An Ode to Ruby Lips

I’m a shameless lipstick junkie.

Pink, red, coral, burgundy, nude. Mostly mattes, sometimes with the barest hint of shine.

Last winter, my lip look was a deep, bold red. It maybe wasn’t my best look ever (berry hues suit my skin a little better) but it certainly wasn’t my worst by any means. My worst look will forever be ensconced atop the garbage fire that was my 2010 fashion sense: blond streaks and clear lip gloss. While it doesn’t sound too bad, imagine it on a black-haired, bushy-browed Indian chick…

… there ya go. And no, I’m not posting a pic of that mess.

But back to the subject at hand, a dark lip tends to age me a bit. I find it does the same for most people. Nonetheless, it inevitably adds a hint of sultry that cannot be matched.

The incomparable Priyanka Chopra. Image source:

My red lipstick affair took a brief nosedive last winter when a friend of mine — let’s call him Angus — peered at me one day and commented,

‘’When someone wears bright makeup, I can only assume she’s trying to hide who she really is.’’


This statement shouldn’t have surprised me — seeing that Angus detests all things that are not 110% natural — but, also, his statement echoed an antiquated, judgy stereotype that I’ve heard before and that refuses to die.

Nevertheless, his comment stung. First, because I expect better from my peers but also because despite all my bravado, it made me doubt myself a little.

It had been a particularly craptacular day, starting with a missed morning alarm, so I couldn’t help but wonder if he was right. Maybe I did want to hide behind a veil of colour. I fell into a semi-deep introspection for a few days but in the end, I’m glad for it.

Here’s the thing, folks (especially you, Angus). Sometimes, it’s true. That bright colour is meant to camouflage. Sometimes. So keep reading.

Some days, I don’t have time to fuss over my hair or apply perfect eyeliner. On those days, I’ll slap on a bright red lip to distract you all from the unsightly mop on my head.

Later that day, I’ll glance at the mirror and grin to myself (not in a Joker way, promise) because my lips are looking plump and sexy AF. So not only is it distracting everyone else, it’s making ME happy. I’m pleased with my look and not bent out of shape that my side bangs are doing that weird curl thing.

Meanwhile there are other days when it’s the polar opposite. I’ll wake up on the right side of the bed (on time). I’ll dress myself in a bombass outfit that looks as though it were made for me. And just before I head out the door, I’ll glide on one of the following:

MAC Russian Red: It’s matte yet slightly creamy and hugs my lips like a red-velour wrap.

ColorPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble: It’s more of a deep marsala on me than a red, but it’s dark and will devastate you with its rich hue.

L’Oreal Infallible Pro-matte Lip Gloss in Rebel Rose: A bit more on the deep pink side but bright as anything, this velvety matte feels light, never heavy and lasts and lasts.

Lipstick Queen Cupid’s Bow in Ovid: Described as a “deep and passionate rouge” by the company itself, it’s a bit warmer than most reds I find and it suits my skin tone to perfection.

E.L.F. Studio Matte Lip Color in Wine: A versatile little gem that’s buildable so you can deepen the colour to your liking while long lasting and precise as well.

There are more. I won’t lie. Am I a bonafide lipstick junkie? Without a doubt. But these are the ones I reach for often when I want me a nice bold lip. Why? Because I like it.

I adore how they feel when they glide on.

I enjoy the feeling I get when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window reflection near the office coat-rack.

I just love that they highlight what I perceive to be my best feature. This is not a brag. Everyone’s got a best feature. Some have gorgeous eyes, others have cut-glass cheekbones (I hate you all), and then there are some with a well-defined pout.

What I’m trying to say in my own convoluted way is that I’ve noticed that as often as I’ll wear a red lip to hide something, I will also wear it to echo my inner joy. It would be a career accomplishment, a workout goal achieved or even after spending a romantic weekend with my SO.

These things make me feel dynamic and alive. I’m not a smiley person by nature. I’m renowned for an incomparable RBF (see my Twitter pic here). Bright lips help a ton.

Therefore that tube of red pigment becomes the perfect tool for when I want the world to know that I currently rock!

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