Rock Your Red

By Mercedes Hackworth

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For most of us, autumn encourages us to make a host of seasonal alterations. We trade our pastels for warmer, darker hues; we add boots to our daily wardrobe. We might even get a little ahead of ourselves and put on thermal socks and chunky knitted sweaters knowing full well that the high for that day is 68 degrees. But, most importantly, we trade our light and airy pink shades for daring and alluring red lips.

Scarlet pouts have been staples of autumn wardrobes for decades. Reds and dark violets rejoice at the equinox, after spending months discarded at the bottom of makeup bags. Finally, they make their debut. For different people, favorite shades means different things: maybe an exciting affirmation of decreasing temperaturs, a nod towards glamour and opulence, or a simple way to boost confidence.

Whatever the reason, have a “go-to” shade; something that makes you feel like your best self when you wear it. For me, it’s MAC’s Matte Lipstick in Sin, an ultra-deep, ruddy scarlet that makes me feel a bit dangerous—like I’m waiting for someone to call and whisper a code phrase like “the eagle has landed.”

However, the vast array of red lip colors synonymous with fall align with one vital concept: variety. The makeup industry is just beginning to broaden its offerings to achieve maximum inclusivity for the infinite expanse of human skin tones. Some brands have created extensive repertoires of shades—think Tom Ford, whose original lipstick formula includes 99 colors, or brands like Nudestix that directly address the necessity for makeup shades as varied as the people who will wear them.

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In this sense, “rocking your red” represents not only the presence of fall; but also millions of people who see their go to red lipstick as homages to progression in the face of exclusivity.

 

Even with contemporary advancements, many people of color and the albino community face an exceptionally limited cosmetics market. Products like foundation and concealer don’t represent a broad spectrum of shades; you’re more than likely seeing the same 10 shades under different names whenever you pass foundation displays. However, the industry is seeing advancements with the development of lines likes Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, a brand advocating a “Beauty for All” maxim while sporting 40 inclusive foundation options. While it has yet to develop lipsticks, Fenty’s presence in the market and blockbuster success strongly demonstrates demand, and hints at more inclusive lines to come.

Even if popular makeup brands don’t follow Fenty Beauty’s footsteps and diversify their product lines to be more inclusive, seasonal red lipstick is one surefire way to assert personal choice in a restricted market.

So, enjoy putting on your red lipstick next time, because it’s a reflection of a lot more than just a seasonal trend.