I have a couple of theories that I hold in my back pocket. One of them is about lipstick. Now, if you know me, you know that I am not a fussy girl. I don’t wear a lot of makeup (I don’t actually know how. Help!) nor am I usually that fashionable (but I do try!) but lipstick is something that I strongly stand by. I didn’t used to always feel this way or wear it. In fact, the idea of it terrified me but these days I have a pretty strong theory about lipstick.
A number of years ago, I used to photograph a lot for a Beauty & Fashion magazine. At the time, they had an incredible Beauty Editor who I worked closely with. One day while on set, she asked me why I didn’t wear lipstick. She went on to tell me that someone like me with dark hair and eyes should really rock a classic red. The thought of that scared me. She gifted me with some lipstick, gave me some tips on how to wear it and sent me on my way. I felt nervous and started out slowly, as she suggested. At first I would put it on at home and wear it around the house (I lived alone at the time). I would occasionally catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and be a bit shocked but soon enough, I felt comfortable with what I saw. From there, I began wearing it outside the safety of my home. I was surprised by how confident it made me feel. Was I actually taller? Even when I was wearing a toque and dirty snow boots, if I had my lipstick on, I felt as though I could climb any mountain. Taking the streetcar, I would observe others in transit. On their way to work or to meetings or lunch dates. I would see these woman, ones that I perceived as strong, all adorned with their lipstick. Sometimes it was a vibrant shade. Other times, it was slightly brighter than their natural lip colour. Regardless of the hue, they oozed a confidence, a strength that I wanted.
So I started getting into the lipstick world. I liked what I saw in others wearing it and I wanted that for me. These days, I stick to two different colours. A true matte red that can be purchased at any ol’ drugstore. One that I know will stick throughout the evening so reapplying isn’t necessary (I’m a good, practical Virgo after all!). My other is on by Bite Beauty that I got custom-made just for me. If you are unfamiliar with Bite here are two things that you should know: 1) it was started by a Canadian and 2) their products are vegan and, in fact, you could even eat them if you really wanted to. I first discovered that you could create your own Bite lipstick when I was in New York City a couple of years ago. As I walked into the lab, Jessica Alba walked out and I knew that I was in a good place. When I sat down with the woman who was working, she asked me my name to which I replied “It must be Jessica day!” (#nerd) I told her I wanted a pink. Something that was pretty with enough colour to stand out but not too much so that I could put it on without a mirror. Together we created my hue and since then, it’s my go-to colour. (And happily, Bite just opened up a Lip Bar here in Toronto so getting your own custom lipstick is now even easier. I just go in with my card that contains my lip recipe and come back later to pick up my new tube.)
Today I wear lipstick all of the time. I wear it on good days. But I mostly wear it on bad ones. One those bad days, I put it on and it picks me up. It becomes a sort of amour. Protecting me from the world and giving confidence that I need to then conquer anything. I wear it on days when I am at home, when know that I need to accomplish a particularly tough task. It encourages me to be more serious. About my work and about myself. It may seem silly. I mean, it’s just lipstick and any ol’ brand of it will do. But it works, it really works. With lipstick on, anything seems possible.
(And my other life theory is this: spend some time with anyone while you are both in a bathing suit and you will forever be friends. Wearing the smallest amount of clothing that society deems is allowed somehow makes us closer and we bond. I have photographed enough destination weddings where I spend a week hanging in bathing suits with my clients and their families to prove this theory to be true!)