By Alexa Day
Midnight Stroll. Revolution. Rise and Shine. Mistress. Scott.
They’re all names of lipsticks and lip glosses. Even Scott, who’s a nude from the e.l.f. Ex-tra Lip Gloss line.
I’ll be getting better acquainted with all of them and more in the next few weeks for #NoBareLips30. For the next 30 days, I’ll be taking to Facebook with photos of my mouth in various lip colors to celebrate my personal concept of beauty, to inspire other women to expand their beauty horizons, and to honor the memory of Karyn Washington.
In the face of critics who complained that dark-skinned black women shouldn’t wear red lipstick, Karyn started the #DarkSkinRedLip Project. She asked women of color to send pictures of themselves proudly wearing red lip color. Her goal was to inspire women of color to rock their own beauty choices, without fear of criticism and without bowing to stereotypes.
Blogger Keiko Kaveri also embraced the cause with #NoBareLips30, encouraging women of color to take on their stash of lipsticks and lip stains and lip glosses and spend a month experimenting with them. The idea is to restore the sense of fun and possibility to something as simple as lipstick. For the next 30 days, lipstick won’t just be for dates or special occasions. Purple will be a viable option. That scandalous red color, previously earmarked for late-night assignations and underground parties, might make an appearance on a weekday.
Maybe we’ll discover something new. Maybe we’ll decide never to wear the purple again. Maybe nothing different will happen. But we’ll play and experiment for 30 days, and then we’ll know for sure.
Karyn’s work was geared toward women of color, but I think women of every color sometimes allow vocal, misinformed criticism to dictate their beauty choices. Even the most confident women sometimes look in the mirror and wonder if they can actually pull off that one daring look. This project encourages us to try, and it encourages us to encourage others by doing so.
I also want to briefly address the notion that it is somehow unfeminist to get this wrapped up in makeup. My particular brand of feminism is about choice. At the very least, it’s about your choice to do what you want with your appearance. It means we can choose the plain lip gloss or a subtle pink or something like Mistress, but as feminists, I think we must choose that for ourselves. I think that allowing other people — even other feminists — to make that decision for you is as unfeminist as making that decision for other people.
#NoBareLips30 starts tomorrow, on April 28, so there’s still time for you to join up. You’ll need to gather up your lipsticks and glosses, and the goal is to have at least a red color, a pink, a nude, and a fun color. If you’re feeling unsettled about wearing one of those colors, this is your chance to go for it! You won’t know until you try.
There’s a schedule you can choose to follow if you’d like. There are participation guidelines you can choose to follow if you’d like. And if you’d like, you can see all the fun on social media under the hashtag #NoBareLips30. Check out Keiko’s post for all the details.
Pucker up, buttercup! And follow Lady Smut. We’ll never give you the kiss-off.