I’ve never been a fan of lipstick-I had a complex about my lips for a long while. I didn’t inherit my Mother’s sharp Clara Bow lips or my Dad’s full lips that slope upwards at the corner making it look like he’s always smiling. I ended up with, what I considered, the non-functioning prototype of a hybrid between the two.
A trend, an observation and this woman changed that.
Josephine Baker has been one of my idols since I was a child–cabaret performer, spy, civil rights activist, and beauty icon. Basically everything I ever wanted to be in one package! And those shiny dark lips? STUNNING!But not for me. Not in a million years. A dark lip? All aboard the train to Nopeville!
Until dark lips became a Thing in the Beauty Community™ and the rest of the world. And I fully expected this trend quietly pass me by. I would watch other gorgeous ladies and gents rocking deep purples, reds, bordeauxs and blacks on their lips and envy them and their boldness and confidence and edginess.
And then, in the middle of a conversation about celebrities-we-get-compared-to one of my friends said: “You know, you kind of look like Josephine Baker.” Suddenly a dark lip didn’t seem impossible. Because I (now) kinda sorta looked like her and she rocked a dark lip. A seed had been planted and an idea was growing.
So I bought my first dark lipstick. My first dark lipstick ever (yes, even in my emo highschool goth phase I didn’t dare touch the lipstick)–Wet n Wild’s Cherry Bomb. And every time I saw it I went….
Because it scared me. Too dark. Too edgy. Too blegh on these suckers. Not gonna happen. Might as well return it and get my coffee money back.
It takes time, and a surprisingly amount of courage, to change your perception of what is beautiful. I say “courage” because you’re going against everything you’ve ever been taught. You’re literally unlearning coded messages and replacing them with one that you’ve created for yourself, one that (hopefully) includes you and your “flaws.”
That tube of cheap (yet surprisingly pigmented) lipstick helped me learn to love (one) part of my body that I never liked. So I moved to another. And another. I’m still working on this whole self love thing. There is no 12 step, self love in 30 days manual you can follow. I don’t even expect to ever finish this journey given my history. But seeing beauty in myself, has helped me see beauty in others, regardless of how the fit into traditional beauty standards. Which has been one of the most freeing experiences of my life.
Have you had a beauty epiphany? What triggered it? Tell me in the comments below!