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The 8 Emotional Stages of Wearing Red Lipstick

The struggles of wearing red lipstick- because you know it's a labor of love.

If a girl ever tells you that she loves wearing red lipstick, you look her right in the eye and tell her you know she's lying. No one loves it. Sure we look amazing in it, there's no dispute about that. It gives you class even if it's a Wednesday; makes you feel special even if you're wearing your most ancient tee. It gives you a sort of "shoot, Carey Grant is about to pick me up for our date and I haven't even finished my sherry" kind of vibe. It works more wonders when you look tired than a bowl-sized cup of coffee, and it adds zing to even the most pared-down of outfits. But even with all of its pros, we all know that it's a friggen trial to keep that pout red the whole day through.

The struggle is real and I know you know it. Below are the eight emotional stages of wearing red lipstick for a day — join me in the hurt that feels so good. 

1. Stage One

You’re standing ready in the bathroom, hands on the sink, eyes locked on the lipstick pencil. You’re ready. You’ve got this. Everyone believes in you. You steal yourself one more moment, breathing in a steadying breath. Alright…let’s do this.

You pick up the pencil and—trying to not let it sense your fear—you begin to draw in your lips. Steady Freddy, keep in the lines. You somehow make it around your whole mouth without one spastic move and nearly—aaand there it goes on your chin. Trying to wipe it off with your thumb, you watch it smear into something akin to Heath Ledger’s Joker.


Just. Perfect.  

2. Stage Two

After another round or two you finally manage to create a textbook Marilyn Monroe red pout. You might have broken out into stress sweats halfway through, but ya did it, bud. Grabbing your keys you’re about to kiss your boyfriend (or cat) goodbye when you both stop short at the same time. Oh. Right.

Can’t do that. Blowing him a lame kiss that he didn’t even bother to catch and put in his pocket, you head out the door.

3. Stage Three

Welp, this sucks. You’re sitting on the bus, scowling at the smears of red on the lip of your coffee cup. If your calculations are right, 80% of your lipstick is now on this Styrofoam cup. Great. So much for the Maybelline commercials where the model finishes a meal and delicately dabs at a white napkin. Next time you want to see one of those suckers finish an Italian Beef and show us what happens. That’s what you call empirical proof.

And on top of that, you had to skip over the chocolate croissant because you couldn’t even wrap your mind around what kind of chaos eating one of those would cause. In a mood because you were denied baked goods, you continue to scowl at the offending coffee cup.

And slowly turn that scowl into a glower.

4. Stage Four

You get to work and as you smile at Janet at reception you instantly tense up, your smile taking on a sudden crazy-eyed vibe. Janet’s not sure how to proceed, and waves back cautiously. The cause for your abrupt alarm?

Well, what if you have red lipstick on your teeth? I mean, it happens. And only a few people are brave enough to look you in the eye and tell you if you do.  So instead you’re just going to walk around all day, looking like you ate a human heart.


You power walk to the desk and avoid all hellos until you know what’s up.

5. Stage Five

It’s time to refresh and you reach into your purse to reapply. That’s when you notice it: Somehow the cap came off and now you have evidence of your red lipstick all up the inside of your purse.  Oh, good. That’s just, mmm, that’s just peachy.

6. Stage Six

You’re now in hour four of work and your next paranoid thought filters through: What if your lipstick wore off and now you just have a strong ring of lip liner? Like you’re Jenny from the Block circa 2004? Plz no.

In a panic you begin to wipe at the top of your lip, now dealing with the issue your fingertips are now red. Instinct is to wipe at your jeans….and now Ruby friggen Woo is all over your pants.

Insert internal scream here.

7.  Stage Seven

Still not sure what the lip liner situation is, you briefly entertain the thought of taking out your compact and touching up a la Lauren Bacall at your desk, like you’re Old Hollywood herself sitting at her vanity. You nearly do it before you feel too vain and get embarrassed and just try to use the reflection from your metal traveler mug instead.

8. Stage Eight

It’s the end of the day and you had it up to here with this emotional roller coaster. You go to the bathroom, completely ready to wipe it off and be done with it when you meet yourself in the mirror. There you are, kinda tired looking, kinda broken spirited…but damn if those red lips don’t make you pop. If you take it off….you kind of look like that plain, dull sister from Jane Austen; the one they’re sure will stay on the compound and take care of momma in her old age.

Changing your mind, you put down the paper towel and smack your lips together with a pop. No one ever said this love affair with red was meant to be easy.