On the day before August 1st, I got this random idea to do 30 Days of Lipstick. I thought that I definitely had enough lipsticks to do it and I’d never done any kind of picture project. So I decided, with an odd sense of conviction, to start immediately. Tomorrow is perfect, I thought. It’s August 1st. The first couple days felt kind of awkward. I’m not generally a duck face kind of girl, but it does make your lips look super full. You’re also able to really see the shade of each product, as well as it’s application.
I realized that I had a lot of product. You ladies know how totally addictive buying lipsticks can be. It’s as easy as stumbling upon something you just have to have because: it replaces a product you love that is running low or it’s new and exciting. Sometimes, that exciting shade you bought might not work at the office or you have to mix it with other liners and such, which you decide is way too much work to do in the morning. Then it gets lost in the void drawer, full of a million shades and flavors of half used pinky nudish sparkly lip glosses and lip balms. (Please tell me I’m not the only one) And you just have to have them all because you never know when that exact shade will match another lipstick or perfectly compliment an outfit. Keeping them all, however, means that you’ve successfully justified makeup hoarding, which is never good. This project allowed me to re-examine all these products. A good handful of products made it into the garbage. I realized that I don’t need 6 pink glosses, instead keeping my top 3. A lot of lipsticks that were used once or twice got moved into my work kit. I found a lot of those colors worked way better on my clients anyway. My work kit now has 7 new products that I have pressed into a MAC palette for easy access and organization. I thought about melting them, but didn’t want to risk burning them…or myself for that matter.
This project had some unexpected results as well. I totally expected to get rid of a lot of product. I also expected that I would re-discover a lot of shades. It did so much more than that. I looked at somewhere in the neighborhood of about 120 lip products, between my personal and professional kits. I had no plan. It was just whatever looked good for the day. There were hits and misses. I began to notice that some of the products I never really wore were outside of my comfort zone. They were products that I assigned a set of rules to, for some reason. “I could only wear this to a night wedding” or “this would be perfect for if we go dancing.” Or I’d say something like: “There’s no way I could ever pull this off in regular life.” What exactly does that even mean? My life doesn’t really venture too far outside of “regular.” I have yet to decide to go to a random goth club in the middle of the week, just so I could break out my moody Black Dahlia OCC Lip Tar. It just doesn’t happen. My life is pretty regular…and that’s ok. As I began to look at these products, I started to think back at the reasoning behind my purchases. I once has this wild sense of adventure that prompted me to buy a hot pink lip to match my hot pink vinyl pumps (YES!!). I once felt mysterious and bought the darkest plum lip I could find. I figured why not tap into that, who cares if it’s not exactly “safe.” As long as I felt good then, who really cares? It’s makeup. It’s not that serious.
(Clockwise from top left) So there I was breaking out my “night wedding lips” on a Wednesday afternoon (Lime Crime Velvetine in Wicked). I re-discovered my love for the 1990’s, with the help of my car’s Satellite Radio and MAC Taupe lipstick. I tried out an orange lip, just for fun (MAC So Chaud). And I finally figured out how to get that perfect application on the OCC Lip Tars (NSFW).
I learned to not be afraid. My job as a TV makeup artist was made me subconsciously focus on the message that my makeup was sending. It’s important for my clients, sure. But that kind of limited thinking was dulling me. It was making me afraid to stand out and be seen. I’m not a subtle person. I’m loud and opinionated. Why shouldn’t my every day “regular” life look convey who I am? Why was I so afraid for people to see ME?
It made me start to think about social media and how people practically live online nowadays. Most of you can think of one person that you know way too much about, based solely on the fact that you are friends on Facebook. I am very careful about what I share and how much I want people to know. I get told all the time that I should make video tutorials and advertise myself online a lot more. But I don’t because I’m afraid of rejection, criticism, feeling inadequate…the list goes on. There are probably like a million working makeup artists on Instagram, including myself. The main difference between mine and theirs, is that my profile was private. Why? I don’t post anything, but makeup, food, fun times and dog photos anyway. I don’t live my entire life on IG, so why was I so afraid to be seen? My work is seen by millions of viewers world wide everyday. I don’t generally care what people think of me on a daily basis, so why was I afraid of people I have never met sitting behind a keyboard? I let my fear take away from the fact that I love sharing makeup tips and products with people! This project not only reinvigorated my love for lipsticks, but it also reminded me how much I love sharing my passion. I never felt that I was cut out for a behind the scenes kind of life and after 6 years of doing exactly that professionally, I feel that I need to share my passion and utilize every avenue I can to do so. As a result of the last 30 days, I have restarted some old projects, retooled my online portfolio, and am currently mapping out other ways to share my knowledge and expertise. I realized that at the end of the day, it isn’t about me, it’s about my passion and the possible contribution or difference I can make in someone’s day. Even if it’s just one person buying a tube of lipstick that makes them feel like they can conquer the world.
These 30 Days of Lipstick also helped to shift my focus. It gave me a task to do every day. One that allowed me to be free and creative. Life is hard and everyone has a struggle, no matter how big or small. For the vast majority of us, life didn’t turn out exactly the way we planned. We’re way more stressed than we should be, often times we’re being counted on by too many people, and there is never enough time or money. Then there is the ultimate mindf*ck of the “supposed to’s” and the notion that the life you’re leading isn’t valuable if you haven’t hit certain milestones by a certain age. “You’re X years old, you’re supposed to be…” There’s the idea that if you are leading any other type of life than what is expected, that you’ve failed. The struggle is very real and everyone has one. Nobody’s life is perfect. In the grand scheme of life, your struggle might seem small, but in your life, the pressures can be all consuming. When I started this project, I began to feel overwhelmed by stress. Then, this completely random idea of 30 Days of Lipstick popped into my head and I dove into it. At first, it was merely a welcome distraction. Then, it became a way for me to get in touch with myself and how I was feeling every day. I saw how the simple act of picking a lipstick, then wearing and sharing the product could change my entire outlook. I stopped seeing the negative: the fear, the stress. I focused, instead, on sticking to a goal and making these 30 days something I could be proud of. I realized that it’s not about the struggle, because there will always be one. Instead, it’s about your attitude how you choose to handle your situation. Find a way to shift your focus and your thinking. Re-prioritize. Let go of the stress. Let go of the toxic thoughts, feelings and people. Be honest with yourself and others. Pay it forward, volunteer your time and energy to the less fortunate. Most importantly, find a way to make yourself happy; do it tomorrow, or better yet, do it immediately. Be positive, treat yourself, splurge a little, enjoy alone time or loud rowdy times with friends and family, have a drink or a piece of chocolate, spend time in reflection and in the arms of those you love. It will get better, if you open your heart and mind up to all possibilities. If you feel good, you will look good, so grab that lipstick and fight another day!
Thank you all so much for putting up with 30 Days of duck lips on your Newsfeeds. Thank you for allowing me to share my love of makeup with you.
For a complete look at all 30 Days of Lipstick, please check out my album on my Facebook Page:
Stay fabulous Beauties and Studs!