lip service

abbey crain

Most people say my voice does not lend itself to my southern roots. My “Alabama” only comes out after drink number two or after talking to my parents on the phone. But I like to think I carry my roots with me in other ways, only sometimes is it visible. I always say “thank you” and “yes sir” to cab drivers. I never turn down a Coors Light. And I (almost) always wear lipstick. My bright red makes me feel powerful at work; my dark burgundy sexy on a night out; and my orangey-red untouchable, even in jeans and a T-shirt.

I believe my association of power and confidence with lipstick comes from watching powerful women in my life look closely at themselves in the mirror while they apply their favorite color, stand back, and admire their work. With that swathe of pigment, their coat of arms, they can conquer their day, their date, or whatever comes their way. Watching that intimate moment is seeing a woman love herself, wholly satisfied.

My earliest lipstick memory is watching my mom swipe on a pink-ish brown tube of Clinique lipstick in her bathroom. While she dabbed foundation across the planes of her face, I would dot lotion mimicking her design. She’d then add a touch of color from the iconic green tube to my exaggerated pout. It made me feel untouchable, giddy with confidence. I also remember playing with a bright pink chewed-up nubbin of  Lancome lipstick at my grandmother’s house. She reserved the freebie just for us in the “play” makeup drawer. It would end up streaked across my forehead, splotching across the bathroom towels and tissue boxes. I remember looking at my work and feeling beautiful, like a movie star.

Today my roots showed up in a burgundy lip so blood red it would scare away menopause. I suppose I've got my Mama to thank for it.


Today my favorites wax and wane, but a deep red always seems to compliment my skin. Here’s a few products in constant rotation.

Dark Red-Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Crimson Crush (because duh)

Nude-Too-Faced Melte Matte in Sell Out

Medium Red-MAC Chili

Orange Red- MAC So Chaud