May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday: My Fear of Bold Lipstick

Remember when I told you about my favorite lipstick and how I used to hate the product? You remember... I told you the short version of the story earlier this year.  Well, I started thinking more about the experience and how it opened me up to a new world. I thought it might be good to share with you and give you a little bit of background. 

For years, I was ashamed of my lips. I didn't like how big they were and how they (in my eyes) were so prominent on my face with next to no shape. I was actually quite jealous of my little sister who has thin, pouty lips. She could wear all the shiny, sparkly glosses without looking like she just sucked down a glazed ham. I, on the other hand, looked like I just decided to dive in head first and and forgot a napkin. Subsequently, I avoided everything that was too bright or too shiny. I pretty much stuck to Dr. Pepper flavored chap stick to keep the attention people paid to a minimum.

In 2006, I jumped on board with Avon's teen/tween brand mark. It was full of trendy makeup products and really cute fashion accessories. I was just getting into makeup and it seemed like a fun way to experiment and maybe even make some money. I made no money, but I got lots of great products at a discount to start my new beauty addiction. I had no true understanding of color theory so I was really just spending money on whatever I thought looked pretty in the magalog (magazine + catalog) so I could get it and see if it looked good on me. At the time, there were not very many girls of color featured in the advertisements, so I had no other reference point. It wasn't until years later that I really stepped out of my box.

There's always been this stigma in the African American community about red lipstick, which I carried on to mean all bright lip colors. It was "too grown" or our lips were "too big," or red just "didn't suit brown girls." So, fast forward to 2010, when I got this lip marker from mark by mistake in an order. I tried it out and didn't know how to feel. All  this anguish because of the previous experiences I had. The Bobbi Brown counter experience was still pretty fresh for me (even years later,)  so I was especially confused. I posted this picture on my Facebook, my very first makeup photo.  My mother comments "WOW!"

Wow? What did that mean? 
Is it too bright?
Does it look terrible?
Do I look old?
What's wrong with it?

It was none of those things and other people went on to like the photo. I was just letting my own thoughts get in the way. I let my insecurities stop me from seeing all the positive things about my photo. As soon as someone commented, I went straight to the negative. I was concerned that it wasn't my shade, but it suited me just fine. I also couldn't see how it brightened my complexion or made me look just a bit more put together. I took me a long time to realize that I had been born with lips that people pay good money for from a doctor and I should love them.

These days, you almost never see me without a bright, bold lip color. I love them that much. If you're following me on Instagram, you've seen the proof. More importantly, I learned the that the  important thing is to love yourself. Appreciate those "flaws" because somebody else is probably wishing they had them. Don't let anyone stop you-- don't stop yourself-- from seeing the beauty of color. There are no limits other than the ones you impose. I love my lips so much that they were recently some shade of green that I concocted.

The point is: Do You. Always do you. Makeup is about creativity and limited thinking just cancels everything out. There are only certain things you can accomplish in a box, so love yourself enough to step out of it every once in a while. You'll be happy you did. And if you try something and hate it? Wipe it off and start over. At least you'll never wonder "what if..."

Do you have a beauty fear? Tell me about it in the comments? We can work through it together.

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