I’ve been sitting on this piece from New York Magazine for a while now, because I wanted to try to explain what a big deal it is that I’ve recently started wearing makeup–not just tinted moisturizer, but the whole shebang: foundation, concealer, eye shadow, mascara (and curled eyelashes) and yes, lipstick. I’m just going to pull some quotes though, because my story really boils down to, “I was insecure and didn’t want to draw attention to myself with makeup. But now I’m more confident (and also getting old).”
This article nails that progression. From trying out a bright color in her 20s and immediately shrinking away from it:
The first time I wore [bright red lipstick] out, to a Soho club, I suffered from an irrational fear that the lipstick police would appear and ask me to remove it, as though I hadn’t yet earned the right to be so bold with my own face. […] This was … well, they don’t call it fire-engine red for nothing. It was impossible to miss. All I had to learn now was how to be someone who didn’t want to be missed.
[…] The desperation and thrust for self — the aggressive attempt to project a person you aren’t yet but very much want to be — so perfectly captured in those misplaced lips succinctly sums up most of my 20s, when I hung on to that tube of Russian Red as both a promise of things to come and proof I was headed in the right direction.
To finally the push to try it again in her 30s (which was my push exactly):
Then, one evening in my early 30s, after an especially long day at work, I walked into Bloomingdale’s on a whim. It was payday, and I wanted to reward myself for surviving. I wanted to feel like someone new.
It was time to feel like someone new. Someone who can finally wear bold lipstick.