oxblood lipstick and armor

lipstick print

I don't wear much makeup when I deliver readings of my poems or present a talk at a workshop: eyeliner sometimes, but berry red lipstick always. The darker, the better. And the shade is important: it's oxblood or nothing. Isn't that name just delicious? It's disturbing in an Edward Gorey meets Wednesday Addams meets Heathers meets Rihanna way. I feel like if there is ever a female James Bond, she will definitely wear a matte oxblood-colored lipstick. In short, the shade is a powerful, feminine magic.

I resisted a heavily pigmented red lipstick for a long time. I was always a Clinique Black Honey devotee, which I now see was a sheer gateway into dark red territory. But I digress. A couple of years ago, my aunt and I walked around the makeup section of Macy's: I was ready for a red lipstick. I tried every lippie in the place, from Anastasia to Yves Saint Laurent (no Z's at our Macy's!). My arm looked like a bad abstract mural...and I didn't even buy anything on that trip. The experience was a Goldilocks event: each swatch was either too red, too blue, to orange, to shiny.

My aunt turned to me and said, I don't think you want a red lipstick. I think you want more of a berry.

I blinked three times. There was a difference?

red lipstick kiss

Yeah, there's a huge difference between oxblood and true red. Shortly after, I walked past a NYX display in a Target store and found the prettiest matte color: Copenhagen. Afterward, I felt really put together and gorgeous; even barefoot, in jeans and a T-shirt or scribbling random lines of poetry in the grocery store (it happens more often than you think). 

I don't wear much makeup when I deliver readings of my poems or present a talk at a workshop, I wouldn't feel like myself if I were too heavily made up. But I do have a few events coming up in the spring. Events I hope you can attend! Workshops, readings, and panels...activities where I will most certainly wear at least one layer of red lipstick. Because one is fun, and two is almost through and three is the best place to be.  (Check my events page for more details). 

I feel stronger and more confident when I step outside wearing this lipstick. It sounds crazy, I know, I know. It's just lipstick. But I have a ritual be unscrewing the top, carefully removing the applicator wand, and swiping the color across my bottom lip, then the top. Waiting a few seconds while the color sets and watching the shiny finish turn matte. Repeat until my lips are as red as Georgia clay, and my resolve is as sleek as steel. When the red is ready to go, so am I.

And I do. What's your armor - what makes you feel invincible?