if Pantone can have a colour of the year, so can I
this is the closest I’ll ever come to writing a traditional style / beauty article so enjoy it!
Here is my 2023 resolution: have red nails and red lips all year.
Because why not? Life is short. And a little aside — the cover photo is not me, but I have been wondering lately how people with lip piercings manage lipstick application while keeping the jewellery clean.
Somehow I feel like dedicating a year to red lips and red nails is an act of defiance for a 37-year-old-woman. Particularly since I’m not fussed with perfect cuticle edges or a perfect lip line, and I have the kind of thin lips that people will mock should I ever say anything inflammatory on social media.
I’m also challenging myself to limit the rest of my makeup to eyebrows and spot concealing zits. Makeup trends like no makeup makeup, clean girl, glass skin, cloud skin are giving me nasty conformist vibes lately: antiseptic, ageist, and more than a little bit puritanical. It’s made me angry enough to take a personal stand against hiding the labour of living in an adult woman’s body, and nothing says effort like red lipstick and nail polish.
If you’re into hearing about specific products, read on, and if not happily skip on down to number 3.
Before the holidays I got it into my head that I NEEDED red nail polish. Ever the snob, I googled to find the classiest and most classic shade of red and landed on OPI Big Apple Red. I have no real brand allegiance when it comes to nail polish but OPI does (or did) have a shade of off-white called My Vampire is Buff and on every level imaginable that bottle of polish called out to my soul. So, picking out the red for my nails was easy.
My lips, however, are little freaks. Not only are they annoyingly small and always chapped, no matter what products I use or don’t use, they’re a weird pale purple colour that turns most red lipsticks bright fucking pink. Which is absolutely never a look I am going for. For years, any red I bought at a drugstore was just horrendous, both in colour and formula. When I was more of a grown-up lady I tried the classic MAC Ruby Woo. It almost worked. When I put on a thick layer, before rubbing or blotting, it was a beautiful bright red (a bit like my Big Apple Red nails). And seconds later half my bottom lip was flaking off and it turned a deeply unflattering bright pink.
That being said, after too much time spent on a subreddit where I learned that I have green undertones in my skin that affect how red shows up on me, I’ve assembled a little buffet of red lip products that will hopefully get me through the whole year!
Ok, enough product talk. On to more cerebral matters! Because personal philosophy is exactly what people are clamouring to read, and they and definitely hate reading about beauty products 🙃
Red is such a powerful colour, signifying the best and the worst. Love, sex, anger, violence. Humanity’s extremes. I’m excited to see how it influences my self-confidence and how people, strangers, treat me.
When it comes to clothes and accessories, black is my favourite colour. It is almost my only colour. I will also accept muted shades of navy blue and forest green, and most shades of beige. Grey is ok. Ordinarily, I hate colours.
Wearing such a bright and attention-grabbing colour as red on my hands and face for an entire year seems like a fun challenge. I need to get out of this style rut I’ve been in since moving to Spain. My personal feelings on the weather aside, the fact is I built my wardrobe for a different climate, and rather than experiment and have fun with the change, I’ve been guilty of wearing mainly black loungewear at home.
Call it whatever derogatory name you like, I love “playing dress up”. My wardrobe is probably my biggest and longest-lasting hobby. I miss feeling excited by my clothes and I hope that needing to match my outfit vibes to my bright red lips and nails will be the push that I need.
“Confine yourself to the present.”
I came across this quote in some philosophy app a few months ago and it has become my personal imperative. I am much happier, calmer, and confident when I confine myself to the present.
Somehow, I feel like having and maintaining red nails and lips will be a visual and habitual reminder to confine myself to the present.
And here is how I plan to cheat: my health is still not great post-covid and I regularly have days where I cannot get out of bed. There’s no way I’m messing up my pillow case with red lipstick on those days. My bright red nails will suffice and maybe they’ll help me feel less like a goblin.
A proclivity for personal challenges like these seem to run in my family. I remember my mother telling me that one year in high school, she wore a different outfit every day. (Incidentally, I’m on day 5 in my black sweats). And my sister once went an entire school year wearing her hair down every day. I wonder why we feel the need to challenge ourselves in this way, and over such long periods of time? Maybe we’re a family of women who don’t really enjoy performing Woman, so we have to turn the performance into a little game to keep things interesting.
Today is January 9th and so far so good! I will not promise any further “check-ins” throughout the year, but if I do some kind of wrap-up post at the end of 2023 I’ll be brutally honest about my year of red.
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