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The Thing I Suddenly Feel Grown Up Enough to Do

Photograph by Getty Images

I've done it. It took me a while, but I have joined the Red Lipstick Club.

I had always feared I would never be cool enough/chic enough/adult enough to join, but I freaking did it, yo.

And if I did it, that means you can, too.

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For years I have marveled at women who could pull off red lips without looking like a clown or a 3-year-old playing dress-up. Some of these wondrous creatures just happened to be close friends. "How do they do it?" I would wonder, too self-conscious to actually ask them.

I relegated myself to the pinkish-brownish-nudish gloss of the proverbial wallflower. I mean, the red lipstick lady is the gal who glides through airports looking both elegant, comfortable and pulled together—all at the same time. The red lipstick lady was not me, with my too curly hair and toddler in tow, feeling perpetually not quite adult enough.

At least that's what I told myself.

The polite, though universal, response was, 'Ummm, no. Try again. Too orange.'

Maybe it was a recent birthday or the realization that I will never be younger than I am today, right this moment, not sure. But something compelled me to get over my bad self. It might have been that I dressed up as Frida Kahlo for Halloween. Frida Kahlo was a charter member of the Red Lipstick Club, for sure. I guess I didn't hate the results.

In the end, I just did it. I walked myself straight into the nearest drugstore, as I was not about to pay department store prices for something that may or may not work out. I have pale skin and light eyes, so I kept in mind that my complexion tends to run cool. In that bad, bad fluorescent lighting of the corner drug store, I started my search.

In the few months I've been wearing red lips, there is a growing confidence in myself. I no longer feel like a clown or little girl as I twist the color out of its tube.

My first tube of red was not the right one. I tried it on in the front seat of my car, snapping a selfie that I immediately posted on Facebook for my more experienced friends to chime in on.

"Is this the right red?"

The polite, though universal, response was, "Ummm, no. Try again. Too orange."

A dear friend, well-versed in the art of wearing red lipstick, gave the best advice. She shared her secret brand and color, which just happened to be a perfect match for me. I marched right back in and gave it a go.

She was spot on.

For just $5.99, I have been able to change my whole image and self-perception. Bargain! In the few months I've been wearing red lips, there is a growing confidence in myself. I no longer feel like a clown or little girl as I twist the color out of its tube. I am a grown-ass woman wearing red lipstick, dammit. Hear me roar! And I never fail to get compliments when I'm sporting my new lips.

So what changed?

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More than anything, it was my attitude. I finally owned that I have just as much claim to that tube of red lipstick as any other woman out there. That is a powerful sense of confidence right there. And with that new ownership is the recognition that time passes quickly. Why wait? And for just what was I waiting?

If you've been wanting to join the Red Lipstick Club, get on it, my friend. Don't wait, don't fuss, don't put it off another day. Own your claim to those red lips just as I did. I promise you will not regret it. You've got some roaring to do.

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