The Red Lipstick Challenge

Red Lipstick

The Challenge

Back in January I read the post “How Red Lipstick Taught me to be Brave” on Those Graces. The author challenged herself to wear red lipstick every day for a month.

“In the beginning of the challenge, I was afraid to go out in public with my red lips. There was something unnerving about people staring at me, whether they did it out of judgement or inherent curiosity. But this isn’t a story about strangers, it’s a story about me. I went from being doubting myself every time I wore red lipstick to embracing it entirely. It became apart of who I was, almost like a character trait. I wore it when I was so happy, when I was terribly sad, when I was sick and once accidentally when I was going to the gym.”

My thought on reading her post was “I wear red lipstick all the time!” but then I had to be honest with myself. I love red lipstick and wear it often, but not constantly.  Still, I wanted to see if it felt weird to wear red lipstick every day. So last month I decided to start a red lipstick challenge of my own. I would wear red lipstick daily starting first thing in the morning. I’d reapply it after lunch and any time I walked out the door. How did the experiment go? Keep reading to find out.

Tubes of red lipgloss and pencils

Red Lipstick Every Day

January 15th, day 1

Bright red lips at 7 am? Really? I didn’t want to put it on. My skin was dry and blotchy the way it usually is in the morning, but the challenge must go on! I pulled out my Sonia Kashuk matte lip crayon in “Rosey Nude”, the most natural looking red I own, and rubbed some on. It looked pretty good. I put on some more and took a photo. There. That wasn’t so hard was it?

January 18th, day 5

I’m really getting into it now. Since I started the challenge I’ve bought three new red lipsticks including the sheer, glossy Covergirl Jumbo Gloss Balm in Scarlet Twist  and painted my nails red to match. At first it felt weird putting red lipstick on every time I walked out of the house. Thankfully there are a lot red lip options out there. Between the sheer reds and glossy reds, thick matte reds and shimmery reds, dark reds, natural reds, and neon bright reds theres a red lipstick out there for every mood and occasion.

January 19th, day 6

Recently I’ve heard so many people say red lipstick shouldn’t be worn by anyone over fill-in-the blank age. I’ve read articles by women who believe men don’t like red lipstick, or that red lipstick makes women look “whorish” or somehow inappropriate. What gives? Red is a great color. It’s classic and sophisticated. Don’t believe me? I made a Pinboard full of images to prove my point.

Ok. I know most of the images are of fair-skinned women. And it is easy for me to wear red because of my skin tone. But there’s a flattering red out there for everyone! Check out this article for some great tips.

January 27th, day 16

Red makes me feel fierce and, yes indeed, brave!

January 28th, day 15

After two weeks of wearing red lipstick every day it’s starting to feel completely normal. I thought by now I’d be bored, but I’ve only been tempted by neutral or nude colors a couple of times. This week’s favorite is Revlon’s Matte Lipstick in Really Red. It’s sophisticated, bold and classic.

February 5th, day 23

I have totally forgotten about wearing lipstick of any kind at all the last couple days. Keeping a challenge going is hard! Taking a photo every day is pretty impossible too, especially because my phone is old so it’s hard to take a flattering lipstick shot.

February 12th, day 35

The challenge is almost over. I have gotten so used to wearing red lipstick that the colors that used to seem like “too much” for day, Nars’ gorgeously dark Cruella and Maybelline’s glamorous Red Revival now feel totally normal for an afternoon running errands. If I got a nickel every time someone said “Oh you look so glamorous!” I could probably buy a Venti Latte at Starbucks with the change.

Red lipstick in a circle

Crossing the Finish Line

The challenge is over and I can go back to wearing whatever lipstick color I want, but I won’t be removing any tubes of red from my makeup bag anytime soon. Wearing the color every day has made me feel a little bolder. I know I can do it and no one will freak out. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the uniformly positive reaction from friends and strangers alike. I no longer wear red just on special occasions, which is good, because wearing a glamorous red lipstick makes everyday tasks feel a bit more special.

What do you think of red lipstick? Would you take part in a red lipstick challenge?

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18 Responses to The Red Lipstick Challenge

  1. Courtney February 13, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    So excited to see you doing this! I’m glad you went through with it! It’s so inspiration to see the journey you went through–I had such a great time reading this post.

    My little sister got me Cruela for Christmas, and I’ve worn it only once. Makes me want to pull it back out ASAP!

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Cruela is a GREAT color. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else, and I’ve looked. It’s very dramatic. You have to get used to it. Thanks so much for the inspiration Courtney. This is my first “challenge” and I really enjoyed it.

    February 13, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    This is a great challenge, and I love red lipstick, though it has taken me a number of years to finally get to that point. That said, I can’t wear ANY one color for 30 days straight. Lipstick is the one cosmetic I use daily as an accessory, so I do change according to my clothing and mood.

    My absolute favorite red lippie is Cherry Lush by Tom Ford. It is the best, in every possible way. Worth the money…it stays on forever, never flakes, and is the most beautiful bright red.

    As for women of a certain age not wearing red lippie, oh hell no! Now there is this disgusting berry brown shade I see a lot of older women wear that does nothing for them…that’s the one they should avoid. But red? At least it would brighten them up instead of making them look like the walking dead, like that ugly brown lipstick does!
    GRIT & GLAMOUR recently posted..WVE: What V Eats (Feel Fit February)My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      OH, I think I know that brown-berry color you’re talking about. I’ve seen it too, and yes, yuck. I won’t be going there.
      I am going to have to check out Tom Ford’s lipsticks in person. I’m not sure how. They aren’t at my local Nordstroms, but if I ever venture into Beverly Hills I’m sure he’s sold there.

  3. Alexis Grace February 13, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    What a fun challenge. I have to be honest- I don’t own enough reds that I am fond of to want to do this challenge…. but now I am on a mission to find ones I really do like!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Jill Stuart Fall 2013 CollectionMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Keep looking! let me know if you find a red you love.

  4. Ariane February 13, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    You may remember that all throughout my 20s and for much of my 30s I wore only red lipstick and every single day….. no matter the time of day. It was totally natural to me. It’s only been the last couple of years that I’ve ventured out into more neutral tones. When I was wearing red lipstick it never occurred to me that it wasn’t a totally normal thing to do. I love it and it looks great on you too!

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      I do! I do! I think we both did. I was obsessed with an orange-red shimmer color by Lancome called Flame. I wore it constantly when we were in France when we were 15. Remember? Gosh it seems like last week. Sigh. Anyway, I think red looks great on you. Keep wearing it!

  5. anne the SpyGirl
    February 13, 2013 at 11:48 am #

    I LOVE THIS! Were you wearing red last Saturday? If yes, I didn’t even notice!
    Just in time for my new Red Lips obsession!!!!
    anne the SpyGirl recently posted..Mimic Moment — Texture StoryMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Yes, but I think it had kind of worn off by the time I got to class. I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday. Will you be wearing your new red lipstick?

    February 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    I love this concept and the challenge for yourself to wear red lipstick daily. I wear many pinks and reds, I like so many shades so this would be difficult for me to only wear one shade everday. :). I definitely believe in colour on the lips! xo
    FASHION TALES recently posted..Changing PatternsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      You look great in all your photos and I have noticed that you like bright lipsticks. I think they’re great too.

    February 14, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    Congrats on completing this! It’s such a cool challenge! I never would’ve thought of it myself. It’s creative for sure. I think I’d love to try it but I’m in the midst of a few challenges/goals myself right now haha.

    When I do wear lipstick, I normally wear red. I think it looks best with my skin tone and hair color.

    You do look glamorous, indeed, but not over-the-top whatsoever. I’m glad you received positive feedback, but of course, it’s what you think (and not what others think) that counts. Sounds like you had a fun experience overall!

    And yes, everyday challenges like this are hard — I’m having my own struggles!
    THE-LOUDMOUTH recently posted..Life :: 40 Days of Fitness (Starting Now)My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      The red lipstick challenge was just a little challenge and it was still hard. I pretty much gave up trying to take a daily photo after a couple weeks. Part of this was just me though. I had a hard time getting my phone to take a photo at all, kept missing the stupid button, and then getting a flattering photo would take another ten minutes of trying. Most days I just didn’t have the time. Getting the red on my lips wasn’t as hard, but still there were plenty of mornings when I just forgot entirely. I usually got it on in the afternoon though.

      Good luck with your own challenges! I look forward to reading about them. I seem to remember you were doing a daily photo challenge as well right?

  8. Jeannie
    February 14, 2013 at 6:59 am #

    I wish I were brave enough to wear red. I don’t wear anything other than chapstick on most days. I have a few darker colors that were gifted to me but as soon as I put it on, it looks so strange, I have to take it off. 🙁
    You DO look fabulous in red!
    Jeannie recently posted..LayeringMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:37 am #

      Thanks Jeannie! I think it’s one of those things that you just get used to. If you did it every day for a few days it wouldn’t seem so strange. I know when I first started it was really weird looking at my face at 7 am with bright red lips! But after a couple weeks it felt normal.

  9. Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud
    February 14, 2013 at 9:03 am #

    How gorgeous your red mouth is- I loved Courtney’s challenge and her personal revelations. I’ve been wearing red lipstick since I read that stupid survey- and have now added an orange red called Volcano and a candy pink called Crush to my repertoire . Like V, I love a mouth slathered in big bold red but don’t want to wear the same shade every day- variety is the spice as they say!
    Bella Q, The Citizen Rosebud recently posted..Street Feet: Leaping LeopardMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 14, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      One of the things I found interesting about the challenge is that I didn’t get bored of red. I really thought I would! But I found that there’s enough variety within the red colors I owned that I was kept happy. But I’m glad you’re wearing bright lipstick too. I think it’s a trend!