Disclaimer: My idea of experimenting with makeup is putting on eyeshadow. So I’m pretty minimal with my makeup (and would rather slather on eight different serums), which is why my reaction to Ciate’s new teal-green lipstick, Liquid Velvet lipstick in Envy ($25, lookfantastic.com) surprised me. “It works on every skin tone,” a friend told me. “Seriously, you should try it.” I swiped it on my hand, where it didn’t look totally terrible. I was intrigued—half curious to see if it really did work on my dark olive skin tone and half inspired by the goth-glam girls at Marc Jacobs’ most recent runway show. And if the red carpets are any other indication, quirky lip colors are happening. So I tried it. And the experience was, how do I put this…enlightening. Here’s what I learned.


Lesson #1: Put on Your Lipstick Before Getting Dressed
As soon as I finished carefully coloring in my lips (a five-minute process involving makeup remover and several attempts), I kind of regretted volunteering myself as tribute for this story—even coming up with it—without first trying on the lipstick. It was A LOT. I learned pretty much immediately that I had to smile with my mouth closed, since I was convinced my teeth looked gray, and I then changed my outfit (my button-down shirt printed with tiny stars looked straight-up stupid alongside the lipstick). I switched to a black sweater, which I paired with black pants and black boots. Black goes with everything—even green lipstick. My doorman did a double take as soon as I walked out of my building, and I had the urge to run inside and double-check it in a mirror.

Lesson #2: Accept All Compliments (and Non-Compliments)
I stopped at a nail appointment. “Your lipstick!” my friend squealed. She’s also my most adventurous lipstick friend (layering on two or three different shades at a time), so I’d planned this on purpose. “I love it. It looks so good on you.” Ruth, the owner of the nail salon, agreed. “It would never work on my skin tone,” she added. “I’m too pale.” I told her about the promise that it works on all (she was unconvinced), and then I went back to picking my polish color. I went with matte black to match my soul and, you know, the goth vibe. Afterwards, I noticed a middle-aged woman openly staring at me as we stood in the subway platform. I think I scared her a little, so I threw her a dirty look to go for the full angsty effect. My boyfriend too literally shuddered when he saw it. Whatever. I couldn’t kiss him with it, anyway.


Lesson #3: Carry a Mirror—and Makeup Remover Wipes
Throughout the day, I had not one but two people reach out and wipe lipstick off my face. It’s mortifying to meet someone for the first time and watch them reach out to rub something out of my skin. I didn’t realize it until I had teal marks everywhere—on my chin, on my fingers, on my mug—but lipstick moves, and it moves a lot. By the afternoon, I began to obsessively check my face and make sure my lipstick hadn’t migrated (or I hadn’t absentmindedly touched my mouth and then rubbed my cheek or something). I was a very expensive dry cleaning bill waiting to happen.

Lesson #4: Keep the Lipstick With You, Too, If You Want to Eat
I decided to eat an ahi tuna poke bowl and steamed edamame. The lipstick stayed on like a pro through the poke bowl, but flew off as I ripped the edamame out of the pods. Nothing smeared on my face (although I spent the whole time worried I looked like the Joker). The color just looked a little uneven. And when you’re working with a shade this dramatic, it’s annoyingly obvious when it’s smudged or worn off, so I returned to the bathroom to touch it up again.


Lesson #5: Embrace the Badassery of a Crazy Lipstick Color
I wouldn’t say teal lipstick looks as good as my favorite antioxidant serum feels. But while it was a high-maintenance look that I’ll only ever wear once in a blue moon, it was really fun. I felt like it made me feel a little more confident (though a little less so when people were wiping it off from under my nose) and I felt…cooler, like a girl version of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. I know you shouldn’t do things for the sake of being cool, but standing out and feeling like an emo queen was still a refreshing change from all the blending in I do 24/7.

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