On Self-Love and Red Lipstick

Top: Zara (similar here and here); Pants: Citizens of Humanity (similar here and here); Shoes: Nomadic State; Hat: H&M (similar here and here)

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that for years, I wore nothing but red lipstick. When it comes to makeup, I’m a less is more kinda girl, so my go-to look was a bare face with red lips. Then last year, out of the blue, I developed skin issues. Out of nowhere, my skin started getting these really weird red blotches. However, the worst of these issues was on my lips. They would itch, peel and sometimes swell up to double their size. In fact, last December, I had to miss my friend’s wedding reception because my allergies were so severe that I looked like I had a botched lip job.

I went to 3 different dermatologists, none of whom couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They prescribed steroid cream after steroid cream, but none of it was a long term solution. Finally, one dermatologist conducted an allergy test to identify the root of the problem. And unfortunately, my fear was confirmed: I was allergic to the red dye that is used in most lipsticks.

Now I know that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a big deal. But at that moment, it was really painful to digest. Red lipstick was the first beauty product I fell in love with. My entire beauty regimen was centred around it. And to be honest, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d gone out without it. Honestly, red lipstick felt like a part of my identity that I was being forced to retire.

After coming to terms with the situation, I was able to find alternatives. I did find other colours I can use, and even certain shades of red from particular brands that don’t trigger my allergy. But this whole experience taught me something very important: to become more comfortable in my own skin.

I’ve always considered myself to be a torchbearer for embracing one’s natural beauty. I’ve always believed that makeup should be used to enhance, not mask. However, this experience made me realize that I wasn’t exactly practicing what I was preaching: red lipstick was my mask. While it’s totally fine to love a beauty product, it’s unhealthy to feel like your self-worth is dependent on it. It was only after I gave up red lipstick did I realize how much I relied on it to feel confident. The first few weeks I went out without it, I felt like a lesser version of myself – sad, but true. Thankfully, I snapped out of it quickly, but it was a real eye-opener in terms of my relationship with beauty products.

What I eventually learned was to truly embrace my natural self. That means being comfortable enough to go out to without an ounce of makeup on my face. This whole experience helped me develop a new layer of self-confidence and learn to accept my flaws. And if you ask me, that’s much more valuable than any makeup product I can buy at Sephora.

So I want to ask, what is your experience with makeup? Have you ever felt dependent on it?

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22 Comments

  1. July 13, 2017 / 3:10 pm

    You look amazing babe! I love a good red lipstick too. I have terrible skin with acne issues.. and at my age it is just embarrassing, so yes I wear a lot of makeup most days. Maybe one day I will be comfortable enough to leave the makeup off though!
    x Emily
    http://shedoes.com.au

  2. July 13, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    This outfit looks amazing on you!! That top was made for you
    Do I spot Osgoode Hall in the background? It’s near my condo – I love going there 🙂

    http://www.luellapearl.com
    Caitlin

  3. July 13, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    I always like when the makeup is kept rather natural but with a gorgeous pop on the lips. It isn’t until recent years I’ve been daring to go full on bold with red lips, hot pink etc – but now I love it. Annoying with your allergies but glad that it’s expanded your comfort zone! And loooove your shoes babe, so so pretty! Xx

    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

  4. Britta
    July 14, 2017 / 7:37 am

    Oh wow! Allergies are the worst! I remember you always wearing read!
    You look so beautiful with every shade you wear and I love that you always keep your makeup to a minimum! I wish I had your skin for sure! So beautiful!

  5. Tamara
    July 14, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    You should definitely look into more natural lipstick that uses natural ingredients as dyes.

    XoXo,

    Tamara – LoveofMode.com

  6. July 14, 2017 / 4:46 pm

    I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis but I do depend on it for formal occasions and even when shooting, sadly my skin is not as good as I would like it, but I feel comfortable in it most of the time… Sorry to hear about that allergy, but surely now with more green beauty products in the market you can find something to give you that pop of red? I absolutely adore your look here, Siff, so so gorgeous. Totally getting that hat for my holidays ♥ Happy weekend, girl

    Saida | She talks Glam

  7. July 14, 2017 / 5:14 pm

    I feel you on this post Siffat! It’s so easy to get to a stage where you feel like you can’t do without a beauty product and without it you feel less. I’ve spoken about the fact that I have hyperpigmentation on my cheeks and it’s something I still struggle with. Everyone say it’s not even that bad but I’m always so tempted to hide under foundation and concealer. Thankfully as the months roll by, I’ve become more confident and most times I’m fine showing my face.

    Glad you were able to come to this conclusion, it’s something we all need to do. Loving ourselves wholeheartedly even with all the flaws, kinks and quirks. Loving this look Siffat, your blouse is so gorgeous! xx
    Coco Bella Blog 

  8. July 15, 2017 / 12:38 am

    You look so gorgeous with or without the red lips. I love your look here!
    Is the dye that you’re allergic to carimine? I know that’s common in a lot of red shades of lipstick.

    http://www.thekaragon.com

  9. July 15, 2017 / 1:49 am

    Girl you are so stunning, I’m always so in awe. To me, this sounds like a lesson in disguise! It is really unfortunate, but I’m so glad you got something positive out of this experience x

    Imogen, http://www.faux-silk.com

  10. July 15, 2017 / 5:00 am

    That’s crazy to hear that out of the blue you began to experience allergic reactions! I’m sorry to hear about that, but I’m glad you were able to find alternatives. I used to be very comfortable without wearing makeup, but as of late, I feel like I couldn’t go out without a bit of foundation to cover my pores, which I’m super self-conscious about. So, I definitely need to work on that.

    Natalie | http://nataliesalchemy.wordpress.com

  11. July 15, 2017 / 6:26 am

    With or without lipstick, you look amazing! I love that top, by the way!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

  12. July 15, 2017 / 6:30 am

    That is so horrible to hear!! I love red lipstick too. I think I started wearing it back when I first headed out to parties and gigs as a late teen. I would be so sad to discover that I were allergic. Glad to hear you have found some alternatives. There is a brand that I have been really loving, which is all vegan, so hopefully would not have that dye in it, called TMF. I work in the same building as the founder, so I can ask her about it if you like. It’s all mineral makeup, Emily (She Does) and I have both got a few of her bright lipsticks and love them. Their website is wearetmf.com I highly recommend. And I must say I am with you about natural makeup looks, that is my jam!
    xx Jenelle
    http://www.inspiringwit.com

    • siffat.h91@gmail.com
      July 15, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Jenelle! I’ll be sure to check TMF out! You Aussies are always so ahead of the game!

  13. July 15, 2017 / 7:13 am

    I love what you said about makeup and I couldn’t agree more about the fact that it is meant to enhance and not mask! I’m kind of dependant of my mascara and concealer! You look beautiful and have a nice weekend!

    http://violettedaily.com

  14. July 17, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    You are very brave to share this with us, dear. Your words make me thought that i have this kind of “obsessive” relationship with foundation. When i don’t use it i feel like naked. But truth is what really matters is to feel comfortable in our own skin. You are totally right when you say that makeup is not a mask.
    Loved this post.
    Have a great week.
    lefashionaire.com

  15. July 20, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    You are beautiful inside and out, Siffat! I think I am dependent on makeup most days. I feel “unready” and “unpretty” without it; so I always wear it whenever I’m going out. Even if I’m just going to the grocery store, I put on some makeup. This post really got me to thinking! I might challenge myself to run a small errand completely makeup free; causing me to embrace my natural beauty. <3

    Blessings,
    Edye | http://gracefulcoffee.com