“Does This Make Me Look Functional?” An At-Home Lipstick Challenge

At-Home Lipstick Challenge

Once upon a time, three million years ago (actually six), I tried to wear a different lipstick every weekday for a month. While working from home, popular wisdom tells us it can be helpful to maintain our normal routines, including grooming and getting dressed each day. And so, while I may have given up on real pants, I haven’t given up on lipstick…

Time spent at home is a good excuse to experiment with different looks, whether it’s trying a bold lipstick, finally learning how to apply eyeliner, or taking the time to master how to style your hair. I’ve even been considering a bold, impermanent hair color. Because why not?

To that end, here are five lipsticks I’ve worn while trying to be a person and failing working from home this past week. (Please forgive the at-home photography. I did my best!)

Lipstick Challenge

Day One: Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red
My first choice is this vibrant, classic red, which looks like it belongs on the mouth of a person who means business. (I don’t particularly mean business today, but I still have to do business, and I’m hoping it will help me get the job done.) “Wow! Why do you look so great?” asks someone on a video call, before adding, “I haven’t changed out of these sweats in, like, a week.” I laugh and admit that if it’s any consolation, I am definitely wearing yoga pants outside the frame.

Lipstick Challenge

Day Two: Kosås Weightless Lip Color in Rosewater
After yesterday’s statement-making color, I reach for something softer. The name, rosewater, sounds like everything I want right now — cleansing, soothing, refreshing. That may be a tall order from a lipstick, but if any would be up to the task, it would be this blush pink nude. The color is very much your-lips-but-better. I keep it on all day and into the night, through many rounds of Nerts and multiple episodes of Succession.

Lipstick Challenge

Day Three: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Bond Girl
At this point, I am basically a gremlin that shuffles back and forth between the kitchen and the table, typing sentences and eating snacks. Thus, I choose Bond Girl, which stands hilariously at odds with how I feel. Worn full force, this color is a deep and dramatic berry. But I prefer it blotted on with my finger, where it takes on a pinkish-tawny hue that’s somewhere between a faun and a flower (sounds weird, but trust me on this).

Lipstick Challenge

Day Four: ILIA Color Block Lipstick in Tango
Today, I reach for the deep red Tango, hoping it may inspire a living room dance party. I don’t know if it’s the lipstick or listening to Brené Brown’s new podcast that does it, but I head out for a long, end-of-day walk, where I take in the shapes of the trees and the magnolias blooming on my block. For the first time in a very long time, I feel at peace.

An At-Home Lipstick Challenge

Day Five: MAC Matte Lipstick in All Fired Up
I choose this for two reasons: the color, which is a punchy, almost neon pink-red, and because “all fired up” is how I feel whenever I encounter the news. It does not make me more or less fired up, but it does make me feel strangely empowered on a terrifying conference call. (The other participants cannot see me, but it matters not.) As soon as the call is over, though, I wipe it off. This experiment has been fun, but as the night stretches ahead, I’m just as happy to lean in to being comfy for a while, in all my clean-faced, sweatpants-wearing glory.

At-Home Lipstick Challenge

Toni Morrison once wrote, “A dream is just a nightmare with lipstick.” Following this logic, if you add lipstick to a nightmare, does it become a dream? The answer is no. No, it does not. But it does make for a relatively light-hearted post, that I hope may entertain you during this bizarre time.

By Caroline Donofrio

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