The Ritual of Putting On Lipstick

I’ve talked at length about my personal requirements for a perfect red lipstick. It has to be the perfect shade for my pale-but-warm complexion and look true red even on my lips that tend to pull everything into the pink. It has to be the right consistency; it can’t settle into the lines that have become more defined as I stride more definitively into my thirties. It can’t melt off my face. It has to last through a cup of tea, if not a light lunch. It can’t have too strong a scent or taste. It can’t leave me worried about eating a little bit of it.

But I’ve discovered that, by far, the biggest deal breaker is the format of the lipstick. I mean, the color is pretty important, but I’ve found lippies that are the perfect color, but lack the experience that comes from putting on lipstick from a tube. Even my new Besame lipsticks are starting to feel lacking because I dislike the shape of the bullet. It’s not the experience I’ve come to enjoy.

Because there is a ritual for me when I put on my lipstick. I do it in a specific way. I trace out the Cupid’s Bow and perfect the points of my lips before swiping on the rest, filling in my lips and perhaps wiping away the odd overdraw with a clean finger. It’s a fluid motion, or at least a series of fluid motions. I’ve gotten to the point where I wouldn’t mind being filmed applying my lipstick because I feel deft when I do it. It feels womanly to be so comfortable applying bright lipstick. I no longer worry about where it might end up when I apply it.

So this is my ode to the lipstick bullet, with its rounded shape and single, angled tip. Yes, this tip will blunt and change over the lifetime of a tube, but it changes with the idiosyncrasies of the user and reflects the ritual rather than detracting from it. Here’s to the ritual of lipstick.