The Transformative Power of Lipstick

A few weekends ago, some of my girlfriends and I decided to plan a big Girls Night Out: Dinner, drinks, dancing, the whole shebang.

Excited to cut loose for a night on the town,  I began my getting ready process several hours in advance. (What, you think I just roll out of bed looking this good?)

I had taken a bath, painted my nails, put my makeup on and was just debating whether grey suede platforms or studded leather booties better complimented  my peplum top/skinny jeans combo when my friend Dominique called.

“Hi,” she said, forlornly.

Uh oh. This didn’t sound good.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I think I might just stay in tonight,” she sighed. “I don’t know if I’m up for going out.”

I started to panic. If Dominique pulled the ‘chute, then what if all the other  girls did too? I had already spent 30 minutes applying the perfect smokey eye- I was not about to let this night go down in flames.

“Come onnnnn,” I begged her, “It’ll make you feel better to get out! Just jump in the shower, get dressed, and put some lipstick on. Lipstick has amazing transformative powers.  I promise.”

This cat knows.

Reluctantly, she agreed, and an hour later, picked me up in a cab wearing a  bright hue of glossy red. “Is this too intense?” she asked, nervously. “I think I look sort of like an enraged Snow White.”

I examined her flawless, pale, complexion and the bright stamp of scarlet painting her lips. “Yeah.” I agreed, “Maybe a little. But it’s working for you. More importantly, how do you feel?”

“Powerful” she responded.

There it was.

We discussed our lipstick theory with the other girls over dinner, and found that we were not alone in our feelings about the product.

One of the girls even recounted a story she had heard about a box of red lipstick that was mysteriously delivered  to the prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen during the Second World War.

In an excerpt from the diary of one of the first British soldiers to liberate the camp in 1945, he said that no one knew why this lipstick was sent along with the supplies, as the prisoners of were in need of much more pressing items, like food and medical supplies.

But once the lipstick was distributed, its purpose became clear. The women were ecstatic, immediately putting it on and wearing it around the camp proudly. These women didn’t have proper clothing, food, or showers, but they had red lipstick, and with it a little bit of hope. It reminded them of a life outside of the camp; a life where they could be women; individuals-not just the number stamped on their arms. That lipstick, the soldier noted, gave them back their humanity.

Now, I know I just went a little Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on you guys there, but I think this story is one that many women can relate to. While most of us have never walked a mile in their shoes, we’ve all experienced times where we’ve felt low, been degraded, or felt like just a number… and we’ve all wanted a way out.

While some people see makeup as superficial or unnecessary, I see it as a form of self-expression. A fun, creative outlet.

…….And a way of being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.

My love for makeup is immediately apparent when you walk inside my bathroom. Brightly coloured pallets, compacts and brushes spill from every shelf, including dozens of lipsticks. Each has a different name, and with it a different feeling and a different sense of identity.

“Lady Danger” for example, is an unapologetically bright orangey-red that I bust out on nights when I really want to step out of my shell:

I sort of feel like Anne Hathaway in The Dark Night Rises when I wear it.. only without the whole Kung Fu-in-stilettos business.

When I want to channel my inner pop diva, I put on a little “Nicki”, MAC’s signature colour inspired by Nicki Minaj .

VaVa Voom Voom

When I’m feeling mysterious, I unleash my inner Soviet spy with “Russian Red”:

My friends call me Natasha

Or, when I hit the town for a glass (or 5) of wine with my ladies, I go with “Girl About Town”:

Line? What line? I’m VIP B*tches

…and if I’m feeling a little girl-next-door I choose “Angel”, a muted pinky-mauve that says “hey, I’ll totally geek out with you over video games and foreign films”.

I bet Joey wore Angel. Before she got all into scientology.

My most recent acquisition has been a frosted 80’s pink called “St. Germain”. It’s about as dated as shoulder pads and teased hair, but I love it because it brings me back to a time of economic growth, environmental unawareness, and coca-cola classic.

Aaah. the good old days.

With all of the inhibition-releasing power of wine, minus the hangover, lipstick is the perfect way to cut loose, forget your problems, and be somebody else for a night. So ladies, go slap on a little Enraged Snow White and have some Fun!

…….But just be careful you don’t  pull a Condoleezza.

Cause no one wants to see that sh*t.

Question of the Day: Ladies, do you wear lipstick? Men: do you like your ladies in lipstick?


20 thoughts on “The Transformative Power of Lipstick

Add yours

  1. I have no knowledge of fashion or lipstick as my wife will no doubt attest. I do know though, that her lippy has to match the occasion and her outfit. The psychological affects you describe reminded me of this post…

    I think what we wear can directly affect how we feel and how we present ourselves. If I turn up for work suited and booted, I feel happy doing a presentation or having a business meeting with people high above me. If it’s dress down Friday, I wouldn’t feel quite so happy about it.


  2. Because I’m in a “medical” atmosphere at school. We can only wear a light shade or gloss, so during the day I sport Blistex (mint flav).
    But, this wknd you have inspired me to rock out some Pink Gold #3118
    . And I shall take a pic and send it to bf! Who knows maybe my landlords 8yr old will appreciate my effort, lol!


  3. You got me to read about lipstick, you are powerful. Interesting story about WWII. The next time a woman tells me she’s late because she had to do her makeup I will be more understanding and now verbally abuse her.

    I wore mascara once because My Chemical Romance was popular and someone told me I would look good with it. They did it wrong and I looked like I had been punched.


      1. No it was a one time thing that lasted maybe 5 minutes. I have a friend who is maybe 32 years young and he still wears guy-liner. I can’t believe I used to think he was cool.


  4. Love it! I’m in charge of the ladies outreach ministry at our church and this week I asked them to bring their best & brightest lipstick next week so we can all “kiss” a paper & sign our names…I’m making a poster to symbolize “kissing the old good-bye”. Our devotional is called Holy Estrogen! Can’t wait to share your stories!!!


  5. Fun post! I can really only comment on the quality of the post, which is quite fun… I can’t really comment on the makeup, other than that I was really bugged watching Condi at the RNC… I lost all track of what she was saying because I kept watching the lipstick on her teeth, though I’m not sure why, it’s not like the lipstick on her teeth was actually going to do something other than just *be*.


    1. I know, I actually can’t believe what a big deal the whole Lipstick Gate thing became. Like who cares.. I look like that pretty much every saturday night by a couple glasses in 😉


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