Some girls say that they cannot wear red lipstick because it doesn’t suit them. I feel fortunate that I don’t fit into this category, because I, along with many others, have a love affair with ruby lips. Pale lips, metallic lips, dark lips – not for me. My complexion was born for the ruby reds, the tangerines, the vermilions of this world. My favourite lipstick is a matte tangerine that was my mom’s in the 80’s – a glossy black and gold tube of sass, fittingly called ‘Orange Flip’. I have gradually been wearing it down and now all that is left is one glorious, triangular nib. I supplement it with a blood red shade of MAC and Maybelline’s gleaming ‘Cherry Candy’, and am on a constant hunt for just the right shade to replace it once it is gone.
What is it about a red lip? It can lift an entire outfit and make a white shirt look glamorous; it can save the day when you’re out of mascara or your eyeliner’s run dry. Red lips conjure images of Robert Palmer music video girls swaying sulleny, sultrily to Addicted to Love; of vintage Betty Boop, mom getting ready for dinner parties, Morticia Addams and Dita von Teese. There is a whole world of fantasy, allusion and recollection embodied in the matte or glossy sleek of a pair of ruby lips. Creamy blondes with pale eyelashes and the lightest of freckles, barefaced except for a slick of red lipstick; sloe-eyed brunettes with soft, inky lashes, their darkness offset by a shock of crimson.
It’s the stuff lust is made of.