I went 5 days without lipstick and here's what happened
By Nicci Groenmeyer
I like to punctuate my looks with a splash of colour. Usually something bold, something that makes me feel confident, sexy, powerful, and it can usually be found on my mouth. I like to say "hello world" before I even utter a word.
I am rarely if ever seen without lipstick on. It has kinda become my signature, what I'm known for. I have mastered the art of drinking from a bottle, glass or mug without my bottom lip actually touching so my lipstick is never smudged or transferred. I don't leave stray marks on my clothing and I am 99% sure I could apply it perfectly without looking into a reflective surface.
I lug around my make-up bag – which contains every lip product I own – because I just never know what mood I'm going to be in each day. Would I feel sassy, ready with a comeback at any moment? Then a satin-finish, cool berry hue was my colour for the day. Did I have a presentation where I needed to feel like a powerful boss bitch? Yes, a bold red lip was coming out to play. Did I have a brunch date with my friends and wanted to feel cute and feminine? Then I was going to be pretty pink.
So when I volunteered to go a week without wearing any lipstick for the sake of science, as I told myself, I was pretty sure everyone would ask me if I was ill.
When you can't wear your confidence-boosting red lipstick, wear thigh-highs and OTT earrings instead. In an attempt to draw attention away for the lack of colour on my face – and still feel confident – I wore other attention-grabbing pieces. I had a bit of a phantom-lipstick moment: there was a casting held right next to my desk and I quickly grabbed my mirror to check my lippie to ensure everything was still in place. Of course, it wasn't…
I woke up with the biggest stye I've ever had on my eyelid. Can you believe!? Not only am I bare-lipped, now I can't even wear eye make-up. Not to be dramatic, but what did I do to deserve this. What's a girl to do but wear something that takes the attention away from the offending areas. Enter, what I like to think are Versace-inspired earrings. Large, three-tiered and topped off with a faux pearl. Violà!
Yup, my stye is still here, large and in charge! Another day without any eye make-up for me. I feel bland, like a blank canvas. The solution? Highlighter, and lots of it! I've also gotten into a super creepy new habit of staring at bold, beautiful, lipstick-coloured mouths. Friends, colleagues, strangers, no one is off limits. In addition to my in-your-face earrings, I'm wearing bright turquoise pumps in the hopes that they'll steal attention.
I know, I know, it's only lipstick, but I am going through withdrawal. Tbqfh, looking in the mirror is becoming difficult. I don't like the dull, boring, colourless person staring back at me. I find myself wanting to shout; "I'm not boring, I promise! I'm just doing an experiment." On the plus side, I am totally into the bursts of colour that I have been incorporating more and more into my outfits. Today, I am wearing bright pink block-heels. Overcompensating much? Probably.
Today is a good day! My stye is finally 100% gone, it's Friday and it's the last day of this experiment! To mark this momentous occasion, I've done full eye make-up, I've added even more highlighter than I've been wearing all week, opted to wear a purple, floral dress and thigh-high boots.
For the sake of honesty: I had a birthday dinner to attend and slathered on lipstick as soon as I got home, but what did I learn from my workweek sans lipstick? Well I thoroughly enjoyed not having to worry about what I ate or the way I ate it. That was definitely the biggest (and only) pro for me. Otherwise I did not enjoy this experiment and by the end of the week I was avoiding reflective surfaces altogether. I found it truly spectacular that the lack of colour on my lips made me feel like part of my identity was missing. My confidence dropped and I found myself overcompensating with bigger earrings, brighter shoes and applying more make-up when possible.