The good news? January is over. The not so good news? It still feels like January. Cold and grey. I’m bored of wearing jumpers, having to wrap up warm every time I go outside.
Why do we call it the January blues? I don’t feel blue. I feel grey. And not 50 shades of. Just dull, monotonous grey.
This is when we need those little things that cheer us up. And what could be littler than a lipstick? I didn’t wear lipstick at all until a few years ago. In the noughties it was all about the lipgloss and I could only manage clear. Any colour would have disastrous results – the wind would whip my hair onto my sticky, glossy pout and drag the strands across my face so I looked like I had been lashed by a cat o’nine tails. Not quite what I was trying to achieve. Equally unsure where all these 50 shades and whipping references are coming from…
So no, I’m not talking about S&M today. I’m talking full-on grown up lady lipstick. I decided that now I am actually a woman I am going to wear red lipstick, whether it suits me or not. My first foray was in Bangkok, at the MAC counter, applied by a very exuberant ladyboy. I should’ve had an inkling of what was to come just by looking at his make up…my daughters spotted me from across the department store and their mouths dropped open. Let’s just say that they both understand what a ‘fake lip line’ is – and while it looked great on him, it was not a good look on me…
But this is not just about what you look like. This is about bringing a bit of colour into your life. And onto your face. A lot has been written about the psychology of lipstick, but I am going to put it out there that you smile more when you’re wearing a bit of lippy. It’s a fake it till you make it kind of thing.
And let’s be honest, right now it’s not just the winter greys getting us down. It’s that it feels like someone is taking a golden shower on our ideal of a ‘rainbow world’. And it may seem superficial to talk about buying make-up when it feels like the world is going to hell in a handcart, but when so much feels out of our control, we’ve got to take control of our selves. Look after ourselves and the people around us.
The world to me feels pretty bleak right now. But no amount of obsessively reading the news or scrolling through Facebook rants is going to make things any better. Absolutely we need to be informed about what’s going on. But we also need some self-preservation, some bolstering.
Winston Churchill knew the morale-boosting power of lipstick – during WWII, when all other make up was rationed, lipstick was kept in production. And when the economy slumps, lipstick sales rise – you might want to save on big ticket items, but a lipstick won’t break the bank, and it makes you feel better. Cleopatra loved red lipstick. The suffragettes wore it lipstick as a symbol of emancipation. It was used in Ancient Rome, as my 8 year old informed me this week. Unfortunately it often contained lead, which brings a whole different meaning to ‘femme fatale’.
Make up’s often referred to as war paint and it can’t be a coincidence that the lipstick packaging is called a bullet… and maybe this is just what we need right now. Not just to cheer ourselves up, but to spur ourselves on.
And, who knew, but it’s not just the colour of your lipstick that says a lot about you, but the shape of it! There’s a full article on this here (yes, really!) and apparently you can even tell if someone’s good at karaoke from the shape of their lipstick. I’m a ’rounded smooth tip’ but this must all be rubbish as according to this I’m the type of person who ‘would never get a speeding ticket’…anyone who has read my blog will know this isn’t true!
So, whether that shade of red suits me or not, I’m going to keep on channeling Cleopatra – just the lips, I draw the line at clasping an asp to my bosom. Or maybe Elizabeth Taylor. She didn’t share the sisterly love – apparently banning all other women on set from wearing red lips – but she does leave us with a great quote:
‘Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together’.
I’m in. MAC’s Lady Danger, if you’re asking. And a cup of tea. I feel better already…