This Shit Ain’t Free: Lip Stains

2011 was the year I finally embraced wearing lipstick. I have what is commonly referred to as a “gigantic mouth” and always thought lip colours would call negative attention to it. Not only that, but my gigantic mouth is paired with huge teeth, which means I’m constantly worried about getting lipstick on said huge teeth. However, 2011 was the year I learned that wearing lipstick makes everyone look better. It seems to work some sort of psychological magic on other people: your skin appears clearer, your eyes seem brighter, and you just generally present the appearance of someone who is very polished and together and not hungover at the WORN office struggling not to barf on Serah-Marie’s laptop. Not that I would know from personal experience.

I still try to save lipstick for special occasions. I like the creamy texture of lipsticks for more civilized activities—drinks with friends, job interviews, that sort of thing. Lip stains are better for everyday wear because they do what the name implies: they stain your lips and then leave the colour there for a long-ass time. If you’re working all day away from a mirror, you can trust a lip stain to stay more or less in place; if you’re at a sweaty dance party, a lip stain won’t bleed all over your chin when you wipe some errant vodka from your face. Again, not that I would know from personal experience.

For this edition of “This Shit Ain’t Free,” I present a round-up of some lip stains currently bouncing around the bottom of my purse.

COVERGIRL OUTLAST LIP STAIN IN SCARLET PUCKER
I either got this lip stain through MAGIC or through STEALING. I was holding it in my hand at Shoppers, and I swear I thought I put it on the counter with my toothpaste and Twizzlers (anti-cavities and pro-sugar, I am nothing if not counterproductive). The next thing I knew I was outside and my receipt didn’t have the lip stain on it! Ah!! So, technically, I did not pay for this shit. But I MEANT to.

Not that I advocate accidental shoplifting, but I have to say, I’m sort of glad I didn’t pay for this. It’s not so great. I really like the colour, but the formula is very drying. I find that the texture just calls attention to how dry my lips get in the winter. Sometimes I layer it underneath the above mentioned creamy lipstick to give the colours more depth. Otherwise I have to pile a bunch of lip balm on top of it (Kiehl’s #1 is the best, don’t even try to fight me on this). It’s definitely not my favorite. I give it 1 smooch out of 4 potential smooches.
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WORN Cinema Society: ‘Do you know where you’re going to?’

The fashion rags-to-riches story is always potent for the celluloid treatment. It’s a Gatsby ‘American Dream’ trajectory that captures the complications our popular culture has with wealth and fame (Biggie said it best: “Mo Money, Mo Problems”).

In 1975, Diana Ross was at her Sasha Fierce zenith: an Oscar nomination for her turn as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings The Blues, the #1 hit “Touch Me In The Morning”, a duets album with Marvin Gaye. She was Motown’s reigning ‘Supreme’ Diva — the original Beyonce template, the “I’m Coming Out” gay icon, a halo of Medusa frizz with yes, that requisite off-kilter misbehavior (there has to be something to off-set the Mackie sequins).

Which is precisely why Mahogany stumbled as a semi-autobiographical rumination on black stardom: Miss Diana was allowed to overact the heightened version of herself. It was the first misstep of a ten-year-old brand: Time Magazine blamed director/Motown honcho Berry Gordy — who took over directing duties after firing British director Tony Richardson for misunderstanding the ‘black experience’ — for “squandering one of America’s most natural resources”. But just like you don’t watch Valley of the Dolls, Mommie Dearest and Showgirls with the oh-so-serious film theory approaches — you gotta delve into Mahogany with the explicit understanding that it’s camp with a fabulous wardrobe that has something rather profound to say about fashion and cultural/racial politics.
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