I love red lipstick. It’s probably because my preferred aesthetic (other than “alien xenologist observing your customs with bemusement”) is “white girl from a morally troubled era”. The ’50s– love the look, hate the racism, etc. Theoretical style icons include Betty Draper, Christina circa Back to Basics, and the usual run of thigh-higher pinup girls.
The closest thing I’ve got to a signature makeup look is Ruby Woo, worn with a lazy wash of shimmery neutral shadows and a thin swipe of kohl. But “dehistoricized ’50s fantasy” isn’t the only narrative I’ll invoke when I paint my lips, and I’ve got a lot of other reds in my arsenal. I’ll review them in-depth in some future posts. But I couldn’t resist showing them off now.
I find 69 and Chic Red to be fairly similar– they’re both bright pinky reds. Kind of calls my purchasing habits into question, because 69 costs more and I got that first. Gash has a subtle, fine red shimmer that doesn’t come across clearly in the photo; on the lips, it reads as a kind of general glossiness. I think it has a lot in common with Dare You, actually, in terms of depth and finish, but it’s cooler and lacks the latter’s brown undertones. The clear standout in this (arbitrarily assembled) group is Lady Danger, which might fairly be termed an orange.
After Ruby Woo, Pirate is probably the shade I wear most often– out of all the lipsticks in my collection, not just the reds. I’m actually not sure why I should need to qualify that at all, since it’s more comfortable than Ruby Woo, and more versatile, because less aggressively matte. It must be because it was so expensive– I bought it to congratulate myself for finishing my spring-term papers– so I like to pretend that I’m “saving” it or something. Medieval is way sheerer than I usually like in a lip color. What can I say? I was seduced by the ad copy. I’m a sucker for pretensions to historicity.
If I were a fiscally prudent person, I’d be done collecting reds. But no. I’ve got a stipend payment coming in two days, and I’m haunting the Besame website in anticipation.