipstick, I’ve added several to my collection and I wear a red lip almost everyday. How’s that for conquering a fear?

Do you wear red lipstick? What’s your fave?


Five Ways to Use That Sephora Giftcard

If you’re a beauty junkie like I am, you probably are a Sephora Beauty Insider. In case you aren’t, its Sephora’s rewards program – each $1 you spend is a point which you can redeem for products. The great thing about the program is that at the end of the year, Sephora sends out a giftcard which you can use on anything in the store. The amount varies depending on how much you spent during the year, but the minimum giftcard is $15.

I love love love Sephora & I spend way too much in there, but that’s ok. Every lady needs pretty things in her life.

So…the hard part is figuring out what to get with my giftcard! I took a look at Sephora’s website to figure out what looked interesting since the last time I was there (which was last weekend #dontjudgeme).

Let’s see…first this looks interesting, it’s the Sephora by OPI 18 Piece Mini Nail Colour Set.

I haven’t really spoken of it here, but I love love love the Sephora by OPI polishes. I have at least 15 of them, no joke. The colors are brilliant & long-lasting, and they have a great selection of shades. This mini set would be great for anyone who has a hard time selecting colors, and at $48 its a great deal, considering that the full-size bottles are $9 a pop. If you aren’t ready for 18 mini bottles, there’s also this set which is 6 full-size Sephora by OPI bottles, for $42.

Next up is the Sephora Collection Flashy Liner Waterproof Eye Pencil Set.

This is a set of 7 eyeliner pencils in various glittery shades. I actually got several of these pencils last year and loved them, and couldn’t believe I didn’t get the set. They glide on easily, smudge well, and really make your eyes pop. I actually got this set last week, and I highly recommend it. At $20, you will have to purchase something else to use the giftcard, but trust me, its worth it.

If fragrances are more your speed, there’s the Burberry Brit Sheer Gift Set.


This set includes the eau de parfum spray, body wash and body lotion, all in the 3.3 oz size. I know several of the homies love this scent and so do I. It’s very sexy and not over-powering, which is important to me. If you’re not a fan of scented body washes & lotions, you can alway pick up just the eau de toilette.

I’m sure some of you are makeup novices, or maybe a bit overwhelmed by all the amazing products available at Sephora. Or maybe you want to branch out & try some new products, but you’re not sure where to start. Well Sephora has that covered, with their Sephora Favorites sets. These are sets that combine a variety of products which you can try. There are several kits available, check them all out here.

I think I’m going to check out the LashStash Mascara Deluxe Sampler.

This set comes with a Tarte eyelash curler and 10 different mascaras. I’ve been looking to switch up my mascara, so this would be perfect for me, and at $40 its a great deal.

Don’t forget, Sephora isn’t just a great place for cosmetics and fragrances, they also carry a wide array of skin & hair products as well. For you ladies who are looking for a new skincare product or regimen, check out your local Sephora. You can get samples of all the products to test out before you commit, and even after you do, you can always return any purchase to Sephora at anytime.

If I wasn’t being so fiscally conservative, I’d invest in the Clairsonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System.

I’ve read rave reviews about the Clairsonic products on various blogs and message boards, and I’ve been wanting to try it out for a while. Clairsonic brushes use sonic technology to gently cleanse your skin, exfoliating & cleansing pores.  The Mia is really great because its smaller than the original Clairsonic brush, which makes it perfect for travel. This set includes the brush, charger, brush head, and gentle cleanser. At $149 its less pricey than the full-size Clairsonic brush.

This is just a taste of all that Sephora has to offer. Hit your local store or Sephora.com and pick yourself up some goodies!

Are you a Sephora junkie like me? What do you plan to get with your giftcard?