Sometimes – very occasionally – I feel sorry for men. Because the negative impact of rigid gender roles on society hurts them as much as it hurts women. Being manly men who sweat and work hard and never cry is a restrictive way to live, void of non-violent self-expression when it is needed most and instead requiring a robotic level of emotional control.
Personally, when I want to own a space, ace a meeting or empower myself to succeed despite having a chronic case of ‘impostor syndrome’, I can costume myself out of it. Power dressing is one way to do this. If I need to smash a speech Michelle Obama-style, I’ll take on that role by dressing the part and embodying it like a method actor. Even easier than wearing a suit? I employ my ultimate power move – a bold red lipstick.
To me, wearing make-up has nothing to do with feeling more desirable, though I am under no illusion as to the sexism that underpins the marketing campaigns that led to my love of lipstick in the first place. It has everything to do with feeling together, expressing my identity and controlling my own femininity. To me, a red lipstick screams, ‘listen to me!’ It says, ‘I am not afraid to be noticed.’ It shouts, ‘If you kissed me right now you’d end up looking like a psychopathic clown so don’t even try it, mate’. And it works every time.
In light of this, and after years of research, I’ve come up with my Top 5 favourite red lipsticks. So if you need a quick pick-me-up this week, try it and see if it works.
A lipstick with real history, this is a vintage classic and one of my all time favourites. It was originally released by Revlon in 1952 with a matching nail shade and became one of the most successful beauty campaigns of all time. The colour is bright, pillar-box red with a gorgeous sheen to it. It lasts for ages and its creamy texture stops lips from drying out.
I feel like red lipstick wearers fall into two categories when it comes to M.A.C lippy. The Ruby Woo lovers and the Russian Reds. On my fair skin and with my dark hair, I prefer the latter for its blush, slightly redder tones compared to the blueish tint of Ruby Woo. Needs a well-conditioned lip so as not to crease, but it’s pretty hard to beat the staying power of this product.
This deep, dark scarlet is a favourite of mine for a night out or a special occasion. The signature colour of Illamasqua make-up mastermind Alex Box, it’s matte texture and rich pigments adds drama to any look, no matter how underdone. Worth every penny, and from an ethical brand, too.
I was lucky enough to be sent this luxurious product when I worked for Glamour, and I’ve been hooked ever since. There’s nothing like putting on something super fancy when you’re feeling under the weather. This one has a bit of a sheen to it, and a creamy texture.
Topshop make-up rarely fails to impress me. I love these rich, easy-to-apply lip bullets. Precise application, a rich, wine-red hue and a subtle, creamy finish, this is a great value addition to your make-up arsenal.
READ MORE: The Best Hair And Make-Up Glitter To Buy Now
Originally published 27 June 2017