Ella Petrusko (Marilyn) wears Chinti and Parker intarsia hugs and kisses sweater. Photographed by Justin Bridges. Hair and makeup by Ashley Rebecca. Styled by Alyssa Shapiro.
A few weeks ago, two unlikely events coincided in a way that suggests near cinematic serendipity.
I met a boy, who, when I told him what I do for work, made an off-the-cuff remark about my job sounding like something out of a romantic comedy. Little did he (or I for that matter) realize just how much that would please me.
I think, (subconsciously, at least), there’s nothing more exciting to me than to imagine myself a heroine in some sort of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 13 Going on 30, The Devil Wears Prada, that is in fact, just my real life.
Around the same time, our Senior Style Editor, Alyssa, who so gorgeously styled Ella in the above photographs, told me matter-of-factly that “could I please go on some dates, kiss some boys, and report back as to which red lipsticks stayed put.”
You can imagine the look on my mother’s face when I told her about my latest adventure. I was thoroughly entertained by the proposition and then failed to do my job until the day before this piece here was due. Having gone on a number of dates in pink stains or bare-lipped, I’d totally shirked my serious duties.
This negligence resulted in the following text to aforementioned boy: “Hi, so. remember that red lipstick article I was telling you about? What are you doing tonight? It’s due tomorrow….” I can assure you the waiting period on a reply was excruciating.
Special thanks to this anonymous gentleman for being super game. (Although it’d be pretty offensive if he weren’t, right?) As for me, it’s a tough life but…someone’s gotta do it right? 😉
Seeking A True Red
For every five red lipsticks I examined for this story, about two were what one might consider a true red. The other three were disregarded. The following reds are legit, hues that evoke classic screen sirens—the Marilyn Monroes of yesteryear to the Taylor Swifts of today. “Too pink,” or “too orange” or “too wine” or “too berry,” were all eliminated.
I’m going to call my co-tester, A, (for anonymous). We decide to consider a number of factors: how much lipstick is on his face, how much lipstick stays on my lips, and, to a lesser degree smell/taste and other guy-friendly matters.
The best thing lipstick-wearing ladies can do is let our lips dry, refrain from eating, drinking, and talking and let the lipstick set. (Shutting up was a challenge for me). Begin with a primer. I used Make’s as much as I could, to provide a smooth foundation for the lipstick to cover. Even the best options need some drying time before you hop under the mistletoe.
Two other helpful tools:
As many Bite Lush Lip Wipes as you can possibly hoard. I didn’t have nearly enough and my skin was worse for it.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Lip Pencil which basically creates invisible lines to draw within when applying.
1. Estée Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick in Scarlet Siren is a true classic red that made it through a chai latte in the afternoon and a kiss in the evening. That’s not to say there were no traces to be found on A’s lips but my look remained in tact. It’s also less drying than most longwear formulas.
2. Maybelline’s Super Stay 14Hr Lipstick in Ravishing Rouge is a super affordable option with a fruity scent that A appreciates and also stands some tea drinking tests. Another of the less drying formulas. A calls this “sturdy.”
3. MAC’s Matte Ruby Woo is a time-tested, mass-approved favorite. If given time to set, this baby won’t budge. Shopping before the kissing appointment (seriously, though), I notice the cashier’s solidly in-place red lip. Sure enough, it’s Ruby Woo.
4. Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. in Love Bite is a favorite for color. Its old Hollywood-esque packaging is also a draw.
5. Gucci in Iconic Red is an accessory on its own thanks to its sleek black case and internal Gucci-logo detailing. It is actually deserving of it’s name (unlike many so-called reds!)
6. Butter London in Come to Bed Red is a moisturizing, brighter classic red with a matte finish (a plus for longlasting potential).
7. Bite Cashmere Lip Cream in Rioja is a liquid lipstick (so the application experience is different). It’s not guaranteed to leave the lucky recipient of your kiss color free, but it is pigmented enough to keep your lips stained with its gorgeous, deep red color post-kiss.
8. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon is a classic shade, but definitely a darker one. This will set like a stain—a major pro for long-lastingness, but I would use primer so it doesn’t sink into a liner-only look.
9. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in F-Bomb is a moisturizing formula from a brand I’ve always found reliable for professional-level cosmetics. I prefer lipstick with a pointed tip as it’s easier to line the edges of the lips neatly, but this is still a solid pick.
10. Topshop in Hazard is one of a number of solid reds from Topshop. There’s definitely a red for everyone in Topshop’s varied selection of cute black-and-white striped cases.
With special gratitude to the curtained booths at The Breslin–a BlackBook approved location for a makeout sesh.
My Life Lesson/ Non-Beauty Related Takeaway
Here’s the thing about a solid red lip: any partner worth your time is willing to pay the price of some lipstick on their face in the name of a good kiss. When A asks me if I “understand male psychology at all?” the point is made abundantly clear. (Yes, I do understand, thank you!) The making out part overrules anything and everything else. As it should.
P.S. Fellow beauty junkies tweet us @blackbook and let me know your faves.