I’m not sure exactly when it started, but I think it was sometime around the first time I saw Labyrinth that I started digging red lipstick. In the beginning of the movie, when Jennifer Connelly is running around in the forest by herself, she’s put on some red lipstick to complete the illusion that she’s been transformed into a princess. And, when she realizes it’s time to race home to baby-sit, she immediately wipes it off to return to her “normal” self.

I remember the first time I tried red lipstick, when I was in ballet recitals as a young girl. They would put GOBS of make-up on us, and though I was never sad about switching back into jeans from my leotard, I always tried to get away with wearing the lipstick juuuuussst a bit longer. You know, bring some glamour back home with me.

In high school I started wearing lipstick in earnest every day. At that point it was whatever I could find that I liked that was cheap – hellloooo Wet N’ Wild! And that kicked off my obsession with locating the perfect red lipstick. Sure I used to wear pinks, browns, and mauves, but I always went back to red.  And though I loved the freedom that the cheapness of Wet N’ Wild afforded me to experiment with new colors, without fail their reds would turn bright pink on me. So you can imagine my surprise as I was flipping through Real Simple yesterday and discovered this:

Red & Yellow Color Combo from this month's Real Simple

Lovely, perfect shade of red lipstick. Who made it, you ask? Wet N’ Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Red Velvet. Blasphemy!!

Now, as much as I would like to believe that color would work on me, I’ve been fooled a lot over the years and have wasted a lot of money on various shades that inevitably turn pink. And I’ve finally found my true love, who I will be loyal to forever and ever (as long as they don’t discontinue the color).

Nars velvet matte lip pencil in Cruella is the way to go. Once, a couple months back, they ran out of Cruella, and I panicked and had to resort to wearing Dragon Girl for a while. I liked Dragon Girl, but again, she was a bit too bright for my taste. A bit too flirty, too pin-upy. Thankfully,  they restocked the Cruella and I was back to my true self. Deep, rich, clothed in the hides of puppies Cruella.

The pencils can be a bit tricky, and expensive, and I’ve gone through a lot of pencil sharpeners to find ones that will last and not tear up the precious lipstick as they sharpen (currently I recommend the Essence of Beauty Dual Pencil Sharpener). But the price is little to pay for my favorite lip color. I wear lipstick to the gym. I wear lipstick swimming. A couple years ago, a bunch of my coworkers thought it’d be funny to all wear red lipstick on my birthday as a tribute to me, and all of them who went through with it reported feeling awkward with it on. I feel awkward without it. I keep the gnarled stubs of my lipstick squirreled away in various locations around me, in case of emergency.

Sometimes I do wish I could switch my make-up styles around with my hair and outfits, but I know I would always feel weird. A little off, a little incomplete. I feel the way about life that Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s felt about bad news:

A girl just can’t read that sort of thing without her lipstick.

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