I started a #silverhairredlips challenge on Instagram recently because I find the color combination of gray hair and red lipstick to be a winning combination.
I mean, LOOK:
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Occasionally, I get called out by fellow silver sisters who feel that wearing lipstick is counter to embracing one’s authentic self.
Well, my authentic self likes makeup and hair products, and all sorts of unnatural things. And when I get questioned about my choices, it bums me out. Why? Because I’m a tired woman.
I’m tired of people making assumptions.
I’m tired of being put into a box. “If you are ______, you must like _______. ” “If you choose ________, then of course you must also choose __________.”
When you’re a woman, other women are often your worst critics.
It feels like we’re always being judged.
- Judged for skirts being too short or too long.
- Judged for being too modest or not modest enough.
- Judged for dyeing your hair or not dyeing your hair.
- Judged for being too thin or too fat.
- Judged for getting married or NOT getting married.
- Judged for taking your husband’s last name or NOT taking his last name.
- Judged for not having kids or for having too many kids.
To me, being a feminist means making the right choices for ME. And the right choice for me might not line up with YOUR values. And sometimes the right choice for ME might not even line up with my OWN values!
Human beings are not perfect. What fun would it be living in a rigid world where everybody got into lockstep with everyone else? I don’t want to live in that world! I like complex people, not automatons.
OK, back to the lipstick:
I’m a lipstick fanatic. I mean, I love ME in lipstick and I love other ladies and their lipstick, too. (I also love ladies who don’t wear lipstick, but this part of the post is about lipstick, so please bear with me ❤️).
My lipstick love affair started when I was a young girl.
I remember getting kisses from grandparents, aunts, and church ladies and ending up with red or coral or pink lip prints on my cheek. I remember it like it was yesterday, getting hugged and kissed by those dear ladies – I can still smell their perfume and their face powder.
Those signals of femininity are meaningful to me – I associate those scents and colors with love.
When I was in junior high, my Mom bought me my first makeup and it was love at first sight! The pleasure of being able to alter your appearance just for fun! Sheer heaven.
I felt sorry for boys that they were denied this pleasure (although it was the 80s, so I guess Adam Ant, Duran Duran, etc. were using it – but not the boys in MY Michigan high school).
In college, I experimented with all sorts of fun lipstick colors.
One day, I was about to walk into my photography class, but I stopped outside the door to fumble for something in my bag. Just as I was about to walk in, I heard my name mentioned, so I stopped to listen.
Two boys were talking about me in the classroom. One guy said, “Who is Katie again?” and the other one said, “You know, the skinny one with the big boobs and the bright lipstick.”
I was mortified, but I have to admit that it was a fairly accurate description of me at the time!
When I had my babies, I stopped wearing lipstick because I wanted to be able to kiss those sweet faces without leaving red or burgundy lip prints all over them.
My kids are teenagers now, and won’t allow me to smother them with kisses anymore, so I started going back to lipstick. I’ve also gotten older, and what little natural color I had in my face is gone.
My lips are practically white. (Who am I kidding, they ARE white!)
The past few years have been difficult. We’ve had to battles serious illnesses, financial difficulties, wildfires, and the relentless, depressing news cycle.
If wearing lipstick makes me feel better, for whatever reason (even if it’s terribly superficial), I’m going for it!
Let’s all give each other that courtesy, online and off. And if someone gets on your case for anything, check out this post.
My blog is a no-judgment zone. If you decide you want to go back to coloring your hair, go for it! Do you hate makeup? That’s your right and more power to you!
Stick to what works for you and I’ll do the same. I pinky promise!
And in the spirit of that promise, please check out the Silver Revolution Facebook group. It’s a gray hair support group for women like us, and it is a no-judgment zone. There is only one rule on that group (unlike many of the more restrictive groups) and that rule is BE KIND. I hope to see you there!
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And P.S., if you do like lipstick ?, check out my favorite: Red Velvet by City Beauty.
And below are some of the red lipsticks featured by our lovely silver sisters of Instagram:
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