Free Press Journal

Lip Colour: A kiss of ‘black’

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There’s no denying the fact that black now commands an uncanny demand of respect and pride as the tint of desire and class, writes Pramita Bose.

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Shocking red or garish pink lips are always ravishing to the eye. But what about those beauties who boldly sashay down the ramp with black pouts or walk the streets flaunting dark brown mouths? Many may pat black as the current hot rage in lip-colour range or dab ‘black as the new black’. Blackish red, blackish green, blackish blue, blackish yellow, blackish pink, blackish orange, all shades of black seem the in-thing craze in today’s cosmetic kits. There’s no denying the fact that black now commands an uncanny demand of respect and pride as the tint of desire and class.


“Never underestimate this pigment as a negative trait and push it behind bars. It’s all in the mind you see. I think black or for that matter, any dark lipstick looks stunning on any skin tone,” shares make-up exponent Shraddha Naik, who recommends Rihanna as the one and only international celebrity to rock the black lip colour anywhere at any given time of the day. On the home-front, she votes for Deepika Padukone to “carry a dark lip really well and with what ease!” Conviction is the cool trick to smoothly sail all the way. And these charismatic divas know how to wear the colour with confidence.

Balancing the game is no doubt an important art. Inculcate it to be a runaway winner. If one is splurging black on the lips, then keeping the overall look very simple is indeed a smart move. Shimmers and neons on the dress are a complete no no, while red carpet events or night-outs are the ideal outdoor zones to don the daring dye with effortless élan. “Don’t be afraid to assertively try this wickedly attractive palette trend and just witness the results yourself. Rest assured, it would greatly transform your personality and enhance your image by several notches. Bold and beautiful would be the right expressions to define you,” avers Naik, whose skilled hands have certainly worked for the better to augment Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor’s on-off screen looks.lead 2

Globally acclaimed beauty consultant and make-up coach Dishita Solanki responds to this frequent recurrence of make-up trends. “Every half a decade, there’s a new trend, which does the rounds of style and make-up circuit. You see, it’s part of make-up evolution and fashion diktats always repeat at regular intervals,” she closely observes.

From its first ever reference in the ancient Egypt which dates back to almost 4000 BC — when demure Egyptian women used to wear black lipsticks and kohl on their eye-lines to highlight their features — down to the modern era of 1920s’ wherein classic Hollywood sirens of silent movies like Mae Murray (aka the girl with the bee-stung lips) and Clara Bow would embrace this sophisticated colour so elegantly, black has unfailingly cast its irresistible charm from time to time. “Once again, the dusky paint has raised a storm like any other drift in the world of warpaint,” she states, certifying Beyonce Knowles and Lady Gaga to amp up the colour with much pizzazz. Among the desi girls, only oomphy Kangana Ranaut and fashionista Sonam Kapoor can soar high with the spell of black, she stresses.

Albeit she admits that it requires a lot of courage and heart to smear your lips in black, yet she dissuades the wearers from displaying black smoky eyes to go alongwith their black lips. “Only a sharp black eyeliner with a peachy nude blush is sufficient in this case to steal the show,” she volunteers. lead 5

Referring to different skin complexions, Solanki confirms that black surprisingly complements both fair and dark skin-tones. “Yes it can look fab either ways, depending on what matching outfit one slips on. Look at Lady Gaga who has a cooler skin-colour, whereas Beyonce and Rihanna have warmer skin-tone. But all carry off black with full panache,” she explains her point.

Celebrity make-up artiste Ojas Rajani however reserves black only for the ramp shows. “For that matter, any dark- hued lip-colour will gloss up your get-up on the runway,” she endorses. “For me, the actual trump-card I would suggest is a pair of dreamy eyes with sexy curls. Play up your eyes with shine, shimmer and a touch of mascara. Add to this, a plain lipstick plus a perfect hairdo to spike your stunning avatar,” she lends tips. Wavy locks and tousled hair are big bang-ons for any actress, working girl, socialite or fashionistas nowadays. Check the list with mature and graceful leading ladies like Aishwarya Rai and Vidya Balan, insists this hair and fashion stylist.

Make-up artiste and coiffeur Kanchi Dodhia approves of dark bold lip-colours exclusively for photoshoots of models and celebs. “I have seen actor Kareena Kapoor wearing black for a sensuous camera-capture,” she instances.

Legend has it that in conventional ethos, black stands for mystery, mysticism, Goth, evil, eeriness, supernaturalism, witchcraft, black-magic and what not! And traditionally, fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes conform to the more socially accepted norms of the Caucasian beauty worldwide.

As a colour, black is an established code for grey streaks or villainy in literature, films, theatre, politics and so on. It is a symbol of staging protests, death and mourning. Blacklisting a person or giving someone a black eye resulting from a bruised blow or calling a devastating day a black one, the hue is seldom seen through a glass of congeniality. Yet the colour evokes curiosity, suspense and a drop dead gorgeous glamour in contemporary fashion parlance. Thus, the allegory of ‘black beauty’ or the proverbial ‘dark horse’ exudes a positive buzz around the character bequeathed with this adjective. So you may shoot from the hip but never let a lie leap from your lip!lead 4

Other lip-colours:

Ojas Rajani settles for softer shades like maroon, dark maroon, radiant red, scarlet red and wine red. Naik picks deep berry, wine, plums, deep oxblood, burgundy, purples to aptly fit this trendy slot. As far as premium brands are concerned, she loves to offer Urban Decay that makes some really amazing gothic lip-tints. Besides, Chanel, NARS and MAC have a huge variety to spoil customers for a choice. Solanki selects deep burgundy, purple and ashy grey as current ‘colour-flavours’ of the season.

Monsoon colour shower:

Given the moist nature of wet, rainy months, Solanki points at a vibrant palette to perk up the gloomy moods of both young and the old.  “Monsoons should long for fresh colours to lift up the dull clouds. The younger belles can go for a coral pink matt lipstick, while an aged woman may choose a pinky brown version,” she helps. Naik cautions against sporting either bold or smokey eyes during the monsoons because of its obvious high-maintenance reasons. Associating darker lip-shades to adding age is a myth, she thinks. “I would advise deep reds, plums, wines to look good on every skin-type and age. Just boost your lashes with waterproof mascara and sport a bold lip,” she says.

Purple rain at Cannes, 2016:

All credit goes to Indian diva Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for splashing purple as a new-age lip-colour all over. Critics may have panned it and her die-hard admirers surely loved it, but none could ignore it which was evident from the number of eye-balls she grabbed everywhere. “Anyone who breaks the norm, catches attention, whether that’s Ash or any other celebrity on the glam-block. The actress experimented with the purple and it did turn heads to set off a new trend!” notes Solanki. Naik ascribes Aishwarya’s purple display to be “overhyped”. “There are foreign celebrities who have already worn a purple lip before,” she argues. Dodhia in fact sanctions purple as her favourite tinge to parade in both warmer as well as cooler undertones. “I love the mix of violet and purple conjuring that plum glow,” she specifies.

Liquid lipsticks:

In case of liquid lipsticks, the texture offers the sheen and intensity of a lip-pigment usually in one coat. It renders a watery, hydrated feeling as opposed to the dry feeling of traditional lip-colours. “Light peach and pink stand out as coveted liquid colours and perfectly marry the Indian attires like salwar suits,” claims Dodhia. Solanki enlists more options like pastel pinky brown, burnt orange and browny red. “Liquid lipsticks prolong wear and lip stains are available in various brands namely, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Sephora and Anastasia Beverly Hills,” intimates Ojas Rajani.lead 3

Metallic lip-shades:

Glitter, metallic, silver, gold and copper tones top the shade-card. “The metallic trend is all the mania this season. Just make sure to balance it out without flaws,” reminds Naik. “Use a pretty metallic copper on the eyelid with a good amount of mascara and keep the rest of the look pleasantly simple. For overdoing the metallic can be a big fashion blooper! Even a hint of colour on your nails can strike a statement. So beware!” she states with a warning. Dodhia opts for a gold finish to glorify brides and their spangled outfits on Indian weddings. “The pure Bengali red or a nude matte finish during rituals and ceremonies is fine. But a sparkling gloss is essential at the reception party,” she pushes for. Ojas Rajani exemplifies with “bronze, gold, nudes and even bold reds to rock the festive and gaudy looks with the metallic palette”.

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Colour-changing lipsticks:

They are fun, youthful and lively. You know, lips are one part of the face which you can explore with a vivid and dramatic colour-changing variety.

Gradient lips:

The gradient-lip trend interestingly creates an optical illusion. It lends a finish that appears to shape up a “smaller, cuter” mouth and gives an impression of the wearer sucking on a cherry. This is very much in vogue now. The Korean gradient-lip trend in particular has influenced the Western fashion tastes of late. Also called “cherry lips” in Asia, the Korean gradient-lip is a slightly more subtle version of the ombre lips that Westerners are commonly familiar with. “This style evokes a youthful, innocent look with a nude concealer and dark stains inside the central area of the lips. It’s supposed to be a ‘just bitten’ look. I think it looks extremely fresh and I so love it!” shares Solanki with a smile. Naik adheres to the ombré effect (graduating in tone) on lips in this category. “It is something that I like most. Well, it’s a statement in itself! I have given Shraddha Kapoor a red ombré lip for one of our latest magazine shoots where I used black, crimson red and bright red lip-tints to obtain the desired results,” she informs.

The ‘plump’ phenomenon:

It is said that imitation is the best form of flattery. On that score, plumpy, pouty lips do remind us of yesteryear screen idols and style icons like Marilyn Monroe. “See, plumpy lips have been in for a while now, whether it’s permanent or semi-permanent treatments. The idea of a fuller lip looking more appealing is not a new phenomenon. Having said that, I can easily gauge that this lip-job has been only recently amplified to a greater magnitude. I personally think, lips can look beautiful irrespective of what shape it possesses, as long as the rest of the facial make-up is well-balanced according to face-mapping,” remarks Solanki.